Syria in Past 24 Hours: Several Notorious Fatah Al-Sham Commanders Killed in Idlib

Syria in Past 24 Hours: Several Notorious Fatah Al-Sham Commanders Killed in Idlib

    (FNA)- At least 25 Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) militants, including several notorious field commanders, were killed in an airstrike in Northwestern Idlib.

Aleppo

Syrian Army dispatched hundreds of fresh forces to areas South of Aleppo city to take part in an imminent operation against terrorist groups if they refuse again to leave their positions.

The General Command of the Syrian Army had warned Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups deployed in the districts of al-Rashedeen 4 and 5 to hand over these two districts to the army soldiers.

It is widely believed that the army soldiers, the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and Iraqi al-Nujaba combatants are readying to kick off a large-scale operation to capture al-Rashedeen 4 and 5 and then start another operation to seize the key town of Khan Touman.

Damascus

Syrian Army troops continued to advance against Fatah al-Sham Front in Western Ghouta, capturing more positions in Wadi al-Bardi region.

The army men hit Fatah al-Sham’s defense lines in the villages of Basimeh and Ein al-Fijeh, driving out militants of al-Tout farms, al-Tout square and the entire residential complexes in the village of Basimeh.

The army is trying hard to purge terrorists from Wadi al-Bardi region and reopen flow of drinking water to Damascus.

Reports also said on Wednesday that the army troops allowed tens of militants to leave their positions in six towns and villages in Western Ghouta to be relocated to militant-held regions in Idlib province.

The sources said that after arrival of a number of green buses to Sa’asa’a region, at least 135 militants, who had not applied for government amnesty, along with their families were evacuated from the towns and villages of Sa’asa’a, al-Khazrajiyeh, Hasnou, Beir Timah, Kafr Hours and Beit Seber.

In the meantime, the government officials have given three days to militants in the towns of Yalda, Bebayla and Beit Saham in Southern Damascus to join the peace agreement.

Also, Damascus officials are carrying out final negotiations with the representative of militant groups in Beit Jin, Kanakar and al-Zakiyeh to take control of these towns without engagement in clashes.

Also reports said in the past 24 hours that militants in Western Ghouta are about to hand over three villages to Syrian Army troops to be then relocated to militant-held regions in Idlib province, a military source said.

“Militants in the villages of Beir Timah, Beit Saber and Kafr Hour have agreed to hand over their villages to the government forces,” the source said, and added, “In return, the Damascus government is to provide a safe passage for the militants and their families to move to Idlib province.”

Also on Wednesday, the Syrian army sent more soldiers and military hardware to Wadi al-Bardi region in Western Ghouta to reinvigorate its front for the final phase of a large-scale operation against Fatah al-Sham Front.

The army forwarded more troops and military equipment to Wadi al-Bardi region to kick off the final phase of a massive operation to liberate the region from Fatah al-Sham if the terrorists refuse to surrender.

According to reports, fierce clashes are underway between the army and Fatah al-Sham fighters in Wadi al-Bardi region, while other units of the army and the country’s air force are pounding terrorists’ movements and gatherings in the villages of Basimeh, Ein al-Khazreh and Ein al-Fijeh and their surroundings.

Fatah al-Sham Commander in Wadi al-Bardi Abu Hashim al-Tali confirmed in his tweeter account that Fatah al-Sham is still in the region, calling on them to resist, while other terrorist groups in a statement denied presence of Fatah al-Sham militants in Wadi al-Bardi.

Senior commander of Jeish al-Islam terrorist group Ali Abdul Baqi also said that his forces will be dispatched to Wadi al-Bardi to back militants in this region.

Homs

Military sources said ISIL has started retreating from large swathes of land in Eastern Homs after its militants came under massive artillery and missile fire and sustained heavy casualties.

The sources said that the army’s artillery and missile attacks inflicted a large number of casualties on ISIL in T4 airbase and its nearby region, causing the militant group to withdraw its forces from the battlefield to evade more casualties.

The sources further added that the army soldiers continued heavy artillery attacks on ISIL’s retreating forces as they were withdrawing to regions deep in Eastern Homs and inflicted a growing number of casualties on the terrorists, forcing the militants to move further back to regions West of Palmyra (Tadmur).

Russian and Syrian fighter jets also launched continued airstrikes on ISIL’s movements on roads from Homs to Raqqa.

Also in the past 24 hours, a number of militants of Fatah al-Sham Front, including a notorious field commander, were killed in Syrian Army troops’ offensives on terrorist centers in Northwestern Homs.

The army men engaged in fierce clashes with terrorists in the villages of Jawalik, Seneisel and al-Mahatah, while the army’s artillery units shelled the movements and gatherings of militants, killing at least seven militants in the villages of Jawalik and al-Mahatah and destroying a vehicle.

A military source said that Mohammad Qasim al-Hajj, the senior commander of terrorists, was killed in the clashes.

The army soldiers also targeted terrorists’ centers in Qarnateh in Northern Homs and Borj Qaei in the Western part of the province, inflicting major losses on the militants.

Idlib

Over 20 Fatah al-Sham militants, including several notorious field commanders, were killed in an airstrike in Northwestern Idlib.

“At least 25 Nusra terrorists, including their senior commanders attending a meeting in their command center, were killed in an airstrike by unidentified fighter jets on a main military base of Fatah al-Sham near the town of Sarmada in Northwestern Idlib,” several local and media activists reported on Wednesday.

Raqqa

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to hit ISIL’s positions West of Ein Issa town, driving the terrorist group back from five more villages in the region.

The SDF advanced against ISIL near Tal al-Saman West of Ein Issa and drove ISIL out of the villages of Shali, Dahlan, Ariv and Arbu after hours of non-stop clashes and killing tens of militants.

The Kurdish fighters also advanced against ISIL near the villages of Qaderiyeh and Kardoshan and captured the village of Hanhoud in the Northern side of these two villages.

Kurdish sources said that the SDF had driven ISIL out of 110 villages in the course of the Euphrates Rage Operation in Raqqa province from November 5 to Tuesday.

Lattakia

Militants in two more towns laid down arms and joined the nationwide peace agreement with the Syrian government in the last 24 hours, the Russian Peace Coordination Center in Syria announced in a statement on Wednesday.

“Militants in two more towns in Lattakia province inked reconciliation agreements with the Syrian government,” the Russian Center said.

“Now the total number of the cities, towns, regions and villages that have thus far joined peace plan stands at 1,086,” it added.

Turkey has evidence of US-led coalition support to Islamic State – president

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

© EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/ Turkey has “confirmed evidence” of US-led coalition’s support to terrorist groups, including the Islamic State extremist group (outlawed in Russia), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Islamic State), YPG (Kurdish People’s Protection Units), PYD (Democratic Union Party). It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” Iran’s Press TV quoted Erdogan as saying during a press conference Tuesday.

Erdogan’s announcement came just a day after former US Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein accused Washington of supporting terrorist groups when it serves its interests.

A US Department of State spokesman, Mark Toner, strongly rejected the accusations as having “no basis for truth.”

“I don’t think anyone could look at our actions on the ground leading the coalition in northern Syria, in Iraq and say anything other than that we’re 100% behind the defeat, destruction of Daesh, and even beyond Syria and Iraq, seeing its networks dismantled, destroyed around the region – or outside of the region around the world,” Toner said.

The spokesman added that the United States is “working constructively with Turkey to lead those efforts.”

“Turkey is playing a part and we have constant dialogue and discussion with Turkey about how we can better leverage both of our efforts,” he said.

 

Source Discloses Coordination between US, ISIL in Attacking Syrian Army in Deir Ezzur

 

 

 

Image may contain: sky

(FNA)- The ISIL launched attacks on the Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzur only 7 minutes after the US-led coalition’s airstrikes on Saturday, a military source said, adding that the air and ground assault were highly coordinated.

The source said after the coalition’s pounding of the Syrian army near Deir Ezzur airbase, the ISIL could take full control of al-Tharda mountain and then Deir Ezzur military base, adding that the army and national defense forces deployed near the airbase immediately won it back from the terrorists by launching a counterattack.

Noting that Deir Ezzur is now almost in tranquility and no change has occurred in the military map of the region, the source said by attacking the Syrian army positions, the US seeks to prevent military operations to break the terrorists’ siege on the city.

The source said the simultaneous raid of the ISIL terrorists immediately after the coalition airstrikes is the best evidence of the high coordination done between the US and the terrorists.

Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that four strikes against Syrian positions had been delivered by US-led coalition aircraft, including two F-16 jet fighters and two A-10 support aircraft.

The Syrian military called the bombing a “serious and blatant aggression” against Syrian forces, and said it was “conclusive evidence” that the US and its allies support ISIL militants.

Also on Sunday, the Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman blasted Washington over the recent airstrikes near Deir Ezzur, and said such moves serves the interests of the ISIL terror group.

“If previously we had suspicions that Fatah al-Sham Front (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) is protected this way, now, after Saturday airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending the ISIL,” Maria Zakharova said.

“We demand a full and detailed explanation from Washington. That explanation must be given at the UN Security Council,” she added.

Russia has demanded full and detailed explanation from Washington over the incident in Deir Ezzur, in which 62 Syrian troops were killed and over 100 injured.

This is Why the Turkish Operation in Raqqa Will Serve Russian Interests

 

 Turkish armoured personnel carriers drive towards the border in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 27, 2016

   If Turkey take part in an operation to liberate Raqqa it will play in the hands of Russia because Moscow’s primary goal in Syria is destroying the self-proclaimed Daesh caliphate, experts said.

Turkey is ready to join the United States to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed Daesh caliphate.

“Raqqa is an important center for Daesh… [US President Barack] Obama particularly wants to do something together about Raqqa. We have told him that this is not a problem for us… What can be done there will become more concrete after talks,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists Wednesday.

   He added that Turkey must show that it was present in the region and had no option of taking a step back on Syria and countering terrorism.

   Raqqa has been under control of terrorists since 2013. The Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Army have made attempts to liberate the city but failed. However, the balance of power changed after Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria on August 24.

   Turkey’s involvement in Syria could be a turning point in the crisis as Ankara is becoming the key player for a ground operation against Daesh.

   It is reasonable to assume that in exchange for military support to liberate Raqqa Erdogan may demand from Washington a blank check to resolve the Kurdish problem. Preventing Kurdish autonomy is crucial for Ankara,” an article on the Russian analytical website Svobodnaya Pressa read.

   At the same time, for Washington, siding with Turkey would mean correcting its policy in Syria. The US has relied on Kurdish forces in Syria but now Turkey could become Washington’s main ally in Syria.

   As for Russia’s reaction to such a scenario, Moscow is unlikely to criticize Turkey because Ankara’s engagement in Syria could also serve Russia’s interests, experts say.

“Turkey normalized ties with Russia. And it seems like Moscow unofficially authorized Turkey’s participation in a local military campaign at the Syrian border,” Stanislav Tarasov, head of the Middle East-Caucasus think-tank, told Svobodnaya Pressa.

On the one hand, Turkish involvement in Syria can facilitate a solution against Daesh problem. On the other hand, it complicates the diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis, the analyst pointed out.

According to Tarasov, the operation has created problems for dialogue between Ankara, Washington and Moscow.

   “Turkey is part of a US-led international coalition. Erdogan may join forces with the US to liberate Raqqa. At the same time, Ankara and Washington understand that Russia has its interests too,” he said.

   The analyst also suggested that the Turkish operation in Syria will not deal a blow to Moscow’s and Washington’s positions in the region but poses the risk of dragging Turkey into a serious military conflict.

   “Turkey will not upset Russia’s plans if Turkish forces liberate Raqqa. Russia’s main goal in Syria is defeating Daesh terrorists. And the liberation of Raqqa would play into the hands of Moscow,” Mikhail Alexandrov, a military and political expert at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, pointed out.

   Moreover, Ankara restored ties with Moscow which means that Turkish control over Raqqa is a much better scenario than if Raqqa was liberated by the US, he added.

“Moscow would agree to this scenario. I can’t rule out that Erdogan and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin discussed it during their meeting in China,” he concluded.

Secret File Confirms Trump Claim: Obama, Hillary ‘Founded ISIS’ to Oust Assad

Obama, Clinton

 

The Obama Administration’s policy of supporting Salafist opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saw the United States unwittingly support the creation of the Daesh ‘caliphate’ in Syria.

A 2012 defense intelligence report, originally stamped SECRET exposes that the US-backed anti-Assad coalition at the time was spearheaded by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) that soon after cobbled together to form the Daesh terror network.

The report exposes that while the United States refused to directly aide and support AQI and ISI pursuant to restrictions imposed by domestic anti-terror laws, State Department and Pentagon officials were well aware that the so-called ‘moderate’ rebels were intertwined with the terrorist militants who were the vanguard of the fighting force. Somewhat fantastically, the United States finds itself in a similar predicament in its anti-Assad proxy war vis-à-vis another former al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front.

“AQI, through the spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Abu Muhammad al-Adnani… is calling on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions (between Iraq and Syria), to wage war against the Syrian regime,” said the report.

It continued: “Opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to the Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf States and Turkey are supporting these efforts.”

“There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasak and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want,” in what can only conceivably be construed as a call for the formation of a Daesh “caliphate” in Syria.

In December 2012, only months after the defense intelligence report, President Obama caved to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the more hawkish wing of the national security establishment saying the United States considered the opposition to be “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

Again, the opposition that the Obama administration deemed to be the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people” was led by the precursors to the Daesh terror network, AQI and ISI, with Washington employing a policy of feigned ignorance agreeing to provide arms, aid, and support to other factions of the opposition knowing that these groups would potentially function as a conduit.

Indications are that the Obama administration failed to appropriately apprehend the danger posed by the Daesh terror network with the President calling the group al-Qaeda’s “JV Team” and with his own former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn’s assessment predicting in intricate detail the rise and reach of the jihadist group going largely ignored.

The US policy of utilizing jihadist extremists in proxy wars carries with it a haunting track record dating back to the CIA support, during the Reagan administration, of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan that spawned off the now deceased terror mastermind Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terror network.

New Tactics? ‘Syrian Army May Regroup’ to Destroy Daesh Amid Ceasefire

A soldier of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) near the town of Mhin, Syria

 

The Syrian Army may regroup and focus on fighting Daesh terrorists as the ceasefire is being observed by the opposing sides in Syria, according to Russian military expert Alexander Perendzhiyev.

In an interview with RIA Novosti, Russian military expert Alexander Perendzhiyev suggested that the ongoing ceasefire in Syria may prompt the country’s army to regroup and concentrate on a crackdown against Daesh.

“Regrouping the Syrian Army amid the ceasefire and the desire of some opposition forces to support President Bashar Assad in the fight against international terrorism may help Syria do away with  Daesh occupation,” Perendzhiev said.

However, he was somewhat skeptical about all the sides sticking to the 14-day ceasefire, which he said will become a litmus test for them.

In this vein, Perendzhiev did not rule out that the United States may accuse Russia and Syria of disrupting the peace process, a scenario that the said can be avoided if the Russian Defense Ministry is tasked with the comprehensive monitoring of the ceasefire regime.

“The Russian military and the diplomats will have to not only respond to possible information attacks but also deal with pre-emptive steps,” he said.

Perendzhiev expressed hope that the Russian Defense Ministry is already effectively monitoring the situation in the region and that if necessary, the ministry will present visual evidence of any provocation to the international community.

According to him, the monitoring should specifically be related to actions taken by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which are “unwilling to retreat from the issue of President Assad’s ouster instead of focusing on the real fight against international terrorism.”

Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria on February 22. The ceasefire took effect at midnight on Saturday Damascus time (22:00 GMT on Friday).

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2268 endorsing the Russia-US agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria on Friday, shortly before the ceasefire came into force.

The cessation of hostilities does not apply to designated terrorist organizations operating in Syria, including Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) and the Al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The Russian Defense Ministry said, in turn, that “Russian aircraft aren’t performing strikes in those regions where a willingness to cease fire and to start negotiations were expressed.”Russia’s ongoing air campaign in Syria was launched on September 30, when more than fifty Russian warplanes, including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 jets, commenced precision airstrikes on Daesh and Al-Nusra Front targets at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In addition, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed earlier this month that advanced, super-maneuverable Su-35S multi-role fighters had begun their combat mission in Syria.

 

Iraq appreciates Russia’s support in freeing its territory from terrorists — minister

According to the foreign minister, the Iraqi army, self-defense forces, peshmerga units have one common goal – to oust all terrorists from the Iraqi territory

 

BAGHDAD, February 11. /TASS/. Iraq aims to free its territory from terrorists and appreciates Russia’s support in this matter, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on Thursday.

Baghdad plans to boost cooperation with Russia in different spheres, al-Jafaari said at the session of the Russian-Iraqi inter-governmental commission co-chaired by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. “The years of 2014 and 2015 truly passed under the banner of fighting terrorism, and we appreciate the contribution of our friends to this fight,” he added.

“The Iraqi government aims to defeat the Islamic State [terrorist organization banned in Russia]. The Iraqi army, self-defense forces, peshmerga units have one common goal – to oust all terrorists from the Iraqi territory,” al-Jaafari said. He noted that terrorism is being aided “not only from the inside but also from the outside.”

“In this regard, we respect and appreciate Russia’s positions and its support for territorial integrity and independence of Iraq. We appreciate the support Russia provides us with in the fight against those elements,” the Iraqi foreign minister added.