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Syrian Army breaks through jihadist lines to enter key district in Harasta (video)

Posted: 26 Feb 2018 12:05 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:55 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army kicked off the first phase of their Harasta offensive on Sunday, striking the entrance to the key Al-Ajami District in the western part of the suburb.

Led by the 4th Mechanized Division and Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army managed to break through the stiff defenses of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, resulting in their first entry into the Al-Ajami District.

Once they entered the Al-Ajami District, the Syrian Arab Army was able to take control of several buildings, while also securing the western part of the Harasta suburb.

The video below shows the Syrian Army entering Al-Ajami District after fierce battle with the jihadist rebels in the area.

Since this advance, the Syrian Arab Army has been involved in an intense battle force control of the remaining building blocks in the Ajami District.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkish-backed rebels seize 23 percent of Afrin since January 20th

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:43 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:30 A.M.) – The Turkish-backed rebels have seized a large chunk of the Afrin region since they began operations in this part of the Aleppo Governorate on January 20th.

According to the Turkish General Staff, their forces and allies have captured at least 23 percent (537 square kilometers) of the Afrin region after 38 days of battle.

Most of their gains have taken place along the Turkish-Aleppo border, as they have primarily concentrated on this area since the Syrian government forces entered the Afrin region.

Below is a recent video of the Turkish-backed rebels advancing in the Rajou District of Afrin:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Putin to Macron, Merkel: Syrian truce doesn’t apply to anti-terror ops

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:19 PM PST

In the wake of the adoption of a UN resolution establishing a 30-day truce throughout Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the state of affairs in Syria’s East Ghouta region with France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the humanitarian situation in the region has recently rapidly deteriorated.

During the phone conversation between the leaders, the situation in East Ghouta and problems of providing humanitarian access to this and other regions of Syria were discussed, according to the Kremlin’s press service.

“Special attention was given to the fact that the cessation of military activity does not apply to the operations against terrorist groups,” the Kremlin said.

The sides also commended the results of “joint, constructive work,” that allowed the adoption of the UN Security Council's Resolution 2401 on February 24, while the leaders also “noted the importance of continuing joint efforts to achieve the full and speedy implementation of the resolution's provisions,” according to the statement.

Germany and France are still ready to cooperate with Russia and other international partners for this purpose,” the press release read.

Putin has informed the foreign leaders of the steps that Russia is taking in Syria to evacuate civilians, deliver aid supplies and provide medical help to the injured.

“An agreement has been reached on the invigoration of information exchange on the situation in Syria through various channels,” the Kremlin’s statement read.

Earlier in the day, Iran echoed Russia’s stance and supported the provision of the resolution, which says that the truce in Syria does not cover terrorists in Eastern Ghouta, adding that militants would continue to be targeted by the Syrian army.

The telephone conversation comes after February 24, when the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution introducing a 30-day truce on the whole Syrian territory to ensure the safely of humanitarian aid and the medical evacuation of those injured. However, the ceasefire regime does not cover military operations against Daesh, al-Qaeda, and Jabhat Fatah al Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorist groups.

The humanitarian situation in the suburb east of the Syrian capital, has drastically deteriorated since February 18, when Syrian government forces launched an operation codenamed "Damascus Steel," in a bid to clear the region of militants. According to the Russian military, the terrorist groups in the region are purposely struggling to escalate the situation in East Ghouta, preventing civilians from leaving the area and provoking retaliatory fights against the Syrian government.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

URGENT: Crisis as Gaza services cut down by 50%

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:16 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:00 A.M)- Gaza is in a state of panic as Municipalities announced a 50% cut-down on services, this comes following Nizar Hijazi -head of Gaza City municipality- announced with other prominent Gazan figures, ‘a state of emergency’.

Head of Rafah Municipality, Sobhi Ridwan, said in a statement: "The donors who used to pay for the fuel stopped their payment since the start of this year."

The Palestinian Authority are also yet to act, in providing for the Gaza Strip, instead they focus on pressuring Hamas to hand over complete control of Gaza to themselves.

In the past 3 months alone, Municipalities in Gaza have also taken a 30% pay cut from their employees.

Gaza has now attained a 50% unemployment rate and also contains a population, of which is 80% below the poverty line.

Roughly 51% of Gaza’s population is children, below the age of 18, they now face an uncertain future.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Jaysh Al-Islam forces able to halt Syrian Army’s progress in East Ghouta – map

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:13 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:05 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) caught the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam off guard in the East Ghouta, yesterday, seizing at least three towns and one large hilltop in the eastern part of this farming region in Damascus.

However, by mid-afternoon on Sunday, Jaysh Al-Islam was able to halt the Syrian Arab Army’s progress in the East Ghouta, as their reinforcements provided much needed relief to their forces on the front-lines.

In particular, the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam were able to reassert control over the town of Hawsh Dawahra after a series of intense firefights with the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and 106th Brigade of the Republican Guard.

The Syrian Arab Army has already begun firing missiles and artillery shells into the eastern half of the East Ghouta this morning, but no storming has been reported thus far.

More details to come as the battle progresses…

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Jihadist rebels strike Syrian Army troops with US-made missile in East Ghouta region

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 10:16 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 A.M.) – The jihadist rebels struck a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) bulldozer in the East Ghouta region of Damascus, yesterday, pro-opposition groups reported.

Led by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, the jihadist rebels destroyed the Syrian Army bulldozer with anti-tank TOW missile at the Harasta front in the East Ghouta region.

Below is the video footage that was released by the jihadist rebels on Sunday:

The TOW missiles were manufactured in the United States (US); they were likely given to the jihadist rebels by the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Al-Sham Regiment.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Mass exodus of villagers from Jandaris into Afrin as Turkish forces advance

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:54 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 A.M.) – The city of Afrin received a mass exodus of villagers from the nearby Jandaris region as they fled the advancement of Turkish forces and bombardment of their homes on Saturday. Turkish forces seized a number of sites at the Jandaris axis over the past week, according to local media.

Villagers can be seen arriving in all sorts of vehicles from cars to trucks to tractors, piled high with their belongings as they enter the city of Afrin.

One of those fleeing, Mohammed explained: “we have escaped from the village of Jumana, we are being bombed at random, the planes are always above the sky, we are all fleeing”.

Another fleeing villager named the Turkish President: “Erdogan and the Free Army are bombing us, they have demolished our homes” while another stated bluntly “his goal is to exterminate the Kurdish people”.

The Turkish military started launching airstrikes and rockets on Kurdish positions in Afrin shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launch of the military operation dubbed ‘Olive Branch.’ The Turkish President also declared that the next destination for Turkish forces would be Syria’s Manbij.

Turkey views the YPG, which is active in northern Syria, as an extension of the banned militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army uncovers massive weapons depot belonging to ISIS in Deir Ezzor (video)

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:22 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) uncovered a massive weapons depot belonging to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the Deir Ezzor Governorate this past weekend.

The weapons depot was located inside of a town near the strategic city of Al-Mayadeen in rural Deir Ezzor.

This weapons supply depot contained a large number of mortar shells, IEDs, mortar launchers, communication devices, and assault rifles.

Below is the video released by SANA that shows the Syrian Arab Army taking control of this Islamic State weapons depot:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Czech Foreign Ministry expects talks with Turkey on PYD ex-leader extradition

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 08:38 PM PST

On Sunday, Muslim was reportedly arrested in the Czech capital. The decision to detain him was made on February 24 by the Interpol's office in the Czech Republic on the basis of Ankara's request.

Prague said that the decision on his arrest will be taken by the Czech court, while the Turkish side will be informed about the process. Prague is expecting Ankara to hand over documents demanding Muslim's extradition.

"At the moment this issue is being handled by the police, as well as by the Justice Ministry, since an international arrest warrant was issued for the detainee. Perhaps, talks [about the extradition] will also take place at the level of diplomatic missions. It is logical that the Turkish minister would like to talk about this with our minister," Lagronova told reporters on Sunday, adding that phone talks between the two foreign ministers had not been scheduled so far.

Ankara considers the PYD, a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, an affiliate of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terror organization in Turkey. Turkey has recently launched a military operation called “olive branch” in the Syrian region of Afrin, which is aimed against Kurdish militias, including the PYD.

The Turkish Interior Ministry included Muslim to the list of most wanted terrorists on February 13, saying that it will pay over $1 million for any information that may help to locate the former Kurdish leader.

Recently, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that Turkish Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Justice were working on the issue of Muslim's extradition.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Video footage of the Syrian Army starting their East Ghouta offensive

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 08:22 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) kicked off their long awaited offensive in the East Ghouta, Sunday, targeting the eastern part of this region located outside of Damascus.

Led by the Tiger Forces and 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive got off to a successful start, when their units managed to take control of the strategic hilltop of Tal Farzat.

Following the capture of Tal Farzat, the Syrian Arab Army would take control of three more towns, including Al-Nashabiyah, Hazrama, and Al-Salihiyah.

Video footage of this advance was captured in the link below:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Israeli Air Force blames crew of F-16 jet for being downed by Syrian missile

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:42 PM PST

On February 10, the Israeli army said that its helicopter had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria and that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) had struck Iranian targets in Syria.

The Israeli moves prompted a response fire from the Syrian air defense systems downing the Israeli F-16 aircraft. Both crew members – a pilot and navigator – managed to eject before the plane crashed in northern Israel.

"The crew made a professional error, preferring to carry out the task instead of adequately defending themselves. Their actions did not follow the standard instructions for actions under enemy fire," the document, prepared by the IAF commission, read.

The document's authors stressed that the aircraft crew had been timely informed about the threat. At the same time, the decision of the crew to abandon the jet was recognized to be correct.

According to the Israeli forces, it is the first Israeli warplane that was lost after being fired from the ground since 1982.

The downed jet was participating in strikes on an airbase in Syria's Palmyra, from where, according to the Israeli military, an Iranian drone was launched entering Israel's airspace. In the second wave of the attack, the Israeli forces struck 12 targets in Syria, including Syrian air defense batteries and Iranian military facilities.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Eighteen year old Gazan fisherman shot dead by Israel

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:00 PM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:40 A.M)- Yesterday, in early morning hours, Israeli gunboats open fire upon an un-armed Gaza fishing boat, killing an 18 year old fisherman.

18 yr old Gazan murdered by Israeli gun boats

Eighteen year old, Ismail Saleh Abu Rylan, was shot dead whilst fishing within the distance Israel deems acceptable to sail in.

Israel – which has for 11 years illegally besieged the Gaza Strip – imposes a 6 nautical mile limit on how far Gazan fishing boats can travel. Despite the zones that Israel has dictated to the Palestinians of Gaza, it routinely fires upon and kills un-armed fisherman within the 6 nautical mile zone.

Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera graph from October 2017, the limit was since reduced to 6 nautical miles.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking Saudi attempts to isolate Yemen, Houthi delegation arrives in Berlin

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 11:42 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (09:45 PM) – In a clear show of resilience in the face of Saudi attempts to isolate Yemen from the international community, a delegation of the Ansarullah (also known as Houthi) movement has arrived in the German capital of Berlin on Saturday. This is reported by Yemen Press and Yemen Resistance Watch.

In what could very well prove to be a ground-breaking event that may prove to be a turning point in the Yemeni conflict, the Ansarullah delegation, headed by the organisation’s official spokesman Mohamed Abdel Salam, has reportedly started meeting with representatives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The diplomatic mission by the revolutionary Yemeni government is currently on a tour of Arab and European nations, during which they are scheduled to visit several capital cities and meet with government representatives. While no exact list of countries has been released so far, sources within the delegation have mentioned that so far they have visited the Omani capital of Muscat and the Iranian capital of Tehran, and that several more countries in both the Middle East and Europe are on the agenda.

The visit to Germany comes mere days after the German government announced a complete ban of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as any other nations that are currently part of the Saudi-led coalition that invaded Yemen in March 2015, a decision that marks a clear reversal of usual European policies regarding the Middle East.

It is expected that the Yemeni delegation will use the tour to present the suggested comprehensive peace agreement that was drafted by the Supreme Political Council in Sana’a earlier this month.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Saudi Crown Prince wants to bribe British officials to stop media campaign

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 09:36 AM PST

Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, has reportedly rebuked the Kingdom’s FM Adel al-Jubier and Saudi ambassador to UK Mohammed Bin Nawwaf Bin Abdulaziz after the Kingdom’s foreign policies regarding the war on Yemen were severely criticized for by western media, especially in the UK. Such criticism and denunciation forced the Saudi Crown Prince to delay his visit to London.

According to statements made by Dr. Abdul Aziz Bin Ali al-Maqoushi, a Saudi official at the Saudi embassy in London, the enraged Bin Salman addressed the two aforementioned senior officials by saying:

Instead of diplomacy, you have to learn how to pay British officials huge amounts of money and give them expensive gifts…and they know – each time – how to get more money and gifts instead of diplomatic grumble and other procedures“, al-Maqoushi quoted Bin Salman, “learn diplomacy from the Emiratis“, he added.

According to al-Maqoushi, Bin Salman cited the Emirati Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Zayed, who – following a campaign by British media against the UAE – managed to force the British Prime Minister Theresa May to send him a formal apology letter.

However, Adel al-Jubier told Bin Salman that the Emirati official paid up to $100 million to May who eventually only sent a verbal apology. Bin Salman ruled out the claim saying he has seen the apology letter himself.

The session – says al-Maqoushi – ended with Bin Salman threatening to sack al-Jubier and Mohammed Bin Nawwaf if the anti-Al Saud campaign launched by British media and research centers is not stopped.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Al-Qaeda mobilizes huge forces for counter-offensive against rival Islamist militias in northwest Syria

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 08:08 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:05 P.M.) – In what is now the fifth day of a wide-sweeping inter-rebel war across northwest Syria, Al-Qaeda affiliate group Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) is mobilizing major forces for a decisive counter-blow against rival Islamist militias.

Preparations for the counter-offensive by Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham comes after Jabhat Tahrir Souriya (a merger of Ahrar al-Sham and Noor al-Din al-Zenki) drove the Al-Qaeda affiliate from virtually fifty percent of its territorial holds across northwest Syria – mainly in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.

The misfortunes of Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham are a first in terms of rebel-on-rebel hostilities; historically, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (including the times when it was called Jabhat al-Nusra) has always been the most powerful non-ISIS militant group in Syria, always calling the shots and dictating the peace.

Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham has vowed to fight back with everything it has in order to recapture all lost areas in northwest Syria and to ‘punish’ the instigators of the its recent humiliation.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkish-backed rebels seize virtually entire northwest Syrian border with Turkey after latest advances in Afrin

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 07:27 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:25 P.M.) – Following just over a month of operations in Afrin, the Turkish Army and proxy militias under its command have seized the almost the entire region’s border area with Turkey – along with it, most of the northwest Syrian border in general.

Now it seems inevitable that Turkey-led forces will seize the remaining section of Syrian-Turkish border space in the Sheikh Hadid area.

Considering that most of the countryside west of Sheikh Hadid is just forest, pro-Ankara forces may attempt to seize the town itself as an anchor point to secure the last section of Afrin’s border not yet under Turkish-backed militant control.

Whether Kurdish fighters or Syrian pro-government forces or both contest an advance by the Turkish Army and allied militias to take the town of Sheikh Hadid is yet to be seen (it is after all a very large settlement that offers operational advantage to any side that holds it).

Moreover, what also remains to be seen is if Ankara’s Olive branch operation continues into the mountainous heartland of Afrin after the full seizure of the region’s Turkish-Syrian border space.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Syrian Army charge thrower obliterates militant-held block in east Damascus

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:50 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:50 P.M.) – With the commencement of the long-awaited 2018 East Ghouta offensive by Syrian government forces, the Syrian Army is bringing all of the heaviest firepower assets available in its arsenal to bear against militant groups – among many such weapons is the UR-77 charge thrower.

Traditionally, the UR-77 is meant to be used by engineering units to clear paths through enemy minefields.

However, given the weapon’s explosive power, it has found a niche in the Syrian Army as a means of leveling entire areas of enemy front – trenches, fire support positions and all.

At the present time, it is unclear just how many UR-77s are in service with the Syrian Army or, more specifically, the how many units are participating in the new East Ghouta operation.

In any case, the charge thrower’s current deployment against militant groups near the Syrian capital is not a first.

The use of the UR-77 inside urban areas provides Syrian forces with the means to flatten entire neighborhood blocks, thus denying insurgents the ability to turn apartment and housing complexes into strong-points.


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Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army annihilates hair-brained Nusra assault in east Damascus within minutes

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 06:02 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:01 P.M.) – On Saturday afternoon, jihadists of the Al-Qaeda affiliate militia Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (previously and better known as Jabhat al-Nusra) launched a powerful assault against the Syrian Army in Damascus’ East Ghouta region. Information on this attack has only just been released by a source in the military.

According to the Syrian Army source, Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham attempted to break through government lines in East Ghouta on the Jobar axis.

The jihadist operation was spearheaded by a car bomb attack that targeted a Syrian Army checkpoint area that connects communications between the districts of Jobar and Qaboun.

Syrian Army sentries stationed just ahead of the targeted checkpoint area spotted the incoming car bomb and, opening fire on the vehicle with several heavy machine guns, destroyed it at a safe distance.

Despite the failure of the car bomb attack, jihadist fighters went ahead with attempting to storm Syrian Army positions across Jobar only to have their ranks broken up with machine gun and mortar fire.

Within minutes the attack was called off and the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham assault party retreated back to inside the depth of rebel-held East Ghouta.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Turkey-led forces on the verge of taking over entire Syrian border in Afrin

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 05:13 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:13 P.M.) – The Turkish Army and proxy militant groups under its control have captured almost the entire Syrian border area that runs throughout the country’s Afrin region following a new wave of effortless advances on Sunday that led to the seizure of seven towns and villages.

According to reports, Turkey-led forces have taken control of the settlements of Samalik, Sheikh Muhammadi, Wilakli, Dudu, Kunda Dudu, Bandarlik and Maydan Ikbis during the last twelve hours.

Virtually no resistance was encountered by pro-Ankara forces during their push on Sunday, this mostly being due to the fact that Kurdish paramilitary fighters have withdrawn from Syrian-Turkish border areas across the Afrin region.

According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, the most pressing objective for the Turkish Army and its allied militias is to seal off the entire Syrian-Turkish border area of Afrin from the control of Kurdish forces. This will inevitably be achieved.

Following that, it is yet to be seen if pro-Ankara forces continue their Olive Branch operation deeper into the mountainous heartland of Afrin – something which may very well bring them into conflict with Syrian government troops.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Latest map update of East Ghouta battle

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 03:43 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:35 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) scored a big advance in the East Ghouta region, today, capturing several localities from the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam.

Led by their elite Tiger Forces and 4th Division, the Syrian Arab Army began the day by capturing the large hilltop of Tal Farzat, which overlooks several towns in the East Ghouta region.

Following the capture of Tal Farzat, the Syrian Army advanced east towards Al-Nashabiyah, kicking out the remaining militants entrenched inside the town.

Once Al-Nashabiyah was secured, the Syrian Army imposed full control over the towns of Al-Salihiyah and Hazrama, putting them at the outskirts of nearby Utaya.

The Syrian Army is now heavily shelling Utaya in a bid to force the militants to retreat before they storm the town.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Bizarre footage of Saudi-backed fores fighting each other in Yemen

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 03:26 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – The Houthi forces released footage on Sunday of Saudi-backed combatants fighting one another in northern Yemen.

The bizarre footage was caught on tape by the lurking Houthi fighters, who were heard cheering on the Saudi-backed combatants that were throwing punches at one another.

The reason for the fight is unknown.

Below is the video that was released by the Houthi forces this  morning:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Kurdish YPG says they are ready to observe ceasefire

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 03:13 AM PST

Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said Sunday that they were ready to comply with UN Security Council resolution on the ceasefire in Syria, but retain the right to respond to aggression.

“We… declare our welcome and readiness to comply with the UN Security Council resolution to stop hostilities within all enemies, except Daesh terrorists, while reserving the right to retaliate which is a legitimate self-defense right in case of any aggression by the Turkish army and allied factions in Afrin,” YPG’s statement read.

The UN resolution came following reports that hundreds of civilians were allegedly killed in Eastern Ghouta as a result of airstrikes carried out by Damascus. The first draft was blocked by Moscow on Thursday suggesting amendments to exclude a timeframe for the start of the ceasefire regime from the document.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2401 that urges all parties to the conflict to immediately stop all clashes and adhere to a long-term humanitarian pause on the entire territory of Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered humanitarian aid supplies as well as medical evacuation of the injured people.

On January 20, Ankara launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, in pursuit of “clearing” the Turkey’s Syrian border from the terrorist threat. Turkish authorities consider the YPG and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army enters large district in Harasta after fierce battle with jihadists

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 03:06 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Division launched a big assault inside the the Harasta suburb of the East Ghouta, today, targeting several neighborhoods under the control of the jihadist rebels.

Units from the Syrian Army’s 4th Division began today’s assault by storming the entrance of the Al-Ajami District, which has long been under the control of the jihadists rebels and their allies.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Army entered the Al-Ajami District after breaking through Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s defenses at the western flank.

The source added that the Syrian Army had taken control of a dozen buildings in western Al-Ajami after fierce battle with the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman.

Intense clashes are now ongoing between the Syrian Army and jihadist rebels at the Al-Ajami District of Harasta, the military source added.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkish-backed rebels within striking distance of large town in Afrin

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:55 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:50 P.M.) – The Turkish-backed rebels had a productive weekend in the Afrin region, as their troops managed to capture several areas from the YPG forces.

Led by the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Sham Regiment, the Turkish-backed rebels scored a big advance on Friday, when their troops captured the towns of Abu Kab and Hacilar in southeast Afrin.

As a result of this advance, the Turkish-backed rebels are now just a few hundred meters away from the strategic town of Jandaris.

Jandaris is one of the largest towns in the Afrin region and its proximity to the Idlib provincial border makes it a top priority for the Turkish General Staff.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Iranian authorities seize 1.2 tons of narcotics near Afghanistan border

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:44 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 P.M.) – The Iranian authorities seized an estimated 1.2 tons of narcotics that were being transported from Afghanistan to the province of Razavi, IRNA reported on Sunday morning.

According to the IRNA report, the Iranian authorities seized the narcotics after they forcibly stopped a Peugeot that was attempting to evade the local police inside the town of Bajestan.

Iranian police commander of Bajestan, Qader Karimi, stated that the vehicle contained one ton of opium and 200 kg of hashish.

In the current Iranian year (starting on March 20, 2017), about 26 tons of drugs have been discovered in the province bodering Afghanistan.

Source: IRNA

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army captures another town in East Ghouta region

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:31 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:25 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has captured another town in the East Ghouta region this afternoon, a military source told Al-Masdar News.

According to the source, the Syrian Arab Army took control of Hawsh Dawahra after a short battle with the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam.

With Jaysh Al-Islam’s withdrawal from Hawsh Dawahra, the Syrian Arab Army has now captured four towns and one hilltop in the East Ghouta region today.

The Syrian Arab Army is now pushing further west in a bid to clear large farms located southeast of the strategic city of Douma.

The Syrian Arab Army launched their long-awaited offensive in the East Ghouta this morning, targeting the eastern part of this farm region in Damascus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Erdogan vows to ‘break the arms and wings’ of US-backed forces in Syria

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:25 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Saturday to “break the arms and wings” of the US-backed forces operating in northern Syria.

“They are not aware of the fact that we will break the arms and wings of the structure they have been striving to form and destroy it completely,” Erdogan told AKP members in the Kahramanmaras province on Saturday.

Erdogan continued that he will never allow a terrorist corridor along Turkey’s borders.

"They want to sever us from our sisters and brothers by forming a terror corridor along our borders. They do not hesitate to link arms with terrorist organizations,” he stated.

“We believe we will sooner or later bring down the terrorist organizations and those who are behind them,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan’s latest threats come just days after he warned the US about aiding the Kurdish-led YPG forces in northern Syria.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army begins another offensive in East Ghouta region

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:15 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:10 P.M.) – At approximately 10:00 A.M. (Damascus Time) this morning, the Syrian Arab Army kicked off another big offensive in the East Ghouta region.

Led by the Tiger Forces and 4th Division, the Syrian Arab Army wasted no time after the 30 day humanitarian ceasefire was announced, launching a big assault on the defenses of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in Harasta.

According to a military source, the Syrian Arab Army is involved in a fierce battle with the Islamist rebels at the Harasta-Arbeen front – no major advance has been reported.

The Syrian Arab Army has repeatedly attempted to clear the Harasta-Arbeen axis this year; however, each attack has been met with fierce resistance from the Islamist forces in the area.

In addition to their attack on Harasta, the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard stormed the Jobar suburb in the western part of the East Ghouta – no advance reported.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army breaks through Islamist lines in East Ghouta, major advance achieved

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 02:05 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) began their long-awaited East Ghouta offensive this morning, targeting the southeastern countryside of this farming region in Damascus.

Led by the Tiger Forces and 4th Division, the Syrian Arab Army managed to take control of several areas in the East Ghouta after breaking through Jaysh Al-Islam’s front-lines.

According to an official military source in Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army captured the towns Hazrama, Al-Nashabiyah, and Al-Salihiyah, along with the imperative hilltop of Tal Farzat.

As a result of this advance, the Syrian Army has now cleared this large Islamist pocket in the southeastern part of the East Ghouta region.

The Syrian Army is now advancing towards the town of Hawsh Zariqiyah, which is located northwest of Al-Nashabiyah.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia tried ‘every possible way to avoid’ resolution – Nikki Hailey

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 01:54 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:50 A.M.) – American ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley accused Russia of deliberately stalling the vote on the Syrian resolution, speaking from UN Security Council in New York City, Saturday.

“Today Russia has belatedly decided to join the international consensus and accept the need to call for a ceasefire. But only after trying every possible way to avoid it,” the US ambassador said.

‘The Syrian people should not have to die waiting for Russia to organise their instructions from Moscow, or to discuss it with the Syrians,” Haley said, stressing the fact that the resolution could have been approved three days earlier.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said that they took more time,” because we did not support the ceasefire top-down pattern on sufficiently long term.”

The resolution contains a part, which states that the ceasefire does not include Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups,” the Russian ambassador said and concluded by saying “this battle will be continued.”

The vote for the 30-day ceasefire was unanimously voted earlier on Saturday.

SOURCE: UNIFEED-UNTV, Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Turkey claims Kurdish PYD leader arrested in Prague

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 01:21 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:15 A.M.) – The leader of the Kurdish PYD political group, Salih Muslim, was arrested while visiting Prague, Turkish state owned Anadolu Agency alleged this morning.

The PYD has not responded to these claims, nor has the government of the Czech Republic.

No further details have been released.

Salih Muslim is currently wanted by the Turkish regime for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army storms strategic part of East Ghouta

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 01:12 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) began their long-awaited East Ghouta offensive this morning, targeting the eastern part of this farming region in Damascus.

Led by a plethora of units, the Syrian Arab Army began the assault by storming the Al-Nashabiyah front, where they managed to bypass Jaysh Al-Islam’s defenses and seize several points.

The Syrian Arab Army was then able to advance steadily towards the town of Hazrama and large hilltop of Tal Farzat, which overlooks much of this area, including Al-Nashabiyah.

While some preliminary reports claim that the Syrian Army has captured Al-Nashabiyah, Hazrama, Tal Farzat, and Al-Salihiyah, the military has yet to confirm these alleged gains.

If the Syrian Army was able to take control of these localities, it would mean the Islamist rebels of Jaysh Al-Islam had completely fallen apart at the eastern corridor of the East Ghouta.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkey welcomes UN Security Council resolution on Syrian ceasefire

Posted: 25 Feb 2018 01:03 AM PST

Turkey welcomes the resolution on a ceasefire regime in Syria adopted by the UN Security Council and will further its efforts to reach peace in the war-torn country, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

“We welcome the UN Security Council resolution in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation across Syria, particularly in Eastern Ghouta, which needs an immediate ceasefire for at least 30 days to ensure delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuation,” the statement read.

The ministry, meanwhile, noted that Ankara would further put efforts into reaching peace in Syria and remain decisive in the fight against terrorist organizations threatening Syrian political and territorial integrity.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401, which urges all parties to the conflict to immediately stop all clashes and adhere to a long-term “humanitarian pause” throughout Syria in order to ensure the safe and unhindered supply of humanitarian aid, as well as the medical evacuation of injured people.

The resolution followed reports that hundreds of civilians were allegedly killed in Eastern Ghouta as a result of airstrikes carried out by Damascus. The first draft was blocked by Moscow on Thursday, suggesting amendments to exclude a timeframe for the start of the arrangement regime from the document.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز