Russian front-lines bombers head to Syria as Idlib ceasefire collapses

By News Desk -2020-04-02

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:25 A.M.) – The Russian military has redeployed some of its front-line bombers to Syria amid the expiration of the Moscow Agreement, which called for the withdrawal of all militant groups from the M-4 Highway (Aleppo-Latakia Highway).

Citing the Telegram channel RadioSkaner, the Russian publication Avia.Pro reported that a couple of Su-24 jets have recently arrived at the Hmeimim (var. Khmeimim) Airbase in the southwestern region of the Latakia Governorate.

“Today, a couple of Su-24 bombers (airborne 96 RED and 94 RED) arrived at the Khmeimim airbase in the framework of the planned rotation, quietly, without noise and dust. We went WITHOUT a leader this time, a standard route through Iran with a planned refueling from two IL-78 tankers over the waters of the Caspian Sea,” the RadioSkaner report said.

“It should be clarified that the departure of the bombers from the Khmeimim airbase to Russia was not recorded, which, most likely, may indicate not a rotation of forces, but a buildup of forces of the Russian airborne forces in Syria, although no official comments have yet been received on this subject failed,” Avio.Pro added.

The Russian Air Force often uses its Su-24 jets when carrying out an attack against the jihadist rebels in Idlib; one of these aircraft was shot down by the Turkish military in October of 2015.

ALSO READ  Russia comes to Syria’s aid amid coronavirus outbreak

Don’t Let COVID-19 Devastate Syria, Yemen and Gaza

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

TEHRAN (FNA)- It doesn’t take a strategic mind to realize what the likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would be on Syria, Yemen and Gaza.

It is not difficult to make predictions, either, because much will depend on the way these nations, already devastated by US-led wars of aggression and occupation, won’t be able to react.

The World Health Organization fears the numbers of people infected with coronavirus will far exceed the official figures estimated by these nations. An even worse scenario is thought to be unfolding in Syria, where an internally displaced population of 7 million, and the fact some parts of the country remain outside central government control make controlling the spread of the virus almost impossible.

The same argument could be made about Yemen and Gaza. Ground and air links between them have been largely severed, and there are deepening concerns that large numbers of virus carriers were able to return before border was sealed in Gaza.

On the medical supply side, there are also likely to be disruptions, as there are shortages of imported raw materials and spare parts because of US sanctions and Israeli-Saudi blockades. However, this is likely to be less of a factor than in Western countries, where long supply chains are now the norm rather than the exception.

The severity and duration of the short-term demand and supply impacts depends on the measures these nations may take to contain the spread of the virus. If the pandemic shows signs of spreading rapidly as it is doing in Europe and the US, these three governments will start to close factories and shops – if any – selling nonessential items.

Although there are still many uncertainties about how the pandemic will develop, it is clear that international support mechanisms may not be able to fully cope. Moreover, such mechanisms tend to be relatively weak in war-torn areas as the scattered nature of the population makes it difficult to reach effected people.

To complement international initiatives, Gaza, Syria and Yemen will need to mobilize their own institutional machinery as well, particularly those with presence in hard-hit areas. These include police stations, health clinics and agriculture/livestock offices which could provide logistic bases to reach the displaced people with medical assistance, as well as income and food support.

These facilities should be brought into play with funds from the United Nations and international aid agencies. There is no question that these governments are struggling to meet rising medical care costs, their financial capacity is severely limited. International organizations should be mobilized to help.

Will these measures be enough? Probably not. The whole world, specially the Western countries that have been making a fortune through arms deals with the Saudis and have been backing Riyadh as well as the Israelis and militant groups in Syria should do their part in helping these war-ravaged nations.

The US and countries in Europe should also step up their level of assistance outside their borders. One way to quickly and effectively do this has to be ending their wars of aggression and support for the Saudi and Israeli regimes, or proxy forces in Syria. At this time, this policy reversal would be far better than sending money to help people survive the health crisis.

As many observers have emphasized, the COVID-19 crisis is not just one of health and the economy, but also has other dimensions. COVID-19 is already challenging our assumptions about humanity, about society, about greed and selfishness, about the need to cooperate.

The pandemic has exposed fault lines in trust among humans, among groups, among countries, between citizens and governments, and faith in many of assumptions about life, not only beliefs and humanity, but also knowledge itself.

The world is beginning to doubt America’s role as the world’s leader and a trusted partner to turn to at times of crisis like this. As we slowly realize that we are inundated with fake news by Washington and its war-party goons

The time has come for the UN and the rest of civil society to begin to address and come to terms with what life is going to be like in Syria, Yemen and Gaza after they impose the lockdowns and other inconveniences forced by the virus and its consequences.

Put simply, this time it is different. Millions of lives are at risk. The world will not be able to simply revert to business as usual after the virus hit these nations in the coming days and weeks. The time has finally come for the world community to help build a life that’s more secure, equitable, inclusive and sustainable in Syria, Yemen and Gaza.

IDLIB MILITANTS ATTACK SYRIAN ARMY NEAR SARAQIB FOLLOWING ISRAELI STRIKE ON SHAYRAT AIRBASE

South Front

Late on March 31, the Israeli Air Force carried out a new round of airstrikes on Syria. Israeli warplanes launched over 12 missiles from Lebanese airspace targeting Shayrat Airbase in the Syrian province of Homs. At least 8 of them were intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense Forces. The damage caused to the airbase by the Israeli strike remains unclear.

Pro-Israeli sources claimed that the attack was aimed at weapon depots and positions of Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

Shayrat Airbase is well known as the point used by the Syrian Air Force to provide air cover for the government forces’ operations against al-Qaeda terrorists in Idlib. Russian attack helicopters also use it as a prestrike staging base. Over the past years, Israeli forces have repeatedly assisted al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria by striking the country’s armed forces during ongoing important military developments. Syrian sources say that the timing of the new attack indicates an imminent escalation in Greater Idlib, where the Turkish-Russian de-escalation agreement is slowly crumbling.

Early on April 1, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its supposedly moderate counterparts shelled positions of the Syrian Army near the town of Saraqib, which is located on the crossroad of the M4 and M5 highways. In response, Syrian artillery delivered several strikes on militants’ positions near Afis and Sarmin.

Emboldened by the ceasefire regime and the increasing Turkish military presence in the region, Idlib armed groups are now regularly attacking Syrian Army units in eastern Idlib. Last week, they claimed that they destroyed 3 pieces of military equipment, including a battle tank, with anti-tank guided missiles. Such actions highlight apparent gains from the current format of de-escalation efforts in the region.

ISIS released a video report on its campaign against government forces in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert during 2019-2020. According to the video, ISIS units continue ambushes of civilian and military vehicles, as well as separate army units, moving along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road. Terrorists stage fake check points, loot civilian properties and kill those that they capture. ISIS members demonstrate the mindset of common criminals. The video also shows a few pieces of destroyed military equipment belonging to  the Syrian Army.

While the video is designed to serve as a promotion piece of supposed ‘successes’ of the terrorist group, it in fact reveals the current poor state of ISIS cells, which are barely surviving in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert. If there is no more US-occupied al-Tanf zone where they can hide from Syrian Army security operations, they will have little chance of surviving in this part of Syria for another year.

Also read: Erdogan’s terrorists violate the cessation of hostilities agreement and target Saraqib with several artillery shells

Syrian Air Defence Systems Intercept ‘Hostile Targets’ Over Homs

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Tim Korso

Syria often reports violations of its airspace, which it frequently attributes to the Israeli Air Force. Tel Aviv occasionally admits to carrying out some of these air raids, claiming that it targets Iranian military forces allegedly stationed in the country, despite both Tehran and Damascus denying their presence.

Syrian air defences have intercepted Israeli missiles flying through the airspace above the city of Homs, Syria’s SANA news agency reported. The agency added that none of the missiles succeeded in reaching their targets as a result.

Damascus has not officially commented on SANA’s report.

Prior to the attack, Lebanon’s Sham FM reported that Israeli jets were spotted flying low above the country’s Kesrouan province, which lies on the way between the territory of Israel and the Syrian city of Homs. Alleged witnesses claim that the jets fired missiles while travelling through Lebanese airspace.

The Israeli Air Force has admitted on multiple occasions in the past that they have conducted air raids on Syrian territory, but claim to have targeted Iranian military forces allegedly present there. Tel Aviv alleges that these forces intend to attack Israel from the territory of the Arab Republic.

Damascus and Tehran both deny that Iranian troops are deployed there, with the Islamic Republic noting that it has only sent military advisers to the country. Both states have harshly condemned the Israeli actions as violations of Syrian sovereignty, calling on the international community to prevent further strikes.

China calls for immediate lifting of all sanctions against Syria

By News Desk -2020-03-310

A Chinese envoy on Monday called for complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures against Syria, noting that the sanctions will harm the vulnerable country’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We call for complete and immediate lifting of unilateral coercive measures,” Zhang Jun, China’s permanent representative to the United Nations, also president of the Security Council for the month of March, told the council’s video-teleconferencing meeting on the situation in Syria.Getting Rich with Bitcoin, Without Even Buying BitcoinDailywebAds by Revcontent

“We are seriously concerned about the negative impact of unilateral sanctions on countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic, especially for vulnerable countries like Syria,” he said. “Civilians and innocent people are suffering severely from those sanctions.”

China’s UN permanent representative Zhang Jun speaks at a Security Council meeting about Afghanistan at the UN Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., March 10, 2020. /Reuters

Zhang said that China supports the call of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in this regard.

“Our position is explained in detail in the recent joint letter to the secretary-general, together with Russia, among others. We hope the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs joins the voice of the secretary-general and high commissioner for human rights in this regard,” said Zhang.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Zhang said that ever since Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire arrangement early this month, the security situation in northwestern Syria has significantly improved.

“We appreciate their diplomatic efforts and encourage relevant parties to continue implementing the ceasefire,” he said.

“It is our consistent position to support the political solution to the conflict in Syria. We appreciate the painstaking efforts of the special envoy (Geir Pedersen) and encourage him to continue facilitating dialogue between the Syrian parties, toward an inclusive Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process in line with Resolution 2254,” said Zhang.

ALSO READ  Russian-Turkish patrols on M-4 Highway blocked by protesters

“We reiterate the future of the country must be decided by the Syrian people, without foreign interference,” he said.

Credit: CGTN

Also Read

SYRIA AND TURKEY RAMP UP PREPARATIONS FOR NEW MILITARY CONFRONTATION

SOUTH FRONT

The Syrian Army and Iranian-backed militias deployed a new batch of reinforcements to the frontline in southern Idlib and western Aleppo. According to local sources, fresh troops reinforced by armoured vehicles and battle tanks were placed near Saraqib, Kafranbel, and Urma as-Sughra. These areas were the hottest points of the conflict between Syrian troops and Turkish-led forces during the previous round of escalations in Greater Idlib. Turkey and its proxies are also preparing for a new round of confrontations.

During the past week, at least four Turkish military convoys, with battle tanks and even MIM-23 Hawk medium-range air-defense systems, entered Idlib, allegedly to secure the ceasefire regime and contain the terrorist threat. How Turkish troops are planning to use air defense systems against al-Qaeda terrorists that do not have aircraft remains a mystery.

At the same time, sources close to Idlib militants announced that Ankara is forming five new units consisting of its own troops, members of the National Front for Liberation and the Syrian National Army. Both these militant groups are funded and trained by Turkey. The newly formed units will be led by Turkish officers and allegedly include 9,000 Syrian militants and a similar number of Turkish troops. Pro-Turkish sources speculate that this force will be tasked with securing the M4 highway in southern Idlib and clearing the area of radical groups like Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. After this, a security zone will be established and joint Turkish-Russian patrols will be launched in the area as it was agreed to by Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The problem with this theory is that the Turkish-backed groups, which should supposedly be involved in this operation are allied with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked organizations. So, they will have little motivation to confront them shifting the burden of fighting to Turkish troops.

According to pro-government sources, the Turkish motivation is different. They note that Ankara is very unsatisfied with the performance of their proxies during the recent battle against the Syrian Army. So, it opted to make a new attempt to create elite units that should deliver a devastating blow to the brutal Assad regime that is cowardly resisting the occupation of Syrian territory by Turkey.

Turkish-backed forces also increased their activity in Syria’s northeast. On March 29, the 20th Division of the so-called Syrian National Army attacked positions of Kurdish militias near the village of Sayda. Pro-Turkish sources claimed that a truck equipped with a 23mm machine gun belonging to Kurdish forces was destroyed and that many fighters were killed. Turkish proxies still cherish radiant hopes to capture the nearby town of Ayn Issa thus seizing control of the crossroad of the M4 highway and the Tall Abyad-Raqqah road.

The US-led coalition continues evacuation of smaller bases and regrouping of its forces in Iraq. After the withdrawal of coalition troops from al-Qaim and al-Qayyarah, they left from the Kirkuk K1 base. Means and forces from these facilities will be redeployed to other US bases in the country, mainly Camp Taji. There are no signs of any kind of US troop withdrawal from the country despite the demands from the Baghdad government. To the contrary, the Pentagon recently announced that it was working to deploy Patriot air defense systems to protect US troops in Iraq from missile attacks.

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Al-Jaafari calls for lifting economic coercive measures imposed on Syria in the light of coronavirus outbreak globally

Monday, 30 March 2020 17:15 

ST

New York, (ST)_Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, called for lifting the illegitimate economic, coercive measures imposed on Syria and other states, particularly after the spread of Coronavirus in the world. 

Al-Jaafari, speaking at a UN Security council session on the situation in Syria via video, said that the continuation of the economic sanctions stresses the hypocrisy adopted by some sides in dealing with the humanitarian situation in Syria and those states. 

He thanked the People’s Republic of China, for presiding over the work of the Council in these difficult and exceptional circumstances, and for China’s efforts in assisting 89 member states affected by the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, in a true embodiment of the values and meanings of international cooperation, humanitarian feeling and impartial implementation of the responsibility of the Presidency of the Council in maintaining international peace and security under the provisions of the Charter. 

Al-Jaafari expressed hope to jointly overcome the catastrophic repercussions of this pandemic. This pandemic has united our peoples away from the efforts of some governments to create a rift between them, and revealed the fragility of the international structures that have existed since the end of the Second World War, and their inability to serve humanity and mankind. 

In this context, the Syrian delegation reiterated its strong condemnation of the unilateral economic coercive measures used by some governments of member states of this organization as a weapon in their sinful war against Syria, and on other member states, which prevent, among other things, the Syrians and their medical healthcare workers from obtaining their basic needs to prevent this pandemic and dealing with possible cases of infection, as well as preventing the provision of food needs and basic services to Syrians. 

“Persistence of imposing these unjust coercive measures that violate international law, the Charter of the United Nations and human rights instruments, and not responding to our repeated requests to end them, the most recent of which is contained in the joint letter sent by the Permanent Representatives of eight countries: China, Cuba, DPRK, Nicaragua, Iran, Russia, Syria and Venezuela to His the Secretary-General on 25 March 2020, demonstrate once again, what we have always emphasized in terms of hypocrisy that some have adopted in dealing with the humanitarian situation in my country and other countries. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the prompt positive response of the Secretary-General to the initiative of the eight countries,” al-Jaafari said. 

He added that Syria has received recently a number of high ranking officials of international organizations partnering with the Syrian government in humanitarian work, including Mrs. Henrietta Four, UNICEF Executive Director, and Mr. David Paisley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, Mr. Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross. The discussions with them were positive, and included stressing the pursuit of joint cooperation, in a manner consistent with the principles of non-politicized humanitarian action, and the willingness of the Syrian government to facilitate access to all parts of the country from within Syrian territory and through a mechanism that includes alongside the Syrian state both the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to ensure that aid reaches those who deserve it and that it does not reach terrorists. 

“Syria has affirmed to its partners the necessity to compel the Turkish regime and its affiliated terrorist organizations to stop their crimes, and to enable the Syrian civilians detained by these terrorist organizations in some areas of Idleb to return to their homes in areas liberated from terrorism, and to provide immediate assistance to them from inside Syria, and support national efforts to normalize life once again,” al-Jaafari affirmed. 

He went on to say that Syria stresses that it is unacceptable to allow the terrorism-sponsoring Turkish regime to take advantage of the suffering of the Syrian refugees and use them as a bargaining card to blackmail Europe and pressure European governments to support this regime militarily under the umbrella of NATO or to give it advantages and privileges of European Union countries. It is also unacceptable to tolerate the Turkish regime’s support for terrorism and to transfer publicly, without shame, terrorists from Idleb to Libya and to other countries, after it had transferred, several years ago, many terrorists from Libya to Syria. 

“The Syrian delegation again draws the kind attention of the Security Council to the fact that the doors of Syria are wide open to receive Syrian refugees to return to their homeland, and that the Syrian state has created all conditions to ensure a dignified return to them,” al-Jaafari said. 

He condemned the prevention by the American forces and their affiliated terrorist gangs, which occupy al-Tanf area in which the Rukban camp is located, of the return of displaced persons in the camp to their chosen areas of residence. The Syrian government reaffirms its full readiness to facilitate their return and rid them of the inhuman conditions in which they live, and the exploitation of American occupation forces and their tools, which claim that they are unwilling to return. 

“The terrorist organizations supported by the Turkish regime still impose their control on some areas of Idleb Governorate,” al-Jaafari added. 

He went on to say that on Monday, March 16th, 2020, those terrorist organizations, supported by the Turkish occupation forces, attacked the facilities of humanitarian NGOs in the cities of Idleb and Ariha in northwest Syria, looting and seizing their assets, and assaulting their volunteers. 

“In my letter sent to your good self on March 24th, 2020, I conveyed to you that Erdogan’s regime and its terrorist proxies continue to use water as war weapon against civilians in Al-Hassaka city and surrounding congregations north-east Syria. It keeps cutting of the water from Allok station and its wells which prevents million Syrian civilians, the majority of which is children and women, from drinking water. This is a war crime especially in the time we are all trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic,” al-Jaafari said. 

He stressed that some member states and OCHA were dead silent in dealing with such information, while they broke all hell loose because of alleged rumors of Gaziantep office, which became a hub for terrorist organizations and their supporting countries with the sole aim of tarnishing the image of the Syrian government. 

“In the phone call between the Syrian and the Russian presidents, on March 6th 2020, my government welcomed the achievements of the Russian leadership on March 5th, that adds to the efforts aiming to guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria expressed in the latest agreement. Furthermore, the agreement stressed the necessity of combating terrorism. The Syrian government has been fully committed to all ceasefire agreements that were concluded previously, and this also applies to the recent Moscow agreement concerning Idleb. Although we do not trust the Turkish part, that has not honored the two year- old Astana agreements, nor Sochi agreement that was concluded a year and a half ago before Moscow agreement, we are looking forward to the full and timely implementation of Moscow agreement by the Turkish regime’s terrorist groups, since it has guaranteed their commitment, the Syrian diplomat said. 

He underlined that Pederson has just conveyed to the UN that the Syrian national delegation accepted the agenda to continue the work of the constitutional committee. “Thus, the other party no longer has any excuse to evade its responsibilities, especially that its empty maneuvers and futile attempts were behind the impediment of the constitutional committee work. We were also informed that during the last period, the Syrian national delegation has suggested many proposals for an agenda according to the rules of procedure, but they were all rejected without any explanation, which led to the disruption of the Committee’s third session, until now,” al-Jaafari concluded.

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