Syria: The complicated scene

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.

RELATED NEWS

US SENDS M2A2 BRADLEY IFVS TO CHALLENGE RUSSIAN FORCES IN NORTHERN SYRIA

South Front

US Sends M2A2 Bradley IFVs To Challenge Russian Forces In Northern Syria
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The US military has reinforced its troops, supposedly mostly withdrawn from Syria, with a new batch of military equipment, this time M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

In an official comment released on September 18, the US-led coalition said that mechanized infantry assets, including Bradley IFVs, were positioned to Syria in order to “ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS”, “ensure the protection of Coalition forces” and “provide the rapid flexibility needed to protect critical petroleum resources”.

The M2A2 Bradley is armed with a 25 mm chain gun, a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a dual TOW anti-tank guided missile launcher. This makes the IFV the heaviest weapon deployed by the US on the ground in Syria.

As of September 21, the newly deployed armoured vehicles were already spotted during a coalition patrol in al-Hasakah province, where the US has a network of fortified positions and military bases. US forces regularly conduct patrols in the area. Another area of US interest in Syria’s northeast are the Omar oil fields on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Washington reinforced its troops deployed there with M2A2 Bradley IFVs in October 2019.

The main difference is that, according to local sources, the vehicles deployed in al-Hasakah province will most likely be involved in patrols in the area and thus regular confrontations with the Russian Military Police and the Syrian Army.

Just a few days ago, Russian attack helicopters chased US Apaches after they had tried to harass a Russian Military Police patrol. Earlier, the US military claimed that US troops sustained “mild injures”, when a Russian vehicle rammed a US MRAP in the al-Hasakah countryside.

The US-led coalition regularly tries to limit the freedom of movement of Russian and Syrian forces in the northeast of the country and faces an asymmetric response. Now, US forces will have an additional argument in securing what they see as their sphere of influence.

Syrian government forces have suffered even more casualties from ISIS attacks in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor. On September 19, at least five members of Liwa al-Quds, a pro-government Palestinian militia, died in an explosion of an improvised explosive device near the town of al-Shumaytiyah. On September 20, an explosion hit a vehicle of the Syrian Army near al-Mayadin reportedly injuring several soldiers. Also, a field commander of the National Defense Forces was killed in clashes with ISIS terrorists west of Deir Ezzor.

As of September 21, the Syrian Army, Liwa al-Quds and their allies continue a combing operation to clear the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert from ISIS cells. However, the strong ISIS presence is still a notable threat for the security situation in the central Syrian desert.

In Greater Idlib, the Russian Aerospace Forces continue their air campaign targeting training camps, weapon depots, HQs and fortified positions of Turkish-backed terrorist groups. The interesting fact is that with the resumption of active Russian strikes on targets across Idlib, terrorists have decreased the number of attacks on the Syrian Army and civilian targets along the contact line. It would appear that the airstrike diplomacy has all chances to become an integral part of the Idlib ceasefire.

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.

IRANIAN RESISTANCE AXIS STRIKES BACK. CONVOYS WITH US EQUIPMENT BLOWING UP IN IRAQ

Iranian Resistance Axis Strikes Back. Convoys With US Equipment Blowing Up  In Iraq
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On September 3, an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a convoy with equipment of the US-led coalition in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar. Iraqi troops that were escorting the convoy suffered no casualties. According to local sources, no significant damage was caused to the equipment. Following the incident, security forces detained 2 suspects near the explosion site. The investigation is ongoing.

However, it is no secret that the attack was likely conducted by one of multiple pro-Iranian Shiite groups that surfaced in the country following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi commanders by a US strike in Baghdad in January.

Earlier, the Guardians of Blood (also known as Islamic Resistance in Iraq) released a video showing an IED attack on another convoy with US equipment. The attack took place near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad on August 23. During the last few months, such attacks became a regular occurrence across Iraq.

Pro-Iranian forces not only created a wide network of active cells that carry out these operations, but also successfully track movements of US forces and their equipment. According to local sources, a large number of Iraqi security personnel involved in the guarding of US forces and facilities in fact support the Iranian-backed campaign against the United States as well as the public demand of the full US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Despite loud statements and the handing over of several US bases to the Iraqi military, Washington is not reducing its military presence in the country. Rather it’s regrouping its forces and strengthening the security of the remaining facilities. Tensions are on the rise not only in Iraq.

On September 3, Israel’s ImageSat International released satellite images showcasing the impact of the recent Israeli strikes on Iranian-linked targets near the Syrian capital of Damascus, and in the province of Homs. The report claimed that the strike on the Damascus International Airport destroyed a headquarters and a warehouse used by Iranian forces. The same area was the target of an Israeli attack in February. The strike on the T4 airport in Homs damaged the main runway and an apron. As a result, the air base was temporary placed out of service.

A few days earlier, the Israeli Defense Forces claimed that they had hit approximately 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in August. This supposedly included 35 hits on Hamas weapons manufacturing sites, along with 30 underground sites, 20 observation posts and 10 sites linked to the group’s aerial capabilities such as drones. According to the Israeli side, these strikes were a response to rocket and other attacks from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian groups claim that they just retaliate to permanent pressure and acts of aggression from the Israeli side.

Taking into account the war in Yemen, a large part of the Middle East has been turned into a battleground of the conflict between the Israeli-US bloc and the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance.

معارك تحرير الشرق… من تل مندو إلى عرسال [1/2]: فجر المقاومة بين عصرَين

الاخبار

فراس الشوفي الخميس 27 آب 2020

معارك تحرير الشرق... من تل مندو إلى عرسال    [1/2]: فجر المقاومة بين عصرَين
الهجوم على قارة شهدَ أوّل دمج للتشكيلات بين المقاومة والجيش السوري (هيثم الموسوي)

ثلاثة أعوامٍ مرّت على طيّ صفحة تهديد لبنان من الشرق، والبلد مثخنٌ بالجراح من تهديدات الداخل والخارج. هي سنوات صعبة منذ 2011، قدّم فيها ثلّة من اللبنانيين دماءهم ووقتهم وأحلامهم في مواجهة أعتى المقاتلين التكفيريين مدعومين من الولايات المتّحدة الأميركية وأتباعها الغربيين والإقليميين الذين سرعان ما اقتتلوا فيما بينهم، فتعددّت المشاريع والحروب والمصالح والأجندات. لكن، بقيت وجهة المقاومة الوحيدة هي حماية لبنان من شرقه وضرب المشروع التكفيري في مهده، من حمص إلى حلب ودير الزور. ولئن كان لبنان منقسماً كما دائماً، ولا يتّفق أهله لا على عدوٍ ولا على صديق، لم ينتظر المدافعون إجماعاً، بل كانوا حيث يجب أن يكونوا، في اللحظة الحاسمة، حاملين معهم روح الإبداع والإيمان. وبدل أن تكون الظروف تهديداً فحسب، تحوّل التهديد إلى فرصة، ونهلت المقاومة من معرفة الاختبار والميدان، فتغمّست الخبرة بالدّم وأنتجت قوّةً حوّلت المقاومة إلى جيش متكامل من القوّات الخاصّة المدرّبة التي يعصى على أقوى المجتمعات والدول تشكيلها. في مناسبة الذكرى الثالثة لتحرير كامل الجرود الشرقية، أجرت «الأخبار» مقابلة مع ضابط رفيع المستوى في المقاومة، أبو حسن، سرد فيها الأخير سلسلة المعارك التي خاضها حزب الله خلال أربع سنوات، من 2013 إلى 2017، مع تركيز كبير على الجانب العسكري من الأحداث. وتحفل المقابلة بتفاصيل عسكرية مثيرة، تعكس مدى التطوّر الذي وصلت إليه المقاومة على الصعيد البشريّ واللوجستيّ والتقنيّ والتسليحيّ. إلّا أنّ هذه المكتنزات، تصبّ في خلاصة واحدة: تحوّل المقاومة إلى مصدر تهديد عسكري استراتيجي لجيش العدوّ الإسرائيلي، يفوق بأضعاف ذلك التهديد الذي أسقط مقولة «الجيش الذي لا يُقهر» في هزيمتَين عسكريتَين عام 2000 و2006. ويستخلص أبو حسن من روايته الخاصة للمعارك، أن «تشكيلات حزب الله هي تشكيلات دفاعية بالأصل وتنفّذ عمليات خاصة ذات طابع هجومي، لكنّ تجربة سوريا أعطتنا حافزاً لتنفيذ العمل الهجومي بتشكيلات كبيرة وواسعة وأساليب جديدة ودمج أسلحة مع بعضها». فحزب الله، يتألف من مستويات عدّة في التشكيلات (النخب/ النظامي/ التعبئة). «كنّا نهاجم بقوات التعبئة مثلاً»، يقول أبو حسن، «استفدنا من الفرصة، وحوّلنا هذه التشكيلات من شبه عسكريّة إلى هجوميّة، وهذه النخب تتطلّب لدى الجيوش جهوداً كبيرة لإنتاجها. بينما نحن، الطبقة الأدنى لدينا من المقاتلين، هي تشكيلات هجومية قتالية أثبتت فعاليّة في الميدان ضدّ أشرس مقاتلين يمتلكون إرادة الحرب، وبظروف مناخية صعبة من 50 درجة فوق الصفر إلى 20 درجة تحت الصفر، مستفيدين من أسلحة ووسائل لم تكن موجودة بين يدينا في السابق». في المقابل، يبدو جيش العدو الإسرائيلي، وإن كان مدرّعاً بأحدث الأسلحة، حفنة من الجنود، لم يخوضوا اشتباكاً حقيقياً منذ 14 عاماً على الأقل، وجنرالاتهم اليوم هم أبناء هزيمة حرب تموز 2006 ولجنة «فينوغراد» الشهيرة. تحرير السلسلة الشرقية، إعلان فجرٍ جديد للمقاومة، بين عصرين من الحرب: عصر قتال إسرائيل في لبنان وعصر قتال إسرائيل في فلسطين المحتلة.

بعينين مُتَّقدَتَيْن، وصوتٍ عميق، يفرد القائد العسكري الرفيع المستوى في حزب الله، أبو حسن (اسم مستعار)، أمام «الأخبار»، استعادة لبعض جوانب وأسرار المعارك التي خاضتها المقاومة إلى جانب الجيش السوري ولوحدها، ضدّ الجماعات الإرهابية، منذ بدء القتال في حوض نهر العاصي وتل مندو في 2013، وحتى تحرير آخر شبرٍ من سلسلة جبال القلمون والسلسلة الشرقية اللبنانية في آب 2017، بعد مرور ثلاث سنوات على هذا الحدث التأسيسي.
سنوات مريرة ومضنية بالدم والدموع، ودّع فيها الضابط المقاوِم قافلة من الشهداء، من إخوته وزملائه وأساتذته وتلاميذه، كان يُفرِج خلال المقابلة عن أسمائهم شهيداً تلو الآخر، مع كلّ غيمة من حريق سجائره، ومع كلّ مفصلٍ في معركة، تطلّب النصر فيها تقريب الأجساد الفانية.
لكن، كان للجلجلة مقصد، وهو الدفاع عن سوريا ولبنان بكل القوّة والإرادة، بتكتيكات عسكريّة فرضتها ظروف المعارك وغذّتها العقول المشتعلة إبداعاً، والقلوب الفيّاضة بالشجاعة والإيمان. حتى تحوّلت التجربة إلى مستوى جديد ومتقدّم من العلوم العسكرية الهجينة، أكسَبت المقاومة معرفةً ونضجاً، يؤهّلها لخوض أعتى الحروب، كقوّة «خاصة» بأكلمها، ذات تدريب وتسليحٍ عالٍ، يهابها أعداؤها، ويأنس حلفاؤها إلى قدراتها وتفوّقها.

تل مندو البداية
من حمص، يبدأ القائد العسكري روايته، وهو يُؤَشر بيده نحو شاشة على الحائط تعكس خارطة عسكرية. «من اختار حمص لتنطلق الحرب منها ذكيّ جداً»، يدلّ أبو حسن: «هي أكبر المحافظات، وامتداد من شرق سوريا إلى غربها، أي الوسط والقلب، مع قيمة استراتيجية تصل الشمال بدمشق، ومنها مع ريف دمشق يمكن حصار العاصمة وعزلها عن لبنان والساحل السوري. وفي بُعدها الخارجي تلاصق لبنان والأردن والعراق، ومن خلالها يصل الإرهابيّون إلى البحر لاتصالها بالحدود اللبنانية. وفوق ديموغرافيتها الواسعة والمتنوّعة، تضم حمص أبرز المطارات العسكرية الشعيرات/ T4 (التّياس)/ تدمر/ الضبعة، ومخازن السلاح الأساسيّة والاستراتيجيّة للجيش السوري».
أمّا القصير، فهي عقدة العقد لـ«ملاصقتها الحدود اللبنانية ووادي خالد وأكروم، تحوّلت في 2013 إلى قاعدة رئيسية لاستقبال المقاتلين الأجانب، وطبعاً نذكر زيارة أحمد الأسير إليها، لأنّ المطلوب كان تظهير هذا الجانب. كانت القصير مركزاً كبيراً للتدريب وتجميع وتوزيع المقاتلين والسلاح، أي خلفية لوجستية لكلّ العمل العسكري للمعارضة، والأهمّ أنها أُعِدّت لتكون القاعدة الأساسية لمذهبة الحرب في سوريا، وكانت تتزوّد من معابر التهريب المفتوحة من الحدود اللبنانية».
لماذا شعرت المقاومة بالخطر واتّخذت قرار التحرّك؟ يقول الضابط إن «المجموعات المسلّحة التي بدأت بالتشكّل في منطقة حوض العاصي أظهرت تطوّراً لافتاً، ومارست في 2011 و2012 اعتداءات عديدة ضد سكّان الحوض، وبعض هذه القرى تقطنُها غالبية لبنانية أيضاً. ونحن أحدثنا وجوداً دفاعياً صغيراً في قرى مثل الحمّام وصفصافة والحوش لمساعدة أهلها». لكن كانت «السيطرة على تل مندو في آذار 2013 نقطة التحوّل وخطوة مهمة في تطوّر المشروع المعادي. إذ يرتفع التل ذو الحيثية التاريخية حوالى 70 متراً عن محيطه السهلي الشاسع، مع طولٍ مقدّرٍ بـ 450 وعرض حوالى 250 متراً، ما يمنحه إشرافاً على كامل المنطقة المحيطة بـ360 درجة. ويؤمّن مع القصير إشرافاً على الخطوط المفتوحة من البادية إلى الساحل، وعلى مساحات واسعة من حدود لبنان، ويسمّى عسكرياً عارضاً حساساً مفتاحياً للمنطقة». سقوط تل مندو «أضاء مؤشّر الخطر لدى قيادة المقاومة، فتم اتّخاذ القرار بالانتقال من الدفاع إلى الهجوم، وكانت قوّات العدو مؤلّفة حينها من فصائل ما سُمي بالجيش السوري الحرّ وكتائب الفاروق مع امتداداتها إلى حماه وحلب والجنوب، وكان على رأس قيادة المدينة المدعوّ موفق الجربان، الملقّب بأبو السوس (انتقل إلى تنظيم داعش لاحقاً)».
عملية تحرير تل مندو، هي «عمل هجومي ذو طبيعة خاصّة قاتلت فيه تشكيلات المشاة، مع تشكيلات قليلة من الدعم الناري، وكان القتال أفراداً مقابل أفراد». الصعوبة في هذه العملية، أن التلّ يتوسّط مسطّحَين من الماء متفرّعَين عن نهر العاصي، ويقدّر أقلّ عرض بـ 24 متراً، ما يشكّل مانعاً لتحرّك أيّ قوة عسكرية باتّجاهه». ومنذ اللحظة التي اتّخدت فيها المقاومة قرار استعادته، «قمنا بمحاولتين، في الأولى غرق شاب واستشهد، أما في الثانية فلم يسقط أي شهيد. العقبة التي واجهناها أن المسلحين فجّروا الجسر الرابط بين التل والبرّ، واستعملنا جسوراً متحرّكة للجيش السوري لكن لم تكن كافية. وهنا دخل الإبداع عبر تصنيع جسور عائمة لتحمل المقاتلين واستخدام آليات صغيرة لنقل الذخائر والأعتدة».
ويتابع أبو حسن أنه «بعد التسلّل والسيطرة على التلّ، استفاد المسلّحون من إمكانيّاتنا المحدودة كتشكيلات صغيرة ومن قرار متخّذ في قيادة المقاومة بالسيطرة على التلّ فقط وعدم التوسّع حوله، فزجّ بحوالى 400 مسلح بهجوم مضاد. لكن هذا الهجوم كانت كلفته عالية عليهم: قُتِل 50 مسلّحاً حاولوا التقدّم بثمانية أنساق هجومية بقيادة أبو أحمد عماد جمعة الذي ألقى الجيش اللبناني القبض عليه لاحقاً وإثر ذلك حصلت معركة عرسال. صحيح أنه سقط لنا 8 شهداء في معركة الدفاع عن التلّ، لكنّ الثمن الذي دفعه المسلّحون كان مرتفعاً مع خسارتهم أبرز قادة العمل الهجومي بالالتحام والقتال المباشر مع مقاتلي المقاومة».
ومع استعادة تل مندو، ردّ المسلّحون بالسيطرة على مطار الضبعة، «ما يعني سيطرتهم على غالبية منطقة شمال وغرب النهر، ومن بحيرة قطينة إلى حمص. وهنا اتُّخذ قرار بعمليّة هجومية للدفاع عن التلّ من خارجه، بتشكيل يوازي 3 سرايا قتال على 3 محاور. وصار الهجوم يتوسّع شيئاً فشيئاً حتى اتُّخذ قرار تحرير كامل منطقة غرب النهر، والاستعداد للانتقال إلى شرقه، وهكذا كان».

من شرق العاصي إلى القصير
الغاية الرئيسية لعمليّة شرق النهر بحسب أبو حسن، كانت «حماية بلدة ربلة، وإيجاد موطئ قدم باتجاه منطقة القصير، عبر تحرير وتحصين قرى جوسيه والزرّاعة والعاطفية والعبودية. والغاية الثانية هي قطع خطوط الإمداد من المعابر التي تصل القصير بعرسال، والتي تمرّ حكماً من منطقة جوسيه وقراها، وبهذه العملية تمتّ السيطرة على 22 قرية بمساحة حوالى 130 كلم مربّعاً، سقطت جميعها بـ48 ساعة من الهجوم».
ويعلّق الضابط على هذه المعركة، شارحاً خلفيتها العسكرية، والتجربة الجديدة التي خاضتها المقاومة، «استفدنا بأقصى شكلٍ مُمكنٍ من مجموعة الأسلحة الجديدة، وعملنا على عدةّ محاور وبعدة أساليب ومناورات، وهذا ما يحتاج إلى الكثير من الضبط والسيطرة والتنسيق. يعني تعدّد أنواع المناورات: مناورة جبهوية/ مناورات اختراقية/ مناورات التفافية/ مناورات إحاطة، كان لدينا قتال بالمشاة، وكذلك بدأنا الاستفادة من وجود المدرّعات. بدأت المعركة مع صلاة الظهر وانتهت عند صلاة المغرب، في أحد أيام نيسان 2013».

تحرير القصير بداية سقوط المشروع
خلال الحديث عن تحرير القصير، يكشف أبو حسن أنّ «قيادة المقاومة كان لديها فكرة عن القيمة الاستراتيجية للقصير، لكن خلال المعارك اكتشف الإخوان حجم هذه القيمة التي تدفع باراك أوباما (الرئيس الأميركي السابق للاتصال بميشال سليمان (الرئيس اللبناني السابق)! وتستنفر كل الشخصيات الأخرى من رجب أردوغان وحمد بن جاسم والقرضاوي إلى وليد جنبلاط».
يجزم القائد أن عملية الهجوم على القصير لم تبدأ قبل أن تأكّد قادة العمليات من خروج المدنيين منها. في بداية المعركة، كان «هناك محظور يمنعنا من الاستفادة من سلاح الطيران، فالسؤال هو هل يوجد مدنيون، أم لا يوجد؟ وهذا النقاش أخذ وقتاً وتأجّلت العملية يومين، وقام الطيران السوري برمي المناشير التي تطلب مغادرة المدنيين، ولم يتم العمل الهجومي إلّا بعد أن أبلغَنا السوريون بأن الناس خرجوا عبر المعابر».
عسكرياً، تبلغ مساحة القصير حوالى 15 كلم مربعاً، وكان في داخلها بضعة مواقع للجيش السوري معزولة أو محاصرة وتتعرّض لهجمات انتحارية يومية، من قِِبل «كتائب الفاروق» وتشكيلات جديدة من «جبهة النصرة» وما سميّ بـ«مغاوير بابا عمرو»، الخارجين من الحي الحمصي بعد استعادة الجيش السوري السيطرة عليه.
يقول القائد الميداني إنه «قاتلنا آلاف المسلّحين في القصير، وعبد الجبار العقيدي (قائد الجيش الحر) قال بعد هزيمتهم إنهم سحبوا 10 آلاف مقاتل، نحن نعتقد أننا قاتلنا 6 آلاف مقاتل في معركة طاحنة. استفدنا أوّلاً من وجود نقاط للجيش فأدخلْنا التشكيلات إليها بصورة سريّة، وعند بدء الهجوم فُتحت محاور اختراقية منها في وسط المدينة، وهاجمنا نحن من 8 محاور بهجوم رئيسي من الجنوب باتجاه الشمال، مستخدمين المناورات الالتفافية، والإ¥حاطة لتأمين المحيط. ومع بدء المعركة سيطرنا في اليوم الأول على 45% من المدينة مع كلفة بشريّة عالية علينا. هذه كانت المرّة الأولى التي تستخدم فيها المقاومة هذا النوع من القتال في المدن».
ويختصر القائد العسكري مراحل العمل في المدينة بأربع: مرحلة الهجوم الواسع (السيطرة على حوالى 45 %)، السيطرة على «خطّ السكّة»، مرحلة القضم حيث كان يتمّ القيام بعمليات قضم لمبانٍ أو بيوت بدل الهجومات الواسعة بـ«عمليات معقّدة جداً لمهاجمة كلّ مبنى على حدة، وخلالها تكون التحضيرات مستمرّة لعمليات هجومية واسعة». أمّا المرحلة الرابعة فهي «العمليّة الهجومية النهائية للسيطرة على هدف واحد وهو القصر البلدي في المدينة، الذي سقط بمجرد سيطرتنا عليه. وهذا الأمر حاولنا فعله في اليوم الأول من الهجوم بعملية اختراق معقّدة أيضاً وكانت واحدة من المناورات الناجحة نسبياً. نجحنا في الوصول إلى قرب المبنى لكن لم نستطع التثبيت، إلى أن أنجزنا ذلك في الهجوم الأخير».
ويلفت أبو حسن الانتباه إلى شراسة المعارك في القصير، «فنحن لم ندخل إلى بيت إلّا وخضنا فيه اشتباكاً، حيث دخلنا إلى ميدان يعجّ بالمقاتلين على امتداد حافة طولها حوالى 4 كلم وبخط متعرّج حوالى 6 كلم. وخلال المعارك أُدخل مسلّحون من أسود الشرقية، والقائد العسكري في المعارضة عبد القادر صالح (حجي مارع) والعقيدي (العقيد المنشقّ عن الجيش السوري) و 300 مسلّح من حلب».
وتلك التعقيدات في القتال، دفعت باتّجاه الإبداعات العسكرية في معركة القصير، «مثلاً أحضرنا شاحنات كبيرة وملأناها بالرّمال وقطعنا بها الطريق، فعرض خط السكة حوالى الـ 60 متراً، ومقاتلو المقاومة مضطرون إلى قطعه مشياً تحت نيران القنص. وفّرنا دماء كثيرة بهذه الطريقة، ونجحت العملية حتى خرج المسلحون ليلة سقوط المدينة تحت أعيننا بحوالى 600 آلية، وطبعاً لم نتعرّض لهم مع أنه كان بالإمكان إبادة القوات المنسحبة. حتى إن مجموعة من حوالى 40 مسلّحاً جريحاً، طلبت من مختار إحدى القرى أن يتمّ إسعافها، وعندما وصل الأمر إلى سماحة السيّد حسن نصر الله أمر بمساعدتهم، وقمنا بنقلهم وتسليمهم إلى الصليب الأحمر الدولي الذي أدخلهم لبنان وعالجهم. طبعاً كانوا يشتمون حزب الله فوق ذلك. لكن على إثر سقوط القصير سقطت كل المنطقة من حوض العاصي إلى مدينة حمص، وغالبيتها من دون قتال».

التهديد من السلسلة الشرقية
مع انتهاء معركة القصير، انتقل التركيز إلى قرى وبلدات سلسلة جبال القلمون، أي يبرود وفليطة وقارة والسحل وعسال الورد والجبة وراس المعرة. بحسب القائد، «تمركز مسلّحو السلسلة الشرقية على معابر الجبال، في سلسلة تمتدّ من جوسيه شمالاً حتى جبل الشيخ جنوباً، يقطعها وادي طريق الشام. وكذلك الأمر تمركزوا في الزبداني واستفادوا من المعابر الطبيعية إلى أقصى حدود».
أمّا على مستوى قيادة المقاومة، فقرار التوغّل في السلسلة الشرقية والسيطرة على بعض المرتفعات الحساسة فيها، اتُّخذ بعد هجوم متقطّع استمر 28 يوماً خلال كانون الأول 2013، ضدّ مواقع المقاومة في جوسيه، و«تم حسم المعركة لصالحنا ليلة رأس السنة 2014، وبدأنا التخطيط والعمل باتّجاه المرتفعات، وعندها سيطرنا على بعض التلال على ارتفاعات بين 1470 و1500 متر، وتمركزنا فيها وأحبطنا الهجوم نهائياً، بظروف مناخية قاسية جداً في ذلك الوقت من العام فوق السلسلة الشرقية». ولم تكن السلسلة وقتها سوى معبر للمسلحين، يُستفاد منه عسكرياً في تهديد مواقع المقاومة والجيش السوري، وأمنياً بزعزعة لبنان عبر السيارات المفخّخة التي بدأت تخرج من يبرود وعرسال عبر إصبع الطفيل، نحو بريتال والداخل اللبناني».

الهجوم على القصير لم يبدأ قبل أن تأكّد قادة العمليات من خروج المدنيين منها


وتطوّر الأمر أيضاً، حين قام المسلحون في كانون الثاني 2014، بالهجوم على مخزن قارة الاستراتيجي، وأثناءها «كنا نجري مناورة قتالة لجميع التشكيلات في القصير، فطُلب منا حماية المخزن، وأدركنا أنه لا بدّ من السيطرة على المرتفعات، وهكذا انفتحنا على العمل باتجاه البادية أيضاً».
ومع تزايد المخاطر العسكرية، كان العدو يتطوّر، فـ«لم نعد نواجه كتائب الفاروق أو الحرّ، بل بتنا نواجه جبهة النصرة بقيادة أبو مالك التلّي، لأن صدمة القصير دفعت بالمشّغلين إلى الاعتماد على تشكيلات تكفيرية أكثر تطوّراً، وهذا أيضاً توسّع نحو الجنوب السوري وفي الشمال باتجاه حماه، حيث شنّ أبو محمد الجولاني هجوماً ضد المطار، وقام الجيش السوري بصدّه واستعادة المناطق القريبة».

دمج تشكيلات بين المقاومة والجيش السوري
في مرحلة تحرير قارة، يهتمّ أبو حسن، بالإشارة إلى أن «كلفة الهجوم كانت شهيداً واحداً من المقاومة بانفجار قذيفة معادية، لكن الأبرز هو أن «هذه العملية الهجومية شهدت دمجاً للتشكيلات بين المقاومة والجيش السوري». كذلك قام المسلّحون بطلب الدعم، فوصلت قوات من المهزومين في القصير، وكان لاستخدامنا أجهزة الاتصال المفتوحة إيجابية كبيرة، حيث تعرّف هؤلاء إلى نداءاتنا فتراجعت الروح المعنوية لديهم، وكثير منهم لم يلتحق في القتال، وهذه تداعيات غير مباشرة لهزيمة القصير، كما أن الجيش السوري تمكّن سريعاً بعدها من استعادة تل كلخ ثم منطقة قلعة الحصن، وكذلك القريتين في البادية».
ومنذ ذلك الحين، تمّ خوض معارك بلدات القلمون، «بتشكيلات هجينة من الجيش السوري والمقاومة في تجربة جديدة، وكانت غاية العمليات اقتلاع جذور الإرهاب وتفكيك معامل الموت والسيارات المفخخة التي استهدفت العمق اللبناني». وفي ذلك الوقت أيضاً، «بدأنا نشهد تهديداً عسكرياً باتّجاه الداخل اللبناني بعد التهديد الأمني، انطلاقاً من السلسلة». وتوّج هذا التهديد بالهجوم على مراكز الجيش في عرسال، في آب 2014، و«نحن نعتقد أنه لولا تنفيذ هذه العمليات الخاطفة لكان المسلّحون توسّعوا في تهديد بعلبك وزحلة والمصنع، وتالياً يتهدّد لبنان بأكمله، لأن هذا كان جزءاً من مشروعهم أصلاً».

قائد عسكري في المقاومة: هزمنا ستة آلاف مسلّح مدرّب في القصير خلال أقل من شهر


في خلاصة الجزء الأوّل من الرواية، يرسم أبو حسن إطاراً لتطوّر العمل العسكري وأساليبه لدى المقاومة، «في تل مندو قاتلنا في طبيعة مع موانع مائية ضخمة ومنطقة سهلية مكشوفة، وتعلّمنا وطورنا قدراتنا ومهاراتنا، وفي معركة شرق النهر وغربه، قاتلنا في بيئة من الأشجار المثمرة الكثيفة والأحراش، وفي مدينة القصير قاتلنا في بيئة عمرانية متراصّة، ثم انتقلنا ظغلى القتال الجبلي المعقّد تحت ظروف مناخية وجغرافية صعبة. وفي كل هذه المراحل هجّنت المقاومة عملها وطوّرته، مستفيدة من المزج بين قتال العصابات ووسائل وأدوات الجيوش النظامية».


البحر هو الحلم الدائم
على مراحل زمنيّة متعدّدة، لم يغِب حلم الوصول من البحر إلى الداخل السوري عبر شمال لبنان، عن تفكير العصابات المسلّحة، باختلاف أشكالها، من «الجيش الحر» و«الفاروق» إلى «النصرة» و«داعش». وهذا الحلم، هو واحد من أبرز أسباب سعي المسلحين إلى الوصول إلى العمق اللبناني. «المسلحون وعدونا بقتالنا في الضاحية، لكن الطموح الاستراتيجي هو الوصول إلى الضنية من البقاع، ثمّ إلى طرابلس»، يقول القائد العسكري في المقاومة. ويؤكّد أن «لدينا وثائق وهي موجودة عند القوى الأمنية، أن مشروع داعش هو فصل قضاء الهرمل والوصول إلى الضنية ليكون له وصول إلى البحر». وهذه المعلومات أكدها قائد الجيش السابق العماد جان قهوجي، في غير مناسبة، إضافة إلى وزير الخارجية البريطاني الأسبق، ديفيد كاميرون، الذي صرّح بذلك علناً في آب 2014.


محاولة تفجير «الكلور» في العاطفية

(هيثم الموسوي)


أثناء حديثه عن معركة شرق النهر، يستذكر القائد العسكري في المقاومة، حادثةً مهمّة، وهي أن أول عمليّة قام بها حزب الله بتشكيلات صافية في سوريا، كانت استعادة الموقع 14 التابع للجيش السوري قرب معبر جوسيه، وسقط شهيد للمقاومة.
وكان أول احتكاك لقوّات المقاومة مع القصير في بلدة العاطفية، حيث اتُّخذ قرار استعادة منشأة المياه. ودافعت العصابات المسلّحة عن المنشأة لأكثر من 24 ساعة، قبل أن تسقط ظهر اليوم التالي على بدء الهجوم. لكن الحادث الأبرز في هذه العمليّة، هو قتل رجال المقاومة لأحد المسلّحين المكلّفين تنفيذ عمليّة انتحارية داخل المنشأة، بهدف تفجير مستوعبات تضمّ آلاف الليترات من مادة الكلور، لكنّه قُتل قبل القيام بتنفيذ مهمّته.

SYRIAN FORCES ARE HUNTING DOWN ISIS TERRORISTS IN DESERT

South Front

South Front

The military situation in Syria continued deteriorating in the recent days.

On August 21, the Syrian Army and its allies increased their anti-ISIS raids in the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor-Al-Mayadin triangle. According to pro-government sources, these efforts are being actively supported by recently deployed reinforcements from the Iranian-backed Liwa Fatemiyoun armed group.

On August 20, ISIS claimed responsibility for the recent attack on Russian troops in the province of Deir Ezzor.  The attack, which took place on August 18, killed Maj. Gen. Vyacheslav Gladkih and injured two other Russian service members. In a statement released by its news agency, Amaq, ISIS claimed that a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which had been planted by its terrorists east of the town of al-Sukhnah in eastern Homs, struck a Russian patrol that was combing the region.

Earlier, the Russian military said that the incident took place near the al-Taim oil field, which is indeed located to the east of al-Sukhnah, in the western Deir Ezzor countryside. These details play into the hand of the ISIS propaganda. According to Syrian government sources, a few hundreds of ISIS members take shelter in the Homs-Deir Ezzor countryside. These terrorists pose a notable security threat to pro-government forces, but they claim that the full elimination of the ISIS cells in the desert is not possible as long as the US occupies the al-Tanf area.

Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Iraqi pro-Iranian group, is reinforcing its military positions in the southern countryside of Syria’s Deir Ezzor, according to pro-government sources. Kata’ib Hezbollah fighters are currently building fortifications around their positions in the outskirt of the city of al-Mayadin.

The situation is also tense on the contact line between the army and militants in southern Idlib. According to pro-militant sources, at least 2 opposition fighters were killed in Syrian Army strikes in al-Bara and other areas in the al-Zawiya mount.

The string of assassinations of former rebel commanders continues in southern Syria. An attack with an improvised explosive device killed Issa Al-Janati, a former rebel commander in al-Quneitra. The IED attack took place near the commander’s house in the town of al-Zubaidah in the al-Quneitra countryside on August 17. Al-Janati died of his wounds, while his wife was slightly injured. Al-Janati, who is known by his nom de guerre “Abu Wassim,” used to be a senior commander in the Free Syrian Army. In 2018, he joined the reconciliation process. Nevertheless, he refused to enlist in the Syrian Arab Army or any pro-government faction.

This was the first assassination of a former rebel commander in al-Quneitra. Such assassinations take place in Daraa province on a regular basis. Local sources link them with the increased activity of Israeli special services that are not happy to see how their former proxies are changing their public position.

Related

Authorities Confiscate Large Stash of Weapons and Munition Heading to Idlib

Authorities Confiscate Large Stash of Weapons and Munition Heading ...

July 31, 2020 Arabi Souri

The law enforcement authorities discovered and confiscated a large quantity of weapons and munition heading to the NATO-sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib.

In its ongoing intensive work and thanks to the ever-vigilant Syrian security personnel and with the help of locals, the law enforcement units in Homs monitoring smuggling networks found one of the storing places used by the smugglers at the Homs – Hama administrative borderline packed with a large number of assorted weapons and their munition on its route to terrorists in the Idlib province further in the northwest.

This seizure included automatic rifles, medium machine guns, shoulder-fired missiles, RPGs, various-caliber mortars, a mortar, grenades, and a large amount of light and medium ammunition.

Authorities Confiscate Large Stash of Weapons and Munition Heading ...
Authorities Confiscate Large Stash of Weapons and Munition Heading ...
Authorities Confiscate Large Stash of Weapons and Munition Heading ...

Just a week earlier on the 22nd of July, Syrian law enforcement authorities confiscated a shipment of a large number of weapons and munition heading to the terrorists in northern Idlib countryside. That shipment included mainly medium and light ammunition, machine guns, ammunition, RPGs, medium machine guns, and propellers.

Due to the huge quantities confiscated by the Syrian law enforcement agencies all over the country, the Syrian Arab Army’s engineering unit has to destroy the found quantities as it ran out of storage places. Weapons and munition need to be stored in specially-designated high-security depots. Almost weekly, the engineering corps carry out such a procedure to destroy these weapons all over the country, they also have to notify the public beforehand and make sure the destruction site is as much far as possible from residential or farming areas.

See also:

SAA Units Discover a 20 Meters Depth Tunnel in Hama Countryside

https://www.syrianews.cc/saa-units-discover-20-meters-depth-tunnel-hama-countryside/embed/#?secret=OFr6CNGuWk

SAA Units Find Weapons, Caves & Tunnels in Cleanup; Erdogan’s Terrorists Breach CoH 19 Times

https://www.syrianews.cc/saa-units-find-weapons-caves-erdogans-terrorists-breach-coh-19-times/embed/#?secret=Y0zrHdTzeJ

NATO terrorists do not only rely on the direct supply route they have with NATO member state Turkey providing them with personnel, weapons, and logistics essentials, they have a number of supply networks established during the years when they were controlling much larger territories throughout the country. Routes from Lebanon, from the open Syrian desert connecting with Iraq and Jordan in the east and south, and naturally through the very long borders with Turkey in the north.

Our question to the citizens of the NATO member alliance, especially when a country like Germany, the locomotive of the European economy, fails to pay its dues to the NATO alliance which lead to Trump withdrawing a big number of his forces from there, wouldn’t investing in more useful things in your own countries, say healthcare, education, infrastructure, research and development…etc., be more beneficial to you and your children than investing in these terrorist groups killing and maiming Syrians? Just think about it, weapons and also its munition are not cheap, let alone the billions spent by the Pentagon and each of the NATO war ministries from your tax money as part of their contribution to the invading and destruction of other countries.

SAA Seizes 2 Shipments of NATO Weapons to Al-Qaeda Near Damascus

https://www.syrianews.cc/saa-seizes-2-shipments-nato-weapons-al-qaeda-near-damascus/embed/#?secret=Za0C2S9Z9s

Large Quantities of Weapons and Drugs Left behind by NATO Terrorists in Southern Syria

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

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

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

Related News

Large quantity of weapons and ammunition seized in Homs intended to be smuggled to terrorist groups in northern Idlib countryside

Source

Sunday, 05 July 2020 

The special authorities in Homs seized a large quantity of weapons and ammunition intended to be smuggled to the terrorist groups deployed in the northern countryside of Idlib.

The competent authorities, through constant and accurate follow-up of the activities of arms and ammunition smuggling networks, for the third time during the past few days,seized  a large and diverse amount of weapons and ammunition  while it was on the way to being smuggled to the northern Idlib countryside, SANA correspondent in Homs stated, indicating that the members of the network were arrested.

The seizures included large quantities of medium and light ammunition, hand grenades, ammunition, automatic weapons, anti-armor missiles, medium and PKC machine guns, in addition to “RPGs” and shells.

Related News

String Of ISIS Attacks Continues In Syrian Desert

South Front

Since the start of the week, the Syrian Army has repelled several ISIS attacks on its positions in the desert in central Syria.

The most recent attack took place in eastern Homs early on July 2 and became the largest one so far. Clashes lasted for several hours and Syrian troops even called for support from the Russian Aerospace Forces. Pro-opposition media claim that up to 10 soldiers were killed on injured in the encounter, but this is yet to be confirmed.

In response to this attack, the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of raids against detected positions of the terrorist group on the western bank of the Euphrates and near the US-controlled al-Tanf zone on July 2 and July 3.

According to Syrian sources, hundreds of ISIS members still hide in the desert using underground tunnels and mobile groups of fighters equipped with all that is needed to operate independently. Over the past months, the Syrian military has made several attempts to track and eliminate these units. However, it has achieved only a partial success.

On July 2, forces of Turkey’s Syrian National Army shelled a positon of the Syrian Army west of the Turkish-occupied town of Tell Abyad triggering local clashes. The most intense fighting erupted near the village of Abdi. According to pro-government sources, at least one Syrian soldier was injured and a few Turkish proxies were killed.

Turkish-backed forces continue regular ceasefire violations despite the recent military buildup undertaken by the Syrian Army near the contact line in northeastern Syria. Most likely, Turkish proxies feel a kind of impunity thanks to the direct protection of the Turkish Armed Forces. This behavior instigates military tensions in the region.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces blocked a US military convoy at the al-Dardara bridge on the road between Tel Tamr and Abu Rasin in the northern countryside of Hasaka. After a short verbal confrontation, the US convoy withdrew from the area. Recently, such incidents between Syrian and US forces in Hasakah province became something common. Apparently, the Damascus government boosted its efforts to limit the freedom of operations of the US-led coalition there.

The situation stabilized in the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. After almost a week of clashes and competing accusations by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Fa Ithbatu coalition (both groups linked with al-Qaeda), the sides reached a ceasefire deal. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham once again demonstrated that it is the most influential and militarily capable group in the opposition-held area.

Military Situation In Syria On July 4, 2020 (Map Update)

Military Situation In Syria On July 4, 2020 (Map Update)

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

  • A civilian was killed and another one was wound due to an explosion of explosive device planted in a car in Afrin;
  • The Russian Military Police conducted a patrol in the vicinity of Tal Tamr in northern Hasakah;
  • 3 explosions were heard in Tal Abyad after mortar shells landed in the town center;
  • A Turkish military convoy entered Syria via the Kafr Lusin border crossing and moved towards Idlib. The convoy consisted of at least 25 armored vehicles;
  • The Russian President declared that it’s needed to find wats to support Syrian people despite the US and EU sanction pressure on Syria.

Related News

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

By News Desk -2020-06-10

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

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

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

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

Related News

Syrian Army wipes out ISIS force in eastern Homs

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00) – An Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) contingent launched an attack on the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in eastern Homs on Monday, resulting in a fierce battle that would last for several hours.

According to a field source in the Homs Governorate, the Islamic State began their attack on Monday by storming a Syrian Arab Army post in the Badiya Al-Sukhnah region.

The source said a fierce firefight would ensue after the Islamic State began their attack; this would result in the death of several ISIS terrorists and three Syrian Arab Army soldiers.

The total number of casualties within the ranks of ISIS were not revealed; however, the source said the entire terrorist contingent was ‘eliminated’ during the battle.

ISIS has repeatedly launched attacks in eastern Syria over the last two years, prompting the Syrian Arab Army to boost their presence around the desert cities of Al-Sukhnah and Palmyra.

Related

Syrian Army Pounding ISIS Cells In Homs Desert. Turkey Fortifies Positions Near Saraqib

South Front

The military situation in northwestern Syria is steadily escalating.

On April 10 and April 11, the Turkish Army and its proxies shelled positions of Kurdish armed groups in northern Aleppo. The most intense shelling took place near the areas of Tell Rifaat, Sheikh Hilal, Bosoufane, al-Malikiyah, Maraanaz, Kaft Anoun, Kasht’ar, al-Irshadiyah and Menagh Air Base.

On April 12, the Kurdish-led Afrin Liberation Forces announced that they had stricken a position of the Turkish Army near in the area of Sherava in the same part of Syria with an anti-tank guided missile. According to the Kurdish group, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed and 3 others were injured. 2 vehicles of Turkish forces were allegedly destroyed.

Both Turkish forces and Kurdish armed groups claim that their attacks are retaliatory strikes only and accuse each other of regular acts of aggression and terrorism.

The Russian Military Police is reportedly working to establish four new observation posts near the town of Tell Tamr in Syria’s northeast. According to local sources, Russian forces have already checked the area and are now preparing to establish permanent positions near al-Abush, Umm Kayf, Abu Rasin and Zirkan.

Kurdish sources claim that this move is a forced measure needed to put an end to regular ceasefire violations by the Turkish Army and its proxies. Despite these claims, the Turkish-Russian ceasefire deal on the operation of Turkey’s Operation Spring Shield still works successfully preventing a resumption of large-scale hostilities in the region.

In southern Idllib, the Turkish Army is fortifying its positions near the contact line with Syrian forces near the town of Saraqib. According to the Syrian Army, at least 50 Turkish vehicles entered the region of Greater Idlib on April 12 only. Pro-government sources describe such actions as a signal that the Turkish military is not planning to fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Idlib, but rather preparing for a new round of confrontation with the Syrian Armed Forces.

On April 11 and April 12, intense artillery duels between the Syrian Army and Turkish proxies were reported near the town of al-Bara in southern Idlib and Hdadah Hilltop in northern Lattakia. Later, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) claimed that its forces had repelled a Syrian Army attack in the vicinity of the town of Kafr Taa in western Aleppo. Militants claimed  that an officer of pro-government forces was killed. Pro-Damascus sources reported no notable clashes in the area, but such claims by Idlib armed groups are a useful signal of the current level of tensions in the region. Greater Idlib is steadily moving towards the resumption of full-scale military hostilities.

The Syrian Army and its allies fully repelled ISIS attacks near al-Sukhnah and Wadi al-Waer in the province of Homs killing two dozens of terrorists, according to pro-government sources. Clashes in the area broke out last week after ISIS cells conducted a large attack on positions of Syrian troops involved in a security operation in the area. Pro-militant sources claim that up to 40 Syrian soldiers were killed in the confrontation with the terrorists.

Currently, the army is deploying reinforcements to the countryside of al- Sukhnah. Most likely, government forces are planning to conduct a new security operation against ISIS cells hiding in the desert.

Military Situation In Syria On April 13, 2020 (Map Update)

Military Situation In Syria On April 13, 2020 (Map Update)

Related Videos

Related News

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

South Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The War of Terror on Syria Through Forensic Medicine 2 – GRAPHIC

April 2, 2020 Arabi Souri

Syria - War of Terror through Forensic Eyes

This is Part 2 of a documentary series by investigative reporter Ugarit Dandash, the documentary is part of Ms. Dandash’s From the Ground documentary series where she reports from Syria the horrors the Syrian people lived inflicted on them by the USA and all its cronies, lackeys, and stooges combined efforts over the past 9 years.

From the Ground – The Syrian War through the Eyes of Forensic Medicine was made exclusively for the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news station in Arabic. It was aired on Thursday night 26 March 2020.

All countries which supported the ‘freedom fighters’, ‘armed opposition’, ‘moderate rebels’, call them whatever Orwellian name that suits you, are an accomplice in each crime committed against the Syrian people, needless to say, that each taxpayer and each citizen of those countries has much blood on their hands especially those who keep quiet hiding behind the ‘democracy elections’ delusion while their governments kill in their names, murder using their money, destroy families and hide behind the ‘democracy’ slogan, and not being held by those citizens for the crimes they committed all over the world. If you didn’t know for over 9 years what your government did in Syria, this will leave you with no excuse.

The video file size is beyond the capacity of our site, our YouTube channel was long deleted by YouTube, so we had to split it into two parts embedded below, followed by the transcript in English of the full video for history. Please excuse any typos, it was definitely unintentional.

Part 1 of 2, Episode 2:

For Episode 1:

The War of Terror on Syria Through Forensic Medicine – GRAPHIC

English translation transcript:

The War in the Eyes of Forensic Medicine – 1

Report by Ugarit Dandash

A story that took a huge media sensation was that of journalist Marie Colvin, the forensic medical report proved that what happened was the opposite and that the state did not kill her, but the gunmen themselves who were using her were the ones who got rid of her.

The shape of the distribution of shrapnel and the nail, this is proof that it is not a shell but an improvised primitive handmade grenade.

Ochlik (Remi Ochlik) and Marie Colvin died instantly, the injuries were not survivable.

There was the story of the photojournalist Remi Ochlik, on March 2, 2012, a body buried in the Baba Amr neighborhood was examined, by a forensic examination, we saw extensive wounds with extensive material loss and stable shrapnel in the body. There was talk of negotiations to transfer him for treatment with renowned journalist Marie Colvin. The forensic report concluded that the death was direct and immediate, and that all the negotiations were fictitious and false.

At that time, it was said in the media that the Syrian government had been asked to agree to evacuate injured foreign journalists in the Baba Amr neighborhood in cooperation with the Red Crescent for treatment, I say that the nature of the injuries that exist does not allow for life.

Question: Was it an immediate death?

A: It was an immediate death, so there was an attempt to smuggle bodies or smuggle other journalists into a particular convoy.

The role of forensic medicine in identifying unidentified bodies is the essential and important role, as the ring begins with forensics. We study any unknown remains and conduct photographs in coordination with the Criminal Security Branch and the Burial Office, where the same number given by the forensic doctor is circulated through the Criminal Security Branch and the Burial Office and then burial as soon as the studies are completed.

There were bodies that were re-examined in the countries to which it was sent to, it caught my attention in one of the reports I read the word “hand-made” means in English Hand Made, this phrase was translated from Arabic to Local Made, a phrase that if translated in good faith it is not true, because the local bomb It may be made and it may be made by the gunman in Syria, but when you say Hand Made, it means that it is often made by a terrorist, not by an army.

We were able to identify the injuries in decomposing bodies, there were injuries of explosive nature.

In Aleppo city, there are many unidentified remains, with the number so far reaching 3,225 unidentified remains, more than 1,000 have been identified so far.

As a forensic pathologist, there is always a high risk, and the main danger was like any citizen of Aleppo at the time who was liable to die, the missiles did not exclude a meter. If I draw you a masterplan for Aleppo, I can show you where the shells landed, I memorize them.

All those I have examined, especially the children, have been ghosts following me until now, and this crisis can be added to the forensic doctor’s crises.

The external looks of the forensic doctor or his personality may be solid, but that does not reflect what happens inside the forensic doctor, how many scars have left a pain? Sometimes I see cases where I hold my tears and leave a lot of pain in me, there are situations I can’t forget.

War through the Eyes of Forensics 2

Investigation by Ugarit Dandesh

The high temperature, the large number of corpses, and the decay that has occurred is a hotbed of sepsis. We were putting the bodies near the campus of the university hospital and the patients and their families up to the seventh floor complained about the smell, sometimes the bodies were stretching over an area of 100 meters, the view was very harmful, so we expedited the forensic examination, and we were exposed to dangers, for example, one time I was examining the body of a foreign fighter and was surprised to find the explosive belt and some bombs with him. We immediately asked the competent authorities to come and deal with the matter.

We, as forensic doctors, like everyone else, heard about foreign journalists in Syria and then we heard that a journalist, Marie Colvin, was killed in Syria and the media claimed that she was hit by a regime-guided missile and targeted in Baba Amr. We received information after a while that a group of bodies were buried in a place in Baba Amr and there is a suspicion that foreign journalists are among them. A specialized team under the supervision of the Civil Defense dug up these graves and was brought to the military hospital in Homs, I had moved at that time to the military hospital building because the National Hospital was directly targeted and blown up and there was no possibility to continue working there and we needed protection.

When we identified Marie Colvin’s body, at this time we collected information about Marie Colvin so that we could identify her, Marie Colvin found that her left eye was covered and that she had been injured while working as a journalist, and also we found that she had 26 dental implants and that she had a silicon ring behind the eye ball. This information is from the Internet.

Upon examination of the bodies, it was found that she was wearing a man’s clothes, which may have been for cold reasons or for field reasons, and only the upper clothes and underneath were wearing a woman’s clothes. Immediately the autopsy was carried out in the appropriate places we saw the silicon ring under the left eye and it is well documented we have, dental implants have been documented, a radial scan of Marie Colvin’s body has been performed and the important thing in this matter and what we are distinguished in documentation is the presence of irregular polymorphic fragments inside the body, including a nail. This needs to be analyzed and read:

First, we learned that this body belonged to Marie Colvin, but we had to read what happened. The bottom line is that Marie Colvin was not killed by a guided missile, but killed by a home-made bomb, because when you find irregular shrapnel in a body, nails, or shots, it’s a homemade bomb because regular armies use regular missiles, regular bullets, while the average person when he makes a package fills them with anything, like iron scatters or something, the presence of such objects on the x-ray indicates that they were killed by a homemade bomb.

She was killed on February 22, 2012, and the body was found on March 2, 2012, almost 10 or 12 days later.

The other thing that we were able to analyze as forensic doctors, at that time it was said in the media that the Syrian government was asked to agree to evacuate the injured foreign journalists who are in the Baba Amr in cooperation with the Red Crescent for treatment, I say that the nature of the injuries that exist does not allow life, death was immediate, so there was an attempt to smuggle bodies or smuggle other journalists into a particular convoy. Because Oshlik and Marie Colvin were killed instantly, when they were injured, they were killed instantly.

Q: You mean the same type of injury for both?

A: I mean the injury is not viable, when you see Marie Colvin’s body and you see the injuries on it and the shrapnel and it’s documented you will see that this person is unviable, he was injured and lost life immediately within minutes, so Marie Colvin did not go through the stage of an injured journalist, she was killed immediately…

Q: Means it can’t be negotiated as an injured?

A: There was something else out of this. I remember when we exhumed the bodies from the grave it the names were written on the shroud, which helped us to identify, it was written in French, Oshlik and Marie Colvin on the shroud.

Question: But forensics can’t be based solely on writing?

A: Certainly not, we did research and saw dental implants that are also documented by photocopies and the silicon ring is also documented by photocopiers.

Q: Was writing in French, not English?

Answer: In French.

Q: Is it possible that there are other French people?

A: Either other people are French or people who are fluent in French, this is a theory only this thought occurred to me because it helped me with the process of identification because the main task for which I came out is to find the bodies of Marie Colvin and Oschlik. The quick scanning of the bodies that I brought and noticing the presence of writing on the shroud at that time helped me get my job done more quickly.

Q: Do you think, by examining the bodies and according to medical data, that they were killed in the same place and time, or that there is a difference between them?

A: Marie Colvin’s body had glass scatters on it, either killed in a car or killed in a house with glass, which is unlikely because no one sits in a room with glass in a war. So, I think she was killed in a car and this is a personal conclusion that I cannot defend scientifically, but this is my observation.

Q: What did you do with the bodies of foreign fighters?

A: We are certainly examining all the bodies that we receive professionally and write their reports, those of them who have special status are fully examined and properly buried, we are a state of institutions, but about their numbers that is in the custody of the competent authorities, we do not interfere with this subject, we end our work when we hand over the body and bury it in a decent manner. In our field, we never interfere with politics, we are a medical authority that respects the oath we have sworn. Indeed, I assure you that all opposition or foreign fighters are systematically screened and properly buried, this is an institutional state.

Dr. Manal Jada, Head of the Forensic Medical Center in Latakia: At this time I remember the first massacre (in Latakia province) that was the Massacre of Slanfah, the massacres in the villages of the northern countryside in Slanfah, in which large numbers of martyrs of all age groups were killed, children, elders and women. Events began on August 4, 2011, injuries began to come to the National Hospital and all government hospitals and others in the Latakia area, and the numbers were large and the injuries were enormous, and the death toll is large more than 80 deaths arrived on August 4.

Two weeks later mass graves were discovered…

Question: After the army liberated the villages?

Answer: Yes, on August 19 and August 20, I will mention the large graves, in the first grave we discovered 67 martyr victims, in the grave that followed the number reached 128, and the number in three graves on 19 and 20 August reached 152 martyrs.

Then we began to discover individual graves, such as a grave in the village of Beit Shikohi, other than the one in Nabbata and Baluta, and graves where there were large numbers, we discovered six or seven graves in each area, in Al-Kashba, Beit Shikohi, for example… The total numbers with us have reached 262.

The bodies were at an advanced degree of decay and the main task on our shoulders was to identify the victims, there were entire families buried, I do not like to remember these incidents because it was repeated, another massacre in Jableh on 23 May 2015, this date is etched in my memory, May 23, 2015, I remember how I was during my shift and it was a Monday, suddenly we started receiving severe injuries diverted from the Jableh area. There were three terrorist bombings in the Jableh area, the Jableh Bus Garage area and the electricity area, and in the garages there a large number of citizens gathered, and the third most horrible massacre at the same time was inside the National Hospital in Jableh.

Q: When the booby-trapped ambulance went in and exploded?

A: The car got in and exploded, and the whole hospital was blown out, the entire medical staff was killed, our colleagues were doctors we examined their bodies, nurses, children, patients, we had 132 martyrs.

Dr. Hashim Shalash, Head of the Forensic Medical Center in Aleppo: There are many graves in the gardens in most of Aleppo, especially in areas previously controlled by armed terrorist groups, and there are graves in areas that were controlled by the state because the Burial Office was unable to carry the deaths to the cemeteries, because of the cordon imposed by the militants on the outskirts of Aleppo city completely.

The number is expected to be around 5,700 bodies buried in the parks, moved in 2018 and 2019 by the Burial Office. This statistic is according to the Burial Office: Some 1,700 identified bodies have been moved, and the remaining approximately 4,000 unidentified bodies we are working to identify, and the identified bodies have been moved in well-thought-out organizational plans by the Burial Office and the City Council and moving them to the modern cemetery. For the unidentified bodies, photographing and coordinating with the CID, DNA samples are taken to better study and identify them.

One evening I left the forensics office in the University Hospital late and the mortars started pouring on us from all sides, I thought that if I died, there would be no forensic doctor to examine the cases, and it’s a disaster that there’s no forensic doctor left, I’ve stayed alone, and if I die, there won’t be another forensic doctor in the city. . We were suffering a lot. Then the army started intervening and the situation improved, but we had suffered as a forensic sit-in a lot. I’m saying this so you know how much the forensic doctor has suffered as a human being. Forensic doctors were killed from us, forensic doctors were kidnapped from us, forensic doctors from us were subjected to massive torture by the gunmen, and a number of forensic doctors emigrated. I used to come out of my house and look around and say to myself that it is very possible that I will not go home, this is a time when I was in Aleppo and before it in Idlib, today could be my last day.

I go into the morgue and look and think when is my turn between these bodies from the number of shells that were coming down on us. As a forensic doctor we were in high risk, the main risk like any citizen of Aleppo city at the time is liable to die, the missiles did not exclude a meter, I can draw you the plan of Aleppo and explain to you where the missiles came down, I save their place because all those who examined them and especially the children remained until now ghosts haunt me, and this crisis adds to the crises The coroner, especially the children I have examined, the cries of their parents is following me. If I tell you some stories, dozens of episodes won’t be enough of how much tragedies we’ve witnessed.

Q: Did any international body or media outlet that Marie Colvin was working for ask you, because of the great controversy that occurred at the time, to send your reports to them or contact you? Because at that time, the Syrian state was held responsible, which was giving the data at the time. Have you dealt with this issue directly?

A: For me as a forensic doctor, I am accompanied by a judicial disclosure body, which is headed by a judge with the CID. I duly handed over all these documents to the courts, like for any body that is examined, we documented everything according to the official channels and handed over to the official authorities and no one asked us about this subject, and we did not talk about it, we did not talk we were a period that we do not dare to talk about, and more than one media outlet asked me for an interview and I refused because we did not have confidence in any of them to give them the information which they would misuse. We had no doubt that the media in the whole world was like that, and that was the reality.

But it was documented in accordance with the judicial principles in which we operate in accordance with Syrian law and the body was handed over. When the bodies were re-examined in the countries to which it went to, But it caught my attention in one of their reports written in English they wrote that Marie Colvin was killed by a ‘local-made’ bomb, and this is a phrase that if translated in good faith it is not true, because the local bomb may be manufactured by the Syrian army and may be manufactured by the gunman in Syria, but when you say ‘hand-made’ it means it was mostly made by a terrorist and not made by armies, this translation was wrong, this is how the reading of things was done, this is one of the notes that I noticed in one of the translations and you can search you will find the word Local Made and you will not find the word Hand Made although in my report in Arabic the word Hand Made is written.

The bodies are decaying, we were able to identify the injuries, there were injuries of an explosive nature, and we had injuries of multiple gunshot wounds i.e. conventional fire weapons such as Kalashnikovs or others, we had injuries though it seemed as of gunshot fire, its head was explosive, because the injuries are wide at the time we see damage in the head, for example, and limited to this injury, we had various injuries with all the weapons, whether explosive or military, we saw burned bodies, we saw burned bodies of children, burned, completely charred.

Q: Was the burn done before death? Have they been burned alive?

A: It was difficult because we did the examination after two weeks, i.e. after digging, there are also weapons that cause burns, I can’t say exactly if they are during life or not, we can confirm if it happens during life if there is not that much decomposition, if it is not long since the time of the accident, the discovery of the graves started rolling after September, the bodies were largely decomposed.

Q: Was there dismembering or slaughter?

A: We saw severed and buried heads; we saw an entire family buried inside a well.

Q: Can the forensics in this case determine whether the bodies were thrown alive (inside the well) or killed and then thrown?

A: Biomarkers are the specialty of forensic medicine, but the way I will explain is a difficult scientific method, we can determine, and it is our job to determine whether he drowned before or after.

Q: Is it possible to mention even a little because the subject of drowning in particular is repeated frequently during the war, some were still alive when they were thrown into the river and others elsewhere?

Answer: Of course there are vital signs when the body is recovered shows whether it inhaled water or killed and dumped after death with water, and of course the sooner we examine the bodies in cases of drowning the more accurate the result, because after the recovery of the body and within two hours there decomposing accelerates, once recovered from the water the rapid decomposing occurs more than a week or two more than if the body is in the open.

After the break:

I have examined many mass graves, the bodies and the remains piled up on top of each other, the remains mingle, and of course if the exhumation is not correct, we will never reach results.

Journalist Jacquier was moving in the neighborhoods of Homs, a mortar shell landed, during which time more than one person was injured in the same incident, it is not possible to say that Jacquier was targeted.

In all honesty, forensics was not ready for such a war and such consequences, and there is a very important problem that most of the forensic facilities were destroyed, for example in Aleppo there was a very large and civilized building that was occupied and destroyed by the militants in a barbaric manner.

What we could notice on the body of Jacquier that there were 3 craters. when we examined them, it was possible to read that each fragment of them had a different axis, when you see three fragments of different axes that often gave the impression that it was caused by an explosion rather than a sniper.

At first the forensic doctors suffered because of the existence of specific cases that we haven’t seen of its kind, types of weapons we do not know what they are, and then the forensic doctors practiced and had sufficient experience and knowledge of how to deal with all cases.

The cases I remember are children, severe injuries to children. What is the psychological state of a child who suffered pre-death, I reveal a dead body but I always put myself (in that place): during the child’s period of torture, was death a mercy for him?

The whole of Syria is suffering from the sanctions on (lab) material, imagine there are sanctions on importing DNA lab testing kits, what humanity is the West is preaching? These DNA testing kits are only used to identify corpses, what does it have to do with politics?

We have periodic courses more than one course a year in cooperation with the International Red Cross and supervised by the General Authority for Forensic Medicine, and we have the problem that there are very few forensic doctors in Syria.

My ambition is to make a file for all the missing under the supervision of the General Authority for Forensic Medicine, to have data on nation level, not only to depend on cross-examining data, it’s a costly project, it will take time but let’s start it.

There was a crossing between us and the gunmen in Bustan Al-Qasr, the people use it to cross from one side (of Aleppo) to the other, the gunmen’s sniper was always targeting the civilian citizens, civilians crossing to buy their items, there was a siege on us and the materials in the eastern areas were cheaper as the people risked their lives and enter the eastern areas to buy their stuff and then come back. There were people who wanted to come to the western areas under state control for the sake of medicine because it was much better, to go to university and others, and they were sniped.

On average, at some point in 2014 and 2015, each day we received between two and three martyrs and six or seven were injured, the opposition were always lying to the people saying that the sniper targeting these civilians going through the crossing was from the state. As forensics, our role was essential and important, we have proven with conclusive evidence that sniping is from east to west and not from the west to the east, which means that the sniper who targets civilians is from the opposition. We always photograph the martyrs and record a precise report and we are prepared to prove conclusively to any UN body that comes to investigate that the sniper was from the gunmen and not from the state side. Here is an important point in how forensics can establish the truth and refute the allegations.

We have long patience with the relatives (of the martyrs), there are many of them who come to us and we explain to them where the entry nozzle and the exit nozzle, we explain the difference between them, so that there is no doubt about it.

Journalist Jacquier was traveling in the neighborhoods of Homs and filming and he entered legitimately and had a license to go in and move around, at that time a mortar shell fell in the area where he was and some people were injured and then a second shell fell, and I think he lost life with the second shell because people ran in this direction, I do not recall the circumstances but there was more than one mortar shell, in that period there were more than one person injured in this same incident, it cannot be said that Jacquier was targeted, in theory, and I have a large number of names who were injured in that period with Jacquier.

Jacquier was transferred to one of the charitable hospitals in Wadi Al-Dhahab, the Nahda hospital, and we were taken to him for examination, and the French ambassador was present at the time, a doctor, and the governor was also present and the official authorities of the importance of the subject. We moved to examine a body in a hospital that was not equipped (for forensics), and simple tools were used to examine the body because there was a risk of going to the military hospital, which became the headquarters of forensic medicine.

It was noted that there are 3 entry craters of fragments on the body of Jacquier, by studying the entry nozzles with their location (in the body) it can be read that each fragment of them had a different axis, when there are 3 fragments of different axes, 3 traces of fire from different axes, it often gives the impression in principle that it is caused by an explosion and not a sniper.

The second thing is that their radial shape seemed irregular, and I told the French ambassador at the time, a doctor, that Syrian law requires us to exhume the body and remove the existing fragments, but I will not do that because we feel that everyone will not believe us and accuse us of tampering with the body, and I added that the extraction of fragments is different from extraction of bullets, because the fragment does not play any role in determining the type of weapon while the gunshot plays a role in identifying the type of weapon so since the lack of this importance I told him that I will leave the body with its evidence because I know that it will be re-examined in France.

We know that it was reexamined, reports came out and calls for prosecution, and then all gone.

Q: The French state didn’t file a case?

A: The French state did not claim because I think someone read things correctly and we are well documented, and in addition, international investigators have to investigate on the ground at the crime scene, there were martyrs with Jacquier in the same incident, and there were large numbers of injuries, all of them can’t be sniped, but as a result of a mortar shell, even the crater of the mortar shell was on the ground and photographed and documented.

Q: Did the French ambassador examine it?

A: It was examined by the CID who photographed it and documented it.

Q: The French ambassador was still in Syria?

A: We don’t have to, as a Syrian judiciary with independent sovereignty, to bring the (French) ambassador to defend ourselves, I’m doing our proper documentation and we brought a French translator who was communicating with us through him.

Q: Could he have obtained approvals and worked through legal frameworks; the Syrian state may have given him approvals?

A: The French ambassador was informed and since he was a doctor, I explained everything to him in detail, even I told him that there was a friend of ours, Henry Kudan, a doctor friend of ours in Syria who we know through conferences and we have confidence in him to examine to Jacquier, and as I told you some noise appeared and then disappeared and we no longer hear about it.

I don’t like to remember the massacres, but I met the people and they were around us. The stench of the bodies of the martyrs we uncovered it was strong, but the cases I remember were the children, the deep injuries in children, I remember the reaction of the relatives standing next to us and around us, and we were interested in identifying the bodies through clothing or personal identity, and these humanitarian cases that catch my eye with this massacre that when I was starting to strip the bodies I was looking for someone who had some paper money and hid them, for example, under the armpit, as well as personal identity the elderly on the run are thinking to take light-loaded thing that can help them. I’ve seen more human cases than the injuries I’ve seen, God bless them all, but the horror they’ve experienced before such cases of violence on the dead and torture affects me a lot, affects any forensic doctor and affects any human being.

What was the psychological state of the child who was tortured before death, I am examining a dead body but I always put myself (in that place): during the period of torture the child went through, was death a mercy for him?

Q: Was the forensic medicine with its equipment and medical staff prepared to deal with such cases? In the end there are scientific things and there are things that need possibilities, we are today when you talk about such a volume of work in a country that has lived in peace for so long, how did the medical staff cope?

Answer: In all honesty, forensics was not ready for such a war and such consequences, and there is a very important problem that most of the forensic facilities were destroyed, for example in Aleppo there was a very large and civilized building that was occupied and destroyed by the militants in a barbaric manner, the forensics was initially not ready but adapted quickly and was able to readjust with the conditions of war. There are some scientific things for example we were sending them to Damascus, we took samples and sent them to Damascus, we have nothing to analyze with, for example, we were doing the autopsy, I sometimes dissected bodies with a scalpel, there was no other option, the headquarters was destroyed and we have to continue working, we need to extract the gunshot and prove many facts, so in Aleppo I sometimes carried out the autopsy with a scalpel, the second weapon is the camera that we needed to document the cases, the things that needed sophisticated equipment we sent it to Damascus, such as with chemicals and other wise.

Q: Did scientific knowledge exist?

A: Scientific knowledge was there and excellent.

Question: The subject of wars is a different subject, at least from our follow-up, even if it is simple, that there are some countries that have suffered from wars and had a great need for forensic medicine to identify the bodies and even to identify the causes of murder, which entered the field of international courts and war crimes, this subject needs committees, doctors and studies (specialized), how did this specialized knowledge of this type of circumstance work?

A: Hopefully the war will be over, as possible this year or next year at the latest, and thank God things are almost settled, but there are repercussions and consequences of war that are the huge number of missing and disappeared. A qualitative and generous legislative decree was issued in 2014 to establish the General Authority for Forensic Medicine, and real life began in the centres that function as a body and entity in 2017 when forensic doctors were attached to the authority. We had developed a plan as a general forensic body to keep up with the war and to precede it. We sent doctors to Somalia, Pakistan and Cyprus, these countries have experienced wars and we have shared experiences with them, the method of detecting mass graves trained by our doctors, we have trained our doctors tremendously. Currently as a forensic medicine we are adding anthropology, and this is very great science, we know that the subject of DNA is a costly subject and takes time with the presence of this massive number of victims so we are developing sciences and knowledge that we can keep up with the war and precede it, as I told you, including anthropology and forensic dentistry which through it we can discover the identity of the victim through its teeth and through the study of bones, we can take almost complete information about the victim, before we reach the DNA stage, if we have to do a DNA test for sure the state is bound and committed to do so, but this is the last option because it is expensive and takes time.

Q: It also needs the cooperation of the relatives?

A: Of course, because we are taking a sample from the victim and a sample for comparison (from relatives), I will not say that we will do our best, we have gone beyond this, but we will certainly do more than our best.

Moderate Armed Oppositionist: A gift to all the martyrs of the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades in Idlib countryside, In the name of God, Most Merciful and Most Gracious; a number of Grad rockets are fired at the city of Slanfah by the Ansar al-Sham Brigades in conjunction with the (Ottoman Sultan) Murad I and Murad IV Brigades.

I met with a delegation from Human Rights, and the result of the report was a documentation of the massacres of the villages of Slanfah completely and at the beginning, and even I had spontaneously at the level of data, we were at the beginning of our work counting the numbers, all of which presented and the title of the report was (massacres of Slanfah – their blood is still here). I think this is the only organization that has visited for the massacres of Slanfah.

Q: The Human Rights Watch report chose this title?

A: It has been translated into more than one language such as English and French and the report has been circulated. I don’t have a copy of it now, but the report was very clear and there was an acknowledgement massacres committed.

In every forensic medical center we have documentation of all the deaths, natural and abnormal, whether caused by explosions or murders, all documented by date and all documented in pictures, with abnormal deaths we always accompany the CID and we do the photography and have numbers and names, there are investigation records to detect it is reliable. When I move to the crime scene, I am not alone, I move with a judicial disclosure panel composed of a judge, a forensic pathologist and a forensic clerk, and there are all lecturers in the bench, we have nothing undocumented.

Forensic medicine depends mainly on the human staff and the material possibilities, such as any branch of medicine, the material possibilities include various equipment and different devices. At the beginning of the war the situation was acceptable to good, when the war began the material and human personnel capabilities were drained, I told you that we were at the beginning of the war about 150 forensic doctors and now we are only 56 doctors, the facilities are mostly destroyed, there are doctors who emigrated and others killed and others kidnapped, yet the 56 doctors examined all these cases thoroughly and there was not a single case that came to us without examination and had an exact forensic medical report was written.

At first the forensic doctors suffered because there were many qualitative cases that we have not seen like it before, types of weapons we do not know what they are, at first, and then the forensic doctors practice and have sufficient experience and knowledge of how to deal with all cases, for example as one person I examined 13,800 bodies, examined more than 60,000 or 70,000 injury, and the colleagues certainly did the same. I told you the work of the coroner generally exposes him to health, psychological and physical problems and added to them security problems in the war. and added to them security problems in the war. The coroner always suffers but is always required to continue working, I say that 56 forensic doctors are very few but we have done our duty and always try to take a step forward, and we have been fully equipped for when Idlib and Raqqa are liberated to deal with the remains that exist. We have prepared the necessary teams and equipment.

The whole of Syria is suffering from the sanctions on (lab) material, imagine there are sanctions on importing DNA lab testing kits, what humanity is the West is preaching? These DNA testing kits are only used to identify corpses, what does it have to do with politics?

They’re imposing on a blockade on us even in this matter.

Q: If this report is presented anywhere in the world medically and scientifically, for example, the method of examination, the method of documentation and scientific explanation, does the report meet the standards wherever it is presented in the world will it be recognized?

A: Of course, anything documented in detail such as injury, photographs, dates and identity of the person meets international standards.

Q: Was forensics able during these years because it was not prepared at the beginning of the war for so much work that it faced, the number of victims or the types of the killing, did it have enough experience today? Was there a follow-up such as training abroad or conferences to keep up with or benefit from the experiences of countries that unfortunately had wars?

A: We have periodic courses, more than one course a year in cooperation with the International Red Cross under the supervision of the General Authority for Forensic Medicine, and we have the problem that the number of forensic doctors in Syria is very small not exceeding 55 doctors, in all of Latakia province we have 5 doctors, 3 of them in Latakia area and 2 in Jableh, we cover the areas of Qardaha and Haffeh, the number is very little.

My ambition is to make a file for all the missing under the supervision of the General Authority for Forensic Medicine, to have data on nation level, not only to depend on cross-examining data, it’s a costly project, it will take time but let’s start it.

Q: In mass graves, what prevents the gunmen from burying soldiers with civilians, how will they be separated here?

A: What is preventing them from burying their dead with our martyrs? Don’t make a difference with them. We’re very suffering from these things. Also, there are people who think that DNA is a magical solution, once you examine the DNA the name appears, no, the subject is too meticulous. I have examined many mass graves, the bodies and the remains piled up on top of each other, when they kill them, they stack them on top of each other, and the remains are mixed.

We’re strengthening Anthropology and we take a step forward so that we can distinguish and sort out the remains of each victim from the other. This topic is very important, thorny and sensitive.

Q: And this is also about the method of exhuming?

A: Of course, if the exhumation is not proper, we will never reach results.

I feel that there are many files in Syria the time has come to talk about so that we can reconcile with ourselves and to know that we were victims of manipulation by others, including files such as Hamza al-Khatib file, you know, you know, or Zainab al-Husni or the file of the electrician in the area of al-Hirak, there are files that played a fundamental and sensitive role in which positions have been built on them, now the truth about them came to light.

I believe that forensics can be a witness and reader of the past through its experience, because I am not a political analyst, as I told you, but I am a reader of what has occured, so when I study the body and examine it I can analyze what happened at the moments of death.

Q: Does this affect our present and our future?

A: Exactly.

If the focus since the beginning of the war was on forensic medicine, its explanation of the facts, its detailing of what is happening and its refutation of tendentious narratives, could have solved many things, and many martyrs and many victims we did not need to examine.

We would have been able to lessen a large number of victims and martyrs only if we had been listened to, if there were at that time those who would listen. Unfortunately, I repeat, at the beginning of the war, there was a group that refused to listen, which did not want to be convinced. I will tell you a story when we were in Aleppo I had a colleague, a doctor who emigrated later, I was explaining to him that there are bodies of dead strangers, including Arabs and foreigners, and he told me that this thing is impossible, after a while and we were together I got a call about a body of a dead Turk at the police headquarters, a lawyer who was defending al-Qaeda and was famous, killed, and I was asked to examine him and take DNA samples, so I asked this doctor to accompany me so that I could prove to him accurately and everything will be in front of him, he told me that even if I saw, I would not believe it. At that time there were people who refused to believe.

End of the English translation transcript.

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

South Front

Late on March 31, the Israeli Air Force carried out a new round of airstrikes on Syria. Israeli warplanes launched over 12 missiles from Lebanese airspace targeting Shayrat Airbase in the Syrian province of Homs. At least 8 of them were intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense Forces. The damage caused to the airbase by the Israeli strike remains unclear.

Pro-Israeli sources claimed that the attack was aimed at weapon depots and positions of Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

Shayrat Airbase is well known as the point used by the Syrian Air Force to provide air cover for the government forces’ operations against al-Qaeda terrorists in Idlib. Russian attack helicopters also use it as a prestrike staging base. Over the past years, Israeli forces have repeatedly assisted al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria by striking the country’s armed forces during ongoing important military developments. Syrian sources say that the timing of the new attack indicates an imminent escalation in Greater Idlib, where the Turkish-Russian de-escalation agreement is slowly crumbling.

Early on April 1, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its supposedly moderate counterparts shelled positions of the Syrian Army near the town of Saraqib, which is located on the crossroad of the M4 and M5 highways. In response, Syrian artillery delivered several strikes on militants’ positions near Afis and Sarmin.

Emboldened by the ceasefire regime and the increasing Turkish military presence in the region, Idlib armed groups are now regularly attacking Syrian Army units in eastern Idlib. Last week, they claimed that they destroyed 3 pieces of military equipment, including a battle tank, with anti-tank guided missiles. Such actions highlight apparent gains from the current format of de-escalation efforts in the region.

ISIS released a video report on its campaign against government forces in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert during 2019-2020. According to the video, ISIS units continue ambushes of civilian and military vehicles, as well as separate army units, moving along the Palmyra-Deir Ezzor road. Terrorists stage fake check points, loot civilian properties and kill those that they capture. ISIS members demonstrate the mindset of common criminals. The video also shows a few pieces of destroyed military equipment belonging to  the Syrian Army.

While the video is designed to serve as a promotion piece of supposed ‘successes’ of the terrorist group, it in fact reveals the current poor state of ISIS cells, which are barely surviving in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert. If there is no more US-occupied al-Tanf zone where they can hide from Syrian Army security operations, they will have little chance of surviving in this part of Syria for another year.

Also read: Erdogan’s terrorists violate the cessation of hostilities agreement and target Saraqib with several artillery shells

Syrian Air Defence Systems Intercept ‘Hostile Targets’ Over Homs

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Tim Korso

Syria often reports violations of its airspace, which it frequently attributes to the Israeli Air Force. Tel Aviv occasionally admits to carrying out some of these air raids, claiming that it targets Iranian military forces allegedly stationed in the country, despite both Tehran and Damascus denying their presence.

Syrian air defences have intercepted Israeli missiles flying through the airspace above the city of Homs, Syria’s SANA news agency reported. The agency added that none of the missiles succeeded in reaching their targets as a result.

Damascus has not officially commented on SANA’s report.

Prior to the attack, Lebanon’s Sham FM reported that Israeli jets were spotted flying low above the country’s Kesrouan province, which lies on the way between the territory of Israel and the Syrian city of Homs. Alleged witnesses claim that the jets fired missiles while travelling through Lebanese airspace.

The Israeli Air Force has admitted on multiple occasions in the past that they have conducted air raids on Syrian territory, but claim to have targeted Iranian military forces allegedly present there. Tel Aviv alleges that these forces intend to attack Israel from the territory of the Arab Republic.

Damascus and Tehran both deny that Iranian troops are deployed there, with the Islamic Republic noting that it has only sent military advisers to the country. Both states have harshly condemned the Israeli actions as violations of Syrian sovereignty, calling on the international community to prevent further strikes.

ISIS Threat Revives In Eastern Syria. Idlib Militants Kill Each Other Over Security Zone Deal Contradictions

South Front

ISIS cells are once again active in eastern Syria. Late on March 17, the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces epelled an ISIS attack in the area between the town of al-Sukhna and the T3 station. The attack involved over two dozen ISIS members supported by at least 6 vehicles equipped with heavy weapons. Pro-opposition sources claim that at least 20 Syrian soldiers were killed in the clashes. Pro-government sources deny casualties and say that terrorists were forced to retreat after they had been targeted by artillery and mortar fire.

The ISIS presence in the desert area of eastern Syria had been slowly decreasing over the past year. Additionally, government forces carried out several security operations cracking down on the remaining ISIS cells in southeastern Deir Ezzor and eastern Homs. However, the terrorist threat was not removed. Syria and Russia say that ISIS members use the US-controlled zone of al-Tanf as a safe haven to hide from Syrian Army operations.

Five civilians were reportedly killed and 15 others injured in a rocket strike on the city of Afrin on March 18. Pro-Turkish sources say that the rockets were launched by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) or affiliated rebels. The YPG created the brand of the Afrin Liberation Forces in December 2018 in order to distance themselves from regular attacks on the Turkish-controlled part of northwestern Syria. In this way, the YPG, which is the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, was seeking to distance itself from operations against Turkish forces. The goal was to continue receiving military and financial support from the United States, while simultaneously using the same resources to carry out attacks on the formal ally of the US under another brandname.

Alaa al-Omar, a commander of one of the largest units in the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham Movement, was assassinated near Jisr al-Shughur in the southwestern part of Greater Idlib. Al-Omar was among commanders of Turkish proxy groups involved in sabotaging joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the M4 highway. Pro-government sources claim that his assassination is a result of the contradiction between al-Omar’s unit and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party, which controls Jisr al-Shughur. According to this theory, al-Omar was not active enough in organizing protests against the safe zone deal.

Regardless of the contradictions among the Idlib armed groups, the M4 highway remains closed and the Turkish-Russian agreement on the safe zone in the area is not being implemented.

Israeli Army Launches Airstrikes In Central, Southern Syria (Videos)

Source

Early on March 5, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched a series of airstrikes on the central Syrian governorate of Homs.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Syria, Israels warplanes launched several missiles from Lebanese airspace on targets in Homs. The Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) intercepted all the missiles.

“At 00:30 on Thursday, 5-3-2020, our air-defense means detected the movement of Israeli warplane coming from the northern part of occupied Palestine towards Sidon [in southern Lebanon], several missiles were fired from Lebanese airspace towards the central region, and immediately the hostile missiles were dealt with successfully and professionally, none of them reached our targeted positions,” the Syrian MoD said in a statement.

Local sources in Homs recorded heavy air-defense fire over the governorate, while no explosions were reported on the ground. This supports the Syrian MoD’s claims.

The Israeli attack on Homs endangered two civilian flights of Qatar Airways. The airliners were flying near Homs when the attack began.



При этом израильская авиация применила уже ставшую традиционной тактику прикрытия за гражданскими авиалайнерами (в данном случае за двумя бортами авиакомпании “Qatar Airways”).
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The Israeli military also carried out several strikes on Syrian military positions in al-Quneitra. Unlike Homs, explosions were heard in the southern governorate. The exact results of the strikes are yet to be revealed.

In the last two months, Israel stepped up its attacks on Syria. The most recent strikes, which occurred on February 23, targeted positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in the capital, Damascus.

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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.

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