ISIL militants are easily moving in Ankara-controlled regions in Syria

Published in Middle East
Sunday, 10 March 2019 00:00

Kurdish media accused Turkey of providing cover for the ISIL terrorist group, saying the much hated militant group is still operating in regions under the control of the Turkish Army in Northern Syria.

The ISIL militants are easily moving in Ankara-controlled regions in Northern Syria, including al-Bab, Jerablus, Azaz, Afrin and even Idlib, the Kurdish-language Hawar news website quoted local sources in Northern Aleppo as saying.

The report said ISIL is taking direct orders from the Turkish Army in the region, and mentioned that the ISIL terrorists have even hoisted their flag in the city center of Afrin.

The sources, meantime, told Hawar news that over 800 families have fled the Al-Bab region.

In a relevant development last month, the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said the Washington-backed militants were trying to find and seize millions of dollars and at least 40 tons of gold left behind by the ISIL terrorist group,

The SOHR reported that the ISIL terrorists had stolen about 40 tons of gold and millions of dollars from the population once under their control in Iraq and Syria, which was later transferred to Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

"The US-led coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) deliberately do not target the areas under the control of the ISIL terrorists and commanders in Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur as they are trying to locate this treasure by forcing the ISIL militants to speak about its location after surrendering," it quoted informed sources as saying.

They noted that part of the cash dollars and gold have been transferred from Turkey to the areas under the ISIL control by Turkish brokers and intelligence service who have close ties with the ISIL.

Meantime, an SDF Commander, Adnan Afrin, said that the ISIL is now under the siege of the SDF in an area no larger than one square kilometers in Eastern Euphrates.

More American, French Military Convoys Arrive in Northern Syria

Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 09:36

The US and France have dispatched new military convoys to the town of Manbij, North-East of Aleppo province as tensions go high in the region, a media outlet reported on Tuesday.

Orient news website reported that the American and French forces have deployed near Sajour River Northwest of the town of Manbij in Northeastern Aleppo.

Also, other sources reported that the Kurdish militias have been put on alert in the town of Manbij and have started to set up more checkpoints in and outside the town.

In the meantime, local sources in the town of al-Bab reported that the US and French forces have deployed in a region between the Kurdish positions and the regions held by the Turkey-led Euphrates Shield forces.

In a similar development last week, several units of France's Special Forces arrived in the Kurdish-controlled areas in Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria as foreign military troops are intensifying their movements in the region.

The French troops entered the US base in Ramilan region which is controlled by Kurdish fighters in Hasaka province, field sources said.

The sources pointed to the increased military movements of the French forces from Iraq to Syria, and said that the French troops in their military vehicles accompanied by American soldiers patrolled several districts in Manbij, Raqqa and some regions of Deir Ezzur.

Syrian jets bomb militant positions in southern Damascus neighborhood

Published in Middle East
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 10:28

The Syrian Army has carried out a series of precision and intensive airstrikes against hideouts of Takfiri militants in a neighborhood of southern Damascus as government soldiers press ahead with a counter-terrorism military campaign in the region.

Syria's official news agency SANA reported that terrorists suffered heavy casualties and their weapons and equipment were destroyed after fighter jets bombed terrorists’ positions in al-Hajar al-Aswad district on Monday.

The aerial operation also resulted in isolating and cutting supply routes for militants, it added.

The report further noted that the Syrian army's campaign would continue until the eradication of terrorists and liberation of all southern Damascus neighborhoods from the grip of terrorist groups.

This comes as Syrian forces have been carrying out complicated operations to dismantle and cut off the supply and communication lines between terrorists in the Damascus suburban area.

Takfiri militants have lost much of the territory they once held in Syria amid sweeping gains by government forces on the ground.

Syrian forces managed to retake Eastern Ghouta and Eastern Qalamoun regions near Damascus this month.

For years, the areas had served as a launch pad for deadly terror attacks against civilians in Damascus.

Evacuation deal underway as more buses enter besieged towns of al-Foua, Kefraya

Meanwhile, under a deal, dozens of buses have left to evacuate residents from militant-besieged Shia-majority towns of Kefraya and al-Foua in northwestern Idlib province.

The convoys of buses are now waiting in both villages for the evacuation process to begin.

According SANA, the buses will transport 1500 people from the besieged towns after which they will be taken to a temporary housing center on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo city.

The process will be implemented in parallel with the exit of buses carrying terrorists from the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmuk towards IdlIb.

Eastern Ghouta: Terrorists Hand over Modern Arms Made in Israeli, Europe to Syrian Army

Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 11:43

Jeish al-Islam militants delivered their advanced Israel and European-made weapons to the Syrian Army within the framework of an evacuation agreement in the town of Douma, a media outlet reported on Wednesday.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that a sum of 1,384 militants and their family members with a total number of 3,792 left Douma for the town of Jarabulus in Northeastern Aleppo on 85 buses.

It went on to say that the evacuation process will continue for the next two days due to logistical reasons, adding that Jeish al-Islam has handed over its light and semi-heavy arms to the army.

The Arabic Sputnik further said that Israeli sniper rifles and Belgian-made RPG rockets and PKC machineguns were among the arms.

People in the town of Douma on Tuesday took control of a number of warehouses used by Jeish al-Islam for hoarding food stuff after the terrorist group started retreating from the town under an evacuation plan agreed with the Syrian Army.

Civilians in Douma stormed several food warehouses of Jeish al-Islam and seized control over them.

Hundreds of tons of fuel and food stuff had been hoarded in the warehouses by Jeish al-Islam that refused to distribut them among people in Douma.

Local sources reported that hoarding food stuff was used as a pressure lever by Jeish al-Islam commanders to control civilians in militant-held regions in Eastern Ghouta.

In the meantime, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that a sum of 3,637 terrorists have left Douma via al-Wafedeen safe corridor in the last 24 hours.

'US-led jets flying over Syria amid looming threats of military strike'

Published in Middle East
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 10:51

US-led warplanes are reportedly flying over Syria’s border areas with Iraq amid Washington’s threats of a military strike against the Arab country over an alleged chemical attack there.

Sky News reported early Wednesday that the US-led fighter jets are patrolling at a low altitude over the Syrian border town of al-Tanf in Homs Province, where Washington runs a military base.

Other reports say the US-led coalition’s aircraft have been spotted in the Iraqi and Jordanian skies heading towards Syria.

“Heavy flight of US & coalition aircraft over the Syria-Iraq border,” said a journalist on the ground, according to the UK’s Daily Express.

A Twitter user also said, “Coalition jets soaring the skies in large Dayr al-Zawr desert.”

Russian planes are also in flight over Syria’s Idlib Province, according to pro-militant forces.

Russia warns against destabilizing moves

On Wednesday, the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called on all sides to the Syria crisis to avoid taking measures that could exacerbate the “already fragile” situation in the war-torn country.

He further emphasized that the allegations that the Syrian government was behind the suspected chemical weapons attack in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma were not based on real facts.

The Russian official also called for an “unprejudiced and objective investigation before making judgments” on the alleged attack.

“All Kremlin officials are the advocates of an impartial probe into this situation so that trustworthy data can appear and so that we do not take guidance from rumors and empty reports in the media,” he pointed out.

The US Navy has said the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier will be deployed for a mission to the Middle East and Europe on Wednesday.

The warship, which carries 6,500 sailors, will set sail with seven attack ships and will replace the USS Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group that completed a four-month deployment to the Middle East.

Russia, which is assisting Syria in its counter-terrorism battles, has warned the US against any “illegal action” in the Arab country.

Meanwhile, the DPA news agency reports that the Syrian army has put all its positions on high alert, including airports and bases, for 72 hours. The alert covers the military bases located in the provinces of Suwayda, Aleppo, Latakia and Dayr al-Zawr.

Separately, the al-Masdar online newspaper says the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet has also been placed on high alert after a US destroyer was deployed within striking range of Syria.

Russia ‘to shoot down US missiles’

Amid the tensions, Moscow’s ambassador to Lebanon said on Wednesday that any US missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and their launch sites would be targeted.

“If there is a strike by the Americans, then ... the missiles will be downed and even the sources from which the missiles were fired,” Alexander Zasypkin told Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Manar television network.

He also stressed that Western countries have not been satisfied with Syrian government forces’ recent gains on the ground, most recently in the Eastern Ghouta region.

He further accused Washington of using the alleged chemical attack in Douma to prepare the ground for a military strike on Syria, saying, “In the past few days, we have seen an escalation [that has the potential to become] a severe crisis.”

Civilian aircraft warned

In another development on Tuesday, the pan-European air traffic control agency warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean due to possibility of airstrikes into Syria in the next 72 hours.

Eurocontrol has said that radio navigation equipment are subject to disruption in the coming days.

“Due to the possible launch of airstrikes into Syria with air-to-ground and/or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” the agency said.

The developments came after a suspected chemical weapons attack hit the Syrian town of Douma late on Saturday. It reportedly killed at least 60 people and wounded more than 1,000 others.

Western countries rushed to blame the incident on the Syrian government. Damascus rejected the accusations as “chemical fabrications” made by the terrorists themselves in a bid to halt pro-government forces’ advances.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent an official invitation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to Douma and investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons there.

US President Trump, however, warned that Russia, Iran and Syria will have a “big price to pay” following the suspected chemical attack, saying his administration will soon be making “some major decisions” on Syria.

Washington’s allies, including Saudi Arabia, France and Australia, have also said they would join a possible military action against Syria over the alleged attack.

At the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Washington and Moscow opposed each other’s rival motions to set up an international investigation into chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Washington’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley had earlier made it clear that the US will act against the Syrian government with or without the world body’s blessing.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, however, said, “The United States is once again trying to mislead the international community and is making yet one more step toward confrontation.”“It is clear that the provocation step today has nothing to do with a desire to investigate what happened in Douma in Syria on the 7th of April.”

Over 800,000 Returned Home in Aleppo: Russian MoD

Published in Middle East
Saturday, 17 March 2018 11:28

Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said on Saturday that over 800,000 people have returned to the Syrian city of Aleppo and its suburbs, liberated from Nusra Front terrorist group.

“The province of Aleppo illustrates the efficiency of the work of the Russian reconciliation center for Syria. Over 800,000 people have returned to the city of Aleppo and its suburbs, liberated from Jabhat al Nusra and its affiliated groups, since December 2016. The local authorities provide assistance with housing reconstruction. Markets, shops, schools and medical facilities are working. Agriculture is being actively restored,” a statement released by MoD added.

Additionally, Syrians that left Aleppo and moved to the Idlib province together with fleeing militants in December 2016 had been returning to their homes since March 4, according to Russian military data.

“At least 870 families, a total of 3,409 people, have returned to Aleppo from the Idlib province through a humanitarian corridor, organized by the Iran-Russia-Turkey coordination center, in the region Tell-Sultan – Abu Duhur,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation is holding negotiations with leaders of Syrian armed opposition groups across the entire war-torn country, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

“Within the implementation of the UNSC Resolution 2401, Russia performs its obligations in full. The Russian reconciliation center holds active negotiations with the leaders of the Syrian armed opposition on the entire Syrian territory,” the statement read.

More Kurdish Fighters Killed, Captured in Turkish Army Operation in Northern Syria

Published in Middle East
Saturday, 24 February 2018 12:43

Over 1,930 Kurdish gunmen have thus far been killed or held capture in the Turkish army troops' operation in Afrin region, the Turkish Army General Staff said in a statement on Saturday.

The army's statement reported that a sum of 1,931 Kurdish militants have been killed or captured by the Turkish army men or Ankara-backed militants within the framework of Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo that started on January 20.

Meantime, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed earlier today that a sum of 1,219 Turkish soldiers and allied militants have thus far been killed in the last 5 weeks of Ankara's assault on the Kurds in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo.

The SDF reported on its official Facebook page on Friday that 1,219 Turkish army men and their allied militants were killed in Operation Olive Branch that started on January 20, in Afrin region.

The SDF further said that 66 military vehicles of the Turkish army have also been destroyed by the Kurds in the region.

Syria deploys anti-aircraft missiles, air defenses in Aleppo, Idlib

Published in Middle East
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 11:40

Syria has deployed anti-aircraft missiles and new air defense systems in the country's Aleppo and Idlib provinces.

A Syrian government commander made the announcement on Monday, noting that "they cover the air space of the Syrian north."

The northwestern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey and is largely under the control of al-Nusra Front militants, is one of the last main strongholds of Takfiri militants opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who have been driven from most of their bastions across Syria in recent years.

Adding that the defense systems were deployed on the frontlines in rural regions of the provinces, he added that they had been deployed as "message to everyone."

The deployment comes at a time that Turkey has been launching airstrikes against the northwestern Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin, which is part of the Aleppo province.

Turkey launched the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin on January 20 in a bid to eliminate the YPG, which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Before Turkey launched operation Olive Branch, the government in Damascus had warned that it would shoot down any Turkish warplane that enters Syrian airspace.

Syria dismisses US chemical claims

Meanwhile, the acting charge d’affaires of Syria’s permanent delegation at the United Nations, Munzer Munzer, has rejected any claims of the use of chemical weapons or any other weapon of mass destruction.

While addressing a UNSC meeting on Monday, Munzer added that Damascus supports any action taken by the world body to probe such allegations.

“US claims are false and cheap and Syria is the first side which has an interest in finding truth and supporting any action taken by the UNSC if the intention is to reveal who is trading with the Syrian blood," he added.

He also stressed that Washington resorts to such fabricated accusations whenever it realizes that the terrorist groups are being pushed back by Syrian government forces.

“Syria confirms that the US, Britain and France bear full responsibility for obstructing the investigation of the use of chemical weapons by covering the crimes of terrorists in Syria,” he said.

US, UK sabotaging chemical attack investigations in Syria

While addressing the UNSC meeting, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said that the Syrian chemical dossier "is used by the United States and the United Kingdom to slander Russia."

"It is absolutely clear for us why. The success of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi and prospects for giving an impetus to the political process in Syria seem to be a pain in the neck for someone. So, a strong slander attack on Russia is needed to try once again to call to question its role in political settlement," Nebenzya added.

He noted that the US and UK envoys' speeches, in which they claimed that Russia is trying to hamper the investigation into chemical attacks in Syria, "as always, contain a tiny piece of truth kneaded with lots of lies."

Earlier, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Russia of obstructing the adoption of a UN Security Council condemnation of alleged chlorine gas attacks in Syria.

Haley told the Security Council on Monday that there was "obvious evidence from dozens of victims" to corroborate the chlorine attacks in Eastern Ghouta.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in early 2011, the Western governments have on several occasions accused Syria of using chemical weapons against militants. Damascus has denied the allegation, saying it is meant to pile more pressure on the government forces and delay their success in the fight against terrorists.

Last year, the US and allies in Europe said Syria and Russia, an ally of Damascus in the fight against terror, used chemical weapons against militants in Khan Sheikhun in the province of Idlib. Moscow swiftly rejected the allegations, saying its fighter jets had in fact bombarded a depot in the area in which the militants had stored chemicals.

Tens of Al-Nusra Terrorists Join ISIL in Syria's Aleppo

Published in Middle East
Friday, 19 January 2018 11:15

Tens of fighters of the Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) have joined the ISIL terrorist group amid the Syrian Army advances in Southern Aleppo, dissident-affiliated websites reported on Friday.

The news websites reported that a sum of 60 terrorists of Al-Nusra have joined ISIL after the Al-Nusra suffered heavy defeats in recent clashes with the army men in Southern Aleppo.

The websites further said that most of the defected members were Al-Nusra fighters in Badiyeh (desert) or former members of Jund al-Aqsa that came under siege of the army men in Southern Aleppo.

In the meantime, a large number of Al-Nusra terrorists have escaped from their positions in Southern Aleppo and joined their comrades near the Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Southeastern Idlib.

Relevant reports said on Wednesday that the army troops stormed terrorists' positions in Southern Aleppo and managed to impose control over 2 more regions in their push towards Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Southeastern Idlib.

The army men pushed the Al-Nusra Front and its militant allies back from the village of Maseh and Tal (hill) Maseh West of the small town of al-Zaman in Southern Aleppo.

The army's engineering units have started defusing bombs and landmines in the newly-freed regions.

The army is trying hard to access and liberate Abu al-Dhohour airbase in Southeastern Idlib via activating different fronts, including Southern Aleppo flank.

Over 100 Terrorists Killed in Infighting among Rival Groups in Northwestern Syria

Published in Middle East
Monday, 13 November 2017 12:12

Nouralddeen al-Zinki members and other terrorists of Al-Nusra Front (Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at or the Levant Liberation Board) engaged in a fresh round of clashes in Aleppo and Idlib provinces, inflicting over 100 casualties on both warring sides, dissident-affiliated websites reported on Monday.

The websites reported that Al-Nusra and al-Zinki terrorist groups engaged in fierce clashes in Western Aleppo and Southern Idlib, leaving over 100 fighters dead from both sides.

In the meantime, Nouralddeen al-Zinki managed to drive Al-Nusra from the village of Taqad in Western Aleppo.

Nouralddeen al-Zinki members have gained control over most of the district in the town of Dar al-Izzah in Northern Aleppo.

Former Mufti (religious leader) of Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at said that his attempts to end infighting between Al-Nusra and al-Zinki in Aleppo and Idlib have failed.

Relevant reports said on Sunday that the Nouralddeen al-Zinki pushed Al-Nusra terrorists back from the village of al-Sa'adiyeh, Dar al-Izzah court and al-Konj checkpoint near the town of Dar al-Izzah that is the largest checkpoint in Western Aleppo.

In the meantime, Al-Nusra fighters seized the power generator in the Agriculture school that was supplying potable water to the small town of al-Abzamu's residents.

Also, clashes erupted between al-Zinki and Al-Nusra in areas near the towns of Orum al-Kobra and Taqad in Western Aleppo.

A large number of members of both warring sides, including Al-Nusra's Mufti (religious leader) Abu Mojahed Mesri, were killed in the clashes.

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