- Turkish and Syrian government must resume talks – Turkish Lawmaker
- VIDEO: ISIS and Al-Qaeda duke it out in southeast Idlib
- ISIS offensive against Syrian rebels in southeast Idlib sees big losses on both sides as battle for strategic town enters third day
- Breaking: Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces to liquidate ISIS pocket in east Homs, west Deir Ezzor desert – reports
- Five foreign jihadists killed by roadside bomb in rural Idlib
- Thousands in Yemen flood streets to celebrate sixth anniversary of uprising (video)
- Rebels fire rockets at elementary school in Damascus, 2 children killed
- Graphic video (R-rated): Slain ISIS militants left without brains and limbs after failed assault on key town in southeast Idlib
- Iran presented new missiles during Islamic Revolution celebrations – reports
- Rebel commander and 2 bodyguards blown up by bomb attack in southwest Syria
- Pro-gov’t ISIS Hunters release official statement after US airstrikes in Deir Ezzor
- ‘Era of hit and run is over’: Iranian official on Israeli strikes in Syria
- Breaking video: Israeli F-16 shot down by Syrian air defenses falls to earth in flaming wreck
- Breaking: Kurdish forces bombed by US coalition airpower in east Syria amid big battle with ISIS – reports
- Breaking: Turkey-led forces advance on one of Afrin’s largest towns following latest gains against Kurdish fighters
- Pictures: Syrian Army lays claim to huge ISIS tank, US-built guided missile, artillery stockpile in northeast Hama
- Plane with 71 on board goes missing after taking off from Moscow
- IRGC commander threatens to ‘create hell’ for Israel after downing of F-16
- Over 500 Turkish-trained FSA fighters join Afrin offensive
- Iraqi Army gets back M1 Abrams battle tanks following defeat of ISIS empire
- Hamas congratulates the Syrian military on the downing of Israel’s F-16
- Extremely graphic videos: Untold numbers of torn-up ISIS terrorist bodies litter northeast Hama after wipe-out battle with Syrian Army
- Reckless rebel offensive against Syrian Army allows ISIS to escape from Hama to southeast Idlib
- Syrian Army seizes large cache of weapons left behind by ISIS in northeast Hama (photos)
- Rebels gave Israel intel about Syrian military targets to strike: report
- Mattis admits “No Evidence” Assad did gas attack
- Islamist rebels attempt to advance in northern Hama amid ceasefire talks with Syrian Army
- Israeli op against Syrian air defense ‘most significant’ since 1982 – General
- Turkish-backed rebels in Afrin link up with allies in Idlib – map
- ISIS launches big assault in southeast Idlib
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:49 PM PST
Talks of Ankara and Damascus engaging in direct diplomacy resurfaced after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed this week that Turkey does not pose a threat to the Syrian government.
Serkan Topal, a deputy in the Turkish parliament representing the primary opposition Republican People’s Party and member of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission, told Sputnik that talks between Ankara and Damascus should happen as soon as possible, because direct contact between Turkey and Syria is a fundamental precondition for reaching peace and restoring a friendly legal environment between the neighboring countries.
“Ankara and Damascus have to put dialogue back on track. I brought the issue to the agenda at a parliamentary session, pointing out that it has to be discussed in the ministerial council. So far, we haven’t received a response with regard to the initiative. But I hope that it will be positive and that we will get it in the closest time,” said Topal, who earlier proposed the creation of a Syrian-Turkish reconciliation committee.
“Concrete steps have to be taken. I’ve said multiple times that a parliamentary delegation has to be formed to establish liaison with the Syrian government. The dialogue has to be revived by creating a joint committee. I believe the process can be launched in the nearest future,” he stated.
Topal underlined that Cavusoglu’s remarks signaled that the time has come for concrete steps to be taken on the part of Ankara toward reviving a dialogue with Damascus.
Onur Öymen, retired diplomat and former Turkish permanent representative to NATO, told Sputnik that the foreign minister’s announcement shows that Turkey has not shut its doors on the regime of Bashar Assad. He stressed that establishing a liaison with the legitimate Syrian government doesn’t mean carrying out direct negotiations with Assad.
“In this case, the parties have to establish a liaison, even if it is not high-level. It has to be done to fill the informational gap, to clear up a possible misunderstanding between the parties in case of unforeseen events on the Turkish-Syrian border, to resolve humanitarian issues, work on civilian protection initiatives. In fact, there are interaction channels between adversaries even at a time of war. No matter how tense relationships between the countries are, I believe that active liaison will be beneficial for both sides,” Öymen said.
According to the former diplomat, establishing liaison between the two countries is “common sense,” despite the current Turkish military incursion into Syrian territory.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:21 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – On Friday, Islamic State forces kicked-off a land-grab offensive against Syrian rebel groups across southeast Idlib province to expand their fledgling presence in the region.
Since then, ISIS has been particularly fixated on capturing a large junction town called Umm Khalakhil, the resulting battle for which is now in its third day and has seen the terrorist group and rival militant factions suffer big losses alike.
At the present time, Islamic State forces only hold on to a dozen or so villages throughout Idlib’s southeastern countryside; control of Umm Khalakhil will give them a proper stronghold for which to consolidate their presence in the region and launch follow-up operations.
In opposition to this are Syrian rebel groups – including the Al-Qaeda affiliate militia Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and the Free Syrian Army – who have amassed considerable reserve forces, backed up by lots of artillery, to drive back ISIS.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 11:02 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 A.M.) – Amid ongoing clashes between ISIS and Syrian rebel groups in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province, the battle for a strategic crossroad town called Umm Khalakhil as now entered its third day.
According to sources, the battle for control of Umm Khalakhil has seen ISIS suffer at least 20 dead (per Sunday estimates) whilst Syrian rebels – of all factions – have lost 15 fighters killed in action (per Sunday estimate); wounded for both sides runs into the dozens.
As of Day 3, ISIS has managed to enter Umm Khalakhil and capture large parts of the town, however, rival militants – determined not to lose it – still hold onto the western neighborhoods.
Rebel forces – both Al-Qaeda-linked groups and Free Syrian Army factions – are deploying a lot of artillery (mortars, rocket systems and howitzers alike) in their efforts to turn back the ISIS onslaught.
In any case, it should be understood that battles are not only taking place around Umm Khalakhil, but also inside it.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 07:08 PM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:08 A.M.) – The most elite and battle-proven formation of the Syrian Arab Army is to be deployed to the country’s east and tasked with the liquidation of a large section of desert countryside currently under the control of ISIS according to reports by various military-affiliated sources with are still yet to be confirmed.
Military-affiliated sources have been hinting in what are still preliminary reports that the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division is to be re-deployed from Hama and Idlib provinces to eastern Syria where it is to conduct an operation to expunge Islamic State terrorists from the desert countryside of eastern Homs and western Deir Ezzor provinces.
The ISIS-controlled desert area in question is several thousands square kilometers in size; it is (technically) blockaded from all directions by the Syrian Army. The terrorist group is thought to possess several hundred fighters within this space.
The Tiger Forces Division has, in the past several days, completed a dual operation against both armed rebel groups and ISIS in Syria’s northwest.
The operation saw the elite formation clear vast sections of countryside in the provinces of Idlib and Hama from militant forces belonging to a multitude of different factions including Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and ISIS.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 09:06 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:55 P.M.) – Five foreign jihadists from the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) were killed on Sunday after their military vehicle struck a roadside bomb in rural Idlib.
According to pro-opposition activists, the TIP fighters were traveling along the Idlib-Ariha Highway on Sunday, when a roadside was detonated in the eastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate.
The jihadist rebels have accused Syrian Army spies of carrying out the attack; however, no one has officially claimed responsibility.
Below are two pictures from the roadside bombing, including one photo of a dead TIP fighter:
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 08:38 AM PST
Thousands of people flooded Taiz’s streets in southwestern Yemen on Sunday to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the revolution which ended over 30 years of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule.
The uprising initially started alongside the Arab Spring in early 2011 and by February 2012, Saleh had been removed from office.
Many could be seen waving Yemeni flags and holding banners as the lined the city’s main avenues.
One of those celebrating, Abdul Khaliq Saif, claimed that people wanted to convey a “message of the city’s adherence to legitimacy and to complete the liberation of Taiz.”
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Saturday declared that 11 February would be the country’s National Day.
Yemen is now in its third year of civil war with most of its territory torn between the loyalists of President Hadi and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
Human rights organisations have repeatedly accused the Saudi-led coalition of bombing civilian areas with United Nations data published in 2017 claiming Yemen’s civilian death toll exceeds 5,000.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 08:29 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – The rebel forces in the East Ghouta region of Damascus fired several mortar shells and rockets into the Syrian capital on Sunday, an Al-Masdar field correspondent reported this afternoon.
According to Al-Masdar’s correspondent in Damascus, the rebel forces fired more than 40 rockets and mortar shells into the the Qassa, Bab Touma, Duwela, and Jaramana districts of the capital, killing at least five civilians and wounding ten others.
Among the five civilians killed were two children that were leaving their school in the Jaramana district on Sunday – three of their classmates were also seriously wounded.
Several rockets struck the area around the Jaramana elementary school, forcing the Syrian government’s civil defense forces to rush to the scene of this attack in order to help escort the children to safety.
Below is the footage from the rebel attack on the elementary school in Jaramana:
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 08:10 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:10 P.M.) – The Islamic State terrorist group has suffered major losses among its ranks during recent clashes against the Syrian Arab Army in the southeastern countryside of Idlib province.
On Saturday, a short but very bloody battle took place between between elite troops of the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division and Islamic State militants just north of the town of Abu Daleh in southeast Idlib province.
For ISIS – desperately attempting to expand its foothold in southeast Idlib – the battle was a total disaster. Not only did the terrorist group fail to capture Abu Daleh or any other nearby villages, but it also lost dozens of fighters – some sources say as high as 50.
Initially, pro-army sources spread several pictures of the aftermath of the battle which showed many ISIS corpses. Since then however, video footage has been released that depicts in greater detail the extent to which the terrorist group suffered losses.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 07:42 AM PST
Iran has presented a new ballistic missile, the Qadr, during nationwide rallies dedicated to the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the Fars news agency reported.
A new generation of Fajr missiles, Toufan 2-M short-range anti-armor missiles and a submarine named Fateh were presented during the celebrations, the Fars news agency reported.
The Qadr liquid-fuel ballistic missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) and can carry multiple reentry vehicle payloads. The missile can be launched from mobile platforms and is equipped with a radar-evading system, according to the news agency.
Iran’s development and tests of the ballistic missiles have been repeatedly criticized by US President Donald Trump, who threatened to toughen anti-Iran sanctions if Tehran would further develop its missiles.
Earlier in January, the Trump administration announced that it would waive sanctions on Iran as it was required to by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal. However, the US leader said it would be the last time he signs the waiver unless the deal is modified.
39th Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution
Millions of Iranians have took to the streets to commemorate the 39th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in demonstrations across the country. In the capital, Tehran, people gathered on the iconic Azadi Square, where Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech, saying that the enthusiastic participation of people at the rallies will show that their ties with the government are “profound and friendly and still correspond to the principles of the revolution”.
“When the Revolution took place, we pushed some off the revolutionary train that we should not have. Today, we have to let them board the train again,” said Iranian President Rouhani.
In 1979 the monarchy was overthrown and the country was declared the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Decades after the revolution, Tehran has made advances abroad after years of regional turbulence. Iran has helped to push back the Islamic State group in Iraq and assisted the embattled Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in recovering strategic ground in his country’s long civil war.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 07:29 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:25 P.M.) – A rebel commander and two of his bodyguards have been killed by an assassination bomb attack in southwest Syria. The party responsible for the attack is unknown.
On Sunday, a vehicle with five Syrian militants (one of them a commander) aboard was struck by a roadside bomb whilst traveling along the main road between the towns of Mashara and Naba Alsakher in southeast Quneitra province.
The attack killed the rebel commander, identified as Abu Hamza al-Naba (picture below), and two fighters (who were his bodyguards) instantly. The other two ranks also present in the car who were not killed nonetheless sustained injuries.
All five militants were members of the Free Syrian Army affiliate group Asoud al-Rahman. They were the target of a well-planned assassination plot (not at all an uncommon thing in rebel-held southwest Syria) by an unknown party.
Suspicious exist that Syrian pro-government spies may have been the perpetrators of the attack.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 07:19 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:05 P.M.) – The pro-government ISIS Hunters released an official statement on Sunday condemning the US Coalition’s airstrikes that killed several members of the Syrian Armed Forces on February 7th.
The ISIS Hunters specifically condemned both the US Coalition and the Kurdish forces that are currently in control of the majority of the northeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
Below is the official statement that was released by the ISIS Hunters:
“Several of our brothers died under the fire of the US Air Force
On the morning of February 7, ISIS Hunters received intelligence information about a group of ISIS jihadists near as-Suwar village located on the territory occupied by Kurds.
Later our command received additional information that the group is moving towards Khusham village and immediately decided to move from the Euphrates and cut off the possible direction of jihadists offensive.
A number of armed groups with mortars and technicals (sic) was spotted to the east from Khusham on the territory occupied by Kurds. SAA positions were attacked by spotted enemy and Hunters moved to cover SAA. Based on hostiles’ movement and actions they didn’t expect any heavy resistance. Almost immediately Hunters managed to suppress ISIS and make them retreat. (Later an intercepted radio traffic confirmed that the group was partly ISIS, partly Kurds and they retreated towards CONOCO factory)
At that moment first shells dropped, and jet fighters appeared, bombing our positions. They came from the direction where the hostiles were retreating, the jet fighters were covering the enemy.
Our people were still fighting, but when helicopters came ISIS Hunters were forced to retreat. They scattered around and came back in small groups. After bombardment finished it became clear that some of our brothers are dead… Hunters lost 20 heroes, but regular SAA units lost more men, unfortunately. Glory and peace to Syrian heroes killed by a sucker punch by US Air Forces, acting behind the backs of terrorists and Kurds.
Now we state, that Kurds are responsible for deaths of brothers! This nation has begun war against Syrian identity, occupied Syrian soil and resources belonging to Syrian people! Now they conspire with ISIS, shelter them from justice and use them against Syria. These American puppets has no longer right to occupy Syrian soil.
Since now there is no difference for us between ISIS and Kurds. Same terrorists, same attitude towards them. Kurds, be sure, ISIS Hunters are going to hunt you on Syrian soil like your ISIS mercenaries are hunted. Our brothers will be revenged!”
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:58 AM PST
The Iranian security chief has commented on the Israeli airstrikes in Syria on February 10, which triggered retaliatory fire from Syrian air defense.
“The Syrian nation proved this time that it will respond to any act of aggression, as the era of hit and run is over,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council told reporters in Tehran on Sunday, speaking on the sidelines of rallies marking the victory anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
The official went on by responding to Israel’s Defense Forces’ report of attacks against “additional Iranian targets in Syria,” referring to an alleged Iranian drone in the area.
“The claim by the Zionists (that they have carried out sorties) to damage Iranian bases in Syria is a lie,” Ali Shamkhani stated, adding that Iran had an “advisory, not a military presence” in Syria, the security official reiterated, denying Israeli allegations that its warplanes had scrambled in reaction to an Iranian drone.
Shamkhani explained that no forces would fly military jets to hit a drone.
Israel’s Attack in Syria
The statement follows the Israeli attack on several military targets in Syria on February 10. As Jonathan Conricus, the IDF’s spokesman, specified, the strike was made in response to the downing of an Israeli Apache attack helicopter that intercepted an Iranian drone infiltrating the disputed area of the Golan Heights.
Responding to the strike, Syrian air defense systems had reportedly opened fire on Israel.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:37 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:37 P.M.) – CCTV video footage has captured the final seconds of an Israeli fighter jet that was struck by Syrian air defenses plummeting to the ground in a flaming wreck.
On Saturday, the Syrian Air Defence Force detected and engaged an Israeli F-16I multi-role fighter whilst it was on a mission to attack Syrian military targets.
During the engagement, at least one Syrian surface-to-air missile (believed to be an S-200) struck the Israeli warplane, critically damaging it and forcing its two pilots to eject. One of the pilots later died in hospital from severe injuries.
With the crash of the stricken F-16, the Syrian Air Defence Force could claim its first official kill of an Israeli warplane in the history of the country’s 7-year war.
Within an hour, Israeli jets launched a general attack against Syrian and (according to Israeli military sources) Iranian military targets across western Damascus as well as one target in eastern Homs.
The Israeli counter-attack failed to deliver any strategic or operational blow to Syrian military forces.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:16 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:16 P.M.) – US coalition partner forces on the ground have been bombed by their air support amid a big battle with Islamic State militants in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border according to reports from the ISIS-linked media.
The ISIS-affiliated Amaq media center reported on Sunday that Syrian Kurdish forces (colloquially generalized as ‘PKK’ by the terrorist group) were accidentally bombed by friendly US coalition airpower in the Al-Sosa area of Deir Ezzor province.
The Al-Sosa region, located near the Iraqi border, is currently witnessing a major battle between US-led coalition partner militias and ISIS as the former attempts to expand their zone of control over Deir Ezzor’s eastern countryside.
Other details about the battle put forth by ISIS reports say that the terrorist group has so far been able to repel the assault by US-backed forces against its positions near the Iraqi border, killing 5 enemy fighters and capturing one alive.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 05:52 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:52 P.M.) – Following a new day of gains, the Turkish Army and allied Free Syrian Army militias are now advancing on one of the largest towns in Syria’s Afrin region. It is unclear weather or not Kurdish forces will attempt to defend the stronghold.
On Sunday morning, Turkey-led forces resumed their assault across Afrin from multiple directions.
In the region’s northeast, Free Syrian Army rebels – backed up by Turkish Army support fire – managed to seize the villages of Saar Najkeh and Arabiwiran as well as the a string of hilltops nearby to them.
In the south Afrin, pro-Ankara forces captured the village of Haj Iskandar after hours of clashes with Kurdish rear-guard units.
The taking of Haj Iskandar has now put Turkey-led forces within three kilometers of the town of Jandairis – one of the largest population centers in the Afrin region and, presumably, a stronghold for Kurdish paras.
In any case, it remains to be seen whether or not Kurdish forces make a determined fight to hold Jandairis when the inevitable attack by the Turkish Army and allied militias comes.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 05:18 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:15 P.M.) – Following its defeat of Islamic State forces in northeast Hama province several days ago, the Syrian Army has discovered and laid claimed to a huge stockpile of heavy weapons that until very recently belonged to the terrorist group.
On Sunday, Syrian troops clearing abandoned ISIS areas in northeast Hama discovered a large arsenal of heavy equipment and guided weapons.
Whilst not the first cache to be found in the region, it was certainly the most formidable.
The stockpile contained two ISIS-modified T-72 main battle tanks, a BMP infantry fighting vehicle without a turret (making it more of an armored personnel carrier), a number of anti-tank guided missiles systems (some of them of the US-built TOW design), some heavy mortars of both 120-mm and 160-mm design and a Grad rocket artillery piece.
Pictures (available below) were taken by Syrian troops and released publicly as proof of the newly acquired loot loot.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 04:57 AM PST
An Antonov An-148 operated by Saratov Airlines and carrying 65 passengers and six crew went missing shortly after take-off from Moscow's Domodedovo airport, an emergency services source told Russian media.
"The airplane reportedly crashed outside Argunovo village [in the Moscow region]," the source told Interfax news agency. "The crew and passengers had no chance."
The Russian Emergencies Ministry says it is verifying reports that the An-148 has crashed outside Moscow.
The aircraft departed from Moscow's Domodedovo airport and was heading for Orsk, a city lying close to the Russia-Kazakhstan border.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 04:51 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:40 P.M.) – The Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Hossein Salami, warned Israel on Saturday of the hell that Iran could create for them if they continue to issue threats.
Salami stated that all of the U.S.’ airbases in the region are within range of Iran’s missiles, should the threats continue.
The Iranian commander added that Israel should abandon their dream of a “river to the sea” country, referencing the latter’s borders from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordanian River.
Salami’s remarks came shortly after the Syrian military downed the Israeli F-16 near the northern countryside of Galilee.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 04:30 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – Over 500 Turkish-trained members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have recently joined Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Aleppo, pro-opposition activists stated on Sunday.
According to the pro-opposition activists, the 500 fighters belonged to the Al-Hamza Regiment, which is also part of the Free Syrian Army’s Sultan Murad group.
These 500 fighters were trained by the Turkish military for the past four months before deploying to the Afrin front.
The Al-Hamza Regiment fighters specialize in urban warfare, which will be important if the rebel forces reach the large city of Afrin.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 04:30 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – The Iraqi Army has received back a number of M1 Abrams main battle tanks that it in handed-over to pro-government paramilitary groups following their formation in 2014.
US coalition sources confirm that at some point after the formation of the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) umbrella militia in early 2014, some nine M1 Abrams battle tanks were handed over by the Iraqi Army to the auxiliary force to increase its capabilities against ISIS.
Following the annihilation of the Islamic State’s territorial empire in Iraq (and Syria) by the end of 2017, US military authorities in Iraq pushed the country’s army to ask for the return of the M1s as part of a general demobilization of the PMU.
In recent days, the PMU has reportedly returned all nine of its M1s back to the control of the Iraqi Army. With this being done, the US has promised to continue its technical program to keep the tanks serviced and operational on behalf of the Iraqi Army.
Although formed as an auxiliary force to the Iraqi Army, the PMU played a vanguard role in the war against ISIS, participating in many major battles against the terrorist group.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 03:59 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:55 P.M.) – Palestine’s Hamas Movement hailed the Syrian military on Saturday for downing an Israeli F-16 fighter jet over the northern countryside of Galilee.
"We commend the Syrian response to the Israeli aggression,” Ismail Radwan said in an exclusive interview with Arabic-language Quds Press International News Agency.
“We affirm that Palestine stands by Syria in the face of this hostile move," Radwan continued. .
He also condemned the Israeli attacks on Syria, stressing that Damascus had the right to defend themselves against the Israeli attacks.
Radwan then called on the Hamas leadership, Arab nations and all Palestinians to join forces and confront "the imminent danger posed by the Zionist regime."
Meanwhile, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced in a statement that they have raised defense readiness to the maximum level to ward off any possible Israeli attack.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 03:59 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:55 P.M.) – More video evidence (two videos shown below) has begun to surface that shows the extent to which ISIS forces suffered losses during a desperate but ultimately successful break-out offensive against the Syrian Army on Friday.
On Friday, Islamic State militants besieged by Syrian pro-government forces in northeast Hama province launched a break-out offensive towards rebel-held areas in Idlib.
At the time, the Syrian Army was already repelling a conveniently timed rebel offensive against Sinjar in southeast Idlib at the towns of Ajjaz and Sarja, using up reinforcements that would have otherwise have been stationed on the western axis of the ISIS pocket.
Whilst Islamic State terrorists managed to breakthrough to rebel-held areas in Idlib, the Syrian Army nonetheless hammered the escape route with machine gun and heavy artillery fire.
The losses inflicted on ISIS over Friday were immense, believed to be in the many dozens. In addition to this, tens of vehicles belonging to the terrorist group were also destroyed.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 03:14 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:10 P.M.) – A reckless and ill-sighted militant offensive carried out against the Syrian Arab Army on Wednesday (February 7) can be identified as the primary cause for the successful break-out of Islamic State militants who were otherwise trapped by pro-government forces in northeast Hama towards southeast Idlib.
On Wednesday, a coalition of rebel factions – including various Free Syrian Army militias, Al-Qaeda-affiliate group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and Muslim Brotherhood affiliate group Ahrar al-Sham – launched a powerful assault against Syrian Army positions west of the town of Sinjar in southeast Idlib province.
The militant assault targeted to government-held villages of Ajjaz (which was captured for several hours) and Sarja, both being located several kilometers west of Sinjar.
At the time, the Syrian Army was occupied with defeating encircled ISIS terrorists in northeast Hama and when news of the attack near Sinjar came through, an emergency battle-group comprising reserve forces from Ash-Shutayb and nearby villages on the western axis of the terrorist pocket was sent to counter-attack rebel groups at Ajjaz and Sarja.
Although repelling the militant attacks on Ajjaz and Sarja well and truly by Thursday, ongoing heavy shelling by rebel artillery encouraged the Syrian Army to keep its reserve forces from Ash-Shutayb in the area west of Sinjar in the event that insurgent fighters made another push.
On Friday morning, entrapped ISIS forces in northeast Hama unleashed their desperate break-out offensive against the western axis of the pocket.
With many hundreds of fighters and three consecutive car bomb attacks, ISIS burst through government lines at the town of Ash-Shutayb – since heavily depleted of Syrian Army holding forces.
Beyond Ash-Shutayb, most Syrian Army defense lines faced west towards rebel-held Idlib and not east towards the ISIS pocket. Here Syrian troops were forced retreat from the villages between Ash-Shutayb and rebel lines for the sake of reducing casualties.
In any case, the break-out offensive by ISIS saw dozens of Syrian troops and terrorist fighters killed within a matter of hours (confirmed by both Syrian Army and Islamic State sources).
Ash-Shutayb was re-secured by the Syrian Army on late Saturday, by which time ISIS had well and truly escaped to the west and come into contact with rebel forces at Umm Khalakhil and Mushayrifah.
Whilst rebels were quick to blame the Syrian Army and Russia for the ‘convenient’ break-out of ISIS militants from northeast Hama to southeast Idlib (as if losing dozens of seasoned troops is convenient), they were equally fast to forget their own offensive actions at Ajjaz and Sarja which provoked the reinforcement action by pro-government forces (and the subsequent weakening of government defenses at Ash-Shutayb) in the first place.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 03:00 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) confiscated a large cache of weapons that were left behind by the Islamic State (ISIS) before they abandoned their pocket in the northeastern countryside of the Hama Governorate.
According to a military report from northeast Hama, The Syrian Army seized hundreds of assault rifles, sniper rifles, RPGs, ammo boxes, anti-tank missiles, telecommunication devices, heavy machine guns, and at least 4 armored vehicles.
The Islamic State was forced to leave behind these weapons after the Syrian Army overran several flanks that were controlled by the terrorist group in northeastern Hama.
Since fleeing their pocket in northeast Hama, the Islamic State has reached the southeastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate, where they have already launched several attacks against Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.
Below are the photos from the ISIS weapons seizure:
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 02:38 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:15 P.M.) – Rebel groups helped provide the locations of the Syrian military targets that were struck by the Israeli forces on Saturday, the Times of Israel reported, citing Israeli military sources
“A Syrian opposition commander supplied The Times of Israel with the rebels' own list of 12 sites targeted in the IAF strikes on Saturday,” the report claimed.
Among the targets provided by the Syrian rebel commander were several Iranian military sites that were located in the Damascus and Homs governorates.
The alleged commander then told the Times of Israel that the T-4 Military Airport was temporarily out of commission.
Islamist rebel groups near the occupied Golan Heights have worked closely with the Israeli military in past; however, the latter continues to maintain that they are only carrying out humanitarian missions to aid displaced people from Syria.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 02:13 AM PST
Just enough time has passed for an admission of this type to pass unnoticed and absolutely no one has to apologize nor be held accountable, but we thought we’d bring you, comedian, Jimmy Dores take on Secretary of Defence James Mattis statement in Newsweek that the US has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.
Original Newsweek article: http://www.newsweek.com/now-mattis-admits-there-was-no-evidence-assad-using-poison-gas-his-people-801542
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 02:06 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – The Islamist rebels launched a surprise attack inside the northern part of the Hama Governorate, Saturday, targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions at the Zaleen Checkpoint and its surrounding area.
Led by Jaysh Al-‘Izza, the Islamist rebels attempted to infiltrate the Syrian Army’s positions at the Zaleen Checkpoint in a bid to expand their presence in northern Hama before a ceasefire is established.
The Jaysh Al-‘Izza attack would ultimately fail after a two hour battle with the Syrian Arab Army and pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF).
According to a military source, the Syrian Army was able to foil the Islamist assault after local NDF scouts spotted Jaysh Al-‘Izza moving towards their front-lines.
This latest Islamist attack comes just 24 hours after the Syrian Army announced the end of their military operations in the Idlib and Aleppo governorates.
The Syrian Army is currently engaged in ceasefire talks that are being moderated by the Russian reconciliation committee.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 01:16 AM PST
The military operation of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on Saturday was “the most significant” action against the air defense of neighboring Syria for the past 36 years, and it was fully successful, IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar said.
According to Bar, the last time Israeli pilots delivered such powerful strikes on Syrian air defense batteries was in 1982 during a campaign in Lebanon against Palestinian armed groups.
“This is the most significant attack on the Syrian air defense since the Operation Peace for Galilee [1982 Lebanon War]… This is a complete operational success, both at the stage of interception of an unmanned aerial vehicle, and when suppressing sources of fire, as well as during subsequent retaliatory actions,” Bar said as quoted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) press service.
Earlier in the day, the Israeli army said its helicopter intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria and struck Iranian targets in Syria, prompting fire from the Syrian air defense systems.
According to the IDF, during the attack, “multiple anti-aircraft missiles were fired at IAF,” and one F16 fighter jet crashed in Israel. An IAF pilot was severely injured and transferred to a hospital.
In the second wave of the attack, the Israeli forces struck 12 targets in Syria, including Syrian air defense batteries and Iranian military facilities, the IDF said.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 01:11 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:45 A.M.) – The Turkish-backed rebels scored a new advance in the northern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate on Saturday, seizing several areas inside the strategic Afrin region.
Led by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Turkish-backed rebels began the day by capturing the town of Deir Balout and its corresponding hilltops after a fierce battle with the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Deir Balout is situated at the southwestern corridor of the Afrin Canton, which is also located at the northern axis of the Idlib Governorate.
As a result of this important advance, the Turkish-backed rebels in the Afrin region have officially linked up with their allies in the Idlib Governorate.
The YPG is expected to launch a major counter-offensive in the coming hours, as they look to expel the Turkish-backed rebels from the area.
Posted: 11 Feb 2018 12:36 AM PST
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:10 A.M.) – The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) launched a big assault in the southeastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate on Saturday, targeting several towns under the control of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.
ISIS began the assault on Saturday by storming the town of Um Khalakhil in southeastern Idlib; this would result in a ten hour long battle.
According to pro-opposition activists, the ISIS assault was foiled by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham after the former suffered a large number of casualties.
Despite repelling the attack, this is likely not the last time that the jihadist rebels will face off against the Islamic State, as the terrorist group is heavily embedded in southeast Idlib now.
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