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Friday, December 1, 2017

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Turkish Anadol Agency interviews defected SDF spokesperson Talal Silo

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 07:39 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:25 AM) – The Turkish Anadol News Agency interviewed the former Syrian Democratic Forces’s (SDF) spokesperson Talal Silo on December 1st.

Silo had defected mid-November to the rebels operating in Euphrates Shield territory before taking refuge in neighboring Turkey, an actor very hostile and wary of the ambitions and aspirations of the predominantly Kurdish, Western-backed SDF coalition. Silo would reveal many never known before details on SDF commanders and US weapons shipments to the aforementioned group.

The man would go on to expose the SDF plans and aspirations to link their territories to the Mediterranean effectively achieving all means to a self-sufficient state in northern Syria. Details on the SDF-ISIS brokered deal in Raqqa to evacuate thousands of ISIS terrorists from the city are expected to be revealed when Anadol Agency releases the interview on Saturday.

It is important to note that the former SDF key figure was an SAA officer before his defection in 2011 and his enlistment on the side of the US-backed Kurdish coalition in 2013.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Taliban attacks Pakistan, kills and injurs dozens

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 07:22 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:13 AM) – Nine people were killed and over 30 were injured when Taliban-affiliated terrorists reportedly attacked a student hostel inside the Agriculture School in Pakistan’s Peshawar province.

Local security forces would later manage to kill the members of the terrorist group after a pursuit that lasted over an hour. Witnesses stated that the attackers wore burqas to avoid detection and were equipped with suicide belts.

Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor praised the law enforcement’s performance in neutralizing the threat and alleged that the attack was planned in neighboring Afghanistan.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Peshawar encounters a terrorist attack of this scale. The troubled Pakistani province suffered a major tragedy back in 2014 when militants stormed a school killing over 140 pupils and injuring many others.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Will rebels revive the formidable Jaish al-Fateh project? Muheisni answers

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 07:06 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:41 AM) – Famous Saudi preacher and sharia judge in the terrorist group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham made a recent publication tackling the question of whether a new jihadist coalition similar to Jaish al-Fateh is in the making as the Syrian government’s military campaign on Idlib gains steam.

Muheisni began his statement with condemnation of the infighting that led to the loss of many “Muslim brothers” at the “hands of their brethren” saying that the Shami (Levantine) Jihad has suffered almost “irrecoverable” damage due to incessant rebel infighting. Allegedly, many jihadists had lost their will to fight the war anymore and thousands have already dropped their weapons, quit fighting, and went back to day-to-day business. Many have even left to Turkey.

Muheisni went on to make the revelation that the jihadist groups have lost most of their popular support in Idlib while many foreign sponsors and charities have ceased their activities and humanitarian support in northern Syria.

What is the solution? According to the Saudi preacher, Zinki, Ahrar, and HTS have begun in-depth dialogue aimed at a general inclusive reconciliation between the warring rebels and the potential formation of a new joint operations room similar to the Jaish al-Fateh Coalition that was the dominant player in the conquest of Idlib in 2015 and the rebel victories in Aleppo’s southern countryside in the spring of 2016 (the capture of Zitan, Al-Eis, and Khalsah).

Though, the extremist religious figure made clear his doubts that such an initiative would succeed without achieving a lasting agreement that includes the dominant rebel groups in the north- else infighting is destined to implode again, perhaps at the cost of Idlib this time.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

China seeks to play constructive role in Afghan reconstruction, vows PM

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:45 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:41 A.M.) – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Friday that China is willing to play a constructive role in Afghanistan’s peaceful reconstruction.

Li made the pledge when meeting with Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on the sidelines of the 16th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government (Prime Ministers).

He said China supports a wide and inclusive political reconciliation process led and owned by the Afghan people, and is ready to assist Afghanistan in realizing its domestic political stability and economic development.

Expanding pragmatic cooperation between China and Afghanistan on economy and trade can not be done without a safe and stable external environment, said Li, adding that China will enhance dialogue and cooperation with Afghanistan and Pakistan with the goal of achieving long-term regional stability and security in an early date.

Abdullah called China a good neighbor of Afghanistan, saying developing ties with China conforms with the common interests of the two countries.

Afghanistan appreciates China’s efforts to promote the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, as well as its positive role in promoting the country’s economic reconstruction, capacity-building and livelihood improvement and its assistance within multilateral frameworks, said Abdullah.

Afghanistan is ready to make joint efforts with China to take Afghanistan-China relations to a new height, he said.

The SCO has China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan as its full members. It has four observer states, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, and six dialogue partners, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israeli forces open fire upon unarmed Gazan farmers

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:34 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:26 A.M)- Israeli forces opened fire upon unarmed Gazan farmers today, unprovoked.

The attacks took place in the northern coastal area of Beit Lahiya, as well as to the east of the refugee camp known as al-Maghazi, located in central Gaza.

Attacks against Palestinians working in agriculture and the fishing industry have been almost daily – according to eyewitness testimonies, delivered to Maan news sources – since the signing of the unity deal between Hamas and Fatah.

The “buffer zones” have not been properly confirmed by Israel, as Palestinians are left to guess where they can roam in their own land, constantly in fear of being attacked.

The violent practices of the Israeli military have all but destroyed the fishing and agricultural industries in Gaza during the past 10 years of Israel’s illegally imposed seige.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army, allied forces steadfastly advance in west Damascus in spite of Israeli attack

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:28 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:04 A.M.) – After foiling an Israeli-backed rebel assault on the recently capture Barda’iya Hills in the Golan Heights of west Damascus, the elite 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division would resume their offensive operations on the rebel forces entrenched in the region.

Backed by the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA), the loyalist forces were able to seize control of Maqtoul Mountain and Mudawwar Hill following fierce fighting with the al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants granting the former further fire control over Beit Jinn and Mughr al-Mir.

This development came after a ferocious wave of artillery strikes and aerial bombardment of rebel fortifications. The insurgents will have to desperately and swiftly launch a counterattack to reverse the SAA’s gains before the government troops manage to fortify their advanced positions. Otherwise, their predicament inside this strategic hotspot is that of doomed defeat.

If the Syrian Armed Forces do manage to clear west Damascus of jihadist presence, thousands of troops will be freed for reallocation to other more troubled hotspots in southern Syria likely making the situation for the rebels of Eastern Ghouta and Dara’a more dire. Furthermore, the Syrian Army will be in a much more comfortable position to launch attacks into Quneitra province should the Syrian High Command set the zero hour for such offensives- not to overlook the major logistic boost arising from securing the surrounding highways and supply routes that run through this troubled spot of the war-torn country.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Libyan leader meets Trump as Libya’s migrant crisis reaches new lows

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:54 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:24 A.M.) – The Chairman of the UN-propped Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez Sarraj met US President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis earlier today in an effort to secure further military support and discuss possible solutions for the bloody Libyan crisis that has been ongoing for six years.

The once prosperous north African country is struggling to stand back on its feet as several factions vie for supremacy over influence and territory throughout its vast dominion. The armed struggle between its various groups, most prominently the Egyptian/Saudi-backed LNA based in Tobruk and the Western-backed GNA based in Tripoli, has only worsened the security situation in the country and the migrant crisis culminating in the recent worldwide outrage over the emerging African slave trade.

The establishment of the GNA towards the end of 2015 was an unsuccessful international attempt to unite the feuding rival factions in Libya and resolve the long-standing conflict that has devastated the standard of living of the Libyan people and fueled the refugee crisis in Europe. It has become extremely clear that neither government in Libya are capable of projecting a decisive military victory over the other and that the only path to peace is an inclusive political solution.

Sarraj’s most recent visit to the Washington D.C. is a move to grant his government greater legitimacy in the international diplomatic arena and an attempt to lobby his American partners to pressure Haftar’s authority to engage in meaningful political dialogue.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army storms jihadist bastion near the Golan Heights after Israeli attack

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:52 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:40 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a powerful attack in the West Ghouta region of Damascus, tonight, targeting the Beit Jinn pocket that is controlled by the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group.

Backed by the 7th Armored Division and Liwaa Suqour Al-Quneitra, the Syrian Army’s 42nd Brigade of the 4th Division stormed Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions at the town of Mughar Al-Mir from the recently captured hills of Taloul Barda’yah.

According to a military report, the Syrian Army is now advancing at several axis in the Beit Jinn pocket as they look to take control of Mughar Al-Mir.

The Syrian Army’s attack on the Beit Jinn pocket came just minutes after the Israeli military fired several missiles towards the 1st Division’s ammo storage in western Damascus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Long-range Russian bombers hammer IS positions in Deir Ezzor – video

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:32 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:25 A.M.) – Russia's Defence Ministry released footage on Friday showing six Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire-C long-range bombers launching a joint airstrike which hit the facilities of the so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor.

According to the Ministry’s statement, the aircraft took off from the Hmeimim airfield and hit the terrorist stronghold wiping out all targets.

The Russian MoD says that Su-30SM fighter jets took part in the military operation ensuring the security of the bombers in Syrian airspace.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Watch the Syrian military intercept an Israeli missile in west Damascus

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:09 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:55 A.M.) – At 12:30 A.M. (Damascus Time) on Saturday, the Israeli forces fired several missiles towards a Syrian Army ammo depot in the western countryside of Damascus.

The strike prompted a swift response from the Syrian Air Defense, who managed to intercept several of the Israeli missiles before they could reach their intended targets.

Below was a video captured by a Syrian soldier near the 1st Division’s ammo storage; it shows a Syrian SAM intercepting the Israeli missile.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Update: Israeli missiles targeted strategic Syrian Army ammo storage in west Damascus

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 03:33 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:25 A.M.) – Al-Masdar News has just learned that the Israeli forces fired several missiles towards the 1st Division ammo storage in the western countryside of Damascus.

According to a military source, several missiles were fired towards this ammo storage, with some of them intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense before they hit the target

However, some of the missiles did reach their intended target, causing loud explosions between the towns of Kesweh and Sahnaya.

Moments ago, another Israeli missile was fired towards the ammo storage, but it was reportedly intercepted by the Syrian Air Defense.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israeli missile hits target near Iranian base in west Damascus

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 03:12 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:05 A.M.) – Israel has fired several missiles into western Syria tonight, targeting several sites near the Iranian base in the Kesweh area, a source told Al-Masdar News.

According to the military source, at least one Israeli missile struck its intended target, while the rest were intercepted by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles (SAM).

Another missile was just fired by the Syrian Air Defense at approximately 1:10 A.M. (Damascus Time).

One of Iran’s largest military bases in Syria is located in western Damascus; however, it has never been targeted by the Israeli forces.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian military fires anti-aircraft missile as Israeli warplane flies along Lebanese border

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 03:02 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:50 A.M.) – Minutes ago, the Syrian military fired a surface-to-air (SAM) missile from the Mezzeh Airbase in rural Damascus, a source told Al-Masdar News.

The intended target is still unknown; however, a source in Damascus claimed that an Israeli warplane was flying at a low altitude over Lebanon’s Ba’albak region near the Syrian border.

The source also added that at least 4 surface-to-air missiles were fired from the Mezzeh Airbase.

A soldier in west Damascus told Al-Masdar that Israel fired four missiles into Syria, with one of the missiles hitting a target near the Iranian base in Kesweh.

More details to come…

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Houthi missiles rock southern Saudi Arabia – video

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 02:35 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 A.M.) – The Houthi forces fired more missiles into Saudi Arabia on Friday, targeting several army posts in the Asir Region of this Gulf kingdom.

The official military wing of the Houthi forces released footage tonight of their rocket battalion firing several missiles on the Saudi installations; this attack prompted the Saudi Air Force to retaliate with a series of airstrikes over northern Yemen.

Houthi forces currently control a small part of southern Saudi Arabia and a large chunk of the Yemen-Saudi border.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Peace talks continue amid reports of Syria gov’t quit negotiations

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:41 PM PST

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met with the Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Jaafari in Geneva on Friday, concerning the UN-mediated Syrian peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition delegations.

Jaafari announced to the press on Friday that his team will leave Geneva on Saturday before deciding if the delegation will return for talks on Tuesday, or if they will abandon the negotiations. Jaafari blamed the opposition for rejecting any role for Syrian President Bashar Assad during a transition period.

Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday that the current round of talks could go on till December 15, with breaks. He also mentioned an undisclosed “12 points” that he said “could be a shared vision of the kind of Syria that the Syrians want to live in.”

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Turkey fakes story about soldier falling off cliff: video shows PKK missile blasting him

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:07 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:10 P.M.) – Ankara’s versions of events regarding the death of a Turkish Army soldier on November 28 proved not entirely accurate, new footage released by Gerila TV indicates.

In a story covered extensively by Al-Masdar News yesterday, it was revealed that two Turkish soldiers were killed atop the Martyr Bager hill in the Cele district of Hakkari province due to an attack carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

However, hours later Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu himself claimed that only one soldier, by the name of Yusuf Demiryürek, had died on this axis and claimed it to be an isolated accident in which the young man died from falling off a cliff.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even sent condolences to Demiryürek’s family, reiterating claims that their relative had died in a freak accident.

Nevertheless, a video was released by the PKK media wing today showing two Turkish soldiers being struck from afar by a guided missile with the impact sending at least one of them – presumably Yusuf Demiryürek – flying off the hilltop towards certain death:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Turkish regime demands US take back weapons from Kurdish forces

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:52 PM PST

Previously, Ankara announced that Washington had agreed to cease arms supplies to the Syrian Kurds, who have been fighting Daesh terrorists.

"The US administration must completely cut ties with terrorist organizations such as PYD [Democratic Union Party]/YPG … Since the fight against Daesh is over, the organization should not need these [weapons]. However, we know that the US has lost track of distributed weapons in Iraq in a similar way. So, these words need to be backed up with concrete steps," Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

He also criticized Pentagon's statements that the Kurds would be allowed to possess weapons which didn’t pose threat to Turkey.

"Others do not decide, who or what threatens our national security, the Turkish Republic does," Kalin noted.

According to Erdogan’s spokesman, the US weapons possessed by the Syrian Kurds would destabilize the situation in the region.

The statement comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that US President Donald Trump had reassured Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he had ordered to cease supplies of US weapons to the Syrian Kurds.

The White House has confirmed the announcement, saying it was “consistent with our previous policy.”

In late October, Nuri Mahmud, an official representative of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) refused to reveal the scale of the arms provided by the US, only noting that “it is relatively humble and not enough in comparison with the weaponry it supplied to the Iraqi Army for the liberation of Mosul.”

Ankara considers the YPG, which has been fighting against Daesh mostly as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) that is listed as a terrorist group in Turkey.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Graphic: Al-Qaeda takes out second batch of ISIS cells trying to slip through to Hama

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:33 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:30 P.M.) – Waves of militants loyal to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi are attempting to reach a newly emerged Islamic State pocket in northeastern Hama from Idlib, multiple reports suggest.

On Friday, three ISIS members were caught and shot dead inside Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s (HTS) interior lines at the town of Al-Maksar after they were discovered trying to make contact with Islamic Sate commanders in the area, hoping to join their ranks.

In related news, a supposed Islamic State agent was arrested by HTS fighters in the town of Huways Umm Juran on Thursday amid a major crackdown on anyone believed to have links to ISIS:

For the time being, ISIS controls approximately 20 villages far away from the Islamic State mainland but near the administrative border with Idlib, posing an existential threat to HTS.

Before re-branding itself multiple times to cover up its ties with Al-Qaeda, HTS was known as Jabhat Al-Nusra. The latter group fought side-by-side with ISIS throughout 2013 but the two parties fell out with one another in early 2014, prompting a jihadist civil war.

At the time, Jabhat Al-Nusra took control of most of Idlib Province while ISIS seized much of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. Both factions have since cracked down on each others sleeper cells, killing thousands in the process.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russian Tu-22M3 bombers hit IS targets in Syria

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:51 AM PST

Six Russian Tu-22M3 long-haul bombers delivered an airstrike on Islamic State (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) targets in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

“On December 1, 2017, six Tu-22M3 long-haul bombers delivered an airstrike on Islamic State terrorists' targets in the province of Deir ez-Zor,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the warplanes, which took off for an airfield in Russia, hit militants' command posts and manpower.

“All designated targets were hit,” the ministry said, adding that unmanned aerial vehicles recorded the results of the bombing.
Su-30SM fighter jets based at the Khmeimim airdrome provided backing for the bombers in Syria's airspace.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/978664

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Saudi FM says Lebanon ‘will only survive’ if Hezbollah disarms

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:39 AM PST

Previously, Hezbollah blamed Riyadh for the political crisis in Lebanon following the shock resignation of Prime Minister Hariri, who later postponed his decision.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has stated that Lebanon “will only survive or prosper if you disarm Hezbollah.”

The statement echoes the remark by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who said that he would not tolerate Hezbollah’s positions that “affect our Arab brothers or targets the security and stability of their countries.”

He later reaffirmed his demand, pledging to remain prime minister in case Hezbollah “accepted to stick by the state policy of staying out of regional conflicts.”

After Hariri announced his resignation and accused Iran and the Hezbollah movement of attempting to destabilize the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East on November 4, the group’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that Riyadh “blatantly interfered” in the country’s domestic issues, adding that Hariri’s “forced” decision to step down was unconstitutional because it had been done “under duress.”

While Saudi authorities insisted that it was Hariri’s own decision to stay in the country, the prime minister returned to Lebanon last week after his visit to France and announced his decision to “postpone” his resignation, pending talks with the rest of the Lebanese government.

Previously, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said he would not consider the prime minister’s stepping down until a personal meeting.

Due to Lebanon’s religious diversity, the country’s government includes the representatives of the three main religious groups — Sunni, Shiite and Maronite Christian, with the Hezbollah being the most powerful wing of the country’s executive branch.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army unleashes devastating missile barrage on jihadists near Golan Heights

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:08 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:10 P.M.) – Over 20 surface-to-surface missiles hammered jihadist frontier positions in the Beit Jenn pocket, located some 45 kilometers southwest of Damascus, on Friday amid an ongoing offensive by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that ultimately looks to finish a long-standing militant enclave near the border with Israel.

The missiles launched were identified as M270 MLRS rockets, a Russian-manufactured missile system which the SAA in recent weeks has deployed against jihadist forces across multiple locations in the countryside of Damascus, also known simply as Rif Dimashq.

Russian television obtained footage recorded by a Syrian soldier showing today’s missile launch which specifically targeted Magher Al-Meir, a jihadist-held town in the Beit Jenn pocket that is believed to be next on the agenda for SAA commanders.


After a month-long deadlock, government forces achieved a major breakthrough on Friday afternoon as they captured a neighboring hill called Tall Bardyah, effectively imposing fire control over the town Magher Al-Meir, in turn setting up the SAA’s assault troops for a coming blitz operation.

The Beit Jenn pocket is made up of a handful of jihadist-controlled towns and a large chunk of hilly rural terrain. Although about a dozen militant factions are present in the area, the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) is believed to be the most prominent militia on this axis.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Kurdish forces mop up some of the last ISIS turf along the Euphrates River

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 10:30 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:30 P.M.) – Three villages, a hill and a small air strip were captured by US-backed ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) on Friday as the latter pushed further southwards along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

With ISIS belligerents heavily outnumbered, outgunned and facing a constant barrage of US airstrikes, the Kurdish-led SDF took control of Kahara Air Base, Al-Jaza village, Al-Hayyan village, Abu Hammam village, and Abu Hammam hill.

This captured area is located little more than 70 kilometers southeast of Deir Ezzor City and represents a large chunk of last ISIS-held territory along the Euphrates River.

Over the past 24 hours alone, a total of 17 ISIS members were neutralized by SDF fighters and US-led coalition airstrikes across southern Deir Ezzor.

Meanwhile, clashes continue around the ISIS-held villages of Kushkiyeh and Siwedan as US-backed forces attempt to expand a vulnerable SDF salient that runs from Hasakah through Deir Ezzor all the way to the southeastern border with Iraq.

This advance is part of the ongoing ‘Al-Jazirah Storm’ offensive, a military campaign that began on September 9 and exploited a simultaneous offensive by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) which had expel ISIS from the provincial capital and over half of Deir Ezzor Province.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

In pictures: Syrian Army gains ground around strategic military base in east Damascus

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 09:55 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:00 P.M.) – Minor advances were secured by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) today at the imperative ‘Armored Vehicles Base’ on the eastern outskirts of Damascus amid ongoing skirmishes with a fighting force led by Ahrar Al-Sham.

Led by seasoned elements of the Republican Guard, the SAA seized a large tunnel west of the base itself, believed to have been used by Islamist militants to infiltrate the government defensive line and possibly obstruct the narrow government supply line leading to Armored Vehicles Base.

Photos of the newly captured tunnel and the SAA in action are available below:

Although the base was fully restored under government control towards the end of last month, the SAA is yet to secure lost points on its perimeter. If government forces fail to do so, Ahrar Al-Sham will have a launching pad for a renewed assault on the highly fortified military base.

On this axis, the warring parties often fight for control of a few yards and sometimes find themselves shooting at one another from each side of a battered building.

In the coming weeks, the Republican Guard hopes to recapture all points in the area, most of which are located in the farmland on the southern side of the Armored Vehicles Base.

If the SAA succeeds in doing so, it will have established a vital buffer zone around the military installation. The Armored Vehicles Base neighbors the Harasta suburb and is squeezed between government-controlled residential areas of Damascus and the largely rebel-held East Ghouta.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army retakes town in southern Aleppo amid heavy jihadist resistance – video

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 07:10 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:05 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a powerful counter-attack in the southern countryside of Aleppo, yesterday, targeting the areas they recently lost to the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

Led by the 3rd and 5th legions, the Syrian Army attacked the town of Abisan from their positions at nearby ‘Azizah.

Following an intense battle that lasted for several hours on Thursday, the Syrian Army managed to recapture Abisan and its corresponding hilltop.

The Syrian Army is now working to recapture the town of Al-Ramleh, which was seized by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham on Wednesday.

Video footage of these fierce clashes were released by the pro-opposition Step News Agency on Friday; it shows HTS militants fighting against the SAA units in southern Aleppo.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

China officially denies sending troops to Syria

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 06:27 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 P.M.) – The Chinese envoy at the Syrian Peace Talks in Geneva stated on Friday that there are no plans to send their forces to Syria.

Previously, a report from the Hmaymim Airport’s Facebook page claimed that the Chinese military was sending their special forces to help fight against Uyghur separatists embedded with Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

However, a Syrian military source in Damascus told Al-Masdar News on Thursday that these claims were unfounded, as they had not been informed of any Chinese deployment.

While the Chinese are actively participating in the Syrian peace process, they do not have any plans of joining the ongoing war inside the country.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russian Black Sea Fleet heading to Mediterranean

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:56 AM PST

The Black Sea Fleet's frigate Admiral Grigorovich will join the Russian Navy's permanent task force in the Mediterranean Sea on December 2, Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said on Friday.

“Today the crew of the Black Sea Fleet's frigate Admiral Grigorovich has started accomplishing missions of its planned passage from Sevastopol to the Mediterranean Sea. The warship left the fleet's main naval base immediately after the ceremony devoted to the beginning of a new training year,” the spokesman said.

The frigate is expected to join Russia's Mediterranean task force currently comprising about 15 Black Sea Fleet warships and support vessels on December 2.

The Black Sea Fleet frigate Admiral Grigorovich is returning to the Mediterranean Sea, Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Vitko said in an interview with the Russian Defense Ministry's newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.

“Currently, the submarines Veliky Novgorod and Kolpino are performing missions in the Mediterranean Sea, to which the frigate Admiral Grigorovich is also heading,” the admiral said.

It was the frigate Admiral Grigorovich, from the board of which the Black Sea Fleet practiced the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle for the first time as part of drills in 2017, he said.

“For the first time in the history of the Black Sea Fleet, the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle was practiced from the board of the frigate Admiral Grigorovich. The aircraft-type drone both took off and for the first time in the Navy's history landed on the warship's deck at sea,” the admiral said.

The Russian Navy's warships started accomplishing missions in the Mediterranean Sea as a permanent task force from December 2012. In November 2016, the frigate Admiral Grigorovich fired at least three missiles from the Mediterranean Sea against terrorists' facilities in Syria.

It was reported in late June that the frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich and the submarine Krasnodar delivered a strike with six cruise missiles from the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea to destroy large arms and ammunition depots of the Islamic State terrorist grouping (outlawed in Russia) in Syria.

The Admiral Grigorovich is the Project 11356 lead blue-water frigate. The frigates of this type displace about 4,000 tonnes, develop a speed of 30 knots and have a sea endurance of 30 days.

The Admiral Grigorovich is armed with Kalibr-NK cruise missiles, the Shtil-1 self-defense missile system, the A-190 100mm artillery gun, air defense artillery, a rocket launcher and torpedoes and can also carry a deck-based Kamov Ka-27 or Ka-31 helicopter.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/978550

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Zero hour is upon Deir Ezzor as the Syrian Army prepares for last battle against IS

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 05:20 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army has made their final preparations in southeast Deir Ezzor and are preparing to launch their final assault to eliminate the Islamic State (IS) from the province.

Led by their Al-Taha and Al-Tarmeeh groups, the Tiger Forces have positioned themselves just south of Al-Asharah, which is located along the western bank of the Euphrates River.

The Tiger Forces are expected to kickoff this last battle against the Islamic State in the coming days, but in the meantime, they are allowing the Russian Aerospace Forces to heavily bombard the terrorist group’s last areas in Deir Ezzor.

While the Tiger Forces prepare to liberate the entire western bank of the Euphrates River, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have already began their operation to capture the Islamic State’s last positions along the eastern bank.

With these two operations in Syria and another one conducted in Iraq, the Islamic State is likely to be expelled from the Euphrates River Valley by year-end.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian chopper downed by anti-aircraft missile, Syrian military blames Israel

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:31 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:25 P.M.) – A Syrian Mi-24 helicopter was downed over the West Ghouta region of Damascus while aiding their ground forces inside the Beit Jinn pocket on Friday morning.

According to a military source, the Syrian chopper crashed near the Al-Salaam Highway in the government-held Kanakir area – the pilot and two of his personnel were killed instantly.

The source from the Syrian military stated that a militant group fired an anti-aircraft missile at the chopper while it was flying over the Beit Jinn pocket.

The pro-opposition Horan Free Media Facebook page released footage of the missile strike on the helicopter.

The Syrian military has accused Israel of providing these missiles to the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group, as they would have no other way of attaining these advanced SAMs.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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Syrian Army kills high ranking jihadist commander in northeast Hama

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 04:04 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) killed another high ranking jihadist commander during their operations inside the northeastern countryside of the Hama Governorate this week.

According to a military report, the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard killed the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham official – “Abu Amnah” – after ambushing him and several of his associates along the Hama-Aleppo axis.

Abu Amnah’s associates were also killed in the ambush in northeast Hama on Thursday.

The Syrian Arab Army has been advancing inside northeast Hama for several weeks now, as they look to close-in on the Idlib Governorate’s provincial border.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Growing cancer rates become Syria’s other big problem

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 03:39 AM PST

The long civil war in Syria has put a question mark over the survival rates of cancer patients in the country, with cancer detection centers only left in major cities.

Lack of cancer detection centers throughout Syria has become a pressing problem for the war-torn country, with many cancer-stricken Syrians unable to reach those that are still operating due to difficult travel conditions, poor security, or a simple inability to afford the high cost of treatment.

But the challenges don’t end there. There is no guarantee that those who find their way to still-standing hospitals will be able to undergo the necessary treatment.

In this Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 photo, U.S. Marines prepare to build a military site during a sandstorm in western Anbar, Iraq. The US-led coalition’s newest outpost in the fight against the Islamic State group is in this dusty corner of western Iraq near the border with Syria where several hundred American Marines operate close to the battlefront, a key factor in the recent series of swift victories against the extremists.

Syrian oncologist Hussein from the Al Biruni oncological center in Damascus told Sputnik that there are not enough medications for the vast numbers of sick Syrians flowing into the capital. Sometimes there is just not enough electricity to carry out radiation therapy on a regular basis.

The majority of patients are forced to purchase medications on their own dime. Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia each have only one pharmacy selling anti-cancer drugs. Plus the medications are very expensive and those who cannot afford them have no other choice but wait for help from the government or turn to conventional medicine that doctors believe is useless when dealing with cancer.

The situation is even worse for Syrians living in territories controlled by opposition forces, who are forced to seek medical attention overseas.

Syrian drugstore owner and pharmaceutical warehouse director Ahmed al Haji told Sputnik that Syria doesn’t produce its own anti-cancer medications. He said that “due to the imposed sanctions many countries that used to cooperate cannot sell [medications] to Syria anymore,” with suppliers now limited to those that remain on friendly terms with the Middle Eastern state.

“At the moment, many suppliers experience these travails,” he said.

According to Syrian oncologists, medical examinations aimed at the early diagnosis of oncological diseases have become more crucial than ever.

Syrian doctors expect the rate of oncological disease cases in the country to grow, one of the key factors being severe contamination of the environment caused by war. Syria will have to deal with the poisoning of nature created by propellants, chemicals, mineral and organic toxins for a long time.

Syria has been engulfed in a civil war for over six years with government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions as well as terrorist groups since 2011. The war has caused severe damage to the country’s economy and infrastructure.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

US-backed forces announce new campaign in Deir Ezzor

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 03:15 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:05 P.M.) – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced a new operation in the Deir Ezzor Governorate that will target the Islamic State’s (IS) last positions along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Led by their Deir Ezzor Military Council, the SDF will push from several axes in the Euphrates River Valley in order to seal the Iraqi border.

This new campaign was announced by the Deir Ezzor Military Council’s commander, Ahmad Al-Khawlah; it is dubbed “Operation Island Storm” (‘Asfeh Al-Jazeera).

While the SDF attempts to clear the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the Iraqi Armed Forces have already started their operation to expel the Islamic State from the large desolate area they control along the Syrian border.

The Iraqi Armed Forces have made remarkable progress, liberating a large chunk of the territory that was occupied by the Islamic State.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army troops begin moving from Deir Ezzor to Hama for Idlib offensive

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 02:46 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has begun moving troops from eastern Syria to the province of Hama, a military source told Al-Masdar News on Friday.

According to the military source, many units have begun leaving the Deir Ezzor Governorate for the northern countryside of Hama.

In particular, the troops leaving Deir Ezzor are heading to the Ma’an front in northern Hama; this area has a large jihadist presence and it is located along the Idlib-Hama Highway (M-5).

The primary objective for these troops will be to recapture the town of Abu Dali, which is located at an important crossroad.

Once Abu Dali is retaken, the Syrian Army will make their push into the southeastern countryside of Idlib, where they will attempt to capture the strategic Abu Dhuhour Military Airport.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

‘Meet at Christmas in New York’: Daesh threatens bloody holiday

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 02:13 AM PST

Though it may have lost control of its major strongholds in the Middle East, Daesh has not given up the struggle and is now threatening to strike at the heart of New York and other major world cities over the holiday season.

Daesh terrorists may have been ousted from Syria’s Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul, but the terrorist group has been splintered rather than eliminated and continues to show that it has the resources to spread terror across the globe.

The group uses popular platforms like Twitter and Instagram to communicate threats and instructions. Sometimes, these threats seem to presage actual bloodshed: Daesh propaganda posters were circulating around Halloween this year, just hours before a deadly attack in New York in which eight people died and 11 were injured when an Uzbek national residing in the US ploughed a rented truck into cyclists and pedestrians on the holiday afternoon.

Sayfullo Saipov, 29, faces 22 charges and the death penalty for his Big Apple attack.

Now, new, disturbing posters shared through Daesh’s social media channels depict Santa Claus standing near a box of dynamite and looking out over a crowd of shoppers in Times Square. The implication is clear: holiday shoppers are a target.

“We meet at Christmas in New York… soon,” the now-viral image’s caption informs.

Through encrypted communication channels, terrorists have already issued threats to attack Christmas markets in Europe by sharing similar posters showing Santa kneeling in front of a terrorist on Regent Street in London, a jihadi holding a bloody knife looking out over a Christmas market with the Eiffel Tower in the background and a terrorist overlooking St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican with rocket launcher.

US intelligence services are reportedly on high alert after the threat. Keeping in mind the growing number of terror attacks globally, and particularly the attack on a Berlin Christmas market last year, one can’t deem the threats a bluff.

In the December 2016 Christmas market attack, a truck rammed into a crowd in the center of Berlin leaving 12 people dead and almost 50 injured. The attacker, identified as 24-year-old Tunisian national Anis Amri, was shot dead several days later by Italian police in Milan.

Last week, six people were arrested in France in connection with a suspected plot to attack a Christmas market.

​Following the October 31 attack in the US, US President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “step up” its already “extreme vetting program.”

“Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian chopper downed near occupied Golan Heights

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:54 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – A Syrian helicopter has reportedly crashed down over the West Ghouta region of Damascus, today, a military report claimed.

The Syrian chopper was carrying out a mission over the Beit Jinn pocket near the occupied Golan Heights when the aircraft crashed, the report added.

The cause of the helicopter’s crash today is still unknown at the moment; however, it was likely due to technical failure or an enemy missile strike.

No further details have been released at this time.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

US aims to ‘remove Iran from Syria’ – Iranian FM

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:42 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:25 A.M.) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated the US aims to “remove Iran from Syria”, during the first day of the third Mediterranean Dialogues (MED) summit in Rome on Thursday.

Speaking about the role of the US in the Syrian crisis, he questioned: “Why can’t you [the US] accept that an arrangement by regional countries in Syria has been holding for eleven months, longer than any ceasefire negotiated by the West in Syria?”

According to Zarif, the main aim of the US government was to “to remove Iran from Syria” and “that’s where they fail, because we are in the region”.

Zarif also called out other countries in the region that have sophisticated missiles.

“Saudi Arabia has missiles that they receive from China,” he pointed out.

“In addition to that, they [Saudi Arabia] spend 86 billion dollars to buy what [US] President [Donald] Trump calls beautiful military equipment,” he said.

On the matter of refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea, Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano asked the international community to “roll up [your] sleeves, be brave and provide immediate concrete help as Italy has done and continues to do".

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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Desperate Daesh releases execution videos to make up for battlefield woes

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:29 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:15 A.M.) – Da’esh released a 55 minute long video on Thursday that showed their terrorist forces carrying out several executions and some old battle footage.

The first 24 minutes of the video began with Da’esh showcasing old battle footage from Palmyra when they captured the city from the Syrian Army.

Following the footage of Palmyra, the terrorist group showcased their ambushes in both Egypt and Iraq, claiming they overran several military posts.

The last 15 minutes of the video were of Da’esh terrorists carrying out heinous executions of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers.

The first executions were of ten Iraqi soldiers in the western part of the country; these soldiers were brutally murdered by the terrorist group.

After the Iraqi executions, Da’esh showed the execution footage of a Syrian fighter pilot that was captured in April 2016.

The pilot, ‘Azzam ‘Eid of Salamiyah, was burnt alive after being chained at the neck by the terrorist group.

The video would conclude with Da’esh executing three more Syrian Army and Iraqi military personnel and then declaring victory over their enemies.

Da’esh often releases these type of videos after they suffer a major defeat; this is their desperate attempt at retribution.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia negotiating the release of two nationals captured by IS

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:03 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:50 A.M.) – The Russian military is negotiating the release of two nationals that were captured by the Islamic State (ISIS) several months ago in eastern Syria, the RBC News site reported on Thursday.

The two Russians were identified by RBC as Grigory Tsurkanu and Roman Zabolotny; they are both of Cossack descent.

“There is information, but it has not been documented that a group of six people are alive under IS’ captivity, including Roman Zabolotny and Grigory Tsurkanu,” the Chief Ataman leader of the Don Cossack, Viktor Vodolatsky, stated on Thursday.

Vodolatsky also noted that negotiations are under way to transfer this group of prisoners of war to Syrian troops.

“According to the latest information, they are on the border of Syria and Iraq,” he added.

The two Russian nationals were members of a private security company before they were captured by the Islamic State.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز