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Monday, December 4, 2017

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Israel watches close as the Syrian Army swiftly advances near the occupied Golan Heights

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 10:34 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:15 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has made remarkable progress inside the West Ghouta region of Damascus recently, capturing several sites from the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorist group.

Led by their elite 42nd Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Army has managed to take control of the most important hilltops inside the jihadist-held Beit Jinn pocket.

With the hilltops of Taloul Al-Barda’yah captured, the Syrian Army has effectively established fire control over the town of Mughar Al-Mir, which is the last site before jihadist stronghold of Beit Jinn.

Watching the Syrian Army’s advance from afar is the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), who can often be seen monitoring the situation near the occupied Golan Heights.

While Israel is not able to do much besides provide artillery and missile support to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, the recent advances by the Syrian military near the occupied Golan Heights are likely to upset the Tel Aviv regime, as a victory in Beit Jinn will secure the Iranian base and end the jihadist presence in western Damascus.

More importantly, once Beit Jinn is captured by the Syrian Army, they will shift their attention to the Golan Heights, where they will look to secure their stronghold of Hader near Mount Hermon.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

UAE denies Houthi claims about firing missile toward Abu Dhabi

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 09:54 PM PST

The UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority has responded to the Houthis’ claims by saying that the country’s air defenses are capable of dealing with any threats.

The United Arab Emirates’ National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) has denied claims made by Yemen's Houthi rebels that the militants had fired a missile toward a nuclear plant in the UAE, the WAM news agency reported on Sunday.

The NCEMA stressed that the UAE’s air defense system was capable of dealing with any threats, while the plant also had all the necessary safety and security mechanisms.

Earlier in the day, the Houthis’ media service reported that the group had allegedly fired a cruise missile toward Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi. However, no evidence has been provided so far.

Conflict Between the Houthis and Saudi-led Coalition

The Houthis have recently stepped up their missile attacks, particularly targeting Saudi Arabia, which has been leading the coalition that has been conducting an operation in Yemen since March 2015 at the request of the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after Houthi rebels had forced him into exile.

Separately, the Yemeni rebels have been clashing with the supporters of ex-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Shiite movement’s former ally in the southern districts of Sanaa for several days after an alleged attempt by the rebels to seize the city’s main mosque.

In his Saturday speech, described by the Houthis as a “deception,” Saleh declared that he was ready to turn “a new page” in relations with the Saudi-led coalition if the latter stopped attacking his country.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army tightens siege on last IS bastion in Deir Ezzor

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 09:14 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:05 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) kicked off their last major offensive in the Deir Ezzor Governorate this past weekend, targeting the Islamic State’s (IS) positions between Albukamal and Al-Mayadeen.

Led by their elite Tiger Forces, the Syrian Army began their offensive on Sunday by liberating several areas near the important town of Al-Salihiyah, which sits just north of Albukamal.

According to a military source in Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Army liberated the following towns on Sunday: Al-Jadleh, Qusur Um Saba, Safsafeh, Ajrama, Salhiyah, Wadi Al-Worod, Maan Al-Sabkha and Al-Shamr Al-Layeh.

With these towns liberated by the Syrian Army, the Islamic State now finds themselves surrounded at Al-Salhiyah as the Tiger Forces prepare to make their last major push along the Euphrates River.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Potential of cooperation between US, Russia on Syria still remains – ambassador

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 08:02 PM PST

Moscow and Washington could cooperate more actively in Syria, as well on many other security problems, Russia's Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov told reporters on Saturday.

“My confidence is that only jointly Russia and the U.S. can solve the security problems,” the diplomat said. “What happens in Syria today is a clear example.”

“We have been cooperating actively with the U.S. both in the air, and on the ground, but, I am confident this potential of cooperation is not exhausted yet,” the ambassador said.

“There are quite many spheres of this cooperation or problems, where we could cooperate and find solutions not only in the interests of the U.S. and Russia but in the interests of the world.”

One day would be too short to name those problems, he added.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/978776

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Netanyahu likens Iran to Nazi Germany in its ‘commitment to murder Jews’

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:19 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:10 A.M.) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Nazi Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran share “a ruthless commitment to murder Jews,” during a video statement from Jerusalem released on Sunday.

Iran and Nazi Germany, he said, “have two important things in common: one, a ruthless commitment to impose tyranny and terror, and second, a ruthless commitment to murder Jews.”

He added that Israel will not allow Iran to “entrench itself militarily in Syria” or to acquire nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu stated that “one day the Iranian regime will fall” adding that Israel will be eager to restore relations with the country if this happens.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Action footage of Russian long-range bombers hitting IS targets in Deir ez-Zor

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 05:45 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 A.M.) – Six long-range Russian Tu-22M3 bombers hit targets of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement on Sunday.

The MoD said the bombers targeted militants’ warehouses, equipment stores and outposts in the Deir ez-Zor Province.

It added that Su-30SM fighter jets, which had taken off from the Khmeimim air base, took part in the military operation, ensuring
the security of the bombers in Syrian airspace.

Source: Russian Ministry of Defence

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Senior Israeli officials arrested over corruption after mass protests – reports

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 04:21 PM PST

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against corruption.

Israeli police have arrested 17 senior officials in the city of Rishon LeTsiyon over bribery under the operation aimed at revealing connections between criminal elements and local, municipal and national governmental officials, The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.

The arrests followed large-scale anti-corruption protests in the city of Tel Aviv on Saturday, when over 30,000 people gathered in Tel Aviv to protest against corruption, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government. The rally was triggered in particular by a draft bill, which, if passed, will prohibit police from issuing recommendations for indictments against a prime minister.

In this Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 file photo, a man holds up a poster during a weekly protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seen on the poster, in front of the home of Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, in Petah Tikva, Israel.

With a slew of corruption scandals closing in on him, Netanyahu is increasingly dropping what remains of his statesmanlike persona in favor of nationalist rhetoric popular with his base. By cozying up to conservatives, anti-migrant voices and West Bank settlers, Netanyahu appears to be trying to reframe the corruption allegations as an ideological witch-hunt.

At the moment, the police are carrying out two investigations into the prime minister: Case 1000, focusing on whether Netanyahu provided anything in return for expensive gifts from businessmen, and Case 2000, an alleged deal between Netanyahu and the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper’s publisher Arnon Mozes, exchanging reduced critical coverage of the prime minister in return for weakening of the newspaper’s competitor.

The Israeli prime minister has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying that he is the victim of a smear campaign by political opponents. According to a November report by Israel’s Channel 10 News, sources involved in the ongoing investigation have revealed that there is now sufficient evidence to charge Netanyahu and his wife with bribery for accepting tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts from well-heeled business associates.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: IS downs Syrian jet near Iraqi border

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 03:06 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 A.M.) – The so-called Islamic State (IS) downed a Syrian fighter jet over the southeastern countryside countryside of Deir Ezzor, tonight, the terrorist group’s media wing reported.

According to the report, IS fighters shot down the fighter jet while it was conducting a mission over the strategic border-city of Albukamal, which is located near Iraq’s Al-Anbar Governorate.

The report added that the terrorist group also captured the Syrian pilot alive.

Al-Masdar has reached out to the army to confirm this report.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Mattis confirms US commitment to halt arms deliveries to Syrian Kurds

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 01:48 PM PST

The United States will cease weapons supplies to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units as was promised earlier to the Turkish leadership, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said amid Ankara’s demands to provide documented evidence of cuts.

On Friday, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz told Sputnik that Washington was yet to prove it is cutting its arms supplies to Syrian Kurds with documented evidence as the statements from White House continued to differ on the issue.

“Yeah. We are going to go exactly along the lines of what the president [Donald Trump] announced,” US Defense Secretary James Mattis Mattis said on Friday, while answering the reporter's question whether the United States would stop arming the Syrian Kurds.

On November 24, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Trump had reassured his Turkish counterpart that he had ordered to cease supplies of US armaments to the Syrian Kurds. However, the Pentagon later said it was reviewing the need to provide support for YPG units (People’s Protection Units).

Relations between Washington and Ankara remain strained over a number of differences, particularly on the US military support for the YPG units, which are fighting the Islamic State (Daesh) terror group in Syria. Ankara has repeatedly expressed hope that the United States will stop supplying Syria’s Kurds with weapons due to the fact that the issue of Daesh’s defeat will soon be resolved.

Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a designated terrorist organization in Turkey. The PKK has fought a protracted armed struggle against Turkey to achieve independence or autonomy. At the same time the YPG, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been receiving support from the United States to fight terrorists in Syria.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israel accuses Syrian Army of firing missile into occupied Golan Heights

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 01:11 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:55 P.M.) – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) accused the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) on Sunday of firing a projectile missile into the occupied Golan Heights.

Despite not knowing who was behind the projectile strike, Israel has a policy of blaming the Syrian government forces, regardless if they were the perpetrators or not.

Al-Masdar reached out to the Syrian Army to see if they fired the projectile into the occupied Golan Heights – an officer denied the IDF’s accusations, adding that Israel typically throws out these accusations when the SAA launches attacks on the jihadist forces.

Israel has not yet responded to this alleged aggression by the Syrian Army.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Mysterious explosion rocks through rebel base in south Idlib

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:59 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:52 P.M.) – A mysterious explosion ripped through Jaish al-Nasr’s military base inside the town of Taramla in Idlib’s southern countryside earlier today.

More than 10 fighters were critically wounded in the explosion which early reports suggest was the result of an accident in a hell cannon storage facility on base. The explosion destroyed the main building.

Notably, Jaish al-Nasr is an FSA faction operating in Hama’s northern countryside and generously sponsored by the US State Department which provides them with ample shipments of TOW missiles.

It is not unlikely that the explosion is due to arson action by a rival rebel group as southern Idlib has recently become the site of frequent infighting by insurgent groups.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

FSA’s 1st Division comes to the rescue of Nusra in northern Hama: Video

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:47 PM PST

DAMASCUS, Syria (10:40 PM) – The FSA’s 1st Coastal Division, usually deployed in the cold front of Latakia’s northeastern countryside, has been observed fighting alongside the internationally-recognized terrorist organization Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Hama’s northern countryside.

The 1st Coastal Division is not the only FSA faction fighting alongside HTS in the vicious battles taking place in Hama and Aleppo; Jaish al-Izza, the Free Idlib Army, and Jaish al-Nasr have all been observed on those front lines.

The media wing of the 1st Coastal Division released very recent footage showing their launch of US-supplied TOW missiles against a group of Syrian soldiers in the village of Rabdeh:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Clashes engulf Idlib as rebels slaughter each other

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:34 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:24 PM) – Heavy clashes erupted between jihadists in Idlib’s southern countryside as relations turn sour between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its former ally Jund al-Malahim.

HTS convoys are seen everywhere as they mobilize around Jund al-Malahim’s bases Sahl al-Rouj and Iblen towns of Jabal al-Zawiyah. Jund al-Malahim used to be part of the HTS merger until they defected earlier this fall when fighting broke out between the latter and Ahrar al-Sham/Zinki.

Running short on supplies and finances, it is not unprecedented for the terrorist group to assault smaller factions to loot their bases as has happened before with Jaish al-Mujahideen, Hazm Movement, and the Syrian Revolutionary Front all of which no longer exist.

Violence is escalating as more artillery pieces, tanks, and other heavy equipment gets deployed into this conflict. At least five fighters from both sides have been reported dead so far as a result of those clashes.

More updates to follow soon…

 

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

In Pictures: Houthi forces capture Republican Guard HQ from Saleh’s troops

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:25 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:05 PM) – Armed forces loyal to Ansarullah, also known as the Houthis, have successfully captured the Republican Guard general command building in the capital of Sana’a, after driving troops supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from the area on Sunday. This is reported by the Ansarullah Media Center.

Fierce clashes erupted between Ansarullah and the followers of Saleh after the former Yemeni president, who was ousted from power in 2011 but sided with Ansarullah after the 2014 September Revolution, turned against his former allies on Thursday. While Saleh’s forces, mainly coming from the Yemeni Republican Guard and military, overrun much of the Yemeni capital on Friday and Saturday, reports indicate that Ansarullah has recaptured much of the city since. The capture of the Republican Guard headquarters is another blow to the power base of the Saleh loyalists.

Also on Sunday, Ansarullah forces raided and shut down the television network Yemen Today, which was known for its support of Saleh and his General People’s Congress (GPC) party.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army concludes preparations for the final battle against ISIS in east Syria

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:17 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:10 PM) – Pictures emerged on social media showing Air Force Intelligence field commanders Rajab Saqr, Faris Abu Ali, and Mudhar Makhlouf on the front lines of Mayadeen as their forces mobilize for imminent action.

The prominent commanders were tasked with assisting the Tiger Forces and the 5th Corps of the Syrian Arab Army with clearing the remainder of the Euphrates that is still under ISIS control.

Those reinforcements are expected to develop their assault from Mayadeen in the direction of Albukamal while allies advance from the other side. Once the government forces clean up the Euphrates from ISIS presence, they’ll redeploy for the anticipated Battle for Idlib to root out the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group once and for all.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Netanyahu says Israel won’t allow Iran to ‘entrench itself militarily’ in Syria

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 12:07 PM PST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has posted a video on his Facebook page, explaining his policy on Iran as well as the Syrian conflict.

Israel will not allow Iran to have military a presence in Syria or its own nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed shortly after an alleged Israeli strike on a target in Syria.

“Let me reiterate Israel’s policy. We will not allow a regime hell-bent on annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons, we will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria as it seeks to do for the express purpose of eradicating our state,” Netanyahu said in a video message posted on his Facebook on Saturday.

According to local media reports that haven’t yet been officially confirmed by either Damascus or by Tel Aviv, Syria has repelled an Israeli attack on a “military position” near Damascus. Some media outlets speculated that the possible target may have been an Iranian base and several Iranian troops may have been injured in the attack allegedly carried out by Israel.

Tehran has repeatedly denied reports of having a base in Syria as well as conducting military operations there, however, stressed its cooperation with the country’s leadership in the fight against various terrorist groups, including Daesh, and acts as one of the guarantors of the ceasefire in the Arab Republic jointly with Russia and Turkey.

While Syria and Israel, which have never signed a peace treaty, have repeatedly exchanged multiple tit-for-tat attacks, Netanyahu along with the country’s defense minister stated that Tel Aviv is free to act in Syria for the sake of its security.

Netanyahu’s video was reportedly taped on Thursday and is expected to be shown in full on Sunday at the Brookings Institution's annual Saban Forum in Washington.

 

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russian bombers strike what is left of ISIS in eastern Syria: Video

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 11:59 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:57 P.M.) – 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 Sunday.

“On December 3, 2017, six Tu-22M3 long-haul bombers that took off from an airfield in Russia delivered an airstrike on Islamic State terrorists' targets in the southeast of province of Deir ez-Zor,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the warplanes hit militants' munitions depots, command posts, manpower and hardware.

Su-30SM fighter jets based at the Khmeimim airdrome provided backing for the bombers in Syria's airspace. The Russian bomber returned safely to their home bases after the mission.

Russian MoD

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Syrian Army on brink of decisive victory against jihadists in Golan Heights

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 11:53 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:38 PM) – The Syrian Arab Army’s elite 4th Division have taken no break after securing the Barda’aya hill series in west Damascus and repelling half a dozen militant counterattacks on the strategic region.

The 42nd Brigade, otherwise known as the Ghaith Forces, would press on with their assault on the Beit Teema – Beit Saber axis capturing the imposing hill tops of Tal Teen, Half Shor 1, and Half Shor 2 in a major blow to the HTS-led Haramoun Revolutionary Coalition.

Virtually controlling all major high points overlooking Beit Jinn and Mazra’et Beit Jinn, rebel defeat in the strategic Hernon Mountain region has become merely a matter of time unless militant forces in Quneitra miraculously come to their aid.

No belligerent gambler would wager on such an initiative though as all previous offensive in the direction of Hadar village took a disastrous turn with hundreds killed without any single breakthrough on the said front.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Government forces blitz through Idlib’s southern countryside in major breakthrough

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 11:30 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:17 P.M.) – Syrian government forces, unable to advance after two separate assault on the strategic village of Balil, have instead opted for a different route of advance doing the unthinkable.

The Syrian Armed Forces have instead opted to launch an offensive on Zabadi axis developing a successful attack on the aforementioned front. The villages of Zabadi, Qasr Shutayb, and Zaferiya – all of which are located in the southernmost portion of Idlib’s administrative boundary – would swiftly fall under the dominion of the loyalists.

The capture of the aforementioned villages will enable the Syrian Army to assault Balil from a more comfortable disposition. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Turkistani Islamist Party (TIP), and their FSA allies now find themselves in a difficult predicament as they struggle to grapply with several government threats in south Aleppo and northern Hama as well as a growing ISIS insurgency in northeast Hama.

In the fierce clashes that took place in southern Idlib, three prominent HTS field commanders Abu Hassan, Abu Al-Noor Qal’ah, and Abu al-Yaman Jarjanaz were killed.

Not too far away from this scene, government forces managed to infiltrate the jihadist stronghold of Rahjan which is considered the insurgents’ most prominent operating base in the Syrian Badiya. Violent clashes are taking place in the southern parts of the town as the former attempt to wrestle the city out of militant control.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Iraqi PMU launches major counterinsurgency campaign in Salaheddin province

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 10:04 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:52 PM) – After a maturing Islamic State insurgency that has taken heat since the Iraqi Armed Forces’ operation to liberate Mosul took off a year and a summer ago, battle-experienced Brigade 51 of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) was tasked with clearing Al-Zawiya mountain, Namel and Al-Hajez mountains located near the mighty Tigris river.

During the search for ISIS hideouts and sleeper cells, patrolling units uncovered eight tunnels of varying lengths used by terrorist elements to escape and infiltrate other area. Iraqi explosive ordinance disposal units (EOD) were able to destroy the tunnels as further search for ISIS hideouts in the region takes place.

Security operations have imploded all across Iraq as government forces seek to crackdown on fugitive ISIS elements that have escaped the Tal Afar, Mosul, Hawijah, Fallujah, and countless other cities prior to their liberation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Insane battle footage uncovers the operation which crippled ISIS in east Syria

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 09:31 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:19 PM) – The Russian Anna News released an hour-long video documenting the epic operation that led to the paralysis of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, Op Mayadeen.

Field reporters working for Anna News were embedded with the unbeaten Tiger Forces on their quest to secure ISIS’s new capital Mayadeen and its surrounding region. The battle which split ISIS’s domain along the Euphrates in two also enabled the Syrian Army to yield weapon stockpiles of artillery guns, heavy machine guns, light weapons, drones, and vehicles claimed sufficient to equip a third of the Syrian Army.

This was ISIS’s final straw; after saw drastic a loss, there can be no recovery. The video footage below displays the violent street battles and fire fights that took place prior to the liberation of the strategic city:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Syrian Army takes steps to kick jihadist rebels out of northeast Hama

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 09:17 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (8:15 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is slowly but systematically pursuing pincers to break down the jihadist defensive line in northeastern Hama, ultimately looking to drive Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) into the Idlib Governorate.

On Sunday, SAA contingents led by elements of the 4th Mechanized Division renewed attempts to seize the HTS stronghold of Balil. As two head-on assaults over the past 72 hours have proven fruitless, government forces are now trying to envelop the town and force jihadist militants to either face certain death through encirclement or conduct a tactical withdrawal, exposing them to Russian and Syrian warplanes from above.

Heavy clashes are taking place near the imperative town of Zafriyah between HTS and the SAA as the latter tries to put Balil on lockdown through advancing on its eastern flank. If Zafriyah falls into government hands, Balil will be virtually indefensible, a military source embedded with the 4th Division told Al-Masdar News today.

On a different axis in rural Hama, SAA units led by the Qalamoun Shield Division resumed their counter-insurgency operations at Rahjan. On Sunday alone, over 15 sorties were conducted by Russian jets and Syrian choppers on HTS-held positions in and around Rahjan, Umm Maiyal, Shakousyah and Janenah.

Thus far, the SAA has entered Rahjan from its southern entrance although fierce clashes continue as we speak with jihadist combattants still occupying most of the town, considered a priceless buffer for HTS.

The military source stressed that the SAA was expected to advance rapidly in the coming days, utilizing their overwhelming numbers and firepower against HTS and its allies. He added that if the SAA takes control of Balil and Rahjan, HTS will struggle to hold their last stretch of land in northeastern Hama.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia floods Aleppo’s countryside with humanitarian aid

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 09:09 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:08 PM) – Russian officers have delivered a 1.3-tonne batch of humanitarian aid to residents of the settlement of Sawran, Syria's Aleppo province, the Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria said on Saturday.

“The Russian Centre for Reconciliation delivered 1.3 tonnes of humanitarian relief to the citizens of Sawran. People received 300 food sets (rice, sugar, canned meat). Russian military police ensured security of the humanitarian action,” the center said.

Apart from that, the Russian center alongside the Syrian Reconciliation Ministry have coordinated action to help refugees to return to their homes. Over the past 24 hours, 45 people came back to their homes from the camps for internally displaced persons. Among them are 35 refugees in the Aleppo region and ten more in the Homs region.

The center's officers met with officials of the settlement of Salbiyah, Aleppo province. The sides outlined conditions for refugees' return and drew up plans on rebuilding infrastructure facilities.

Also, a ceasefire agreement has been signed with two populated localities in Aleppo province – al-Amiriya and Rijm al-Umeirat – in the past 24 hours.

The Russian Defense Ministry declared the establishment of the reconciliation center on February 23, 2016. It is headquartered at the Khmeimim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries.

Source: TASS News Agency

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Several militants killed in IED explosion in Idlib city

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 08:58 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (6:41 P.M.) – An IED planted in Idlib’s Industrial Zone killed three fighters belonging to the terrorist Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group when it targeted their military vehicle.

A stray child wandering around the scene was also tragically killed in the explosion. Despite HTS’s massive security operation that cracked on ISIS dens and operation cells across Idlib earlier in the summer, the latter extremist group still maintains an intricate web of active agents across Idlib.

Certain towns in Idlib, like Sarmin for instance, are known for their radical populations that manifestly support ISIS and similar extremist groups like Jund al-Aqsa and al-Qaeda. Nevertheless, it is also not unlikely that rival rebel groups within Idlib is partaking in such activities as a long term strategy to weaken HTS and dethrone it from its unchallenged authority in the restless province.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Militant forces suddenly surrender all across Syria as reconciliation deal takes effect

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:47 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – With little forewarning or expectation, scores of militants across Syria have suddenly surrendered to Syrian government forces today, taking up a long-standing reconciliation deal that remains in effect after many years.

In the province of Daraa, around 100 militants belonging to Free Syrian Army-linked Al-Omari Brigades surrendered to Syrian Army forces, leaving their defensive positions in the Lajat area of the region and approaching government troops at the city of Al-Sanmein.

According to sources, the surrender militants are from the town Shiaara in Daraa’s northern countryside. The rebels themselves claim that they are fed up with the war and just want to return to a normal civilian life.

In the far south of Homs province near the Jordanian border, more than 50 civilians and rebels fighters left the Rukkban refugee camp and crossed the Syrian desert towards Syrian Army lines, handing over their weapons and themselves to government forces.

From here, the militants – most of them being native to the oasis town of Al-Qarayatayn – were transported by Syrian authorities to Al-Sawwanah in eastern Homs.

As with all surrendered militant forces, the service record of the ex-rebel fighters will be vetted to make sure they were not involved in any war crimes. So long as no evidence of involvement in war crimes is found, the surrendered militants will be allowed to return to civilian life.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army liberates scores of oil fields, towns near Abu Kamal, possibly crosses Euphrates again

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:03 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:02 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army has delivered a powerful blow to ISIS militants operating along the western shore of the Euphrates River as it kicked-off the final phase of its ongoing strategic operation to link up with pro-government forces at Abu Kamal via the town of Salhiyah.

According to military-affiliated sources, the Syrian Army led by the elite Tiger Forces scored a major and shift advance in southern Deir Ezzor province today, liberating from ISIS a score of towns including Al-Jadleh, Qusur Um Saba, Safsafeh, Ajrama, Salhiyah, Wadi al-Worod, Maan Al-Sabkha and Al-Shamr Al-Layeh.

Furthermore, the elite Syrian Army formation also captured a string of key hilltops which overlook the Euphrates valley region as well as a handful of oil fields, namely the northern and southern sites of the greater al-Ward complex.

It is interesting to note that some of the aforementioned liberated towns are located on the eastern shore of the Euphrates in the Shaitat tribal region, possibly indicating that the Tiger Forces crossed the river at some point during their advance.

Despite this, Al-Masdar News is unable to confirm at this time whether or not the Syrian Arab Army has in fact once against crossed to the eastern shore of the Euphrates River.

Updates to follow.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

In pictures: Houthis shut down Saleh’s Yemen Today TV channel

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 05:28 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:15 PM) – Footage released by the Ansarullah Media Center and media office of the Ministy of Internal Affairs of Yemen show that forces loyal to Ansarullah, also known as the Houthis, have raided and shut down Sana’a-based news outlet Yemen Today, which is tied to the General People’s Congress party (GPC) of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Pictures show Ansarullah troops in the studio of the television broadcaster, as well as flags of the GPC and a poster of Saleh’s eldest son, Ahmed Saleh, who used to be Yemen’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates before the outbreak of the war in March 2015. Broadcasting was reportedly still taking place right up to the moment when Ansarullah forces entered the compound.

The shutdown of Yemen Today comes after Ali Abdullah Saleh turned against his former Houthi allies on Friday.
The past three days have witnessed fierce clashes between Ansarullah forces and troops supporting Saleh, after a conflict between the two former allies sparked in the wake of Thursday’s celebrations commemorating the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Former president Saleh reportedly called on the Saudi-led coalition to “turn the page” on Saturday, to which Saudi Arabia responded by supporting his forces with aerial bombardments on Ansarullah positions in Sana’a.

However, reports have it that Ansarullah has regained control over much of the Yemeni capital city on Sunday, driving the Saleh militias back and raiding several military compounds, one of which was reportedly positioned close to the Saudi embassy.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Houthis claim to fire missile at Abu Dhabi

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 04:16 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:15 PM) – Yemeni political and resistance movement Ansarullah, also known as the Houthis, claim to have launched a missile strike against Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The report, broadcasted by Ansarullah median organisation al-Masirah TV, stated that the Missile Forces of Yemen had fired a missile towards an unfinished nuclear power plant in the Abu Dhabi emirate.

"The missile force announces the launching of a winged cruise missile (…) toward the al-Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi," a statement on the al-Masirah website stated on Sunday.

The al-Barakah Project, constructed by South Korean corporation KEPCO, is scheduled to be finished and become operational in 2018. The Emirati state-run WAM news agency has denied that the building project has been hit by Yemeni missiles.

Ansarullah’s leader, Sayyid Abdul-Malik Badreddine al-Houthi, had warned the UAE earlier this week for retaliatory strikes, in response to the nation’s involvement in the Saudi-led coalition invasion of Yemen that started in March 2015.

The missile launch marks the second time this year that Ansarullah has targeted the UAE in strategic retaliation strikes. In August, the organisation stated to have succesfully launched a test missile with the capacity to reach Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Marawi battle video: Philippine Army releases incredible memoir on clashes with ISIS

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 03:30 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:30 P.M.) – On May 23, some 600 ISIS-inspired militants took control of most of Marawi in the southern Philippines after a surprise jihadist uprising by the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups prompted the Philippine Army and security forces to retreat from most of the city.

The following day, the military was ordered back into the city and began to deploy its elite assault formations in close-quarter combat with ISIS militants while airstrikes were called in from above to take out jihadist strong points.

Five months since the beginning of the insurgency, the Philippine Armed Forces finally declared full victory in Marawi while the leaders of the two aforementioned jihadist groups were eliminated.

Now, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has released unique footage showing the battle depicted from both sides of events:

Although Maute and Abu Sayyaf have suffered an undeniable defeat in Marawi, ISIS-aligned militants are still active elsewhere in the country, carrying out occasional ambushes and hit-and-run attacks on government forces.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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