Breaking: Syrian Army unleashes major offensive against militants in Rastan pocket on Homs-Hama border

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:48 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries have launched a new offensive operation against armed rebel groups in a large militant enclave straddling the provincial border of Homs and Hama.

Moments ago, military-affiliated sources reported that that the Syrian Army and its allies kick-off a new offensive against militant forces in the Rastan pocket – located in parts of northern Homs and southern Hama province.

At the present time, Syrian pro-government forces are storming the Rastan pocket from southeast Hama and have entered into and captured most of the town of Maqsam al-Hamrat amid intense clashes with rebel fighters.

The new offensive by the Syrian Army comes following the decisive conclusion of operations in Idlib for the time being.

Russia has made multiple attempts since 2017 to implement an effective ceasefire in the militant-held Rastan region.

However, multiple violations of the deescalation agreement by rebel forces, who shell and raid nearby government-held towns (almost on a daily basis), has pushed the Syrian Army to now undertake a full-scale military operation to neutralize the threat emanating from Rastan and its surrounding area.

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The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their captured Ibn Wardan Qastel and the large nearby area in the northeastern Hama pocket after the ISIS defense had collapsed there. According to pro-government sources, army troops are now close to full liberation of the area.

Government forces are also working to evacuate civilians and to remove IEDs and mines from the recently liberated villages.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and its allies failed to overrun the SAA defense in the area of Abu al-Duhur and their attack resulted in almost no gains. Pro-government sources say that the militant groups lost about a dozen of fighters and two vehicles in the recent clashes.

Separately, the Syrian military increased airstrikes on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman in the districts of Irbin, Duma, Harasta, Madira, Mesraba, Zamalka and Saqba in eastern Damascus. Local sources link this activity with the facts that the militants rejected a ceasefire agreement reached during the Vienna talks.

Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces repelled attacks of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the districts of Sheikh al-Hadid and Bulbul. According to pro-Kurdish sources, the YPG/YPJ killed over 38 members of the Turkey-led forces as well as destroyed two vehicles and a battle tank in the recent clashes.

According to the TAF’s general staff, Turkish forces have neutralized over 1,000 Kurdish fighters and some mysterious ISIS members since the start of Operation Olive Branch. Meanwhile, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that over 123 Kurdish fighters have been killed. This number is likely closer to the reality.

Contradicting reports are circulating about the February 7 strikes of the US-led coalition on government forces in the province of Deir Ezzor. According to some US military officials quoted by the mainstream media, over 100 pro-Assad fighters were killed in the strikes. Syrian media activists say that 25 government fighters were killed and about 50 others injured. According to the February 8 statement of the Russian Defense Ministry, 25 people were injured in the attack. The ministry added that government troops were conducting an operation against ISIS sleeper cells in the area when they were shelled with mortars, rocket launchers and then attacked by the coalition’s attack helicopters. It should be noted that according to the US-led coalition’s version, government forces were attacking positions of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Meanwhile, the Arab al-Bakara tribe announced in an official statement that dozens of its members were killed in the coalition strikes. The statement added that al-Bakara is ready to fight ISIS, the SDF and the US-led coalition.

The situation revealed the high level of tensions existing in the Euphrates Valley region. These tensions may be used by ISIS to resume its terrorist activities in the area.

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Syrian Army, Allies Nearing Full Control of Pockets in Hama, Aleppo Countryside

February 9, 2018

Syrian Army

Syrian Army and allies were on Friday nearing the complete control of pockets locating in Aleppo’s southern countryside and Hama’s northeastern countryside.

Hezbollah’s War Media Center reported on Friday that the allied forces established control on 17 villages and towns in the area following clashes with ISIL Takfiri group.

Earlier on Thursday, the Syrian Army and the allied forces took control of eight towns and villages also on the area.

SANA news agency reported that Syrian Army units launched intensive military operations against the gatherings and fortified positions of ISIL terrorists in the last span of the pockets locating in the administrative borders of Hama and Aleppo countryside.

The agency named the liberated towns and villages on Thursday as: Kaser Ebn Wardan, al-Msetbeh, Rasem Madha, Jib al-Hab, Rajem Jaara, Makhlaf Shamali, Ayn Zarka, and Abu Mayal.

In the last weeks the allied forces have been besieging the Takfiri terrorists in the region.

Source: Hezbollah War Media Center

Syrian Army, Allies Regain 16 Villages between Hama Northeastern Countryside and Aleppo Southern Countryside

February 9, 2018

The Syrian army and allies on Friday tightened control over 16 villages and towns in the area between Hama northeastern countryside and Aleppo southern countryside.

SANA’s reporter said that the army units continued advance in the pocket where ISIL terrorists are positioned in the area between Aleppo southern countryside and Hama northeastern countryside, seizing control of villages and towns of Irtwaziet Mikhlaf, Mikhlaf, Rasm Jeb al-Himlan, Jeb al-Jimlan, Ein al-Na’jeh, Rasm al-Dab’e, Ma’r Shimali, Ma’r Janoubi, Koreij, Tel Shwieh, Rasm al-Sabl, Abu Ajweh Sharqi, Tibaret al-Jareera, al-Mweileh, and Abu Ajweh Gharbi.

A number of ISIL terrorists were killed as their weapons and vehicles were destroyed due to the fierce clashes with the army units which resulted in seizing the control of the mentioned towns and villages.

The army engineering units are dismantling IEDs and mines planted by the terrorists in the liberated villages.

Source: SANA

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On February 7, the US-led coalition carried out several airstrikes on positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the province of Deir Ezzor. The coalition claimed that the SAA had “initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] headquarters”, added that “coalition service members” were co-located with SDF fighters during the attack and described the strikes as a self-defense act.

According to local sources, the US targeted positions of the SAA near the town of Khasham, located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River where some clashes between the SAA and the SDF were also reported. Earlier pro-opposition sources speculated that the SAA was preparing to use Khasham as a foothold to attack the SDF position in the areas of the CONICO gas facility and the Jafar oil field. However, these reports were not confirmed by any evidence.

No doubts, the US-led coalition will use the incident to deepen the rift between the SAA and the Kurdish-dominated SDF. Earlier this month, Damascus allowed a large convoy of Kurdish fighters to reach the area of Afrin where Turkey is conducting a military operation against YPG/YPJ forces that are the core of the SDF. However, the relations between the sides remained complicated.

On February 7, the media wing of the YPG released a video showing two ATGM strikes at battle tanks of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF). The strikes were conducted in the Rajo and Bulbul districts of Afrin. The both tanks were allegedly destroyed. On the same day, reports appeared that two TAF service members died in the Afrin operation.

Meanwhile, the TAF and the Free Syrian Army captured Hawiz Hill and re-entered Shaykh Khurus. On February 8, clashes continued there.
The SAA, the Tiger Forces and their allies made large gains against ISIS in the northeastern Hama pocket. The ISIS resistance remains in Suruj, Ibn Wardan Qastel and a number of small points across the remaining militant-held area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham continued its attempts to exploit the SAA operation against ISIS attacking government positions west and north of Abu al-Duhur. Fierce clashes are ongoing there.

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On January 21, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces captured the villages of Rasm al-Hirmil, Dwair al-Hawta, Khirbit al-Fajir, Tibarat al-Khushir and Rasm al-Jana in the southwestern Aleppo countryside, north of Abu Duhur airbase, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria. The media outlet added that a large part of the town of Abu Duhur in the eastern Idlib countryside was also captured by the SAA.

The SAA also recaptured the villages of Suruj and Istablat southwest of the Abu Duhur airbase in eastern Idlib from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), according to Syrian pro-government sources.

In the northeastern Hama countryside, the SAA launched a new attack on positions of ISIS. The Hezbollah media wing reported that the SAA recaptured the villages of Aniq Bajrah and Tawtah from the terrorist group during the attack.

In a related development, the Syrian Ministry of Defense announced on January 21 that the SAA and its allies liberated 300 villages and towns in the governorates of Idlib, Aleppo and Hama in the last few months. The Syrian MoD also revealed that the SAA eliminated the elite force of HTS during its advance towards the Abu Duhur airbase.

The SAA is now working on securing all the villages north of Abu Duhur airbase, according to Syrian pro-government activists. Later, the SAA will likely launch a new military operation to break the HTS siege on the towns of al-Fu’ah and Kafriya in the eastern Idlib countryside.

Syrian Army Retakes Control of Key Airbase in Idlib

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Syrian army managed to retake full control of Abu al-Duhour airbase, one of the key military bases in the northwestern province of Idlib.

January, 20, 2018 – 18:58

ارتش سوریه

The base was lost to terrorist groups in 2015. The capture is considered as a significant achievement for the Syrian forces since Idlib, near Turkey borders, is mainly controlled by opposition forces and terrorist groups, such as al-Nusra Front.

The Syrian army units, in cooperation with allied forces, had continued their operations on terrorists’ hotbeds and fortified positions in the southern countryside of the Idlib province on Friday, restoring control over Qaytal village after killing a number of al-Nusra Front and its affiliated terrorist groups’ elements.

Syrian Army’s engineering units continues mine clearance in the village, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported, adding that army’s units are chasing terrorists in the neighboring areas.

In the meantime, a military source told the Arabic-language Al-Masdar News that the entire 128th Brigade of the Syria’s Republican Guard has been redeployed from the Qalamoun Mountains to the Idlib Governorate to aid the Tiger Forces in the offensive to capture the strategic Abu al-Duhour Airport.

The 128th Brigade was one of the main forces behind the Syrian army’s successful campaigns in the Qalamoun Mountains. Due to the poor weather, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces could not have an operation in the Abu al-Duhour Airport’s southern gates.

Syria is in the final stages of a battle against Takfiri terrorist groups that poured into the Arab country after the outbreak of the civil war in 2011.

On November 19, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group was flushed out of its last stronghold in Syria’s Al-Bukamal. The city’s liberation marked an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate it had declared in 2014.

First images from captured Abu Dhuhour Military Airport

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a major advance in the Idlib Governorate, Saturday, capturing the strategic Abu Dhuhour Military Airport in the eastern part of the province.

Led by the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Army was able to capture the airport after seized several towns located just south of this military installation on Saturday.

Below are some of the first photos from the captured airport; they were taken by field journalists embedded with the Tiger Forces in eastern Idlib.

Since capturing the Abu Dhuhour Airport, the Syrian Army has turned their attention to the city of Abu Dhuhour; it is currently under attack by the Tiger Forces.

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Breaking: Syrian army breaks through rebel lines in south Aleppo; almost reaching Idlib front

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (04:55 PM) – Forces of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) are advancing rapidly in the south of Aleppo Governorate, pushing militant rebels ever further away on two lines of attack while marching south-west.

Following a successfull operation by the Syrian army that saw them liberate Tell Shahid and surrounding towns from Al-Qaeda affiliated rebel forces on Tuesday morning, another SAA attack further to the south also led to victory.
Reports have it that the Syrian Arab Army has now liberated the towns of Masih and Tell Masih, south-west Tall ad Daman, a town that was captured some days ago.

This recent offensive puts the South Aleppo frontline extremely close to their fellow Syrian Arab Army forces in the continuing Idlib offensive, that is still marching north. With the fall of Masih, Syrian forces in Aleppo are inching very close to cutting the Idlib-Hama pocket of Al-Qaeda activity completely in half.

Even more, the advance in South Aleppo means that militant rebel forces defending the key Abu ad Duhur airbase are now under imminent threat of being encircled from two sides. While the Idlib frontline moves ever close to the military airport from the south, the Aleppo forces are rapidly approaching from the north.

It is expected that the Syrian army is planning on completely closing the pocket around Abu ad Duhur airbase on all sides in the coming days, cutting the rebel forces off completely from the outside world.

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