Syrian Army takes complete control over northern Homs for first time since 2011 (map)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has imposed full control over the northern Homs and southeastern Hama after years of war with the Islamist rebels.

According to a military report from this front, the Syrian government evacuated the last group of militants and their family members from northern Homs, Wednesday, marking the end of their presence in this area.

All-in-all, the Syrian Army has retaken over 65 towns within a 1,200 square kilometer area between northern Homs and southeastern Hama.

The last rebel forces were transported from this once large pocket in central Syria to the northern province of Idlib.

Perhaps the most important thing to come from this is the Syrian Arab Army’s full control over the Damascus-Homs Highway for the first time in years.

 

SYRIAN SECURITY FORCES ENTER OVER DOZEN OF VILLAGES IN RASTAN POCKET (MAP UPDATE)

Syrian security forces have entered a high number of villages in the Rastan pocket in northern Homs following an evacuation of militants from the area.

The SANA said that government forces had entered the villages of Ezz-Eddin, Salim, al-Hamrat, al-Qneitrat, al-Hamis and Hemimeh. According to pro-government sources, security forces have entered more points, including an area close to the strategic Homs-Hama highway, which is one of the vital supply lines in the area.

It should be noted that the evacuation of militants is still ongoing. Currently, a new batch of militants and their families are preparing to leave the Rastan pocket to militant-held areas in western and northern Syria.

As soon as the evacuation is finished, government forces will establish full control of the Rastan area.

Syrian Security Forces Enter Over Dozen Of Villages In Rastan Pocket (Map Update)

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Syrian War Report – May 16, 2018: Syrian Army Liberates Dozens Of Villages In Rastan Pocket

Syrian forces have re-established control of the area east of the M5 highway in the Rastan pocket in northern Homs now that militants have withdrawn from the area. According to pro-government sources, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are now in control of over 30 settlements located there.

At the same time, the evacuation of militants from the pocket is still ongoing. On May 15, 73 buses left the area.

As soon as the evacuation deal is fully implemented, the SAA will establish full control of the Rastan area. This will allow the Syrian government to start to use more actively the M5 highway, which is a vital supply line linking southern and northern Syria. However, a part of the highway heading through the province of Idlib is still in the hands of militants. According to pro-government sources, this area is one of the targets of upcoming military operations by the SAA and its allies.

In southern Damascus, the SAA and its allies have liberated a number of points near the Quds Mosque in the Yarmouk refugee camp area from ISIS. Government troops have also advanced on ISIS positions in the ​​northern part of the district of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

According to the Syrian media, the SAA has recently captured a workshop for producing IEDs and mortars and a network of tunnels in the recently liberated areas.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have slowed down their anti-ISIS operation in the Euphrates Valley in eastern Syria. According to local sources, the SDF is currently re-supplying its striking force in the area and preparing for a new attempt to capture the village of Hajin from ISIS.

A new round of talks involving Iran, Turkey, Russia, Syria and the Syrian opposition was held in Astana on May 15 and May 16. The Astana talks’  guarantor states – Russia, Iran and Turkey – once again affirmed their commitment to Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and  to combating terrorist groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra (currently known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham). The sides also stressed the importance of the implementation of de-escalation zones as a temporary measure to limit the violence.

According to experts, one of the key topics of the ongoing negotiations between the sides is the fate of the wide areas controlled by militants in the province of Idlib where Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is deeply integrated with the so-called moderate opposition.

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Syrian War Report – May 15, 2018: Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Fuels Syria Crisis

South Front

15.05.2018

At least 59 Palestinian protesters were killed and 2,771 were injured by Israeli forces near the so-called security fence in the Gaza Strip during the May 14 demonstrations denouncing the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Various sources provide conflicting numbers of people involved in the protests, but all of them agrees that there were at least 35,000-40,000 people at the security fence and in the nearby area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the Israeli actions as self-defense against the Palestinian movement Hamas, which “intends to destroy Israel and sends thousands to breach the border fence in order to achieve this goal,” according to his remarks.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Israel Radio that the Israeli government will treat any person approaching the fence as a “terrorist”.

US President Donald Trump called May 14 a “big day” for Israel while White House spokesperson Raj Shah claimed that Hamas had provoked the Israeli actions.

It should be noted that there has been an ongoing wave of protests since President Trump’s official decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Since then, the already complicated Palestinian-Israeli relations have deteriorated further.

The Palestinian government denounced the May 14 violence as a “terrible massacre” perpetrated “by the forces of the Israeli occupation” and called on the international community to intervene to stop the violence.

The US-Israeli actions faced a cold response on the international level. For example, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again described Israel as a “terrorist state” while Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani said that Israeli actions will not go unanswered.

On May 15, a new round of protests erupted across the Palestinian areas. The protests mark the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), when Israel was created.

On May 14, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the May 10 missile attack on military targets in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights had marked the start of a “completely new stage” of the conflict.

Nasrallah said that 55 missiles had been launched from Syrian territory at Israeli targets and advised Israel to stop its acts of aggression or it will face stinging retaliation. He also dismissed Israeli claims about the number of casualties and extent of damage in the aftermath of the May 10 encounter saying that Israel attempts to conceal its failures through such lies.

In Syria itself, government forces have continued their operations across the country. In the Rastan pocket in northern Homs, an evacuation of militants is still ongoing. On May 14, 122 buses transporting militants and their families left the area. On May 15, a new batch will be leaving.

In the Yarmouk refugee camp area in southern Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army and its allies have liberated Quds Mosque and nearby buildings.

This advance is part of a wider push by government forces to re-capture the western part of the Yarmouk refugee camp from the terrorist group and to shorten the frontline in the western and southern parts of the pocket.

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Agreement Reached to Evacuate Terrorists from Homs, Hama countryside

Source

Militants evacuation

An agreement to evacuate terrorists from Homs and Hamad countryside was reportedly reached on Tuesday.

SANA news agency reported that there were “information that an agreement has been reached to evacuate the terrorist groups from the northern countryside of Homs and the southern countryside of Hama.”

According to the agreement, all terrorists will hand over their heavy and medium weapons to the Syrian Army within two days as of the date of agreement signature. The legal status of militants who agree with the settlement will be settled, and those who reject it will be evacuated along with their families to Jarablus and Idlib, SANA reported.

The agreement also provides the entry of the Syrian Arab army into the region, the return of all state institutions and departments to the area in addition to opening the international highway that connects Homs and Hama during three days as of the signature of the agreement, according to SANA.

Terrorist groups also pledge to hand over maps of tunnels, landmines and ammunition depots, according to the agreement.

 

RASTAN POCKET MILITANTS REACH RECOSILIATION DEAL WITH GOVERNMENT FORCES

02.05.2018

A recosiliation deal between the Syrian government and militants operating in the Rastan pocket has been reached, according to pro-government sources.

According to the Syrian state-run media, militants and their families will be able to evaucate from the Rastan pocket in northern Homs towards the militant-held parts of Idlib or Aleppo provinces.

The militants have to hand over their heavy and medium weapons to government forces within 2 days from the start of the agreement’s implementation.

“The agreement also provides for settling the status of militants who are willing to settle their cases, , the entry of the Syrian Arab army into the region, the return of all state institutions and departments to the area in addition to opening the international highway that connects Homs and Hama during three days as of the signature of the agreement.

According to the agreement, terrorist groups pledge to hand over maps of tunnels, landmines and ammunition depots,” the SANA reports.

The strategic Homs-Hama highway will also be reopened.

The negotiations between the government and militants in the Rastan pocket were relaunched earlier this week after the Syrian military had deployed its offensive units preparing for a launch of a military operation in the area.

Rastan Pocket Militants Reach Recosiliation Deal With Government Forces

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EASTERN QALAMUN MILITANTS SURRENDER THEIR AREAS TO SYRIAN ARMY, PREPARE TO WITHDRAW TO NORTHERN SYRIA

Eastern Qalamun Militants Surrender Their Areas To Syrian Army, Prepare To Withdraw To Northern Syria

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On April 19, US-backed Free Syrian Army (SAA) groups in the Eastern Qalamun region surrendered and accepted the evacuation deal that had been proposed by the Damascus government and Russia during a previous negotiation round, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria reported.

The source said that FSA fighters will be allowed to withdraw towards the the militant-held parts of the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib  under the evacuation deal. The evacuation process is set to begin on April 20.

Syrian pro-government and opposition sources reported that FSA fighters had begun handing over their heavy weapons, including several battle tanks, to the SAA. Some FSA fighters even surrendered to avoid being sent to northern Syria, according to the sources.

Eastern Qalamun Militants Surrender Their Areas To Syrian Army, Prepare To Withdraw To Northern Syria

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Eastern Qalamun Militants Surrender Their Areas To Syrian Army, Prepare To Withdraw To Northern Syria

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A day earlier, the SAA and its allies launched a large-scale military operation against the FSA in the eastern Qalamun region. The quick collapse of the FSA’s defense suggests that most fighters had refused to fight the SAA, although they had been well-armed.

According to local observers, the Eastern Qalamun region is among the most strategic areas in central Syria as it overlooks the Damascus-Homs highway, the US-led coalition base in al-Tanaf and three key airbases of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF). The high mountains of Eastern Qalamun also used to host early warning radars of the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF). This makes the liberation of this area an importnat step in improving the security situation in the country.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – APRIL 17, 2018: SYRIAN FORCES REPEL MORE MISSILE STRIKES

Source

Last night, the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF) repelled another missile attack allegedly carried out by the Israeli military. Missiles were intercepted in two areas:

  1. Near Shayrat military airfield in the Homs countryside – 6 missiles were intercepted (according to some sources, 9 missiles)
  2. Near Dumair military airfield in the Damascus countryside – 3 missiles were intercepted.

According to reports, the SADF also used its S-200 air defense system to launch a surface-to-air missile at aircraft that had attacked Syria.

However, the Israeli military told the Russsian news agency TASS that it has no info about any strikes on Syria.

Interestingly, the alleged attack came a day after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman claimed that his country will not accept limitations on its “actions” in Syria from any powers including Russia.

Previously, Israel had carried out a missile attack on Syria’s T4 airbase on April 9. Then, the SADF intercepted 5 missiles, but 3 missiles did reach the base.

The Pentagon and the Russian Defense Ministry continue to make mutually contradictory statements over the April 14 missile strike. On April 16, Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov once again rejected the Pentagon’s statements that all the missiles launched by the US, the UK and France had hit their targets.

Konashenkov said that 71 US-led bloc missiles had been shot down by the SADF providing details on the defense systems used by the Syrian military:

  • Buk: 29 missiles fired – 24 targets hit;
  • Osa: 11 missiles fired – 5 targets hit;
  • S-125: 13 missiles fired – 5 targets hit;
  • Strela-10: 5 missiles fired – 3 targets hit;
  • Kvadrat: 21 missiles fired – 11 targets hit;
  • S-200: 8 missiles fired – no targets hit;
  • Pantsir-S1: 25 missiles fired – 23 targets hit;

SF recalls that the Pentagon says that 105 missiles were launched at only three targets. At the same time, the Russian and Syrian militaries say that the targets included Syrian airfields.

Meanwhile, according to the Russian envoy to the OPCW Aleksandr Shulgin said that Russia has “irrefutable proof” that the so-called Douma chemical attack was a “false-flag” orchestrated by British intelligence services with support from the US. The goal of the false flag was to justify the aggression against Syria.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – FEBRUARY 16, 2018: TURKISH FORCES CAPTURE LARGE AREA IN AFRIN

South Front

On February 15, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) achieved a major breakthrough in their battle against Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces in the area of Afrin. The TAF and the FSA captured the villages of Karri, Sharbanli, Kamrash, Shadia, Khara Suluq, Jaqla Tahtani, Durakili and Diwan al-Fawqani. The YPG counter-attacked in Sirinjak and Duraqli but failed to achieve any progress.

Pro-Turkish sources say that over 40 YPG members were killed in the recent clashes. The total number of so-called ‘neutralized terrorists’ claimed by the Turkish General Staff since the start of Operation Olive Branch is over 1,500.

On February 16, clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG continued across Afrin as the TAF and the FSA further developed momentum.

Amid the Tukrish success, the Lebanese al-Mayadin TV reported that the Damascus government and the YPG had allegedly reached an agreement over Afrin. The agreement will reportedly allow units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to enter the area. However, this report is still not confirmed by official sources. Previous media reports about the alleged Damascus-YPG agreement were dismissed by the YPG.

Another Turkish military convoy entered the province of Idlib and is now establishing an observation point in the village of Sarman, according to pro-opposition sources. The TAF already has observation points in al-Eis and Tell Tuqan. If it establishes the next one somewhere near Khan Shaykhun, any SAA offensive operation in Idlib will be blocked by Turkish forces.

Militant groups operating in northern Homs announced on February 15 that they had withdrawn from a de-escalation agreement with the SAA and said that they will not conduct any direct talks with the Damascus government. They also called on Ankara to help them to combat what they called the Assad regime.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALSO READ US ‘engaged’ with Turkey on operation in Syria’s Afrin – Tillerson
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