Cooperation With Russia, Damascus is ‘Turkey’s Only Chance to Avoid War’

 

 

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February 4 – In a recent article for the Turkish newspaper Aydınlık, Ismail Hakki Pekin, former chief of the Turkish General Staff Intelligence Department, warned that Turkey is moving step by step to war. In an interview, Pekin commented on his assumption, saying that Ankara has found itself in a difficult situation, particularly due to foreign pressure.
“The United States and Egypt are trying to force Turkey to make certain concessions, including establishing a Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria and talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside Turkey,” Pekin said.
According to him, if such a Kurdish entity is established Ankara would be “encircled from the south” and will have to fight a “war on two fronts,” against Daesh in Syria and against PKK inside the country.
Pekin underscored that in order to achieve its goal, Washington is providing military and logistical support to the PKK, including supplying heavy weapons, anti-tanks missiles and armored combat vehicles.
“For Ankara, the only chance to derail this plan is to establish dialogue with Damascus and boost cooperation with Russia, Iran and Iraq,” he said.
Pekin underscored that Turkey should take as soon as possible certain measures to repel the threat.
He also commented on the upcoming Turkish constitutional referendum on switching to a presidential system of governance.
The controversial bill seeks to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers in a move described as a power-grab by the opposition Republican People’s Party and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party.
According to Pekin, the referendum could lead to social clashes in Turkey since it would only deepen tensions in the society.
“I think that Turkey should preserve its parliamentarian system, and the referendum risks splitting the Turkish people. In the current situation, any results of the vote could lead to a social disaster,” he concluded.

Russia, Turkey report 14 ceasefire breaches in Syria per day

© Russian Defense Ministry/TASS

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Russian servicemen have recorded seven ceasefire violations in Syria, another seven breaches have been recorded by Turkey, but they have not been confirmed by Russia, the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria said in its daily bulletin posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website.

“The Russian part of the joint Russian-Turkish commission in charge of issues related to violations of the comprehensive agreement has registered seven violations over the past 24 hours in the Hama (four) and Latakia (three) provinces,” the bulletin said. “The Turkish side has recorded seven violations in the provinces of Damascus, Hama and Aleppo.”

It noted though that Russia has not confirmed seven violations registered by Turkish representatives.

Over the past 24 hours, another populated locality, Rastin (Latakia province), has joined the reconciliation process. The number of inhabited localities that have joined the reconciliation process has climbed to 1,135, the Russian Reconciliation Center said.

As part of Russia’s humanitarian effort, 7.8 tonnes of humanitarian aid have been passed to civilians in the city of Aleppo, and 1.2 tonnes – in the Rastin populated locality (Latakia province). In addition to that, toys and children’s clothes have been handed over to civilians at the al-Zagra temporary accommodation facility in the city of Homs.

 

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Wins Back More Strategic Regions Near Ancient Palmyra

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Wins Back More Strategic Regions Near Ancient Palmyra

    (FNA)- The Syrian army and its allies made significant advances against the ISIL terrorists in the Central province of Homs after seizing back more key areas in the vicinity of the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur).

The terrorists sustained heavy losses in fierce clashes with the Syrian government troops near Palmyra city.

Meantime, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their military advances in other parts of Syria, including Damascus and Deir Ezzur, over past 24 hours.

Homs

The Syrian Army troops, backed up by the Russian and Syrian fighter jets, started a fresh round of anti-ISIL operation to the West of ancient Palmyra (Tadmur), capturing more lands in the region.

The Army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with ISIL near T4 airbase and al-Bardeh region, killing a large number of terrorists and driving the rest of them out of more positions in Eastern Homs.

The Syrian and Russian warplanes carried out tens of combat sorties over ISIL’s gatherings and movements near Palmyra and energy fields near the city and al-Bardeh.

Meantime, a military source said that the ISIL is after capturing T4 airbase and then the town of al-Quaryatayn, but the Syrian and Russian warplanes have foiled plans of terrorists in preemptive strikes.

According to another military source, the first phase of the army’s special operation in Eastern Homs is aimed at capturing the Jazal mountain and Al-Maher gas gields to liberate these sites from ISIL’s control.

Dara’a

The Syrian Air Force targeted one of the most important bases of the Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) in Northern Dara’a, and destroyed the base and militants’ equipment.

The army aircraft bombed Fatah al-Sham’s base to the West of the town of Dael, destroying the base and killing or wounding almost 45 terrorists.

After the liberation of the strategic town of Sheikh Meskeen, a preliminary agreement was concluded between the Syrian government and militants in the towns of Dael and Ibtta in the Southern side of Sheikh Meskeen in order to pave the ground for the militants to hand over their territories to the government without clashes, but differences among the militant groups pushed the agreement into failure and caused the army men to restart their military operation in the region.

Damascus

Syrian Army troops’ rapid advances against terrorists and wining back the villages of Basimeh and Ein al-Fijeh have paved the way for the reopening the flow of drinking water from Wadi al-Bardi to Damascus.

The army soldiers that engaged in fierce clashes with terrorist groups in Wadi al-Bardi region in Western Ghouta took full control over Basimeh and Ein al-Fijeh, while terrorists pulled back forces toward the village of Ein al-Khazra.

The army men were involved in an intense battle with terrorists in Ein al-Khazra, forcing the militants to leave their positions in the village.

The army troops’ advances will soon enable maintenance groups deployed in Ein al-Fijeh region to repair its water facilities.

Syrian Minister of Waster Resources Nabil al-Hassan underlined that maintenance groups had entered Ein al-Fijeh and would start fixing the water facilities in the region.

Local sources, meanwhile, said that water pumping operation have started after several hours of work by maintenance groups in Ein al-Fijeh, adding that water will soon come back to Damascus residents.

Meantime, the Syrian Army troops continued their advances against terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta and won full control over a key town in the region.

The army soldiers engaged in hours-long clashes with terrorists and drove them back from the town of Hawsh al-Zariqiyeh.

Sources affiliated to militant groups disclosed that rebels in the region near Hawsh al-Zariqiyeh avoided sending reinforcement to the town after they were informed of the army advances.

A field source said that the terrorists have suffered a heavy death toll in Hawsh al-Zariqiyeh, adding that the army units are about to continue their advances towards Tal (hill) Farzat, while other units will move towards al-Nashibiyeh.

But, some reports said that terrorists have targeted the regions near water reservoirs halting repairing process.

The Syrian Army raised the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic over the al-Fijeh Springs on Saturday, marking the first time in 4 years that this site has been under government control.

Militant groups captured the Wadi al-Bardi region in 2013 after an attack on this water rich part of Western Damascus, and since then they have frequently blocked the water flow to nearly 5 million civilians in Damascus for living under the Syrian government’s protection.

Idlib

Terrorist groups have increased attacks on each other across Idlib province, while terror operations against commanders have been on the rise in recent weeks in the militant-held regions in the province, local sources said.

The sources said that senior Commander of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) Abu Ali al-Tunisi was killed in a terrorist attack on a road to the town of Qemaynas in Southeastern Idlib.

At least 20 Turkistani terrorists were killed in an attack by rival terrorists on a building in Jabal al-Arbaeen in the town of Ariha, they added.

Ahrar al-Sham and Fatah al-Sham are accusing each other of being the main cause of disunity and insecurity in Idlib and its countryside.

Ahrar al-Sham believes that Fatah al-Sham’s opposition to merging militant groups is the cause of disunity and insecurity.

Al-Omar, one of the commanders of Ahrar, said those members of ISIL that are now among Jund al-Aqsa and have made allegiance to Fatah al-Sham are in charge of insecurity and terror in Idlib.

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Repels Major Attack on Gov’t Positions Near Aleppo’s Kuweires Airbase

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Repels Major Attack on Gov't Positions Near Aleppo's Kuweires Airbase

    (FNA)- The Syrian army troops repelled the terrorists’ attack on their positions South of the Kuweires airbase in the Eastern part of Aleppo province after hours of clashes, inflicting major losses on them.

The ISIL’s offensive to capture the government forces’ positions near Kuweires airbase was fended off by the strong defense of the Syrian military men.

Meantime, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their military advances in other parts of Syria, including Damascus and Homs, over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army’s operations in Syria’s key provinces.

Aleppo

Syrian Army troops fended off ISIL’s large-scale offensive in a military base East of Aleppo, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

The army soldiers repelled ISIL’s assault on the Air Force Academy South of Kuweires airbase, killing and wounding a number of militants.

The army men also destroyed eight military vehicles of ISIL in the villages of Rasm al-Harmal al-Imam and Harmaleh in Deir Hafer region.

A field source said the army has been monitoring ISIL’s movements, communication lines and gatherings in recent weeks and picked up good information about the imminent plans of the terrorists.

The sources added that that the Syrian pro-government forces are about to carry out an imminent operation in Northern Aleppo to liberate the towns of al-Bab and Deir Hafer from ISIL control.

Meantime, Syrian Army’s engineering units continued their demining operation in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, discovering another depot of arms and ammunition that belonged to Jeish al-Fatah terrorists, a military source said.

The source said that terrorists had turned people’s houses in Bostan al-Qasr (Bustan al-Kaser) into arms depots and after forcing them out.

The depot in Bostan al-Qasr was reportedly also used as a workshop for building weapons and munitions.

Russian sappers are also defusing bombs and mines planted by terrorists in Aleppo’s neighborhoods.

Damascus

Syrian Army troops intensified offensive on centers of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) and other terrorist groups in Western Ghouta, killing a number of militants, including a senior commander of Jeish Tahrir al-Sham.

The army soldiers engaged in fierce clashes with Tahrir al-Sham militants in al-Hosseiniyeh front in Wadi al-Bardi, killing Abu al-Nimr al-Talfiti, a senior field commander of the terrorist group.

Meantime, scores of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists, including one of their field commanders, were killed in Syrian army’s counterattack in Eastern Ghouta.

Terrorist groups carried out a very heavy attack on the army positions near the missile battalion in Hazarma region, forcing the army soldiers to retreat temporarily from four positions.

Then, the Army men in a rapid counterattack inflicted heavy damage on the terrorists’ vehicles and killed a number of them, recapturing all the lost positions.

Over 10 terrorists, including field commander of Faylaq al-Rahman Hamza al-Asali known as Abu al-Abbas were killed and several more were wounded while repelling terrorists’ attack.

Over 25 militants were killed or wounded in the second wave of clashes.

The rest of the terrorists fled the battlefield.

Also, the army men targeted the movements and positions of the terrorists in the villages of Basimeh and Ein al-Fijeh in Wadi al-Bardi region, killing a number of them.

A field source said that bad weather conditions have prevented the army aircraft from conducting raids on terrorists’ targets in the region, and the terrorists are only under attack by ground and artillery troops.

Homs

Syrian Army troops, backed up by the Russian Air Force, repelled one of ISIL’s heaviest attacks on the T4 airbase West of Palmyra, inflicting major casualties on the militants.

The ISIL carried out a massive attack on army position at T4 airbase with hundreds of forces, but government troops and Russian choppers fended off their attack after killing and wounding tens of terrorists.

A field source said that the army units that repelled ISIL’s attack carried out an immediate counter assault on ISIL’s movements from the Southern side of T4, capturing several small hills.

Also, the Syrian air force targeted the movements and gatherings of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) at al-Quneitrat Ezzeddeen in Eastern Homs, leaving 24 terrorists dead.

Hama

Several members of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front), including Saudi militants, were killed in Syrian air and artillery attacks in Eastern Hama.

The army aircraft and artillery units targeted the gatherings and movements of Fatah al-Sham in Taloul al-Hamar West of al-Salamiyah town near the provincial border with Homs province, leaving at least seven militants dead, including several Saudi nationals and destroying three vehicles.

Reports said, at least, 30 militants were also injured in the attacks.

Also, the army troops and National Defense Forces repelled terrorists’ offensive on their positions near the city of al-Salamiyah, killing at least 25 militants and wounding several more.

Senior Commander, Tens of Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in Eastern Damascus

Senior Commander, Tens of Terrorists Killed in Clashes with Syrian Soldiers in Eastern Damascus

       Scores of Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists, including one of their field commanders, were killed in Syrian army’s counterattack in Eastern Ghouta.

Terrorist groups carried out a very heavy attack on the army positions near the missile battalion in Hazarma region, forcing the army soldiers to retreat temporarily from four positions.

Then, the Army men in a rapid counterattack inflicted heavy damage on the terrorists’ vehicles and killed a number of them, recapturing all the lost positions.

Over 10 terrorists, including field commander of Faylaq al-Rahman Hamza al-Asali known as Abu al-Abbas were killed and several more were wounded while repelling terrorists’ attack.

Over 25 militants were killed or wounded in the second wave of clashes.

The rest of the terrorists fled the battlefield.

Syrian Army troops continued their advances against the terrorist groups in Eastern Ghouta on Monday and took full control of a key town after hours of non-stop battle.

The army men pushed militants back from the town of Harazma, inflicting major losses on the terrorists.

Field sources said that the army men started carrying out mop-up operation in the newly-freed town and its surroundings, adding engineering units started defusing bombs and landmines planted by the militants across the town.

The remaining pockets of terrorists fled towards adjacent towns.

The sources added that fierce clashes were underway between the army soldiers and militants near the strategic Farzat hill that overlooks the towns of al-Nashabiyeh and Hawsh al-Salehiyeh.

Russian Fleet Leaving Mediterranean Sea Ready to Return to Syria’s Waters in Case of Emergency

Russian Fleet Leaving Mediterranean Sea Ready to Return to Syria's Waters in Case of Emergency

      Russian General Vyacheslav Bobov underlined on Tuesday that the Russian fleet of warships, including Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which are about to leave the Eastern waters of the Mediterranean Sea in coming weeks will be fully ready to return to Syria in case needed.

The Russian General warned that in case any incident arises to halt the diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the fighter jets on board and other accompanying warships will return to Syrian waters immediately.

Yet, he said Syria’s current situation allows the Russian fleet to return to its base back at home.

Bobov underscored that there is no plan for a complete withdrawal of the Russian military from Syrian, although the Russian military capability will be reduced now that some main objectives have been achieved in the war on terrorism.

Chief of the Russian Army General Staff Valery Gerasimov announced that Moscow has launched withdrawal operation of a part of its military forces and equipment from war-hit Syria.

“In accordance with the decision of Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces (President) Vladimir Putin, the Russian defense ministry is beginning the reduction of the armed deployment to Syria,” Gerasimov, said.

Gerasimov added that reduction of military forces in Syria will start with the withdrawal of the North Naval Group led by Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

Interfax reported for its part that Russian has decided to withdraw a number of its military planes, Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) battle cruiser and logistic cruisers from Syria’s coasts.

Triumph in the Sky: Russia Blankets Syria With S-300, S-400 Air Defense Network

Russia deploys S-400 air defense missile system in Syria
      The Russian task force in Syria has created a unified air defense network using advanced S-300 and S-400 “Triumf” surface-to-air missile systems, which can reliably defend the nation against aerial attacks both on land and at sea, commander of the Russian military group in the country Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov said on Friday.
    “A unified air defense system that provides reliable protection both on land and at sea has been created jointly with Russian troops in Syria’s air defense forces using modern S-300 and S-400 systems,” he said.
      The commander added that close interoperability was established between the system set up by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the country’s own Bastion coastal defense systems.
     Russia deployed S-400 missile systems at its airbase in Syria in 2015 following the downing of a Russian Su-24 Fencer by a Turkish F-16 fighter on November 24.
   ‘In October 2016, the Russian Defense Ministry said a battery of S-300 air defense systems had been delivered to Syria to protect a naval facility in the port of Tartus as well as protect Russian warships deployed off the Syrian coast.
     Addressing the activity of the Russian naval group in Syria, the commander noted that all kinds of defense and joint-force team play were mastered during the use of planes from both the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and Hmeymim Airbase in Latakia.
     Earlier in the day, the General Staff announced the start of the reduction of the Russian group in Syria. The Admiral Kuznetsov is to depart for Russia later on Friday.
     Kartapolov declared that the naval group of the Northern Fleet had accomplished its combat tasks, having destroyed 1,252 terrorist targets in Syria over two months.
     Russia has been conducting a military operation against terrorists in Syria since September 30, 2015, at the request of President Bashar Assad.