SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 6, 2019: ISRAELI AIR FORCE BOMBED ‘IRANIAN TARGETS’ NEAR AL-BUKAMAL

South Front

The Israeli Air Force has carried out a new round of strikes on Iranian-linked targets near the Syrian-Iraqi border. The airstrikes reportedly hit at the al-Hamadan airport north of the town of al-Bukamal.

Pro-Israeli sources claimed that the strike destroyed a HQ of Iranian-backed militias, as well as ammunition and weapon depots. The U News agency, which is known for its close ties with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iranian forces in Syria, also shared reports on Israeli airstrikes, but did not confirm them.

Since the start of 2019, the Israel Air Force had conducted over a dozen of strikes on supposed Iranian targets near al-Bukamal. Despite this, the town and facilities around it remain a stronghold of Iranian-backed forces in the border area.

On December 5 morning, a large convoy of the Russian Military Police arrived in the Qamishli airport in northeast Syria. The convoy consisted of several armored vehicles and dozens of trucks loaded with different supplies and military equipment. It was escorted by attack helicopters.

In October, Russia already deployed Mi-8 and Mi-35 helicopters, and Pantsir-S air defense systems there. Pro-government sources speculate that the airport is being turned into a Russian military base.

Turkish-backed militants will withdraw from the town of al-Mabrukah and Syrian Army troops will be deployed there under a new deal reached by Moscow and Ankara, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed on December 5. Russia’s state-run news agency Sputnik supported the claim by saying that army troops and Russian military police officers are now preparing to enter the town.

Al-Mabrukah is located south of the border town of Ras al-Ayn and hosts an electrical substation that was damaged during the recent Turkish-led attack on the region. The Damascus government will likely work to restore it.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham repelled a Syrian Army attack on the village of Umm Jalal in southern Idlib, the terrorist group’s news agency reported on December 5. According to the report, up to 12 army troops were killed. Nonetheless, no photos or videos to confirm this claim was provided.

On December 4, militants attacked army positions south of the nearby town of Umm al-Tinah. The attack was repelled following several hours of heavy clashes.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DECEMBER 5, 2019: PANTISR-S1 SYSTEMS DEPLOYED IN NORTHERN SYRIA

South Front

On December 4, the Syrian Arab Army repelled an attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham from the village of Umm al-Tinah in southeastern Idlib. The terrorist group’s news agency claimed that at least 10 soldiers were killed and 20 others were injured in the clashes despite the militants’ inability to capture the village. Nonetheless, no evidence confirming these claims was provided.

Earlier, government forces made an attempt to advance towards the village of Umm al-Timah. Their push also resulted in no notable gains.

On December 3, a senior commander in Hayat Tahrir al-Sham was killed in a supposed drone strike in the town of Atmeh in northern Idlib. Abu Ahmad al-Muhajir an Algerian national that joined al-Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and another person died, when a precision guided munition hit their vehicle. Local sources claim that the used weapon was a US-made AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile. Nonetheless, photos from the ground do not allow to confirm this with a high degree of confidence. Al-Muhajir reportedly was the main trainer of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s special forces known as the “Red Bands.”

On December 4, at least 2 people were killed and 6 others were injured in a car bomb explosion in the Turkish-occupied town of Ras al-Ayn. Milad al-Mahmoud, a military commander in the Turkish-backed Hamza Division, claimed that the explosion took place ahead of a pre-planned meeting of military commanders in the area.

Bombing attacks and other security incidents erupt in the Turkish-occupied area in northern Syria. Last month, more than 60 civilians and Turkish-backed militants were killed or injured in a large explosion that rocked the town of Tell Halaf near Ras al-Ayn. Turkish sources accuse Kurdish armed groups of carrying out these attacks.

The Syrian Air Defense Forces have deployed at least one Pantsir-S1 air defense system to the area of Ayn Issa. The system was filmed escorted by units of the Syrian Army, the Russian Military Police, and 2 attack helicopters. It will likely be used to secure the coordination and humanitarian assistance center established by the Russians in the town.

SDF Brings Back the US Oil Thieves Despite their Agreement with the Russians

 

Syria News Kurds SDF PKK YPG PYD Asayish USA NATO Turkey
Land Thieves and Oil Thieves

The Kurdish SDF separatist militias are trying to ‘Erdoganize’ their bets, jumping on four ropes at the same time: their submission to the USA and Israel, their shaky agreements with Russia and Syria, and their role in luring in NATO member state Turkey into Syria playing the useful fools in giving the Turkish madman Erdogan the pretext he uses to justify his illegal incursion into the northern territories of Syria. As in their role model Erdogan, in the end, they gain little tactically and lose greatly strategically.

After Moscow reached an agreement with Kurdish forces a few days ago to deploy its forces in three towns in northern Syria in order to avoid Ankara expanding its military operations, SDF announces the deployment of its militia alongside the US-led ‘Coalition’ forces at seven deployment points around the oil fields.

The following report by the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news channel sheds more light on the latest developments northeast and northwest of Syria, in Idlib’s southern countryside, where the Syrian Arab Army is cleaning more areas from Erdogan terrorists of Nusra Front:

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/QLpiVchSVbqY/

Transcript of the English translation of the video report:

The deployment of Syrian forces on the Aleppo-Hasakah international road awaiting the Turkish-Russian meetings in Aleyh and the Shirikrak in the Raqqa and Hasakah countrysides, Turkish military operations towards Tal Tamr in al-Hasakah countryside, and Issa in Raqqa countryside may wait for a Russian pressure on Ankara to stop attacks before it rages again.

Improving the conditions of the meeting between the two parties has not succeeded in achieving an agreement, Ankara is waiting for the correction of the balance of power in its interest and in the interest of its armed factions.

The war on Tel Tamr and Isa is for balancing power in the north.

SDF pre-empted Ankara and agreed to the entry of Russian troops into Amuda, Tall Tamr, and Ain Issa to block the road to Ankara from expanding its operations east towards Hasaka from Tall Tamr, and west towards Tabqa and Raqqa from Ain Issa and control of the international road linking al-Hasakah and Aleppo known as M4, and get Russian protection in the face of continued Turkish attacks.

Moscow is rushing to reassure Ankara by removing SDF from the international highway, which will remain a card requiring Turkish intervention beyond the 30 kilometers agreed upon in Sochi. Moscow exploits differences in US attitudes toward the Kurds to woo them first and persuade them to re-understand with Damascus with Russian guarantee as the only and final solution to deny any Turkish justifications to occupy more territory in northern Syria.

Kurdish forces completed their deployment with ‘International Coalition’ in the vicinity of Hasaka, Qamishli, and Deir Ezzor to ‘secure Syrian oil fields’, after the withdrawal of its members from the headquarters of SDF and the Kurdish ‘self-autonomous ruling’ from Ain Issa and transferring them to Raqqa due to fears of an imminent Turkish attack.

Syria news northeast in Deir Ezzor Hasakah Raqqa

The scene is becoming increasingly complex in the east as SAA tanks seek to penetrate the remaining areas of Nusra Front in the southern and eastern countryside of Idlib and to pressure Turkey to withdraw its checkpoints in order to remove a card from Ankara’s hand that Moscow may bargain with in exchange for the Syrian east and SDF.

Dima Nassif from Damascus, for Al-Mayadeen

End of the English transcript

Arabic transcript of the report:

بعد توصل موسكو إلى اتفاق مع القوات الكردية قبل أيام على نشر قواتها في ثلاث بلدات في الشمال السوري من أجل تفادي توسيع أنقرة عملياتها العسكرية تعلن قسد نشر قوات بالاشتراك مع قوات من التحالف الدولي في سبع نقاط انتشار حول حقول النفط

انتشار القوات السورية على طريق حلب – الحسكة الدولي بانتظار اللقاءات التركية الروسية في عالية والشركراك في ريفي الرقة والحسكة، وقد تنتظر العمليات العسكرية التركية اتجاه تل تمر بريف الحسكة وعين عيسى بريف الرقة ضغطاً روسياً على أنقرة لإيقاف الهجمات قبل أن تحتدم من جديد

تحسين شروط اللقاء بين الطرفين لم يفلح في انجاز اتفاق، أنقرة تنتظر إعادة تصحيح ميزان القوى نسيباً لمصلحتها ومصلحة فصائلها المسلحة

الحرب على تل تمر وعين عيسى من أجل توازن القوى في الشمال

قسد استبقت أنقرة ووافقت على دخول القوات الروسية إلى عامودا وتل تمر وعين عيسى لقطع الطريق على أنقرة من توسيع عملياتها شرقاً باتجاه الحسكة من تل تمر وغرباً باتجاه الطبقة والرقة من عين عيسى والسيطرة على الطريق الدولي الواصل بين الحسكة وحلب المعروف بال ام 4 والحصول على حماية روسية بمواجهة الهجمات التركية المتواصلة

موسكو تسارع لطمأنة أنقرة بإبعاد قسد عن الطريق الدولي الذي سيظل ورقة تستدعي التدخل التركي فيما يتعد ال 30 كيلومتراً المتفق عليها في سوتشي. وتستغل موسكو التباينات في المواقف الأمريكية تجاه الكرد لاستمالتهم أولاً وإقناعهم بإعادة التفاهم مع دمشق بضمانة روسية كحل وحيد ونهائي لسد الذرائع التركية باحتلال مزيد من أراضي الشمال السوري

القوات الكردية استكملت انتشارها مع قوات من التحالف الدولي في محيط الحسكة والقامشلي ودير الزور لتأمين حقول النفط السوري بعد سحب عناصرها من مقار القيادة العامة لقسد والمجلس التنفيذي للإدارة الذاتية من عين عيسى ونقلها إلى الرقة بسبب مخاوف من هجوم تركي وشيك

المشهد يزداد تعقيداً شرقاً فيما تسعى الدبابات السورية لاختراق ما تبقى من مناطق النصرة في الريف الجنوبي والشرقي لادلب والضغط على تركيا لسحب نقاط مراقبتها من أجل نزع ورقة من يد أنقرة قد تساوم عليها موسكو مقابل الشرق السوري وقسد

ديمة ناصيف – دمشق – الميادين

End of Arabic Transcript.

The separatist Kurds playing on more than one rope is very dangerous, especially if the base is betraying the people who hosted them for over a century to Israelize their land, all the players the Kurds are playing with are much bigger than them and all of them feel betrayed by the Kurds, except the US and Israel who only see them as their free ride into the oil, water, and agricultural rich land of Syria.

Heavy Russian airstrikes reported across Idlib

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:00 P.M.) – The Russian Air Force has conducted dozens of airstrikes over the Idlib Governorate these past 24 hours, as their warplanes continue to target areas controlled by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and their jihadist allies.

According to a field report from nearby Hama, the Russian Air Force began the day by targeting the jihadist positions inside the southern part of Idlib.

These strikes would result in several powerful explosions around the towns of Kafr Nabl, Ma’arat Al-Nu’man, and Kafr Sijnah.

More Russian airstrikes were reported inside the villages of Al-Haraki, Farwan, Al-Sayyadi, Al-Kinays, Tal Kursiyan, Al-Barsah, Hish, Halbah, and Rakaya.

This latest wave of airstrikes by the Russian Air Force comes just two days after the jihadist rebels launched an offensive to capture the town of ‘Aajaz and its surroundings in southeastern Idlib.

While the jihadist rebels were initially successful, the Syrian Army was able to reverse these gains on Sunday when they launched a big counter-offensive.

SYRIAN ARMY IS DEVELOPING COUNTER-ATTACK IN SOUTHEASTERN IDLIB (MAP UPDATE)

Assad to Paris Match: France Should Return to International Law

 

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al Assad explained that France needs to return to International Law, in Paris Match interview.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad received Régis Le Sommier in Damascus, for one of those rare interviews given to western journalists whose countries engage in war crimes against Syria. Le Sommier, co-editor of the Paris Match weekly, immediately reminded Dr. Assad of their meeting in November 2014. He did, however, show some decency by not mentioning his book, Assad, based on the earlier interview, and about which Paris Match once remarked, How can a journalist face up to a tyrant? Exclude him from his scope of investigation? Or approach him, try to grasp his mechanics? The question arises regularly at the whim of the dictators who parade at the head of certain states. 

It is fascinating to view the derivative outcomes of these “rare” interviews. Le Sommier created a book, published in 2018. In May 2013, Marcelo Cantelmi used his ‘rare interview’ to launch a scathing attack on Syria and its President al Assad, before releasing dribbles of the interview, over a few days. In January 2015, Foreign Affairs managing editor, Jonathan Tepperman, used his rare interview to also launch a series of anti-Syria propaganda reports — including his complaints that the presidential palace was not bullet-ridden, and rat-infested — via his report on the interview and his being interviewed about the interview…weeks before the actual interview was published.

Le Sommier was discreet enough not to mention Paris Match‘s sweet report on Belgian Michel, armed terrorist in Syria, who returned home to a more simple life as a baker’s assistant. It is possible that Belgian Michel would be a household deity in the western world, had it not been for those annoying terrorist attacks in Paris, mere weeks after that interview.

weapons-crimes-against-syria
Shortly before the attacks in France, Paris Match ran a lovely report on Belgian Michel’s life after returning from ”fighting’ in the SAR

On 27 November, Paris Match published its “exclusive” interview, except the fine print noted it was only exclusive “excerpts.” The bottom of the excerpted interview contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite.

These excerpts shockingly missed significant points made by President Assad: France needs to turn to the standards of International Law; Erdogan is immorally threatening blackmail against Europe; terrorists against the Syrian state are subject to Syrian law.

It is a breach of International Law for one or more countries to arm an insurrection against another country. It is a breach of International Law to engage in military aggression against any country, except in self-defense. It is a breach of International Law for any country to deploy its military into another country, without that country’s explicit invitation.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad tutors Le Sommier in International Law, 20 November 2019.

The bottom of the Paris Match excerpts contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite. One might wonder if this prohibition is a Kafkaesque authorization for other media to engage in monkey dung flinging journalism, as one of the UK tabloids immediately did.

Daily Mail flung its dung in one of the most outrageous headlines since the NATO Spring was dumped into Syria: Jihadis face execution without trial in Syrian jails as Assad says foreign ISIS members will be hanged. Nowhere in the Paris Match interview does Dr. Assad say such a thing. He says, We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Daily Mail continues to fling more dung, hitting peak colonialism in wailing about the Brit terrorist John Letts being stuck in an overcrowded jail — poor baby, let us wail for him and ignore the UK’s part in dumping their human garbage into Syria, shall we?

UK, US Holding Tabqa Dam Hostage in Syrian Negotiations?
English terrorist, John Letts, at Syria’s Tabqa Dam.

Continuing with its coprophilia journalism, Daily Mail reached back in, and flung even more, this time in the form of the Saydnaya overcrowded, “torture” jail, as Syria is that paradoxical Utopia where there are no actual criminals, but the prisons are overflowing, nonetheless.

image-saydnaya prison
The Saydnaya Prison building.

The following is the transcript of the Paris Match Le Sommier interview with Syria’s President Bashar al Assad:

Question 1:  Good morning.  I met you five years ago, specifically in November 2014.  At that time, your government controlled only a third of the country.  Today, your army has returned to the border regions with Turkey.  Do you feel that you have won the war?

President Assad:  Let’s be precise, it is not my war to win or lose.  The narrative pushed by the West is: the war of the President who wants to remain in office; while in fact, it is a national war – the Syrians’ war against terrorism.

You are correct in your statement that we have made significant progress in this war, since we last met, but that doesn’t mean that we have won.  We will win when terrorism is eliminated.  It is still present in certain areas in the north, and what is more dangerous is that support for this terrorism still continues from Turkey, and from Western countries – whether it’s the United States, Britain, or France.  That’s why it is too early to talk about victory.

Question 2:  Do you really think that France continues to support terrorism?

President Assad:  Definitely; in previous periods, they were supplying weapons.  This may have changed in the previous months, or last year, but let’s put things into perspective: when French forces come to Syria without an invitation from the legitimate government, this is occupation.  There’s no real difference between supporting terrorism and providing military forces to occupy a country.  It is the same context, but with different titles.

Intervention:  But the French came to support the Kurds who were fighting ISIS.  That was their mission.

President Assad:  But, can we send Syrian forces to fight terrorism in France, without the request of the French government?!  Globally, states are governed by international law, not by their intentions.  It is not enough to have the desire to fight terrorism; there are international rules for fighting terrorism, and of course, here, I am presuming that there are good intentions.  However, we do not believe that there are good intentions.  The Syrian government is fighting ISIS, why wasn’t it supported?  And why does the French government fight ISIS and yet support al-Nusra, when in fact they are both terrorist organisations?!

Question 3:  Perhaps you are referring to the period when Hollande was President of the Republic.  Actually, the French Foreign Minister, Fabius, himself said at a certain point that you do not deserve to remain alive.  What is the position now with Emmanuel Macron?  Have you felt a change in the French position?

President Assad:  In form yes, in substance no.  When there is occupation, it is one form of terrorism.; we need to acknowledge this fact.  We need to talk about change in substance not in form.  We are not interested in statements, but with action on the ground.

Question 4: How do you want change to happen on the ground?

President Assad:  Simply, by going back to international law.  We do not ask the French government for anything; we do not ask for political, economic, or security assistance.  We don’t need them, and we are capable of managing our own affairs in Syria.  But we want them to return to the international order, which doesn’t exist at the moment.

Today, there is international chaos.  We don’t want them to support the President, this is of no concern to me; it doesn’t concern us if they say he is good or bad, this is also a Syrian matter.  But what we do demand is that they stop supporting everything that could cause more bloodshed, killing, and suffering in Syria.

Question 5:  France faces a real problem related to the Jihadists in Syria.  Do you have Jihadists in your prisons?

President Assad:  Regardless of nationalities, this is a matter for the competent authorities who have the statistics.  But in any case, if there are Jihadists, they are subject to Syrian laws.

Intervention:  But you should know if there are French nationals in your prisons?

President Assad:  I don’t have any statistics.  For us, terrorists are terrorists, whether they were French or Syrian.

Question 6:  If you signed an agreement with the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units,” and the army entered that region and restored all this land, you’ll find that there are prisons, and in these prisons, there are 400 French Jihadists.  What are you going to do with them?

President Assad:  Every terrorist in the areas controlled by the Syrian state will be subject to Syrian law, and Syrian law is clear concerning terrorism.  We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Intervention:  So, you don’t intend to repatriate them to Europe as Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done, for instance?

President Assad:  Erdogan is trying to blackmail Europe.  A self-respecting man doesn’t talk like this.  There are institutions and there are laws.  Extraditing terrorists or any convicted person to another state is subject to bilateral agreements between countries; but to release people from prison knowing that they are terrorists and sending them to other countries to kill civilians – this is an immoral act.

Question 7:  Going back to the ongoing conflict, eight years of war, the country devastated, whole cities destroyed, half the population are displaced or refugees, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.  Do you acknowledge that you wouldn’t have won this conflict or this war without Russian or Iranian support?

President Assad:  War is tough and not easy, and we are not a superpower.  We have been fighting against the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world.  Logically, there is no doubt that the support of our friends has reduced losses and helped us regain our territories.

If we are to ask, whether Syria would have, without this support, gone towards partition or full defeat?  This is a hypothetical question now, because sometimes it is difficult to predict the result of a tennis match involving two players, let alone a war with tens of players and hundreds of thousands of fighters!

Question 8: Have you thought, for a single moment during this war, of leaving, going into exile, for instance?

President Assad:  In fact I haven’t, for a simple reason: the option neither existed nor was it considered, it was only suggested by Western officials.  As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t concern me.  I would not consider this option unless it was suggested by the Syrian people, and when I say the Syrian people, I mean the majority.  I do not mean a terrorist minority, nor a minority hatched up by foreign intelligence services, nor a minority of those who demonstrated because they were paid to do so by Qatar.  This option was never suggested by the majority and that’s why I remained.

Question 9: But militarily, al-Nusra Front reached places only a few kilometers from your residence in 2013, to al-Abbasiyeen neighborhood, al-Abbasiyeen Square.

President Assad:  That’s true. Damascus remained almost besieged for years, sometimes completely, sometimes partially; shells were falling on us on a daily basis.  This in itself was a greater motive for me to remain and defend my country, not to flee.  I am doing my constitutional duty in defending the people against terrorism.

Question 10:  Now, let’s talk about reconstruction.  It is said that reconstruction will cost 300 or 400 billion Dollars.  Do you have a plan to get the people out of this conundrum, despite the embargo and the sanctions imposed on you which actually harm the people and increase their suffering?

President Assad:  This is absolutely true. Nevertheless, some of our industries have expanded, not the other way around. The pharmaceutical sector, for instance, has expanded.  As to rebuilding what has been destroyed, you can visit Aleppo, which had suffered large-scale destruction at the hands of terrorists, and year-on-year, you can see a difference and that the state is rebuilding the city together with its population.

Intervention:  But the Syrian Pound is in very bad shape, at an all-time low, and you need to find foreign investment.  Does China, for instance, and other countries want to invest?

President Assad:  Most recently, in the past six months, some companies have started to come to invest in Syria.  Of course, foreign investment remains slow in these circumstances, but there are ways to circumvent the sanctions, and we have started to engage with these companies, and they will come soon to invest.  But this doesn’t mean that the investment and reconstruction process is going to be quick, I am realistic about this.

Intervention: What are your estimates, how many years?

President Assad: This depends on how many years the embargo will continue, and the methods it will use.  It also depends on Syrians returning from other countries, which they are starting to do so gradually.  It’s difficult to give an answer to this question, but of course, it is a process that will be on-going for years.

Question 11: How many Syrians have returned to Syria?

President Assad:  Over a million Syrians in less than a year, and the process is accelerating, particularly after Damascus and the southern region and its environs were liberated.  Of course, the return of Syrians is also related to rebuilding the infrastructure and the availability of other services, like electricity, schools, and hospitals; regrettably, these three sectors have been the worst-affected by the embargo.  Furthermore, there is Western pressure for refugees not to return to Syria, for them, this is a humanitarian card which can be used to achieve political objectives.

Question 12:  A large number of immigrants left the country because they opposed you, and because they suffered from the atrocities of the army.  How can you invite them back?  How do you encourage them to come back?  Would they be covered by a general amnesty, for instance?

President Assad:  First, most of them are supporters of the state and not the opposite.  The evidence of this was the presidential elections which they took part in 2014 and voted for the President.  The largest number immigrated because of the war itself and its economic consequences, so there is no problem with their return; these people can return normally and without an amnesty.  Others are dissidents who have not committed any crimes and there is no warrant for them, the fact that they oppose me is not an issue, since we have dissidents within Syria and we are constantly engaging with them.

With regards to the amnesty, we have granted amnesties more than once, most recently a few months ago, because some people fear returning without an amnesty and believe that they will be arrested; although only those who carried weapons are arrested, and even those have been pardoned.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad and reporter Le Sommier were in the same room, on the same planet, despite what some monkey dung flinging journals might infer.

Question 13: Last year, when al-Ghouta returned to government control, I went there and met some young rebels who carried weapons.  The Syrian officers were asking them to hand in their weapons and that they will not be harmed.  Their response was: you want us to give up our weapons because you want us to join the army, and we don’t want to.  They left to Idleb.  What’s your take on that?

President Assad:  In actual fact, some of those who went to Idleb left their families with us (government-controlled areas) and we are taking care of them; if they were afraid, they would not leave their families. This is the first point, the second, is that there are some militants who went to Idleb but later returned to our side. They asked and we allowed them to return. They received an amnesty, because the majority of them were told that the army will kill you. This happened of course when they were isolated from the state for seven years, but when the army went into al-Ghouta, normalcy was restored, and people now live a normal life. We must realise that some of them were fighting not because they were extremists, but they had no other choice: either to fight with the terrorists or to be killed. They are returning to us gradually after the felt reassured.

Question 14:  Today, there are numerous demonstrations in Iran, and the same in Lebanon and Iraq.  And all those demonstrators are asking for dignity and for wealth not to be concentrated in the hands of the few in their country.  Wasn’t that the case of the demonstrators who went out at the beginning of the Syrian crisis?

President Assad:  If we want to talk about the banners that were being pushed – like dignity, freedom, and others, they can be beautiful masks but what lies behind them is ugly.  Let me give you some examples:  Bush killed a million and a half Iraqis under the pretext of democracy; Sarkozy contributed to killing hundreds of thousands of Libyans under the pretext of freedom for the Libyan people; and today, France, Britain, and America are violating international law under the pretext of supporting the Kurds, who are a part of the Syrian population, not an independent group.  In Syria in 2011, these very same banners – dignity and freedom – were used to kill policemen and civilians, and sabotage public property.  Therefore, we should be more concerned with the facts on the ground and what’s actually happening than with headlines.

Intervention:  But in the beginning, there was a popular uprising, and real demands.  There was no existence of Al Qaeda.  Why did you use violence at the beginning?

President Assad:  Let’s talk numbers: the largest number of demonstrators in Syria was 170,000.  For arguments sake, let’s assume this number is inaccurate and so let’s multiply it several times over to reach a million demonstrators; the Syrian population is over 23 million, so these figures are not representative of anything.  So, in terms of size it is not a popular uprising.  Second, a popular uprising does not occur when people are paid by Qatar to demonstrate.  Third, I wouldn’t have been able to remain, with the government, in power for nine years in the face of a popular uprising.  No one can withstand a popular uprising, and an example here is the Shah of Iran – despite all attempts and Western support, they could not keep him in power.  So, calling it a popular uprising is wrong or at least unrealistic.

Question 15: At the beginning of the war in 2011, you released prisoners from Sednaya.  You are accused of doing that in order to inject Jihadist poison in the ranks of the opposition.  How do you respond?

President Assad:  Every few years, we grant an amnesty to prisoners in Syria.  This was a general policy before the war.  When an amnesty is issued, there are some categories which are excluded like espionage, drug trafficking and others.  However, in the law we did not have a category called extremists and so the amnesty includes everyone.

In 2011 specifically, there were convicts who were released because they had served their sentences and not because of an amnesty.  What do we gain if we release extremists or terrorists in order to kill officers of the Syrian Army and civilians?!  The Western narrative said that we did so in order to demonize the peaceful demonstrations; but in fact, they demonized themselves because in the early weeks, they posted videos – which can be found on the internet – where they killed policemen, attacked and slaughtered civilians.  This is actually what happened concerning the release of prisoners.

Question 16:  I talked a short while ago about Sednaya, but you have other prisons and detention centers.  A colleague of mine named Manon Loizeau who made documentaries about rape cases in your prisons.  What do you say to that?

President Assad:  There is a difference between policy being implemented and individual action.  Harassment or rape are not prevalent in Syrian society; but if there are such cases, they are punished by law.  These are individual cases.

We condemn any such policy anywhere in the world because it is immoral; it also undermines stability in Syria.  You cannot talk about stability and a peaceful relationship among the population if there was killing, torture, or any other kind of abuse.

Intervention: Those documentaries were filmed with Syrian witnesses, and these incidents happened to them. They were not talking about things happening in their society because they were ashamed of them. But they were witnesses who suffered from these practices?

President Assad:  No. You are talking about a story. A story is one thing and documented proof is another.  Everything that was presented was unsubstantiated, the photos were not verified.  Who are those witnesses?  They were hidden and not named.  In most of these cases, Qatar financed these reports, and adopting them would need a professional investigation.  If we were to put morality aside, logically, we do not have an interest in such acts.

This is against our interests, so why should we do it?!  What do we achieve through torture?! What is the result – revenge?!  If you go to the areas which were under the control of the opposition and then were retaken by the state, you will see the opposite.  We are not schizophrenic: tolerant in one place and torturing people in another.  These are mere political allegations.

Intervention:  Once again, I stress, i.e. there is an emphasis on this point, but these witnesses were not funded by Qatar.  They were witnesses who were met in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan.  And they suffered.  And the person who documented these testimonies is a very trusted journalist.

President Assad:  There is no such thing as trust in these cases.  There are mechanisms and there are verified facts, there is no room for stories.  Who verified the witnesses’ stories?  Who verified that those witnesses had actually suffered to start with?  I can discuss this story with you when I have the facts in front of me, but I can’t discuss rumors or stories.  When facts exist, those who commit any crime are prosecuted by Syrian law, this is the norm.

Question 17:  Donald Trump mentioned Syria when he extended thanks upon the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Did you give the Americans information, and did you know the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi?

President Assad:  I always laugh when this question is raised, because the more important question which should be asked is: was al-Baghdadi really killed or not? And did this “fantastic play” staged by the Americans take place in reality?

Intervention: But ISIS acknowledged that!

President Assad:  Yes, of course.  But ISIS was created by America; ISIS is part of the play and they taught al-Baghdadi how to act when he was in American prisons in Iraq.  That’s why I’m saying did this big play actually take place?  We don’t know.  It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t killed, but if he was, it wasn’t because he was a terrorist.  They were able to strike ISIS when it was taking oil from Syria to Iraq, but they didn’t; and when ISIS attacked the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor, the Americans bombed the Syrian Army instead of ISIS.  So, no, we did not cooperate with the Americans over anything. You cannot cooperate in the fight against terrorism with those who are supporting terrorism.

President Assad:  It’s one of Trump’s cute jokes.  It’s a joke.

Question 18: In our meeting in 2013, you assured me that the Syrian Army never used chemical weapons in al-Ghouta.  But after that came the case of Khan Sheikhoun, and then Douma. Why is the evidence mounting up suggesting that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons?

President Assad:  To date, there isn’t a single shred of evidence; the use of these weapons would have caused the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people and this did not happen.

As to this build-up: firstly, it was because the Syrian Army was advancing in the fight against terrorism and they were looking for a pretext to strike at it, and that’s what happened.  This narrative was used in two situations: either because we had made a significant advance, and it was an attempt to threaten us in the hope we’d stop, or because we were preparing for a large operation, and so it was an attempt to threaten us before the start of the operation.

Second: we were advancing and making good progress, so why would we need chemical weapons?  That is the question.  More importantly, every place we enter, there are civilians whose lives return to normal.  How could they remain there while we were using chemical weapons?!  In fact, the lies in Western media and in Western politics have no limits on this subject.

Journalist : Thank you.

— Miri Wood

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Syrian War Report – November 25, 2019: Syrian Army Developing Advance In Southern Idlib

South Front

Tensions are heating up around the militant-held parts of Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

On November 22, the Syrian Army conducted a wide-scale missile strike on militants’ positions in western Aleppo. According to pro-militant sources, at least 15 improvised rocket-assisted munitions were employed. 2 large weapon depots belonging to radicals were targeted. The strike came in response to the November 21 incident, when militant shelling killed or injured at least 37 people in the city of Aleppo.

On November 23, the army eliminated several militants with anti-tank guided missiles and artillery strikes around Rakaya Sijneh and the al-Nar hilltop. On the same day, a Russian airstrike destroyed a headquarters of Jayish al-Izaa, mostly known for its ties with al-Qaeda, near Kafr Nabl.

On November 24, the army resumed its ground operation against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other radical groups in southern Idlib. Backed up by air and artillery strikes, army troops liberated the town of Misherfah and secured several positions around it. Militants carried out two counter-attacks to recapture Misherfah, but they were repelled. According to pro-government sources, up to 9 militants were eliminated.

Earlier in November, government forces liberated Luwaybidah and the Khaznah Hill in the same area. It’s expected that the army and its allies will continue their counter-terrorism efforts and further steadily cleaning southern Idlib.

On November 23, a coalition of Turkish-backed militant groups, known as the Syrian National army, launched a wide-scale attack on positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Army near Ayn Issa in northern Raqqa. By November 24, they had captured the villages of Saida, Mu’laq and al-Wasta, and reached the vicinity of Ayn Issa itself.

Then, united forces of the SDF and the Syrian Army pushed Turkish-backed militants back recapturing Saida, Mu’laq and al-Wasta, and once again securing the area. Despite this, artillery duels along the contact line north of Ayn Issa continued.

Over the past weeks, the Turkish Army established several fortified positions near the M4 highway in northern Raqqa and eastern al-Hasakah. Taking into account that Turkish proxies cannot carry out any large-scale offensive actions without Ankara’s approval, the Turkish leadership is likely aiming to use the instability in northeastern Syria to occupy more area. The M4 highway, which is the main transportation line in this part of the country, is an apparent target.

Central Command chief General Kenneth McKenzie revealed on November 23 that around 500 US troops remain deployed on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and in al-Hasakah. These troops will soon resume their anti-terrorist activities, General McKenzie added.

The US withdrawal from northern Syria allowed it to avoid the involvement in the ongoing  standoff over the so-called Kurdish question. Washington used the gained time to fortify its positions in oil-rich areas of eastern Syria.

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Syrian Civilians Killed and Wounded due to Al-Nusra Front Shelling on Aleppo Neighborhoods

By Khaled Iskef

Source

al Nusra front targeting neighborhoods of Aleppo ac970

Seven people were killed and more than 30 others were injured on Thursday evening as a result of targeting Aleppo neighborhoods in northern Syria with homemade rockets and missiles by Al-Nusra Front militants.

Al-Nusra militants carried out their attacks from their positions in Al-Rashideen / 4 /area southwest of Aleppo city, where the shells hit Al-Jamailia, Al-Hamdaniya, Halap Al-Jadida , Al-Zebdieh, Al-Mashhad, Salah Al-Din and Al-A’zamiya neighborhoods.

Most of the casualties who reached hospitals were from Salah al-Din neighborhood in the south-east of the city, as the crowded popular market in the neighborhood was targeted, which also led to several fires in cars and houses. According to medical sources, an 8-year-old boy died along with three other adults as a result of being burned in a car that was hit directly by a missile.

Al-Nusra militants shelling continued for about 3 hours, after which the pace of the shells subsided in conjunction with Syrian Army intense targeting with rockets the positions of the militants in al-Rashideen area and the town of Khan al-Assal located in western Aleppo countryside.

The city of Aleppo recently has witnessed an increasing escalation by the militants of “Al-Nusra front” stationed in its surroundings through targeting residential neighborhoods with various types of shells, as was the case on Wednesday evening, which witnessed targeting Al-Hamdania, Aleppo.

Al-Jadida, Nile Street and Shahbaa neighborhoods with dozens of shells that resulted in material damages only.

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