Syrian War Report – June 10, 2019: Militants Suffer Large Casualties In Clashes In Northern Hama

South Front

Fierce clashes have been ongoing in northern Hama since June 6 when Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaysh al-Izza, the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) and their allies launched an advance on Syrian Arab Army (SAA) positions there.

Initially, militants seized several positions, including Jibeen and Tal Meleh, but then the SAA re-grouped and launched a counter-attack stopping the further militant advance. According to pro-government sources, the recently deployed reinforcements from the 5th Assault Corps, the 3rd Armoured Division and 7th Armoured Division as well as support of the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces played a role in this counter-attack.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that at least 102 militants and 126 pro-government fighters have been killed in the clashes. Both these numbers seem to be overestimated. Nonetheless, if they are even partially true, these are the most intense clashes in the area over the past few months.

On June 9, units of the NFL and the al-Qaeda-affiliated coalition of militant groups, Wa Harid al-Muminin, attacked SAA positions near Turkish border in northern Lattakia. A source in the SAA told SouthFront that the attack, which began in the early hours of the morning, was launched from Turkish territory. The source said that vehicles armed with heavy machine guns supporting the militants were moving on the border line. A salvo of rockets was also launched from the direction of southern Turkey.

Sources close to the NFL and Wa Hariiid al-Muminin claimed that over 50 troops were killed in the attack. Nonetheless, this number remains unconfirmed by any photo or video evidence.

The NFL was formed last August by several Turkish-backed groups after direct pressure from Ankara. Wa Harid al-Muminin was established around the same time by al-Qaeda-affiliated Jamat Ansar al-Islam, Horas al-Din, Jabhat Ansar al-Islam and Ansar al-Tawhid.

Meanwhile, militants started using man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs) against aircraft supporting the SAA.

On June 7, a Syrian warplane was hit by a surface-to-air missile over northern Hama. A military source told SouthFront that a Syrian Su-22M4 fighter bomber was hit with a MANPAD, but the damaged jet landed in a unspecified airbase in Homs. The pilot survived.

On June 8, the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham news network claimed that a L-39 jet of the Syrian Air Force was targeted by a unspecified air-defense weapon while conducting a sortie over Greater Idlib. However, pro-government sources denied these claims.

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Resistance report: Syrian Army offensive stalls as both sides trade blows

June 08, 2019

by Aram Mirzaei for The Saker Blog

Resistance report: Syrian Army offensive stalls as both sides trade blows
It’s been over a month now since the Syrian Army launched it’s long awaited Idlib offensive. The Syrian Arab Army and the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham are involved in the deadliest battle of the month in northwestern Hama. What began as a successful month for the Syrian Army has since turned in a blood bath with all warring parties trading heavy offensives along the Hama-Idlib axis. This week alone has resulted in well over 100 casualties for the jihadists while the Syrian Army has suffered almost 40 casualties. It is quite noticeable that Ankara has a hand in this since Turkish made weapons have been found on several frontlines in the hands of these terrorists. On top of that, Ankara manages to yet again negotiate a short lived ceasefire which Moscow agreed to, yet as per usual, the dishonourable jihadists used this opportunity to regroup and rearm in preparation for their massive counter offensive.

It has to be said, Moscow keeps getting fooled for some reason to agree on these damned ceasefires, that keep prolonging the inevitable doom of the monsters occupying the Idlib province. This time Moscow, Damascus and Tehran have had a golden opportunity to finish the jihadists off as Washington seems rather uninterested in getting involved with this offensive. I say this because Washington has been unusually quiet this time around, save for some Sunday evening Trump tweet claiming that he was “hearing word” that Russia, Syria, and to a lesser extent, Iran, were indiscriminately bombing the Idlib province. Even the western media that usually gets all fired up about their beloved terrorists in Idlib have been relatively quiet, could it be that they are losing interest now that Washington has its hands full with a coup attempt in Caracas and building up for a full scale war in the Middle East?

Washington seems to have other things in mind as Bolton and Pompeo seem hell bent on starting wars with the Islamic Republic and Venezuela, while Europe seems too busy fumbling in the dark over the JCPOA.

This leaves the jihadists with few allies except for Ankara which I am convinced is playing a double side game with Moscow and Washington. The opportunists in Ankara have for long played both sides in Syria as they claim they are allied with Moscow and Tehran yet keep supporting terrorist forces against Damascus and her allies. It is deeply frustrating to hear Ankara strike a deal with Moscow over Syria’s survival and preservation only to hear the Turkish president or foreign minister the very next day claim that “the Assad regime has killed 1 million people”. At some point Moscow must force Ankara to stop with this insane approach and choose sides once and for all, or this war will continue for another decade as Ankara will only get bolder by the day.

Elsewhere, ISIS terrorists hiding in caves in eastern Homs are taking advantage of the massive Syrian Army build up near the Idlib-Hama axis to launch hit and run attacks and kidnapping operations on inexperienced garrison units near the Palmyra front. I really never could understand why Moscow and Damascus always allows a few of these terrorists to remain after every major operation they launch on their territories. It always comes to bite them back later on as these terrorists never seem to back down or capitulate anyways. Meanwhile, terrorist benefactor Israel has been active over Syrian skies once more after claiming that shells were fired into the occupies Golan Heights from the Syrian side. Not that I ever believed in what the Zionist state has ever claimed as an excuse for attacking Syria, but there has been no fighting in the Quneitra province for almost a full year now since the jihadist militants were expelled from the entire southern parts of the country last year. Of course the Zionist state doesn’t ever bother to provide any evidence for their claims so it can be concluded that the pretext was totally made up to cover their true intentions, to target any advanced weaponry Syria might possess. The attack targeted Syria’s strategic T4 airbase, known for being used by both Russian and Iranian military personnel. Israel very likely informed Russia before the attack, which is why they were able to avoid the latter at the T4 airbase.

Since the start of June, the Israeli military has conducted at least two attacks on Syrian military installations, resulting in the death of at least a half dozen soldiers. Fighting in Syria intensifies while Washington is targeting any oil shipments coming into Syria in its campaign to cripple Syria financially. Pressure on Tehran and Hezbollah is also intensifying as the threat of war still looms in the region with Washington and Tel Aviv’s continued posturing and Saudi Arabia’s pathetic false flag attacks in the Persian Gulf region which they as per usual try to blame on Iran.

It looks like it’s going to be a very hot summer this year for the Resistance Axis. It will take much effort and strategic planning to counter these foul plans hatched by the Zionist Empire.

Syrian War Report – June 6, 2019: Syrian, Russian Forces Pound Militants In Greater Idlib

Syrian War Report – June 6, 2019: Syrian, Russian Forces Pound Militants In Greater Idlib

06.06.2019

ISIS cells have used an IED to blow up a Syrian Army vehicle on the road between Naamer and al-Khirbet in northern Daraa, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq said on June 4. According to the report, 3 soldiers were killed in the attack. However, these claims have not yet been confirmed by pro-government sources.

This became the first official ISIS announcement of an attack in the province of Daraa since last year when the army and former rebels that had reconciled with the government eliminated ISIS’ local branch, the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army.

The resumption of ISIS attacks in southern Syria may be a sign that the terrorist group’s core hiding in the Syrian and Iraqi deserts has had enough time to restore contacts with its cells in this part of the country. If this is the case, further attacks in the area can be expected.

Just recently, the army discovered a large ammo depot during a recent search operation in the country’s south. The ammo depot contained loads of weapons, including: 3 US-made TOW anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers along with 4 missiles, 3 Russian-made Metis-M ATGM launchers along with 6 missiles and two 1PBN86-VI thermal sights, a Soviet-made Malyutka ATGM along with its launcher, 7 Bulgarian-made AT-4 Spigot ATGMs, a Bulgarian-made Konkurs ATGM and several rounds for the Yugoslav-made M79 Osa anti-tank weapon.

A swarm of armed drones attacked residential areas in the town of Jubb Ramlah in western Hama in the early hours of June 5. According to

Local sources, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces intercepted all the drones before they managed to cause any losses.

Opposition sources confirmed the attack attempt saying that it was a response to strikes on the Greater Idlib area.

According to pro-militant sources, Syrian and Russian forces carried out hundreds of strikes on various targets in northwestern Hama, southern Idlib and northern Lattakia over the last 24 hours. Clashes also continued in the area north of Kafr Nabudah.

At the same time, so-called moderate rebels from Jaysh al-Izza, the group that had received large quantities of weapons from the US, appeared in a new video with a badge of the Islamic Black Standard with the Seal of Muhammad. This is a well-known symbol of al-Qaeda and the official flag of ISIS.

Despite all the attempts by Idlib militant groups and their Western backers to present these “rebels” as “moderate democrats”, it’s not so easy to hide the truth.

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Syrian War Report – June 5, 2019: Army Liberates More Areas In Northwestern Hama

 

Syrian War Report – June 5, 2019: Army Liberates More Areas In Northwestern Hama

05.06.2019

Syrian government forces have resumed their offensive on the positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and the Turkish-backed Front for National Liberation (NFL).

Over the past two days, units of the Syrian Arab Army and the Tiger Forces have liberated the villages of Qasabiya, Humayrat, Hardanah and Qirutiyah. According to pro-government sources, army troops are now aiming to liberate Meidan Ghazal, Shariya and Deir Sonbol as well as Tal Sakhar, Habit and Abidin.

These settlements are located northwest and east of the town of Kafr Nabudah, a key militant stronghold, which had recently been liberated by the army. The collapse of the militants’ defense there became the main factor allowing government forces to develop their advance.

Multiple Syrian and Russian airstrikes in northern and southern Idlib are being reported by pro-militant sources on a daily basis.

The ongoing army advance was launched on June 3 after a failed attempt to establish a temporary ceasefire in the area last week.

Immediately after the declaration of the ceasefire, units of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the NFL stormed army positions in Kafr Nabudah thus showing their commitment to further hostilities. This predetermined the observed scenario.

According to pro-militant sources, at least 4 pieces of military equipment and over a dozen army troops were killed in the recent clashes. In their turn, government-linked media claim that 8 militants and 2 vehicles were eliminated.

On June 4, Israel’s ImageSat Intl. released a satellite image showing the alleged impact of Israel’s June 2 strike on the T4 airbase in Syria.

The Israeli satellite and data analysis company claimed in its report that the strike had targeted “an element or a few” speculating that they may have been some kind of “advanced weapon system element”. Nonetheless, it was not able to provide evidence to confirm these speculations.

Syria and Iran provided no details as to what kind of infrastructure or weapon systems were targeted in the T4 airbase. Nonetheless, it’s an open secret that Iran uses this airbase for UAV operations across the country.

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Video: Syrian Army Delivers Blow to Al Qaeda Militants, Takes Back Kafr Nabudah

Global Research, May 27, 2019

On May 26, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and the National Defense Forces launched a surprise attack on the town of Kafr Nabudah in northwestern Hama, which had been recently captured by Hayat Tahir al-Sham (the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria)and its Turkish-backed allies.

The attack began in the morning after a series of airstrikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes. By the evening, government troops had established full control of the town killing at least 5 militants.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces seized Kafr Nabudah on May 22. Then, militants claimed that they had killed at least 50 pro-government fighters and captured several pieces of military equipment. Kafr Nabudah is the key strong point of militants in this area. The inability of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to keep it under its control create a threat to the western flank of militants deployed in Khan Shaykhun, Kafr Zita and nearby settlements.

SAA units seized seizing several weapons caches, including Grad rockets, tank rounds, artillery shells, mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and loads of ammunition of different calibers, in Kirkat. The SAA also discovered a underground tunnel leading to a fortified operations room in the town of Qalaat al-Madiq.

The SAA captured Kirkat and Qalaat al-Madiq earlier in May in the framework of its ongoing military operation in northern Hama.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, militant groups lost 350 fighters, five battle tanks, one infantry fighting vehicle, 27 pickup trucks, two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) and three rocket launches since the start of the ongoing round of hostilities in northwestern Hama.

Clashes in the area are expected to continue. The SAA’s 7th Division has recently sent reinforcements, including T-55 battle tanks, BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, Shilka anti-aircraft vehicles and 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, to the frontline. A source in the 7th Division told SouthFront that these reinforcements could participate in future military operations against Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in the region. However, he declined to provide additional information.

The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham repelled another SAA attack on their positions south of Kbani in northern Lattakia. Media close to the TIP claimed that several soldiers were killed. According to sources in the 4th Division, the SAA is seeing Kbani as a high priority target for offensive operations.

Turkey has resumed its weapon supplies to “mainstream Syrian rebels” to help them fend off the SAA advance in northern Hama, Reuters reported on May 25. According to the news agency, Turkey is supplied the militants with dozens of armored vehicles, Grad rocket launchers and anti-tank guided missiles, including US-made TOWs. Multiple Turkish-supplied armoured vehicles were also spotted on the frontline in northwestern Hama.

The de-escalation efforts in the so-called Idlib zone seem to be on the vicinity of full collapse.

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Turkey Shoots Itself in the Foot by Providing Syrian “Opposition” with Advanced Weapons

Global Research, May 28, 2019

The Syrian government’s offensive in northwestern provinces of Hama and Lattakia that began almost a month ago fell short of expectations. Having briefly established control over a number of areas, the Syrian army units were forced to retreat due to fierce counter-attacks by the armed opposition factions. After that the campaign transformed into a prolonged stand-off framed by sporadic clashes and mutual shelling.

The robust defense of the opposition forces is rooted into two key factors. First, the armed factions that previously existed in a state of a permanent internal struggle managed to join their ranks and reinforced the front lines with additional troops. The attacks of the Syrian army are currently being repelled by fighters of the National Liberation Front (NLF) that is considered part of the moderate opposition, members of Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS) and Uighur jihadists from Islamic Turkistan Party.

Second, the militants benefit from the use of advanced weapons, primarily ATGMs, that give them the capability to target armored vehicles from a distance and stall offensive actions of the government forces.

Since the beginning of the escalation the opposition launched dozens of ATGMs against the army units. It would appear that a lack of munitions is not a concern for them as an urgent weapons supply line was opened by Turkey.

Last week, a Turkish convoy carrying a large batch of weapons and munitions arrived at the NLF-held town of Jabal Al Zawieh. In an interview to Reuters the NLF spokesman Naji Mustafa did not deny that the group received Turkish weapons.

Besides ATGMs, the armed opposition factions were also supplied with Turkish-made Panthera F9 armored personnel carriers. Pictures posted on social media demonstrate that at least three vehicles are in possession of the opposition.

In addition to that, members of Turkey-backed factions that are normally based in northern Aleppo were recently redeployed to the front lines in northern Hama.

Despite any short-term gains, by providing the opposition forces with weapons on a large scale Turkey risks to harm its own interests in Syria.

Taking into account that during the last few years the HTS extremists have effectively established dominance over Idlib, it’s not hard to predict that Turkey-supplied weapons will end up in the group’s hands. These developments would not only hinder peaceful settlement of the situation in Idlib that Turkey is a part of, but also threaten Ankara’s ambitions of strengthening it’s influence in northern Syria. Such repercussions must come as another warning to the Turkish authorities who risk to witness internal turmoil due to their ill-advised actions abroad.

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Ahmad Al Khaled is a Syrian journalist who specializes in covering foreign involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Featured image is from New Eastern Outlook

MILITARY SITUATION IN NORTHWESTERN HAMA ON MAY 26, 2019 (MAP UPDATE)

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have taken back the town of Kafr Nabudah in northwestern Hama from militants. MORE HERE

Military Situation In Northwestern Hama On May 26, 2019 (Map Update)

Click to see the full-size image

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