Israel Strikes Syria To Celebrate Whitewashing Of Al-Qaeda In Idlib

South Front

 04.02.2021 

You can read this article in German. LINK

Israel is becoming increasingly assertive in its strikes and raids, allegedly against Iranian positions, on Syrian soil.

This is more than likely owed to the fact that US activity is at a low-point following Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Israel feels threatened by the slim possibility that the Iran Nuclear Deal will be revived. As such it is left to fend for itself and it appears to be doing so quite ferociously.

In the late hours of February 3rd, the Israeli military launched a large-scale attack on southern Syria. The Syrian Arab Army General Command said that that air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missiles were launched in a heavy barrage.

According to local sources the barrage targeted Damascus International Airport, Mezzeh Military Airport, a Syrian Arab Army base near the district of Kiswah, and a series of military sites in Daraa and al-Quneitra.

The Syrian military says that some of the missiles were intercepted, others caused only material damage.

Israel’s primary targets in the region are Iranian positions, or those of pro-Iranian groups and proxies. This includes Hezbollah targets, to limit the efforts of its Lebanese neighbor.

It is plain to notice what has changed in the most recent attack – it was launched from Israeli soil. In usual practice, the Israeli air force encroaches on Lebanese airspace to carry out its raids.

On February 3rd, however, an Israeli drone was targeted by a Hezbollah anti-aircraft missile. This is a rare occurrence, even if it only targets a drone. It means that the airspace encroachment is becoming more dangerous.

This is a testament to Hezbollah’s increasing capability in limiting Israel’s freedom of action.

The increasing Israeli activity in both frequency and scale, are providing a window of opportunity to ISIS terrorists throughout Syria, and predominantly in Homs and Deir Ezzor.

In the early hours of February 3rd, a surprise attack by an ISIS cell resulted in the deaths of at least 12 pro-Syrian government fighters.

There has been an increased intensity of ISIS attacks in recent weeks. It is quite self-evident that this arose amid Israel’s continued attacks on Syrian Army positions and civilian infrastructure under the pretext that they host Iranian forces.

Even if the Syrian Arab Army is preoccupied with defense, its allies in the form of Russia and Iran are picking up the slack.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is set to establish a tribal force in Deir Ezzor. The main aim of this force will be to support the Iranian and pro-Iranian forces in the region and to serve in a style similar to the “ISIS Hunters”. Despite Israel’s “best efforts” Tehran’s influence in Syria is growing, and this is more evidence of that.

A region that has received less attention in recent weeks, due to the general chaos, is Idlib.

Russian warplanes continue pounding the al-Qaeda-linked “moderate opposition” in the area, attempting to put a stop to its adventurism beyond the demilitarized zone. The ceasefire must hold and Moscow attempts to limit militants’ attempts to compromise it.

Meanwhile, the terrorists in Idlib are being whitewashed, and presented anew as “freedom fighters”. PBS Frontline presented the head of Jabhat al-Nusra (currently Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) as a reformed hero, working towards peace. For years he had a $10 million bounty on his head for leading the world’s No 1 terrorist organization. That appears to be no more, he is now a hero fighting against suppression.

The chaos in the Middle East is growing, amid increasing Israeli activity and renewed attempts to whitewash known terrorists by MSM. Despite Damascus’, Moscow’s and Tehran’s best efforts, the situation has the potential to get much worse, before it gets any better.

Israel Is Searching For Pretext To Invade Southern Syria

South Front

The Russian military and Russian-backed Syrian forces have been increasing their presence on the border with Iraq.

Less than a week ago, the Russian Military Police established a local HQ in al-Bukamal. Recently, the 5th Corps of the Syrian Army, known for its links with the Russian military, created a network of border posts in the area. The move was apparently coordinated with Iranian-backed forces and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces that actively operate in the border area.

Al-Bukamal is locating less than 30km from the town of al-Qaim, the stronghold of the Popular Mobilization Forces on the Iraqi side of the border.

Pro-Israeli sources claim that the increasing Russian presence in southern Deir Ezzor and along the border with Iraq may be a sign of a nearing Iranian withdrawal from the region. At the same time, there are no indications that Iranian-backed forces are going to withdraw from al-Bukamal anytime soon.

The presence of the Russians on the Iraqi-Syrian border is not something new. Russian forces played an important role in the anti-ISIS operations in the province, including the liberation of Deir Ezzor, al-Mayadin and al-Bukamal itself. In fact, the increasing Russian involvement is likely linked with the ongoing anti-ISIS operations in the central Syrian desert.

Just recently, the ISIS propaganda wing, Amaq, claimed that ISIS militants repelled a large attack of the Syrian Army on its hideouts in the eastern part of Hama province. 3 soldiers were allegedly killed, 10 others were inured and a vehicle was destroyed. Pro-militant sources also confirmed the increase of Russian airstrikes on terrorist targets in the region.

The remaining ISIS threat in the central part of the country also has a negative impact on the situation in the south. Negative processes have been taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, which remain under the permanent destructive influence of Israel and its special services.

Recently, Israeli media and think tanks have started promoting the idea of the Israeli intervention into the ‘unstable’ Syrian south under the pretext of restoring ‘peace and prosperity’ in this region. Therefore, it is possible to expect the resumption of active Israeli military and clandestine operations to undermine the Syrian statehood in this particular region.

FSA Terrorist Aakef Zaki Killed by Unknown Gunmen in Daraa Countryside

 ARABI SOURI

NATO terrorist Aakef Zaki killed in Daraa

FSA terrorist and top wanted by the Syrian authorities in Daraa the so-called Aakef Zaki was killed in East Karak town in the eastern Daraa countryside south of Syria.

The NATO terrorist and former commander of the so-called ‘Martyrs of Eastern Karak’, one of the armed groups of the Al Qaeda FSA terrorist organization was shot dead in front of his house yesterday 7th of December, by unknown gunmen.

Aakef refused to join the large-scale reconciliation efforts in the southern Syrian province, the reconciliation led by the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria returned thousands of people to their normal lives, some of the radical commanders refused to join the reconciliation and continued their attacks against the Syrian authorities, civilians, and notables in the region, taking advantage of the protection provided by Trump forces in the Tanf area southeast of Syria.

The killed terrorist was responsible for a number of attacks, kidnaps, field executions, and lootings in the southern Syrian provinces of Daraa and Sweida. On the 8th of last month, November, an armed terrorist group carried out an attack against a Syrian Army checkpoint to the west of the Eastern Karak town.

There were at least 34 terrorist attacks in the southern region post the reconciliation, they included the assassination of 24 persons, wounding of 8 others, two failed assassination attempts, including 18 of his former colleagues of the FSA fighters who joined the reconciliation. The terrorists shot dead 22 of the targeted victims while committed field execution of two others who were shot after being kidnapped.

Trump maintains a large number of his forces in Syria, mainly in the northeastern region bordering Iraq, and the southeastern region of Tanf in the depth of the Syrian desert bordering Iraq and Jordan. The Trump forces in the Tanf area protect members of the ISIS-affiliated group Maghawir Thawra which also runs the infamous Rukban concentration camp where thousands of Syrian refugees are held against their will in horrific conditions. Trump forces illegally positioned in Tanf also facilitated some of Israel’s bombings inside Syria and Iraq.

ISIS terrorists who committed the heinous massacre in the remote desert villages of Sweida province in the early morning hours of July 25th, 2018 fled to the same protected area by the Trump forces in Tanf. The Sweida massacre resulted in slaughtering 215 residents in their houses, injuring 180 others, and kidnapped 27 women and children.

The killing of Aakef Zaki will not help in uncovering much of the information needed by the Syrian authorities about the massacres and crimes committed in the southern region, it would have been much better if he was arrested to expose his accomplices and tell their whereabouts.

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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.

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IRAN AND HEZBOLLAH SET UP NEW FORCE TO KNOCK OUT ISRAELI FORCES IN GOLAN HEIGHTS

South Front

 13.08.2020 

Iran,  the 220 Branch of the Syrian Military Intelligence Directorate and Hezbollah are together  establishing a new force to monitor the situation on the contact line with Israeli forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, local sources claim.

According to reports, the new force will be mostly made up of personnel of the Syrian Army and local fighters from the Golan Regiment armed group. Mamoun Jridah and Hazem Kabul, two local figures who are close to Hezbollah, are reportedly recruiting fighters to this new force. At least 175 fighters have signed up, so far. The force will also be tasked with contributing security efforts in the area and preventing Israeli sabotage activities there.

Despite the attempts of Israel to deter Iranian influence in central and southern Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and Iranian-backed groups maintain a significant presence in the southern Syrian provinces. Over the past weeks, the situation has become especially dangerous following the destabilization of Lebanon, the Israeli military buildup on the contact lines with Lebanon and Syria, and the increased number of incidents between Israeli and Iranian-backed forces.

If the regional situation continues escalating, it’s easy to expect that the southern part of Syria and southern Lebanon will become the hot points of the confrontation between Israel and the Hezbollah-Iran bloc.

Late on August 12, the Turkish military and its proxies in northeast Syria launched several small-scale attacks on positions of the Syrian Army and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in al-Hasakah and Raqqa provinces. Turkish forces clashed with army troops near the towns of al-Qasmiyah and al-Rashidiyah, and with the SDF near the town of Kur Hasan. Turkish forces also shelled the Ain Issa refugee camp in northern Raqqa. Fire erupted in several farmlands bordering the camp. There are no confirmed reports of casualties resulting from this series of incidents.

Since late June, Turkish forces have increased the number of artillery strike and tactical attacks on the Syrian Army and the SDF in northeastern Syria. These ceasefire violations go contrary to the agreements reached by Ankara with the US and Russia. Some sources even speculate that the Erdogan government is preparing for a resumption of full-scale military operation in the northeast.

ISIS ambushed a convoy of Liwa al-Quds, a pro-government Palestinian militia, near the town of al-Tabni in southern Deir Ezzor. After this, terrorists also detonated several explosive devices in the path of reinforcements from the 4th Armoured Division as it deployed to the area. A truck and a SUV of pro-government forces were destroyed in the attacks. Depending on the sources, from 1 to 3 pro-government fighters died. ISIS always intensifies their attacks on government forces during an increase of tensions between Turkey and the US-Israeli alliance.

INTERNAL TENSIONS DO NOT STOP MILITANTS FROM PROVOCATIONS IN SOUTHERN IDLIB

Source

Late on June 30, fighting resumed near the villages of Kansafrah, Al-Ruwayha and Bayanin in southern Idlib between the Syrian Army and Turkish-backed militants. Intense artillery shelling also targeted positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham across the Jabal Al-Zawiyah area. Pro-militant sources claimed that the Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces tried to advance there, but were forced to retreat after several hours of clashes. In their own turn, pro-government sources say that the fighting in southern Idlib came as a result of a provocation by militants. Nonetheless, by the morning of July 1 the situation on the frontline had stabilized.

During the past week, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its counterparts from Fa Ithbatu, also an al-Qaeda-linked coalition of militant groups, were too busy with infighting and accusing each other of undermining the values of the so-called Syrian revolution. So, they were not able to concentrate any significant strike force able to deliver real damage to the Syrian Army in southern Idlib.

The security situation remains complicated in the province of Daraa. Tensions there are a result of the conflict between the army and some of the former militants, who had reconciled with the Damascus government and formally joined the 5th Assault Corps. As a result, at least 5 soldiers were recently killed in the countryside of the provincial capital and the army withdrew from the village of Kahil Jizah. Local fighters seized all the checkpoints surrounding the village and removed pro-government banners from the area.

The situation in Daraa province showcases the existing difficulties in the ongoing reconciliation process in southern Syria. Some former members of militant groups still remain committed to their radical ideology and hard-core anti-government views. At the same time, they continue to demand protection and resources for their areas in the framework of the reconciliation. Actions like those in Kahil Jizah undermine the peace process and set conditions for a new round of violence.

In northeastern Syria, forces of Turkish-backed militant groups shelled positions of the Syrian Democratic Forces near Kashal Ubayd, northwest of Ayn Issa. However, no casualties were reported there. In a separate development, SDF security forces closed the perimeter of the prison for ISIS members in al-Hasakah city. Local sources speculate that several ISIS members may have fled there. These reports remain unconfirmed.

Russia has opted to quit the United Nations system of humanitarian deconfliction in Syria because some of the system’s facilities were used by terrorists, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on June 29 at a meeting of the UN Security Council.

“Our own investigations have repeatedly shown that some of the objects [listed using the mechanism] were used as headquarters of terrorists, therefore they should not have been given humanitarian status,” he noted adding that “Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law.”

We suggest that from now on the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs settle the issue of deconfliction directly with the Syrian authorities. It would be right,” Nebenzya added.

It should be noted that during the active phase of the conflict, mainstream media and Western diplomats repeatedly accused the Russian Aerospace Forces of intentionally bombing civilian and humanitarian targets. Russian and Syrian sources say that these supposed humanitarian facilities were in fact a part of the military infrastructure of the terrorist groups.

INFIGHTING AMONG IDLIB RADICALS RESUMES WITH RENEWED ENERGY

South Front

Late on June 23, the Israeli Air Force conducted airstrikes on alleged Iranian-linked targets near al-Sukhna and Kabajab in central Syria and near Tel Al-Sahn in the countryside of as-Suwayda in southern Syria. A second wave of Israeli strikes early on June 24 targeted Salamyieh and al-Sabboura in the province of Hama. Syrian state media denied that the strikes hit Iranian targets saying that 2 soldiers were killed, 4 others injured and some material damage was caused by the attack. As was expected the airstrikes took place just a few days after Hezbollah-affiliated media had released a video with threats to strike targets inside Israel in the event of an escalation.

Since June 23 intense fighting has been ongoing in the countryside of Idlib and the southern part of the province between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and the recently formed coalition of al-Qaeda-linked groups, Fa Ithbatu.

The Idlib central prison area, the village of Arab Said, and the towns of Barisha, Sarmada and Ariha were the main focal points of the confrontation. According to pro-militant sources, the fighting broke out as a result of recent tensions caused by the arrests of some members of Fa Ithbatu by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham security forces. From demands to release its members, Fa Ithbatu forces moved to a direct confrontation with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. However, as of the morning of June 24th, they had not yet achieved any major successes in these efforts.

Simultaneously, tensions grew between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and another al-Qaeda-linked group, the Turkistan Islamic Party, in the town of Jisr al-Shughur. Turkistan Islamic Party members reportedly surrounded a local HQ of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Fa Ithbatu and the Turkistan Islamic Party are apparently very unhappy with the recent actions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which had indirectly supported the implementation of the Turkish-Russian de-escalation agreement on southern Idlib and pressured other al-Qaeda-linked groups in the area to gain more support from Turkey.

While the close cooperation with Turkey allows Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to increase its military and financial capabilities, the implementation of the de-escalation deal poses a direct threat to interests of smaller radical groups such the ones from Fa Ithbatu. Thus, there is a clear conflict of interest that may yet turn into a full-scale military confrontation.

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Weapons, ammunition, left by terrorists before their defeat, found in Syria’s southern region

Source

 Saturday, 20 June 2020 

DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE, (ST)- Huge amount of weapons and ammunition, left by terrorists before their defeat, were found in Damascus Countryside and Syria’s southern region during mopping up operations in the areas liberated from terrorism.

Some of the weapons are Western-made ones.

A source from concerned authorities told SANA that the seized weapons included machine guns, Dushka machine guns, PKCs, RPG launchers, hand grenades, sniper rifles, military guns, advanced anti-armor missiles, advanced communication devices, night vision binoculars and thousands of bullets in addition to a large quantity of narcotic substances.

The source pointed out that cooperation with the locals as well as monitoring and follow-up operations have led to arresting a group of terrorists who have links to foreign parties that smuggle materials used for making explosive devices. Huge amounts of explosives were also found, the source added.

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Sayyed And Hajj: The Ones Who Left And The Ones Who Will Follow

Sayyed And Hajj: The Ones Who Left And The Ones Who Will Follow

By Wassim al-Hajj – Damascus

Location: The southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut

Time: Early 1998

The commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Colonel Qassem Soleimani, who recently assumed his position, visits the military headquarters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. He embraces each of its officers – some have since been martyred, and others are still fighting on the frontlines. It is a very warm embrace between Soleimani and his comrades in arms. The great jihadi leader, martyr Mustafa “Zulfiqar” Badreddine, rushes to embrace the man. Soleimani responds with a warmer hug.

The video clip reflects an exceptional relationship between two revolutionaries, whose joint struggle transcended the borders of Lebanon and occupied Palestine. Syria, from north to south, passing through its desert and levant, is the scene of qualitative achievements and successive victories. It is hard to deny this. But to distort this conception, the Saudi media machine created rumors and lies about the tense relationship between the two martyrs. It held Soleimani responsible for the assassination of Badreddine and accused him of masterminding it.

How can men embracing gunpowder and fire every day – with one foot on the brink of death – possess all this passion? A mujahid recalls the two great martyrs. Those who look closely at their videos during operations to secure Damascus at the “Triangle of Death” (the southern countryside of Damascus-Daraa- Quneitra) in the winter of 2015 feel the warmth of their embrace and realize the scope of the relationship that was greatly distorted. The faces, known in the Western media as a threat to global security, display feelings that are difficult to decipher or put in a single sentence. But in a single moment they mobilize multiple phases of love, determination, and valor.

Comrades close to the martyrs report how Sayyed prepared to meet Hajj Bozork (the great hajj in Farsi). He liked calling him that. He rushed to receive him at the gate with a smile that seldomly appeared on his face. A strong hug. An extended meeting and insistence of fruits being cut and placed before the dear guest, despite his refusal and coyness.

People close to them also recount novels of passion during the battles. One of its chapters involves martyr Ali Fayad aka Alaa Bosnia. In the battles of Sahel Al-Ghab, in the north of the country, he carried out a tight ambush – an art he excelled in. He recorded it and quickly sent it to Sayyed. His voice could be heard in the recording.

Someone asked him: “Is x person there, behind the lines?”

He tries to hide it and eventually says “yes”.

The mediator insists on letting Sayyed know that Alaa sent x person to the ambush. For his part, Sayyed insisted that the video reach Hajj Bozork, saying, “He will be very happy with what Alaa did. Send the video and tell him what happened … Tell him that there are lovers among us who are racing to offer sacrifices for the sake of this nation’s pride.”

Another person who attended one of the last meetings recounted that Sayyed whispered to Hajj Qassem when he was bidding him farewell. “Send my regards to the Leader (the leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Grand Ayatollah His Eminence Sayyid Ali Khamenei) … Tell him your son Mustafa sends his regards and is telling you that the load on Hajj Qassem is great, so pray for him.”

As for the last meeting, at the Damascus airport the night Sayyed was assassinated (May 2016), the farewell lasted for about a quarter of an hour. They were supposed to go out together and meet later that same night. Sayyed insisted on staying for a while, and Hajj insisted on staying with him.

“It is not polite of me to leave and you are still here,” Hajj said. Sayyed insisted that Hajj leave. He returned less than an hour later as the sound of the explosion that killed Sayyed roared. That day, Hajj Qassem cried a lot – not for missing the “sword of the resistance”, but for missing the moment and an opportunity to reach the “goal”.

On that morning, he said, “Sayyed Mustafa’s name was written on that projectile for him to go alone, and God chose for him the best conclusion.”

Those who look at the faces of these two men, see the dark nightmare they represent to their enemies. Those who look carefully at the stillness of their eyes and the estrangement of their spirits which is apparent on their faces when they stand on the berms, realize very well that this axis has enough love to stock up on for the major battles.

ISIS REARS ITS UGLY HEAD IN SOUTHERN SYRIA AND CENTRAL IRAQ

South Front

Tensions between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Syrian Army are growing in southern Idlib. Recently, government forces repeatedly shelled positions of the terrorist groups in the Zawiya Mountain area. The most intense shelling targeted Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists near Fatterah and Sufuhon.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the al-Qaeda-affiliated “Wa Harid al-Muminin” operations room described this as a blatant violation of the ceasefire regime and announced that they’d killed several pro-government fighters in retaliatory strikes.

At the same time, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham blocked several Turkish military vehicles near the town of Darat Izza in western Aleppo. According to local sources, the group is opposing the growth of the Turkish military presence there because earlier Turkish-backed forces opposed its attempt to reopen commercial crossings with the government-held area in western Aleppo and eastern Idlib.

Contraband traffic and various fees on commercial activities are an important source of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s income. Therefore, despite the public declarations to defeat the Assad regime, the group is interested in trade between the militant-held part of Greater Idlib and the government-controlled part of Syria.

Militant groups directly controlled by Turkey also faced a series of attacks. On May 2, a prominent commander of the Sham Corps, known as Haj Talib al-Khatib, survived an assassination attempt receiving light injures. Unknown gunmen on a motorcycle fired on his vehicle on the road linking the towns of al-Nerab and Sarmin. Late on the same day, Abu ‘Arib, a field commander of the Ahrar al-Sham, died from a land mine explosion on the frontline in southern Idlib. A part of Pro-Turkish sources accuses Hayat Tahrir al-Sham of staging such attacks in order to undermine the influence of its Turkish-controlled counterparts even further.

ISIS cells assassinated two Syrian intelligence officers and a supposed Hezbollah member in the province of Daraa in attacks on April 30 and May 2. These assassinations became the latest in a series of ISIS attacks on government forces. Using the instability on the frontline in Idlib, the terrorist group expanded its operations southern Syria.

The ISIS activity is also growing in Iraq.

Early on May 2, ISIS cells carried out coordinated attacks on positions of the Popular Mobilization Forces in the province of Saladin. Nine fighters of the Tigris Regiment were killed near Mukeshefah and a member of the 41th Brigade was killed near Balad. ISIS militants also briefly seized the PMF positions in the Mukeshefah area.

Later on the same day, ISIS terrorists armed with machine guns and sniper rifles fired on a police station in the village of Zaghinah in Diyala province. Four police officers were killed and nine others were injured.

In a separate development, ISIS units detonated an improvised explosive device on the route of a PMF convoy in the district of Udhaim, and then attacked the convoy’s vehicles with machine guns. A soldier was killed and 3 others were injured.

The increasing number of ISIS attacks in late April and early May even drew the attention of the US-led coalition. On April 29, coalition warplanes bombed the ISIS stronghold in the Hamrin Mountains. The strikes followed a PMF security operation in the area. Nonetheless, the following developments in the provinces of Saladin and Diyala demonstrated that the ISIS threat remains an important factor of the security situation in the country.

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ISRAELI MILITARY BUILDUP NEAR GOLAN HEIGHTS FOLLOWS STRIKES ON SYRIAN CAPITAL

Israel has deployed additional units of the Iron Dome and Patriot air defense systems near the borders of Lebanon and Syria. Pro-Israeli sources claim that the country’s military is preparing to repel possible retaliatory strikes from Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces following the recent airstrikes on alleged ‘Iranian targets’ near Damascus.

Over the past year, the Israeli Defense Forces have been steadily increasing their military presence in the area of the occupied Golan Heights under pretext of combating the so-called Iranian threat. Syrian sources describe these developments as a part of preparations for wider aggressive military actions against forces of the Damascus government and its allies in southern Syria.

Late on April 27, Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles dropped leaflets calling on Idlib residents to support actions of the Turkish Army in the area of the M4 highway. Such actions by the Turkish military likely demonstrate that the negotiations with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which were held after a military incident between the sides on April 26, likely ended with no real progress. If the Turkish Army continues its efforts to de-block the part of the M4 highway near Nayrab by force, it may find itself in the state of an open military confrontation with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

2 US soldiers were abducted after an attack on their vehicle near the Omar oil fields, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, Syrian state media said on April 27. Arab media regularly report about security incidents involving US-led coalition forces and their proxies in eastern Syria. Earlier in April, Syria’s SANA claimed that a US soldier and 2 members of the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in an attack near the village of al-Wasia in Deir Ezzor province.

On top of this, ISIS via its news agency Amaq regularly reports successful attacks against personnel of the Syrian Democratic Forces and civilians in the US-controlled area. For example on April 21, Amaq announced that ISIS forces had killed a “sorcerer” in the town of al-Sabhah. The victim was identified as Hassan Ghanem al-Osman. He became the third “sorcerer” killed by ISIS in eastern Deir Ezzor during the last two months.

The US-led coalition prefers to remain silent regarding the ISIS terror campaign, which is ongoing under the nose of its forces. However, it found time to comment on the April 27 report about the supposed casualties among US personnel calling it fake.

The Russian Military Police established a new observation point near the town of Tell Tamir in northeastern Syria. Kurdish sources claim that Turkish-backed militants regularly shelled the town and the surrounding areas during the past few weeks. They expect that the deployment of the Russians there should help to put an end to these regular ceasefire violations.

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