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Monday, January 8, 2018

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Breaking: Israel attacks Syrian Army near occupied Golan Heights

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 11:11 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:05 A.M.) – At approximately 2:40 A.M. (Damascus Time), the Israeli military fired several rockets from the occupied territories of Lebanon towards the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions in the west Damascus town of Qutayfah.

According to a report from the National Defense Forces (NDF), one of the rockets was shot down by the Syrian Air Defense, while another landed near the SAA’s positions.

Following this attack, the Israeli military fired two surface-to-surface missiles at 4:00 A.M. and four more at 4:15 A.M.

While one of the missiles was intercepted, the remaining struck the Syrian Army’s positions inside Qutayfah.

The National Defense Forces reported that these surface-to-surface missiles were fired from the Lake Tiberius area and were intended to destroy the Syrian Army’s base in Qutayfah.

The total number of casualties is unknown at the moment.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: ISIS battles its way into Aleppo after seizing 13 towns from rival jihadists in rural Hama

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 11:11 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 A.M.) – In a sudden and ferocious push, Islamic State terrorists operating in the province of Hama have seized thirteen settlements from rival Al-Qaeda-affilaited jihadists and entered into the province of Aleppo for first time in over 4 years.

On the night of Monday to Tuesday, ISIS terrorists operating in Hama province’s northeastern countryside made a renewed assault against rival jihadist militants of Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly called Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda), seizing from them in rapid succession some thirteen towns and village.

The settlements have been identified as Qasr Ibn Wardan, Al-Ablah, Jubb al-Safa, Qalaat al-Hawayis, Abb Qana, Al-Aqlah, Tal al-Halawah, Ad-Dalala, Jubb Othman, Tal al-Ruman, Al-Jaduayat, Aziziyah and Al-Tarfawi.

By this advance, ISIS has de facto battled its way into the province of Aleppo, a region in which it has lacked any military presence for over four years since conducting a strategic withdrawal from it at the end of 2013.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Pictures: Syrian military spies flaunt more photos, this time inside Idlib’s jihadist-occupied city of Saraqib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 10:47 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 A.M.) – In an ongoing saga, Syrian military spies have once against publicly released photos showing their presence deep inside jihadist-held territory. The latest series of photos to be unveiled were taken from within a city in northeast Idlib province.

On late Monday afternoon, military agents linked to the intelligence branch of Syrian Arab Air Force released pictures showing off their presence inside the city of Saraqib in northeastern Idlib province.

The picture releasing campaign being carried out by Syrian military spies over the last several days is part of an ongoing psychological warfare operation aimed at stirring insecurity and mistrust with the ranks of Idlib’s most powerful jihadist faction – the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda) terrorist group.

At the present time, Saraqib is occupied by Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham. The city has immense strategic value as a major road hub that commands the main expressways linking Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Latakia cities.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Latest battle update from east Damascus

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 10:14 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:05 P.M.) – The Islamist rebels launched another attack on the vehicle management base in east Damascus overnight, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s positions at the eastern flank of this military installation inside the Harasta suburb.

Led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman, the Islamist rebels launched a barrage of missiles and artillery shells towards the vehicle management base’s technical institute, resulting in heavy material damage, but little Syrian Army casualties.

Some militants attempted to sneak through the Syrian Army’s lines at the eastern flank of the base; however, they were quickly repelled by the soldiers defending the area.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Islamist rebels are preparing to launch another big attack on the vehicle management base, today, adding that they will be targeting technical institute from the Madera axis.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army captures more than 400km2 of territory in Idlib – map

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 09:27 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:20 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been on a roll as of late in the Idlib Governorate, capturing over 15 towns in the matter of 72 hours.

Led by their elite Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army scored their biggest advance over the weekend, when their forces captured the strategic town of Sinjar, which is located along the road to the jihadist stronghold of Ma’arat Al-Nu’man.

Since capturing Sinjar, the Syrian Army has managed to close the gap between their forces and the imperative Abu Dhuhour Airport, leaving only 3km left until they reach this military installation in eastern Idlib.

In addition to advancing on the Abu Dhuhour Airport, the Syrian Army has captured more than 400 square kilometers of territory in southern Idlib since launching their offensive earlier this month.

With the situation progressively getting worse for the jihadists, the Syrian Army could be in control of the Abu Dhuhour Airport by the end of the month.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Trump plans to enforce sanctions on Iranian state TV

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 09:09 PM PST

Trump reportedly will not sign a 180-day waiver that has previously postponed the sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting in response to Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protesters.

US President Donald Trump plans to impose sanctions against Iranian state television as part of his response to Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protesters, media reported on Monday.

The Guardian reported that Trump will not sign a 180-day waiver that has previously postponed the sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) since 2013. The waiver on the sanctions is up for renewal at the end of January.

Several major cities in Iran, including Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan and Rasht, have witnessed anti-government protests since December 28, 2017. Iranians have taken to the streets to protest against unemployment, poverty and the rising cost of living.

Recently, Pentagon’s chief voiced his support for the protests, saying that the people of Iran had proven that they "aren't buying" what Tehran is selling, claiming the protests to be the evidence.

Earlier, the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations claimed that Tehran had “hard evidence” that the violence in the protests was incited from abroad, adding that instigators based in the United States and Europe have been seen inciting violence during the protests.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Veteran Republican Guard brigade joins Syrian Army’s offensive in east Damascus after transfer from Deir Ezzor

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 09:04 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – A seasoned unit of the of the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard branch has arrived in east Damascus from Deir Ezzor to assist ongoing offensive operations by pro-government forces in the district of Harasta.

According to sources exclusive to Al-Masdar News, the Al-Kassem Group of the Republican Guard has official joined the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive in the east Damascus district of Harasta after its men and equipment were transferred from Deir Ezzor.

The Al-Kassem Group represents an elite formation within the Republican Guard that held its ground (and even occasionally counter-attacked) in Deir Ezzor during the three years of the city’s besieging at the hands of Islamic State militants.

The unit is accustomed to both urban warfare and rural warfare environments since in Deir Ezzor it held defense lines not only within the city itself but also maintained positions throughout semi-desert countryside around the city.

Reports also state that General Ghassan Tarraf will command the battle group during its operation in east Damascus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Royal Navy sent to shadow Russian warships in English Channel (video)

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 08:38 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:15 A.M.) – The Royal Navy’s HMS Westminster was scrambled to follow four Russian warships as they traversed the English Channel, as seen on Monday.

HMS Westminster was sent from its base in Portsmouth on Friday to shadow two Steregushchiy-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Boiky, and support vessels, Paradoks and Kola, as they head on to the North Sea.

The four warships are believed to be returning to Russia after their deployment in the Middle East.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Breaking: Elite Syrian troops come to within 3 km of strategic airbase in east Idlib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 08:20 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 A.M.) – Elite assault troops of the Syrian Arab Army, scything their way through militant defense lines in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province, have come to within three kilometers of a key airbase that has since been lost by government forces for over two years.

Late on Monday night, military-affiliated sources reported that units of the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division had swept through most of the last settlements north of Sinjar on the way to Abu Duhur, securing at the furthest extent of their push the town of Zabuleh.

The attack has now put the Tiger Forces some three kilometers from the city of Abu Duhur and the all important Abu Duhur airbase which borders Idlib and Aleppo provinces via their eastern and southwestern approaches respectively.

By this advance, forces the Syrian Arab Army may very well re-claim the Abu Duhur airbase by Tuesday pending on if jihadist militias choose to make a stand, or a capable of making a stand, at the military installation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Daesh access to drones used against Russian bases ’cause for concern’ – Pentagon

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:53 PM PST

The US military is concerned that combat drone technology used by terrorists in attempted attacks on two Russian facilities in Syria is available on the open market, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Adrian Rankin-Galloway told Sputnik on Monday.

“We have seen this type of commercial UAV technology used to carry out missions by ISIS,” Galloway said. “Those devices and technologies can easily be obtained in the open market and that is cause for concern.”

Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that 13 drones were used in attempted attacks on two Russian military facilities in Syria on January 6. Ten of them targeted the Hmeimim air base and three were sent toward Tartus naval base.

It is the first time when Daesh terrorists have used modern guidance technologies on satellite GPS.

The Russian security services are carrying out a probe to find out who supplied the drones to terrorists.

According to the Russian Defense ministry the possession of such technology by the militants means that they are capable of launching similar attacks in any country in the world.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Some Jews are more equal than others: Israel refuses to let Ethiopian Jews in

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 09:16 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (07:15 PM) – Controversy has arisen in Israel, as the upcoming cabinet meeting of the Tel Aviv regime that is planned for Thursday seems yet again to have no mention of any permission being given for migration of Ethiopian Jews.

According to a report by Jerusalem Post in late December, thousands of Jews from Ethiopia have requested for the so-called aliya, or “return to Israel”: a long-standing Israeli policy that normally allows each and every Jew to settle freely on soil under control of the Israeli regime.

Representatives from the office of Prime Minister Benjanmin Netanyahu stated that there can only be a resolution allowing continued migration of Ethiopian Jews if the Interior Ministry greenlights it, and if the Ministry of Finance can allocate the necessary funds to maintain the influx of immigrants. In total, 1,308 Ethiopians have migrated to Israel in 2017, which is far below the 9,000 that were originally planned to be allowed in by 2020.

“In the history of the State of Israel, there has never been a budgetary limit on aliya,” said Shelly Yacimovich of the liberal Zionist Union party, who claims the decision by Tel Aviv to obstruct Ethiopian migration are caused by racism.

“If the immigrants who waited in Gondar and Addis Ababa were blond, they would be accepted with open arms, as is the case with tens of thousands of white immigrants every year,” she continued.

According to Amos Arbel of the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry, the issue is further complicated by the fact that under Israeli law, most of the current applicants cannot apply for the “Law of Return”, and instead can only enter the area under the more strict “Law of Entry” regulations.

The issue is that many of the Ethiopian applicants are so-called Falash Mura: descendants of Jews in the Beta Israel region (Ethiopia and Eritrea), whose ancestors converted to Christianity in the 19th and 20th century. The mere fact that their ancestors once converted, makes the Falash Mura non-Jews in the eyes of Israeli law even if they have reconverted to Judaism, and as such they can only enter the country as non-Jewish immigrants. By contrast, anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent can immediately receive citizenship in Israel, even if not a practicing Jew himself.

Although the Falash Mura can upon entry into Israel receive full citizenship if they go through an official reconversion to Judaism, the Israeli government has been making it increasingly difficult for other Ethiopians to enter the country. This has led to many families being torn apart between Israel and their Ethiopian homeland, with many thousands of Ethiopian Jews in Israel having been waiting for family reunification for sometimes more than ten years.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israeli security forces arrest 2 female suspects over links to Daesh – reports

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 08:18 AM PST

Israel’s Security Agency, the Shin Bet, has arrested two young women suspected of being recruited by the Daesh terrorist group, local media reported Monday.

According to The Jerusalem Post newspaper, the two Israeli women, both 19 years old, live in the Beduin village of Lakia, and are also suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Israel.

The two suspects were in contact with Daesh members abroad and had plans to leave Israel and joint the terrorist group, the publication reported.

Daesh was declared an illegal organization in Israel in 2014. Later, in 2015 Israeli authorities broke up the first known case of Daesh plot in the country.

In October 2015, authorities broke up the first known case of Daesh plot in Israel and indicted seven Israeli-Arabs on charges of belonging to an Daesh cell planning to attack military targets. In January 2016 first deadly attack have been inspired by the terrorist group in Tel Aviv.

According to the Shin Bet, around 60 Israeli citizens have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with terrorists from Daesh.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Jihadists in deep trouble as the Syrian Army prepares to retake all of east Idlib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 08:10 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham are in serious trouble, as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies prepare to retake all of eastern Idlib.

With only 10km to the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport, the Syrian Arab Army is in position to not only capture this installation, but also, meet up with their forces in the southern countryside of Aleppo.

If the operation to capture the Abu Dhuhour Airport is successful, then the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces will only have 8km separating their units and the SAA troops in southern Aleppo.

More importantly, the Syrian Army reaching their forces in southern Aleppo will split jihadist-held Idlib into two pockets, which will be disastrous for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and their allies.

The jihadist rebels are already preparing for the Syrian Army’s attack on the Abu Dhuhour Airport; however, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to withstand the Syrian Army’s ground assault and the Russian air attack.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army advances north of key base in east Damascus as jihadists use suicide attacks to halt offensive

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:48 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:48 P.M.) – After lifting the siege on a key base in the Harasta district of eastern Damascus, assault forces of the Syrian Arab Army are now striking north of the military installation in a bid to both expand their buffer zone around it and reclaim other areas long since lost to militant groups.

Following the Syrian Army’s lifting of the siege on the military vehicle depot base on late Sunday, pro-government forces are now advancing north of the key installation into the heart of Harasta’s Al-Ajmi neighborhood.

According to military sources, some Al-Qaeda-linked militants have strapped explosive vests to their person and hurled themselves at advancing Syrian troops in an attempt to stem the advance made by army-led forces.

Furthermore, government troops claim to have knocked out a battle tank in the Al-Ajmi neighborhood that was in the service of militants.

So far, whilst no major gains can yet be reported, it nonetheless appears that the Syrian Army is making truth of earlier reports that its counter-offensive in Harasta would not just involve lifting the siege on the military vehicle base but also that it would reclaim areas long-since lost to rebel groups many years ago in east Damascus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

In pictures: Islamist rebels fire missiles at historical Christian church in Damascus

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:40 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – The Islamist rebels in the East Ghouta region of Damascus fired two missiles towards Bab Touma, today, Damascus Now News reported this afternoon.

According to the report released by Damascus Now, the missiles struck a historical church inside the predominately Christian district of Bab Touma, causing material damage to this religious site.

In addition to the material damage, at least one civilian was seriously wounded as a result of this missile attack.

Photos from the attack were released by Damascus Now:

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russian military shoots down 13 jihadist drones over Hmaymim Airport

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:23 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:15 P.M.) – The Russian military shot down several jihadist attack drones over the Hmaymim Airport on January 6th, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported this afternoon.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the jihadist rebels attempted to attack the Hmaymim Airport using drones; however, they were able to shoot down at least 13 of these unmanned planes.

All of the drones were detected by anti-aircraft defense systems "at a considerable distance from the Russian military objects," the ministry said. Seven of them were then successfully shot down by the Russian Panzir-S air-defense system.

The Russian radio electronic warfare specialists also managed to override the operating systems of six more drones, and eventually gained control over the UAVs. Three of them were destroyed when they hit the ground, while another three were landed intact outside the base controlled by Russian forces.

No casualties were reported as a result of this attack.

The Russian Ministry of Defense released photos of one of the drones that was shot down over the Hmaymim Military Airport this afternoon –

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Jihadists hurl 2 big car bombs at Syrian Army in desperate counter-attack on east Damascus base

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:20 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:20 P.M.) – Amid ongoing clashes in east Damascus between the Syrian Arab Army and jointly operating Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood affiliated militias for control of a key base, jihadists have hurled two big car bombs at Syrian troops in an attempt to break their lines.

Despite the fact that Syrian army-led forces lifted the siege on the military vehicle base in east Damascus’ Harasta district during late Sunday night, on Monday morning jihadist militias linked to Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood continued to carry out powerful assaults against the installation in an attempt to enter and take over it.

According to pro-government media sources on the ground in east Damascus, Monday’s renewed attack by jihadist militias saw them deploy two car bombs to burst open the army lines around the installation’s perimeter.

In the event, Syrian troops were able to destroy both car bombs before they got close enough to aby inflict damage on their defenses around the vehicle base.

At the present time, the Syrian Army and allied paramilitaries operating under its leadership have renewed their own offensive operations in Harasta and are now advancing north of the military vehicle depot.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israeli Navy fires gunshots towards Lebanese territorial waters

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 07:06 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – An Israeli gunboat fired several shots towards Lebanese territorial waters last night, the National News Agency (NNA) reported this afternoon.

“An Israeli enemy gunboat opened fire towards the Lebanese territorial waters for 4 minutes at dawn at 2.43 a.m.,” NNA reported.

No further details were released.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Video footage of the Syrian Army inside the strategic town of Sinjar

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:49 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:35 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) captured the strategic town of Sinjar in the southern countryside of Idlib, yesterday, after a short battle with the jihadist rebels.

Since its capture, the Syrian Ministry of Defense has released footage from inside the town (please see below):

As a result of this advance, the Syrian Army has effectively cutoff the jihadist supply route to the key town of Khan Sheikhoun in southern Idlib.

In addition to cutting the jihadist supply route to Khan Sheikhoun, the Syrian Army is now within 10 km of the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport, which is one of the largest bases inside the Idlib Governorate.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Iran: Thousands rally as Revolutionary Guards declare end to unrest (video)

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:22 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 P.M.) – Thousands of government supporters rallied across various Iranian towns and cities on Sunday, in a show of support for the current regime and to voice their disapproval of anti-­government protests.

Marchers waved Iranian flags and chanted several slogans critical of the US and Israel.

Sanandaj, Zahedan, Meybod, Abarkuh, Kordkuy, Aqqala, Alvand and Buin Zahra were among the cities which saw protests.

These demonstrations came on the same day Iran’s Revolutionary Guard declared an end to the recent unrest.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Syrian Army sends reinforcements for major battle in Idlib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:13 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has sent more reinforcements to the Idlib front after lifting the siege on the strategic vehicle management base in eastern Damascus.

According to a report from the Syrian military, the Qalamoun Shield forces of the 3rd Division have been redeployed to the Idlib-Hama axis after successfully beating back the Islamist rebels.

Prior to their arrival in eastern Damascus, the Qalamoun Shield soldiers were aiding the Tiger Forces in their battle to capture the strategic Abu Dhuhour Military Airport.

More reinforcements are expected to head towards Idlib in the coming days, as the Syrian Army intensifies their offensive to capture this base.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army spies troll Al-Qaeda once again by revealing footage from inside Abu Duhur town, airbase

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 06:10 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:05 P.M.) – Military spies linked to the intelligence service of the Syrian Arab Air Force have released video and photo evidence of their presence inside two strategic sites – one a town, the other an airbase – which are under the control of Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

On the night of Sunday to Monday, Syrian military spies released a video of their presence within the town of Abu Duhur and one photo (later on on Monday) from inside the highly strategic airbase of Abu Duhur.

Both sites are technically under the full control of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) terrorist group, yet in many ways the leaked video and photo documentation stands testament to major weaknesses in the militia’s intelligence system to chase, detect and neutralize government spy rings.

According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, the entire province of Idlib – with its hundreds of rural towns and villages – is full of government spies commissioned by Syrian air force intelligence. These agents report to the operations room of the Tiger Forces Division, providing moment-by-moment information on militant gatherings, movements and positions.

 

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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

Iran unblocks access to Telegram

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 05:52 AM PST

Iran's authorities have fully unblocked access to Telegram messenger following a ban imposed amid anti-government protests, the Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

Access to Instagram and Telegram social networks has been opened for users after the lifting of temporary restrictions introduced upon the decision of Iran's Supreme National Security Council on December 31, the report said.

Earlier Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi threatened to fully block the messenger unless “terrorist channels” were closed.

The anti-government protests broke out on December 28 in Iran's second largest city of Mashhad, initially against price rises, and later expanded to other provinces. At least 20 people were killed in clashes with the police. More than 450 protesters were arrested.

On January 3, Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, announced that the unrest in the republic was over and the rebels were defeated. The riots across the country involved no more than 15,000 people, he said.

More:
http://tass.com/world/984140

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army has just 10km to go until they reach the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 05:32 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:20 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) offensive in the southern countryside of Idlib has been going exactly as planned for their High Command.

With over ten towns captured in the last 48 hours, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is quickly advancing on the strategic Abu Dhuhour Military Airport that is located in the eastern part of the province.

According to the latest military report, the Syrian Arab Army is only 10km away from this imperative installation, which houses many Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham terrorists.

In the coming days, the Syrian Army will look to close the gap on the airport in order to prepare for their imminent assault to capture the base.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Islamist rebels suffer heavy losses in another failed attempt to capture strategic vehicle base

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 05:05 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – The Islamist rebels launched another powerful attack in the eastern part of Damascus, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions at the eastern flank of the vehicle management base.

Led by Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman from the Madera axis, the Islamist rebels struck the technical base at the eastern flank of the vehicle management base this morning in a bid to apply pressure on the Syrian Army troops in the area.

However, despite their best efforts, the Islamist rebels were unable to enter the eastern part of the vehicle management base after several hours of fighting the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard and 4th Division.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Islamist rebels suffered many casualties during today’s assault, with the majority of the dead coming from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.

In addition to the high death toll, the Islamist rebels also lost a tank during today’s battle.

On Sunday, the Syrian Arab Army lifted the week long siege on the vehicle base, forcing the remaining Islamist rebels to retreat from the western axis of the installation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: First moments of breaking siege of Syrian Army base in east Damascus

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 04:58 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:00 P.M.) – Elite Syrian Army troops succeeded in lifting a fortnight-long siege imposed on a key base for the Syrian Army in east Damascus following heroic battles against Islamist rebels.

Even though scores of Army troops were killed in the battles during the past two weeks, the defenders of the Vehicle Base managed to hold the fort until reinforcements – led by the elite 4th Armored Division – made it through the battleground and eventually lift the blockade.

According to informed sources, up to 28 injured soldiers were promptly hospitalized from the encircled base after sustaining various injuries.

The same source confirmed that clashes are still ongoing in the area as the Syrian Army attempts to expand its control around the base; thus creating a buffer zone to block any future attacks.


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Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Confirmed: Saudi jet crashes in northern Yemen

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 04:48 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:45 P.M.) – Earlier today, the Houthi forces claimed that their air defense units downed a Saudi Coalition warplane as it was bombing the eastern countryside of Sana’a.

At the time of the crash, there was no confirmation from the Saudi Coalition regarding the fate of their warplane.

While the Saudi Coalition did confirm the loss of their aircraft, they did not specify the reason for the crash.

As a result of today’s crash, the Saudi Coalition has now lost two warplanes in the last 48 hours in northern Yemen.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Houthis, Saleh supporters mend relations to fight Saudi Coalition

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 04:21 AM PST

Yemen's Houthi rebels and supporters of the country's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by the Houthis in December 2017, decided to open a new page of cooperation to fight against the Saudi-led coalition, a high-ranking source in the General People’s Congress party founded by Saleh told Sputnik on Monday.

In November, tensions between the Houthi rebels and Saleh escalated. On December 4, shortly after reaffirming the end of his alliance with the Houthis, Saleh was killed by the Yemeni rebels.

"As part of the political agreement between the Ansar Allah movement [Houthis] and the General People’s Congress, aimed at ending the December tensions, all political and military prisoners will be released excluding five persons that will be held by the movement including Saleh's relatives … The agreement is aimed at opening a new page [in relations] between the main allies who are fighting against the Arab coalition headed by Saudi Arabia," the source said.

On Sunday, the General People’s Congress elected a new leader – Sadeq Amin Abu Rass, who held high government posts under the rule of Saleh.

In Yemen, since August 2014, the confrontation between the government forces and the Houthi rebels continues. The confrontation passed in the active phase after the invasion of a coalition led by Saudi Arabia in March 2015.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Iranian-Americans expats hit LA streets in solidarity with anti-govt. protests (video)

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 03:58 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 P.M.) – Over a thousand people from the Iranian expatriate community held a solidarity protest with the Iranian anti-government demonstrators in Los Angeles on Sunday.

One of the protesters said, “We’re looking for a regime change in Iran, to replace it with secular democracy. Down with the Islamic republic!”

Another protester expressed his concern over fate of country’s political prisoners, “People are here to support the youth, students while they are being suppressed in Iran. We’re here to say that we heard their voice and we’re echoing their voice in Iran and we’re really, really worried about the future of the political prison, prisoners inside Iran and here we want to support their cause and the movement.”

A large police presence was reported at the rally as well as in the nearby residential area. However, the protest remained peaceful throughout with no incidents of arrests occurring.

On Friday, Washington called for an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss anti-government protests in Iran.

At least 21 people have died in anti-government protests since Thursday, as rallies protest against rising food prices, unemployment and alleged corruption.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public’s anger over Iran’s flagging economy but vowed to crack down on lawbreakers.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

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Iranian ambassador tells deposed Shah’s son to manage family affairs before politics

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 03:36 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:25 P.M.) – The Iranian Ambassador to Great Britain, Hamid Baeedinejad, stated via Telegram on Monday that the son of the deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi should focus on his family’s affairs before delving into politics.

"Following public protests in various cities in Iran during which people voiced their economic, social demands, there were certain elements who abused the situation and resorted to violence which both infuriated the people who were protesting and angered the followers of the system. Under these circumstances, the opposition groups abroad developed their activities more than ever and expressed solidarity and support with the seekers of violence," the text reads, as published by the Mehr News Agency.

"Reza Pahlavi was overexcited after hearing such slogans and, due to his lack of understanding of the conditions in Iran, asked the US to marshal all its forces and support the protests in the country,” Baeedinejad continued.

"Reza Pahlavi has failed to manage the affairs of his own family and faces serious allegations that have scandalized even his staunch followers. His sister's suicide in a hotel room in London in 2002 and then the suicide of his only brother Alireza in 2011 in Boston, US have raised many questions concerning his family all of which have remained unanswered. The question is that why should two princes who had left Iran with millions of dollars and lived royal lives in Europe and the US commit suicide?" Baeedinejad asks

"Before setting out to organize his political activities, Reza Pahlavi must manage the affairs of his own family and must at least clarify his financial situation and resources that belong to the public. He also has to answer questions about the reasons for the suicide or murder of his siblings. If, however, he fails to clarify such matters, which he will for sure, he has to admit that he cannot assume the role of the opposition,” he concludes.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Elite Syrian forces blitz 14 towns in mammoth advance towards south Aleppo, north Hama via Idlib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 03:26 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:26 P.M.) – Elite forces of the Syrian Arab Army have achieved a mammoth advance in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province over the last several hours, liberating some 14 settlements from jihadist-led militias and reaching the regional administrative borders with Aleppo and Hama.

According to military-affiliate sources, on Monday, elite assault troops of the Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces conducted a broad front sweep against jihadist-led militias, blitzing through and taking control of the towns and villages of Burtqalah, Khalidiyah, Al-Freijah, Al-Jahman, Al-Dawoudiyah, Rub al-Hawa, Bo Aleej, Aleej, Jub Kasb, Bashjun, Harjalah, Maksar Fawkani, Maksar at-Tahtani and Mushrifat Marmalah.

The advance represents a hard swing to the east of Sinjar and comes in place of what was expected to be a continued drive north to the Abu Duhur military airport.

Furthermore, the gains have also positioned Syrian troops in southeast Idlib on the provincial borders of two adjacent provinces, Aleppo and Hama, from their southwestern and northern approaches respectively.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

In pictures: Top jihadist commander makes rare appearance in rural Idlib

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 03:14 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:05 P.M.) – The top jihadist commander of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, Abu Mohammad Al-Jolani, made a rare appearance in the Idlib Governorate this week, as he was pictured planning the defenses of the province.

Jolani is rarely pictured and interviewed; however, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham typically releases photos of their commander to raise morale.

The pictures released by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s media wing are below; they show Jolani and his associates overlooking a large map of the Idlib countryside:

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Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham is currently facing a large Syrian Army offensive that is geared to take the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Revelation: Erdogan learns that saying mean things only makes you enemies

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 02:48 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:45 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be learning that even in the complex and inherently paranoid environment of international relations one fixed principal remains that can also be applied to basic relations between individuals – saying mean things makes you enemies and saying nice things makes you friends.

Almost two weeks ago, Erdogan – speaking before Turkish media – made a highly unexpected comment in regards to European relations, pronouncing that ‘I always say this: We are obliged to lessen the number of foes and increase the number of friends.’

Indeed, the Turkish president might have always said that, but in practice it seems that he is only now just learning – after a 27 year career in various seats of public office – that the act of saying nice things is part of the obligation to reduce enemies and gain friends.

The statement came after most of 2017 witnessed Erdogan slander European leaders as fascists of their lack of interest in conducting their own nations’ internal affairs according to how he thought they should be conducted.

As far as fair play in politics goes, there is nothing immoral with criticizing the leaderships of other nations (even over domestic matters), however it can make one very undesirable to be allies with when they mean things at the same time as asking for privileges – in Erdogan’s case, European Union membership.

Whether the Turkish president can retain the knowledge of this most crucial of lessons in regards to relations at any level (personal and professional, individual and international) – and possibly even develop further on the notion to include offering practical benefits in exchange for practical benefits – to aid Turkey’s long overdue re-rapprochement with Europe is yet to be seen.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Latest battle update from southern Idlib – map

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 02:43 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:55 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has resumed their offensive in the southern countryside of Idlib, today, striking the jihadist rebel defenses near the recently captured town of Sinjar.

Led by their elite Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army struck Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions this morning at the farms located north of Sinjar in a bid to secure the town.

No gains have been reported thus far.

While the Syrian Army attempts to expand their presence on the ground, the Russian Aerospace Forces have been imposing their will on the jihadist rebels with their relentless airstrikes along the Idlib-Hama axis.

According to a military source in Hama, the Russian Aerospace Forces have launched over 20 airstrikes in southern Idlib, today, with their primary target being the road to the Abu Dhuhour Airport.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Netanyahu upholds Trump’s push to cut help to UN’s Palestinian refugee agency

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 02:03 AM PST

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has described the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as “an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian problem.”

Israel’s PM has supported US President Donald Trump’s drive to stop funding a UN agency which provides aid to Palestinian refugees.

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he completely agrees with President Trump’s “strong criticism” of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Israeli Prime Minister suggested that the funds for UNRWA should be “gradually transferred to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees,” something that he claimed would help tackle “fictitious refugees.”

Netanyahu warned against rendering aid to the “great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees, but who are cared for by UNRWA.” This is an absurd situation, according to him.

“UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the problem of the Palestinian refugees. It also perpetuates the narrative of the so-called ‘right of return’ with the aim of eliminating the State of Israel, and therefore the UNRWA must disappear,” he concluded.

Earlier this week, Hamas movement spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that the threats made by Trump to halt assistance to UNRWA are just “cheap political extortion.”

On Tuesday, Trump wrote on his Twitter page that Palestine was “no longer willing to talk peace” with Israel, and questioned the issue of giving “hundreds of millions” in aid payments to Palestine to force the warring parties to resume negotiations.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army liberates another two towns in Idlib on the way to key airbase

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 01:52 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:50 A.M.) – Amid ongoing offensive operations by the Syrian Arab Army against jihadist-led militias throughout southeast Idlib province, elite assault forces secured early this morning another two towns en-route to a key airbase that has long since lost by government troops.

On Monday, assault units of the Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division continued their assault in Idlib’s southeastern countryside, striking west of Sinjar – a major crossroad settlement recently secured by army troops that had served as a stronghold for Al-Qaeda-linked forces – and liberating the towns of A’jaz and Karratin al-Kabirah.

Some sources reported the capture of these two towns almost 18 hours ago, but Al-Masdar News was not able to confirm the information at the time.

The capture of A’jaz and Karratin al-Kabirah by Syrian forces not only serves as one less stepping stone en-route to the Abu Duhur military airport, but also serves to expand the buffer zone west of Sinjar, thus further securing their line of advance towards the airbase.

The Abu Duhur military airport was lost by the army to jihadist militias in 2015 after an almost three year siege. All of the Syrian troops who survived the battle – some 71 by most reports – were promptly executed by their captors.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Nigerian police kills unarmed Muslim protestor during crackdown on Free Zakzaky rally

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 12:54 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:45 PM) – Police forces in Kaduna, Nigeria, shot and killed a university student on Sunday during a violent crackdown on an Muslim rally for the release of unlawfully detained Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky. This is reported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC).

Abdulmalik Sani, a masters student at Kaduna State University, was killed when police opened fire with live ammunition as they dispersed a rally for the release of the influential Shia cleric.

Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky is a popular cleric who has been instrumental in the spread of Shia Islam amongst the Nigerian population since 1979, and heads the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). It is mainly due to Zakzaky’s influence that the Shia population of Nigeria, which was once nearly non-existent, now counts up to 4 million followers. However, Zakzaky has also drawn many Sunni and nondenominational Muslims to his cause of establishing an Islamic republic in Nigeria.

The Nigerian government has at times cracked down harshly on the growing Islamic Movement of Nigeria, with police forces killing six of his sons in targeted assassinations in 2014 and 2015. In December 2015, Nigerian security forces raided the Sheikh’s home and massacred hundreds of his followers, after which Zakzaky was arrested. The Sheikh has been held in detention without charge or trial ever since, in violation of the country’s constitution.

“Today’s attack is yet another unjustified attack on the IMN and its supporters. It is a flagrant violation of the right to free assembly and free speech. These transgressions are only possible because the government has created a climate in which atrocities against the IMN can go unpunished.”, the IHRC stated.

Despite an order by the High Court of Nigeria on 2 December 2016 that ordered Sheikh Zakzaky’s release within 45 days, the government has failed to comply with the order, and Zakzaky still remains under state detention up until this day. According to several sources, the Sheikh is suffering from serious ailments as a result of his arrest and consistent denial of proper medical care, and is in risk of going blind as a result.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Rebuffing US warmongering, North and South Korea to hold official talks

Posted: 08 Jan 2018 12:25 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:20 AM) – Despite the ongoing aggressive tone between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), it seems as though there is a thaw in relations between the two governments on the Korean Peninsula, as they have scheduled an official set of talks to take place on Tuesday.

Delegates from both sides, the DPRK and South Korea, are scheduled to meet at 10 am on Tuesday in the village of Panmunjon, in the demilitarized border zone between the two.

The negotiations were agreed upon on Friday, after a joint US-South Korean military drill that was planned to take place provocatively close to the border, was delayed. According to Seoul’s minister of Unification Cho Myoung-Gyon, the talks are intended to “prepare for discussions on the issue of separated families and ways to ease military tensions.”

The Korean War, which de facto ended in 1953, officially was never really resolved, as the fighting was ended with a indefinite armistice rather than by a real peace treaty. Hence, many families are still separated by the de facto border between the North and the South, which is a heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ).

While it is not certain what the negotiations will entail, expected is that Pyongyang will officially file for participation in the Olympic Winter Games, set to be held in the southern county of PyeongChang this year, as well as negotiating economic cooperation and diplomatic ease of tensions.

Tensions have been running high between the DPRK and the US, which maintains a massive military presence of over 20,000 troops in Seoul up to this day. US president Donald Trump has regularly threatened military conflict with the North over Pyongyang’s maintenance and expansion of a military missile and nuclear weapons programme.
The DPRK however, defends its nuclear arsenal as a sovereign right and a precautionary measure to deter any possible invasion or aggression against the country by external imperialist powers.

However, South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who is known for his more cool-headed and peaceful stance regarding relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, has now seemingly rebuffed US policy in the Korean peninsula.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز