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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Repels Attacks on Gov’t Positions in Homs

Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Repels Attacks on Gov't Positions in Homs

     Syrian army soldiers repelled terrorists’ massive attacks on their positions in Homs province after hours of clashes, inflicting major losses on them.

The ISIL terrorists’ large-scale attacks to capture the government forces’ positions near T4 airbase were 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 Aleppo, 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.


The ISIL terrorists launched a fierce attack to occupy the strategic T4 airbase in Western Palmyra (Tadmur) but failed again after the Syrian army forces repulsed their offensive rapidly and inflicted heavy casualties on them.

The Syrian army’s rapid reaction could kill and injure 115 ISIL militants and destroy 9 tanks and military vehicles of the terrorists.

The army troops deployed in the Southern parts of T4 airbase also started operations to purge the terrorists from Sharifah town.

Military sources said that the Syrian army troops have fully liberated the Northern, Western and Eastern heights of the town so far.

Reports from Homs also said earlier on Thursday that the Syrian ground and air forces continued military operations against the ISIL in the province, inflicting heavy casualties and damage on the terrorists.

The Syrian fighter jets targeted the ISIL gathering centers and moves in Jazal, Sha’er, Mehrtan, West al-Buwaida and al-Bayarat in Western Palmyra, killing dozens of militants and smashing their military convoys.

During the operations, one of the most important bases of the ISIL was fully blown up and 45 terrorists were killed.

Meantime, the Syrian army units attacked the ISIL centers in the Eastern parts of Station 4, Tala al-Awamid, al-Mohsa and al-Bareda in Tadmur, destroying several military vehicles and inflicting several casualties on the terrorists.

The Syrian troops also targeted the ISIL positions in the two villages of al-Shandakhiyeh and North al-Mushrefiyeh villages in Job al-Jarrah region, killing and wounding at least 20 militants and smashing their weapons and equipment.


The Syrian army and its allies’ liberation of Eastern Aleppo districts has doubled differences and clashes among the terrorist groups.

Al-Mayadeen news channel reported that the terrorist groups are now assassinating, attacking and detaining members of rival groups, accusing each other of betrayal and fleeing the battleground.

Meantime, the militant groups’ commanders and members don’t trust each other, fearing that the Aleppo scenario might be repeated in Idlib.

Reports also said last month that the aggressive behavior of terrorists in Idlib towards the militants who have left their regions under a ceasefire deal with the government and relocated to this city is deteriorating to critical levels, members of the latter group said on their social media pages.

The newcomers said they are called by Idlib militants as traitors and cowards.

They said they have been given forms to apply for residence and introduce sponsors and references, describing the move as the worst type of insult to them.

The newly-arrived terrorists are also humiliated when they ask for housing and food.


The terrorists who have surrounded Fua’a and Kafraya in Idlib province pounded the two towns heavily, killing and wounding the army forces and civilians and violating the ceasefire in Syria again.

The terrorists targeted Fua’a and Kafraya towns with missile and artillery fire which killed and wounded a number of Syrian army forces and injured 8 civilians.

Media sources disclosed on Tuesday that terrorist groups are still preventing exit of hundreds of injured and patient civilians from the besieged towns of Fua’a and Kafraya in Idlib, breaching an agreement with the Damascus government.

Deir Ezzur

The Syrian army launched heavy ground and air strikes against the ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzur, smashing their command centers and hideouts.

The Syrian army forces engaged in intense clashes with the terrorists in al-Jafrah village in Southeast Deir Ezzur, regions near Panorama region South of Deir Ezzur, along with the Eastern wall of Deir Ezzur airbase and in al-Jabiliya, al-Roshdiyeh, al-Hawiqa, al-Sana’a, al-Rasafa, al-Baliqiya, Northwest of Tal Barouk, al-Janinah and al-Hosseiniyeh regions, destroying their command centers and armored vehicles.

The army’s artillery units also targeted the ISIL moves and gathering centers in these regions, smashing the terrorists’ weapons cache near Deir Ezzur airbase and killing tens of militants.

Meantime, the Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the ISIL hideouts near Deir Ezzur airbase and Jabal al-Thardah which killed and wounded several terrorists.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Uninvited Saudis, Qatar Behind Syrian Rebel Groups Boycotting Peace Talks


 A rebel fighter carries his weapon inside a damaged building on the forth day of the truce, on al-Rayhan village front near the rebel held besieged city of Douma, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria January 2, 2017

    Commenting on reports that several Syrian opposition groups have threatened to boycott the upcoming political settlement talks in Kazakhstan due to claimed ceasefire violations, Middle East expert Danny Makki explained to Sputnik that those rebels are backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which have been sidelined from the Turkish-Russian agreement.

   Several Syrian opposition groups have signed a statement declaring boycott of the upcoming political settlement talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, citing alleged ceasefire violations.

    Their statement was widely reported by the western mainstream media on Tuesday, elaborating that 10 rebel factions said they were suspending discussions regarding the Astana conference or the cease-fire “until it is fully implemented.”

   The groups cited alleged “major and frequent violations” in the rebel-held areas of Wadi Barada and Eastern Ghouta outside the Syrian capital Damascus.

    Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with London-based media analyst and researcher, specializing in the Middle East security, Danny Makki.

   First of all, he said, it goes against the UN resolution which was unanimously voted on by all of the countries just on Saturday.

   On December 31, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a Russian-Turkish resolution on a ceasefire regime in Syria, as well as on holding political talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups in Astana, Kazakhstan in January 2017.

   A day earlier, on Friday, a nationwide ceasefire between Syrian government troops and several opposition factions came into force. Russia and Turkey serve as guarantors of the deal which paves the way for negotiations between the warring parties.

   Danny Makki also noted that initially, Wadi Barada was not part to the ceasefire agreement, it was not considered as an area to the ceasefire. Hence for those rebel groups to say that it was a violation of a ceasefire by the government is incorrect.

    Most of the rebel groups who have issued the statement are on the side of jihadists, he added.

   “Conspicuously, there are some problems from backers such as Qatar or Saudi Arabia who have been sidelined from the Turkish-Russian agreement and perhaps are seeking some sort of revenge by pressuring these groups to pull out of this agreement,” he explained.

    In addition to this, he said, the statement is aimed to derail the process which was started by one of the opposition significant backers, Turkey.

   “It remains to be seen what Turkey makes out of all of this because this have been seen as a diplomatic victory for the Turks in some sense,” he told Sputnik.

   The initial agreement was signed by about 8 major groups and these major groups represent around over 20 or 30 different small groups, the expert said. All in all, there are hundreds of different rebel groups in Syria, at least two thirds of them were signed up to this agreement, totaling to 60,000 fighters.

   The groups which have recently stated that they would not continue the process constitute around 20 or 30,000 soldiers on the ground, he explained. Most of these groups are funded either by Saudi Arabia or have Gulf sponsorship in terms of finance and support. The Turkish-backed groups have not pulled out of the agreement, all of the Turkish groups stayed in.

   “You have so many warring groups and so many different backers that it is almost impossible to get all of them to agree on one thing at one particular moment of time,” Danny Makki noted.

   Most of the groups around Damascus, who have rejected the ceasefire, are the groups which consider themselves on the threat by recent Syrian army offensive around Wadi Barada. But Wadi Barada was never part of the ceasefire plan, he reiterated. It is Gulf States’ attempt to undermine Russian and Turkish agreement, he noted.

    He further elaborated that these groups are relatively influential. They are mainly located in Damascus and around however they already have a huge presence in the north.

    Even though, they haven’t posed a very significant threat to the overall ceasefire plan because the plan has been supported by Turkey’s reputation.

   “You’ve got to remember that many of the groups and movements who have signed up to this agreement are currently fighting with the Turks around the city of Al-Bab against ISIS (Daesh),” he said.

    “Turks have essentially put their necks out on the line and attempted to say to the Gulf countries: you’ve been supporting the opposition for huge amount of time but because we have a border with Syria, because we have better and closer credibility among the Syrian rebels, we can force them into a ceasefire,” he suggested.

   “You can clearly see a fact that Saudi Arabia is not even involved in this peace agreement which would create a problem to most of the jihadist groups being funded by Saudi Arabia,” he said.

    ‘It just shows how significantly Russia has changed the dynamics of the Syrian crisis’

   The expert also noted that the current developments in Syria only prove how significant Russian presence in the region has been and how significantly it has changed the internal dynamics of the Syrian crisis.

    “Who would have thought in 2015 when the government was facing almost breaking point that the Russians would be celebrating at least a moral victory in an international struggle against the US in Aleppo after signing a peace agreement for the rebels with Turkey, one of the main countries and backers of the opposition,” he finally stated.

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Syrian Army Declares End of Ceasefire


 A Syrian army fighter in position during the assault of the BBC school in the southern part of the Syrian city of Aleppo


   The Syrian Army has declared end of ceasefire claiming that militants did not adhere to any provision of the truce.

   Syrian militants have breached Moscow-Washington brokered truce more than 300 times, the Army said.

   The Syrian army reaffirmed commitment to fight against terror after the end of truce.

   “The ceasefire regime should have been a real chance to stop bloodshed, but units of terrorists did not abhere to any of the points of the agreement. The number of ceasefire violations suprassed 300,” SANA news agency quoted the Syrian Army General Command as saying.

   The statement also said that Syrian government forces have made every effort to comply with the ceasefire and “have shown the highest degree of restraint confronting violations by terrorist groups.”

   On September 9, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a new peace plan to address the conflict in Syria that called for a ceasefire and anti-terrorism cooperation among other clauses of the treaty.

Russian MoD: US Fails to Fulfill Obligations Amid Syria Rebels’ Truce Violations


 Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria in 2012.

   The Russian General Staff said that the United States fails to fulfill obligations on Syria, adding that Washington will be responsible for the breakdown of the ceasefire if the situation does not change.

The US did not respond to Russia’s appeal containing data on the violations of the Syrian truce by US-controlled armed groups, the chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, Lt. Gen. Vladimir Savchenko, said Saturday.

“The United States didn’t reply to any of our appeals containing information on ceasefire violations by US-controlled armed groups. Moreover, the US side declines telephone conversations, including those planned in advance, as it happened yesterday,” Savchenko said during a videoconference.

“This indicates that the United States does not control the situation in Syria and is not ready to take steps to force US-controlled militants to implement ceasefire.”

   During a video link-up, Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, the first deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said the number of ceasefire violations by Syrian rebel groups had been steadily on the rise since the truce came into force last Monday.

   “Five days into the truce, we can say that only the Russian and Syrian sides have fulfilled their commitments. The United States and the so-called moderate groups under their control have not fulfilled a single obligation.”

   “Russia has been doing everything in its power to stop the government troops from responding to the attacks in kind. If the US side does not take steps to fulfill its obligations under the September 9 agreement, it will be fully responsible for the breakdown of the cessation of hostilities regime in Syria,” he continued.

   Lt. Gen. Poznikhir stressed that the key point in the US-Russia deal was that the United States separates “moderate” opposition groups from Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorists.

Syrian opposition forces violated the nationwide truce 55 times within the past 24 hours, Poznikhir said at a videoconference.

   “The number of ceasefire violations by opposition groups has been rising steadily.” “There were 55 episodes of shelling from their [Syrian rebels’] side within the past 24 hours.”

   Of those 55 violations, 27 were detected in the Aleppo province, 11 in the Damascus province, seven in Hama, six in the mountainous Latakia region, two in Homs, and one each in Daraa and Quneitra. Both government positions and civilian targets had been attacked, he stressed.

   The military official said the US-Russia deal for a Syrian ceasefire had been violated a total of 199 times in the past five days since the truce came into effect late Monday.

   “The situation in Syria is deteriorating, mostly in Aleppo and Hama where opposition groups are using the cessation of hostilities regime to regroup, restock ammunition, weapons and preparing to launch an offensive to grab new territories,” Lt. Gen. Poznikhir said.

   “Continued shelling, illegal armed groups’ failure to comply with the ceasefire regime, the absence of a checkpoint in the militant-controlled eastern part of the Castello Road do not allow to guarantee security of humanitarian access to Aleppo,” he continued.

   Militants have carried out 26 mortar and rocket attacks on residential areas and Syrian army positions in the city of Aleppo over the past 24 hours, a representative of the Hmeymim-based Russian reconciliation center for Syria said Saturday.

   “We are in the Ashrafia neighborhood of Aleppo, where residential areas were shelled with mortars and improvised rocket launchers. The situation remains difficult in the Aleppo province and in the city itself. Over the past 24 hours, we recorded 26 instances of residential area and government position shelling by the militants,” Col. Sergei Kopytsin said during a video conference outlining the results of the first five days of the new September 12 Syrian ceasefire.

   The attacks involved mortars as well as multiple launch rocket systems and anti-tank guided missiles and targeted four districts, a gas plant and farms to the south of the city, he added.

   “The largest number of casualties was recorded in the Sheikh-Ali-Kobtani district, where three people died and 12 were injured,” the representative added.

   Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said that an agreement had been reached on allowing a humanitarian convoy access the besieged Damascus suburb of Moadamiyeh.

   “The Syrian government guarantees the humanitarian convoy’s passage through the territory under its control, but the issue of its passage through areas controlled by moderate opposition, which is influenced only by the United States, remains. Measures have still not been taken to separate moderate opposition controlled by the United States fromal-Nusra Front,” he added.

Washington’s Two Strategies in Syria Canceling Each Other Out


 US Troops Wearing YPG Kurdish Patches in Northern Syria


   The United States has pursued two strategies to resolve the Syrian crisis – one led by the CIA, the other devised by the Pentagon, but instead of reinforcing each other they are getting in each other’s way, with Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria serving as tangible evidence of this trend.

     Ankara launched its offensive, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield, on August 24 to ostensibly push Daesh out of the border town of Jarablus and the surrounding areas. The Free Syrian Army backed by Turkish warplanes, tanks, artillery and special forces seized the town largely without any resistance from Daesh. The Turkish troops and the rebels then started fighting US-backed Kurdish militias in areas that have already been liberated from the terrorist group by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

   Both Turkey and the SDF, largely made up of fighters from People’s Protection Units (YPG), are key US allies in the region.

     “The origins of the conflict lie in the fact that the United States has two policies in Syria. Initially the US policy was designed to support the opposition to the Assad regime,” Jerusalem-based journalist Seth J. Frantzman wrote for the National Interest.

   As part of these efforts, the US was vetting rebel armed groups that could prop up the so-called moderate opposition. Both the CIA and the Pentagon were involved in this process.

   The Pentagon’s $500 program was meant to produce approximately 5,000 fighters. The initiative ended in a major embarrassment for the US Department of Defense (DoD) when General Lloyd Austin, commander of US Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that only “four or five” US-trained rebels were fighting against Daesh.

     According to Frantzman, the rise of Daesh prompted Washington to shift its focus from trying to depose Assad to counterterrorism.

   By late 2015, “Defense Department, CIA and State Department policies began to diverge, and the Defense Department began to see the Kurdish YPG and its effective fight against [Daesh] as the best partner for the anti-[Daesh] coalition forces,” he said.

   Turkey was not happy with this plan. As Kurdish forces moved further west and closer to the Euphrates, Ankara became increasingly insistent that the river was a red line that the Kurds were not allowed to cross. High-ranking Turkish officials have repeatedly said that if the Kurds decide to move further west, the Turkish military would launch a ground operation to stop them.

This is exactly what happened.

   On August 12, the SDF took control of Manbij, a city located west of the Euphrates, in an operation that was conducted in close cooperation with the Pentagon. Three days later the Kurdish forces said that the Daesh-held town of al-Bab, situated further to the west, was their next target, adding that the Manbij offensive would continue until the militants are pushed out of surrounding areas.

   Two weeks later Ankara sent its Armed Forces to northern Syria.

   On August 24, several hours after Operation Euphrates Shield was launched, US Vice President Joe Biden sent a strong message to the Kurds, saying that they must move back east of the Euphrates. Two days later John Kerry downplayed US support for the Kurds saying that there “has been some limited engagement with a component of Kurd fighters on a limited basis.”

     Washington’s response to Turkey’s incursion undoubtedly upset many Kurdish fighters since they, not Ankara, were instrumental in the US-led anti-Daesh efforts in northern Syria.

   “There is ample evidence that the DoD has been in competition with the CIA to find viable partners and that the DoD has been more successful in its relationship with the Kurds and SDF, who are far more effective than the plethora of Syrian rebel groups.”

   Moreover, the clashes between the Turkish military and the YPG appear to be pointing to Ankara’s true goals in this region.

   “The risk the United States faces is alienating the Kurds and seeing the SDF salient in Manbij collapse. This will set back US plans to launch a strike on Raqqa and cut off the head of the [Daesh] snake,” Frantzman observed.

US, Allies Likely to See Return of Daesh Fighters Allowed to Flee Manbij

An Islamic State (IS) group flag is seen on a road in the jihadist's group bastion of Manbij, in northern Syria (File)


The United States and its allies in Syria are likely going to face the hundreds of Daesh fighters freed during the recapture of Manbij on a different battlefield in the future, US State Senator from Virginia and former Marine pilot Richard Black told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON , Leandra Bernstein — On Tuesday, US Defense Department spokesman Col. Chris Garver confirmed that an Daesh convoy of several hundred fighters was allowed to flee the city of Manbij after US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured the city.

The Defense Department reported that the decision to give the disarmed Daesh convoy safe passage was made by the SDF because of the large number of civilians intermixed in the convoy. The convoy was reported to be heading further west into Daesh-controlled territory.

“From a military standpoint, as someone who has dropped well over a thousand bombs myself, I would have taken it out. I would have destroyed the [Daesh] convoy and avoided having to fight them in another place at another time,” Black said in an interview on Wednesday.

Black, who earned a Purple Heart serving as a pilot in the Vietnam War, stated he was “uneasy” about “letting your enemy out the back door so they can go fight another day.”

The battle to retake Manbij, a critical Daesh transportation and smuggling hub, began three months ago. Black anticipated that in the next six months or so, the United States and its Syrian allies will refocus on another Daesh transportation hub, al-Bab, to the west of Manbij.

“So the people who escaped, we will fight once again in al-Bab,” Black said.

Manbij had served as a critical hub where the Daesh was able to smuggle fighters and supplies into its territory, and direct foreign fighters out of Syria across the nearby Turkish border.

Richard Black is the elected representative for Loudoun County, Virginia and personally met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during an April visit to the country.

Left Dissatisfied, Disappointed by Washington, Syrian Rebels Turn to Russia

Opposition fighters fire shells from their position in Aleppo's southern countryside (File)


Syrian rebels who were trained and equipped by the US now blame Washington for betraying them and not honoring agreements to pay them to fight in Syria; they’re now searching for “other options on the table” and thinking of “transferring of loyalties from Washington to Moscow”, according to the US-based news website The Daily Beast.

The US-backed Syrian rebels, trained and armed by Washington, are now blaming their patrons for betrayal.

The leader of one of one of Pentagon-backed brigades stationed in the Syrian Governorate of Aleppo has revealed to the US-based news website The Daily Beast the payment agreements for their fight on the Syrian soil and complained of the US neglect to keep up to its promises.

Opposition fighters drive a tank in the Al-Huweiz area on southern outskirts of Aleppo as they battle to break the government seige on the northen Syrian city on August 2, 2016
© AFP 2016/ Omar haj kadour
Opposition fighters drive a tank in the Al-Huweiz area on southern outskirts of Aleppo as they battle to break the government seige on the northen Syrian city on August 2, 2016

In an exclusive interview with the website, Mustafa Sejry of the Liwa al-Mu’tasim Brigade stationed in the town of Marea, 25 km north of Aleppo, has revealed why he is considering “transferring of loyalties from Washington to Moscow.”

“When we signed our contract with the Americans, we had initially asked for $500 per fighter in addition to getting support for injured and killed soldiers,” he told the website.

“They agreed to $250 for the first half year, and said that we’d get an additional $250 per man after six months. We only ever got $250 and never any money for our injured or killed. And that’s when they did pay us, which was rare,” the rebel revealed.

“During the entirety of their year-and-a-half enlistment with the United States military, Sejry claims, his fighters have been paid infrequently and sporadically,” the outlet describes.

“We’ve received only one month worth of salaries in the last three months,” it quotes the rebel as saying.

As the town where his brigade has been based was besieged by Daesh in June, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) airdropped ammunition and supplies to the Mu’tasim fighters, “enabling the brigade to break the siege and mount a moderately successful counteroffensive against ISIS (Daesh) in other outlying villages.”

Fighters of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, ride on a pick-up truck in the 1070 Apartment Project area in southwestern Aleppo, Syria August 5, 2016
© REUTERS/ Ammar Abdullah
Fighters of the Syrian Islamist rebel group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the former al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, ride on a pick-up truck in the 1070 Apartment Project area in southwestern Aleppo, Syria August 5, 2016

Sejry, the website says, had hoped that 11th-hour bailout, attended also by US airstrikes on ISIS positions around Marea, would set a precedent for more constant and steady support. Instead it appears to have been a one-off.

He also complained that since breaking the ISIS siege two months ago, the Mu’tasim Brigade hasn’t received replacement hardware for what it lost battling the jihadists.

“We lost a lot of vehicles and mounted machine guns. We can’t fix or replace broken ones,” he said.

Meanwhile the rebel, the website says, was among 1,000 other affiliated rebels — then only applicants to the Pentagon’s train and equip program.

And was described by Nicholas A. Heras in a policy brief for the Washington, D.C.-based Jamestown Foundation as a “rising leader within the Syrian armed opposition who has adroitly brokered his contacts both among the anti-Assad insurgents and the anti-ISIS coalition to make the Mu’tasim Brigade one of the most reputable in the country.”

Sejry now claims that he was approached by some “Moscow representative” at the Syrian-Turkish border 10 days ago and was offered “unlimited amounts of weaponry and close air support” to fight both ISIS and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, (the rebranded al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria), in “exchange for the Mu’tasim Brigade’s transfer of loyalties from Washington to Moscow.”Sejry also claimed that he is scheduled to “have follow-up discussions with the Russians” in Istanbul, “quietly facilitated by the Turkish government”.

The rebel says that he is considering “the offer”, but mostly “to leverage more and better support from the Americans”.

And blames this change of his mindset on the Americans.

Meanwhile, he says, there was no response from the two points of contact in the US military, both Army captains, whom he earlier contacted.