Syria in Past 24 Hour: US-Backed SDF’s Military Bases Torched in Popular Uprising in Hasaka

Thu May 23, 2019 2:31
Syria in Past 24 Hour: US-Backed SDF's Military Bases Torched in Popular Uprising in Hasaka
TEHRAN (FNA)- The people of Hasaka set on fire the military bases of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in a Hasaka region as tensions and differences rose between people and SDF in areas under their control.

Hasaka

The angry residents of Hasaka torched the security centers of SDF across the city, the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported.

The newspaper noted that people’s fury in Hasaka’s Khashman district came after SDF killed a young man who had resisted forced recruitment of soldiers by the SDF.

Al-Watan pointed to the wide differences between Hasaka people and SDF militants in Khashman region, and said the SDF has dispatched reinforcement and military equipment to the region.

Meantime, battlefield sources in Hasaka reported that Asayesh and Military Police militants affiliated to the SDF launched massive attacks on the towns of Nas Tal, Daraja, Un al-Rous and other towns in Tal Barak region, and said that the Kurdish militants have arrested tens of civilians, including teachers, for forced recruitment.

Damascus, Dara’a

The Syrian Army seized a large amount of weapons and military equipment, including Turkish and US-made arms and ammunition, in areas and military bases formerly held by the terrorists Damascus and Dara’a provinces.

The Syrian Army’s engineering units during their clean-up operations in the towns of Damascus and Dara’a province discovered several arms depots and former hideouts of the terrorists which contained large amounts of weapons and military equipment.

Meantime, a Syrian Army’s military source announced that the Syrian Army units found different kinds of machineguns, combat rifles, RPGs, mortar and shoulder-mounted rockets which were made in the US and Turkey.

Hama

The Syrian Army backed by the Russian Air Force thwarted consecutive attacks by terrorists on their military positions in Northern Hama, inflicting heavy losses on the militants and killing at least 80 of them.

The Syrian Army engaged in fierce clashes with Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at, Jeish al-Izzah and Turkistani Party terrorist groups who had launched massive rocket attacks on army’s military positions and exploded bomb-laden vehicles along al-Hobait-Kafr Naboudeh axis in Northern Hama.

Meantime, other Syrian Army clashed with other terrorist groups who had attacked the Syrian Army’s military positions in Tal Hawash, al-Hamirat and al-Hawiz regions.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik News Agency quoted a military source as saying that the Russian and Syrian fighter jets pounded the contact lines of the terrorists in Khan Sheikhoun, al-Hobait, al-Qasabiyeh and Abedin in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib concurrent with several-hour-long clashes between the Syrian Army and militants.

It noted that the terrorists sustained a heavy defeat in all their failed attacks which were the heaviest of their kind in recent months, and said that at least 80 terrorists were killed and tens of others were injured as well as destroying at least 12 military vehicles and bomb-laden military vehicles.

Meantime, Tahrir al-Sham terrorists deployed in Western Aleppo launched rocket attacks on Aleppo City’s residential areas, injuring several civilians, including children.

The terrorists’ attacks on Aleppo City’s residential areas took place with the aim of supporting the terrorists in Northern Hama.

Idlib, Aleppo

Terrorists in Syria are planning chemical attacks in the Idlib de-escalation zone, as well as in the west of the Aleppo province, the head of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said on Tuesday.

“The militants plan to stage such provocations in the village of Jarjanaz, as well as in the town of Saraqib, where a group of children and adults — refugees from the Southern provinces of Syria — have already been gathered. Similar preparations are underway in the West of Aleppo province”, Maj. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin stated at a daily briefing, RIA Novosti reported.

Kupchishin added that terrorists operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone possess a significant amount of poisonous substances with which they fill munitions to use in staged provocations aimed at accusing the Syrian Army of “chemical attacks” against the civilian population.

Also on Wednesday, the Kurdish fighters conducted two military operations on Ankara-backed militants in occupied Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo, killing and injuring 14 of them, media sources said.

The Kurdish-language Hawar News reported that the Afrin Liberation Forces launched fresh military operations against the Turkish Army and its allied militants in Afrin, hitting a military position of al-Jbahat al-Shamia in the village of Shara which resulted in the death of eight Ankara-backed militants and injury of three others.

The Kurdish fighters also pounded a center of Ahrar al-Sharqiyeh in the town of Bastouleh in Shirava region, killing and injuring three others.

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Resistance report: Syrian Army kicks off long overdue Idlib offensive and Washington intensifies Iran threats

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report: Syrian Army kicks off long overdue Idlib offensive and Washington intensifies Iran threats

On May 6, the Syrian Army finally kicked off the long awaited Idlib offensive to expel the US-backed Jihadists from the Idlib demilitarized zone. Having postponed the offensive for months due to Ankara’s reluctance to allow the Syrian Army to reclaim the area, Moscow and Damascus finally lost their patience after the latest Jihadist missile attack on Hmaimeem airport last week and decided to punish these terrorists once and for all. This is the first offensive that the Syrian Army and its allies are launching this year, and despite some claims that the Syrian Army offensive will target the entire Idlib Governorate, the operation will rather be limited to the so called demilitarized zone that stretches from the Al-Ghaab Plain to the Abu Dhuhour Crossing. The offensive is primarily lead by the Syrian Army in coordination with allied militias, with the Russian Air Force covering the skies, however Iranian forces will also be present to offer logistical support. Since launching the offensive, the Syrian Army has quickly managed to steamroll the terrorists in northwestern Hama, moving to capture the imperative town of Kafr Naboudeh, as they are marching towards the Al-Ghaab plain. To the west, Syrian Forces are moving to attack the remaining Jihadist-held towns in northeastern Latakia, especially targeting the imperative town of Kabbani. The Syrian Army will be successful if they can neutralize the Jihadist threat to the government held towns in the Hama and Idlib provinces, thus denying the terrorists to launch raids on these towns.

What remains to be seen now is how Ankara will react as they are deeply entrenched with the Jihadist forces across this area, having previously set up 12 “observation posts” stretching between Latakia and Aleppo provinces. It is also interesting to speculate what this offensive will mean for Ankara and its proxies, if the Syrian Army is successful. As the Jihadists lose more ground, Ankara loses influence over northwestern Syria while the SDF consolidates its hold over the land east of the Euphrates. One theory as to why Ankara has agreed to this territory could be that Moscow and Damascus have temporarily agreed to allow Ankara to launch an offensive on the SDF held territory to the east, as a way to replace the territorial losses sustained on the Idlib front. Indeed Damascus has vowed to retake every inch of Syria, but given the amount of players involved in this war and given the numerous obstacles standing in Damascus’ way, it seems that a pragmatic approach is the best way to go here. It would be preferable if eastern Syria was occupied by Ankara and its proxies rather than by Washington and its proxies due to the fact that Ankara is more likely to cooperate and strike deals with Moscow and Damascus than the insane people over in Washington.

Washington intensifies animosity towards Tehran

Another week, another threat. Washington’s threats against Iran have become a weekly ritual now as idiots Pompeo and Bolton issued new threats towards as part of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran. Tehran had earlier warned that if Iran cannot use the strait of Hormuz, then the IRGC would close it for everyone. This prompted Washington to ramp up its threats as they sent an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, in what was described as a “clear and unmistakable message to Iran” by Bolton. He added that the decision was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.” Really? In this situation Iran is the aggressive one who is escalating things? The Persian Gulf is Iran’s lifeline, and Washington is looking to cut that lifeline, situated some 10 000 kilometres away from America’s eastern coastlines, yet Iran is the one that must argue for why it is not seeking war with the most aggressive evil regime the world has ever seen. On top of that the White House fool Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday, imposing new sanctions on Iran’s metal and mining sectors, with Trump even taking to Twitter to threaten anyone doing business with Iran to have their assets illegally seized by Washington. At the same time, the White House fool added that he is “looking forward to someday meeting with the leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves,”

What kind of a sick statement is this? Washington truly has no limit as to how low it can sink. Do they actually believe that Tehran will capitulate and agree to humiliation? I have a hard time believing even the idiots in Washington are this stupid. They can’t seriously believe that Tehran is going to be enticed to come back to the table with these threats and sanctions imposed. As a matter of fact things in Iran is looking really bad for the proponents of the JCPOA and further negotiations with Washington and its vassals as the conservative bloc, known as “hardliners” in the West were actually proven right in their arguments that it is completely pointless to negotiate anything with the West. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been facing a lot of scrutiny in Iran lately for their naïve belief that this deal would thaw relations with the West, and even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vocally criticized the deal in several speeches this year. As conservatives gain more ground in Iran, a fact I suspect Washington fully understands, Tehran is eyeing the only option remaining now: confrontation. It is either that or lying down and accepting death and defeat. The only conclusion I can draw from this mess is that Washington is actively looking for war. They want to provoke Tehran into a first strike so that they can start a larger regional war not only against Iran but also Tehran’s allies in Hezbollah and the Iraqi militias in a bid to destroy the entire resistance to the Zionist empire altogether.

This week also saw Iran informing the five remaining signatories to the JCPOA of its decision to suspend the implementation of some of its commitments under the multinational agreement, exactly one year after Washington unilaterally abandoned the agreement. I am amazed over the amount of self-restraint and patience exercised by Tehran since Washington’s exit from the deal last year, as Tehran has given the remaining signatories almost 12 months’ time to compensate for Washington’s withdrawal and guarantee the survival of the deal. Nevertheless, no measures to blunt the impact of economic sanctions re-imposed on Tehran have been taken by the remaining signatories. Not only is the Islamic Republic entitled to suspend the implementation of the deal, but it also has the right to withdraw from it altogether, what is the point of remaining in the deal when the main reason for entering it is now all but gone?

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has also given the remaining signatories 60 days to meet their commitments, and if they fail to address Tehran’s concerns, Tehran will suspend the implementation of two more commitments under the JCPOA. Unsurprisingly, the EU immediately rejected the ultimatum and expressed “great concern” about Iran’s decision. In a statement issued on May 9, top EU diplomats said “We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran’s compliance on the basis of Iran’s performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA and the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons). In this respect, we recall the key role of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) monitoring and verification of the implementation by Iran of its nuclear-related commitments.”

In the statement, the Europeans further expressed regret about the re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran and said they would stay fully committed to “the preservation and full implementation” of the JCPOA, which they described as “a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all.”

What a pathetic statement. When Washington withdrew from the deal, no one dared to even say a word, but when Tehran seeks to suspend some of its implementation after having been betrayed, the EU wants to “assess Iran’s compliance?” The EU has had a year to come up with a plan to continue the deal despite Washington’s withdrawal, but do not have the guts to stand up to Washington’s criminal behaviour of unilateral sanctions and threats. Instead all they have done is to talk nonsense and issue poor statements about their so called “commitments”. Washington has threatened to sanction anyone doing business with Iran, this includes its European vassals, why should Iran believe that the EU would dare to stand up to Washington and risk being slapped with sanctions themselves for the sake of Tehran? Ayatollah Khamenei previously warned that he does not trust the Europeans and has no faith in their promises, he is absolutely right as he fully understands that the EU has no will of its own and are a bunch of cowards who let Washington dictate their interests.

Tehran has nothing more to lose than it already has here, why remain in a deal that leaves Tehran without the deterrence of nuclear weapons and still be sanctioned? This situation is even worse than the one before the JCPOA deal. I usually don’t agree with the conservative bloc on foreign policy matters, but I see no other choice here for Tehran to guarantee its own survival in the face of Washington’s relentless aggression and criminal behaviour.

عمليّات الجيش مستمرّة: النار تعيد رسم «توافقات إدلب»

 صهيب عنجريني
الأربعاء 8 أيار 2019

عمليّات الجيش مستمرّة: النار تعيد رسم «توافقات إدلب»

تؤشّر كثافة نشاط الطيران الحربي على أنّ تخفيض وتيرة العمليات ونطاقها غير مطروح حاليّاً (أ ف ب )

عمليّات الجيش مستمرّة: النار تعيد رسم «توافقات إدلب»

نتائج اليومين الأولين من العمليات تمنح الجيش أفضليّة قطع طرق الإمداد بين قلعة المضيق (ريف حماة الشمالي الغربي)، وبلدة كفرنبودة (ريف حماة الشمالي الشرقي). وتبدو الأخيرة وجهةً مرجحة لعمليات الجيش في الأيام المقبلة، كما يشكل مثلث «مورك، كفرزيتا، اللطامنة» (على المحور المقابل) هدفاً بالغ الأهمية. وتؤشّر كثافة نشاط الطيران الحربي المتزايدة على أنّ تخفيض وتيرة العمليات ونطاقها غير مطروح حاليّاً، بل يبدو أنّ الاستعدادات قد استُكملت على عدد من المحاور الأخرى لتدشين عمليّات بريّة باتت في انتظار «الساعة الصفر».

ومن المنتظر أن تُشكل الضغوط الداخلية التركية عاملاً يحدّ فعالية أنقرة في التأثير بعمليات الجيش السوري راهناً، في ظل انشغال الرئيس رجب طيب أدروغان، وحزبه، في معركة إعادة الانتخابات البلدية في إسطنبول، وتزايد التحدّيات الاقتصاديّة المرتبطة باستقرار الليرة التركيّة. مع كل ما تقدّم، لا يمكن الحديث عن «عملية شاملة» تطمح إلى استعادة كامل إدلب في الوقت الراهن، لا بسبب صعوبة تدشين معركة بهذا الحجم فحسب، بل بفعل التداخلات السياسية الدولية المتوقّعة. ومن المرجّح أنّ السيطرة على «المنطقة المنزوعة السلاح» المُفترضة تُشكل هدفاً أساسياً لعمليات الجيش السوري في مرحلتها الراهنة. ويعزّز ذلك حرص وسائل الإعلام الرسميّة على إدراج عمليات الأيام الأخيرة في إطار «الرد على خروق الإرهابيين».

من دون تقديم نفي أو تأكيد، يشدد مصدر عسكري سوري على أنّ «خريطة عمليات الجيش السوري واضحة منذ زمن طويل، وهي تشمل كلّ المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الإرهابيين». ويؤكد المصدر أن «العلم السوري سيرفرف في كل تلك المناطق، السؤال فقط هو: متى؟ والجواب تقرّره القيادة في كل مرحلة، وترون نتائجه في الميدان». في الوقت نفسه، يحرص المصدر على القول إنّ «الجيش قادرٌ على نزع الأسلحة الثقيلة والخفيفة ومن يحملها ما دامت الاتفاقات حبراً على ورق، وإنّ الإرهابيين توهّموا قدرتهم على فرض أمر واقع».

وترجع آخر محاولة روسية ــ تركية، لإنقاذ «تفاهمات سوتشي» إلى آذار/مارس الماضي، حين أُعلن تسيير «دوريات مشتركة». وتكفّل وقت قصير في تظهير حقيقة أنّ المسألة لم تعدُ كونها محاولة تركيّة لـ«شراء الوقت»، ليبوء «تسيير الدوريات» بالفشل بعد أن أحجمت (أو عجزت) أنقرة عن فرضه (راجع «الأخبار» 9 آذار 2018). وحتى الآن، لا تعكس كواليس المجموعات المسلّحة (ولا سيّما «هيئة تحرير الشام») استعداداً لـ«تدارك ما فات» سلميّاً، والرضوخ لفكرة الدوريات المشتركة، وإفراغ «المناطق المنزوعة السلاح». على العكس من ذلك، تؤكد مصادر «جهاديّة»، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أنّ «النيّة معقودة على استعادة كل المناطق التي انحاز عنها المجاهدون (في إشارة إلى البانة والجنابرة وتل عثمان الاستراتيجي)». وحتى الآن، يُشكل تكثيف عمليات الجيش السوري عائقاً يحول دون قدرة «تحرير الشام» على شنّ عمليات هجوميّة في محاور أخرى، بغية تخفيف الضغط عن مناطق ريف حماة الشمالي، لكنّ هذا الخيار يظل حاضراً في حسابات «تحرير الشام» وحلفائها.

الأمم المتحدة تطالب بـ«العودة إلى سوتشي»

طالب الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، أنطونيو غوتيريش، بـ«ضرورة حماية المدنيين في إدلب». وأعرب بيان صادر عن المتحدث باسم غوتيريتش عن القلق «إزاء الهجمات الجوية التي استهدفت مواقع تمركز المدنيين والبنى التحتية، وما نجم عنها من مقتل وجرح مئات المدنيين ونزوح أكثر من 150 ألف شخص». ودعا البيان جميع الأطراف إلى «إعادة التزام ترتيبات وقف إطلاق النار ومذكرة التفاهم الموقعة في 17 أيلول 2018». بدوره، حذّر «مكتب الأمم المتحدة لحقوق الإنسان» من المخاطر التي «تحيق بمئات آلاف النازحين في شمال حماة وجنوب إدلب في ظل التصعيد العسكري الأخير». وقالت المتحدثة باسم المكتب، رافينا شمداساني، إن «الفارين من الأعمال العدائية معرضون لخطر كبير ويواجهون مخاوف خطيرة تتعلق بالحماية على طول الطريق».

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Syrian War Report – May 7, 2019: Multiple Casualites Reported Amid Clashes In Northwestern Hama

South Front

On May 6, air defenses of Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in Syria repelled two militant rocket attacks intercepting at least 36 projectiles, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

According to the defense ministry, the attacks caused no damage or casualties. Militants had used a unmanned aerial vehicle to direct their fire.

The shelling came from the Idlib de-escalation zone, which included the militant-held parts of Latakia, Idlib, Hama and Aleppo provinces. The Russian Aerospace Forces carried out strikes on militant positions in response to the attack.

According to pro-government and pro-militant sources, Russian warplanes struck two dozen of targets in northern Hama and southern Idlib on May 6 and continued striking militant positions on May 7.

The situation is developing in northwestern Hama where the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Tiger Forces and their allies launched an advance on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jaish al-Izza and other militant groups on May 6.

Initially, government troops seized several points north and northwest of Kernaz and forced militants to retreat towards Kafr Nabudah.

However, by the evening, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham-led forces had launched a counter-attack attempting to recapture the lost positions. In the morning of May 7, clashes continued.

Pro-militant sources released multiple conflicting reports urging that from 20 to 80 pro-government fighters were killed, and militants destroyed or captured at least 2 pieces of military equipment. Most of these claims are a part of the ongoing propaganda war. According to pro-government sources, up to 20 militants were killed. This number also remains unconfirmed.

Additionally, clashes and artillery duels took place in western Aleppo where some civilian casualties were reported.

According to reports, the Turkish Armed Forces had retreated from their observation post in Qalaat al-Madiq amid an intense fighting in northwestern Hama. This may indicate that Ankara is expecting a further escalation in the nearby area.

However, if the SAA focuses its efforts on a short part of the frontline and employs a limited force only for this purpose, it’s unlikely that it will achieve any major gains.

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Video: Israel Strikes ‘Iranian Targets’ in Homs. Only Syrian Missile Launcher Found to be Destroyed

Global Research, April 15, 2019

Overnight on April 13, warplanes of the Israeli Air Force delivered strikes on targets near the town of Masyaf in the Syrian province of Homs from Lebanese airspace.

According to the Syrian version of the events, most of Israeli missiles were intercepted, but the rest of them destroyed several buildings and injured at least 20 people, including 3 service members. Fragments of at least one Israeli missile were found near the Lebanese border.

The College of Management, the Scientific Research center and the Accounting School were among the targets inside Masyaf itself.

Israeli strikes also hit the nearby town of Umm Haratayn where, according to released photos, they destroyed a Maysalun heavy artillery rocket launcher. Maysalun is a Syrian-made variant of the Iranian Zelzal-2 unguided long-range artillery rocket. The rocket has a range of 210km and a heavy high-explosive warhead. Israeli sources had accused Iran and Syria of upgrading these rockets with guidance systems, thus converting them into precision-guided rockets.

It is important to note that the Israeli strikes took place near positions of launched of the S-300 air defense system delivered by Russia to the Syrian military. The system was not employed and likely remains not operational.

ISIS has drastically increased attacks on pro-government forces in the al-Mayadin-Deir Ezzor-al-Sukhna triangle. During the past few weeks, at least two convoys of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and pro-government militias came under attacks there. Various sources say that from 7 to 15 pro-government fighters were killed in these attacks.

On April 12, the Russian Aerospace Forces even delivered strikes on supposed ISIS targets near the town of Huribishah. In March, the SAA and its allies conducted a security operation against ISIS in the areas of Huribishah and Kobajjep, but these limited efforts were not enough to get rid of ISIS terrorists. Some sources even speculate that ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is hiding in the central Syrian desert.

The situation around the Idlib de-escalation zone remains unchanged. Ceasefire violations and artillery duels erupt across the entire contact line between the so-called opposition and the SAA on a constant basis.

On April 12, Kommersant daily reported citing informed sources that Gen Col Andrey Serdykov has become a commander of the Russian military group in Syria. One his key tasks, according to the report, is to set conditions for launching joint Russian-Turkish patrols along the demilitarized zone and to put an end to the ceasefire violations. Local sources say that this goal remains unrealistic while radical militants armed with heavy weapons remains deployed in the formally declared demilitarized zone.

On the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are conducting a wide-scale security operation in an attempt to track and eliminate remaining ISIS cells.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – APRIL 1, 2019: US SAYS SYRIAN ARMY MUST WITHDRAW FROM GOLAN HEIGHTS’ CONTACT LINE

SOUTH FRONT

01.04.2019

Over 50 ISIS members were eliminated by strikes of the US-led coalition in the outskirt of the town of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani in the Euphrates Valley over the past few days, local sources reported. The airstrikes were a part of the operation of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the coalition in the area, which is ongoing despite a formal US statement declaring defeat over ISIS.

According to local sources, a notable number of ISIS members is still hiding in a network of caves and underground tunnels in the area.

Besides this, ISIS cells within the SDF-held area have recently carried out a series of attacks killing at least 10 SDF members near the town of Diban and in the area of the Omar oil fields, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

On March 28, General Commander of the SDF Ferhat Abdi Sahin claimed that the group, which includes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their all-female faction, the Woman’s Protection Units (YPJ), had made a decision to capture the area of Afrin from Turkish forces.

“We are preparing and making arrangements in order to liberate Afrin … Because this is a military matter, everyone should know that when the time is suitable, the liberation phase will begin,” he said in an interview with Sterk TV.

Currently, the SDF has no land route to Afrin from northeastern Syria while YPG and YPJ control only a few positions to south and southeast of the area. Therefore, SDF statements regarding the military advance on Afrin should are just a political move designed in an attempt to buy support of the Syrian population. The group, which deeply relies on the foreign support to control northeastern Syria, is currently facing notable problems with the control over the Arab-populated areas seized from ISIS.

While the SDF has no real chances to capture Afrin itself, YPG and YPJ cells conduct attacks on Turkey-led forces on a regular basis. On March 31, a Turkish service member was killed and one was injured an attack by Kurdish rebels, according to Turkey’s Ministry of National Defense.

Following the announcement, the Turkish military artillery fired more than 100 shells at YPG positions in the towns of Tatmrsh and Shuargha. No casualties as a result of the shelling were reported.

The US-led coalition and its proxies from the so-called Revolutionary Commando Army continue to prevent evacuation of civilians from the Rukban refugee camp. They even held a live-fire drill involving High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems near the US garrison of al-Tanf located in the same area.

The situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone remains unchanged. The ceasefire regime is violated almost on a daily basis. Firefights and artillery dues are especially intense in northern Hama and southern Idlib.

On March 28, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came with a new statement claiming that his  country will continue working against Iranian presence in Syria. The statement shows that the Israeli military is set to continue its military campaign in Syria.

In own turn, the US did not limit its recent actions in support of Tel Aviv to recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. It also demanded the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to withdraw from the separation line area established in the framework of the 1974 Disengagement Agreement. US-Israeli efforts to force the SAA to do so could easily turn the Golan Heights into a new hot point and fuel the Syrian conflict further.

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Russian Warplanes Rain Hell On Idlib

South Front

March 15, 2019

On March 13, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a series of airstrikes on infrastructure of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the city of Idlib and in its southeastern countryisde. According to reports, at least 16 strikes hit weapon depots, HQs and a jail belonging to the terrorist group.

Opposition sources said that hundreds of prisoners, including dozens persons allegedly linked with the Syrian and Russian intelligence managed to escape the prison after the airstrike. Hayat Tahir al-Sham responded with a wide-scale security operation to trace and capture these people. This operation is still ongoing with varying results.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the strikes in Idlib and said that they were coordinated with Turkey. According to the Russian side, the strikes hit depots in which the terrorist group was storing armed unnamed aerial vehicles. The eliminated UAVs were reportedly prepared for an attack on Russia’s Hmeimim airbase.

Despite comments about the coordination with Turkey, in the following days Turkish pro-government and state media released multiple reports accusing the Russians and the Assad government of causing casualties in Idlib.

On March 13, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that they had uncovered an alleged Hezbollah network in the Golan Heights. The network named by the IDF as “the Golan File” was reportedly led by Hezbollah operative Ali Musa Daqduq on the Syrian side of the contact line in order to prepare attacks on Israel.

The IDF stressed that Daqduq has been a Hezbollah member since 1983. During this period, he reportedly occupied various important posts and was even involved in an attack on a US military base in Iraq’s Karbala in 2007.

The IDF described the alleged Hezbollah network as a serious threat and threatened both Damascus and the Lebanese party with consequences.

On the same day, Israel’s ImageSat International released satellite images showing an alleged Iranian missile compound in Syria. The missiles manufacturing site is reportedly located in Safita.

Regardless of real facts besides these claims, this series of reports looks as a coordinated media campaign. According to experts, its main goal is to justify further Israeli military actions against supposed Iranian targets in Syria and to continue the militarization of the occupied Golan Heights.

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