Russian Military Expert: Syria to Start Major Anti-Terrorism Battle in Raqqa Soon

Russian Military Expert: Syria to Start Major Anti-Terrorism Battle in Raqqa Soon

      A prominent Russian military analyst underlined that a major battle will start against the terrorist groups in Raqqa in the near future, adding that the massive military operations will prevent the Turkey-backed forces’ further advance and disintegration of Syria.

“The major battle in Syria will start within one month or a little time more than one month with the aim of liberating Raqqa city as the ISIL’s main base in Syria, and other regions occupied by the terrorist group,” Yuri Larogov said in an interview with Gazeta.ru newspaper.

He also said that given the current complicated situation in peace talks in Astana, every one should remember that the truce doesn’t include the terrorist groups like the ISIL and al-Nusra (Fatah al-Sham) Front that the international community has legitimized fighting against them.

A squadron of Tu-95MS strategic bombers equipped with advanced missiles struck repeatedly ISIL’s positions in Raqqa in Northeastern Syria on Friday, using the airspace of Iran and Iraq to reach the targets, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Russian ministry announced in a statement on Friday that the country’s fighter jets targeted training and command centers of a large terrorist group affiliated to ISIL in Raqqa’s countryside.

The statement said that the Russian bombers left their bases and flew over Iran and Iraq, targeting ISIL’s positions in Raqqa by Kh-101-air-to-surface cruise missiles.

The statement further added that several Sukhoi-30 SM and Sukhoi-33 fighter jets took off from Humeimim airbase in Lattakia and backed up the Russian squadron in the Raqqa operation.

Battle for Mosul Day 125: Operation to Liberate Western Mosul Kicks off

Battle for Mosul Day 125: Operation to Liberate Western Mosul Kicks off

    (FNA)- The comprehensive military campaign by Iraqi military forces to liberate the Northern city of Mosul from ISIL militants continued on Sunday and the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi declared that the Iraqi forces have begun the operation to recapture Western Mosul, after they completed the operation to recapture the city’s Eastern side.

Iraq Kicks off Military Operation to Recapture Western Part of Mosul from ISIL

The Iraqi Army started a fresh round of military operation in Nineveh province on Sunday to drive the ISIL terrorists out of their bastion in the Western part of the city of Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi declared on Sunday that the Iraqi army troops have started the fresh round of military operation to take back the Western part of the country’s second-largest city.

With half the city under the control of Baghdad forces, the Iraqi Armed Forces will likely face heavier resistance in the Western part of Mosul, as the ISIL attempts to hold onto their final positions.

Iraq’s PMF Begins West Mosul Invasion, Bringing down ISIL Defenses

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) began Sunday an invasion of Western Mosul areas coincidentally with Iraqi government forces which launched a new stage of offensives against ISIL militants in that region.

The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said the PMF’s 26th Brigade embarked on an offensive targeting Western Mosul areas starting from Irbeed region, bringing down ISIL defenses there, Iraqi News reported.

Hashd’s media service, meanwhile, said the PMF forces, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi, advanced towards the liberation of Tal Kaisoum, an area on the road between Central Mosul and the strategic town of Tal Afar.

Iraqi Forces Advance towards Mosul International Airport

Iraqi forces began moving on Sunday towards Mosul’s airport, as they seek to capture the entire city from the ISIL terror group.

The Mosul international airport is the first target of a ground offensive to capture the Western side of the city that remains under the control of the ISIL militants, NRT reported.

Iraqi federal police units are leading a Northward charge on the Mosul districts that lie West of the Tigris River, aiming to capture the Mosul airport, located just South of the city, according to statements from the armed forces joint command.

Iraq Federal Police Retake More Western Mosul Areas from ISIL

Iraqi Federal Police forces recaptured Sunday more villages and neighborhoods in Western Mosul as part of a major offensive to clear the region from ISIL militants.

The Iraqi defense ministry’s media center said police forces recaptured the villages of Kafour, Gammasa and Bajwari, and took over al-Aqrab checkpoint that lies on the road between Mosul and Baghdad, Iraqi News reported.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a brief announcement on Sunday that security forces launched an operation to retake the Western side of Mosul, ISIL militants’ largest stronghold in Iraq which the group took over in 2014.

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Wins Back Control of Strategic Region Near Kuweires Airbase in Aleppo Province

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Wins Back Control of Strategic Region Near Kuweires Airbase in Aleppo Province

    (FNA)- The Syrian army forces continued military operations in Eastern Aleppo and earned control over another strategic region near Kuweires airbase.

The Syrian army units stormed ISIL’s defense lines in a region located between Kuweires airbase and the town of Deir Hafer, winning back a key hilltop after several hours of clashes.

The Syrian army also inflicted heavy losses on the terrorist groups in other key regions across Syria.

Aleppo

Syrian Army troops stormed ISIL’s defense lines in a region between Kuweires airbase and the town of Deir Hafer, winning back a key hill after several hours of clashes.

The army men engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL in Eastern Aleppo and could take back the strategic hill of Humeimeh Southwest of Showeilakh or Northwest of Humeimeh al-Kabireh.

ISIL suffered heavy casualties in the attack and pulled the remaining pockets of its forces back form the battlefield to evade more casualties.

Homs

The Syrian Army troops repelled an attack of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) in Northeastern Homs while other army units clashed with terrorists in the Northern part of the province.

The Al-Nusra Front failed to prevail over the army positions in the village of al-Moshrefeh in Northeastern Homs, suffering heavy casualties in clashes with the army soldiers.

In the meantime, the army men engaged in fierce clashes with terrorists in al-Qabou region in Northern Homs.

The army said its soldiers pushed terrorists into a trap in al-Tibeh, killing a number of them.

Dara’a

Syrian Army troops opened heavy fire at the movements of Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) in and outside Dara’a city, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists.

The army men targeted the movements of Al-Nusra in the neighborhood of al-Feran and South of Old Customs inside Dara’a city and West of Jisr al-Qariyeh al-Qarbi region and the town of al-Na’eimeh, destroying a tank.

A military vehicle of the terrorist was destroyed in Jisr al-Qariyeh al-Qarbi and most of the members of the terrorist group were killed in al-Na’eimeh in Eastern Dara’a.

Idlib

Syrian fighter jets struck terrorists’ positions and concentration centers in two different towns in Southern Idlib, inflicting heavy casualties on the militants.

The warplanes pounded a main position of the newly-formed coalition of Tahrir al-Sham Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board) near the town of Jisr al-Shughour, while the army aircraft targeted terrorist groups’ positions in the town of al-Naqir at night.

Army reports said the terrorists suffered heavy casualties in the air raids.

Also the Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat sorties over the gatherings and positions of Jund al-Aqsa in Southern Idlib, killing at least 20 terrorists and wounding several more.

The warplanes pounded the positions of Jund al-Aqsa in the villages of Kafr Ein and Madaya, leaving 20 terrorists dead and several positions of them destroyed.

Deir Ezzur

ISIL lost a number of forces and its military hardware sustained major damage after the terrorist group’s barricades and positions in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city came under Syrian Army fire.

The army’s artillery units targeted heavily ISIL’s positons and barricades in the village of Baqaliyeh and also near al-Halabiyeh roundabout in al-Salehiyeh region, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

Quneitra

ISIL lost a number of forces and its military hardware sustained major damage after the terrorist group’s barricades and positions in the Western outskirts of Deir Ezzur city came under Syrian Army fire.

The army’s artillery units targeted heavily ISIL’s positons and barricades in the village of Baqaliyeh and also near al-Halabiyeh roundabout in al-Salehiyeh region, inflicting heavy losses on the terrorists.

Raqqa

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stormed ISIL’s positions in Eastern Raqqa and captured two villages near the border with Deir Ezzur province after hours of non-stop clashes.

The SDF advances against ISIL from the nearby Makman town and managed to win control over the villages of Siadun (Sayyad) and Hasan Zayd (Hassan Zaid).

The villages are located 85 kilometers North of the city of Deir Ezzur.

The Kurdish forces’ operation room announced on Sunday that the SDF pushed ISIL back from 700 sq/km of land in Raqqa province in the third phase of the Euphrates Rage Operation.

The Euphrates Rage Operation said in a statement that ISIL withdrew from 98 villages and farms in the first nine days of the third phase of anti-ISIL operation in Raqqa.

The statement added that 124 ISIL members were killed and nine others were captured by the Kurdish forces.

The statement further said that several canons, several vehicles carrying heavy weapons, 63 tunnels, 3 bomb-laden suicide vehicles and three drones were destroyed in Kurdish forces’ operation, while 1,256 landmines were defused by engineering units.

Contract for delivery of Russia’s Su-35 fighter jets to Indonesia to be signed soon

Su-35 fighter jet

Su-35 fighter jet

   BANGALORE (India), February 17. /TASS/. A contract for the delivery of Russian-made advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to Indonesia is expected to be signed in the coming months, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy of Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec Viktor Kladov told TASS on Friday.

“We hope that the contract for Su-35 aircraft will be signed in the imminent future. I believe it will be signed in the coming months,” Kladov said.

It was reported earlier that Russia planned to sign a contract with Indonesia on the delivery of ten Su-35 multipurpose fighter jets.

Russian armaments are widely used in the Indonesian Army. Specifically, the Indonesian Air Force operates Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft. Su-35 fighter jets are set to replace the outdated US F-5 Tiger planes operational in the Indonesian Air Force since 1980.

 

Trump’s ‘Middle Eastern NATO’ Targets Iran, Poses ‘Direct Threat’ to Assad

Soldiers stand on a tank of the Saudi-led coalition deployed on the outskirts of the southern Yemeni port city of Aden on August 3, 2015, during a military operation against Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies.

 

The Trump administration is rumored to be in talks with its key allies in the Middle East to create a regional military alliance similar to NATO to ostensibly counter Iran’s influence. Sputnik political analyst Andrey Veselov argued that the bloc, if created, will present a “direct threat” to Damascus, rather that Tehran.

“Iran is a distant target of the proposed alliance. The new bloc poses a direct threat to Bashar al-Assad’s government. The Syrian president, an Alawite, has received military and economic support from Iran, a Shiite state. In this respect, the new coalition could be called Sunni, rather than an Arab one,” the analyst asserted.

Washington is said to be courting Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to join their military efforts, but other regional stakeholders could join in the future. The new coalition is expected to adopt a collective response clause, mimicking NATO’s Article 5. The bloc, if established, would also share intelligence with Israel. However, neither Washington, not Tel Aviv would become a formal member.Unconfirmed reports say that the bloc is touted as a counterbalance to Iran.

Although the foreign policy component of Trump’s America First program states that the administration is intent on embracing diplomacy and is “always happy when old enemies become friends,” the US president, a fierce critic of Iran, has repeatedly indicated that his administration could back out of the landmark nuclear deal which saw Iran agree to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

In early February, Trump turned to Twitter to lambast Iran for a missile test, saying that the Islamic Republic was “playing with fire” and “put on notice.” Several days later, the US president labelled Iran as “the number one terrorist state,” prompting Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to say that Moscow did not share this view.

Veselov pointed out that Trump’s initiative is not new. For instance, in early 2015, the Arab League announced its plans to create a joint 40,000-strong response force, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Sudan, Jordan and other countries contributing troops. It was supposed to be headquartered in Egypt and led by a Saudi general.The initiative, branded as “Arab NATO,” fell through several months later when Saudi Arabia asked to delay the signing of a formal agreement, the analyst explained.

“The delay came after representatives of Egypt and Saudi Arabia bickered at an Arab League meeting. Cairo was concerned that the joint force could be deployed to Libya, which could serve as a precedent for using the new coalition to meddle in the affairs of sovereign states of Maghreb and the Middle East. Representatives of Morocco and Algeria shared Egypt’s view,” Veselov detailed.

In December 2015, Saudi Arabia unveiled Islamic Military Alliance (IMA), an intergovernmental counter-terrorist alliance said to be based on the “Arab NATO” initiative.

Bulletin of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (February 18, 2017)

Reconciliation of opposing sides

Within last 24 hours, 1 ceasefire agreements have been signed with representatives of Ram Jabal in the Homs province.

The total number of inhabited areas, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements has reached 1,260.

Negotiations on joining ceasefire regime have been continued with field commanders of detachments of armed opposition in the Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Hama, and al-Quneitra provinces.

The number of armed formations, which had claimed to observe the ceasefire regime in accordance to the Reconciliation Agreement dating February 27, 2016, remained 110.

The number of inhabited areas, which had been liberated by the Syrian troops from the ISIS armed formations since January 1, 2017 remained 51.

Within last 24 hours, the Syrian troops have liberated 8.4 square kilometers. The government troops have liberated 1,729.6 square kilometers since January 1, 2017.

Ceasefire observation

In accordance to the Joint Agreement on complex settling the Syrian conflict, ceasefire regime has been established starting from 00:00 on December 30, 2016.

The number of armed formations of the Syrian opposition, which had joined the ceasefire regime, remained 64.

Within last 24 hours, the Russian party of the Russia-Turkey Commission on violations of the Joint Agreement has registered 5 cases in the Hama (3), Latakia (1), and Idlib (1).

The Turkish party has registered 23 cases of ceasefire violations in the provinces of the Hama (7), Daraa (6), Idlib (5), Aleppo (3), and Homs (2).

The Russian party has confirmed 7 of 23 cases of ceasefire violation, which had been registered by the Turkish party.

Humanitarian bulletin of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (February 17, 2017)

Humanitarian aid to the Syrian population provided by the Russian Federation

Within last 24 hours, the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides has held 7 humanitarian events in Aleppo (6) and Hailuna in the Hama province (1).

In the Aleppo city, citizens have received 3.75 tons of bread, 3,000 portions of hot meals and 200 sets with products in Bab al-Hadid, al-Akramiyah, Old Aleppo, and Sheikh Maqsood as well as in schools in Haladiyah and Qarim al-Dodo.

Citizens of Hailuna in the Hama province have received 300 sets with food products.

Within last 24 hours, 6,580 citizens have received humanitarian aid.

Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces have delivered 18 tons of humanitarian cargos (toys, items of first necessity, office supplies and items for school) at the Hmeymim airbase in course of the From Children of Russia to Children of Syria campaign.

Total weight of delivered and provided humanitarian cargos to the Syrian population has reached 26.1 tons.

Humanitarian aid to the Syrian population provided by other countries and international organizations

Russian aircraft delivered 17.8 tons of humanitarian aid (food products) in the Deir ez-Zor area using parachute platforms. The aid was provided by the United Nations.