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Breaking: Turkistani jihadists begin major counter-offensive against Syrian Army in Idlib, claim gains

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 11:50 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:50 A.M.) – Hardline jihadist militants of the Turkistan Islamic Party have conducted their expected counter-offensive against the Syrian Arab Army in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province aimed at driving back government troops from a key airbase in the region.

Moments ago, the Turkistan Islamic Party announced that it had launched a major counter-offensive against the Syrian Arab Army in southern Idlib. The stated goal of the operation is to drive back Syrian troops from Idlib province’s southeastern countryside.

Almost a week ago, the Salafist jihadist militia flaunted pictures of it moving armored and motorized forces from its base areas around Jisr ash-Sughur in western Idlib towards the province’s eastern countryside. It is undoubtedly the case that these forces are part of the counter-offensive.

So far, the jihadist faction claims to have “taken back some land” and killed “tens of [Syrian Army] soldiers” as well as destroyed an army tank. No specific town names or numbers were mentioned beyond this.

Turkistan Islamic Party is one of the most powerful armed rebel groups in northwest Syria, being comprised of Uyghur colonists who travailed to the Levantine country from western China.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Pictures: Elite Palestinian Syrian Army ally arrives in Idlib with US weapons to fight Al-Qaeda

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 11:21 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – An elite pro-government paramilitary force made up of Syrian Palestinians has arrived in the province of Idlib to assist the Syrian Arab Army in ongoing battles against jihadist-held militias throughout the region.

In recent hours, pro-government social media has leaked photos taken of fighters from the Liwa al-Quds paramilitary group upon their recent arrival from Deir Ezzor province to southeast Idlib.

Having played a major role in helping the Syrian Army to defeat ISIS in the country’s east during 2017, Liwa al-Quds has now been requested by high-ranking army commanders to assist government troops in their ongoing battles against Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Idlib province.

Interesting to note is the high-proportion of American-built small arms being wielded by group’s fighters. This has likely come about due to the capture of large ISIS stockpiles in eastern Syria during 2017 which contained many US-made weapons (having been seized from Iraqi forces in 2014).

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army advances in southwest Aleppo en-route to Idlib amid rebel mass-retreat

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 10:22 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:20 A.M.) – Hezbollah-affiliated media has released video footage showing Syrian pro-government forces advancing in the southwestern countryside of Aleppo province amid a general retreat by militant forces throughout the entire region.

Yesterday, forces of the Syrian Arab Army and allied paramilitaries stationed along the Ithriyah to Khanasser road in southwestern Aleppo province burst forward from their positions and commenced an advance in the direction of Idlib province.

Due to a mass withdrawal of armed rebel groups from the region, pro-government forces advanced through half-a-dozen towns with little effort, encountering almost zero enemy resistance according to sources.

The advance in southwest Aleppo comes as elite Syrian Army forces are advancing on a key airbase and city in eastern Idlib province.

The footage presented at the end of this article shows Syrian troops, vehicles and armor advancing through the towns of Hawareen, Ramleh, Rasm al-Shekh and Nawarra en-route to Idlib province to assist army forces fighting jihadist-led militias in the region.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Pictures: Al-Qaeda sends armored vehicle bombs to east Idlib to repel Syrian Army attack on key airbase

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 09:40 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 A.M.) – A powerful Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group is in the process of sending armored vehicle bombs and their accompanying suicide drivers to the front-lines in eastern Idlib province in order to repel attacks by Syrian troops near a key military airport.

On Wednesday night, pro-rebel media released live-stream footage of Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) transporting armored vehicle bombs on the back of large trucks to towards eastern Idlib province where a major battle between the jihadist faction and the Syrian Army is currently ongoing for control of the Abu Duhur airbase.

Snapshots of the live-stream are available at the end of this article.

So far, the Syrian Army’s sweeping advance into Idlib’s eastern countryside via northern Hama has encountered very few car bomb attacks. This is especially true when compared the sheer volume of car bomb attacks Syrian troops had to deal with during their campaign to defeat ISIS in the country’s east during 2017.

Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham will most likely use the armored vehicle bombs not just to halt Syrian troops from advancing on Abu Duhur airbase, but as part of a counter-attack to drive back army forces from the military installation completely.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

ISIS launches surprise assault on Syrian Army near Abu Duhur airbase in east Idlib killing, capturing troops

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:57 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:55 A.M.) – Islamic State terrorists have launched a surprise assault against forces of the Syrian Arab Army near a major airbase in eastern Idlib province. The attack comes as Syrian troops are already heavily involved in battles with Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters just south of the military installation.

On the night of Wednesday to Thursday, ISIS militants launched an attack against the Syrian Arab Army out the terrorist group’s bastion in northeastern Hama province towards government positions near the Abu Duhur airbase in eastern Idlib.

According to ISIS-linked media, forces of the jihadist faction managed to kill 3 Syrian troops and capture another five. Al-Masdar News is currently unable to verify the terrorist group’s claims.

The assault by ISIS comes as the Syrian Army is involved in a high-pitched battle against Al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents for control of the Abu Duhur military airbase with government troops currently being placed several kilometers south of the key installation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Washington ‘pursuing destructive policy’ – Iranian FM on nuclear deal

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 11:05 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Moscow on Wednesday, to discuss the Syrian crisis and the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement.

On the upcoming Syrian talks in Russia's Sochi, Lavrov said it will "really create conditions for successful Geneva talks.”

Turning to the JCPOA, the Russian foreign minister stated that Moscow notes "the clear statement of the International Atomic Energy Agency's director-general about Iran's full compliance with the obligations.”

Zarif for his part thanked Lavrov for Russia's support for Iran, also noting that "another JCPOA member [USA] not only didn't meet the obligations regarding JCPOA, but also is pursuing a destructive policy.”

Zarif’s visit to Moscow comes only days after deadly anti-government protests in Iran.

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian military fires over 100 missiles into jihadist bastion (video)

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 10:46 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) fired more than 100 missiles from their MRLS launcher in northern Hama, today, targeting the jihadist bastion near the Idlib axis.

According to a report from the Syrian military, the SAA launched these missiles in retaliation for the jihadist attack on the predominately Christian town of Mhardeh.

Below is a video released by an opposition media outlet that shows the Syrian Army’s attack on the town of Al-Lataminah:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Daesh efforts to expand from Sinai risk attacks against Hamas in Gaza – reports

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 10:17 AM PST

Daesh efforts to gain a foothold in the Gaza Strip raise the prospect of small Daesh cells targeting the Hamas-ruled enclave with bombings and assassinations, according to a report by the private intelligence firm Soufan Group on Wednesday.

Even while Daesh is in eclipse in Syria and Iraq, it is thriving in a self-declared province in the nearby Sinai Peninsula, the report said.

"[Daesh] proximity to Gaza all but ensures the terrorist group will continue its struggle to gain power among the Palestinians; building small cells, conducting attacks and assassinations, gaining control of small areas and consolidating when possible," the report added.

Daesh effectively declared war on Hamas with the January 3 release of a video showing the execution of a man accused of being a Hamas collaborator, the report said.

Daesh is attempting to feed off of the suffering and anger among many Palestinians by portraying the movement as a puppet of the United States and Israel, with Hamas talking just enough peace to mollify its critics in the West, and just enough violence to mollify internal supporters, according to the report.

Sinai’s indigenous militants pledged their allegiance to Daesh back in 2014. The Wilayat Sinai, the Daesh branch in Sinai, has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in the area.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army fires hundreds of Golan missiles at militants in east Damascus during non-stop attack

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 09:13 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:10 P.M.) – Amid heavy clashes between Syrian troops and jihadist militants throughout the district of Harasta in eastern Damascus, army rocket artillery units have been laying down an unrelenting barrage of heavy missile fire onto rebel defenses.

With high-intensity firefights ongoing on all across the Harasta district in eastern Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army continues to bring more and more heavy firepower to bear against jihadist fighters.

One of the Syrian Army’s key heavy fire support assets in this regard is the indigenous-designed Golan multiple rocket thrower system.

Recently, Syrian media released a two-minute video compilation of army rocket artillery units of the Golan-200, Golan-300 and Golan-400 varieties firing a non-stop barrage – literally hundreds of unguided missiles – against militant defenses in eastern Damascus to clear the way for ground forces to advance.

All of the rocket systems shown firing off their salvos belong to the elite 4th Mechanized Division of the Syrian Arab Army.


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Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Pakistan ends all military cooperation with US

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 09:00 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (07:00 PM) – The government of Pakistan has decided to cease any and all military and intelligence cooperation with the United States of America, according to Pakistani defence minister Khurram Dastgir Khan.

During a speech at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday, Khan blasted the US for using Pakistan as a “scapegoat” for its own military failures in Afghanistan despite sinking billions of dollars into the conflict.

“We have suspended the full-scale cooperation of our defense ministries and intelligence departments. Pakistan does not want to put a price on its sacrifices but wants them to be recognized,” the Defence Minister said, referring to what many Pakistanis see as an insulting downplaying and ignoring by the US of Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorist organisations in its own country.

Khan furthermore added that Pakistan would not allow any spillover of the Afghan War on Pakistani territory, likely in reference to the US military drone programme and military raids across the Pakistani border.

The Pakistani response comes as a reaction to statements by US president Donald Trump on January 1, in which he accused the nation of being a “safe haven to the terrorists”. Trump subsequently also moved on to freeze much of the promised US financial aid to Pakistan, as well as security aid and planned deliveries of military equipment.

Islamabad has however stated that they do not need the US’ financial support, pointing out that the Pakistani war on terror has always mostly been fought with domestic Pakistani funds anyway.

This escalation in tensions between the two countries was however further aggravated when the Pentagon announced on Monday that it would not reimburse Pakistan for counterterrorism operations conducted on behalf of the US, which means an earlier promised repayment of 900 million US dollars from Washington to Islamabad was suddenly cancelled.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia to stand up for viability of Iran nuclear deal — Lavrov

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:41 AM PST

Russia will stand up for viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran's nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at his meeting with Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday.

“It is important to share views on how Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is being implemented,” Lavrov said. “We note IAEA Director General's clearly-defined statement that Iran meets its commitments in full.”

“We will advocate for viability of this deal and its most significant contribution to regional stability and to solving the issue of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” he underlined.

The deal on Iran's nuclear program was reached between Iran and six international mediators (the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Russia, the United States, and France) on July 14, 2015. Under the deal, Iran undertakes to curb its nuclear activities and place them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange of abandonment of the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.

After Tehran had implemented its part of the deal, which was confirmed during IAEA's inspection trips, on January 16, 2016 the US administration under President Barack Obama lifted sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. Nevertheless, many other restrictions, for instance over Iranian ballistic missiles, remained in place. On October 13, 2017, current US President Donald Trump refused to confirm Iran was implementing the nuclear deal.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/984473

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Video: Tour of newly liberated Idlib towns

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:39 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (06:40 PM) – Video footage has surfaced from Idlib Governorate in Syria, showing two towns in the countryside of Idlib province that were recently liberated by a massive Syrian offensive against Al-Qaeda forces.

The towns of Karratin as Saghirah and Karratin al Kabirah were both captured on Sunday as part of a huge and swiftly moving Syrian government offensive in north Hama and south Idlib, in which over 200 villages and towns have been liberated in the past two weeks.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Russian jets hammer northern Hama amid Syrian Army advance in Idlib (video)

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:33 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 P.M.) – The Russian Aerospace Forces have been relentlessly bombing the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate in a bid to obstruct the supply line to this imperative area.

According to a Syrian military report, the Russian Aerospace Forces have launched over twenty airstrikes in northern Hama, today, targeting Jaysh Al-Izza’s positions inside the towns of Al-Lataminah and Kafr Zita.

Below is a video that was released by a pro-opposition media outlet on Wednesday that shows a Russian airstrike in Al-Lataminah:

In addition to the airstrikes, the Syrian military has fired over 80 rockets towards the jihadist positions in northern Hama, while their ground forces continue to advance in the southern countryside of Idlib.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Saudi Prince Allegedly Fired after releasing audio criticizing royals’ arrest

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:08 AM PST

Saudi Arabia in late-Autumn launched an anti-corruption campaign, arresting over 200 high-profile officials, including members of the royal family.

Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Saud has been fired from the post of the Saudi Marine Sports Federation after releasing an audio recording, where he criticizes the latest arrests of 11 princes in Riyadh last week, according to the al-Jazeera news agency citing the sada-alkhaleej news website.

The former minister, who was appointed to the post last October, reportedly said that the decision to make the recording was his personal initiative.

“Because I am close to the events, I want to clarify an important point,” Abdullah bin Saud says in the recording.

The princes were arrested with “false and illogical” accusations of caring too much about “money and the pleasures of the world,” the ex-minister said, adding that “these young men are the finest youth of our country, and there is no way that they can object to the orders of the rulers.”

According to Abdullah bin Saud, the princes arrived to accompany him to the palace, where he had been called to be asked about his previous job. However, upon entering the building, the princes were arrested after a “brief physical fight with the guards,” bin Saud said as quoted by al-Jazeera.

According to a number of Saudi websites, Abdullah bin Saud is accused of contradicting the official state version and is being held at the Ha’ir prison in Riyadh.

The arrest of 11 Saudi princes occurred on January 4 and was carried out by Blood-rusted Sword elite forces. According to the Saudi authorities’ version, the princes were arrested after holding a protest in front of the palace against the imposition of electricity and water bills on them and demanding material compensation for the implementation of state retribution against their cousin.

In November, the kingdom’s authorities announced that over 200 people had been arrested and were being questioned as part of its anti-corruption campaign, while $800 billion in assets had been frozen.

Saudi high-profile arrests included some of the kingdom’s richest entrepreneurs, among them billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and government ministers such as Minister of Economy and Planning Adel Fakeih and Minister of State Ibrahim al-Assaf.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Al-Qaeda issues statement calling on militants to hold on in Syria’s Idlib

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 07:41 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:45 P.M.) – The Islamist terror group of al-Qaeda issued an official statement on the current battles currently fought by its affiliated militants in Syria against the government forces.

The statement, released on January 7, calls on Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham group, al-Qaeda-offshoot in Syria, to hold on against the recent rapid advance made by the Syrian Army – backed by Russian Air Force – in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The statement undeniably affirms the Syrian government claims of fighting internationally-designated terror groups in Syria, most notably the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaeda.

Founded in 1988 by Osama Bin Laden, the ultraconservative group had a foothold in the war-torn Syria a few months after a bloody civil war swept the middle eastern country back in 2011.

Zen Adra | AMN

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Saudi troops killed en-mass during deadly Houthi mountain-hopping assault on key base

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 07:28 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:25 P.M.) – Houthi rebels have conducted a daring mountain-hopping assault against a key Saudi military firebase inside the kingdom’s southern province of Najran. The raid resulted in the slaughter of all Saudi troops present at the installation.

In recent days, Houthi rebels operating inside southern Saudi Arabia carried out a powerful attack on the Al-Dabaa military outpost.

Using ladders, Houthi fighters positioned themselves for the attack on hilltops adjacent to the mountain on which the Al-Dabaa firebase stands and then commenced their assault on the installation with light and medium weapons.

Caught off-guard, Saudi troops were unable to prevent Houthi rebels from breaching the base’s security perimeter.

Regime troops that had not fled the Al-Dabaa outpost by the time Houthi fighters entered it were ultimately all killed. After this the Yemeni rebels took full control of the base and the mountain which it commands.

Pro-Houthi media released footage (seen below) of the rebel group’s operation on Wednesday.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

VIDEO: Explosion kills 3 militants in the jihadi heartland of Idlib

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 07:09 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5: 10 P.M.) – A new surge of assassinations is apparently striking the jihadists-controlled  city of Idlib amid massive collapse of the extremists groups in the southeastern countryside of the province.

Today, 3 militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) group were killed when their vehicle was hit by an IED in Al-Qusour district in Idlib city.

The assassination coincides with a remarkable advance made by the government forces against jihadi militants in southeastern countryside of Idlib province in bid to recapture the strategic Abu Duhour airbase.

Local activists reported a state of tension and chaos, most probably caused by recent photos published via the internet of Syrian government spies holding leaflets inside several insurgent-held towns in Idlib countryside ahead of Syrian Army incursion.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Syria: Single state-owned pharmaceutical factory running on limited resources (video)

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:54 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:40 P.M.) – The only Syrian state-owned factory producing medicine urgently needs more operational space, the director of the plant Nakhid Andur told to media in the town of Al-Malihah on Wednesday.

At the moment the factory is only able to produce a few groups of antibiotics, after militants reportedly destroyed a large part of the plant’s equipment.

At its full capacity, the factory is able to manufacture more than 140 different types of medicines. Before the war the factory employed 1,300 people, now it employs just 400.

“Our main problem now is the fact that there is not enough room to work. We cannot install equipment necessary for the production of drugs,” explained Andur.

Since the war began in 2011, international economic sanctions have made it difficult for companies to enter the Syrian market and to offer their products for sale, leading to shortages in many sectors of the economy, including in the pharmaceutical sector.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Breaking: Final assault by elite Syrian forces sees them reach gates of Abu Duhur airbase in east Idlib

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:39 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:39 P.M.) – Elite forces of the Syrian Arab Army have launched their final assault to seize a key jihadist-held airbase in eastern Idlib province. In recent hours they have succeed in reaching the gates of the military installation.

On Wednesday afternoon, assault units of the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division operating in the eastern countryside of Idlib province commenced the final phase of their operation to capture the Abu Duhur military airport from jihadist-led militias.

In rapid succession, Syrian troops captured the last towns and villages south of the key military site, these being identified as Tal Salmo, Al-Baiyaiyah, Al-Dabshiyah, Zafr as-Sagheer, Zafr Kabeer, Umm Jorah, Al-Buwyti, Rasm Ayed and Umm Jareen.

The advance puts the Syrian Army just one kilometer away from the Abu Duhur airbase and to this effect fire control with heavy weapons has already been established over the military installation.

According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, Syrian assault troops tasked with the capture of Abu Duhur are waiting on the arrival of specialist demining teams after which they will enter the military airport – all this being expected within the next several hours

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Over 120 Syrian members of ISIS joined US-backed forces in Deir Ezzor: SOHR

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:29 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:20 P.M.) – Over 400 Syrian members of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) were allegedly released by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Deir Ezzor Governorate, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory of Human Rights reported this afternoon.

According to the SOHR report, of the 400 terrorist that were released, 120 former ISIS members agreed to join the Syrian Democratic Forces in Deir Ezzor.

No further details were released.

While Al-Masdar has no way of verifying this report, the Russian Ministry of Defense has repeatedly accused the US Coalition of colluding with the Islamic State in Deir Ezzor.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Government spies film important highway behind enemy lines in Idlib

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:59 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – A Syrian government spy released footage from the Aleppo-Idlib Highway, today, showing the route the militants take to send reinforcements to the front-lines in southern Idlib.

The Syrian Army spy was specifically filming from the former government stronghold of Ariha, which is located along the Aleppo-Idlib Highway; it was lost in the Summer of 2015.

The video below was provided by Muraselon News:

More often than not, these government spies provide the Syrian and Russian air forces coordinates of the militants and information regarding reinforcements.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Exclusive: Number of ISIS fighters in northeast Hama revealed, far greater than initially estimated

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:34 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:30 P.M.) – In October, both pro-government and pro-rebel audiences were shocked to witness a large ISIS force suddenly bursting onto semi-desert plains of northeast Hama province which undertook an offensive rampage that saw it seize multiple villages and towns in region from rival jihadist groups.

Despite the best efforts of militant factions to try eliminate the threat, they ultimately failed and since then the ISIS bastion has gradually expanded throughout northeast Hama, reportedly even reaching into southwest Aleppo province according to some opposition sources.

The estimates (all of which were baseless) put forth by pro-army and rebel sources are that this new Islamic State force consists of about 300 fighters. In reality, the number is around  three times greater.

However large the ISIS group was when it first entered into northeast Hama, at the present time it possess – as revealed by a trusted source of the author of this article – about 800-900 fighters.

Defections from other militant groups, pro-ISIS spies hidden among refugees which fled towards Idlib from east Hama and the recruitment of captured rebel prisoners were said by the source to have considerably increased the size of the original force.

The type and amount of heavy military equipment possessed by ISIS militants in northeast Hama remains unclear.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Jihadists completely collapse in southeast Aleppo, Syrian Army seizes Khanasser pocket

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:22 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:15 P.M.) – Minutes ago, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a massive advance inside the southeastern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate, seizing several towns that were under the control of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

Led by their Republican Guard forces, the Syrian Arab Army managed to capture the towns of Hawareen, Ramleh, Mazelah, Nawara, Rasm Al-Sheikh, and Tal Al-Sabha.

According to a military source in Aleppo, the jihadist rebels completely retreated from the area after failing to beat back the Syrian Army’s first wave of soldiers attacking southwest Khanasser.

As a result of this advance, the Syrian Arab Army has fully secured the Khanasser Highway to the Aleppo Governorate after more than five years of war in this area of Syria.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

HTS kicked out of northeast Hama after losing last stronghold to the Syrian Army

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 05:10 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham have all but lost the northeastern countryside of the Hama Governorate after several weeks of fighting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

The final nail in the coffin for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in northeast Hama came this morning, when the Syrian Arab Army captured the jihadist stronghold of Um Miyal.

With Um Miyal captured and Al-Rahjan seized yesterday, the jihadist rebels have lost two major strongholds in central Syria in a matter of 24 hours, putting an end to their presence in northeast Hama.

The Syrian Arab Army will now shift their attention to the southern countryside of Idlib, where they hope to finally secure the entire Hama-Idlib axis.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Drone attacks on Khmeimim and Tartus launched from Idlib (video)

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 04:39 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – Moscow urged Ankara to ensure a ceasefire in Idlib following drone attacks on Russian bases with the Ministry of Defence releasing another image of captured UAVs carrying several improvised explosive devices in Latakia, Wednesday.

Recent reports from the MoD suggest that the drone launch was conducted from the position in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which was established by Russia, Iran and Turkey but is controlled by Ankara.

Following these reports, Russian officials sent letters to the leaders of the Turkish General Staff and Intelligence Agency urging a ceasefire in Idlib de-escalation zone.

Russia says its military repelled an attack from 13 'militant' drones on its Khmeimim Air Base and Tartus naval facility in Syria on January 6.

Khmeimim was also hit by mortar shelling on December 31 which claimed the lives of two Russian military personnel.

Check out Ruptly's previous coverage: https://ruptly.tv/vod/20180109-011

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Syrian Army retakes initiative to capture several sites in east Damascus (photos)

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 04:23 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has retaken the initiative in the eastern suburbs of Damascus after 48 hours of nonstop clashes with the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army recaptured nine building blocks inside the Al-Ajami District of Harasta, today, including several blocks near the Abu Bakr Mosque.

The Syrian Arab Army is currently trying to recapture the entire Al-Ajami District; however, the Islamist rebels are heavily resistance the SAA’s every advance in Harasta.

Meanwhile, at the vehicle management base, the Syrian Army has been unable to open another road to this strategic installation.

A source at the base told Al-Masdar that the base is technically still besieged, as the road they opened is still not secured.

Below are photos from the Syrian Army soldiers at the vehicle management base:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army’s big guns flatten rebel positions, clear the way for troops to advance in northeast Hama

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 04:07 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:05 P.M.) – The Syrian Ministry of Defence has released footage showing the army operation that led to the seizure of three key towns in Hama province’s northeastern countryside from armed rebel groups over the course of 24 hours.

On Tuesday, Syrian pro-government forces recommenced their offensive against jihadist militias on the northeast Hama front after a month of inactivity. The advance has so far culminated in the rapid capture of three towns in the region by Syrian troops, these being Al-Shakousyah, Rahjan and Umm Sahreej.

In particular, the town of Rahjan has political value to it as it had served as the hometown of the Syrian Ministry of Defence prior to being taken by jihadist militias in 2014.

At the present time, the main groups opposing Syrian forces in northeast Hama have been identified as Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly called Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) and the Turkistan Islamic Party (a Salafist jihadist militia comprised almost exclusively of ethnic Uyghur colonists).

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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Militant drone strike kills three soldiers in east Latakia

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 03:26 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels launched a drone strike above the government-held town of Slunfeh this morning, killing at least three soldiers in process.

According to the army, the jihadist attack drone struck an ammunition depot in Slunfeh, causing a powerful explosion to rip through the SAA base.

Initially, it was believed to have been an Israeli airstrike due to the sheer powerful of the attack; however, it was later confirmed to be a militant drone.

The attack took place at 10:30 A.M. (Damascus Time) and only lasted for a few minutes before flying away ammunition depot.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russian MoD releases new photos of drones that attacked Hmeymim Base

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 02:51 AM PST

The Russian Ministry of Defense has published photos of the drones launched by terrorists from the Idlib de-escalation zone at the country’s military facilities in Hmeymim and Tartus.

The released footage of drones, which attacked Russian military bases in Hmeymim and Tartus, shows three practically intact handicraft UAVs made from boards and plywood, with wires, wrapped in tape and green polyethylene. In addition, the photo shows the debris of three more apparatuses spread over separate heaps.

The Defense Ministry noted that the design used by the militants could only be obtained from a technologically advanced country, and warned of the danger of such attacks in any country in the world.

However, the Pentagon has refuted these claims by saying that such devices are “easily available” on the “open market.”

The photos were published in the wake of the Russian Defense Ministry’s January 8 report concerning a terrorist attempt to attack Russian military facilities in Syria with combat drones that had been disrupted on January 6. Ten of the drones targeted the Hmeymim airbase and three were sent toward the Tartus naval base.

As a result, three of the 13 drones were brought to the ground in a controlled area outside the base, while three UAVs exploded after colliding with the ground and seven UAVs were destroyed by regular Pantsir-S air defense missile systems.

As the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, the official publication of the Russian Defense Ministry, has specified, the drones that attacked the Hmeymim airbase flew out of the area in the southwest of the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, controlled by the so-called moderate opposition.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Unexpected honesty: Mossad chief alludes to being involved in destabilising Iran

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 02:42 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (12:40 P.M.) – In a rather surprisingly open and honest tone, Yossi Cohen, Director of the infamous Mossad (officially the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) secret service, has not only acknowledged openly to having Israeli spies on the ground in Iran, but also seemed to allude to his agency being actively involved in destablising and trying to destroy the Islamic Republic.

“We have eyes and ears and more, even in Iran,” Yossi Cohen told the Times of Israel during a Finance Ministry conference in Jerusalem al-Quds on Tuesday. Especially the “and more” part of his interview has raised eyebrows.

Cohen’s acknowledgement of having spies and infiltrators in Iran comes a week after Iran's Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri accused the CIA and the Mossad of having at least partially been responsible for the unrest created in the wake of what was originally a protest demanding better economic policies.

The Mossad Director had the following to say about the Iranian protests:
“Iranian citizens went out to demonstrate because of the economic situation," the Mossad chief said. "That's what brought them out on the streets. There's no need for great expectations, even though I would be very happy to see a social revolution in Iran," Once again seemingly making a suspicious implication, he continued: “Maybe it will happen in the future.”

The Iranian protests started two weeks ago as a show of discontent with rising prices and low employment chances, but soon spiralled out of control when small groups of armed militants used the protests as an excuse for looting, vandalism and even armed attacks on security forces and religious sites. Due to the ensuing violence, the original protets soon died down quickly.

Public outrage over the violent militants and the vocal support for it by powers such as the United States and Israel as well as terrorist organisations such as the MEK, led to massive rallies in support of the Islamic Republic in which millions of people participated.

The alluding and brazen tone of Mossad Director Yossi Cohen seems to confirm what many in Iran feared, and what Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei, called a “triangle of enemies” on Tuesday, consisting of the US and Israel on one side, the Saudis and their allies on another, and the MEK terrorist organisation as the third.

According to David Yaghoubian, professor of history at CSU San Bernardino and analyst of the matter, Cohen’s statements confirm that the Mossad has an extensive programme of destabilising other nations.

“In the context of Iran, this would be a classic color revolution tactic to bring about violence that would necessitate a government response that would then lead to calls for a humanitarian intervention, aka an attack or war against the country (…) So I believe that the statements by Mr. Cohen for whatever reason that he was forthcoming can potentially allude to not only just spies on the ground in Iran but also groupings of agent provocateurs who could subvert, derail, or change the trajectory of what could potentially be simply peaceful protests,” Yaghoubian said.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army launches assault on Abu Duhur airbase, city from southwest Aleppo seizing two hilltops

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 02:28 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:28 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army has opened up a new offensive axis against jihadist-led militias in southwest Aleppo province with the goal of reaching a key airbase and city located in eastern Idlib.

Whilst elite units of the Syrian Army march on the airbase and city of Abu Duhur via eastern Idlib province, pro-government forces based in southwest Aleppo have just commenced their own assault to reach the same targets.

The sudden attack by pro-government forces comes after almost an entire year of relative inactivity on the southwest Aleppo front and may linked to still unconfirmed reports that armed rebel groups have begun a strategic withdrawal from the entire region towards Idlib.

In the last hour, sources on the ground report that Syrian troops wrested control of two hilltop areas from militant factions in what is only the opening phase of army’s assault, these being identified as Tal Abu Ruwayl and Tal Al-Muqbirah.

Updates to follow.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

US troops to be reduced in Iraq

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 02:04 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – The U.S. troops in Iraq are expected to be gradually reduced over the coming months, as the Iraqi government’s victory over the Islamic State (ISIS) has reduced the need for Coalition forces inside the country.

According to Al-Sumaria News, the U.S. military presence will be become limited to advisory roles and that the total number of soldiers will be reduced inside Iraq.

Citing U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas Sillman, Al-Sumeria added that the U.S. military presence has already been significantly reduced, especially in the Al-Anbar Governorate.

The U.S forces have been inside Iraq the invasion in 2003 to topple President Saddam Hussein.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Elite Syrian troops slash through 12 towns in east Idlib approaching key airbase, city at full speed

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:53 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:52 A.M.) – Elite Syrian forces have made another avalanche of territorial gains in the eastern countryside of Idlib province, ripping some twelve towns and villages from the hands of jihadist-led militias since renewing their attack on Wednesday morning en-route to a key city and its nearby airbase.

Moments ago, military-affiliated sources reported that assault troops of the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division, seized the settlements of Jubb Abyad, Aziziyah, Ras al-Ayn, Rasm Niyas, Rasm al-Jahash, Uwayjah, Umm Tamakh, Buwaydir, Rifiyah, Bayaah as-Sagirah, Bayaah Kabirah and Qawlat Buwaydeer from militant armed groups.

The renewed blitz by elite army forces in eastern Idlib was kicked-off on early Wednesday morning in the face of rather heavy rebel artillery attacks and, despite this resistance, has been ongoing ever since.

The latest gains place Syrian troops just south of the Abu Duhur airbase and the nearby city of Abu Duhur to within two or so kilometers at the closest point

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Al-Qaeda deploys elite forces to defend key Idlib airbase

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:45 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:45 AM) – Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the Al-Qaeda affiliate formerly known as Al-Nusra has deployed some of its most elite and senior forces still available to them in Idlib to the defence of the key Abu ad Duhur airbase in the southeast of the province.

According to sources reported by Fars News, the terrorist organisation’s elite forces clashed heavily with Syrian army troops near Abu ad Duhur on Wednesday, resulting in at least nine dead Al-Qaeda fighters.

In response, the Syrian Arab Army has opened fire on HTS positions with artillery and missile launchings, mainly targeted at the military airport itself. The clashes come after the Syrian armed forces liberated the towns al-Adeliyeh, Tal al-Aowja, Rasm al-Ward and Marijab Jamlan all on early Wednesday, in a lighting offensive that saw over 200 towns and villages being liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in the past two weeks alone.

While resistance is still fierce, sources have it that Al-Qaeda has suffered very heavy casualties na dlost a significant amount of equipment and vehicles in the massive Syrian offensive in Idlib.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Video footage of the Syrian Army capturing four towns in southeast Idlib

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:42 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) recently captured several towns inside the Idlib Governorate after overrunning the defenses of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Jaysh Al-Izza.

The Syrian Ministry of Defense released footage of four of these towns that were captured by the SAA this week – please see below:

In the video, the Syrian Army can be seen inside the towns of Siraa, Saree’, Harmaleh, and Al-Jahman.

All four of those towns are located within the vicinity of the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport, which is located in the eastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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US denies knowing about jihadist drone attacks on Russian base

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:24 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The Pentagon stated on Tuesday that US Armed Forces had no prior knowledge about the jihadist drone attacks on the Russian Hmaymim Base in southwest Latakia.

“Any suggestion that the U.S. or coalition forces played a role in an attack on a Russian base is without any basis, in fact and is utterly irresponsible,” Spokesman Marine Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway stated yesterday.

The Pentagon’s response came shortly after the Russian Ministry of Defense stated it was a “strange coincidence” that U.S. drones were flying over the Hmaymim Military Airbase during the time of the jihadist strikes.

“Hardly anyone could have obtained the exact coordinates [for the attacks] based on space-based reconnaissance,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.

Furthermore, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the drones were actually found to have derived from the Idlib Governorate, which is currently under attack by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Lebanese Army discovers Israeli spy device in southern Lebanon

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:15 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The Lebanese Army intelligence discovered an Israeli spying device in southern Lebanon on Wednesday, the National News Agency (NNA) reported this morning.

“An Israeli spying device was found today in the outskirts of in the Nabatiyeh town of Zawtar El-Charkiyeh,” the NNA report stated.

The Lebanese Army is now working to dismantle the spy device.

No further details were released.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Jihadist drone attacks on Hmaymim Airbase came from Idlib: Russian MoD

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 01:04 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:40 A.M.) – The jihadist drone attacks on the Hmaymim Military Airport derived from the Idlib Governorate, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated on Tuesday.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, their forces shot down at least 13 attack drones over the weekend after they were seen flying above the Hmaymim Military Airport in southwest Latakia.

The attack drones used by the jihadist rebels and Islamic State (ISIS) rarely score direct hits; however, they have been known to hit residential buildings and kill civilians.

In response to the drone attacks, the Russian Aerospace Forces have stepped up their airstrikes over the Idlib Governorate, targeting the positions of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Jihadist forces fully retreat from southwest Aleppo due to hopeless situation – reports

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 12:53 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:53 A.M.) – Reports from pro-government and opposition sources (some quoting the other) are emerging that jihadist-led militias operating in the southwestern countryside of Aleppo province are in the process of conducting a strategic withdrawal from the entire region due to highly-unfavorable conditions on the ground.

Over the last several hours, reports have surfaced which indicate that militant groups operating in southwest Aleppo province have begun a full-scale withdrawal of their forces from the region.

The rationale of the reported mass retreat is – apparently according to rebel sources – that the military situation on the Al-Hass Front (a reference to the area of operations in southwest Aleppo) has become impossible to justify any further resistance in region.

The main cause – again, reportedly cited from rebel sources on the ground – for the militants’ hopeless situation in southwest Aleppo is due to the fact that Syrian army-led forces have almost entirely encircled them in the region amid major offensive operations throughout Aleppo, Hama and Idlib provinces.

Updates to follow.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز