Syrian Revolution News & Discussions

Zaslon

MEMBER
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
295
Reactions
627 5
Country
Russian Federation
Location
Russian Federation
I look forward to seeing joint ops between the amazing Tiger Forces and these ISIS Hunters in Idlib and Raqqa in the near future.

Turkey indeed projected a lot of power in how quickly it moved into Northern Syria and took control of a significant amount of Syrian territory, but it's in their best interests not to get arrogant like the Israelis did.
after Turkey's misbehavior in 2015, shooting down our Su-24M, we moved a lot more defense systems into Syria. such as a Beriev A-50, TOR-M2s, ~6 S-400s, a full battery of S-300V4s, ~10 Pantsir-S1s and 20 Su-30SM and 8 Su-35s.

last year, FSA shot down one of our Su-25s and for 3 solid days we engaged the Turkish-backed FSA and they started cowering off of course.
 

Persian Gulf

MEMBER
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
343
Reactions
96 1
Country
Iran
Location
United Kingdom
after Turkey's misbehavior in 2015, shooting down our Su-24M, we moved a lot more defense systems into Syria. such as a Beriev A-50, TOR-M2s, ~6 S-400s, a full battery of S-300V4s, ~10 Pantsir-S1s and 20 Su-30SM and 8 Su-35s.

last year, FSA shot down one of our Su-25s and for 3 solid days we engaged the Turkish-backed FSA and they started cowering off of course.
Yes I remember, for 17 seconds of airspace violation Turkey created a lot of problems for itself... But we should also remember that Erdogan was initially extremely hostile to Assad but now he has backtracked a lot from that, so I am sure the same will happen with Idlib one way or another.

The only issue is the s-400 sale, the next few weeks/months will be crucial in Turkey deciding to buy s-400 despite US threats so probably Russia will not want to push Turkey too hard on Idlib now.
 

Zaslon

MEMBER
Joined
Jul 22, 2016
Messages
295
Reactions
627 5
Country
Russian Federation
Location
Russian Federation
Turkey has provided a number of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them repel a major Russian-backed assault in the war-torn country, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing senior opposition officials and rebel sources.

The Syrian army, backed by Russia, last month launched an aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in Syria’s northwest, ending a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey last September.


After failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, Turkey has stepped up supplies in recent days, two senior opposition figures told Reuters.

The move signals Ankara’s readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has increased its troop presence along the border, according to a senior rebel commander.

Ankara and Moscow came to an agreement last September for Turkey to create a demilitarised zone and remove extremist fighters such as those of al-Qaeda-linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) to prevent attacks on Syrian government forces and infrastructure.


Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, however, launched an offensive on Idlib early this month, supported by Russian airstrikes, after HTS gained control of most of the province in recent months.


Reuters quoted a rebel and witness who said that overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near rebel-held Jabal al Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks.

Dozens of armoured vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, have also been delivered, rolling back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda, it said, quoting one senior opposition figure.

Captain Naji Mustafa, a spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, Reuter said, quoting the spokesman as saying rebels had long had a large arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armoured vehicles “alongside material and logistical support’’ from Turkey.

The Syrian army has announced plans for intensify attacks on what it called terrorist hideouts in the northwest, Reuters said.

Turkey, home to some 4 million refugees, including 3.6 million Syrians, fears a further spill-over, among other concerns, in the event of an all-out assault on Idlib.
 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Media: Russia has disrupted Israel’s radars

May 23, 2019

The Russian news site Avia.pro claims that Russia’s “Krasukha” electronic warfare systems have disrupted the Israel Defense Force’s radars.

The site presents arguments to support its theory: the regular flights by Israeli reconnaissance aircraft in the Golan Heights region, and at least three cases of blimps being launched in the same territory to observe the positions of Syrian aerial defense systems. The Russian news outlet sees this as evidence that Israel’s ground radar systems are functioning poorly.

According to anonymous experts cited by the publication, the effects of electronic warfare systems may have driven Israel to adopt such measures.

“Russia has started using its radar jamming systems again following more frequent attacks by jihadists and the high level of activity of American aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, as a result of which Israel simply cannot obtain objective information about the positions of Syrian aerial defense systems, thereby forcing the Syrian military to open fire on aerostat decoys,” the news site writes, citing the initial appraisals of the unnamed specialists.

The article notes that the Russian electronic warfare systems are stationed at the Khmeimim Airbase, and “are completely capable of jamming northern Israel”.

The news site points out that the Israelis have not used fighter jets in the three most recent attacks on facilities in Syria, possibly due to fear of losses that could be caused by the Russian S-300 aerial defense system in Syria.

It was reported previously that Russia had deployed Krasukha and Divnomorye systems in Syria. Experts believe they will be used to jam the onboard radars and communication and guidance systems of aircraft that attack Syrian facilities.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Turkey Reinforces Surveillance Point Targeted by Syrian Regime in W. Hama
26 May, 2019


Turkey sends military convoys to Idlib. (Reuters)

Ankara – Saeed Abdulrazek

The Turkish army has pushed reinforcements to one of its surveillance points in western Hama that has been targeted by the regime more than once since it escalated its bombardment of the northwestern Idlib province.

According to Turkish sources, a convoy of Turkish forces entered the area through Khirbet al-Joz and rural Idlib, heading to the surveillance point at Cher Maghar, which was bombed by the regime on May 4.

Two Turkish soldiers were wounded in the strike. The area was bombed a week later and the regime surrounded it from the west by capturing al-Huwayz town.

The convoy, which consisted of military vehicles and an armored SUV, was sent three days after the entry of another similar convoy from the Kfar Lusin crossing. It included five SUVs equipped with medium machine guns.

Reinforcements from the Turkish army continued to enter the 12 surveillance points in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo villages in recent days.

News reports had said Ankara had withdrawn from this point, but Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stressed Wednesday that his country will not pull out its forces from Idlib in light of the regime escalation in the area.

“Evacuating the surveillance point in Idlib after the regime’s attack is definitely not happening and it will not happen anywhere,” Akar said.

The regime escalation is in violation of a deal reached between Turkey and Russia in Sochi in September 2018.

The agreement called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone between opposition- and regime-controlled areas 15 kilometers deep into Idlib and 20 kilometers in the western Hama countryside, disarmament of the opposition’s heavy weapons and the expulsion of terrorist groups from the area.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Turkey of failing to comply with the agreement, particularly in regard to the withdrawal of terrorist elements and forcing them to accept the deployment of Russian military patrols.


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Israel Reveals Details of Kuntar’s Assassination near Damascus
Sunday, 26 May, 2019


Samir Kuntar attending a rally at Ain al-Tineh village on the Syrian side in the Golan Heights, facing Majdal Shams, in November 2008. (Reuters)

London - Asharq Al-Awsat

A former Israeli army officer confirmed Tel Aviv’s responsibility for the assassination of “dean of liberated detainees from Israeli prisons” Samir Kuntar in Jaramana, near Damascus, in late 2015.

Kuntar, who spent nearly 30 years in Israeli prisons and was involved in fighting with the Syrian regime forces and Lebanese Hezbollah party in the ongoing war in Syria, was killed in an air strike targeting him.

The Israeli official said the operation was carried out by two planes that bombed a building with four long-range missiles after receiving information from “one of the leaders of the Syrian opposition factions.”

Israeli political and military officials at the time welcomed his assassination, but Tel Aviv did not claim responsibility for the operation.

“Samir Kuntar, the longest serving Arab prisoner in Israeli jails, was killed in a terrorist rocket attack targeting a building in the southern parts of Jaramana, Damascus countryside,” the Sana news agency reported at the time.

Before his assassination, six members of Hezbollah and an Iranian military official were killed in an Israeli raid on Quneitra, southern Syria in early 2015. Among those killed was Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the group's late military leader Imad Mughniyeh, who was assassinated in Damascus in 2008.

Syrian opposition officials at the time said that the victims of the raid were members of Kuntar’s unit.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had previously said that Kuntar was the target of various failed Israeli assassination attempts in Syria.

The details of his assassination had remained a mystery until they were revealed by former Israeli army officer, Lt. Marco Morno, on Thursday.

He explained that one of the opposition leaders in Syria had relayed to Israeli military intelligence the information that contributed to Kuntar’s liquidation.

Israel’s Mfzak Life website reported on Friday that Israel did not acknowledge this operation at the time despite reports that confirmed its involvement.

The website said the information disclosed by Morno was allowed to be published under military censorship.

It said Morno was a former officer in Unit 504 and was responsible for communicating with Syrian opposition factions.

Kuntar was the longest-serving Lebanese prisoner held in Israel. He was released on July 16, 2008 as part of a prisoner swap between Hezbollah and Israel.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Europe Warns US of New ‘Russian Deception’ in Syria
Sunday, 26 May, 2019


Russian military jets are seen at the Hmeimim air base in Syria, June 18, 2016. (Reuters)

London - Ibrahim Hamidi

The United States wants to maintain the current contact lines between the three Syrian regions that are controlled by Russia, the and Turkey. Washington is also “comfortable” with its agreement with Moscow on the formation of a constitutional committee, returning to a political solution, and withdrawal of all foreign forces, especially Iranian ones.

But European allies are warning the US of a new “Russian deception” by giving diplomatic promises and leaving the Russian Defense Ministry to “militarize” the land.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited Sochi last week, accompanied by Special Envoy to Syria James Jeffrey. They informed officials in Moscow that Russia's interests can not be realized alongside a Syrian regime rejected by its own people and the international community or with an Iranian force emerging in Syria.

The US delegation also discussed common interests with Russia, a secure and stable Syria that enjoys normal relations with its neighbors and the world, without the foreign forces that did not exist there before 2011.

Jeffrey had told Congress that Russia should join efforts to counter Iran's destabilizing activities and its malicious influence in Syria if it wants to achieve a similar result.

The US delegation in Moscow was keen on a “pragmatic approach" and left with a sense of Russia’s readiness to achieve US goals in principle, meaning the political process under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to agree on a constitutional committee, holding UN-sponsored elections and encouraging the return of refugees and displaced persons.

The understanding should also lead to a ceasefire in Idlib, the stabilization of the conflict lines, provision of humanitarian aid, cessation of the flow of refugees to Turkey and the formation of a UN-led constitutional committee.

Meanwhile, European sources warned against being optimistic about the deal struck between Washington and Moscow. They cited previous experiences where the Russians agreed with Americans on certain issues, which remained unfulfilled because the Russian Defense Ministry holds final sway over developments on the ground in Syria.


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Syrian Regime Steps Up Air Strikes in Northwest
Sunday, 26 May, 2019

People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib, Syria May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Asharq Al-Awsat

The Syrian regime pounded positions in the northwest of the country on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in the heaviest day of air strikes since launching a major campaign against the opposition-held territory nearly four weeks ago.

The air strikes along with barrel bombs and artillery shells helped Russian-backed regime forces capture the small town of Kafr Nabouda in northern Hama province, the third time it has changed hands in the latest offensive, sources on both sides said.

Government forces first captured Kfar Nabouda on May 8, then lost it on Wednesday.

Air and ground strikes killed 12 people in several areas including the town of Maarat al-Numan, the Observatory said.

The onslaught since late April, focused mostly on southern parts of Idlib province and adjacent parts of Hama and Latakia, marks the most intense conflict between Bashar al-Assad and his enemies since last summer.

The bombardment has killed 229 civilians, injured 727 and forced more than 300,000 people to flee since April 28, according to The Union of Medical Care and Relief organizations (UOSSM), which provides assistance to health facilities.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, said Syrian regime planes and helicopters launched more than 280 strikes on Sunday and Russian jets had carried out 15.

Syrian state media said Kafr Nabouda had been taken from militants led by a group known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, previously called al-Nusra Front.


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Regime bombing kills 12 civilians in Syria’s northwest
AFP
May 27, 2019
  • A total of 20 health facilities have been hit by the escalation -- 19 of which remain out of service, according to the UN
MAARET AL-NUMAN/SYRIA: Regime airstrikes killed 12 civilians including four at a market on Sunday in a militant bastion in northwest Syria, a war monitor said.

A young girl was among those killed at the market in the town of Maaret Al-Numan in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Eight other civilians were killed elsewhere by regime fire in Idlib, a stronghold of Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, the Britain-based monitor said.

Idlib is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but the opposition bastion has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April.

An AFP reporter in Maaret Al-Numan saw a young man carry the arched body of what appeared to be a young girl out over grey rubble after the airstrike.

Another man retrieved a distressed, dust-covered young girl, slung over his shoulder. Witness Hamdu Mustafa said he was out shopping when the airstrike hit.

Everybody was “in the street selling and buying,” he told AFP.

“The planes targeted civilians who were buying food for their children,” he said. Nearby, rescue workers known as the White Helmets directed a bulldozer to clear the debris. Fighting has raged to the south of the bastion in recent days.

BACKGROUND
Idlib is supposed to be protected from a massive government offensive by a September buffer zone deal, but the opposition bastion has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and its Russian ally since late April.

On Sunday, regime forces took back control of the town of Kafr Nabuda in the north of Hama province, the Observatory and state news agency SANA said.

HTS and allied rebels overran part of the town in recent days, after the regime first expelled them on May 8.

The United Nations has warned that an all-out offensive on the Idlib region would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for its nearly three million residents.

The Observatory says more than 230 civilians have been killed in the spike in violence since the end of April.

More than 200,000 civilians have already been displaced by this upsurge of violence, the United Nations has said.

A total of 20 health facilities have been hit by the escalation -- 19 of which remain out of service, according to the UN.


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Exclusive: Idlib government chief urges defense against Assad attack
May 27, 2019
Khalil Ashawi


IDLIB CITY, Syria (Reuters) - Russian-backed Syrian government forces will be able to advance all the way to the Turkish border if they pierce rebel defenses in the northwest, a top opposition official said, urging Turkey to do more to shield the area from a major attack.

The month-long onslaught is the most serious escalation of the war between President Bashar al-Assad and his enemies since last summer. Syrian government air strikes and barrel bombing backed by Russian air power have uprooted around 250,000 people in the territory, the last significant rebel stronghold.

Fawaz Hilal, head of the “Salvation Government” that runs Idlib province, expressed confidence that opposition fighters gathered in the Idlib region from all over Syria would be able resist the onslaught.

“This ferocious attack is a bone-breaking battle. If the regime is able to break our defensive lines in northern Hama and southern Idlib it will not stop until it reaches the borders,” Hilal told Reuters in an interview.

His government, backed by the powerful Tahrir al-Sham jihadist group, had called on its employees to help shoulder the “military burden” through building sandbag defenses, manning front lines, financial support or any other help.

“We are all concerned with repelling this attack,” he said.

The bombardment has killed 229 civilians and injured 727 since April 28, according to The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), a U.S.-based medical NGO.

Hilal spoke at his office in Idlib city, the provincial capital where life has continued as normal as the offensive has mostly targeted front-line areas to the south.

“We are optimistic despite this military campaign. If we weren’t, we would not be here today,” Hilal said.

The streets are busy with cars and pedestrians, and before sunset street vendors come out in large numbers to sell food to Muslims observing the daytime fasting for Ramadan.

Hilal noted Idlib’s defenses had been boosted by rebels forced from other parts of Syria such as Ghouta, Homs and Deraa when Assad took their towns and villages.

“Those lads have great combat doctrine,” he said.

Tahrir al-Sham is the most powerful insurgent group in the region. It was formerly known as the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, until it broke away and renamed itself in 2016. The United Nations designates it a terrorist group.

Other rebels taking part in the defense of the area include Turkey-backed groups. Senior opposition and rebel sources said on Saturday Turkey had sent fresh supplies of weaponry to these groups to help them repel the assault.

URGING TURKISH ACTION
Turkey has been working with Russia for several years to de-escalate or contain Syria’s conflict in the northwest. One of its aims is to avoid another refugee influx: Turkey already hosts 3.6 million Syrians.

But many of those recently displaced are sheltering at the border calling on Turkey to open the frontier.

Much of the recent shelling has hit an area that was declared a demilitarized “buffer zone” last year by Russia and Turkey. Under the agreement, heavy weapons and jihadists were supposed to leave the zone.

The Syrian government says it is responding to Nusra Front violations and attacks on government-held areas.

Turkey has a dozen military bases in the Idlib region, also established in agreement with Russia. One of these was hit earlier this month in shelling from Syrian government-held territory, with two Turkish soldiers wounded.

Hilal said the Turkish positions had been allowed to be established in the hope their presence would provide protection for the people. “But the reality says that these positions are not able to protect themselves today,” he said.

“We hope that the Turkish side will ... defend these positions they set up and the areas they entered and prevent Russian and Syrian jets from flying in the areas where they are present, and the shelling of surrounding areas,” he said.

“When these positions and the areas around them are shelled with Turkish soldiers wounded it raises a number of question marks,” he said, adding that Ankara should clarify “their role and what they want from these positions.”

Writing by Tom Perry in Beirut; Editing by Mark Heinrich


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Iranian militias in Syria under pressure from all sides

Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami
May 27, 2019

Many questions are being raised about the future of Iran’s role in Syria. For instance, how is it being affected by the rapidly shifting positions and alliances among the parties to the Syrian crisis? What about Iran’s expansionist ambitions in Syria, the US’ demands, and the intensive Israeli raids aimed at pressuring Tehran to pull its militias out of the country?

These questions arise at a time when the clerical regime in Tehran has reached its lowest point in modern times and Syria’s status as one of the most important arenas for regional conflict is still growing. It is also a time when the US strategy of maximum pressure on Iran is intensifying, after it decided not to extend its waivers on importing Iranian oil. One of the aims of this strategy is to curb the Tehran regime’s regional activities in a way that will ensure that its influence is curtailed and the regional balance of power is tipped against it.

The external activities of expansionist states such as Iran are dependent on several factors, such as their financial and economic standing (the economic lungs pumping blood to the regime’s organs elsewhere) and the scope of their influence within the regional order.

Considering these factors during an extremely confused and ambiguous stage in the Tehran regime’s regional activities, we find that Iran is facing an economic situation far worse than expected. This is due to the success of the current US administration in escalating its comprehensive sanctions to tighten the noose on Iran’s regime, and to reduce its dollar reserves, as well as to sever the financial arteries pumping funds to its regional activities.

To date, this has led to Iran’s oil revenues declining by more than half. This explains why Iran has resorted to a scenario of limited confrontations following the failure of its efforts to persuade regional countries to circumvent US sanctions against it.

In addition to the Trump administration’s success in targeting the regime’s supply lines for its activities in Syria, Iran is also experiencing another terrible dilemma. While the Iranian-Russian alliance enabled the Assad regime to maintain power, tensions have begun to grow in Syria between Russia and Iran, with their positions diverging. Armed confrontations have already broken out on several occasions in areas across the country between forces loyal to Russia and Iran. The Russians have implemented their own policy of occupation, replacing Iranian forces with their own troops, with Moscow also in the process of restructuring the Syrian army in a way that ensures its upper hand in the Syrian equation.
Former allies Iran and Russia are now shifting from the phase of cooperation and coordination to one of confrontation.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami
Earlier predictions regarding the inevitable divergence in positions between Russia and Iran have been proven correct, as the former allies are now shifting from the phase of cooperation and coordination to one of confrontation over influence and control of the new Syrian equation. For Iran’s regime, this is an additional source of pressure as well as a hindrance to its schemes and ambitions in Syria, coming at a time when Tehran has waited impatiently to reap the rewards of the financial and human losses it has incurred since it first stepped in to help Assad following the outbreak of the Syrian revolution eight years ago. Iran’s regime has been desperate to seize control of the phosphate-rich areas and get the lion’s share of reconstruction contracts in Syria to help with its efforts to circumvent the US economic sanctions and to mitigate their impact on the Iranian economy.

It seems there is a growing Russian conviction that the time is right to take advantage of the US pressure on Tehran to get rid of the Iranian burden shackling it in Syria. This means that there is a convergence between Russia, the US and Israel, with Tel Aviv no longer the only power keen to expel Iranian militias out of Syria. The Russian decision-makers are also eager to impose restrictions on Iran in Syria, curb Tehran’s power within the conflict, and limit its influence and gains. The Russians want to drive the Iranians away from Latakia port on the Syrian coast and they want the opportunity to have the final say over the decisions of the Syrian regime in a way that maximizes their role in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Russian measures against the Iranian regime’s forces and militias in Syria will soon escalate to the point of no return due to the divergence of objectives, strategies and tools between the two countries. The Russians have no intention of conceding any influence in the new Syrian equation, of reducing their share in the reconstruction contracts, or of lowering their expanding control of the Syrian coast. Likewise, the Iranians do not have any intention of ceding their attempts to attain a foothold on the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria or their demands to be compensated for the massive costs they have incurred in the conflict.

Nobody can assess the probable fate of the Iranian regime’s role in Syria without mentioning the intensive Israeli raids on the Iranian militias’ positions there, the most recent of which took place on May 17. Tel Aviv is working to erase Iranian proxies from Syria, with which it shares a 38-kilometer border. Israel wants to ensure the complete destruction of the Iranian scheme and to maintain Assad’s regime in its weak position in order to ensure that it can pose no direct threat, while maintaining the current regional balance of power so that it doesn’t change in Iran’s favor. Israel also aims to undermine the legitimacy of Syria’s demands concerning the occupied Golan Heights through blaming the Assad regime for the spread of militias in southern Syria.

All these factors show that the US strategy of maximum pressure is paying off, and Iran’s regime is going through a critical phase in Syria. There are a number of possible scenarios for its militias there. Either they will continue operating without submitting to the overt Israeli-US demands and to the tacit Russian demands that they leave; or, if there’s some shift in the seriousness of the US administration’s strategy in besieging Iran, which is possible given the recent US escalation against Tehran, the regime will be prompted to at least suspend its militias as a prelude to ceasing its expansionist activities in Syria in the short run.

The second scenario seems more likely, given the tough Russian escalation, the Israeli bombing of Iranian positions in Syria and the continued regional and international embargo against Iran, with the seriousness of President Donald Trump’s policy of tightening the noose around Tehran increasing his chances of winning a second term in the 2020 presidential elections.
  • Dr. Mohammed Al-Sulami is Head of the International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah). Twitter: @mohalsulami
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point-of-view


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Syria offensive raises chemical attack fears
Tim Ripley, London and Jeremy Binnie, London -
24 May 2019


A still from footage released by Russia’s ANNA news agency on 20 May shows Syria’s General Suheil al-Hassan inspecting the front in northwest Syria with an unidentified Russian major general. Source: ANNA

The apparent lack of progress that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces are making in a new offensive has raised concerns that they will resort to using chemical weapons.

"Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of 19 May," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on 21 May. "We repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately."

Testifying before a congressional committee on the following day, US special representative for Syria James Jeffrey said there was no evidence that chemical weapons had been used in the offensive against rebel-held territory in northwest Syria that began in early May but raised the prospect that such attacks could be carried out to compensate for the poor performance of Assad's ground forces.

"We are concerned first about the use of chemical weapons, which we are still looking into," he said. "At any time, this regime is willing to consider chemical weapons to aid its ground attacks because it has the world's worst infantry fighting for it."

He said the offensive was backed by Russian aircraft but had taken just 74 km 2 of territory in the north of Hamah province and was facing rebel counterattacks. "We see a seesaw battle right along the perimeter. Meanwhile… the bombing attacks, which have been indiscriminate and very vicious, has sent some 150,000-200,000 people in Idlib - most of whom are already internally displaced people - [on the] move again."


 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
Israeli military says it attacked Syrian anti-aircraft position after its warplane came under fire
27 May 2019

The Israeli military said it attacked a Syrian anti-aircraft position after an Israeli warplane came under fire. Syrian TV earlier stated that Israel had carried out a missile strike in Syria’s Quneitra province.

According to SANA, one officer was killed and two others were injured in the attack on a military site east of Khan Arnabeh in the Quneitra countryside. It added that the Syrian Air Defense attacked an unmanned aerial vehicle that entered Syrian airspace near the southern suburb.

Israeli Defense Forces claimed that it was their jet making a routine flight in northern Israel that came under fire. The Syrian anti-aircraft missile missed the warplane and it was able to complete its mission successfully.

A launch site responsible for the attack was identified on Syrian territory and hit by Israeli missiles in retaliation, the IDF said.

An IDF plane being targeted in Israeli airspace is a “a violation of Israeli sovereignty” in the Golan Heights by Syria, it said, calling the attack “abnormal.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. It has remained under Israeli control since then, despite the UN calling it an illegal annexation. In March, US President Donald Trump signed a declaration recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel, but the move sparked harsh international condemnation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also commented on the incident, saying that “the Syrian military tried to attack an Israeli aircraft and failed.”

Israel has been frequently targeting Syrian military installation during the conflict in the country, saying that the bombings were aimed at deterring Iran and Lebanese armed group, Hezbollah, who are allies of Damascus in fighting the terrorists.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,698
Reactions
3,369 238
More than a dozen civilians killed by airstrikes in Syria's Idlib over two days
May 27, 2019
By Allen Cone

A White Helmets first responder rescues a child in Ariha City in southern Idlib on Monday after six civilians were killed and 20 were injured when Syrian government war planes attacked the city. Photo courtesy White Helmets/Twitter

May 27 (UPI) -- Idlib, one of the last Syrian rebel strongholds, has been targeted by Syria government war planes in the heaviest strikes since the latest offensive began April 30, causing at least a dozen civilian deaths the past two days.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 78 air raids and 70 barrel bombs were dropped from helicopters Monday on the "de-escalation" area of Idlib, which borders Turkey in central Syria. More than 225 shells and missiles have launched by the regime forces since Sunday, the group reported.

Since April 30, 814 people have been killed, including 236 civilians. That date coincides with an agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for close cooperation on Syria.

In Idlib, nearly 3 million residents are to be protected by a so-called "de-escalation" buffer zone through a deal signed in September by Putin, Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to avert a full-fledged assault on the region. But 1,343 people have died in the 100 days after the meeting.

Forty-four Syrian and international non-government organizations, including the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations. have called for an immediate end to attacks on civilians and hospitals in Idlib.

"With no concrete actions taken beyond political statements and promises, Syria and the world may soon be witnessing the 'worst humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century,'" the organizations said Saturday in a joint statement. "Rescue and medical workers on the ground are warning that they have not seen such ferocious attacks in eight years in Idlib. If the conflict continues to escalate, as many as 700,000 people could be displaced from their homes in Syria's last opposition stronghold."

UMCRC, the U.S.-based medical non-government organization, reported 229 civilians have been killed and 727 injured between April 28 and last Tuesday.

At least six civilians were killed Monday and 20 were injured after war planes attacked Ariha City in southern Idlib, the White Helmets said. The first responders were continuing search and rescue operations, the group posted on Twitter.

On Sunday, the White Helmets reported six civilians, including a child and a woman, died and 36 people were wounded in Maaret Numan, also in southern Idlib.

In Maaret Num, the house of Fareed al-Mhlol took a direct hit.

"I ran first towards my mother and my sisters. I took them out of the house where I thought they would be safer," Mhlol told The Telegraph by phone Monday. "Then I ran in the direction of my aunt in order to reassure her. It was then I saw an unspeakable scene -- the wall had fallen on her and she had been covered in rubble. She was dead.

"I don't know what we are going to do now, where we are going to go," Mhlol said. "There's nowhere safe left."

Earlier, the family had been forced to move from their last home after it was destroyed by strikes. His aunt and uncle had been living with them because their home also was bombed.

"Assad destroyed my house and destroyed all my memories," he said. "Assad wants to kill me and kill my family because I am an activist and a journalist trying to get the truth out to the world of the massacres going on in Idlib."

Maarat al-Nu'man has been the most vocal in its opposition not only to Assad but also to ruling Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Idlib's populatoin has reached more than 3 million because fighters and civilians have left rebel areas recaptured by the government.

The violence has displaced more than 200,000 people since erupting in late April.

Since March 2011, more than a quarter of a million Syrians have been killed and more than 1 million have been injured, UOSS reported. In total, 4.8 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country and 6.5 million are internally displaced, "making Syria the largest displacement crisis globally."


 

Top