RUSSIA AND DAMASCUS AGAINST “TERRORIST DEMOCRACY” IN GREATER IDLIB

07.04.2021 

South Front

In Syria’s Greater Idlib, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham continues its attempts at rebranding, all the while keeping up its usual militant activity.

As per the Russian Reconciliation Center, militants in Greater Idlib shelled the surrounding areas 32 times on April 6th.

Another al-Qaeda affiliated militant group in Greater Idlib, Ansar al-Islam, posted photographs of its activities in Idlib province. The footage showed the work of terrorist snipers targeting the Syrian Arab Army. This is more than likely a tool to show that the Damascus government cannot impede their activities, and serves as a recruitment method.

The Russian Aerospace Forces continue responding to all violations by striking militant positions. On April 6th, an air raid was carried out near the settlement of Basankul in Idlib.

In spite of the Damascus Government and Russia’s attempt to deter the militants, the United Nations sent 88 trucks of humanitarian aid to Syria’s Idlib. The aid is supposed to be distributed among the needy people in Idlib and its surrounding areas. It is more likely that it is being used by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and other militant groups to consolidate their grip on the region.

In addition to countering the activities of the Greater Idlib factions, the Syrian Arab Army, with its Russian support is containing ISIS in the central region.

In the 72 hours leading into April 6th, the Russian Aerospace Forces killed at least 29 ISIS terrorists in their strikes. A large number were heavily wounded. These attacks were centered on the Hama province, and stretched all the way to the border of the Deir Ezzor province.

Still, limited ISIS operations continue. On April 6th, one civilian was killed, several were injured and a large number of citizens were abducted in the town of al-Sa’an in the eastern countryside of the Al-Salamiyah region in Hama.

The terrorists ambushed government forces who were protecting the civilians. In total 19 were abducted, out of them 11 were civilians.

ISIS minefields also remain, and need to be cleared sometime in the future. On April 5th, a civilian was killed and another injured in a blast, at the Bowera site on the Jabal Abu Rajmein road, north of Palmyra.

The United States profits from chaos, wasting no time in smuggling resources away from the local population.

On April 5th, according to Syrian media, US forces smuggled out a convoy of trucks loaded with wheat stolen from the silos of Tal Alou in Yarubiyah in the northeastern countryside of Hasaka.

Additionally, on the very next day, Washington’s troops smuggled out a further convoy of 34 tanks and trucks carrying stolen quantities of oil and wheat also from the Syrian al-Jazeera region into northern Iraq.

Every party involved in Syria is fighting tooth and nail for their own interests  and any small opportunity is being exploited, as is clear to see.

RUSSIAN SU-24 BOMBERS DESTROYED HTS CAMP, VEHICLES IN GREATER IDLIB

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Busy Day for NATO Terrorists in Syria: 3 Kids Hurt by IED, Homes Bombed

 MIRI WOOD 

al jourin bombing

NATO terrorists had a busy day in Syria on 6 March: Three children were injured by an IED in Daraa, while homes and businesses were bombed in Jourin. Syria has had no honeymoon from terror since the changing of the occupant of the White House; NATO weapons continue to fall like manna from the heavens, into the arms of the demi-angels, those joyful freedom fighters.

Terrorists in the outskirts of Jisr al Shughur, Idlib governate, launched rocket fire against the residential neighborhood of Jourin, Hama governate. There were no casualties, but much infrastructural damage.

Rockets are ground-to-ground bombs.

The three children were injured while playing near the al Khirbeh roundabout at the eastern entrance to Daraa. Being children, they were enticed by a sweets box (“halwa”) protruding from a brick wall. The empty candy box was rigged to detonate when touched.

Local police discovered more explosives and several detonators nearby. Blowing up Syrian children has been ongoing evidence of the doubleplusgood activities of the NATO Spring, since the Russian sappers found explosives in toys while clearing almost one thousand hectares of the eastern parts of Aleppo, after the terrorists were put on buses in December 2016.

white-helmets-organ-traders
Russian sapper demining a doll of explosives
smart-prosthetics
takfiri left explosives in children’s toys
another toy rigged to blow off child’s arms
double aka amputee child in rehab
little syrian boy being fitted for prosthetic arm
arm prothestic

انتخابات فلسطينيّة تحاكي الجنون

انتخابات فلسطينيّة تحاكي الجنون
فلسطيني يستخدم المقلاع لرشق الحجارة خلال مواجهات بين المتظاهرين وقوات الاحتلال في الضفة الغربية ضدّ مصادرة الأراضي (أ ف ب )
عمرو علان - Amro 🇵🇸 (@amrobilal77) | Twitter

رأي عمرو علان 

الجمعة 5 شباط 2021

«الجنون هو أن تكرّر الفعل نفسه أكثر من مرّة وتتوقّع نتائج مغايرة». يُنسب هذا الاقتباس خطأ إلى آينشتاين، لكن بغضّ النظر عمّن كان قائله الحقيقي، لعلّه أفضل ما يُوَصِّف حالة انتخابات المجلس التشريعي الفلسطيني المزمع إجراؤها قريباً. لقد وقع الانقسام الفلسطيني، أصلاً، على ضوء نتائج انتخابات عام 2006 التشريعية، وكنتيجة لتباين النظرة بشأن الاستراتيجيات بين حركتَي «حماس» و«فتح»، ومنذ ذلك الحين، لم يطرأ أيّ تغيير على الظروف الداخلية الفلسطينية من ناحية المواقف، ولا الرؤى تجاه المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني، ولا الموقفان الخارجيان الدولي والعربي قد تبدّلا بشيء. بل على العكس، زاد انحدار السلطة الفلسطينية وارتباطها بالاحتلال داخلياً، وزاد الموقفان الدولي والعربي نكراناً للحق الفلسطيني وصلفاً تجاه القوى الفلسطينية عموماً، فكيف إذن يمكن توقّع أن تكون نتائج الانتخابات الجديدة أفضل من سابقتها، وأن تؤدّي إلى مصالحة فلسطينية؟ فما الذي يبتغيه، إذن، كلّ طرف من هذه الانتخابات بعيداً عن الشعارات المعلنة وحملات العلاقات العامّة؟ وما هو الحل للخروج من حالتَي المراوحة والتيه الواضحتين في الوضع الفلسطيني؟


السلطة الفلسطينية

مع إعلان الإدارة الأميركية السابقة عن صفقة القرن، هذه الصفقة التي تمثل التوجه الحقيقي للإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة، وما تلاها من إفصاح الكيان الصهيوني عن مسعاه لضمّ أراضي الضفّة الغربية، ناهيك بسَنّ قوانين يهودية الدولة التي تهدّد أصل وجود فلسطينيّي أراضي الـ48 في ديارهم، ظهر بصيص أمل ولو كان ضئيلاً عن احتمالية كون السلطة قد استفادت من تجربتها الكارثية، خلال الأعوام الثلاثين الماضية، عندما أعلن محمود عباس عدم الالتزام بمخرجات أوسلو ووقف التنسيق الأمني، وقيل حينها إنّه يمكن التوافق بين سائر القوى الفلسطينية على أرضية الحدّ الأدنى في مقاومة الاحتلال على أساس المقاومة الشعبية. وعلى وقْع ذلك، تمّ عقد اجتماع أمناء الفصائل في بيروت، لكن سرعان ما تبدّد الأمل في أي تبدّل ولو كان طفيفاً في أداء السلطة، فقد استمرت السلطة في التعاون الكامل مع قوات الاحتلال بهدف إحباط أيّ محاولة لمقاومة الاحتلال، وتابعت قمع أيّ حراك شعبي على الأرض مهما كان سلمياً، وحتى مجرّد التظاهرة الشعبية السلمية للتضامن مع الأسير المضرب عن الطعام آنذاك، ماهر الأخرس، تمّ قمعها دون هوادة. وتبع ذلك تصريح حسين الشيخ مستهزِئاً بعقول كلّ الشعب الفلسطيني بلا استثناء، عندما أعلن ما أسماه «انتصار الشعب الفلسطيني» وعودة التنسيق الأمني رسمياً (ويا دار ما دخلك شر).
لقد بات جلياً من طريقة تعاطي السلطة الفلسطينية مع الواقع الفلسطيني، أنّ وظيفتها صارت محصورة بأمرين لا ثالث لهما؛ الأول: تحصيل المخصّصات، والآخر: تمهيد الأرضية في الضفة الغربية – بعلم أو بدون علم – كي يُنجِز الاحتلال مشروعه بابتلاع ما بقي من أراضي الضفة عبر منعها لأيّ شكل من أشكال المقاومة أو الحراك من أجل التصدّي لخطوات الاحتلال التي يستمر بتنفيذها على أرض الواقع. وكلّ حديث عن مشروع وطني فلسطيني لدى السلطة ما هو إلا صرخات في البرّية، فحتى من كان يؤمن بطريق المفاوضات لتحصيل حقوقه لا يعمد إلى تجريد نفسه من كلّ ما لديه من أوراق ضغط أو تفاوض من تلقاء ذاته. وعلى هذا، صارت السلطة الفلسطينية تحاكي حكومة فيشي الفرنسية أو جيش لحد الجنوبي مع فارق أنّه كان لهذين الأخيرين مشروع، بغضّ النظر عن رأينا في مشروعيهما، بينما لا يوجد أي أفق مستقبلي أو مشروع للسلطة الفلسطينية، هذه ليست توصيفات يمكن إطلاقها بِخِفّة أو من باب الشعبوية، ولا هي دعوة إلى الاقتتال الداخلي الذي يجب اجتنابه بأيّ ثمن، ولا سيما في ظلّ وجود الاحتلال، لكن هذا توصيف لواقع حال يجب أن يؤخذ في الحسبان عند تقدير أيّ موقف.
وإذا ما ألقينا نظرة فاحصة، نجد أنّ السلطة فعلياً باتت تمثّل مشروع الفلسطيني المهزوم. لذلك، نجد محمود عباس يقول إنّه سيفاوض ويستمر بالمفاوضات والاستجداء عساه يُحصِّل شيئاً من الحقوق الفلسطينية، ويُعلّل ذلك بكون الفلسطيني جرّب الطرق الأخرى ولم يحصل على مراده لأنّ الظروف الدولية والإقليمية والداخلية في غير مصلحته، بحسب فهمه غير الدقيق ولا الواقعي. لكن يغيب عن هذا التصوّر أنّه حتى خيار الاستسلام غير متاح للفلسطيني الموجود في الضفة وأراضي الـ48، فالكيان الصهيوني لم يَعُد يخفي مشروعه في هضم أراضي الضفة وترحيل سكانها عاجلاً أم آجلاً، وربما يكون مردّ التشويش في هذا التصوّر تجاهل أصل المشروع الصهيوني الذي هو مشروع إحلالي يقوم على اقتلاع السكان الأصليين للأرض وإحلال المستوطنين مكانهم، وقد ساعد في ظهور هذا التصوّر بروز بعض الأطروحات المشوِّهة لحقيقة الصراع من قبيل نظريات الفصل العنصري (الأبارتايد)، أو أنّ القضية الفلسطينية هي قضية كرامة أو مساواة. لكنّ المفارقة، هنا، أنّ خيار الاستسلام ربما يكون متاحاً لأهالي غزّة إذا ارتضوا العيش بذلّة تحت سيطرة الصهيوني، وليس لباقي سكّان المناطق الأخرى في أرض فلسطين. نكتفي بهذا القدر كي لا نستطرد عن أصل النقاش الحالي أكثر.

بناءً على هذا العرض، يمكن الخلوص إلى كون هدف محمود عباس والسلطة عموماً من إجراء الانتخابات هو تجديد شرعيتها، أو أخذ البيعة من حركة «حماس» وباقي الفصائل، بتأييد خطّها السياسي إن صحّ وصفه بالخط سياسي، ومن ثم لتعود إلى دوّامة ما يسمونه مفاوضات سلام وبلا أيّ أفق طبعاً، بينما تواصل تأدية دورها الوظيفي في تأمين الحماية لقوات الاحتلال والمستوطنين، ريثما يُجْهِز الكيان الصهيوني على باقي أراضي الضفة وعلى الوجود السكاني لأهالي الضفة وأراضي الـ48.

«حماس» وفصائل المقاومة

تمرّ «حماس» بأزمة خيارات واضحة وحقيقية، بسبب إخفاقها في فكّ الحصار عن قطاع غزة، هذا الحصار الذي تشارك فيه السلطة ذاتها وبعض الدول العربية المتواطئة، والذي بات يشكّل عبئاً على أهالي القطاع ويتسبّب في عجز الحكم في غزة عن تأمين الكثير من الحاجيات الأولية للغزّيين، ناهيكم بتعطيل حركة الدخول والخروج من وإلى القطاع، ما حوَّل قطاع غزة إلى سجن مفتوح بكل معنى الكلمة. ويمكن المحاجّة بأنّ منشأ الحصار كان بسبب تقدير «حماس» الاستراتيجي الخاطئ الذي خاضت بموجبه الانتخابات التشريعية في عام 2006، التي لم تؤمّن للحركة أي حصانة ولا هي حمت ظهرها كما كان مرجواً، لكن بعيداً عن كلّ هذا النقاش يبقى الاحتلال هو مصدر الحصار الأول والأخير، ومفتاح فكّه ليس مع أحد سواه، لا مع السلطة ولا مع تلك الدول العربية المتواطئة، وهذا أمر أساسي لا يصحّ تجاهله عند صياغة أي استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار.

بناءً على ما سلف، يمكن استنتاج أنّ «حماس» تأمل من دخول الانتخابات فكّ الحصار أو تخفيفه على أقلّ تقدير، وهذا بالتالي يطرح فرضيّتين: إما دخول «حماس» الانتخابات على أساس المغالبة، وإمّا خوضها على أساس المشاركة بصيغة قائمة مشتركة مع «فتح» أو بصيغة أخرى يُتّفَق عليها.

فإذا كانت الانتخابات مغالبة، واستطاعت «حماس» الفوز بالأكثرية، عندها نكون أمام تكرار سيناريو عام 2006 بحذافيره، طالما لا تغيير في المواقف الداخلية للأطراف ولا تبديل للمواقف الدولية كما ذكرنا. وأما إذا كانت الانتخابات بالمشاركة وارتضت «حماس» أن تكون أقلية، أو إذا ما فشلت في تحقيق الأغلبية بالمغالبة ففي الحالتين ستتحوّل إلى معارضة ضمن منظومة أوسلو، وعندها ستكون ملزمة باللعب وفق قواعدِه، وفي ظلّ وجود خطّين متوازيين على الساحة الفلسطينية لا يتقاطعان، أحدهما بات مرتبطاً بالاحتلال عضوياً وبالطبيعة لا يؤمِن بأيّ شكل من أشكال مجابهة الاحتلال حتى ولو كانت سلمية، والآخر يؤمِن بالمقاومة كسبيل لاستعادة الحقوق.

فستجد «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة نفسها أمام ذات المعضلة الحالية، لكن هذه المرة ستكون قد منحت للطرف المقابل ذخيرة جديدة للاستقواء عليها، فهي ستكون مطالبة داخلياً ودولياً باحترام نتائج الانتخابات وتسليم قطاع غزة قبل أيّ تخفيف للحصار. وهنا لن ينفع التذاكي فالحصار مفتاحه مع الاحتلال والآخرون هم مجرد تفصيل كما جادلنا، وتسليم القطاع لدى الكيان الصهيوني يعني تسليم كلّ فصائل المقاومة لسلاحها الموجود فوق الأرض وتحت الأرض ولا شيء دون ذلك.

لكن يردُّ البعض بأنّ دخول الانتخابات يمكن أن يمنح «حماس» وسائر فصائل المقاومة وضعاً في الداخل الفلسطيني يماثل وضع حزب الله في لبنان، وهنا يمكن قول الآتي: من الصعب مقارنة وضع قطاع غزة وحال فصائله بالحالة اللبنانية، لا من ناحية وجود سوريا على الحدود اللبنانية التي لا تشارك في حصار لبنان، والتي فوق ذلك تشكّل خطّ إمداد لحزب الله منها وعبرها، ولا من ناحية قوة حزب الله الذي بلغ مرحلة من القدرة التسليحية يستطيع معها تبديل معادلات إقليمية. ومع هذا، يجب الانتباه إلى أنّ من يطْبِق الحصار على غزّة هو الكيان الصهيوني بشكل مباشر، بينما يعدّ الأميركي الوحيد الذي لديه قدرة على ممارسة أشكال من الحصار على لبنان. وكان الأميركي يتَّبِع في الفترات الماضية استراتيجية المساكنة في لبنان لحسابات معقّدة ومخاوف لديه لا مجال لذكرها هنا، بينما تخلّى اليوم عن فكرة المساكنة، وهذا ما يفسر الضغط الاقتصادي الذي يمرّ به لبنان بالأساس، بالإضافة إلى عوامل داخلية لبنانية أخرى مساعِدة. وخلاصة القول أنّ جميع قوى المقاومة في الإقليم تتعرّض، اليوم، لحصار مالي واقتصادي تتفاوت فعاليته وآثاره تبَعاً لظروف كلّ فصيل وجغرافياً موقع تواجده.

الخروج من حالة المراوحة

استعرضنا في ما سبق كيف أنّ دخول «حماس» الانتخابات لن يفضي إلى حلٍّ لحصار غزة، بل يرجّح أن يؤدّي إلى نتائج عكسية تعود بالضرر على المقاومة الفلسطينية. هذا ولم نفصل في المخاطر على المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني وثوابته وأهدافه لضيق المساحة. وقبل الخوض في الحلول، يجب الاعتراف بداية بأنّ إيجاد حلّ لأزمة غزة ليس بالأمر الهيّن كون الحصار مرتبطاً أولاً وأخيراً بالاحتلال ذاته وما هو إلّا أحد أعراضه، وهو ضريبة تدفعها قوى المقاومة إلى جانب ضرائب أخرى كثيرة يتحمّلها كلّ من يسعى إلى التحرير كما جادلنا. لكن يجب أيضاً الإشارة إلى أمر آخر جدير بالانتباه، وهو سماح كيان الاحتلال لقدر من المساعدات المالية بالوصول إلى سلطة رام الله، وحتى قطاع غزّة، كلّما أوشك الوضع على الانهيار، سواءً في الضفة أو قطاع غزة. وهذا يشير بوضوح إلى أنّ ما يخشاه العدو هو حصول انفجار في أيٍّ من هاتين الساحتين، ويبدو أنّ العدو بات مدركاً لمكامن ضعفه واختلال موازين القوى لغير مصلحته أكثر من إدراك بعض الفلسطينيين لهذه الوقائع، فنجد بنيامين نتنياهو يتراجع عن قراره الذي استثمر فيه كثيراً بإعلان ضمّ أراضي الضفة الغربية تحسّباً لانفجار الانتفاضة في أراضي الـ67، بناءً على تقديرات أجهزته الأمنية ولا شيء سوى ذلك، وهذا يدحض الفكرة القائلة بكون الضفة مترهّلة وغير حاضرة للتحرّك شعبياً. صحيح أنّ الحراك الشعبي دونه صعاب عديدة، أوّلها وجود جيش من مخبري أجهزة السلطة الذين باتوا يأتمرون بأمر الشاباك مباشرة، لكن هل يُعقل أن تعدم الفصائل الوسيلة في تحريك الشارع؟

وفي المقابل، فليس مردّ التذمّر الشعبي ضيق الحال المعيشي فقط، لكنّ حالتَي السكون والمراوحة اللتين يعيشهما الوضع الفلسطيني هما سببان لا يمكن تجاهلهما، حيث كون هذا الوضع يوحي بانسداد الأفق على الصعيد الوطني، وفي هذه الحالة تطفو المصاعب المعيشية على السطح لتأخذ موقع الصدارة على القضايا الوطنية الأخرى. وهذه ليست دعوة للهروب إلى الأمام كما ربما سيحاجج البعض، فأيّ حراك شعبي في الضفة هذه المرة ستكون حظوظه في فرض الانسحاب على كيان الاحتلال من أراضي الـ67 مرتفعة للغاية، بناءً على استقراء التوازنات الدولية والإقليمية وحالة التراجع التي يعيشها الكيان الصهيوني. ولا تغرّنكم حالة انهيار بعض الأعراب أمام هذا الكيان، فهؤلاء مصيرهم مرتبط بهذه المنظومة الاستعمارية وليس بمقدورهم تعديل موازين القوى بشكل حقيقي، ويصحّ فيهم القول الشعبي: «عصفور يسند زرزور».
بالإضافة إلى ما تَقدَّم، إذا ما وضعنا الحصار المفروض على قوى المقاومة الفلسطينية في إطاره الأوسع كجزء من الحرب المفروضة على كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم أحزاباً ودولاً، كما نوّهنا في الفقرة السابقة، يصير فكّ الحصار عن غزة مصلحة مشتركة لكلّ هذه الأطراف مجتمعة، ويستدعي العمل من جهة الفصائل الإسلامية والوطنية الفلسطينية على محاولة صياغة استراتيجية موحّدة مع كلّ قوى المقاومة في الإقليم. ندرك كون هذا الأمر يلزمه جولات وجولات من التباحث، وكون أيّ استراتيجية لفكّ الحصار بالتوافق مع القوى الداعمة ستكون من طبيعة الاستراتيجيات المتوسّطة المدى، لكن هذا يظلّ أجدى من الدخول في مغامرات غير محسوبة العواقب كالانتخابات، التي لن تؤدي إلّا إلى المزيد من إضاعة الوقت بحسب أكثر التقديرات تفاؤلاً.

خاتمة

حصار قوى المقاومة في غزة ليس بالأمر الثانوي ضمن استراتيجية العدو، لهذا لا يُتوقع أن تفلح الخطوات الملتوية ولا الهروب من حقيقة الأمر في فكّه، ويلزم لذلك خطوات من شأنها تبديل المعادلات على الأرض، ومشروع وطني متكامل. واليوم، أمام الشعب الفلسطيني فرصة واقعية لفرض الانسحاب على الكيان الصهيوني من أراضي الـ67 عبر انتفاضة ثالثة، وهذا من شأنه بلا شك تبديل كل التوازنات القائمة، وما تمّ طرحه في هذا المقال هو عبارة عن أفكار للنقاش والتداول كون الأمر يحتاج إلى العديد من العقول للخروج باستراتيجية مجدية. يقول المثل الإنكليزي: «يُغَلِّف الموت بالسُّكَّر»، كناية عن عدم مواجهة الأمور على حقيقتها، وهذا ما حاول هذا المقال تفاديه بدلاً من تبسيط الوضع القائم وتقديم حلول ظاهرها سهل وباطنها فشل، وتبقى هذه هي ضريبة التحرير والمقاومة التي لا مناص من دفعها.

مقالات ذات صلة



SAA Kills and Injures 16 Turkestan Islamist Party Terrorists North of Hama

ARABI SOURI 

Turkestan Islamist Party terrorist group - Syria - الحزب الاسلامي التركستاني

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) killed and injured 16 terrorists of the Turkestan Islamist Party in the northwestern countryside of Hama, central Syria.

The army units spotted a group of anti-Islamic Turkestan Islamist Party terrorists in the Al-Ghab Valley heading to their makeshift posts to attack Syrian Army posts in the area and targeted them with a guided-missile.

Local sources confirmed the killing of 7 terrorists at least and the injury of 9 others at the time of writing this report.

Turkish Madman Erdogan imported tens of thousands of radical terrorists from regions where his Muslim Brotherhood global radicalization groups operate, mainly in Central Asian countries all the way to the Chinese Xingyang Province of Muslim majority. The Turkestan Islamist Party is one of the backbones of these terrorist groups the Turkish pariah Erdogan uses in his regional influence spreading which spans from west China to Germany and from the Caucasus to north and western African countries.

The Syrian Arab Army and the Russian Aerospace Forces have increased their levels of readiness recently and resumed targeting the posts of terrorist groups sponsored by Turkey and the USA in Idlib and Hama provinces especially after the latest deadly attacks by ISIS and its affiliates against buses in the region. In the past week, the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out successful strikes against command centers, tunnels, and weapons depots in northern Idlib countryside, while the SAA targeted terrorist gatherings in the southern countryside of the province.

Terrorist groups designated as such by the United Nations Security Council are not included in the Moscow, Astana, and Sochi ceasefire agreements in which the Turkish regime of Erdogan is a signatory and he has not only failed to meet his commitments as per these agreements for the past 2 years, he has instead beefed up the terrorist groups operating under his command in northern Syria regions and sent thousands of Turkish army soldiers to serve as human shields between his terrorists and the Syrian Army units on Syrian territories.

Worth noting that Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s secretary of state delisted the Turkistan Islamist Party from the US list of terrorist groups last November 2020, despite the UNSC maintaining them as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations with terrorist activities in a number of countries.

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THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF MIDDLE EASTERN “DIPLOMACY”

South Front

26.01.2021 

In the Middle East, the proxy war between Israel and Iran is unfolding with full speed.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targets various positions in Syria, allegedly damaging Iran’s interests. In return, Tehran’s allies and proxies target Israel’s allies throughout various positions in the Middle East.

On January 22nd, IDF warplanes struck targets in the vicinity of the city of Hama in central Syria. It was launched from Lebanese airspace, and at least seven missiles hit various targets.

Most of the missiles, however, were intercepted by Syrian defenses. Reportedly a civilian family was killed, as a project struck the heavily populated district of Kazo in Hama city.

It is unclear what specifically was targeted by the IDF, but it usually disregards reports of civilian casualties.

The missiles that were used in the attack turned out to be US-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), a type of smart bomb.

Following the strikes in Syria, five U.S. supply convoys were attacked in different parts of Iraq.

The first attack took place in the southern city of Nasiriyah, a third of the supplies was destroyed and a vehicle was damaged.

Two of the attacks happened in the central province of Babylon.

The remaining two attacks were carried out in al-Diwaniyah and near Abu Ghraib, west of the capital Baghdad.

There are reports of injuries, no deaths and some damage to equipment and supplies. Injuries were suffered by members of the US-led coalition in Iraq, and not just Iraqi contractors doing their job for a wage.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq – Ashab al-Kahf claimed responsibility for all five attacks and vowed to continue carrying them out.

Saudi Arabia, a behind-the-scenes ally of Israel, and a very open ally of the U.S. was also subject to an attack.

On January 23, Saudi defenses intercepted a missile or a drone attack over Riyadh. Social media users posted videos of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over the city.

The Houthis haven’t claimed responsibility of the attack, or commented on it. However, according to reports, Iran recently deployed advanced Shahed-136 suicide drones to the Ansar Allah movement in order to assist them in their fight against the Saudi-backed coalition.

On the previous day, Saudi Arabia reported that it had foiled an attempted attack by a booby-trapped boat, and another drone attack, but no evidence was provided apart from the claim.

The situation in the Middle East is in a sort of vicious cycle. Israel targets reported Iranian positions throughout Syria. Tehran then responds by targeting Israel’s allies through its proxies.

Neither of the sides directly targets each other, at least not yet. Tel Aviv has even vowed to carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear program if the Biden Administration rejoins the Iran Nuclear Deal. In own turn, Iran seems to be rock-solid to retaliate.

MYSTERIOUS AIRCRAFT POUND TURKISH OIL SMUGGLERS IN SYRIA. US SUPPLY CONVOYS ARE BLOWN UP IN IRAQ

South Front

The first month of 2021 was marked by a new round of violence in Syria. The situation was especially complicated in Greater Idlib, northern Aleppo and in the central desert.

On January 8, ISIS terrorists launched a large attack on government forces in the eastern countryside of Hama. After a series of clashes with the Syrian Army and pro-government militias, terrorists captured a number of positions near the towns of Rahjan and al-Shakusiyah. As of January 12, ISIS cells retreated from these positions under pressure from the army. Nonetheless, at least 19 government troops and 12 ISIS members were killed in the clashes.

Meanwhile in the eastern countryside of Homs, ISIS cells destroyed a pickup of the al-Quds Brigade, a Palestinian pro-government group, with an improvised explosive device. According to pro-opposition sources, at least 44 pro-government fighters have been killed in the clashes in the desert area since the start of the year. The number of the eliminated terrorists is reportedly over 35.

Sources affiliated with Russia-linked private military contractors claim that the deterioration of the security situation in western Deir Ezzor is a result of the withdrawal of a majority of Russian specialists from the area.

At the same time, Iranian-backed forces continue their work to expand the Imam Ali Base near al-Bukamal. The base, operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is allegedly designed store precision-guided missiles in a network of underground tunnels in the area. The base was repeatedly targeted by Israeli and even US strikes in 2019 and 2020. Despite this, the strikes did not cause any major impact as the base’s military infrastructure has been steadily expanding.

January 9 also became the first day of 2021 when the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out strikes on terrorist targets in Greater Idlib. Strikes hit several hills in outskirts of the town of Kabani, which is known for being stronghold of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkistan Islamic Party. A day earlier, forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham shelled Syrian Army positions in northern Lattakia injuring several soldiers.

These developments coincided with some strikes by some ‘mysterious aircraft’ that once again bombed Turkish-linked oil smugglers in northern Aleppo. This time the infrastructure of the smugglers was destroyed near the village of Tarhin.

The situation in neighboring Iraq is also not stable. Just on January 9, 3 supply convoys of the US-led coalition became targets of IED attacks in the central and southern regions of the country. These attacks are a logical continuation of the ongoing standoff between the US-Israeli bloc and the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance. Iranian-backed forces in Iraq conduct these attacks as a part of their campaign to force the US to withdraw its forces from the country.

While some expect that a Biden administration would be less interested in an increase of confrontation with Iran, there are no indications that the sides can fully settle their contradictions in any way in the nearest future. Therefore, the entire region will remain a battleground for the warring blocs.

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Massive fires engulf Syria’s western region

By News Desk -2020-09-05

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 P.M.) – Syria is witnessing an increase in temperatures of up to 11 degrees higher than the average, which contributed to the occurrence of a number of large fires in several areas in Latakia, Hama and Homs.

According to the agency Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), temperatures are 9 to 11 degrees higher than average in most areas, which is leading to wide-spread fires.

In addition to the high temperatures, the General Directorate of Meteorology predicted in its bulletin this morning that the weather will be between clear and partly cloudy in general, and hazy and dusty in the eastern regions.

The big fires broke out in the forests of Latakia, as well as in Hama near Wadi Al-Ayoun and Aiy Al-Kroum, in addition to the countryside of Homs Governorate, all of which the Syrian fire brigades managed to extinguish, but only after they engulfed many forests.

For its part , the Homs Fire Brigade was able to put out a fire that broke out in the woodlands of the town of Baiyoun in the western countryside of Homs, on the Lebanese-Syrian border near the southern Al-Kabeer River.

Yesterday, Homs firefighters put out several fires in Homs and its countryside, including oil residues, forest and fruit trees and herbs.

INFIGHTING AMONG IDLIB RADICALS RESUMES WITH RENEWED ENERGY

South Front

Late on June 23, the Israeli Air Force conducted airstrikes on alleged Iranian-linked targets near al-Sukhna and Kabajab in central Syria and near Tel Al-Sahn in the countryside of as-Suwayda in southern Syria. A second wave of Israeli strikes early on June 24 targeted Salamyieh and al-Sabboura in the province of Hama. Syrian state media denied that the strikes hit Iranian targets saying that 2 soldiers were killed, 4 others injured and some material damage was caused by the attack. As was expected the airstrikes took place just a few days after Hezbollah-affiliated media had released a video with threats to strike targets inside Israel in the event of an escalation.

Since June 23 intense fighting has been ongoing in the countryside of Idlib and the southern part of the province between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and the recently formed coalition of al-Qaeda-linked groups, Fa Ithbatu.

The Idlib central prison area, the village of Arab Said, and the towns of Barisha, Sarmada and Ariha were the main focal points of the confrontation. According to pro-militant sources, the fighting broke out as a result of recent tensions caused by the arrests of some members of Fa Ithbatu by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham security forces. From demands to release its members, Fa Ithbatu forces moved to a direct confrontation with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. However, as of the morning of June 24th, they had not yet achieved any major successes in these efforts.

Simultaneously, tensions grew between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and another al-Qaeda-linked group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, in the town of Jisr al-Shughur. Turkistan Islamic Party members reportedly surrounded a local HQ of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Fa Ithbatu and the Turkistan Islamic Party are apparently very unhappy with the recent actions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which had indirectly supported the implementation of the Turkish-Russian de-escalation agreement on southern Idlib and pressured other al-Qaeda-linked groups in the area to gain more support from Turkey.

While the close cooperation with Turkey allows Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to increase its military and financial capabilities, the implementation of the de-escalation deal poses a direct threat to interests of smaller radical groups such the ones from Fa Ithbatu. Thus, there is a clear conflict of interest that may yet turn into a full-scale military confrontation.

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Syria & Iraq Launch Operations Against ISIS In Border Area

South Front

Members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Turkistan Islamic Party have four times shelled positions of the Syrian Army in the provinces of Lattakia and Hama over the past 24 hours, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria reported. At the same time, according to the Russian side, Turkish-controlled armed groups did not violate the ceasefire regime.

Despite this, the situation on the contact line between government forces and militants remains tense. The M4 highway is still blocked by supporters and members of radical militant groups.

On April 14, the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces kicked off a security operation against ISIS in the countryside of the town of al-Sukhna on the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road. The operation came as a response to recent ISIS attacks on army positions in the Homs desert, which resulted in several days of intense fighting between government troops and terrorists.

However, according to pro-government sources, it is unlikely that the efforts of the government forces will change the security situation in eastern Syria in any significant manner. To carry out attacks, ISIS is using small mobile groups that enjoy freedom of movement through the US-occupied area of al-Tanf on the Syrian-Iraqi border, where the US-led coalition and its proxies are fiercely opposing any anti-terrorism efforts by the Syrian Army. On several occasions in previous years, US-led coalition aircraft even struck Syrian convoys, which had allegedly moved too close to the US-controlled zone. ISIS terrorists moving through al-Tanf, however, do not seem to be causing such deep security concern to the US military and political leadership.

A day earlier, Iraqi government forces launched their own security operation against ISIS cells in the province of Anbar on the border with Syria. According to official statements, the operation is ongoing in the areas of Wadi al-Ghari, Wadi al-Awja and Wadi al-Malisi.

Another anti-ISIS operation is currently ongoing in the province of Diyala. It was launched on April 11 and involves the 20th, 23rd and 110th Brigades of the Popular Mobilization Forces as well as several units of the Iraqi Army. The main efforts are focused on the countryside of Sherk Zur.

According to ISIS’ newspaper al-Naba, the terrorist group killed 66 government fighters and civilians in Iraq in the first week of April alone. While this number could be overestimated, regular ISIS attacks on military and civilian targets in western Iraq are an open secret.

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This is what is going on now in liberated areas in Idleb

IDLEB, (ST)_The official in charge of Idleb governorate Mohammad Fadi al-Saadon has affirmed that there is cooperation with international organizations to rebuild Khan Sheikhoun city after the Syrian army liberated it from terrorist groups in August 2019. “The extent of the damage in Khan Shikhon , Maarret al-Noaman and  Taman’aa cities in Idleb has been evaluated and we are working on removing rubbles and repairing sewage pipes and main roads in order to facilitate the return of the displaced people to their homes,” al-Saadon said.He added that 2 schools were equipped in the city of Khan Shikhoun in order to receive the students, who returned with their families. 

The government will fund several development projects in liberated areas in Idleb, according to the official, who cited that several fuel stations will be put into service for vehicles passing through the  Hama-Aleppo international road . Moreover, municipalities will be provided with tractors and street sweepers to clean the roads. As for the current situation in Senjar village and nearby villages that were liberated last year, al-Saadon said that 48 schools and service centers were opened there . “Three health centers  will be opened in Hawwa, Senjar, Hmimat al-Dayer towns soon. And we are working now with international organizations to supply Hmimat al-Dayer area with water. ” Around 200 literacy courses plus awareness courses will be held in liberated villages by the Ministry of Labaour and Social Affairs in cooperation with international organizations. These courses aim at making the participants aware of the risks of explosive wastes and how to carry out small and micro projects. 

Basma Qaddour

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It’s time for Ankara to accept the realities of the Syrian war before it’s too late (UPDATED!)

February 28, 2020

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

The two months long Syrian Army offensive in the Idlib and Aleppo provinces culminated in Aleppo’s complete liberation from the jihadist terrorists of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and their friends. In a matter of weeks, the Syrian Army, backed by the Russian Air Force managed to liberate hundreds of towns and cities across the two provinces, including the important cities or Saraqib and Maarat Al-Numan, while also fully securing the imperative M5 highway stretching from Damascus to Aleppo. These are areas that were considered untouchable only a year ago, but now they have all fallen like bricks, proving that the jihadist resolve is dwindling.

Naturally, tensions with Ankara, a key backer of the jihadist forces, have risen. The Russian-Turkish understanding has deteriorated over the past weeks as both sides accuse eachother of breaking their agreement. The Sochi agreement of 2018 stipulated that a demilitarized zone was to be created in Idlib and Ankara was tasked with separating the “moderate” rebels from HTS militants. After almost 18 months of stalling by the Turkish side and repeated attacks and violations of the agreement by the Jihadist forces, Moscow’s and Damascus’ patience finally ran out.

I have for long been a critic of these ceasefire deals in Idlib as I consider it a waste of time to negotiate with Jihadists since these are people that consider peace with the kuffars (Russians) and murtadeens (Shias, Alawites) to be a sin. Besides, what would be the purpose of a long term ceasefire with them? The Syrian jihadists will never participate in a political settlement, while the foreign jihadists have no right to be in Syria in the first place.

The jihadists have for long declared that they will not rest until the Syrian government is overthrown anyways. When two sides have such fundamental differences that can never be reconciled, there is no point in even trying. The reality is that the Syrian Army and the jihadists are locked in a battle of annihilation, no side can live comfortably as long as the other side still exists. Yes, the ceasefire deals were beneficial for a while in 2017 when the Syrian Army had the opportunity to shift focus from Idlib to central and eastern Syria in their campaign against the so called “Islamic State”. With Daesh defeated, the jihadists in Idlib were not just weakened but also isolated since the Syrian Army no longer had to fight on two fronts in the Aleppo and Hama provinces. While the Russian entry into the war in 2015, spelled disaster for the jihadists, the fall of Daesh as a territorial entity made it even more clear that the jihadist defeat was inevitable.

Still Ankara has thrown all its weight behind the jihadists, even going as far as threatening to launch an offensive to push back the Syrian Army gains. So far, Ankara has sent massive convoys to Idlib and set up new “observation posts” across the region and helped the jihadists to launch counter offensives on Saraqib- there are pictures and videos showing HTS militants using Turkish military vehicles, while Moscow also caught Turkish forces providing artillery cover to the jihadists. Moscow has responded by reassuring their commitment to stand by the Syrian Army and joined the Syrian Air Force in bombing the jihadists, striking Turkish forces embedded with them as well. Tensions rose to alarming levels when several Turkish soldiers were killed in Moscow’s bombings, naturally Ankara blamed Damascus rather than admitting that Moscow punished Ankara for crossing the line. Yet Erdogan continues to threaten Syria by demanding the Syrian Army withdraws from all liberated areas by the end of February.

It remains to be seen whether Ankara will make good on its promise of launching an offensive on Idlib, but history teaches us that making strategic moves out of desperation is never a good idea. Ankara is desperate to have the jihadists remaining in Idlib, because Erdogan knows what the other option means – 30 000 terrorists with nowhere else to go, flocking into Turkey and wreaking havoc inside the country. It’s a dangerous game that Ankara is playing here. Fighting the Kurdish led militias who have no airpower and capabilities to bring down Turkish warplanes is one thing, but fighting a Syrian Arab Army, with 9 years of battle experience, and two major players such as Iran and Russia backing them militarily and logistically, is a whole other thing.

One would think that it would be in Turkey’s best interest to see these terrorists eliminated. Logically, nobody would want terrorists as their neighbours, which makes me question whether or not Ankara is actually calling the shots here. There is another player in this war that has a history of using terrorism to achieve their goals – enter Washington. My gut feeling tells me that Washington is behind these tensions as it is Washington that benefits from a collapse in Russian-Turkish collaboration. I believe that Washington is fuming over the rapid advance of the Syrian Army, and seeing how Washington has lost influence over an ever more rebellious Ankara over the past few years, Washington sees a great opportunity to get Ankara back into the fold.

It is no coincidence that Secretary Pompeo immediately after the announcement of two slain Turkish soldiers took to Twitter express “solidarity with the killed Turkish soldiers” and declare Washington’s commitment to “stand by our NATO ally Turkey”. A few days ago, reports alleged that Turkey had asked Washington for support through the deployment of Patriot missile systems to counter Russian warplanes – this was supposedly in response to Moscow’s decision to impose a no-fly zone in north-western Syria. As mentioned, Washington is the player that benefits the most from a Turkish-Russian deterioration of relations, as Washington thrives in the chaos that would follow if Moscow and Ankara cannot find a solution and are forced to confront one another.

Erdogan is recognized as a mentally unstable player by many observers while others consider him a mastermind who has been playing both sides in this war and who is now trying to bluff his way into stopping the Syrian Army advance. Whether he is crazy or just bluffing I’ll leave for every person to decide for himself, but if he is crazy and wants to confront Damascus and Moscow on this matter, then we are about to enter yet another bloody chapter of this almost 9 years long great tragedy. By the end of this month, we will know if Erdogan is bluffing for not.

Update: Since writing this article, the situation has further escalated as last night at least 33 Turkish troops were killed by Syrian Army shelling. The Turkish military responded by reportedly striking Syrian Army positions all over the Idlib countryside, causing catastrophic damage to the Syrian military’s capabilities in northwestern Syria.

انتصار حلب بعشرة

انتصار حلب بعشرة


ناصر قنديل

في الظاهر يبدو انتصار الجيش السوري في أرياف حلب، واحداً من الانتصارات المتدحرجة التي بدأها الجيش السوري منذ تحرير أغلب أجزاء مدينة حلب قبل ثلاثة أعوام وبضعة شهور، لكن التدقيق سيكشف أهمية هذا الانتصار وتميّزه وتأثيره على المناخات السياسية والمعطيات العسكرية وتثبيته قواعدَ ستحكم كثيراً ما بعده.

انتصر أمن حلب أولاً وقد عانت العاصمة السورية الثانية لسنوات ما بعد التحرير الأول من القصف والاعتداءات اليومية، ونظراً للعمق التركي وراء مناطق سيطرة الجماعات الإرهابية كان التجرؤ أكبر مما كانت تفعله هذه الجماعات في استهداف أمن دمشق من الغوطة قبل تحريرها، ورد الاعتبار لأمن العاصمة الاقتصادية سيكون له مردود كبير على حياة الناس أولاً وعلى النشاط الاقتصادي ثانياً، وبالتالي على مجمل الوضعين الأمني والاقتصادي.

النصر الثاني هو بفتح الطريق الدولي الذي يشكل شرياناً حيوياً بين العاصمة دمشق وكل من مدينتي حماة وحلب، وبالتالي بين نصف سورية ونصفها الآخر تقريباً، وهذا الربط الذي يختصر الوقت والمخاطرات المرافقين للطريق المؤقت البديل، يعني عودة للحياة الطبيعية سكانياً واقتصادياً وأمنياً، وخصوصاً بعودة نسبة كبيرة من النازحين من أبناء المناطق التي شملها التحرير أو وفّر لها الأمن أو سهل الانتقال إليها، وهي عودة مرتقبة بعشرات الآلاف من أكثر من وجهة نزوح.

النصر الثالث هو بسقوط آخر واجهات الاحتلال التركي من الميليشيات التي ترفع علماً مزيفاً باسم “الثورة السورية”. والمعلوم أن أرياف حلب كانت المنطقة الجغرافية التي تتمركز فيها هذه الجماعات ضمن تقسيم أدوار بينها وبين جبهة النصرة التي تتولى منطقة إدلب، وفقاً لترتيبات القيادة التركية، وسقوط آخر معاقل هذه الواجهات التي كانت تستعمل العلم السوري وتسعى لتغطية الاحتلال التركي بواجهة سورية، لا يعني فقط أن الاحتلال صار عارياً فقط، بل أيضاً سيكون له تأثير على مسار العملية السياسية وعمل اللجنة الدستورية، حيث كان بعض رموز ما يُسمّى بالمعارضة يستند لهذا الوجود في رفع السقوف وممارسة التعطيل.

النصر الرابع هو في كون ما تبقى من معاقل للجماعات الإرهابية بات تحت وطأة مفاعيل النصر السريع للجيش السوري، في حال انهزام وتفكك وضياع، وسيكون لهذا النصر تأثيره في رسم إيقاع المواجهات اللاحقة بعدما تم تفكيك وإنهاء بنى وهياكل تحتل مناطق تقارب بحجمها المناطق المتبقية تحت سيطرة جماعات النصرة، وتضم بين صفوفها أعداداً من المسلحين تقارب عدد من بقوا في المناطق التي يستهدفها التحرير اللاحق.

النصر الخامس هو بتثبيت معادلة العلاقة بروسيا وإيران، كحليفين لسورية، لحقت بالعلاقة بينهما وبين سورية حملات تشكيك ومحاولات نيل من المصداقية، وكانت أصعبها هذه المرة لخصوصية المناطق التي تدور فيها المعارك وموقعها المصيري بالنسبة للدور التركي، وما قالته توقعات أصحاب حملات التشكيك بأن ما كان يصحّ في التزام روسيا وإيران قبل إدلب وريفها وريف حلب لا يصحّ الآن، وقد بدأت أم المعارك. وجاءت النتائج لتقول إن ما يصحّ في فهم الحلف المبني على المصداقية هو قانون لا استثناءات فيه.

النصر السادس هو بالرسالة التي وجّهتها العملية للقيادات الكردية، التي كان بعضها يراهن على ثبات كانتون تفرضه تركيا لجماعاتها في ريفي حلب الغربي والشمالي لأهميته وحيويته على حدودها، وأنه سيكون ذلك فرصة لطلب المثل. وجاء النصر يسقط هذه الفرضية ويسقط معها المعوقات أمام التفكير العقلاني الذي يشكل شرطاً لنجاح الحل السياسي مع هذه الجماعات.

النصر السابع هو في تثبيت قواعد حاسمة لمفهوم السيادة في العلاقة السورية التركية، التي دخلت عليها بعض الأوهام لدى القيادة التركية، من نوع التلويح بالاستنجاد بالأطلسي أو بابتزاز الحليفين الروسي والإيراني، أو بالرهان على التهويل والترهيب بفرضية الحرب المباشرة بين الجيشين السوري والتركي، وكلها اختبارات جدّيّة وقاسية خاضتها القيادة السورية وفاز بها الرئيس بشار الأسد وأثبت الجيش السوري أهليته لتخطّيها، وباتت الحقائق التي قالتها معارك حلب خصوصاً حاكمة لمضامين لاحقة للعلاقة بين سورية وتركيا، عنوانها أن السيادة السورية خط أحمر.

النصر الثامن هو في تأثير معركة حلب الحاسمة على مستقبل الحسابات الإسرائيلية التي كانت تبني على ثبات تركيا ومَن معها من جماعات إرهابية ومن جهّزتهم من جماعات تحت مسمّى المعارضة، حسابات تفترض أن استعادة سورية وحدتها تحت سيادة جيشها أمر دونه الكثير، وبالتالي فالتعامل مع ما تسمّيه “إسرائيل” بالفوضى السورية مستمرّ لأجل بعيد. وجاء النصر ينبؤها بالعكس ويفرض عليها حسابات من نوع مختلف فقريباً ستكون سورية متفرّغة للتعامل مع الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية، وقد استعادت وحدتها وسيادتها وعافيتها.

النصر التاسع هو في تأثير المعركة الفاصلة في حلب على مستقبل الحسابات الأميركيّة التي تنازلت عن الواجهة الكرديّة في المناطق الشرقية لحساب الأتراك كي يصمدوا ويثبتوا، ويؤخروا لحظة الاستحقاق عن الوجود الأميركي، وجاءت الساعات التي سبقت النصر لتحمل طلباً تركياً بالتدخل المباشر للأميركيين أو للناتو كشرط لخوض تركيا المعركة عسكرياً بجيشها، وأقام الجميع حساباته، وعندما قرّر الناتو عدم الدخول، فهذا يعني أن واشنطن هي التي قرّرت، وقرارها هنا هو نسخة عن قرارها اللاحق بالنسبة للمناطق الشرقية، وإلا لكان الأفضل دمج المعركتين معاً وكسب ما تؤمّنه شراكة تركيا من فرص أفضل.

النصر العاشر سياسيّ ودبلوماسيّ في علاقات سورية العربية والدولية، فالمتأخّرون عن دقّ أبواب دمشق، أو الذين فعلوا ذلك بتردّد وبالنقاط، باتوا يدركون أن عليهم مسابقة الزمن لفعل ذلك بصورة جدّية وسريعة وفعّالة، لأن الدولة السورية تُنهي آخر معاركها بسرعة، وتسابق الوقت بالمفاجآت، وعليهم أن يلاقوا ساعة النصر النهائي من سفاراتهم وقد استعادت كامل جهوزيتها ودورها في دمشق.

نصر أخير لا رقم له هو انتقام رفاق السلاح للقائد قاسم سليماني الذي أقسم لأهل حلب بأن يكون معهم في التحرير الثاني الآتي بلا ريب، فكانوا معه يهدونه نصرَهم العظيم في ذكرى الأربعين.

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SYRIAN WAR DIARY – DECEMBER 2015

Dear friends, SouthFront is now offering a new video product: “Syrian War Diary“. Over the past several years, the Syrian conflict has passed through several turning points. Now the military and diplomatic situation is quite different to what we observed before the start of the Russian military operation in 2015. “Syrian War Diary” videos unite SouthFront’s War Reports produced during this period and provide a retrospective of these developments.

Related

Syria Repels Militant Drone Attack on Army Air Base in Hama

December 28, 2019

Source

Syrian air defense forces have reportedly managed to foil an attack by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants against an air base in the country’s west-central province of Hama.

Sham FM radio station reported that the country’s anti-aircraft defense systems intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles attacking Hama Military Airport, located more than 210 km (130 miles) north of the capital Damascus, late on Friday.

The development took place less than a week after Syrian government forces captured and dismantled an unmanned aerial vehicle rigged with explosives in the same Syrian province.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that air defense units managed to intercept and shoot down the drone as it was flying in the skies over the city of al-Skailabiyeh on Tuesday morning.

The report added that the aircraft had been launched by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants operating in the area, and was armed with six missiles.

The projectiles were recovered by Syrian government forces and later defused.

Meanwhile, an unidentified unmanned aerial aircraft on Saturday bombarded a prison run by Turkish-backed Takfiri militants in northwestern Syria.

Local sources said the unknown aircraft conducted an airstrike against the jail in the village of Sajou, which lies near the city of A’zaz and 43 kilometers (26 miles) north of Aleppo.

“The Good Terrorists”: How U.S. Airstrikes Helped Prop Al-Qaeda in Syria’s Idlib?

Global Research, December 14, 2019
Marines

Al-Qaeda in Syria has two noteworthy apologists. One is the jihadist propagandist Bilal Abdul Kareem, a former correspondent for CNN, often seen in videos sporting a long beard and reporting from the ground in the al-Nusra Front strongholds in northwestern Syria, and the other is Syria analyst and the fellow of the Middle East Institute Charles Lister.

Recently, Lister has written a research paper for the Hudson Institute, titled “The Syria Effect: Al-Qaeda Fractures,” [1] in which he has tried to prove that militants of al-Qaeda in Syria are not “bad guys” per se, rather they are “good terrorists” whose ambitions are restricted to fighting the Syrian government, and they don’t intend to mount terror attacks in the Western countries.

In conclusion of the lengthy screed, he has craftily proposed “Gaza-fication” of Syria’s northwestern Idlib, where like the Hamas in Gaza, the so-called “Salvation Government” of the al-Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda, can be recognized as a legitimate government administering the northwestern enclave under the tutelage of Ankara.

Unwittingly, however, Charles Lister has spilled the beans in the article about a July 30 American airstrike in rural Aleppo that killed several high-profile jihadist dissidents, who had challenged the unity of the Washington-backed insurgency against the Syrian government offensive in northern Hamah and Idlib in late April.

Before getting into details, it’s worth noting that Hurras al-Din is a small radical outfit in Syria’s northwestern Idlib that split in 2018 from al-Qaeda in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front until 2016, and now as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

An excerpt from Charles Lister’s research paper reads:

“When the Syrian regime and Russia launched their all-out military offensive on northwestern Syria in late-April 2019, a debate ensued within Hurras al-Din – a breakaway faction of Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front – should they assist Tahrir al-Sham and other opposition groups by reinforcing their frontlines in northern Hama?

“Given al-Qaeda Central chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s public directives indicating the importance of Islamist unity and sustaining the armed struggle against the regime, the leader of Hurras al-Din Abu Hammam al-Suri and his deputy Sami al-Oraydi emerged as tacitly supportive of helping other jihadist groups, including Tahrir al-Sham, wherever necessary.

“The debate over Hurras al-Din’s role on Tahrir al-Sham’s opposition frontlines spilled out into the open in late June of 2019, when Hurras al-Din leader Abu Hammam al-Suri expelled two prominent Hurras al-Din clerics, Abu Dhar al-Masri and Abu Yahya al-Jazairi, for having issued non-sanctioned rulings forbidding fighting in northern Hama. Some alleged Abu Yahya had gone as far as pronouncing takfir on Tahrir al-Sham, thereby excommunicating them from Islam and labeling them apostates and legitimate targets for attack.

“Abu Hammam’s dismissal of Abu Dhar and Abu Yahya sparked an uproar within Hurras al-Din. The group’s internal judicial court, led by Abu Amr al-Tunisi, issued a petition signed by more than 300 members on June 23 demanding an arbitration involving Abu Hammam and his deputy, Sami al-Oraydi.

“However, neither Abu Hammam nor Oraydi turned up at the planned arbitration on June 25, leading the court’s chief, Abu Amr, to issue a furious five-minute audio statement accusing HaD’s leaders of nepotism. Abu Amr was swiftly expelled from Hurras al-Din, and this led another senior leader, Abu Yaman al-Wazzani, to declare in exasperation ‘the jihadist project over.’ Later that day, a statement confirmed that Wazzani and another fellow critic, Abu Musab al-Libi, had also been expelled from Hurras al-Din.

“Tensions persisted through the summer of 2019, albeit less intensely. But in a mysterious twist on June 30, 2019—just days after the above-mentioned crisis—Abu Amr al-Tunisi, Abu Yahya al-Jazairi and Abu Dhar al-Masri were all killed, along with three other allied hardliners (Abu al-Fid’a al-Tunisi, Abu Dujana al-Tunisi and Abu Ibrahim al-Shami) in an American airstrike that targeted a meeting of Hurras al-Din detractors in rural Aleppo.

“That was the first American strike in northwestern Syria in more than two years and it was followed up two months later by another on August 31, 2019, targeting Hurras al-Din ally Ansar al-Tawhid. Al-Qaeda veteran Abu Khallad al-Mohandis was also killed in an improvised explosive device attack that targeted his personal vehicle in Idlib city on August 22, 2019.”

It becomes abundantly clear after reading the excerpts from Charles Lister’s article that not only has Washington provided weapons and training to militant factions battling Damascus but it has also conducted airstrikes eliminating jihadist dissidents who dared to threaten the unity of large militant outfits in northwestern Idlib, such as Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

During the eight-year proxy war in Syria, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, the leader of al-Nusra Front, has emerged as the second most influential militant leader after the Islamic State’s slain chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In fact, since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in August 2011 to April 2013, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front were a single organization that chose the banner of Jabhat al-Nusra.

Although the current al-Nusra Front has been led by Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, he was appointed[2] as the emir of al-Nusra Front by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the late leader of Islamic State, in January 2012. Thus, al-Jolani’s Nusra Front is only a splinter group of the Islamic State, which split from its parent organization in April 2013 over a leadership dispute between the two organizations.

In August 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was based in Iraq, began sending Syrian and Iraqi jihadists experienced in guerrilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization inside the country. Led by a Syrian known as Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, the group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country. On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” The leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Muhammad al-Jolani, issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it.

Al-Qaeda Central’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, tried to mediate the dispute between al-Baghdadi and al-Jolani but eventually, in October 2013, he endorsed al-Nusra Front as the official franchise of al-Qaeda Central in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, however, defied the nominal authority of al-Qaeda Central and declared himself the caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Keeping this background in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that a single militant organization operated in Syria and Iraq under the leadership of al-Baghdadi until April 2013, which chose the banner of al-Nusra Front, and that the current emir of the subsequent breakaway faction of al-Nusra Front, al-Jolani, was actually al-Baghdadi’s deputy in Syria.

Thus, the Islamic State operated in Syria since August 2011 under the designation of al-Nusra Front and it subsequently changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2013after which it overran Raqqa and parts of Deir al-Zor in the summer of 2013. And in January 2014, it overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Iraq and reached the zenith of its power when it captured Mosul in June 2014.

Excluding al-Baghdadi and a handful of his hardline Islamist aides, the rest of Islamic State’s top leadership is comprised of Saddam-era military and intelligence officials. According to a Washington Post report [3], hundreds of ex-Baathists constitute the top- and mid-tier command structure of the Islamic State who plan all the operations and direct its military strategy.

It is an indisputable fact that morale and ideology play an important role in battlefield, and well-informed readers must also be aware that the Takfiri brand of most jihadists these days has directly been inspired by the puritanical Wahhabi-Salafi ideology of Saudi Arabia, but ideology alone is not sufficient to succeed in battle.

Looking at the Islamic State’s astounding gains in Syria and Iraq in 2013-14, a question naturally arises that where did its recruits get all the training and state-of-the-art weapons that were imperative not only for hit-and-run guerrilla warfare but also for capturing and holding large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

According to a revelatory December 2013 news report [4] from a newspaper affiliated with the UAE government which supports the Syrian opposition, it is clearly mentioned that along with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and other military gear, the Saudi regime also provided machine gun-mounted Toyota pick-up trucks to every batch of five jihadists who had completed their training in the training camps located in Jordan’s border regions along southern Syria.

Once those militants crossed over to Daraa and Quneitra in southern Syria from the Jordan-Syria border, then those Toyota pickup trucks could easily have traveled all the way to Raqqa and Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, and thence to Mosul and Anbar in Iraq – the former strongholds of the Islamic State.

It is clearly spelled out in the report that Syrian militants got arms and training through a secret command center known as the Military Operations Center (MOC) based in the intelligence headquarters’ building in Amman, Jordan, that was staffed by high-ranking military officials from 14 countries, including the US, European nations, Israel and the Gulf states to wage a covert war against the Syrian government.

*

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Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Notes

[1] The Syria Effect: Al-Qaeda Fractures

[2] Al-Jolani was appointed as the emir of al-Nusra Front by al-Baghdadi

[3] Islamic State’s top command dominated by ex-officers in Saddam’s army

[4] Syrian rebels get arms and advice through secret command center in Amman

Resistance report: Syrian Army takes the initiative in Idlib while Washington blames its failures on Iran again

Resistance report: Syrian Army takes the initiative in Idlib while Washington blames its failures on Iran again

September 20, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

August was an eventful month for the Syrian Army and its allies as the battle for northwestern Syria saw a breakthrough after months of static frontline movements. Just like in the previous 3 years, the month of August has been one accompanied by important victories for Damascus. The Syrian Army managed to break through the jihadist lines at the Khan Sheikhoun front and from there steamrolled through the entire frontline, eventually encircling and trapping the jihadist militants in a pocket in northern Hama. Despite counteroffensives launched by Tahrir Al-Sham and their allies from the “Rouse the believers” operations room, the SAA managed to hold on to the newly liberated areas.

With this development, Hama city and Christian towns such as Mhardeh are now safe from the encroaching jihadist threat. This offensive should be expanded now that the Syrian Army still has the initiative, especially with the jihadist morale still shaken by the loss of their doorway into Hama. It is important for Damascus to clear out the remainder of the Latakia province as well as western Aleppo since both these areas are heavily populated and hold strategic value. If Latakia and Aleppo are cleared, then the jihadist threat will be contained to a single province in the country, leaving them pretty much besieged in Idlib as Ankara’s support seems to be fading, as evident by their passiveness during the Syrian Army’s August offensive.

Since the conclusion of the offensive, with a new ceasefire having been declared and expired, the Syrian Army is said to be amassing troops near the Al-Ghaab front in a potential move to completely kick the jihadists out of Hama and thereby finally paving the way for the liberation of Jisr Al-Shughour. This news seems to have been expected by the Jihadists as the Jaysh Al-Izza terrorist outfit has already begun making preparations for the upcoming battle, reportedly sending over 2000 men to the Western Hama countryside. The Syrian Army would do well to be careful here as the key hilltop town of Kabani, overlooking Jisr Al-Shughour still hasn’t been liberated.

Meanwhile, last weekend saw more than half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production go down in flames as the Saudi Aramco oilfields and refineries came under heavy drone attacks. The attacks caused the greatest drop in oil production in history, prompting oil prices to jump 19 percent. If oil prices rise further, the world will inch closer to a global recession, which, among other things, could cost Trump his reelection. Immediately after the attacks, the Yemeni Houthis issued a statement where they took responsibility for the attacks with the movement’s spokesperson General Yahya Sare’e adding that 10 drones were deployed against the sites at Khurais and Abqaiq. “This was one of the largest operations which our forces have carried out deep inside Saudi Arabia. It came after careful intelligence and cooperation with honorable and free people inside Saudi Arabia,” he said without elaboration.

Washington was quick to dismiss the Houthi claim of responsibility when Trump said that Washington has “reason to believe that we know the culprit,” noting that Washington is “locked and loaded depending on verification” and is waiting to “hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack.” The same response was voiced by Pompeo and Lindsey Graham who called for Washington to strike Iran in an attempt to “break the regime’s back”.

Surely Washington understands how embarrassing this debacle is for them. The Saudis have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on purchasing US military equipment and weapons. Equipment and weapons that Washington has spent quite some time claiming is superior to anything else the world has to offer. Last week, a Saudi prince took to twitter and claimed that Saudi Arabia could “destroy Iran in 8 hours”, adding that Iran’s military technology belong to the “museum”.

That same claimed superior weaponry failed to stop a single attack that took out half of the kingdom’s oil production. This makes me wonder if they’re laying the blame on Iran in order to cover up the even greater embarrassment, that American and Saudi military forces and their networks of advanced air defenses never detected the Yemeni drones that were launched on Saturday to strike oil facilities deep inside Saudi Arabia, proving futile the billions of dollars that the Riyadh regime has spent on them to protect its territories. What message does this send to US vassals around the world? In an attempt to downplay the uselessness of the Patriot system, Pompeo, sounding surprised by the vastness of the operation, said: “This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before.”

Really? Never seen before? So the thousands of drone strikes that Washington has launched across the Islamic world is something that they’ve never seen before?

In any case, Pompeo immediately traveled to Riyadh to assure Washington’s vassals that everything is under control, and to discuss “potential responses”, calling the incident “an act of war”. By now, this blame game has become routine, Washington keeps using the same miserable strategy of intimidation, thinking it will work at the 500th attempt.

So here we are again, another dubious incident in which Tehran is held responsible, without any evidence presented. Of course, Tehran didn’t just stand idly by while Washington made these threats, both Ayatollah Khamenei and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued separate responses, vehemently denying Iran’s role in the attack and warning that any attack on Iran would spark an all out war. Khamenei also went on to talk about the importance of not falling for the failed US maximum pressure campaign, which this is all about. Speaking on Tuesday, Khamenei said entering talks with the US under the current circumstances would be tantamount to surrendering to Washington’s pressure campaign. “Negotiating would mean Washington imposing its demands on Tehran. It would also be a manifestation of the victory of America’s maximum pressure campaign,” he noted.

Thus, the Islamic Republic has correctly calculated that Washington’s maximum pressure campaign is nothing but a bluff to intimidate Iran into entering negotiations. Khamenei said “I had already said that America’s objective of [pursuing] talks is to impose [its demands], but they have become so insolent that they even speak about this openly.”

“The US regime is after making its domestic rivals and the Europeans accept this as a definitive policy that maximum pressure is the only way to confront Iran,” added Ayatollah Khamenei. “Their objective in [offering to hold] talks is to prove to everyone that the policy of maximum pressure has yielded results, and that Iranian authorities were forced to come to the negotiating table despite what they said.”

The most probable conclusion is that there won’t be a war. Washington knows very well that it cannot afford a regional war, especially not now when Washington has been exposed for not being able to defend its vassals. If indeed Iran was behind this attack, then one can imagine that if a single drone strike took out half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production, imagine what an all-out war would result in for Washington and its vassals. The consequences of this debacle can be very severe for Washington in the future as Moscow has already offered the Arab states to purchase Russian weaponry instead, slowly outmanoeuvring Washington as was the case with Turkey and the S-400 deal. It is a real pathetic mess that Washington has got itself into. Washington’s own allies won’t even back their lies. “We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Japan’s Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.

“We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility,” he added, referring to the Yemeni group incorporated into the armed forces fighting back a Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Washington’s list of options grows thin, the US better retract its words, repent and return to the nuclear accord that it has violated or see itself fall even further into decay as Washington’s days of being the sole unipolar power that everyone used to fear are quickly fading away.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – SEPTEMBER 12, 2019: RUSSIA RESUMES STRIKES ON TERRORISTS IN IDLIB

South Front

On September 11, the US-backed Revolutionary Commando Army claimed that it had repelled a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) attack in the 55km zone surrounding the US military garrison in al-Tanf. The militant group said that SAA units advanced using a Red Cross visit to civilians in the area.

A Syrian military source, stationed around the 55km zone, denied these claims. The source told SouthFront that no clashes happened in the area. There are about 300 Revolutionary Commando Army militants stationed in al-Tanf. They receive training, weapons and supplies from the US-led coalition despite multiple scandals surrounding this cooperation. Earlier in 2019, the group’s spokesperson, Mohamad Mostafa al-Jarrah, was caught raping a 10-year old girl from the nearby refugee camp.

A prominent Hayat Tahrir al-Sham commander, Abu Abd al-Ashda, left the militant group accusing its current leadership of massive corruption, and failing to defend militants’ territories in northern Hama during the recent SAA advance. According to him, millions of dollars that HTS had for rearmament simply disappeared.

Meanwhile, another key Hayat Tahrir al-Sham commander, Abu Abdul Mohsen al-Jazrawi, was assassinated in southeastern Idlib. The incident happened near the town of Saraqib on September 10. Al-Jazrawi, a Saudi citizen, was reportedly a close aide of the terrorist group leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani.

In the last few months, several prominent foreign terrorists were assassinated in Greater Idlib. The perpetrators of most of these attacks remain unknown.

On September 11, Syrian and Russian warplanes bombed positions of terrorists near the towns of Kafar Takharim and Darkush. The airstrikes were likely a response to the recently increased number of violations by militants in southern Idlib.

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Political analyst to ST: The so-called US-Turkish “Safe zone” means nothing in strategic terms

ST

The researcher in political and military affairs Basem al-Shihawi has underscored that there are both political and military reasons behind the terrorist organizations’ repeated drone attacks against Syrian military posts in Hama and Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia.

He told the Syria Times e-newspaper that terrorists groups holed up in Idlib province would never launch such attacks without Turkey’s permission.

“First of all, it is needless to say that terrorist groups in Idlib province are controlled by Turkey, and that they would never launch such attacks without it’s permission, this is a key point in order to analyse those attacks,” he said.

The researcher added: “Ankara wants those attacks to take place in order to blackmail Moscow politically since it demonstrates Ankara’s influence over terrorists, and Ankara hopes that the drone attacks will force Russia to yield to Erdogan’s demands regarding the awaited constitutional committee and other political goals in Syria.”

He made it clear that the military reasons for the terrorists’ drone attacks are to limit the Russian Air Force’s ability to conduct efficient airstrikes against Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, to hinder Hmeimim’s role in supporting Syrian Air force, to force the Russian military command to focus more on protecting its military base, and to put more pressure over Russian and Syrian anti-air defences.

“As for the continuous attacks being carried out by terrorists despite the de-escalation zone agreement, let’s all remember that the terrorists never abided by it, and this is the reason the Syrian army launched a military operation in order to liberate northern Hama in the first place,” al-Shihawi stressed.

He referred to the fact that suicide drone attacks never stopped since the very arrival of the Russian Air Force to Syria.

“Time and again the attacks became more intense as the terrorists not only started to launch more drones, but more sophisticated ones according to the Russian Defence Ministry who declared, after examining shutdown drones, that they are based on western technology,” the researcher stated.

Erdogan wants to achieve victory over the Kurds in Syria

Regarding the so-called American-Turkish “Safe zone”, al-Shihawi declared that besides being illegal, it means nothing in strategical terms.

“Considering the fact that this region is under American occupation with the help of the so-called ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’, Washington can give whatever promises to Turkey, but is that what Erdogan actually wants?”

He believes that Erdogan’s goal is not a “safe zone”.

“What Erdogan really wants, in order to secure his position against his political rivals inside Turkey and the unsatisfied Turkish military, is a clear victory over the Kurds in Syria, a victory that allows Erdogan to conduct a demographic change in northern Syria, planting pro-Turkey Syrian refugees all over the area, which is something neither Washington is able to give, nor Turkey is capable to achieve,” the researcher affirmed.

He concluded by saying: “The most important factor is neither of the above mentioned, the most important factor is the Syrian Arab Army and its allies that are getting closer from ending Idlib issue, and the moment Idlib is liberated, the occupied east and north will be the focal point for the Syrian Army, a game changer that is going to hinder all Turkish and American plans very soon.”

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – SEPTEMBER 6, 2019: US SEEKS TO DESTABILIZE SOUTHERN SYRIA

South Front

The US is seeking to reanimate insurgency in southern Syria. According to the pro-militant Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a number of Free Syrian Army commanders that fled Syria in 2018 are now working to form a new militant group, the Army of the South, to attack “Iranian militias” in the region. The allegedly closed U.S. Military Operation Center in Jordan will reportedly support the new group.

Over the past few months, the security situation in southern Syria became more complicated with an increasing number of IED attacks and assassinations aimed against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

The SAA uncovered loads of weapons during a search operation in the newly-captured town of al-Lataminah in northern Hama. The discovered weapons included several mortar cannons of different calibers, at least two Grad 122mm rockets, RPG-18 and RPG-26 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades as well as a RPO-A thermobaric rocket launcher.

Militants of Jaysh al-Izza, a close ally of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, apparently left behind these weapons. The group’s members fled the town last month following a successful attack by the SAA.

On September 5, the Russian Defense Ministry denied recent reports claiming that several Russian service members were killed in a blast near the town of Jurin in northwestern Hama. These false claims were first published by Vedomosti business daily before being picked up by multiple Russian and Syrian media outlets.

Such reports appear to be a part of new propaganda wave aimed against the SAA and Russia. Such propaganda campaigns are often being launched amid important military or diplomatic developments in Syria, and the Middle East in general.

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In-depth footage of Syrian Army’s operation that led to capture of Khan Sheikhoun

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army began their long-awaited attack on the key city of Khan Sheikhoun ten days ago.

This operation would result in the capture of Khan Sheikhoun and the eventual encirclement of the militants in the northern Hama pocket.

Khan Sheikhoun was previously captured by the militant forces during their 2014 southern Idlib offensive; it would later become a stronghold for the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

Not long after cutting the road between Ta’manah and Khan Sheikhoun, the Syrian Arab Army managed to establish full control over the northern Hama pocket, putting an end to the militant presence in the area.

Since capturing Khan Sheikhoun and northern Hama, the Syrian Arab Army has moved their forces to the Al-Ghaab Plain and Ta’manah axes; these two areas are expected to be the next targets for the military.

Below is 30-minute-long video from the Anna News Agency that chronicles the entire operation and the eventual capture of Khan Sheikhoun and northern Hama:

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Russian Air Force eliminates several militant sites, vehicles in southern Idlib: video

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 A.M.) – The Russian Air Force played a crucial role in the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) advance in southern Idlib recently, as their aircraft repeatedly struck the militant positions across the governorate.

In particular, the Russian Air Force’s heavy strikes on the city of Khan Sheikhoun and its surroundings helped pave the way for the Syrian Arab Army to capture the key hilltop of Talat Al-Nimr and eventually the whole area.

The Anna News Agency captured footage of the Russian strikes on the jihadist sites, including the destruction of militant convoys and their bases.

The Russian Air Force is still launching airstrikes over the southern countryside of Idlib; however, their strikes are now focused on preventing the militants from regrouping and launching a counter-offensive.

At the same time, the Syrian Arab Army has nearly finished their combing operations around Khan Sheikhoun and northern Hama; they still need to clear some areas that are believed to have explosives that were left behind by the militant forces.

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