- Rare footage: US heavy artillery unleashes hell on ISIS
- Israel shells northern Gaza, then begins begging Hamas to not reply
- Venezuela arrests two former oil bosses on sabotage charges
- VIDEO: Huge ISIS weapons cache seized in Deir Ezzor
- Video: Syrian refugees return home from Lebanon
- Turkish Army deploys 180 soldiers to Al-Bab in east Aleppo
- Egyptian Army foils Islamic State attack on checkpoint in northern Sinai
- VIDEO: Kurdish insurgents blow up Turkish Army vehicle in rural Sirnak
- Syrian Army recaptures town in southern Aleppo after swift counter-assault
- Libyan Government seeks aid from Russia to print new money to resolve crisis
- Intense clashes breakout after Palestinian shot dead by Israeli settler – video
- No Chinese troops deploying to Syria: source
- Al-Qaeda ambushes ISIS cells traveling from Idlib towards northeast Hama pocket
- In pictures: Al-Qaeda hits jackpot amid counter-attack in southern Aleppo
- Al-Houthi promises retaliation against Saudi Arabia
- Breaking: Houthi forces fire medium-range missile into Saudi Arabia
- Turkish Army takes losses amid endless hit-and-run attacks by the PKK
- Yemen: Tens of thousands gather for Prophet’s birthday after deadly clashes
- Israeli warplanes bomb Palestinian forces inside the Gaza Strip
- British SDF fighter killed in Syria
- Syrian Army strikes back in southern Aleppo
- US-led coalition acknowledges killing 800+ civilians in Iraq & Syria airstrikes
- Syrian government, opposition arrive in Geneva for peace talks – video
- Liwaa Al-Quds scores direct hit on jihadist vehicle in west Aleppo – video
- Kuwait invites boycott-hit Qatar to Gulf Summit
- Breaking: Syrian Army achieves major breakthrough near Golan Heights
- Over 400 US Marines to leave Syria: Coalition
- Breaking: Daesh burns captured Syrian pilot alive
- Russian military task group preparing to pullout from Syria
- China will send troops to Syria to fight Chinese jihadists – report
- Turkey will not ‘hesitate’ to enter any place in Syria: Çavuşoğlu
- Breaking: Egypt to allow Russian fighter jets to use Egyptian airbases
- With IS nearly defeated, the Syrian Army shifts attention to remaining jihadist groups
- Syria and Yemen: A tale of two conflicts
- DPRK’s regime ‘will be utterly destroyed’ – UN envoy Haley
Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:18 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:15 A.M.) – Yesterday, the Operation Inherent Resolve press center released a brief clip showing US Army artillery in action against Islamic State targets in the Al-Qa’im area (near the border with Syria) during early November.
Being the organic fire support arm of 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, the howitzer unit in action belongs to C Company, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment.
The specific weapons being employed by American troops is the 155mm M777 howitzer.
Dwarfing the United States military presence in Syria (around 2,000 servicemen), is the presence of American armed forces in Iraq (just over 7,000 servicemen).
Although rarely serving in a front-line role since the draw down of 2011, the US continues to maintain bases in Iraq and – according to its account – train and advise Iraqi forces as well as provide fire support (in the form of airpower and artillery) for them.
The core US Army formation in Iraq is the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 09:02 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:58 A.M)- The Israeli Air-force bombed “four Hamas targets” in Northern Gaza last night.
The attack was initially reported by Israeli media outlets such as ‘the Jerusalem Post’, ‘the times of Israel’ and others, as being a retaliation attack against Hamas.
This information however was contradicted by other reports, that can confirm all projectiles – fired into open fields in Israeli territory – were in fact fired by the Palestinian resistance organisation known as ‘Islamic Jihad’.
Islamic Jihad officially announced that they had fired at Israel as vengeance for the murder of a 45 year old farmer Mahmoud Za’al Abu Awad, who was shot dead that same day, by Israeli settlers who raided Qusra village (South of Nablus, West Bank).
Israel reportedly sent messages out directed towards Hamas, asking them not to cause an escalation and expressing that they weren’t intending to start a war when they decided to bomb Gaza.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 02:38 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:40 AM) – Two former bosses of the Venezuelan petroleum industry have been arrested by security forces on Thursday, according to official sources.
The two detainees are Nelson Martinez, ex-chief of state oil company PDVSA, and former Minister for Oil Eulogio del Pino. According to Venezuelan Attorney General Tarek William Saab, the two high-ranking officials were arrested as part of a security operation in order to “to dismantle the cartel that has been hitting the oil industry.”
The attorney further stated that the operation is being carried out by the Military Counterintelligence Unit, and that in total 14 people are being investigated, some of whom are not living in the country at the moment.
“We hope they will be delivered to Venezuelan justice,” Saab said.
The arrests come a week after similar sanctions were taken against six executives of Citgo Petroleum Corp, the US-based subsidiary of PDVSA, who were arrested on suspicion of having accepted bribes of over $50 million.
The functions of both Martinez and del Pino are taken over by Manuel Quevedo, a staunch supporter of Maduro. Quevedo has defended the purge of the two former oil bosses, accusing them of planning an economical sabotage of the nation.
“This sabotage plan is aimed at achieving a repeat of 2002-03 when there was an attempted coup against Chavez,” Quevedo stated during an OPEC meeting in Vienna.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 02:17 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:20 AM) – The Syrian Arab Army has seizes yet another huge cache of weaponry and military material from ISIS in Deir Ezzor province. This was reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The Syrian army reportedly seized the weapons from fleeing ISIS forces as the terrorist organisation retreated from the Deir Ezzor Governorate in eastern Syria. Specifically, the weapons were found in caches and bases in the towns of Al-Salhiyah, Al-Asharah and Sabekhan, all three of which were liberated by the Syrian elite Tiger Forces led by Colonel Suheil al-Hassan last week.
The weapons seized included heavy artillery, heavy-duty machine guns, an abundance of self-designed armored vehicles and technicals, and hundreds of assault rifles.
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Posted: 30 Nov 2017 02:05 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:10 AM) – Video footage has surfaced from the border region between Lebanon and Syria, showing a group of Syrian refugees returning home from the Lebanese city of Baalbek.
The Syrians, who had taken refuge in Baalbek, were filmed traveling to the border town of Tfail. From this remote village, access can be gained into Qalamoun, an area in the southwestern Rif Dimashq province of Syria.
A joint offensive by the Syrian Arab Army and Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has recently cleared the area of the presence of ISIS and Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham, allowing refugees to return home.
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Posted: 30 Nov 2017 01:45 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 P.M.) – The Turkish Army recently deployed 180 commandos to the Aleppo Governorate city of Al-Bab, the Hurriyet Daily reported today
“Troops from the Turkish Gendarmerie's ‘Wolves’ battalion, based in the Black Sea province of Tokat, conducted a leaving ceremony before heading to Syria,” the Daily added.
Al-Bab is currently under the control of the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces; it is strategically located in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
While the Turkish Army already has a large presence in western Aleppo (Darat Izza), the eastern countryside is mostly controlled by their proxies, as their is a small presence of Kurdish-led fighters in this area.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 01:22 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:20 P.M.) – On Thursday, militants loyal to the Islamic State reportedly launched an assault against government forces in a sparsely populated area west of Sheikh Zuweid, a predominately Bedouin town near the Gaza Strip.
As ISIS militants attempted to infiltrate a military checkpoint on the perimeter of Qabr Omair village, the Egyptian Army rushed reinforcements to the area and managed to hold its ground before driving the jihadist militants back into the vast desert of Sinai Province.
Although heavy clashes were reported to have taken place by local sources, the exact death toll on either side remains unbeknownst to Al-Masdar News.
On Saturday, Egypt was struck by one of its worst terror attacks in years after ISIS militants detonated a massive bomb inside the Rawdah mosque and opened fire upon civilians in the town of Bir Al-Abed, also located in northern Sinai.
According to officials, 305 Egyptian people were killed and a further 128 civilians wounded during the attack. Sadly, 27 children were among the dead.
drove them back into the desert
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 01:03 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 P.M.) – Footage emerged today of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an outlawed Kurdish separatist group, scoring a direct hit on a Turkish armored vehicle with a guided missile from afar.
Footage released by Gerîla TV, the official PKK media wing, shows a Turkish soldier ducking for cover as the missile struck the side up the armored vehicle, seemingly immobilizing it.
Judging by the commentary, the attack appeared to have been conducted by a female group of PKK fighters:
Although first released by the PKK on Thursday for security reasons, the attack took place at 11:30 on November 23.
According to a related PKK statement, the operation was carried out between the Giryares and Gite military outpost in the Silopi district of Sirnak province.
It is not known if the Turkish Army sustained any casualties from this specific attack; nevertheless, the PKK said Ankara’s military responded fire with a tank and mortar shells.
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Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:59 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a swift counter-assault in the southern countryside of Aleppo, today, targeting the towns Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham captured from them over the last 24 hours.
Led by the 3rd and 5th legions, the Syrian Army began the day by attacking the town of Abisan from their positions at nearby ‘Azizah.
The Syrian Arab Army would manage to infiltrate Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s front-lines this afternoon and recapture Abisan and its corresponding hilltop.
Following the capture of these sites, the Syrian Army shifted their attention to the town of Al-Ramleh, which was recaptured by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham on Wednesday.
Sporadic clashes are taking place outside of Al-Ramleh, but the Syrian Army has yet to fully storm the town.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:33 PM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:30 P.M.) – In a bid to solve Libya’s liquidity problems before a currency devaluation, the Tobruk-based government announced it may order more banknotes from Russia and was ready to seek common ground with the rival Tripoli-based government.
Ali Al-Hibri, head of the eastern ‘Central Bank of Libya’, nevertheless underlined on Thursday that he lacked leverage since his counterpart in Tripoli continued to control oil reserves and disburse funds across the country, with international backing.
Fortunately, four out of six board members of the western ‘Central Bank of Libya’, are aligned with Ali Al-Hibri which may help to solve the wartorn country’s economic crisis. Inflation levels are currently at 30 percent while Libyans in major cities often que for days to withdraw cash from banks.
In a rare interview, Hibri said we would however not meet with Sadiq Al-Kabir, head of Tripoli’s central Bank, but expected a devaluation plan to be pushed through by his counterpart.
On the black market, the value of the dinar has risen more then 600 percent since 2014. In the meantime, the country has been left with two rival governments and dozens of armed militias, all vying for power in the wake of Muammar Gaddafi’s death.
For months, western diplomats have urged Hibri and Kabir to work together and unify the country’s exchange rate to avoid well-connected Libyans from profiteering off the black market.
Nevertheless, Hibri announced today he would seek a fresh order of bank notes from Russia at a board meeting next month to ease the liquidity shortage.
After British and German companies failed to follow through on their promises, the eastern central bank took its first delivery of banknotes from Russia in 2016. The last batch was received three months ago, totalling 4 billion dinars.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:29 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 P.M.) – Clashes erupted in the occupied West Bank on Thursday after a Palestinian man was shot dead by an Israeli settler near the village of Qusra.
According to a report released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), an armed settler who was accompanying a group of 20 Israeli hikers, mostly children, opened fire and shot the man after the group came under attack by stone throwers and had to hide in a cave.
But Palestinians say the dead man, who was later identified as 48-year-old Mahmoud Ouda from Qusra, was a farmer working on his land who refused to move when Israeli soldiers came to rescue the hikers.
Following the shooting a group of enraged young Palestinians started throwing rocks at IDF forces who responded by firing tear gas.
Two Israeli believed to acting as minders to the hikers were also injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
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Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:12 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 P.M.) – Earlier this week, reports began to surface about the alleged deployment of the Chinese Special Forces to Syria.
According to the reports, the Chinese Special Forces were going to be deployed to Syria to help defeat the estimated 2,500 Uyghur separatists currently fighting near the Turkish border.
On Thursday, Al-Masdar reached out to a military source in Damascus to confirm whether or not these reports were accurate.
The source in Damascus stated that the Syrian Army has not received any information about the alleged deployment of Chinese troops to Syria.
He added that the Syrian Army has no reason to believe Chinese troops are deploying to Syria at this time.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 11:45 AM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:45 P.M.) – In the first documented case of its kind, undercover ISIS militants based in the Idlib Governorate were caught trying to reach the newly established Islamic State enclave in the northeastern countryside of Hama.
On Thursday morning, two ISIS technicals were ambushed during the journey as they attempted to bypass checkpoints established by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a rival jihadist faction which dominates most of rebel-held northwestern Syria.
During the ambush, HTS killed all except one ISIS militant who surrendered himself only to be paraded before the camera. In addition, both vehicles were seized intact despite some gunshot holes:
Since the beginning of 2017, HTS has arrested and killed hundreds of Islamic State sleeper cells across rural Idlib in a major crackdown against anyone opposed to its rule.
On October 9 however, ISIS captured its first villages from HTS in northeastern Hama amid a surprise offensive few analysts had seen coming. Despite clashes raging back and forth, the Islamic State pocket has since expanded further and is now made up by over 20 villages, posing an existential threat to the HTS heartland in neighboring Idlib.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 11:06 AM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:05 P.M.) – On Thursday, the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) carried out a succesful assault on Abisan in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo, not only expelling the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from its positions in the village and a neighbouring hamlet but also capturing significant spoils of war in the process.
HTS released a series of photos covering the counter-attack, revealing it had captured a T-62 tank and two technicals from an SAA unit tasked with defending the village:
Photos of HTS combat vehicles attacking the village can be seen here too:
Abisan, a village located 70 kilometers south of Aleppo City, was otherwise liberated by the SAA last month as the latter broke through HTS’ defensive line in the rural area.
One prisoner-of-war (POW) was taken during this specific HTS operation on Thursday while two SAA soldiers were killed-in-action (KIA). In recent weeks, HTS has executed dozens of POW’s in response to the SAA’s ongoing offensive, stretching across several flanks in northeastern Hama and southern Aleppo.
Despite a brief setback for government forces, the SAA continues to probe HTS lines for weak points, constantly looking for easy targets for further advances. In the same time, the Russian Air Force is systematically pounding villages were jihadist resistance is proven more fierce.
An interactive map of the current frontline can be found here via a partner website.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 10:35 AM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (08:40 PM) – Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddine al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah resistance movement (often called “the Houthis” by foreign media as a reference to al-Houthi), has promised retaliatory strikes in response to the increased aerial, naval and land blockade imposed on the country by the Saudi-led coalition.
Houthi addressed his supporters on a televised broadcast on Thursday, during a celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. In it, the Ansarullah leader warned against any plans of tightening the blockade further.
“Should the blockade continue, we know what (targets) would cause great pain and how to reach them,” al-Houthi stated.
The speech was televised for an audience of tens of thousands of Yemenis who had gathered in the Sabaeen Square of Sana'a to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, which this year coincides with the anniversary of the removal of the last British occupying forces from Yemeni soil on November 30, 1967.
The massive turnout for the commemoration rally came despite the fact that just yesterday, deadly clashes broke out between Ansarullah troops and Saudi-supported fighters who support ousted former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who was removed from power by a popular revolution in 2014.
Yemen has been under constant attack since a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched an invasion of the country in March 2015. Continual Saudi aerial bombardments have claimed over 12,000 lives ever since, and have brought no less than 17 million Yemenis to the brink of famine.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 10:34 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:25 P.M.) The Houthi forces fired a medium-range ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia this evening, Yemen-based Masirah TV reported.
According to Masirah TV claimed the ballistic missile was fired from northern Yemen and hit its intended target in Saudi Arabia.
However, there are conflicting reports because the Saudi military released footage of their forces downing the missile before it reached its target.
No further details have been released.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 10:14 AM PST
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:15 P.M.) – Three members of the Turkish Armed Forces were killed-in-action on November 28 due to attacks carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the latter group claimed in a statement.
According to the Kurdish militia, Turkish troops stationed at the Xwedê hill were targeted in a hit-and-run operation at approximately 09:30 which saw one soldier shot dead while a tent and a gun emplacement were destroyed. This strategic highpoint is located in the embattled Şemdinli district of Hakkari province, known to be an insurgent hotbed in a predominately Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey.
Meanwhile, PKK fighters in the neighboring Cele district carried out a swift attack around noon, targeting a group of Turkish soldiers stationed atop the Martyr Bager hill. On this axis, two Turkish soldiers were neutralized before Kurdish militants withdrew from the mountainous area under a barrage of howitzer and mortar fire.
A simultaneous PKK attack occurred around 12:00 in Şırnak's Qileban district against the Turkish Army as the latter was setting up surveillance cameras in and around the Sinek and Maymun hills. While the soldiers came under intense fire, the number of those killed or wounded here could not be verified.
The PKK did not provide any information regarding its own death toll.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 09:41 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:30 P.M.) – Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in Sanaa on Thursday to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad one day after deadly clashes in the city.
Hezam Assad, member of the Political Council of Ansar Allah said the rally was “a reflection of these great people’s direction which revolves around the symbolism of the great Prophet and Yemeni people will keep remembering this for generations.”
The Prophet's birthday, Mawlid, is celebrated in most Muslim countries aside from Saudi Arabia and Qatar who's Wahhabist and Salafist doctrines forbid the celebration of the holiday.
Just a day earlier, several people were killed after clashes erupted near the capital's Saleh Mosque.
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Posted: 30 Nov 2017 09:30 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:20 P.M.) – Israeli warplanes launched several airstrikes over the Gaza Strip tonight, targeting the positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Liwaa Al-Qassam (Hamas).
According to Palestinian activists, the Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip wounded at least three people near the town of Beit Hanoun.
The attacks followed mortar shelling of an Israeli outpost, which the IDF said was carried out by Islamic Jihad.
Between 10 and 12 shells landed in the area near the outpost but no one was hurt, according to reports.
“We know exactly who shot, on a personal level, their names,” said IDF spokesman Ronen Manelis, as cited by local media. However, the IDF also said that, "in accordance with its established policy," it holds Hamas responsible "for any hostile activity perpetrated against Israel from the Gaza Strip," as reported by the Times of Israel.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 09:04 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 P.M.) – A British fighters with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was killed in Raqqa city by a landmine on November 25th, the SDF’s official media wing reported this week.
The British fighter was identified by the Syrian Democratic Forces as Oliver Hall (nom de guerre “Canser Zagros”) of Gosport, U.K.
Hall was reportedly killed by a landmine that was planted by the Islamic State before they fled the provincial capital.
Hall is believed to be the seventh British citizen killed in Syria since 2011.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 08:52 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army launched a counter-attack in the southern countryside of Aleppo, today, after losing the towns of Al-Ramleh and Abisan to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.
Led by the 3rd and 5th legions, the Syrian Arab Army launched the attack on Abisan from their positions at the nearby town of ‘Azizah.
According to a military source in Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army is attacking the eastern flank of Abisan and has entered the town; however, it still remains firmly under Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham control.
The Syrian Arab Army is attempting to expand their presence to the eastern part of the Idlib Governorate, where they hope to attack the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport in the coming weeks.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 08:23 AM PST
At least 800 civilians have been killed by US-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014, a coalition report says. It adds that the group holds itself accountable for "unintentional injury or death to civilians."
"To date, based on information available, [the coalition] assesses at least 801 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve [in 2014]," Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) said in statement on Thursday.
The coalition said that despite "significant successes" against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), "combat has taken a toll on populations suffering under the militant extremists."
"We continue to hold ourselves accountable for actions that may have caused unintentional injury or death to civilians," the report said.
According to the document, US-led forces in Iraq and Syria conducted "a total of 28,198 strikes that included 56,976 separate engagements between August 2014 and October 2017… During this period, the total number of reports of possible civilian casualties was 1,790," it added.
In June, Amnesty International released a report, criticizing the action of the US coalition in Mosul, Iraq. Dubbed "At any cost: the civilian catastrophe in west Mosul, Iraq," the document says that, apart from IS attacks, civilians suffer from "relentless unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition." The report said that at least 5,805 civilians were killed by the US and Iraqi strikes.
In September, Human Rights Watch, which also monitors US coalition actions, said strikes that killed civilians in Syria "instilled fear and pushed many to flee." "Although ISIS fighters were also at these sites, the high civilian death toll raises concerns that military forces of the US-led coalition failed to take necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties, a requirement under international humanitarian law," HRW said.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 07:57 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura welcomed both Syrian government and opposition parties to Geneva on Thursday and told delegates they would hold "close proximity parallel meetings".
Nasr al-Hariri, head of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee and the Syrian government's Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Jaafari arrived separately and entered different rooms.
De Mistura is hoping to bring the two sides together for direct, face-to-face talks.
Negotiations began earlier this week and are expected to continue throughout the day.
Since March 2011, Syria has been in the throes of a conflict that has forced more than half of all Syrians to leave their homes.
An estimated five million Syrians have fled the country and more than six million are internally displaced.
The crisis, described as the worst humanitarian disaster of our time with more than 13 million people in need of assistance, has caused untold suffering.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 07:17 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:05 P.M.) – The pro-government Palestinian paramilitary, Liwaa Al-Quds, released footage on Thursday of their forces destroying an armored vehicle belonging to the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group in western Aleppo.
The video footage below shows Liwaa Al-Quds personnel firing an ATGM towards the HTS fighters in the Kafr Hamra area of Aleppo, scoring a direct hit on the vehicle.
As a result of this attack, Liwaa Al-Quds managed to kill an HTS field commander and three of his associates.
While there is a de-escalation agreement in west Aleppo, attacks on HTS are permitted because they are considered a terrorist group.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 05:41 AM PST
Kuwait on Thursday invited Qatar to a summit of Gulf countries next week, state media said, in the first such invitation in a months-long Saudi-led diplomatic boycott of Doha.
Kuwait, which is not among Arab states boycotting Qatar, invited Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Haman Al-Thani to the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council on December 5 and 6, the state-run KUNA news agency said.
In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt abruptly cut all ties with Qatar over accusations Doha supported extremism and was close to Iran. Qatar denies the allegations.
Founded in 1981, the GCC is a political and economic union that includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as Oman and Kuwait.
Kuwait and Oman have not taken part in the boycott of the tiny gas-rich emirate, and Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah has acted as a mediator in the crisis.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 05:20 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:15 P.M.) – Minutes ago, the Syrian Arab Army established full control over the strategic hills of Taloul Barda’yah near the occupied Golan Heights.
According to a source from the 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Arab Army broke-through Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s last line of defense at the western slope of Taloul Barda’yah, forcing the latter to retreat to the nearby town of Mughar Al-Mir.
The source added that the Syrian Army now has fire control over Mughar Al-Mir and should be able to capture the town in the coming days.
Once Mughar Al-Mir is captured, the Syrian Army can work their way to the strategic town of Beit Jinn, which has long been a jihadist stronghold near the occupied Golan Heights.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 04:38 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – Over 400 U.S. Marines will be leaving Syria after a two and a half month long deployment, the Spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve reported today.
“1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment arrived here Sept. 15 this year, replacing a previous unit. The Marines supported Coalition partner forces with precise artillery in the fight against ISIS in Raqqah, Syria. With the city liberated and ISIS on the run, the unit has been ordered home. Its replacements have been called off,” the OIR statement began.
“The departure of these outstanding Marines is a sign of real progress in the region,” the OIR director of operations stated.
“Our remaining forces will continue to work by, with, and through partner forces to defeat remaining ISIS, prevent a re-emergence of ISIS, and set conditions for international governments and NGOs to help local citizens recover from the horrors of ISIS’ short-lived rule,” the statement concluded.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 04:18 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:55 P.M.) – The Da’esh terrorist organization released a 49 minute long video on Thursday that contained battle footage and executions they carried out over the course of 18 months.
In the video, Daesh showcased the heinous execution of a Syrian fighter pilot that was captured in the eastern Qalamoun region in April 2016.
The pilot, ‘Azzam ‘Eid of Salamiyah, was chained at the neck by the terrorist group before they burnt him alive, similar to the execution of the Jordanian pilot in 2015.
At the end of this long video, Da’esh declared victory over their enemies, despite losing almost all of the ground they once occupied in both Syria and Iraq.
Disclaimer: Due to the graphic nature of the video, Al-Masdar has chosen to not share any of the footage released
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 03:47 AM PST
Preparations are underway for the pullout of a Russian military task force from Syria, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has said.
“Preparations are on,” he told the media.
Asked when the pullout might take place, Patrushev replied “when it's been prepared for.”
The Russian military task force has been in Syria since September 2015; they have been instrumental in the development of Syrian Army units and counter-terrorism forces.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 03:15 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The Chinese military will send troops to Syria to fight against a group of Chinese jihadists fighting alongside with the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group, the official media page for the Hmaymim Airbase reported, as quoted by Telsur TV.
According to the report, an estimated 2,500 Uyghur separatists are fighting in Syria under the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).
The Chinese military will be sending two special operation divisions, including the Tigers of Siberia, to help defeat these jihadists.
TIP is one of the largest jihadist groups operating in northwest Syria; they have participated in several offensives against the Syrian Arab Army, including the capture of Jisr Al-Shughour in the Summer of 2015.
Al-Masdar has reached out to the Syrian military for confirmation.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 02:56 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:50 P.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated on Thursday that the Turkish Army will never ‘hesitate’ to enter any place in Syria if it poses a threat to his nation’s security.
“Turkey will never hesitate to enter Afrin or any other area that poses a threat,” the Turkish Foreign Minister stated.
The Turkish military and their proxies have repeatedly attacked the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin Canton of northwest Aleppo, prompting the latter to respond with missiles and artillery shells.
Ankara views the YPG and their allies in the same light as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is often their justification for attacking the Kurdish forces in Syria.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 02:21 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:15 P.M.) – Russia published the draft agreement between their nation and Egypt that would allow their fighter jets to use Egyptian airbases.
This latest agreement with the government in Cairo would allow Russian fighter jets to fly out any airbase within Egyptian territory.
The agreement comes just 24 hours after the Russian Ministry of Defense, Sergei Shoygu, made an official visit to Cairo to meet with Egyptian President ‘Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and his Defense Minister.
No further details were released.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 01:46 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The battle against the Islamic State (IS) is nearly finished for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), but the war in Syria is far from over.
With major jihadist groups like Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham still operating in several areas across Syria, the Syrian Arab Army will have their hands full in 2018 as they shift their attention away from the eastern part of the country.
In particular, the large HTS presence inside the Hama, Aleppo, and Idlib governorates is a major problem for the Syrian Army because their periodic offensives tend to wreck havoc on the government areas.
Unlike IS, HTS and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham tend to fortify and inhabit the areas they capture, which makes expelling them very difficult for the Syrian Army because they are deeply embedded in the towns and villages.
The Syrian Arab Army is now planning to attack these heavily fortified areas like Idlib and northern Hama, which are firmly under the control of HTS and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.
Once these battles begin, the death toll in Syria is expected to skyrocket as the rough terrain and unyielding jihadists will prove difficult to overcome without a great deal of resources.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:51 AM PST
Over the past six years, the world has looked on in horror as a modern-day humanitarian crisis has unfolded in Syria.
Emotive images of young children lying dead and injured from air strikes regularly fill our television screens, and there is no shortage of news reports detailing the 'human rights abuses' of the 'Assad regime' and its allies in Russia and Iran.
What has received significantly less media coverage however, is the equally barbaric war being waged on Yemen since March 2015, one that has seen thousands of civilians slaughtered by indiscriminate air strikes, and has forced an already impoverished nation into famine.
This disparity in media coverage is no mistake, and to understand why, one must look at the geopolitical, military and financial factors driving both wars.
The conflict in Syria has its roots in Bashar al-Assad's 2009 refusal to allow US-allied Qatar to build a pipeline through his country into Turkey, one that would have undermined his relationship with Russia.
Having long been a nation that refused to kowtow to the demands of the US hegemony, this came as the final straw.
Following protests calling for government reform that began in March 2011 amid the wider Arab Spring, the CIA began covertly arming and training Salafist groups in a bid to overthrow Assad's secular leadership.
Similar to what was playing out in Libya at the time, these groups soon took over vast swathes of the country, imposing Sharia law in areas under their control and carrying out ethnic cleansing of minority groups such as Christians and Shi'a.
In 2013, Iran intervened at the request of the Syrian government, fearing that should Syria fall, Tehran would be next in line to experience a US-backed 'revolution'.
Although this Iranian support played a key role in repelling the terrorists, the most significant turning of the tide in Damascus' favour was a Russian air campaign that began against militant groups in September 2015, the same time that the Western media began extensive coverage of the refugee crisis.
Using the image of drowned child Aylan Kurdi, the mainstream media done their utmost to drum up support for a 'humanitarian intervention' in Syria, one that almost came to fruition this year when the Trump administration launched cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical attack allegedly carried out by government forces.
Such concern for the children of Syria by the Western Media has never been extended to the children of Yemen however.
In March 2015, following the Houthi takeover of the capital Sana'a, a Saudi air campaign began in a bid to restore the government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.
This mainly targeted the agricultural sector of Yemen, resulting in widespread starvation in what is already the most impoverished country in the Arabian peninsula.
The subsequent collapse of Yemen's health, water and sanitation systems led to the worst Cholera outbreak in recorded history, and the situation has been exacerbated further by a Saudi blockade preventing food and medical supplies from entering the country.
Despite this being the world's foremost humanitarian crisis, one in which 50,000 children are expected to die by the end of 2017 alone, the situation in Yemen has only garnered a fraction of the media coverage that Syria has received since 2011.
Key to this media whitewashing is the lucrative arms trade between the US and Saudi Arabia.
In May of this year, Donald Trump signed a record $110bn arms deal with the House of Saud, far surpassing previous deals signed with the Kingdom by his predecessors Barack Obama and George Bush.
US Military Advisors have also provided training to Saudi forces since 1953 and play a key role in the Yemeni conflict by providing intelligence to the Saudi command on where to direct air strikes.
This longstanding agreement of military cooperation between both nations not only satisfies the desires of wealthy Defense Contractors but also allows the US to use the Kingdom as a Bulwark against Iranian influence in the region, a common factor in both conflicts as Tehran has long been accused of backing the predominantly Shi'a Houthis.
However unlike the Syrian conflict, which the mainstream media has framed as 'rebels' trying to depose a 'brutal dictator' backed up by his Russian and Iranian allies, no such narrative can be constructed for the war in Yemen, hence the media silence on what is now amounting to a genocide.
Author Gavin O’Reilly is a Republican and social activist from Dublin, Ireland. He is the Secretary of the Dublin Anti-Internment Committee.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Al-Masdar.
Posted: 30 Nov 2017 12:29 AM PST
Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the North Korean regime “will be utterly destroyed,” speaking at a meeting of the body in New York, Wednesday.
“The dictator of North Korea made a choice yesterday that brings the world closer to war, no farther from it. We have never saw war with North Korea and still today we do not seek it,” stated Haley.
“If war does come, it will be because of continued acts of aggression like we witnessed yesterday. And if war comes, make no mistake, the North Korean Regime will be utterly destroyed,” she added.
Haley then called for world nations “to further isolate, diminish and […] reverse the dangerous course of the North Korean regime.”
Earlier today, North Korea announced the launch of a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) which could “target the entire area of mainland United States.” The launch was the first since September 15, when North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the Japanese island Hokkaido, eventually falling into the Pacific Ocean.
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