Syrian Army Fights ISIS In Homs. SDF Rejects Deal With Damascus

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Clashes between government forces and ISIS terrorists have continued in central Syria since July 2, when ISIS cells stormed army positions in eastern Homs. In response, the Syrians supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces launched a security operation in the desert. Sporadic clashes and airstrikes were reported in the area over the next few days.

On July 4, ISIS terrorists even ambushed a unit of the Syrian Army in eastern Homs. The military reportedly lost contact with 25 soldiers in eastern Homs. As of July 6, their fate remains unclear. It’s likely that, members of the dispersed unit are now returning to their permanent positions in the province.

Pro-opposition sources claim that over the past week, at least 20 soldiers were killed in clashes with ISIS members. Pro-government sources do not provide details regarding army casualties, but say that government forces were able to destroy 3 ISIS vehicles and neutralize up to 10 ISIS members.

As the Syrian government fights ISIS on the western bank of the Euphrates, the US-led coalition conducted a raid against the terrorist group in the town of Husayn on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

On July 5, US helicopters landed near the town and US forces assisted by members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained at least 4 suspects.

Meanwhile, the SDF leadership declared that it does not see a possibility to reach a comprehensive political agreement with Damascus because the government wants to restore full control over the provinces of Deir Ezozr and Raqqa in the framework of such a deal.

SDF Commander-in-Chief Abdi Şahin better known by his nom de guerre Mazlum Abdi declined such a possibility claiming that the Kurdish-led group wants to keep control of all the areas that it has seized. Abdi is a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which seeks to create an independent Kurdish state in southern Turkey and, if it’s possible, include into it territories of northern Syria and northern Iraq. Therefore, such a position of the SDF leadership is not a big surprise.

In 2019, the Syrian Army came to northeastern Syria to rescue the SDF from the Turkish military advance when the group then abandoned by the US-led coalition needed it. However, after this, the Kurdish leadership once again turned back from the Syrian people selling its loyalty to Washington for weapons and a share of oil revenue from the US-controlled Syrian oilfields.

Infighting among Turkish-backed militant groups erupted in the provinces of al-Hasakah and Raqqa on July 3 and July 5. Tell Abyad, al-Yabisah and Ras al-Ain are the man hot points. At least 5 militants and several civilians were killed. The main source of tensions is the intra-militant competition for control of roads, agricultural lands and trade in a small chunk of area occupied by Turkey in northeastern Syria. The funding from Turkey decreased after the de-escalation of the conflict in this part of the country. So, Turkish-backed fighters are now looting the captured areas to obtain the needed financial resources.

Military Situation In Syria On July 6, 2020 (Map Update)

Military Situation In Syria On July 6, 2020 (Map Update)

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

  • Israeli warplanes struck a truck convoy in Al-Dimas region in northwestern Damascus countryside. A weapon shipment reportedly headed towards the Lebanese border and was intended for Hezbollah;
  • Turkish forces targeted a civilian truck on the M4 highway to the west of the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa;
  • Syrian army artillery targeted the villages of Khirbet Al-Naqus, Mansourah in northern Hama and the town of al-Fatirah in Southern Idlib;
  • The US MQ-9 Reaper drone was spotted over the Idlib region;
  • Turkish artillery shelled the SDF positions near the town of Tell Abyad in northern Raqqa.

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Idlib Militants Use Battle Tanks To Kill Each Others Under Turkish Nose

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ISIS announced a new series of attacks against the Syrian Army in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert. According to the terrorist group’s news agency Amaq, ISIS cells ambushed an army unit near the town of al-Sukhna killing 2 soldiers, injuring a third one and capturing a vehicle. This attack became the second successful ISIS raid in the desert area in less than a week. The previous one took place south of al-Mayadin and resulted in the killing of 8 Syrian troops.

On June 25 and June 26, the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted intense airstrikes on the detected ISIS hideouts south of the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor highway. According to pro-government sources, at least one weapon depot and 2 vehicles were eliminated. The precise number of ISIS casualties remains unclear.

The pro-Turkish coalition of militant groups, the National Front for Liberation, repelled an imaginary attack of Russian special forces in southern Idlib. According to militants, they killed 2 Russian personnel and 2 Syrian soldiers in intense fighting in the village of Benin on June 25. The only problem with this version is that neither the Syrian Army nor Russian forces conducted offensive operations in the area, according to local sources.

Clashes between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and militants from the Fa Ithbatu coalition continue in the countryside of Idlib. The sides briefly reached a tactical ceasefire on June 25 and even removed checkpoints between Idlib city mostly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the town of Jisr al-Shughur, which is the Fa Ithbatu rear base.

Nonetheless, as of June 26 the fighting once again resumed after Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacked positions of Horas al-Din and Ansar al-Din near the villages of Yacubiyeh and al-Janoudiyah. Intense fighting was also ongoing near Arab Said. Local sources claim that both sides are now using battle tanks.

According to supporters of Fa Ithbatu, the al-Qaeda-linked coalition captured 2 battle tanks belonging to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and damaged another one. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham says it’s ready to accept a ceasefire only if Horas al-Din, Ansar al-Din and other members of Fa Ithbatu remove checkpoints that they have established near Idlib city over the past few days.

Control over the movement of goods and people in the Idlib countryside is one of the pillars of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham influence and allows it to collect various fees and fines there. So, the group sees any presence of other forces on key roads in Greater idlib as a threat to its interests. Currently, the main opposition to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is located in Jisr al-Shughur.

The main point of contradiction between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups is that Fa Ithbatu wants its own share of the revenue, which can be collected by exploiting the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. This sets the conditions for further confrontation until a new balance of power within the militant-held area is found.

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Palestinian-led forces take the fight to ISIS in Syrian desert region: video

By News Desk -2020-06-10

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 P.M.) – The Palestinian-led Jerusalem Brigade (Turkish occupation’s mercenaries set fire to large areas of wheat and barley fields in the RasAl-Ain countryside) has been conducting a wide-scale combing operation against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) in the vast Syrian desert region recently.

Backed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Jerusalem Brigade has been eliminating Islamic State hideouts and dens, while also clearing areas believed to harbor Islamic State sleeper cells in the Badiya Al-Sham region between the governorates of Homs, Damascus, and Deir Ezzor.

Thus far, the operation has proven successful, as the Jerusalem Brigade has forced the Islamic State terrorists to either surrender themselves, fight, or flee further into this vast desert region.

In a video released by the Palestinian-led group this week, they can be seen blowing up ISIS bases and attacking the terrorist group throughout the Badiya Al-Sham region.

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US soldiers allegedly wounded in attack by unknown group in east Syria: SANA

By News Desk -2020-05-27

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – Three American soldiers and  five members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were wounded in an attack on a joint convoy of them on the administrative border between the governorates of Al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor this week, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported, citing “local sources”.

According to SANA’s sources, a joint convoy of U.S. and SDF personnel was attacked by unknown assailants on Tuesday, as the latter allegedly used machine guns and RPG launchers against them at the Ruwaishid junction.

SANA said the eight injured were taken to the American base in Al-Shaddadi, a city located in the southern countryside of the Al-Hasakah Governorate.

Neither the U.S. Coalition nor the Syrian Democratic Forces have reported this attack to corroborate the claims by SANA.

The last time an attack like this was reported, the U.S. Coalition vehemently denied that any of its forces were wounded or killed, while adding that it was “fake news”.

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ISIS TERRORISTS ATTACK SYRIAN ARMY NEAR AL-SUKHNA

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Video here

About 2 dozen Turkish-backed militants have been killed or wounded in a recent series of clashes in northern Syria. 14 of them were reportedly killed in a failed attack on positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Kubrlik overnight on May 17 and up to 10 were killed or injured in clashes near Hazwan on May 15. Reacting to its own failures, Turkish-backed forces carried out a series of mortar and artillery strikes on SDF positions near Ayn Issa, Tall Tamr and Tall Unayb on May 16, May 17 and early on May 18.

Firefights and artillery duels between Turkish-backed forces and the SDF regularly erupt in this part of Syria. However, both sides do not conduct large-scale offensive operations against each other and despite the violations the ceasefire regime formally remains in force.

On May 17, seven former ISIS members fled the SDF-controlled camp of al-Hawl in the province of al-Hasakah, which holds a large number of the former ISIS fighters and their families. Following the incident, SDF security forces in the area were placed on a high alert. The search operation has been ongoing. Some pro-Kurdish sources claim that the fleeing terrorists have been already detained, but these calms remain unconfirmed. This is the second security incident in al-Hawl in less than 10 days. On May 13, SDF security forces foiled a plot of ISIS wives to set the camp on fire and flee to Turkey.

Early on May 18 reports appeared that a drone strike allegedly struck the area near a convoy of the Syrian Army in the district of Maadan in Raqqa province. Several Syrian Army soldiers were reportedly wounded. It remains unclear who was behind the attack, but the two main suspects are Turkey and the US-led coalition.

On May 17, US armoured vehicles chased in the province of al-Hasakah a Russian military convoy with 150 tones of humanitarian aid being sent to civilians in northeastern Syria, but were unable to stop it.

A firefight between the Syrian Army and ISIS members erupted near the town of al-Sukhna, on the Homs-Deir Ezzor highway. According to reports, ISIS cells tried to cut off the road, but were forced to retreat. Regular attacks by ISIS cells operating in the desert area remain a notable security threat for government forces.

At the same time, the situation in Greater Idlib once again de-escalated. After failing to capture Tanjarah in northwestern Hama last week, al-Qaeda-linked groups reduced their activity on the frontline. Despite this, it’s highly likely that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies will conduct more limited attempts to expand their zone of control in southern Idlib and western Hama in the coming weeks.

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ISIS terrorists confess that they have carried out many operations in coordination with US occupation forces in al-Tanf base

ST

Thursday, 14 May 2020

During a security operation carried out with the help of the Syrian Badia’s residents, an ambush was set up against an ISIS terrorist group composed of 6 members where 3 of them were killed and the remaining ones were arrested.

The three arrested ISIS terrorists confessed that they perpetrated many terrorist operations, including murder, execution, kidnapping and acts of destruction .

Many of these terror operations were carried out upon coordination between ISIS ringleaders and US occupation forces that exist in al-Tanf area on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

The terrorist Salah Jaber al-Daher – AKA Abo Abdul Rahman al-Salafi, born in Idleb in 1998, said that he joined ISIS organization through one of his relatives [ called Abo Salam Omareyeh] who was among the members of this Takfiri organization and he exploited his need for money and introduced him to another person called Samer al-Bori, who transported him to Jabal al-Bashari area in the Syrian Badia where he was welcomed by ISIS terrorists , including Abo Islam. This took place in 2018.

On his part, the second terrorist Abo al-Baraa al-Homsi, born in Homs in 1999, said that he met a person called Firas al-Khalid in Homs city in 2017. This person had a clothes shop and proposed to give him USD 100-200 and to transport him to Raqqa to join ISIS. He accepted the proposal because he was in need of money.

The third terrorist, Amer Abdul Ghaffar Neameh- AKA Abo Swan- born in Hasaka in 2001, said that he communicated via Whatsapp with his cousin Wahid Meameh, who was in the Badia and he told him that he will get money and a car if he joins the organization.

The 3 terrorists confessed that they were trained for several weeks by ISIS judges, who told them that they are Jihadist and any person fighting against ISIS is an infidel. They were also trained on how to use guns and rockets, including US rockets.

The terrorists were introduced to the so-called ISIS emirs of several nationalities besides fighters of French, British and Indonesian nationalities.

As for some of the crimes in which those terrorists were involved, the first terrorist [ Abo Abdul Rahman al-Salafi] said that he killed 21 people while they were searching for truffles and he carried out operations against Syrian army’s convoys.

“We were setting up ambushes against the Syrian army and civilian cars in several areas in aal-Badia'” he added.

The terrorists stressed that they were receiving orders from US occupation forces in al-Tanf area. These occupation forces were ordering ISIS ringleader Hasan Alqam al-Jazrawi of Saudi nationality, to target Syrian army’ units, Palmyra, T4 airbase, oil fields in Palmyra region.

One of the terrorists said: ” A person closed to al-Jezrawi, his name was Hasan al-Wali, told me that he met Americans in al-Tanf base and they told him that we must attack Palmyra region and the T4 airbase and they will provide us with rocket launchers, guns, money, cars and drones. They downlaoded Tag program on their mobiles to observe the movements of the Syrian army. Al-Jazrawi said that he will do that but he needs time to bring fighters from Euphrates region because the current number is not enough”.
The terrorists asserted that there is coordination between ISIS ringleaders and the ringleaders of ” Maghawer al-Thawra” which is affiliated to the so-called the “Free army” in the vicinity of al-Tanf base.

The terrorists were ordered to keep in touch with their ringleaders in order to go in and out the base.
The terrorists cited that the ISIS terrorists were holding the kidnapped people in holes under the ground, in trenches and cars.

The Terrorist pointed out that there were negotiations between ISIS ringleaders in Raqqa and the ringleaders of the US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”.

One of the terrorists admitted that the US and SDF forces covered their move from Raqqa towards Der Ezzour.

The terrorists affirmed that three ISIS members : Abo Sofyan al-Jazrawi, Abo Jnid al-Halabi and Abo Brahim al-Demashqi, who were in charge of financial managent in Badia, were going every month to al-Tanf base to bring 3 trucks loaded with food, weapons and money ro be distributed among ISIS members in Badia region.

Every terrorist gets $100, while ringleaders gets $500 and the military Wali gets $1000.                              
Al-Tanf base was a safe place for terrorists to receive medical treatment when they were injured.

 Basma Qaddour

Syrian Army Kicks Off Large-Scale Security Operation Against ISIS In Homs Desert

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Fierce clashes between the Syrian Army and ISIS terrorists erupted near the villages of al-Sukhnah and Wadi al-Waer in the province of Homs on April 9 evening.

According to pro-government sources, the army and local militias backed up by the Russian Aerospace Forces kicked off a wide-scale security operation to crack down on the terrorists hiding in the desert area. Its goal is to put an end to the recently observed increase of actions of the terrorist group against pro-government forces on the western bank of the Euphrates.

Supporters of the so-called ‘moderate Syrian opposition’ immediately claimed that government forces suffered heavy casualties in this operation. They insist that over 20 soldiers were killed. Pro-government sources claim that up to 30 ISIS members were neutralized.

In the coming days, Syrian troops will likely continue developing their anti-ISIS operation along the Sukhna-Deir Ezzor road and in the southern countryside of Mayadeen. ISIS cells infiltrating the government-controlled area from the eastern bank of the Euphrates in eastern Syria and the border area in western Iraq have become a serious security threat recently.

Meanwhile, ISIS announced that it had conducted 29 attacks on government forces across Iraq during the past week. The terrorist group claims that 66 government fighters were killed or injured. These claims remain unconfirmed. After the collapse of ISIS’ self-proclaimed Caliphate in the Middle East, ISIS-affiliated media outlets become used to spreading fake news and dramatically overestimating supposed ‘successes’ of the terrorist group.

The Turkish Army established a new observation post near the village of Jannet Elqora in Syria’s southwestern Idlib. This village is located in a close proximity to the M4 highway, which links the port city of Lattakia with the country’s industrial hub, Aleppo city. Last week, the Turkish military established three similar posts in the towns of Baksariya, al-Z’ainiyah and Furaykah in southwest Idlib.

According to open data, the Turkish military currently has up to 60 ‘observation posts’ across the region of Greater Idlib. Ankara claims that all these positions were established and heavy military equipment were deployed to them in order to put an end to the terrorist threat in the region and observe the ceasefire. However, so far, the only real goal achieve by Turkey has been the increase of security for al-Qaeda terrorists operating in the region.

The US State Department welcomed a new OPCW report accusing the Syrian military of using chemical weapons. According to the new accusations, Syria conducted 3 chemical attacks in the province of Hama in March 2017. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also accused Iran and Russia of conducting a ‘disinformation campaign’ in order to ‘hide’ the usage of chemical weapons by Syrian forces.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the OPCW report “is misleading and contains falsified and fabricated conclusions”, while Russia’s permanent mission to the watchdog described the document as “not trustworthy.”

Since the very start of the conflict, the chemical weapon issue has been deeply polarized and the OPCW’s conclusions on the topic have repeatedly faced a strong criticism from independent experts. Furthermore, recent leaks from the OPCW investigation on the Douma incident demonstrated that the organization is intentionally hiding facts, doctoring investigation results and drawing preplanned conclusions in order to push forward the mainstream agenda designed to demonize the Assad government.

HARD TIMES FOR U.S. FORCES IN NORTHEAST SYRIA. ARMY PREPARES FOR IDLIB ESCALATION

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The Syrian Army and local self-defense forces have carried out an operation against ISIS cells hiding in the desert area on the administrative border of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor provinces. According to pro-government sources, Syrian forces eliminated up to 10 ISIS members and destroyed their hideouts.

The security operation came in response to the recently increased IED attacks and ambushes conducted by ISIS cells near Deir Ezzor city and the town of Mayadin. At least 5 Syrian service members and 8 civilians were killed during the past 2 weeks alone.

The Afrin Liberation Forces, affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, conducted a new series of attacks on Turkish proxies in the region of Afrin. The attacks took place in Kafr Hashir and on the road between Chima and Deir Survan. A vehicle was destroyed and several Turkish proxies were killed.

Sources affiliated with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other Turkish-backed militant groups are accusing the Syrian Army of violating the ceasefire regime in southern Idlib. According to them, over the past few days government forces have repeatedly shelled their positions near Jisr al-Shughur, Sarmin and al-Barah. They also claimed that over the same few days Russian aircraft have increased reconnaissance flights over this area.

Pro-government sources say that these strikes were retaliatory actions to ceasefire violations by militants. However, it should be noted that the Syrian military is not hiding that it is actively deploying reinforcements and rearming troops on the frontline in southern Idlib. All the sides of the conflict understand that the current status quo in the area cannot last long. Al-Qaeda-linked militants and other radicals remain a constant source of terrorist threat in Greater Idlib and nearby areas.

On April 7, Syrian troops and patriotic activists blocked a US military convoy near the city of al-Qamishly in northeastern Syria and forced it to turn back to its permanent positions. This became the third such incident in the area in the last two weeks.

Since the very first moment of the deployment of the Syrian Army and the Russian Military Police in Syria’s northeast, US forces have been trying to limit their movement by blocking Russian and Syrian convoys. They apparently forgot that two can play at this game. So, now US troops prefer to stay put in their bases and conduct their own ‘patrols’ in a very limited area only.

The situation reached such an extent that the US-led coalition was forced to airdrop supplies to its forces deployed in the Omar oil fields area on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Another problem is the terrorist threat from ISIS. For a long time, the US coalition and its proxies were turning a blind eye to actions of ISIS cells along the Euphrates because this allowed them to justify the seizure of the oil fields with the need of protecting them from ISIS. As might be expected, this allowed ISIS cells to strengthen their presence in the area and now they regularly conduct attacks on US-backed forces and intimidate locals.

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INFIGHTING AMONG TURKISH PROXIES ERUPTS IN SYRIA. ROCKET STRIKE HITS US-OPERATED OIL FACILITY IN IRAQ

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Infighting among Turkish-backed groups has erupted near the town of Ras al-Ayn. According to local sources, conflicts over the captured houses and looted properties became the main reason of the conflict between members of the Sultan Murad armed group which attacked other Turkish-backed rebels. The situation rapidly escalated to the extent when the Turkish Army had to deploy additional troops and equipment in the area in order to put an end to the infighting. At the same time, the Turkish Army continued deploying additional troops and military equipment in the province of Idlib.

Last night, nearly 30 trucks and military vehicles entered Syria and reached the countryside of the town of Jisr al-Shughur, controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants. Two days ago, the Turkish Army established 3 new observation points there.

A US military convoy consisting of 35 trucks laden with military and logistic supplies entered Syria from northern Iraq. The convoy entered the country via the al-Walid border crossing controlled by the US military and US-backed Kurdish armed groups and moved supplies to US military facilities in the countryside of al-Hasakah. According to Syrian sources, the US military is now working to reinforce its positions near the Khrab al-Jeer military airport.

Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV claimed that a US soldier and several members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces had been killed in an attack by radical militants on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, in the province of Deir Ezzor. Earlier, similar claims were made by several pro-Kurdish and pro-opposition sources. The situation remains unclear. However, over the past 2 months ISIS cells have ramped up their operations in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor.

On April 6, a barrage of rockets struck near the oil-rich area near Iraq’s southern city of Basra. The strike hit the Zubeir oil field operated by the US company Halliburton in the Burjesia area. According to state-run Basra Oil Co., which oversees oil operation in the south, the attack had not affected production and export operations.

The April 6 strike became the first such attack since June 2019 and came only 2 days after Iraqi resistance groups released a joint statement calling US forces in Iraq occupants and in fact threatening them with a military action.

Since January 2020, there has been an increase in rocket attacks on US forces and facilities in Iraq. However, until now, all attacks were aimed against the sites affiliated with the US military and intelligence. The April 6 attack indicates that US energy giants that operate in Iraq are also in danger.

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

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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

SDF Releases Tens Of ISIS Members In Eastern Syria. Turkey, Russia Struggle With Idlib De-Escalation

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On March 23, Russian and Turkish forces carried out a second limited joint patrol in southern Idlib. The patrol involved six armoured vehicles and took place along a short chunk of the M4 highway west of the government-controlled town of Saraqib. This part of the highway remains the only safe place within the entire security zone, which was set to be established in the framework of the Russian-Turkish de-escalation agreement.

After the March 23 patrol, the Turkish side got additional time to neutralize terrorists and radicals entrenched in the agreed to buffer zone. This was the second time when Moscow provided Ankara with such an opportunity. However, Ankara seems to be taking very little or no efforts to do so.

Over the past days, the Turkish Army established observation points near Khattab and Msheirfeh and made a formal attempt to de-block the highway removing earthen mounds made by terrorists. Despite these heroic efforts of the Turkish military, the M4 remains in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked groups and the security zone there exists only on paper. Such a situation on the ground is slowly but inevitably leading to the resumption of hostilities in the region.

Humanitarian conditions are deteriorating in the Rukban refugee camp within the US-controlled zone of al-Tanf. According to media reports, people in the camp have to pay money for tents and the bare necessities, and are forcefully recruited into the ranks of US-backed militant groups. Additionally, militants sabotage the evacuation of refugees from the camp.

A series of IED attacks rocked the town of Tabqah, controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on March 21. IED explosions targeted positions, vehicles and personnel of the SDF next to the Andalusia pool and the Maysalun roundabout. 6 SDF members were reportedly killed. Pro-opposition sources immediately blamed ‘Assad agents’ for the attack. Kurdish sources blame ISIS and Turkey.

On March 22, the SDF released 80 ISIS members that had been captured during the combat operations along the eastern bank of the Euphrates. All the released individuals are reportedly Syrian citizens, from the governorates of Raqqa, al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor. During the last few years, the SDF has released hundreds of ex-ISIS fighters.

The group often does this for money or upon request from influential figures, like tribal leaders, businessmen and local commanders. This SDF behavior likely contributed to the reemergence of ISIS cells in eastern Syria. Last week, ISIS announced that its fighters had assassinated 40 people in the province of Deir Ezzor during the last 3 months alone.

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The Caliphate Project, Made in America. Declassified U.S. Government Documents Confirm the US Supported the Creation of ISIS

By Washington’s Blog

Global Research, December 28, 2019

Washington’s Blog 24 May 2015

Global Research Editor’s Note:

First published in May 2015, this article reveals not only that the ISIS is a creation of US intelligence, it  also confirms that the Caliphate Project was designed in Washington.

See Screenshots Below from the title page as well as excerpts:

“… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime …. ” (Washington Blog, see below)

October 26, 2019

Judicial Watch has – for many years – obtained sensitive U.S. government documents through freedom of information requests and lawsuits.

The government just produced documents to Judicial Watch in response to a freedom of information suit which show that the West has long supported ISIS.   The documents were written by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency on August 12, 2012 … years before ISIS burst onto the world stage.

Here are screenshots from the documents. We have highlighted the relevant parts in yellow:

Why is this important? It shows that extreme Muslim terrorists – salafists, Muslims Brotherhood, and AQI (i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq) – have always been the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

This verifies what the alternative media has been saying for years: there aren’t any moderate rebels in Syria (and see thisthis and this).

The newly-declassified document continues:

Yes, you read that correctly:

… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime ….

In other words, the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – the West, our Gulf allies, and Turkey wanted an Islamic caliphate in order to challenge Syrian president Assad.

Sure, top U.S. generals – and vice president Vice President Joe Biden – have said that America’s closest allies support ISIS.  And mainstream American media have called for direct support of ISIS.

But the declassified DIA documents show that the U.S. and the West supported ISIS at its inception … as a way to isolate the Syrian government.  And see this.

This is a big deal.  A former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer and a former MI5 officer confirm that the newly-released documents are a smoking gun.

This is a train wreck long in the making.The original source of this article is Washington’s BlogCopyright © Washington’s BlogWashington’s Blog, 2019

SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES DENOUNCE SYRIAN ARMY’S CALL TO UNITE AGAINST TURKISH INVASION, WAR REPORT

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On October 31, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured the villages of Abu Rasin, al-Manakh, al-Sibatiyah, Rajlah al-Hamrah and al-Qasimiyah from Turkish-backed militants in northeastern Syria.

Turkish-backed militant groups, backed up by the Turkish Army, seized these villages and several others on October 30. However, they appeared to be unable to keep control of all of them without a constant direct support from the Turkish Army.

Despite this, the military situation in the area remains tense and Turkish-led forces continue attempts to expand their zone of control. These attacks are likely attempts to exploit the existing contradictions between the SDF and the Syrian Army.

On October 30, the Syrian Defense Ministry released an official statement calling on SDF members to join the ranks of the army to counter the Turkish offensive and restore Syrian territorial integrity. The defense ministry also proposed SDF members to settle their legal situation, even those wanted for security reasons. The Syrian Interior Ministry released a similar statement, welcoming personnel of the SDF’s security forces, known as Asayish, into its ranks.

These statements faced a fierce resistance among the SDF leadership that claimed that it will not accept any deal that would not “recognize and preserve” the group’s “privacy and structure.” Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, claimed that these offers are “unwelcomed,” calling on Damascus to grant the SDF with a special status.

This behavior is apparently linked with actions of US forces that have recently increased their activity in northern Syria. A US military column was recently spotted in the village of Sreen, south of Kobani. Most likely, these actions are aimed at rescuing the crumbling US influence in the countryside of Raqqah, additionally to the already occupied oil fields in Deir Ezzor.

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TURKISH-BACKED FORCES SHELL RUSSIAN MILITARY POLICE IN NORTHEASTERN SYRIA, WAR REPORT

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On October 29, a patrol of the Russian Military Police came under a mortar fire near the border village of Darbasiyah. The village is located just east of the Turkish-controlled town of Ras al-Ayn. The Russians were there to discuss with their Turkish counterparts the start of joint border patrols, which had been agreed in the framework of the Russia-Turkey ‘de-escalation zone’ deal on northeastern Syria.

Initial reports suggested that at least two Russian military personnel were injured in the attack. However, later, they were denied. Turkish-backed forces claimed that they did not fire at the Russians and pointed out that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces may be interested in such an incident.

On October 28, Russian and Turkish military officials met in Ankara to discuss the implementation of the de-escalation zone agreement and lay down a plan for further joint actions in the region.

Units of the Syrian Army continued deployment along the Turkish border in a 90km-wide area from the eastern countryside of Ras al-Ayn to the city of al-Qamishly in northeastern Syria. According to Syria’s SANA, government forces entered at least 20 settlements in the area.

The Syrian Army is currently working to reinforce its positions along the entire border area west and east of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

On October 28, Syria and Russia opened a floating bridge linking the two banks of Euphrates River in the province of Der Ezzor. The bridge links the towns of al-Mre’eyeh and Mrat. It was constructed thanks to assistance from and under protection of Russian forces.

Deir Ezzor governor Abdul Majid al-Kawakibi said that the bridge was constructed “in response to the needs and demands of the people in the governorate northern countryside”. The bridge will allow them “to communicate with the rest of governorate areas”.

Earlier, the US-led coalition destroyed all the bridges in the area. A part of them was destroyed in the framework of the coalition’s campaign against ISIS. Later, the destruction of the infrastructure was a tool of cutting off links between people in the US-controlled and government-controlled areas.

On October 28, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper once again warned that the US is not going to abandon oil fields on the eastern bank of the river. According to him, the US will respond with “overwhelming force” to any group that would threaten the safety of US forces there.

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Russian Defense Ministry publishes evidence of US oil smuggling from Syria

October 27, 2019

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images, showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that “Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river, under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria.”

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. “There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks,” the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov: “Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab, established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

“For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical ‘hidden IS cells’ endlessly,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

The reason for this activity, he believes, “lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism.”

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

Igor Konashenkov: “Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people,” the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon’s head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future “to ensure the safety of oil fields.”

 

Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

October 13, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei

Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

Even though I have my doubts over whether Washington will actually withdraw from Syria fully, it seems as if their Kurdish proxies in northern Syria have been left to defend for themselves against the ongoing Turkish offensive. I can’t say I’m surprised since Washington has done this to their Kurdish “partners” many times before, yet the Kurdish leadership across Iraq and Syria have failed to learn from history yet again.

Once more, the Kurdish leadership have been proven to have put their faith in the wrong allies. When Moscow stepped into the Syrian war four years ago, Moscow gave the YPG the same offer that Assad had given before: reconcile with Damascus and join forces against terrorism. They refused. Moscow tried again by offering them to set up a consulate in Moscow, inviting them to peace talks in Astana and offering them safety from Turkish attacks, if they agreed to a deal with Damascus, one that respects Syria’s territorial integrity. Moscow even offered talks on a guarantee for future Kurdish participation in Syrian politics. They refused once again, with a spokesperson for the YPG explaining that Washington does not allow them to talk to Moscow. Such was the nature of the US-Kurdish “alliance”.

When the so called “Islamic State” terrorist group was about to collapse in 2017, the US backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”, of which YPG is part of, was quick to grab as much land as possible. Then came the threats against Damascus and the Syrian Army, to back off from entering the eastern shores of the Euphrates. Fortunately, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus saw Washington’s moves early on as they managed to capture the imperative city of Albukamal, located exactly at the Syrian-Iraqi border, before Washington could. In capturing this city, Damascus and Baghdad have been able to re-open the Tehran-Damascus highway stretching from Iran, through Iraq and into Syria, connecting the three countries and enabling the transportation of supplies from Iran to Syria.

The SDF managed to secure many of Syria’s oil fields in their push to capture the eastern parts of the Deir Ezzor province. Having grabbed such a large part of Syria, the Kurdish leadership felt safe with US forces backing them against Damascus.

This stance didn’t seem to change when Turkish forces together with their proxy jihadists launched the Afrin offensive. US forces did nothing to protect their Kurdish vassals from harm as Turkish forces easily captured the entire Afrin Canton within weeks. The Kurdish leadership was offered a deal with Damascus in which control over the Afrin area would be handed over to the Syrian Army before Turkish forces could capture it. Alas this suggestion was refused by the stubborn Kurdish leadership who would rather let Ankara and the Jihadists capture that area.

So 18 months later, the US has seemingly withdrawn and abandoned the Kurdish-led militias to fend for themselves against Ankara and a hostile Damascus. Not so surprising considering Washington’s track record. The Turkish Army and its proxies launched their offensive on Wednesday and quickly announced gains that same day. Since then, several towns along with the border city of Tal Abyad have fallen into Turkish hands as reports have emerged that imprisoned ISIS militants have escaped from their prisons as a result of Turkish bombardments of several prisons in the Hasakah province.

The offensive has caught an enormous amount of media attention, as the Kurds have for long been the Western Media darlings, capturing many people’s hearts with footage of young armed women battling the perverted terrorist forces of the “Islamic State”.

Washington and the European vassals have all howled and voiced their “concerns” over Turkey’s offensive. Some have called for resolutions and embargoes on Turkey for “violating international law” and “endangering the region”. What a joke! Look at the people expressing their “concern”: Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley. These are some of the people that are concerned that Turkey is “endangering the region”.

Now when Twitter is being filled with videos of executed Kurdish fighters, these people recognize the same “FSA” militants that they used to cheer for to execute Syrian soldiers, for what they are, barbarian scum.

Just a few days after the commencement of the offensive, Kurdish officials began contemplating the idea of turning to Moscow and Damascus for help, but not before asking Washington one last time to confirm their betrayal. SDF General Mazloum Kobani openly indicated in an interview with CNN that dealing with Moscow and Damascus is an option if the US fails to protect the Kurds from Turkey. “I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region”, Kobani said.

What a sad statement. He needs a receipt of Washington’s betrayal, as if it was a surprise when he and his colleagues have been warned for years about Washington’s treacherous nature. Reports have previously suggested the amassing of Syrian Army forces near Manbij in the Aleppo province, with the aim of entering and taking over the area. The same has been said about Hasakah and Qamishli in the northeastern parts of the country. If true, then this would create a situation similar to the one two years ago when the Islamic State was collapsing. As mentioned before, back in 2017, as the Islamic State was collapsing, the SAA and the US-backed SDF were racing to capture as much territory as possible. This resulted in the Euphrates turning into a demarcation line between SAA and SDF controlled territory, a line that has been in place since 2017. Now, it seems as if a new race is on, as the Syrian Army is racing against time, with the jihadists rapidly advancing and are inching closer to Raqqa city.

If the Kurdish militias are willing to cooperate, then Damascus must be harsh in its demands. The Kurdish militias must hand over their weapons and the territory they’re occupying if they want to have any chance of surviving the Turkish-led onslaught. But they need to act quickly, time is running out for the Kurdish militiamen.

Will the Kurds choose poorly again?

Syria, Iraq To Reopen Strategic Border Crossing Within Few Days

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Syria, Iraq To Reopen Strategic Border Crossing Within Few Days

Click to see full-size map. Via Google Earth.

The strategic al-Qa’im border crossing between Syria and Iraq will be reopened on September 7 after being closed for more than five years.

According to Sputnik, the security committee in Deir Ezzor and the governorate’s governor had inspected the crossing to make sure that all the preparations are completed ahead of the reopening.

“The [al-Qa’im] is fully ready to receive travelers,” a Syrian official told Sputnik, confirming that the crossing will be reopened on September 7.

The al-Qa’im crossing was set to be reopened on September 1. However, the ongoing renovation on the Iraqi side of the crossing delayed the reopening.

Iraqi government forces liberated the eastern part of Qa’im in November 2017. Within a few days, the Syrian military liberated the western part of the crossing, near the city of al-Bukamal.

The reopening of the al-Qa’im crossing is expected to boost the trade between Syria and Iraq, which would have a positive impact on the economic situation in both countries.

Syria, Iraq To Reopen Strategic Border Crossing Within Few Days

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Syrian War Report – August 19, 2019: Tiger Forces Advance To Encircle Khan Shaykhun

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Government forces are rapidly advancing in southern Idlib inflicting large casualties to radical militant groups.

During the weekend, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their allies have liberated the villages of Khirbat Abidin, Hursh al-Tawilah, Mughr Hunta, the farms of Nijm, Nisr and al-Safar, and the Nar Hill. According to pro-government sources, at least 7 units of military equipment and 2 dozens of militants were eliminated in recent clashes.

In own turn, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies carried out several counter-attacks involving suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices in Madayah and northwest of Khan Shaykhun. Despite some tactical successes, they were not able to turn the tide of the battle and stop the SAA advance.

Government forces are currently aiming to cut off the M5 highway and encircle the town of Khan Shaykhun and other militant positions to the south of it.

On August 17, members of the Turkish-backed National Syrian Army (NSA) shelled positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) at the town of Tell Rifaat and the nearby villages of Zyuan, Nyrabia and Tell Madiq in northern Aleppo. According to pro-YPG sources, the shelling also targeted a positions of the Russian Military Police near Tell Rifaat. No casualties among Russian personnel were reported.

The NSA shelling started in response to an attack by YPG-linked Kurdish rebels in the Afrin Region. The rebels’ attack resulted in the deaths of 5 Turkish-backed militants. Tell Rifaat and its surroundings are under the joint control of the YPG and the SAA. YPG-linked cells use this area as a safe heaven to carry out attacks on Turkey-led forces in northern Aleppo thus provoking Turkish responses and increasing tensions between Damascus and Ankara.

Russian forces are establishing several positions in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside, pro-opposition media reported on August 16 citing local sources. The reports claimed that Russian units are working to establish new positions in the town of al-Jalaa.

Located less than 30km away from the border with Iraq, al-Jalaa is one of the largest towns in the western part of the Middle Euphrates River Valley. A highway leading to al-Qa’im border crossing passes through the town.

The deployment of Russian forces in al-Jalaa could be related to the near opening of the Syrian-Iraqi border as well as the ongoing security operations against the remaining ISIS cells in the region.

GOVERNMENT TROOPS ARE STORMING KHAN SHAYKHUN AFTER CUTTING OFF M5 HIGHWAY NORTH OF IT (MAPS)

Government Troops Are Storming Khan Shaykhun After Cutting Off M5 Highway North Of It (Maps)

Click to see the full-size image

Late on August 19, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and other pro-government factions started storming the town of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib.

Earlier on the same day, government troops seized several important hills north of Khan Shaykhun and cut off the M5 highway, which Turkish forces attempted to use to enter the town.

According to some pro-government sources, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radical groups have started withdrawing from Khan Shaykhun. Reports are also circulating that militants are planning to withdraw from the entire northern Hama parea. Nonetheless, these reports still have to be confirmed.

The situation is developing.

Government Troops Are Storming Khan Shaykhun After Cutting Off M5 Highway North Of It (Maps)

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Syrian Army breaks through militant lines to advance on Khan Sheikhoun: video

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a big advance in the southern countryside of the Idlib Governorate this past week after cracking the militant lines near the key city of Khan Sheikhoun.

Chronicling the Syrian Arab Army’s advance in southern Idlib was the Anna News Agency, who captured exclusive footage of the military’s operations and push towards Khan Sheikhoun.

“On August 13, the Tiger Forces faced a challenge. In one night, they had to go half the distance between the cities of Hobeit and Khan Sheikhoun,” the Anna News said.

“When the last gleams of the sun went out over the horizon, the Tiger Forces set their machine in motion. But the Syrian movements did not go unnoticed. Detachments of militants prepared to meet the Tigers with everything they had,” they continued.

“We were especially struck by the number of artillery shells that the militants fired at us. After taking the strategic height of Tel Ays, the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun was clearly visible. Everyone expected that the troops would go to storm the city, but instead the troops turned north,” they added.

Since this video was posted, the Syrian Arab Army has begun their attack to capture Khan Sheikhoun from the militant forces in southern Idlib.

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Aleppo: New Atrocities by Erdogan, Qatar, & NATO Terrorists

 

aleppo bombing

Another savage attack against Aleppo by terrorists supported by Erdogan, Qatar, US, EU — and now also officially by the Holy See — murder 3, injured 15, and destroyed cars and property, 24 July. Two of the martyrs are children. This carnage follows the terror attacks of Monday.

The Nusra faction of al Qaeda against Syria — Qatar’s faction of wahhabi savages — fired rockets into Aleppo from al Rashidin, causing death and destruction in al Hamadaniyah and Seif al Dawlah neighborhoods.

Sohayb Masri@Sohayb_Masri1

Video of armed terrorist groups targeting the “Hamdania” district of with rocket-propelled grenades

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In April 2017 a deal brokered with Qatar by Iran to exchange imprisoned terrorists for civilian kidnap victims ended in a massacre of upwards of 130, and the kidnapping of dozens of Syrian children. Qatar subsequently offered security to OPCW investigators to enter Khan Sheikhoun, but they declined.

The Syrian Arab Army responded by destroying rocket launch pads and an undisclosed amount of human garbage.

It is unlikely Pope Francis has been able to send another diplomatic letter to President Assad at this time.

Also on 24 July, Syrian sappers inspecting liberated areas of Deir Ezzor discovered an underground cache in al Mayadeen Bayida desert area, of more than 1,000 (one thousand) mortars left behind by retreating terrorists.

deir ezzor mortars

Aleppo continues to rebuild its infrastructure.

— Miri Wood

Iran’s battle strategy in Syria and its impact

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 A.M.) – At the start of 2013, the Syrian War was looking unfavorable for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), as a militant offensive in Aleppo cutoff the city from all government supply lines and the strategic East Ghouta region had all but fallen to Jaysh Al-Islam and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Making matters worse, the government had lost most of Syria’s northern border with Turkey and their western border with Lebanon. This would later prove to be a major issue for the military as foreign militants were pouring into the country from these regions.

Enter Hezbollah and Iran

The Spring of 2013 would prove to be an important period in the Syrian War. Both Hezbollah and Iran would enter the conflict on the side of the government and help the Syrian military regain the initiative in Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus.

Hezbollah’s deployment to Syria helped the government regain the Lebanese border by capturing the strategic crossing at Al-Qusayr, followed by Tal Kalakh and the majority of the Qalamoun Mountains.

The Lebanese group also provided reinforcements to several areas across the country in order to help stabilize these fronts.

While Hezbollah’s entry into the Syrian conflict is often viewed as the first time foreign fighters had entered the war, this is indeed false. Militants from several countries across the world had already entered Syria and began fighting alongside the rebel forces.

Several of these foreign fighters would later join jihadist groups like Jabhat Al-Nusra and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh).

However, unlike Hezbollah, Iran would play a pivotal role behind the scenes in 2013, offering their military advisers to help Damascus concoct a new battle plan.

The plan would focus on a four-corners strategy that would see the Syrian military maintain a presence in four corners of the country, giving the government an area of influence despite the absence of supply routes.

Four Corners Strategy

From 2013 to 2017, the Syrian government maintained a presence in several parts of the country. Since it was difficult to maintain control over the vast desert and mountainous regions, the strategy was to focus on the major cities and spreading out the militants so that the army could regain critical areas around the capital city.

It may appear a bit unorthodox, but the strategy ultimately helped the Syrian military maintain a presence in eastern Syria, where the U.S. and its allies attempted to expand across during the war with ISIS.

For example, the Syrian military kept a presence in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, despite the fact they were surrounded by the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG)

While the Syrian military and the YPG were not fighting each other and their presence in Al-Hasakah was only threatened by ISIS, the army’s decision to stay inside Deir Ezzor city after losing their supply lines from Homs raised a few questions at the time.

Thousands of Syrian troops were besieged in Deir Ezzor and ordered to continue fighting ISIS from 2015 to 2017 when the siege was finally lifted. Prior to the arrival of the Russian Armed Forces in September of 2015, the Deir Ezzor front was under daily attacks by the Islamic State, leaving many to fear for the lives of the people and troops inside the city.

Had the army made the decision to retreat from Deir Ezzor city, ISIS could have sent their forces to other fronts and expanded their presence inside of Syria. Furthermore, it allowed the Syrian Army to maintain control of the city once the U.S.-led Coalition began expanding south of Al-Hasakah.

Finally, the entry of the Russian Armed Forces would play a decisive role in the conflict, as the Syrian Arab Army was able to finally launch multiple offensives to regain most of the country.

Present Day

Iran still desires a complete military victory in Syria, but with the continued Israeli attacks on their positions in the country and U.S. economic pressure through sanctions, the Islamic Republic has been forced to take a more defensive role in the region.

This defensive role has allowed Russia to champion the recent Syrian military operations, while they concentrate on other matters, including the proxy war in the eastern part of the country.

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