- VIDEO: Huge Russian thermobaric bomb incinerates Nusra courthouse in Idlib near border with Turkey, many jihadists neutralized
- Car crash kills, injures scores of evacuated militants en route to Idlib
- Syrian Army’s announces official control over East Ghouta towns (video)
- Breaking: Jaysh Al-Islam announces preliminary agreement with Russia in Douma
- Syrian Army to officially launch southern Syria offensive
- Gerry Adams blasts Israel: Ireland called upon to expel Israeli ambassador
- Breaking: Syrian Army in full control of several towns in East Ghouta
- East Ghouta militants release 8 soldiers from their prisons (video)
- Peshmerga says PKK has not left Sinjar, raising tensions with Iraqi forces
- Russian Air Force destroys HTS Shariah Court near Turkish border
- Trump freezes over $200 million in aid for Syria: report
- Video footage shows Israeli drone’s wreckage in southern Lebanon
- Over 6,000 militants with families evacuated from East Ghouta – Russian MoD
- Russia launches retaliatory airstrikes after militants attack Syrian Christian town
- Mass graves uncovered in west Raqqa, bodies believed to be 200+ Syrian soldiers executed by ISIS
- Syrian Army discovers large militant tunnel in East Ghouta (video)
- Breaking: Houthi forces fire ballistic missile at Saudi National Guard base
- Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian killed in northern Gaza (video)
- Syrian military amassing troops along eastern Euphrates to retake oil fields: report
- Jihadist civil war proves costly as both groups slaughter each other for west Aleppo
- Israeli spy drone downed over southern Lebanon
- Saudi-backed forces suffer heavy losses as Houthis advances in northern Yemen
- People of Raqqa start uprising against US-backed groups – Russian MoD
- Residents in Idlib call on Turkey to take over their towns (photos)
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 11:55 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:55 A.M.) – Video footage (below) has emerged showing the moment that Russian warplanes carried out a precision strike against a Sharia (Islamic law) courthouse belonging to Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name, Al-Nusra Front) in Idlib province near the Turkish border.
The bombing was just one of up to forty such Russian airstrikes that took place on Saturday across rebel-controlled areas of northwest Syria targeting militant movements, tactical positions, gatherings and bases.
The raids were apparently a response to suspicions that insurgents were preparing to carry out an offensive operation against the Syrian Army somewhere in the country’s northwest.
Based on the footage, it appears that Russian warplanes stuck the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham courthouse with a large thermobaric (fuel-air) bomb. At least dozen jihadist rebels and Al-Qaeda officials were killed and injured according to sources.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 10:29 PM PDT
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:30 A.M.) – At least 6 militants were killed, 20 others injured when their bus collided with another car while their convoy was heading to Idlib.
A bus carrying rebel fighters who left East Ghouta pocket to the country’s northwestern province of Idlib hit a mini truck loaded with vegetables. The two following buses then crashed to the first bus.
The collision took place in the Syrian government-held area of the Al-Bared River road, latakia province.
The Syrian government had declared all former Faylaq al-Rahman strongholds of Jobar, Zamalka, Ayn Tarma and Arbeen now under the Syrian Army control after the last batch of militants and their families left the enclave.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 04:48 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:40 A.M.) – Chief of the General Staff of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Ali Mayhoub announced that his troops established full control over “all Eastern Ghouta cities and villages in Damascus country,” during a televised address on Saturday.
“It obliterated hundreds of terrorists and destroyed their headquarters, gatherings, fortifications, weapons and machines, including factories of cannons, missiles, and different projectiles, while other units are carrying on their combating mission around Douma to save it from terrorism,” he added.
Mandatory credit: Syrian Ministry of Defence
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 04:03 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 A.M) – Jaysh Al-Islam announced tonight that they have reached a preliminary agreement with the Russian Reconciliation Center that would allow for the latter to transport their critical wounded fighters to northern Syria.
Based on the details of the agreement, Jaysh Al-Islam will allow Russia to transport their wounded fighters to Idlib in exchange for an extended ceasefire inside the town of Douma.
According to a military source in Damascus, a full agreement is expected to be announced in the next 48 hours.
The source added that Jaysh Al-Islam is close to accepting all of the Syrian military’s terms, including their departure from Douma to northern Syria.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:44 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) will be officially launching their southern Syria offensive in the coming weeks, a military source told Al-Masdar News this evening.
According to the military source, most of the Syrian Army units that participated in the East Ghouta offensive will now partake in the operations in southern Syria.
The source added that the primary objectives will be to secure the main highway from Dara’a to Damascus and retake the Al-Quneitra Governorate from the jihadist rebels.
The Syrian Army has offered to reconcile with the rebel forces in Dara’a; however, the latter has rejected all of the government’s offers.
No date has been announced for the offensive.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:28 PM PDT
DAMSCUS, SYRIA (12:00 P.M)- Ireland’s Gerry Adams, has called for immediate action to be taken against Israel, as a result of its execution of 16 peaceful Gazan protestors this Friday.
The UN, EU were urged by Mr. Gerry Adams to take action, he also stressed that the current Israeli Ambassador to Ireland be expelled from the country.
Gerry Adams described Gaza as an open air prison, noting that the conditions endured in Gaza are unbearable.
“The time for excuses are over”- Gerry Adams
Mr Adams said, according to the ‘Belfast Telegraph’, that: “There can be no justification or excuse by Israel for the calculated slaughter by Israeli military snipers of unarmed Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border with Israel.”
The figure has taken a strong stance, at a time when International organisations, media and politicians have all but ignored the massacre of 16 Palestinians and the injuring of 1500+ others.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 01:52 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 P.M.) – For the first time since the start of the war, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is in full control of several towns in the western part of the East Ghouta region.
Following the departure of the last batch of militants and their families, today, the Syrian Army entered the towns of Zamalka, Jobar, 'Ayn Tarma, and 'Arbeen.
Once they entered these towns, the Syrian Army was able to assert control over all the areas that were previously under the control of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay'at Tahrir Al-Sham.
With these areas under their control, the Syrian Army will now shift their attention to the Jaysh al-Islam held town of Douma.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 04:46 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:40 P.M.) – The Islamist rebels in the East Ghouta region have released eight Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers as part of the deal they made with the government last week.
According to a military report, the eight Syrian Army soldiers had previously been captured by the militants during the government offensives in 2014 and 2016.
These eight soldiers are believed to be the last military personnel that were imprisoned by Faylaq Al-Rahman in the East Ghouta.
The video below was taken by the SANA yesterday; it shows the soldiers after their release:
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 04:28 AM PDT
A representative of the Peshmerga, the Kurdish military forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, told Sputnik that claims by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) about having retreated from Sinjar were actually a ruse.
In Iraq, the issue of the PKK leaving Sinjar is still on the agenda. A number of key political and military figures, including an Iraqi army spokesman, an Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi militia representative, and Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Ibadi, have said that the PKK has completely retreated from the Sinjar region near the northern border of Iraq, with government forces and Peshmerga units taking their place.
However, Xelil Shirvan, a Peshmerga representative in Sinjar, told Sputnik that the PKK has not, in fact, leave the area.
“The PKK leadership claimed it left Sinjar, but in reality it is not so. They made this statement to confuse the citizens of Sinjar and prevent a Turkish attack in the area. There are still some 500 militants of the PKK in the Sinjar mountains. In addition, there are some 2,000 Yazidi fighters of the Sinjar Resistance Forces, which is a division of PKK, despite having a different flag,” Shirvan said.
He also underscored that there are rising tensions between Iraqi government forces located in Sinjar and several Peshmerga units.
“There are rising tensions between the Iraqi army and units under the command of Kasim Shisho, the commander of the Peshmerga in Sinjar. The Iraqi army intended to take Sherefedin — a major center of the Yazidi population in Sinjar. However, Peshmerga forces under Shisho’s command stood up against it and stated their readiness to protect Sherefedin. This was the reason for rising tensions,” he said.
Earlier this week, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Iraqi military had started an operation against the PKK in Sinjar and stated that if Iraqi forces face difficulties, Turkey will take things into its own hands — a move vehemently opposed by Baghdad, which claims that such an action would be a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 04:10 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – The Russian Aerospace Forces unleashed a flurry of airstrikes over the western part of the Idlib Governorate, today, targeting several areas near the Turkish border.
According to a military report from Damascus, the Russian Aerospace Forces launched a heavy barrage of airstrikes over Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions near the key city of Jisr Al-Shughour near the Latakia-Turkey border.
The report added that the Russian Aerospace Forces had conducted 30+ airstrikes over the Idlib Governorate already today.
In addition to targeting Jisr Al-Shughour, the Russian Aerospace Forces also struck an HTS Shari’ah Court near the town of Al-Dana.
These airstrikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces come in lieu of reports that the militants in the Idlib Governorate were preparing to launch an offensive against the Syrian Army in the area.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:50 AM PDT
US President Donald Trump on Friday suspended over $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in Syria after suggesting that US exit was a matter of time, local media reported.
Trump put the aid to Syria on hold after reading a news story about then State Secretary Rex Tillerson's February commitment to an extra $200 million for Syria, US officials told the Wall Street Journal.
US-led coalition instructors monitor as they train Iraqi soldiers from the army’s 72nd infantry brigade while participating in a joint live ammunition exercise at Besmaya military base in south of Baghdad, Iraq, January 27, 2016.
The United States reportedly spent an equal sum last year on removing unexploded weapons in Syria, as well as restoring electricity and water supply.
This comes after Trump told his supporters in Ohio that the United States would be coming out of Syria “very soon” and said other countries should take care of it.
The State Department spokeswoman said she was unaware of any troops withdrawal plans.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:42 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 P.M.) – An Israeli drone crashed inside the Nabatiyeh Governorate of Lebanon this morning after it was seen circling several towns near the border.
The drone reportedly crashed in the Bint Jbeil countryside after experiencing technical failures.
Once the drone crashed, another Israeli drone was used to destroy the reconnaissance aircraft, thus rendering it unusable.
The drone was identified as a Elbit Hermes 450.
Below is the footage of the wreckage:
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:32 AM PDT
More than 6,200 militants and their families left Syria's Eastern Ghouta via a humanitarian corridor on Friday and were transported to the Idlib province by buses, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.
"Via a humanitarian corridor, 6,276 militants and members of their families were transported by 141 buses to the province of Idlib on March 30," the statement read.
The ministry noted that Failaq al-Rahman militants continued to leave the settlement of Irbin in Eastern Ghouta as a result of the agreements reached by senior officials of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation with the group's leaders.
The total number of militants and their families, who have left Irbin since the relevant agreement has been in place, has reached 38,191.
The ministry also announced the decision to prolong the regime of humanitarian pauses to let the rest of the Failaq al-Rahman militants leave Eastern Ghouta.
The ministry further noted that over 150,000 people had left Eastern Ghouta since the launch of daily humanitarian pauses in late February organized by the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation.
“Overall since the launch of the humanitarian pauses in Eastern Ghouta the evacuation of over 150,000 people has been organized with the help of Russian center [for Syrian reconciliation],” the statement read.
The ministry added that the civilians continued to return to the settlements liberated from militants with Russian military delivering humanitarian and medical aid.
The situation in Eastern Ghouta has been tense over the past months, resulting in ongoing shelling by militants of Damascus and fire from the Syrian pro-government forces.
The Syrian government says it opens fire in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russia of being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area.
On February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 that urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately stop fighting and adhere to a humanitarian pause for at least 30 days across the whole of Syria.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:27 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – The Russian Aerospace Forces conducted several airstrikes over the northern countryside of Hama, yesterday, following an attack by the jihadist rebels on a Syrian Christian town.
Russian jets flying out of the Hmaymim Military Airport reportedly launched over 15 airstrikes over the northern Hama towns of Kafr Zia, Zakat, Lataminah, and Latmin, a military source told Al-Masdar News.
Prior to the retaliatory strikes, the jihadist rebels launched several artillery shells towards the Syrian Christian town of Mhardeh, which agitated the Russians because they currently have forces there.
Below is a video from a pro-opposition channel that shows the Russian Aerospace Forces targeting northern Hama:
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:13 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and local civil defense units have reportedly discovered three mass graves in the western countryside of the Al-Raqqa Governorate today.
According to local reports, the mass graves were discovered just west of the Tabaqa Military Airport.
Over 45 bodies have already been retrieved from these mass graves; many more are expected to be pulled out in the coming hours and days.
The exhumed bodies are believed to be the remains of the 200+ Syrian Army soldiers that were brutally marched through the desert and executed by the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 03:02 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:55 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) discovered a large tunnel inside the East Ghouta region, Friday, while conducting a sweeping operation in the ‘Ayn Tarma suburb.
According to a military report, this tunnel was used by the militants to store weapons, food, and medicine, while also providing them with an outlet to carry out surprise attacks.
Below is the video of the Syrian Army discovering the tunnel:
As the Syrian Army continues their sweeping operation of the captured suburbs, they are expecting to uncover several more tunnels that were used by the militants in the East Ghouta.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:41 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 P.M.) – The Houthi forces fired short-range ballistic missile at a Saudi military installation inside the Kingdom’s Najran Region this morning, the Saba News Agency of Yemen reported.
According to the report, the Houthi rocket battalion fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at the Saudi National Guard base that is located inside the Najran Region.
The report added that the missile struck its target, causing severe losses in the Saudi ranks.
Saudi state-owned Al-Arabiya contrasted this claim, stating that the missile was intercepted by their air defense forces before it could reach its intended target.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:33 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – Thousands of people attended the funeral of Sari Walid Abu Odeh in Beit Hanoun on Friday in the northern part of the Gaza strip who was killed during a protest at the March of Return demonstration earlier in the day.
The funeral started in the deceased's home and ended in the town's main cemetery amid a clear state of anger due to today's events.
According to local media, 15 people were killed and more than 1,000 were wounded on Friday when Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters at Gaza’s border with Israel as they gathered for the annual March of Return to commemorate Land Day.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:19 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:10 P.M.) – The Syrian military has been amassing troops along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, Syrian journalist Eyad Al-Hosain reported this morning.
According to Al-Hosain, the Syrian military is preparing to launch an operation to retake the oil fields currently occupied by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the eastern countryside of the Deir Ezzor Governorate.
No specific oil field was mentioned in the report by Al-Hosain; however, if an operation were to be launched by the Syrian military, it would likely focus on the Al-‘Umar Oil Field.
The Al-‘Umar Oil Field is one of the largest oil fields in Syria and strategically located along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
No further details were released about this reported buildup of Syrian troops.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:09 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – For the fourth day in a row, the jihadist rebels have engaged in a series of intense clashes inside the northern provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.
According to pro-opposition activists, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham launched a big assault in west Aleppo this morning, targeting several towns near Daret ‘Izza.
Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s first assault appears to have failed, as pro-Jabhat Tahrir Souriya activists report that scores of fighters from the latter’s organization were killed at the town of Maklabis.
This jihadist civil war in northern Syria is continuously intensifying between HTS and JTS, despite several attempts by allied groups to facilitate a peace agreement.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 02:00 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – An Israeli spy drone was downed over the southern countryside of Lebanon, today, after it was seen circling two villages in the Bint Jbeil District.
According to the National News Agency of Lebanon, the Israeli spy drone was downed while it was flying between the Bint Jbeil villages of Bra’chit and Beit Hanoun.
The drone reportedly had four rockets inside of it before it crashed; however, only two of them did not explode.
The NNA report indicated that the Lebanese Army and UNIFIL forces have since cordoned off the area.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 01:52 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 A.M.) – The Saudi-backed troops suffered heavy casualties in northern Yemen on Friday, as the Houthi forces continued their powerful offensive in eastern Sana’a.
According to the official media wing of the Houthi forces, their fighters managed to capture the Al-Bayad mountain chain and nearby Tabbet Ayash Hill after launching a surprise attack in eastern Nihm.
The Houthi forces also added that a large number of Saudi-backed Hadi loyalists were killed during the attack.
Recently, the Houthi forces have increased their military activity in northern Yemen, seizing several areas from the Saudi-backed troops that were previously on the offensive.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 01:09 AM PDT
Col. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, commented on the situation in Raqqa, Syria and Eastern Ghouta.
The Situation in Raqqa
The native Arab population began an uprising against US-controlled units in the suburbs of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Chief of the General Staff Sergei Rudskoy said.
“The command of the Syrian Democratic Forces and local governments, appointed by the Americans, do not cope with the need to resolve humanitarian problems. The native Arab population is subjected to repression and punishment, forced mobilization is being carried out. This causes sharp discontent among local residents,” he said.
The infrastructure of Raqqa, Syria, where nearly 95 thousand people have returned, is completely destroyed, according Sergei Rudskoy.
“According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a disastrous humanitarian crisis has developed in Raqqa,” Rudskoy said.
He noted that because the water main isn’t working, there are serious problems with water supplies. Water is often taken directly from the Euphrates, which increases the threat of the spread of infections and epidemics.
Raqqa was taken over by the terrorist group Daesh* in 2013, which went on to declare it the capital of their self-proclaimed caliphate in 2014. In late 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the support of the US-led coalition, started an operation aimed at freeing the city from the militants’ grasp. In October 2017, the SDF announced the full liberation of the city, which was later confirmed by the US-led coalition.
Situation in Eastern Ghouta
More than 44,000 people left the suburban Damascus region of Eastern Ghouta through the humanitarian corridors, Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said.
“Today one can say that the situation in Eastern Ghouta has radically changed. Right now you are witnessing a humanitarian operation on a unique scale. Today alone, 26,610 civilians have left [Eastern Ghouta] through the humanitarian corridor, while the total number of people, who’ve left Eastern Ghouta has reached 44,639,” Rudskoy said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the United Nations confirmed the withdrawal of refugees from Eastern Ghouta, carried out in line with international law.
There have been no military actions in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region in the past seven days; most of the region is controlled by Damascus, Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy stated.
“The Russian Reconciliation Center and Syrian authorities are carrying out an unprecedentedly large-scale humanitarian operation in the suburban Damascus region of Eastern Ghouta,” the official added.
The situation in Eastern Ghouta has been tense over the past months, with militants in the region and Syrian pro-government forces exchanging constant fire. The Syrian government says it opens fire in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are accusing the Syrian government and Russia of being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area.
On February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 that urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately stop fighting and adhere to a humanitarian pause for at least 30 days across the whole of Syria.
Militants in Syria Continue Provocations
Militants in Syria are further attempting to carry out provocations with the use of chemical weapons in order to blame Damascus for chemical attacks on civilians, Sergei Rudskoy said Saturday.
“I want to draw your attention to the ongoing attempts of the militants to carry out provocations with the use of poisoning substances to accuse government troops of using chemical weapons against the local population,” Rudskoy said.
He added that the US instructors had prepared several groups of militants at a camp near the city of al Tanf to carry out provocations with the use of chemical weapons. According to Rudskoy, the toxic agents have been delivered to southern Syria under the guise of a humanitarian aid convoy.
He added that 20 containers with chlorine were delivered to settlements located 25 kilometers (15 miles) to northwest of Idlib, with Nusra Front* terrorists preparing an attack in the area.
Rudskoy noted that the provocations were also aimed at creating a pretext for US strikes against the Syrian government.
Posted: 31 Mar 2018 12:28 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – Residents northeastern Idlib took to the streets on Friday to call on Turkey to take over their towns in order to prevent the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from advancing towards them.
According to pro-opposition activists, residents in the Idlib Governorate town of Saraqib demonstrated in support of the Turkish military taking over their towns and even raised the Turkish flag over a municipal building.
The Turkish Army currently has several observation points in northwestern Idlib; however, they have yet to enter the town of Saraqib.
Below are the photos from the demonstration on Friday:
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