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Eastern Ghouta operation will continue – Assad

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 11:27 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:10 A.M.) – Syrian President Bashar Assad said the government’s military operation in the Eastern Ghouta district would continue, during an interview in Damascus on Sunday.

He noted that the established humanitarian corridor would still be functioning and civilians would be allowed to leave the militant-held area.

“There is no contradiction between the truce and acts of combat: the advance achieved yesterday and the day before in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army was achieved under this truce,” said Assad, referring to a daily humanitarian ceasefire called by Russia from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time (0700 GMT to 1200 GMT).

Full Transcript:

SOT, Bashar Assad, Syrian President (Arabic): "As for the issue of the humanitarian conditions the West has talked about on many levels from time to time, it is a lie, a very ridiculous lie, just as ridiculous as the Western officials who keep on repeating it, no one believes such talk. When did the West ever had any humanitarian history? During the days of the modern occupation? During the days of WWII? Millions were killed in Russia –the Soviet Union – they did not help them, they decided to land just when they saw that Russia would reap the results of war and thus they decided to interfere. In the Korean War during the 1950s or in the Iraq war recently, or in Syria? What does the Western Coalition do every day in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa, and Hasakeh? The daily massacres in February alone saw more than four massacres against civilians, thus talking about humanity has only one meaning, which is an idiom out of many idioms now filling the Western political dictionary, which is a dictionary of lies."

SOT, Bashar Assad, Syrian President (Arabic): "As long as there are people – whom we think are in the majority — in Eastern Ghouta who want to get out of the custody of terrorists and to the state, there should be a truce that gives the opportunity for whoever, even if he is a single individual, to move from the terrorists' area to the state-controlled areas. At the same time, there is no contradiction between the truce and acts of combat: the advance achieved yesterday and the day before in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian Arab Army was achieved under this truce."

SOT, Bashar Assad, Syrian President (Arabic): "The state announced earlier that the Turkish assaults and attempts at invasion are [examples of] aggression, there is no other label nor even a synonym for this word, it is exclusively aggression; nevertheless, it is more than the issue of Turkish aggression against Syria, it is an issue related to what Erdogan was seeking since the beginning of the crisis – he was seeking to create a buffer zone in order to form a starting point for the terrorists he supports to attack the Syrian army, the Syrian state, and the Syrian people […] Such manoeuvres indicate the hypocrisy of Erdogan." *JUMP CUTS AT SOURCE*

SOT, Bashar Assad, Syrian President (Arabic): "It is normal that public forces would enter, when there is a[n act of] foreign aggression it would be normal that all social strata would unify with all their affiliations while the Syrian Army is busy in combating the terrorists in other places. Otherwise; these are of the army's tasks, normally speaking, but the current situation we are passing through imposes that there would be an army fighting, a public forces [unit] fighting, with coordination between both parts."

M/S End of interview

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia successfully tests Iskander-M missile system (video)

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 11:09 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 A.M.) – An Iskander-M missile system test-launch took place at the Kapustin Yar range, Astrakhan region, Sunday.

Service personnel of the missile forces of the Western Military District completed the successful ballistic missile launch of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system.

The rocket was launched at a range of more than 100km, aiming at a target simulating the command post of a conventional enemy.

"Everything was well, the rocket found its aim," said Vasily Ivashenenko, Head of retraining for new missile systems.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army captures 25 percent of East Ghouta region

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 11:03 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued to advance on the enclave of Eastern Ghouta, as footage filmed in Al-Nashabiyah on Sunday shows.

The SAA, backed by the Tiger Forces (also known as Qawat Al-Nimr), reportedly managed to capture large pockets of territory in Eastern Ghouta, amounting to some 25 percent of the region.

Utaya, Al-Shifouniyah and Al-Nashabiyah are reportedly among the towns that have been captured by the Syrian Arab Army.

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Guatemala to relocate embassy in Israel to Jerusalem – Pres. Morales

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 10:42 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:20 A.M.) – Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales announced that the country’s embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem in May, two days after the US embassy relocates.

He made the announcement at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday.

Morales said that “two days after the United States relocates its embassy, Guatemala will return and permanently move its embassy to Jerusalem.”

The Guatemalan president also thanked Trump for “the courageous decision” and for “leading the way.”

He went on to say that the decision “strongly demonstrates Guatemala’s continued support and solidarity with the people of Israel, and we are sure that many other countries will follow in our steps.”

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian Army releases first footage of newly captured town in East Ghouta

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 10:37 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:30 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) seized the important East Ghouta town of Al-Shifouniyah, Sunday, after several days of fighting with Jaysh Al-Islam.

Led by their Tiger Forces, the Syrian Army was able to overtake the Jaysh Al-Islam militants protecting Al-Shifouniyah on Sunday, following the complete collapse of the latter’s defenses.

While pro-opposition activists denied losing the town, Syrian Army reporters released footage from Al-Shifouniyah in order to contrast the former’s claims.

Below is the first footage that was released from the town; it shows the Syrian Army at the Shifouniyah Municipal Building:

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

VIDEO: Nusra suffers brutal defeat after 3 tanks get knocked out by rival Islamists in west Aleppo

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:50 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:50 A.M.) – On Saturday, forces of the Al-Qaeda affiliate militia Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name Jabhat al-Nusra) attempted to overrun positions of rival Islamist group Jabhat Tahrir Souriya in Aleppo province’s western countryside.

Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham launched an armored assault aimed at outflanking the stronghold town of Dart Izza’ via the southeastern direction.

In the event, the jihadist armored strike group ran into wall of anti-tank missile fire at the village of Ajeel which made very quick work of it.

According to post-engagement accounts, Jabhat Tahrir Souriya’s tank hunter teams managed to knock out no less than three main battle tanks belonging to Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham during what was a short but deadly battle.

Furthermore, the Al-Qaeda affiliate group also lost a BMP infantry fighting vehicle due to a direct hit from a anti-tank guided missile.

Recently, the official media arm of Harakat Noor al-Din al-Zenki released footage on YouTube of the militant group’s anti-armor teams knocking out three Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham battle tanks.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT7BS_WsewqUf3hNvGKT44g

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Pictures: Scores of Syrian Army tanks roll through newly seized town in east Damascus on way to new mission

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:14 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:15 A.M.) – On Sunday, forces of the Syrian Army’s elite Republican Guard seized the stronghold town of Beit Naem in Damascus’ East Ghouta region from Jaysh al-Islam militants.

The operation represented the first major blow to be delivered by the Syrian Army to armed rebel groups in the southern sector of the East Ghouta enclave and served to destroy defense lines which had been unbreachable for years.

The Republican Guard assault units involved in the capture of Beit Naem comprised mostly of storming troops and heavily-uparmored T-72 main battle tanks acting in the fire support role.

With Beit Naem now under their control, Republican Guard forces will soon conduct new operations to seize the nearby town of Al-Muhammadiyah and, possibly, the town of Ash-Ash’ari.

Recently, the Republican Guard’s Facebook page released photos of some of the armored elements and assault troops which partook in the Beit Naem operation.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

West is using chemical weapons claim as pretext to attack Damascus: Assad

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:11 PM PST

Western countries are accusing Damascus of deploying chemical weapons as a pretext for airstrikes on Syrian government forces, Syrian President Bashar Al–Assad said Sunday.

“The issue of the chemical weapons became one of the entries in the Western dictionary of lies. This is simply blackmail, used only as a pretext for airstrikes on the Syrian Armed Forces,” Assad said, quoted by the press service.

Moreover, the international US-led coalition is supporting the Daesh terrorist organization, the Nusra Front terrorist group and other terrorists, Assad said Sunday.

“This coalition supports the IS [Daesh], Nusra Front and other similar terrorist groups,” Assad said, quoted by his press service.

Assad stated that the operation against militants in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta would continue alongside measures to allow civilians to leave the enclave.

“Most in Ghouta want to leave terrorists for the cover of the homeland, so the operation against terrorists will continue, while simultaneously the possibility for the civilians to leave for the government-controlled territory will be opened,” Assad said, quoted by the SANA news agency.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkish-backed rebels capture strategic district in northern Aleppo – map

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 07:15 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:05 A.M.) – The Turkish-backed rebels scored a major advance in the Afrin region this past weekend after an intense battle with the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Led by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Turkish-backed rebels managed to capture the strategic Sheikh Hadid District of Afrin, following the complete withdrawal of the YPG forces.

According to pro-opposition activists, the Turkish-backed rebels seized the entire Sheikh Hadid District, which consists of several small towns, including Mistekan, Arandi, Hajj Khalil, and Halili.

The Turkish-backed rebels are now working to fully secure the road linking the provincial capital of Idlib and the northern Aleppo city of ‘Azaz.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

US accuses Russia of “killing innocent civilians” in Syria’s East Ghouta

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 02:46 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 A.M.) – The White House accused the Russian military of “killing innocent civilians” inside Syria’s East Ghouta region.

"The United States condemns the ongoing military offensive that the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, is perpetrating against the people of Eastern Ghouta," the White House said in a statement on Sunday.

It went on to accuse Moscow of ignoring the conditions of the 30-day humanitarian pause in Syria introduced by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), claiming it had violated the cessation of hostilities "to kill innocent civilians under the false auspices of counterterrorism operations," in a strongly-worded statement.

The White House would then claim the Russian military was responsible for carrying out at least 20 airstrikes a day over the East Ghouta region.

This latest statement by the White House comes just hours after the U.S. State Department lambasted the Russian Federation over the ongoing operations in the East Ghouta.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

East Ghouta nearly split in half after latest Syrian Army advance – map

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:56 PM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been rapidly advancing through the East Ghouta region of Damascus recently, capturing several areas that were under the control of Jaysh Al-Islam.

Led by the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Army scored another important advance when their soldiers finally broke-through Jaysh Al-Islam’s main line of defense Al-Shifouniyah, forcing them to ultimately retreat in order to avoid being overrun.

The loss of Al-Shifouniyah could not come at a worse time for Jaysh Al-Islam, as their main supply route from Douma has ultimately been cutoff by the Syrian Arab Army.

Making matters worse for Jaysh Al-Islam, the Syrian Arab Army has been pushing to split the East Ghouta region in half, which is similar to their east Aleppo offensive that was carried out last Winter.

If the Syrian Army is successful in splitting the East Ghouta into two pockets, Jaysh Al-Islam will be in a world of trouble in the northern corridor of this farming region.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Syrian pro-gov’t forces release footage from Turkish airstrike that killed 36 fighters

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:02 PM PST

Pro-government forces were reportedly targeted in an air raid by the Turkish Air Force in the town of Kafr Zita, near Afrin, Saturday. Thirty-six people are reported to have died in the attack. The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led alliance, has confirmed that there was a Turkish air strike on Syrian militias in the early hours of Saturday but provided no further details.

Footage shows buildings reduced to rubble, as well as destroyed vehicles, and blood smeared on the ground. Some of those targeted were reportedly stationed in a former Russian military observation post.

The reported bombing follows a recent agreement between forces loyal to the Syrian government and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), to help in the defense of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin against the ongoing Turkish offensive, known as ‘Operation Olive Branch.’

Ankara has warned of a serious military response if Syrian government forces arrive in the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to “lay siege to Afrin city” during a recent address in parliament. In January, Erdogan announced the beginning of the operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey views the YPG, which is active in northern Syria, as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) group

 

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Saudi Crown Prince Salman arrives in Egypt for his first official trip abroad (video)

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 11:15 AM PST

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman landed in Cairo on Sunday, on his first official trip abroad since he became Crown Prince last year.

Salman was welcomed at the airport by Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh el-Sisi.

The visit of Salman comes a day after Egypt officially ratified a deal to cede sovereignty on two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, a plan that led to several protests in Egypt.

Salman will continue his trip with a visit to the UK and the USA.

Source: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: ISIS releases footage of their terrorists ambushing US troops in West Africa

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 09:38 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:37 P.M.) – On October 4 2017, four US special forces troops (service branch unknown but likely army) were gunned down during an ambush by Islamic State-affiliated terrorists in western Africa.

The engagement took place in Niger near the town of Tongo Tongo on the border with Mali.

ISIS militants achieved full surprise over their American forces on the point of contact, getting the jump on a small 3-man special forces fire team during the earliest phase of the clashes.

Possibly due to the fact they were outnumbered and lacked fire support, the US special forces unit was never able to regain any kind of tactical initiative.

A fourth US special forces solider linked to a separate unit in another vehicle was also killed in the ambush.

It appears that efforts to call for helicopter evacuation (using smoke) were carried out in vain.

The video was released on the ISIS-affiliated Telegram channel below:

Source: Directorate 4 [Telegram] – https://t.me/directorate4/1655

GoPro footage from deceased US servicemen captured by IS-loyalist forces in west Africa. Music edited in by uploader.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Russia has won a strategic victory in Syria and around the world admits US Army

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 08:40 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:40 P.M.) – According to the Military Review (the official journal of the US Army Combined Arms Center), Russia’s rolling back of Western regime change processes in Syria has not only granted the country a major strategic victory in Syria itself, but in fact around the world.

In a recent article, the US Army journal stated that Russia’s success in Syria has granted it an international victory, once again making the country a leader on the world stage after decades of isolation and pushing the United States (and the West in general) to recognize it as an equal.

The journal article shows pragmatic admiration towards Russia for its ability to quickly adapt to the declining situation in Syria at the time of its intervention and to since overcome great political and military obstacles with great efficiency despite limited resources.

Lastly, the article’s authors concede that Russia’s ‘lean’ military campaign in Syria has been enhanced by an equally ‘flexible’ diplomatic effort which has served to break the ‘monopoly’ of the US-orientated Geneva process (inherently opposed to any real compromise with the Assad government) by carving out an internationally recognized and renowned Moscow-led coalition and political process.

Thus, according to the article, even ‘if the campaign in Syria is not a victory for Russia, it is certainly a defeat for those who opposed the Russian-led coalition.’

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Yet another Islamist stronghold falls to the Syrian Army in east Damascus

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 08:20 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 P.M.) – Moments ago, yet another Islamist stronghold in Damascus’ East Ghouta region fell into the hands of the Syrian Army amid a relentless offensive government operation that is now in its eighth day.

According to military-affiliated sources, the elite Tiger Forces Division of the Syrian Army has seized control of Ash-Shifuniyah after a two-day long battle between government troops and rebel fighters of the Jaysh al-Islam militant group.

The victory at Ash-Shifuniyah comes hours after the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard captured the stronghold town of Beit Naem (several kilometers to the south), de facto ripping apart long-standing insurgent defense lines in the southern sector of the East Ghouta pocket.

By this advance the Syrian Army has captured its second town of the day (Sunday) and burst open the door for its expected advance on Masraba which, if successful, will allow it to split rebel-held territories within East Ghouta into two parts and isolate the strategic city of Douma.

Updates to follow.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking video: Syrian Air Force, Army goes on high-alert in north Hama amid possible offensive

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 07:25 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:25 P.M.) – Amid preparations for a possible government offensive against militant groups in Hama province’s northern countryside, the Syrian Army and Syrian Air Force has gone onto a state of high-alert.

On the frontline opposite key rebel stronghold towns like Al-Latemenah, Kafr Zita and Qalaat al-Mudiq, Syrian troops and armor have been assembling at designated rally points whilst reconnaissance assets survey rebel movements and positions.

Likewise, Syrian warplanes and artillery forces have been conducting spoiling operations, targeting militant defenses and patrols ahead of a great attack that may or may not come.

Overall, such actions alone serve to keep insurgent groups (who have long since lost the strategic initiative) guessing and thus on the back foot.

Recently, the Russian Federal News network released footage showing the heightened activity of Syrian air and army forces in northern Hama province.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Militants in E Ghouta Impose Curfew during humanitarian pauses – Russian MoD

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 06:11 AM PST

Militants in Syria's Eastern Ghouta announced curfew for time of humanitarian pauses and outlaw the civilians' mass rallies, Maj Gen Vladimir Zolotukhin, a representative of the Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria, told reporters on Sunday.

“According to the information, the Center has receive, participants of the illegal armed groups in Eastern Ghouta have announced curfew for civilians for the time of humanitarian pauses,” he said. “The locals, who violate these regulations, undergo public punishments.”

The militants also banned mass rallies, so that the locals could not breakthrough towards the humanitarian corridor.

The sixth humanitarian pause began in Eastern Ghouta at 09:00 local time on Sunday. The militants continue holding the locals from crossing the humanitarian corridor. Only two children managed to use the corridor in the past humanitarian pauses. On Saturday, the militants' sharpshooters fired on the humanitarian corridor, where they injured three civilians.

TASS

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Video shows Elite SAA commander leading Ghouta offensive

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 05:41 AM PST

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:45 P.M.) – With the decision to restore the long-time rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region has been taken by the Syrian government, the SAA’ elite Tiger Forces were deployed for the next-to-impossible mission.

The battle-hardened troops have achieved substantial advances against the Islamist rebels, recapturing several towns and farms.

Video footage published recently on social media shows the Tiger Forces’ commander Brigadier General Suheil al-Hassan leading the battle in one of East Ghouta fronts.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Syrian Army kicks-off assault to split militant-held east Damascus pocket into two

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 05:27 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:27 P.M.) – Following the seizure of several key militant strongholds across Damascus’ East Ghouta region (including Beit Naem which is not shown in the map above) during the last two days, the Syrian Army is now gearing up to split the rebel enclave into two parts.

All reports and developments indicate that the insurgent bastion in East Ghouta will be divided horizontally along the Ash-Shifuniyah-Harasta axis.

To this end, Syrian troops plan to capture the district towns of Ash-Shifuniyah, Masraba, Mudayrah, Beit Sawa and Ar-Rayhan from Islamist rebel groups.

The militant factions which are expected to resist this move include Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham – it is possible that Free Syrian Army affiliate group Faylaq al-Rahman may also commit forces to the engagement.

All in all, the Syrian Army is just over three kilometers from splitting the territorial holdings of rebel forces in East Ghouta into two at the closest point.

 

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Pictures: Syrian Army spies taunt Islamists in east Damascus by showing off presence in major rebel stronghold

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 04:35 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:35 P.M.) – Syrian military spies have struck once again, this time flaunting photos of their presence in the militant-controlled district city of Douma in Damascus’ East Ghouta region.

The development is highly reminiscent of what happened during the Syrian Army's recent operation in the country’s northwest where intelligence agents disclosed their presence (not themselves obviously) at a number of jihadist stronghold towns and cities across Idlib and other provinces.

The existence of Syrian government agents in Douma city shows how Syrian military intelligence has also penetrated the ranks of rebel groups in East Ghouta in addition to northwest Syria.

Whilst the actions recently displayed in Douma represent psychological operations, Syrian military spies often carry out more conventional tasks such as providing intelligence on insurgent movements, gatherings and bases, conducting assassinations and relaying coordinates for airstrikes by Russian and Syrian warplanes against important rebel targets.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: Elite Syrian Army forces snatch another militant stronghold in east Damascus

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 04:16 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:15 P.M.) – Moments ago, military-affiliated sources confirmed that elite forces of the Syrian Army had seized the militant stronghold town of Beit Naem in Damascus’ East Ghouta region.

The operation to take Beit Naem was carried out by Republican Guard assault units  and represents capitalization on Syrian Army gains at Tal Firzat and Hawsh As-Salhiyah earlier on in the week.

Prior to its capture by Syrian forces, the town had been under the control of the Jaysh al-Islam rebel group for many years.

The fall of Beit Naem to government troops means that a dangerous gap has now been ripped open in militant defense lines across the southern sector of the East Ghouta pocket.

In the days to come, the Syrian Army will likely use Beit Naem as a staging point to launch additional attacks against insurgent groups towards the towns of Hawsh ash-Ash’ari and Muhammadiyah.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Confirmed: Libyan Haftar government requests Russian base in country

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 03:29 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 P.M.) – About two weeks ago, leader of the Libyan Tobruk government Field Marshal General Haftar requested Russian military authorities to establish a base in the war-torn country.

Speaking to Egypt’s Youm7 weekly release, Head of the Russian Contact Group in Libya Lev Dengov confirmed that Haftar had in fact directly contacted the Russian Ministry of Defence in asking for a Russian military base to be established in Libya.

Dengov could not confirm whether or not Haftar’s request was accepted by Russian military-diplomatic authorities.

In what is now the fourth year of a renewed civil war, pro-Haftar forces have gained control of about two-thirds of Libya from rival polities. Non-state jihadist entities like ISIS aside, the main opposition to Haftar’s complete take over of Libya is the Western-backed Islamist Tripoli government.

Although yet to engage in proper bilateral military cooperation, Haftar has – since the start of the second civil war – maintained warm relations with Russia.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Breaking: ISIS launches multiple attacks across Iraq

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 02:09 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:08 P.M.) – On Saturday, the Islamic State terrorist group carried out a number of big attacks across Iraq against government forces, targeting their movements, positions and gatherings in the administrative provinces of Diyala, Kirkuk and Anbar.

In Diyala, ISIS attacked a patrol of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) on the road between Khanaqin to Sadiyah reportedly destroying two armed vehicles during the engagement.

In Kirkuk, Islamic State militants struck two targets, a gathering of PMU troops in Bashir village and an Iraqi federal police unit at Al-Abbassi village; the terrorist group claims to have killed two government soldiers and destroyed a police vehicle (respectively) during the attacks.

In Anbar, terrorist forces conducted a suicide bombing on an Iraqi Army checkpoint west of Ramadi city and a twin IED attack against security patrol near the Jordanian border – the latter ambush reportedly killed eleven Iraqi troops.

The hit-and-run ambush-style nature of the attacks on Saturday reflects the Islamic State’s return to a low-intensity insurgency doctrine following the virtual annihilation of its Levantine empire over the course of 2017.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Lebanese security forces arrest wanted Nusra terrorist near Syrian border

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 02:08 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – The Lebanese Internal Security Forces arrested a wanted terrorist from the outlawed Al-Nusra Front near the border-city of ‘Arsal on Thursday, a military communique read this weekend.

According to the communique, the Internal Security Forces arrested the Al-Nusra Front member while combing through the ‘Arsal area in eastern Lebanon.

The Al-Nusra Front members was identified in the communique by the initals of “A.Q.”; he is a Syrian national and 23 years old.

"Through its round-the-clock monitoring of the activities of members of terrorist groups, especially those who fought against the Lebanese Army in Arsal's outskirts, the ISF Intelligence Branch has managed to detect and arrest Syrian national A.Q., 23, in the town of Arsal," an ISF statement read, as quoted by the AFP.

"During interrogation, he confessed that he had entered Lebanon along with his family in 2014 and that he joined the ranks of al-Nusra Front,” the communique concluded.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta was impossible on Saturday: Russian general

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 01:51 AM PST

Militants holed up in Eastern Ghouta continue staging provocations during humanitarian pauses, so sniper fire was delivered at the area surrounding the checkpoint throughout Saturday, Maj Gen Vladimir Zolotukhin, a representative of the Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria, told reporters.

“A humanitarian corridor operates under control of the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides. Nevertheless, militants do not stop provocations even during humanitarian pauses,” he said.

“Today, the area near the checkpoint came under sniper fire throughout the day. Besides, from 9.35 a.m. until 11.10 a.m. fire from small arms was opened four times on the humanitarian corridor, three local civilians received wounds.”

A network of underground tunnels is actively used by insurgents, Zolotukhin said.

Civilians failed to evacuate from Eastern Ghouta as illegal armed units force people to stay as “a human shield” against the Syrian government forces' strikes.

“For this purpose, the Jaysh al-Islam leaders deployed their command centers and fortifications to residential houses in populated localities of Ash-Shafuniya and Utaya. The illegal group's actions coupled with their shelling of the city of Damascus and its outskirts are war crimes. Those guilty must be held accountable,” he said.

According to the Syrian intelligence, the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group (banned in Russia) is plotting a provocation to sabotage the UN relief convoy scheduled for March 4 in the town of Douma.

“Jihadists are planning to open mortar fire on the convoy and pin the blame on government forces. We demand the leaders of illegal armed groups halt provocations, abide by the cessation of hostilities and immediately provide unimpeded evacuations for civilians from the area of fighting,” he said in conclusion.

Humanitarian pauses

On February 24, the UN Security Council in a unanimous vote approved the resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria to allow aid access to the population. The Security Council's 15 members, including Russia, voted for the document.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Monday said that on instructions from Russian President Vladimir Putin a daily humanitarian pause was introduced in Eastern Ghouta (a suburb of Damascus) from 09:00 to 14:00 local time, starting from Tuesday, February 27.

In the village of Al-Wafideen, the Syrian authorities and the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides created conditions for civilians evacuating along the only humanitarian corridor connecting Damascus and Eastern Ghouta.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/992654

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Turkey claims over 2,600 YPG, ISIS fighters killed in northern Syria

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:59 AM PST

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:50 A.M.) – Over 2,600 fighters from the Kurdish-led YPG and so-called Islamic State (ISIS) have been killed in the Afrin region of northern Aleppo since January 20th, the Turkish General Staff reported on Sunday morning.

According to the General Staff, the Turkish Armed Forces and their rebel allies have “neutralized a total of 2,612 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists” in the Afrin region.

Despite supporting UN Resolution 2401, the Turkish regime does not believe the 30 day ceasefire should halt their operations in Afrin, as they claim their forces are fighting ‘terrorists.’

While they claim their forces have killed a large number of ISIS militants in Afrin, the terrorist group does not actually have a presence in this region or any part of the Aleppo Governorate.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز

Lebanese general says military ready for war with Israel

Posted: 04 Mar 2018 12:23 AM PST

The supreme commander of the Lebanese military declared on Thursday that his forces were equipped with "the complete will" to defend their country from Israeli aggression, as relations between the neighboring Middle Eastern countries continue to ratchet up.

Lebanese Commander General Joseph Aoun (no relation to the Lebanese President Michel Aoun) commented that the forces under his command would not be taken by surprise while touring troops stationed in the capital city of Beirut.

“The army maintains its readiness on the southern border to confront any Israeli military aggression or any attempt to encroach on parts of its land and maritime borders,” Aoun said on Thursday.

“The army has the complete will to defend Lebanese rights through all of its available means and capabilities, no matter how much the enemy’s threats and provocations may escalate.”

While Israel and Lebanon have never had good relations, things have threatened to explode into armed conflict as spillover from the Syrian Civil War. One major player in the conflict is Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group that serves as a proxy for Iran, Israel’s greatest enemy.

Hezbollah is a paramilitary group, but their political wing is also a crucial part of Lebanon’s ruling March 8 Alliance, a coalition of primarily conservative and nationalist parties. Hezbollah holds 11 of the 128 seats in the Lebanese Parliament. President Aoun’s party, the Free Patriotic Movement, is also part of the March 8 Alliance.

The presence of an Iranian proxy in Lebanon has been a sticking point in bilateral relations with Israel, further inflamed by Hezbollah’s assistance in the battle against Daesh in the Syrian Civil War. In December 2017, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz threatened to bomb Lebanon “back to the stone age” if they allowed Hezbollah to build Iranian rocket platforms in their territory.

“This is a red line for us, whatever the price,” Katz said. “The more precise the Hezbollah missiles, the bigger the blow Lebanon will absorb.”

Israel has also begun construction of a Lebanese border wall, but Beirut has complained that several parts of the wall cross into their territory. President Aoun told Lebanese paper The Daily Star on Tuesday that the wall was “an additional assault on Lebanese sovereignty that Lebanon rejects.”

The two nations also continue to feud over natural gas reserves discovered in the Mediterranean Sea in 2011, as the zone in question is disputed between the two nations. Israel continues to drill in the region, while Lebanon says they are preparing to begin the same.

The feud stretches back to 1982 in the midst of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war. Israel invaded southern Lebanon to destroy Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) bases taking advantage of the chaos to operate out of Lebanon. The PLO was successfully forced out, but relations between Israel and Lebanon never recovered and Hezbollah was soon created from the remains of the PLO.

In 2006, Israel invaded Lebanon once more in retribution for a Hezbollah raid. Over 1,500 people were killed in the fighting, most of them Lebanese civilians. The Lebanese military stayed out of the conflict then, although Hezbollah’s resistance eventually forced the Israeli Defense Forces to withdraw. Both sides have repeatedly violated the UN-brokered ceasefire over the conflict: Israeli warplanes have continuously violated Lebanese airspace, while Hezbollah has refused to disarm.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز