Palmyra Operations: 2nd Convoy of Tiger Forces Arrives in Homs

Palmyra Operations: 2nd Convoy of Tiger Forces Arrives in Homs

  (FNA)- The second convoy of Tiger Forces arrived at the T4 airbase in Homs on Thursday after the deployment of a large number of the Syrian army and Hezbollah troops in the province, a field source said.

The source said that a unit of Tiger Forces had earlier been sent from Aleppo to Homs, and added that the Desert Hawks are also likely to be dispatched to the region.

Noting that another group of Tiger Forces will be dispatched to Homs in the next few days, he said that several units of Tiger Forces have been assigned to the mission to protect the T4 airbase against the ISIL’s massive attacks.

A large number of Army soldiers and popular forces are waiting for a Centcom order to start a massive offensive to push back the ISIL terrorist group from the recently occupied lands in the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and energy-rich regions in Eastern Homs.

After the arrival of fresh pro-government forces in Eastern Homs and improved weather conditions that made it possible for the Russian and Syrian warplanes to resume their flights in the region, the Damascus troops repelled ISIL’s repeated attacks on T4 airbase and also took back a number of key positions near Palmyra and T4 base.

The pro-government forces are now waiting for an Centcom order to initiate a large-scale offensive on ISIL in Eastern Homs.

In the meantime, hundreds more of fresh forces are due to arrive in Homs in coming days.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army troops and air force targeted ISIL’s concentration centers and gatherings in the ancient city of Palmyra and its outskirts, inflicting more than a dozen casualties on the terrorists.

The army men targeted the positions and movements of ISIL East of the Fourth Station and in Ba’ar al-Fawa’erah region West of Tadmur, killing over 13 militants and wounding several more.

The army aircraft also pounded ISIL’s positions and movements in the city of Palmyra and nearby areas, in Badiyeh al-Qarbi (the Western Desert), the Fourth Station and the villages of al-Tiyas and Sharifeh in Eastern Homs, leaving a number of militants dead and their military vehicles, canons and rocket launchers destroyed.

Also, the army men stormed ISIL’s gatherings in the villages of Habreh al-Sharqi, Habreh al-Qarbi, Rasm Hamideh, Jubb Habal, Abu Qatour, Unq al-Hawa, Abu Hawadid, Jubb Hamad and Sharifeh on Tuesday, killing or wounding a large number of militants.

In the meantime, the army troops targeted a gathering of Fatah al-Sham’s commanders near al-Rastan town, killing and wounding several commanders.

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Several Nusra Commanders Killed in Syrian Armed Forces’ Attacks in Homs

Several Nusra Commanders Killed in Syrian Armed Forces' Attacks in Homs

(FNA)- Several top commanders of Fatah al-Sham Front (the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group previously known as the al-Nusra Front) were killed along with, at least 20 more rebels, after they came under attack by the Syrian air force and ground troops.

Commander of al-Asefat brigade Ahmad Qazi al-Saleh, Commander of an Ahrar al-Sham brigade Bassam Jahwani, senior Commander of Fatah al-Sham Ahmad Qasoum and his aide Mohammad al-Ahmad alongside 20 more militants were killed in the Syrian air raid in Northern Homs.

Terrorists’ missile bases also sustained major damage in the air assault.

The artillery units, for their part, targeted terrorists’ centers and roads used by them in al-Dobour and al-Tibeh in al-Houleh region and in an area South of al-Mashjar in Talbiseh region, inflicting a number of casualties on the militants and destroying their bases and machinegun-equipped vehicles.

The army men and National Defense Forces also repelled ISIL’s attack Northeast of Tadmur (Palmyra), and then in a pursuing counter-attack on ISIL’s defense lines managed to push the militants back from their positions, inflicting major losses on them.

On Tuesday, Syrian Air Force and Army troops’ attacks on the positions of Fatah al-Sham Front in Northwestern and Northern Homs, inflicted at least 30 casualties on the militants, including several commanders.

Syrian fighter jets carried out several combat sorties over the battlefields in Homs province to help the country’s soldiers beat the Takfiri terrorists back from their positions.

The warplanes targeted a position of Fatah al-Sham in the Northwestern territories of Homs province.

More than 30 terrorists were killed or injured and their military vehicles were targeted after destroying their position in the village of Aqrab in al-Houla plain in the Northwestern side of Homs city.

In the meantime, an army unit killed a number of the leaders of the terrorist groups affiliated to Fatah al-Sham in the village of al-Za’afaraniyeh in Northern Homs.

Russia Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Syrian Aleppo, Homs, Deir Ez-Zor

Humanitarian cargo dropped in Deir ez-Zor with the help of Russian parachute systems

 

Russia delivered 25 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Syria’s provinces of Aleppo and Homs as well as the city of Deir Ez-Zor.

MOSCOW   Russia delivered 25 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Syria’s provinces of Aleppo and Homs as well as the city of Deir Ez-Zor besieged by terrorists, a daily bulletin on the Russian Defense Ministry website said on Friday.

“Mi-8 helicopters have dropped 2 tons of humanitarian cargos on regions of Aleppo controlled by armed formations. Low-income families of al-Butma (Homs province) have received 2 tons of humanitarian cargos with flour, rice, canned meat and fish,” the bulletin said.

The Russian Defense Ministry also said that an aircraft of the Abakan Air, Russian aviation company, delivered 21 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Deir ez-Zor.

“Aircraft of the Abakan Air, Russian aviation company, has dropped 21 tons of UN humanitarian cargos with corns and tomato paste on Deir ez-Zor, which had been besieged by ISIS terrorists,” the bulletin said.Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. On February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, also known as Daesh), as well as Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front), both outlawed in Russia and a range of other states, are not part of the deal.

Russia’s ‘surprise & unexpected’ Syria withdrawal welcomed as signal for ‘true peace process’

 

Su-24 Fencer tactical bomber prepares for takeoff from the Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia, Syria. © Ramil Sitdikov
International political leaders have welcomed the Russian military pullout from Syria, and while many have called the Kremlin’s decision “unexpected,” it is seen as clearing the way for dialogue at a time when a truce in five-year-old war is being negotiated in Geneva.

Acknowledging that five months of military campaigns have mostly succeeded in their primary objective of eliminating the immediate wider threat from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), President Vladimir Putin has ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Syria.

Russia has placed its strategic emphasis on establishing a diplomatic effort, with Putin instructing the Foreign Ministry to intensify Moscow’s participation in organizing the peace process to resolve the Syrian crisis, which is about to enter its sixth year.

After announcing partial Russian withdrawal, President Putin, explained to his American counterpart in a phone conversation that the decision will “certainly serve as a good signal to all conflicting sides and create conditions for the start of a true peace process,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

The timing of the Russian decision is crucial as vital negotiations to avert further bloodshed in Syria resumed on Monday in Geneva. The last round of negotiations collapsed in January because the opposition block refused to debate their differences as Russian air raids intensified near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Obama welcomed the “much-needed reduction in violence” since the cease-fire took effect late last month, the White House said in a statement about Monday’s phone call. “The president underscored that a political transition is required to end the violence in Syria,” the White House added.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also welcomed Moscow’s announcement saying it will put additional pressure on parties in Geneva to negotiate a peaceful transition to end the Syrian turmoil.

“This will increase the pressure on the al-Assad regime to finally and seriously negotiate a peaceful political transition in Geneva,” Steinmeier said in a statement.

Comments also came from the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

“The fact that a semi-ceasefire has been holding in Syria is welcome news, it’s something that we’ve been asking for at least two-and-a-half, three years,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a meeting with his Australian couterpart Julie Bishop in Canberra.

“The fact that Russia announced that it’s withdrawing part of its forces indicates that they don’t see an imminent need for resort to force in maintaining the ceasefire,” he added. “That in and of itself should be a positive sign. Now we have to wait and see.”

While Russia plans to maintain a military presence at its naval base in Tartous and the Khmeymim airbase, Moscow’s decision to reduce its military involvement in Syria has already been welcomed by the Syrian opposition currently negotiating in Geneva.

“If there is seriousness in implementing the withdrawal, it will give the talks a positive push,” said Salim al-Muslat, spokesman for the rebel High Negotiations Committee. “If this is a serious step it will form a major element of pressure on the regime, because the Russian support prolonged the regime. Matters will change significantly as a result of that.”

What is also important is that the move has been well received by all members of the UN Security Council, who have been working tirelessly on the diplomatic front to secure peace in Syria.

“We have also taken very good note of the decision by the Russians to start withdrawing part of these forces,” the Security Council’s rotating president, Angola’s Ambassador Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins, told reporters. “When we see forces withdrawing, it means war is being taking a different step. So that’s good.”

However, despite the careful timing of Putin’s announcement that is clearly aimed at cementing the fragile ceasefire in Syria, the Kremlin’s decision has been called “a surprise move,” by the New York Times, which hypothesizes that the Russian decision was conditioned by the rift between Moscow and Damascus.

“There have been growing signs of differences between Russia and the Syrian government over the Geneva talks, which Moscow has pressed hard for along with Washington,” NYT wrote.

In reality the Russian initiative to withdraw received full support from the Syrian government before the announcement was made.

“The president of Syria noted the professionalism, courage and heroism of the Russian service personnel who took part in the military operations, and expressed his profound gratitude to Russia for providing such substantial help in fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population,” the Kremlin said commenting on the phone call between Putin and Assad.

The Wall Street Journal has dubbed Moscow’s withdrawal an “unexpected announcement.”

“US officials said any withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria would come as a complete surprise and that the US government hadn’t expected Moscow to announce such a move,” WSJ said.

Stratfor, a global intelligence think tank, has also used the term “unexpected withdrawal,” to describe Putin’s decision. At the same time, their report acknowledged that Moscow has achieved its stated agenda.

“With their actions in Syria thus far, the Russians have showcased their improved combat capabilities and some new, previously unused weapons… Russia has also largely achieved its goal of weakening Islamic State…” the Stratfor report reads. “All in all, Islamic State may not be entirely defeated, but its forces in Syria and Iraq are much weaker than they were five months ago.”

Syrian Warplanes Bomb Daesh Strongholds Across Homs, Aleppo, Hama

A MiG-23 aircraft of the Syrian Air Force lands at the Hama airbase near the city of Hama, Syria's Hama Province

 

The Syrian Air Force intensified its bombing campaign of Daesh positions across the provinces of Homs, Hama and Aleppo, Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

“The ISIL [Daesh] positions in Maheen and Quaryatayn in the Central Homs province came under several air attacks by Syrian bombers, inflicting heavy damage on the terrorists’ sites,” FARS news agency reported citing sources as saying.

Similarly, Khneifis and Hama province saw a heavy bombardment of the Daesh terrorists’ defense lines, resulting in the killing and wounding of many militants.

“The Syrian air fleet also carried out combat flights over the ISIL [Daesh] centers in Ein al-Jamajmeh and al-Nejarah in the Northern Province of Aleppo, in which dozens of militants were killed or wounded and their military grid was also destroyed,” the sources said.

At least 33 Daesh terrorists were killed in the Syrian air attack on the three provinces. Earlier reports said that the Syrian fighter jets conducted several combat sorties over Daesh centers in at least four key battlefronts in Homs province, and bombed them heavier than ever, FARS reported.The air attacks have paved the way for the country’s ground forces to retake the towns and villages and move towards the ancient city of Palmyra.