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Syrian Army’s elite division likely to deploy to southwest Idlib for offensive: source

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 04:17 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces are likely to be redeployed to the southwestern countryside of the Idlib Governorate, a military source told Al-Masdar News.

According to the source, the Tiger Forces will lead the offensive to retake the strategic town of Jisr Al-Shughour, which has been under the control of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (formerly Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, Jabhat Al-Nusra) and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP).

Similar to their other offensives in northern Syria, the Tiger Forces will be backed by local militias and the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The Russian military has reportedly been given the green light by Turkey to launch this offensive, since the town is currently under the control of terrorist groups.

While nothing is official yet, the Tiger Forces to the Jisr Al-Shughour front would make the most sense for their next deployment because the Russian military wants to secure the Hmaymim Airbase.

As long as the jihadist rebels maintain a presence in the Al-Ghaab Plain and Jisr Al-Shughour District, their rockets will be able to reach the Hmaymim Airbase and densely populated areas of the Latakia Governorate.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Last rebel areas in east Qalamoun to be surrendered to Syrian gov’t on Saturday

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 03:56 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:50 A.M.) – Jaysh Thuwar Al-Sham’s resistance in the eastern Qalamoun was short-lived, as they agreed to surrender their last positions to the Syrian government on Friday.

According to a military source in Damascus city, the last towns under Jaysh Thuwar Al-Sham’s control in the eastern Qalamoun region will be handed over to the government on Saturday, along with their heavy weapons.

Evacuations in the towns of Ruhaybah، Jayroud, and Al-Nassiryah will begin on Saturday morning, following the entrance of Russian and Syrian military police and buses.

Once the last members of Jaysh Thuwar Al-Sham leave these three towns, the entire eastern Qalamoun region will be under Syrian government control for the first time since the advent of this conflict.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Russian media correspondent killed in Syria

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 03:22 PM PDT

A correspondent for Russian media company has been killed in Syria, head of Russia’s Chechen Republic head Ramsan Kadyrov reported on social media.

A string correspondent for Russia’s Chechnya media company “Grozny” has been killed in Syria, according to the Republic’s head Ramsan Kadyrov reported in a social media post in Vkontakte.

Syrian national Ihab Balan has been shot dead in Syria, Kadyrov reported, expressing his condolences to the relatives of the correspondent as well as to the staff of the broadcaster.

The Chechen leader has also condemned in strongest terms the activity of the Daesh* terror organization, saying that the terrorists “yet again revealed their true colours by killing a man of the most peaceful profession.”

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Iran warns Israel: ‘Our hands are on the trigger’

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 03:12 PM PDT

A senior member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) alerted Israel Friday that Tehran's "hands are on the trigger and missiles are ready" to strike all Israeli air bases after a map of air bases in Syria believed to be controlled by Iran was shared with Israeli media earlier this week.

In a bellicose speech given in Tehran, IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami warned that Israel was living “in the dragon’s mouth” since northern and western Israeli bases were “in the range of our missiles.”

​”Don’t trust your airbases. They’re within reach,” he said, adding that “wherever you are in the occupied land, you’ll be under fire from us, from east and west. You became arrogant. If there’s a war, the result will be your complete elimination.”

According to the Times of Israel, the remarks were “in apparent reaction to Israel’s publication on Tuesday of a map showing five Tehran-controlled bases in Syria.”

On April 9, Israeli aircraft fired upon the T-4 air base in central Syria, which Moscow, Damascus, Tehran and some US officials confirmed at the time. On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the strike was discussed at the highest levels of the US-Israel alliance, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conferring with US President Donald Trump before ordering the strike.

The strike targeted Iranian air-defense equipment and elements of Iran’s drone program, the WSJ reported. While Netanyahu’s government has refused to comment on the strike, the Times of Israel notes, a senior Israeli military official told Thomas Friedman of the New York Times this week that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people.”

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Russia: ‘They bombed negotiations in Geneva’- Lavrov and de Mistura discuss Syria

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 02:44 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:30 A.M.) – On April 14, the USA along with the UK and France “bombed not only the imaginary chemical facilities in Syria, but they bombed the negotiations in Geneva as well,” stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the joint press-conference with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Moscow, Friday.

Speaking after talks with De Mistura, the Russian top diplomat expressed concern over the callings by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces on the US-led coalition to spread “the military operation across the entire territory of Syria.”

Lavrov urged those who “control this group of opposition forces” to influence them.

Staffan de Mistura, on his part, praised “strong commitment from the Russian Federation to push for the political process” in Syria.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria emphasised the commitment to walk away from “alleged chemical attack” and go back to “the basics.” “The basics is – lower pressure, political process and trying to avoid that Syria becomes an international area of playground of tensions,” explained Staffan de Mistura.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Smoke billows above Yarmouk after SAA reportedly shells IS south of Damascus (video)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 02:23 PM PDT

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen billowing above the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk on Friday, as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) reportedly continued shelling the positions of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Earlier in the day, militants controlling areas in south Damascus have reportedly agreed to withdraw, following an offensive by government forces.

Pending a full surrender accord, the SAA reportedly continued launching air strikes and artillery fire on IS positions in the Yarmouk Camp and the nearby districts of Hajar al-Aswad and Tadamun in a bid to clear the remaining pockets of militants in south Damascus.

Should militants in south Damascus fully surrender, the entire area around the Syrian capital will be retaken by government forces.

The offensive comes after the SAA fully recaptured Eastern Ghouta from the militants earlier this month.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Russian S-300 supplies to Syria to boost political stability – Syrian lawmaker

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:27 PM PDT

Russia’s deliveries of the S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria will contribute to the political stability of the Syrian government, Samer Shiha, a member of the Syrian People's Assembly, told Sputnik on Friday.

“Of course, S-300 deliveries will contribute to the government’s political stability,” Shiha said on the sidelines of the IV Yalta International Economic Forum in Crimea, answering a corresponding question.

Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sputnik that Moscow was no longer bound by a moral duty not to supply Damascus with S-300 air defense missile systems after last week’s Western strikes on Syria.

Shiha went on saying that Russia can help Syria’s economic recovery through its heavy industry.

“There are many opportunities in Russia to help Syria restore everything that has been destroyed and Russia has extensive experience in these areas, economic, or tourism, or reconstruction of houses. You have a heavy industry so it can rebuild a lot much in Syria,” Shiha said.

Russia also has very large opportunities in the oil and gas industry, he added.

Shiha noted that Syria would continue to work with Russia in the fight against separatists in Syria’s south. He added that Moscow and Damascus were positively developing their ties in economic and political spheres.

On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow had information that the Syrian armed opposition and the Nusra Front were trying to create an autonomy in the country's south with the support of the United States.

Syria has been plagued by a civil war since 2011, after protests of the Arab Spring turned violent. The activities of terrorist groups also had a negative impact on the country’s economy as the hostilities had damaged infrastructure and the jihadists had seized vast areas in Syria. A number of countries, including Russia, have been taking steps aimed at support of the Syrian economy and restoration of the country.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Syrian Army, Palestinian forces advance in Yarmouk Camp (video)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:07 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – The Islamic State’s (ISIS) leadership agreed to surrender their positions in the southern districts of Damascus, today, following an unprecedented amount of air and rocket strikes on their defenses last night.

However, while the Islamic State’s leadership agreed to surrender their positions, several rogue terrorists have refused to give up their fight in southern Damascus.

In response to these terrorists, the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard and their Palestinian allies have kicked off ground operations in the Yarmouk Camp and Al-Qadam districts.

The video below shows the Syrian Army’s Republican Guard attacking ISIS in Yarmouk Camp:

The Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies are now working to clear the last remnants of the Islamic State in southern Damascus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

Russia steps up military support to Syrian Army, sends more weapons via cargo ship (photos)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 12:38 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:05 P.M.) – The Russian government has stepped up their military support to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) recently, sending another large cargo ship to the Port of Tartous.

According to Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorous Observer,  the Russian flag ship RoRo Sparta II was seen crossing the Bosphorous Strait en route for Syria’s Port of Tartous.

The ship was reportedly carrying more military supplies for the Syrian Arab Army as they prepare for new operations around Syria.

Photo credit: Yoruk Isik of Bosphorus
Photo credit: Yoruk Isik of Bosphorus

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Syrian authorities uncover large amount of militant weapons in Dumayr (video)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 11:53 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:40 P.M.) – The Syrian authorities uncovered a large amount weapons that belonged to Jaysh Al-Islam in the formerly militant-held town of Dumayr today.

According to a military report, the Syrian military police discovered a large storage that contained a wide-variety of weapons belonging to Jaysh Al-Islam.

Inside this Jaysh Al-Islam weapons depot was a significant quantity of grad missiles, mortar shells, IEDs, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), and hundreds of ammunition boxes.

This weapons depot was reportedly located inside Jaysh Al-Islam’s headquarters in the town of Dumayr.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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Israel shoot 15 yr old child in the head bringing Gaza death toll to 39

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 11:36 AM PDT

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (9:00 P.M)- Four Palestinians have been killed and 650 others injured, as Israel violently responds to the fourth week of peaceful Friday demonstrations, taking place across the Gaza Strip.

So far, 39 Palestinians have been brutally executed in by the Israeli military in Gaza, since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’.

Great Return March, Gaza, April 20.

One of the recent victims of an Israeli sniper being a 15 year old boy. Fifteen year old, Mohammed Ibrahim Ayoub, was shot in the head by an Israeli Sniper whilst simply standing, unarmed, near the Gaza border with other demonstrators.

15 year old Palestinian, murdered by Israeli Sniper fire near the Gaza border.

(WARNING: The below video is extremely graphic and shows the murder of a 15 yr old child)

Israeli Snipers also shot and killed three others, beginning with Ahmad Abu Aqel, a 25 year old unarmed man from Jabalia refugee Camp (Gaza Strip). The Sniper shot Ahmad with an internationally banned explosive bullet.

Ahmad Abu Naqil, 25, executed by an Israeli Sniper firing an explosive bullet.

Sa’d Abu Taha, 32 years old and Ahmad Rashad Al Athamnah, 24 years old, were also shot and killed by Israeli Snipers.

In addition to the murders, over 645 unarmed Palestinian demonstrators have confirmed to have been injured, more than 200 with live ammunition.

Wound inflicted by Israeli explosive bullet fire, in Gaza.

Israel have, since the start of the 6 week, non-violent, Great Return March, shot and injured around 1500 Palestinians with live ammunition.

There will be two more Friday’s of protest to come, ending on the 15th of May, on Nakba Day.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

Russian jet responsible for transporting S-400 system lands in Syria

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 11:16 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 P.M.) – The Russian An-124 strategic airlift jet reportedly landed at the Hmaymim Military Airport in southwest Latakia on Friday, local reports claimed this evening.

This Russian aircraft is a strategic airlift jet that can carry up to 150 tons of cargo.

The An-124 was previously used by the Russian Aerospace Forces to transport the S-400 system to Syria in late 2015.

According to some rumors from pro-government pages, the Russian An-124 was transporting the S-300 system to Syria; however, these claims remain unfounded.

The An-124 does not make many trips to Syria, so its latest arrival at the Hmaymim Airport has raised some questions as to why an aircraft like this would make its way to southwest Latakia.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Big advance by Syrian Army in east Qalamoun sees elite forces seize two mountains, flush rebels out of caves

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:58 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:55 P.M.) – Amid a big advance in the eastern Qalamoun region, assault units of the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division have seized two key mountain chains.

According to military-affiliated sources, the captured mountains are Jabal Batra and Jabal Afaii, located to the east of Ar-Ruhaybah city – a large rebel stronghold that has since been completely encircled.

With their entry onto the high-ground around Ar-Ruhaybah and Jayrud, Syrian troops have come into contact with rebel stragglers hiding out in caves. These militants are now being flushed out of their positions with grenades and artillery fire.

As mentioned earlier, the battle for east Qalamoun is over for the most part, with the bulk of insurgent forces (including Jaysh Tahrir al-Sham) having since formally capitulated to the Syrian Army.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

US launches airstrikes along Syrian-Iraqi border

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:55 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:35 P.M.) – The U.S. Coalition launched several airstrikes along the Syrian-Iraqi border, yesterday, striking a number of Islamic State (ISIS) sites in the process.

“Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners continued to strike Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets in designated parts of Syria and Iraq between April 13-19, conducting 30 strikes consisting of 47 engagements,” Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Coalition launched several airstrikes near the Syrian border-city of Albukamal on April 19th, destroying at least five ISIS-held buildings.

In addition to the airstrikes near Albukamal, the U.S. Coalition targeted the Islamic State’s positions near the Iraqi border-city of Al-Qaim in the Al-Anbar Governorate.

These airstrikes were launched shortly after Iraqi F-16 jets crossed over into Syria and bombed the Islamic State’s positions.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

With ISIS nearly finished, Syrian Army turns attention to rebels in southern Damascus

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:22 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) southern Damascus operation against the Islamic State (ISIS) is nearly complete; however, they still do not have full control of these districts.

The reason for this is due to the large presence of rebel fighters that control parts of the Yarmouk Camp District and all of Yalda, Babila, and Beit Sahm.

Prior to launching their offensive against ISIS, the Syrian Army sent a delegation to meet with the rebels and discuss reconciliation in southern Damascus.

The rebels were reportedly receptive to the idea, but requested the Syrian Army defeat the Islamic State before any reconciliation could be achieved.

With ISIS all but finished in southern Damascus, the Syrian military will once again reenter talks with the rebels in southern Damascus, as they look to seal off Damascus once and for all.

Despite some hostility from certain rebel groups, the likelihood of reconciliation in southern Damascus is very high, given the fact they have been involved in a long-term ceasefire.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

US knew of and did not cross Moscow’s ‘red lines’ in Syria – Lavrov

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:07 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the Syrian situation, the Skripal poisoning and the possibility of Russian leader Vladimir Putin meeting US President Donald Trump at the White House during an interview in Moscow on Friday

Lavrov said that Trump had proposed a meeting to Putin during the presidents’ phone call, hoping that “he [Trump] will be more specific with regard to [this proposal].”

Talking about the airstrikes the US, France and the UK conducted as a response to the alleged chemical attack in Douma, Lavrov said that Russian military informed the US-led coalition on Moscow’s “red lines” prior to the missile raid, adding that “the results show that they have not crossed these ‘red lines’.”

Turning onto the Skripal case and the OPCW’s investigation into it, Lavrov accused the UK of directing the organisation’s probe in order to get the results desired by London.

Video credit: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

VIDEO: Syrian Army unleashes utter hell on ISIS in south Damascus with airstrikes, rocket artillery and tank fire

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 10:02 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – Video footage (below) has been released by Hezbollah-linked media showing the Syrian Army and allied groups – backed up by Russian airstrikes – unleashing an all-out assault against Islamic State forces in southern Damascus.

In the footage, Syrian pro-government can be seen using main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, rocket artillery, howitzers, line-charge throwers and airstrikes to demolish ISIS positions in the districts of Yarmouk Camp and Hajjar al-Aswad.

The initial Syrian Army onslaught appears to have been so intense that, according to most reports, the bulk of ISIS fighters in southern Damascus have called-on government negotiators to organize their immediate evacuation from the the area.

Technically speaking, the ground assault phase of the Syrian Army’s offensive only began 24 hours ago following a two-day preliminary bombardment with artillery forces and airstrikes.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

US-led strikes on Syria didn’t help build peace – UN envoy

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 09:53 AM PDT

The US, the UK, and France fired over 100 missiles at targets inside of Syria in a response to an alleged chemical attack in the city, which they rushed to blame on Damascus.

The US, British and French strikes against Syria did not contribute to the settlement process, UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“What happened last week did not help Astana, Sochi, or Geneva,” he stressed.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Friday that he was pleased to see Moscow strongly committed to the political process in Syria despite the US, UK and French missile strikes on the Arab republic carried out last week.

“Regarding the political process, I am pleased to hear from [Foreign] Minister [Sergey] Lavrov and [Defense] Minister [Sergei] Shoigu that despite what happened last week there is still a strong commitment from Russia to push for political process… That is why, the follow-up to Sochi, work in Astana on de-escalation and discussion in Geneva on constitutional committee and elections, is a priority,” de Mistura told reporters after meeting with Russia’s foreign minister in Moscow.

De Mistura noted that the deconfliction mechanism introduced by the Russian and US forces operating in Syria has worked effectively, allowing to avoid the worsening of the situation in the Middle Eastern country, and should continue.

“The Russian and the US military deconflicting mechanism has worked and is still working quite effectively. I think this dialogue needs to continue and has been able to avoid the much worse consequences. I understand there has been a useful meeting between the senior Russian and American military, and even between your ambassador in Washington [Anatoly Antonov] and new [US] National Security Adviser [John] Bolton. All this shows that there is an important attention to de-escalation,” the envoy said.

De Mistura pointed out that apart from Moscow, he had visited Riyadh and Ankara over the past week, and plans to hold talks in Tehran, too, in bid to “lower the temperature” in Syria.

The envoy’s claim comes after last week, the United States and its allies Britain and France conducted a missile strike on Syria. The attack was prompted by an alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma near Damascus.

On OPCW Probe Into Alleged Chemical Attack

The envoy expressed hope that experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will soon visit Syria’s Douma to investigate into an alleged chemical attack in the area.

“The alleged chemical attack is a very serious issue, and therefore the UN has been on our side strongly wanting to help accelerate the OPCW visit to Duma… The sooner the better. I am sure you want the same,” de Mistura told reporters after his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

Earlier this month, a number of media outlets and Western countries accused Damascus of using chemical weapons in Duma, located in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, on April 7. The Syrian government and Russia have refuted the allegations, saying that the attack in Duma was staged by militants and the White Helmets to influence public opinion and justify possible intervention.

On April 14, the United States, France and the United Kingdom carried out a missile attack on a number of targets in Syria, including the facilities in Barzeh and Jamraya, in response to an alleged attack in Duma. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a total of 103 cruise missiles were launched by the United States and its allies, 71 of which were intercepted by Syria's air defense systems. Moscow called on the OPCW to launch an investigation into the attack.

The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission arrived in Damascus earlier this week, however, it has not entered Duma yet over security risks. According to the OPCW, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security has reached an agreement with the Syrian authorities to escort the team to a certain location and after that it would be accompanied by the Russian Military Police.

A source in the Syrian security forces told Sputnik earlier on Friday that the UN group ensuring security of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission had entered Duma.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

ISIL’s 3 year reign in southern Damascus ends after one night of strikes by Syrian, Russian forces

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 06:44 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:30 P.M.) – The Islamic State (ISIL) ruled over most of southern Damascus for over three years; however, their reign would come to an abrupt end, today, after they were forced to endure a night of nonstop strikes from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian Aerospace Forces.

Backed by their Palestinian and Russian allies, the Syrian Arab Army kicked off their offensive in southern Damascus at 7 P.M. (Damascus Time), yesterday, marking the first time in years that their forces had launched an operation of this magnitude in southern Damascus.

The Syrian military attack would last for over 15 hours, with the Islamic State suffering heavy casualties as a result of the nonstop airstrikes and missiles.

By dawn on Friday, the Islamic State was far more receptive to the Syrian Arab Army’s terms and later accepted a deal that would have their forces transferred to the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.

While ISIL’s leadership in southern Damascus accepted the terms of deal, a small batch of fighters in Yarmouk Camp refused to comply with this agreement.

The Syrian Army is now heavily shelling these terrorists in order to eliminate them and restore order to Al-Qadam, Tadamon, Yarmouk Camp, and Hajar Al-Aswad.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Jaysh al-Islam’s ‘Prison of Repentance’ uncovered in Douma (video)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 06:24 AM PDT

The militant group Jaysh al-Islam’s notorious Al-Tawba 'Prison of Repentance' was fortified with high barracks and linked with a number of underground tunnels, footage filmed in Douma on Thursday apparently reveals.

The prison was reportedly used by Jaish al-Islam as the headquarters for its leaders as well as a place for interrogation and torture.

Fighters and civilians taken from Douma and neighbouring areas were detained in Al-Tawba.

Prisoners were allegedly incarcerated inside iron cages which were found inside the jailhouse.

Video credit: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

Syrian Army pounds ISIL’s positions in south Damascus (video)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 06:04 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:50 P.M) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched an offensive on reported so-called Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS, ISIL) positions south of Damascus on Thursday, footage filmed in the al-Hajar al-Aswad district reveals.

The bombardment comes following a failed round of negotiations with the militants which resulted in a 48-hour ultimatum.

Footage shows government forces firing machine guns and shelling IS positions as smoke billows from targets which were struck.

The shelling took place around the Yarmouk Camp and al-Hajar al-Aswad, a town 2mi (4km) from Damascus, in an effort to clear the remaining pockets of IS militants south of the capital.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, the location was a hotspot for munitions and organisational centres for the militants.

Should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad recapture the district, it would force IS into their two remaining enclaves in the southwest and northeast of the country.

It would also signify the complete recapture of the capital, bar one district, from militants after opposition forces agreed to withdraw from strongholds earlier in the week.

Video credit: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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

Houthi forces launch ballistic missile at Saudi military airport

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 05:53 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – The Houthi forces fired another ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia this week, targeting a military airport in the Kingdom’s southern province of Jizan.

According to the official media wing of the Houthi forces, their rocket battalion fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile at the Jizan Military Airport near the Yemeni border on Thursday.

The Houthi forces allege that their missile hit its intended target; however, there has been no footage released yet to corroborate their claim.

Over the last 48 hours, the Houthi forces have conducted two missile strikes on the Jizan Military Airport, which is their response to the Saudi Air Force’s latest airstrikes on northern Yemen.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

More footage of Iraqi F-16 jets striking IS targets in Syria

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 05:38 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:20 P.M.) – Iraqi combat jets conducted airstrikes on reported self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; formerly ISIS/ISIL) positions near the city of Hajin in eastern Syria, as shown in footage released by the Iraqi Ministry Of Defence on Thursday.

The Iraqi F-16s’ mission in neighbouring Syria was conducted in coordination with the Syrian Army, reports say.

Video credit: Ruptly

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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Islamist raid in north Latakia sees Syrian Army and militants deal nasty losses on one another

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 05:15 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:15 P.M.) – Recently, Islamist rebels carried out an hit-and-run infiltration raid behind government lines in the northern countryside of Syria’s Latakia province.

Specifically, jihadist insurgents targeted Syrian Army defenses atop the hill of Tal Rasho at night. Their aim was to ambush government troops holding positions in the area.

In the event, the militants were spotted by a Syrian Army sentry team after which heavy clashes involving heavy weapons erupted.

Islamist fighters were eventually pushed to retreat back towards their own lines and, amid the withdrawal, endured shelling from Syrian Army artillery that scored direct hits on their ranks.

However, with the conclusion of the engagement it became apparent that both sides took on noticeable losses. To this effect at least five jihadist rebels were killed whilst 4 government troops also died.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Pictures: Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces capture platoon of tanks, loads of pickups from fleeing militants in east Qalamoun

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 04:52 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – Amid the Syrian Army’s ongoing offensive operation in Syria’s eastern Qalamoun region, vanguard forces have captured loads of heavy equipment from fleeing rebel fighters.

Picture evidence (below) has emerged showing some of the loot captured by the elite Tiger Forces Division – which is spearheading the offensive – from Qalamoun militants in the last day alone.

The pictures show at least four main battle tanks (the equivalent of a platoon) including T-55, T-62 and T-72 models as well as many pickup trucks.

According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, the battle for eastern Qalamoun is for the most part over with all rebel groups throughout the region having formally surrendered to the Syrian Army and that, despite this, some individual militants have chosen to fight on until the end, having now taken to caves in the mountains around Ar-Ruhaybah and Jayrud.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Update: Many ISIS militants surrender to Syrian Army in south Damascus, however some choose to fight until very end – details

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 04:29 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:29 P.M.) – Earlier unconfirmed reports that Islamic State militants in southern Damascus were surrendering to Syrian government forces have turned out to be somewhat true.

According to Al-Masdar News sources, the bulk of ISIS forces based south of the Syrian capital have in fact chosen to surrender and accept evacuation to the country’s eastern desert region where the terrorist group maintains some positions.

On the other hand, not all Islamic State insurgents holding out in the districts of Yarmouk Camp and Hajjar al-Aswad have surrendered yet, nor do they intend to – instead they have chosen to fight on until the very end.

Due to this reality, military operations continue in southern Damascus and only after all ISIS elements either surrender or perish fighting will government forces impose a general ceasefire that will see militants (including Al-Qaeda and Free Syrian Army linked ones) be either evacuated or made to reconcile.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

WATCH: Dozens of buses evacuate Syrian rebels from Ad-Dumayr city to north Aleppo

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 04:07 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:05 P.M.) – Video footage has been released by Hezbollah-linked media showing dozens of buses preparing to evacuate Syrian militants from the city of Ad-Dumayr in northeastern Damascus province to northern Aleppo province.

The event saw some 1,500 Jaysh al-Islam fighters depart Ad-Dumayr after being present in inside the city for many years during which time they used it as a stronghold.

Following the departure of insurgents from Ad-Dumayr, Syrian security forces entered the city on Thursday afternoon and raised the national flag above it, thus signalling its return to government control.

Fighters who have left Ad-Dumayr with the evacuation convoy are to be received by Turkish-backed rebels in northern Aleppo and resettled in the town of Jarablus.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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Pictures: ISIS hurls massive car bomb at rival militants during Daraa offensive, claims killing, wounding nearly 80 rebels

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 03:23 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – Pictures (below) have been released by Islamic State media showing the use of a massive vehicle bomb by ISIS affiliate faction Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid against rival militant groups in southwestern Daraa province.

The bombing is linked to an offensive launched by the terrorist affiliate militia against Free Syrian Army fighters near the Yarmouk Basin area.

At first ISIS-linked forces captured a number of towns and villages from rebels but were later repelled. Despite this, rival insurgents endured heavy losses to their ranks.

According to opposition sources, rebel forces suffered 21 killed and twenty wounded; however, Islamic State media claims the casualty count inflicted on its enemy to be 35 dead and forty-two wounded.

Al-Masdar News cannot verify either claim.

Pictures source: Islamic State media wing (Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Walid branch)

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Breaking: Syrian Army, rebel forces agree to ceasefire in south Damascus amid anti-ISIS operation – state media

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 02:49 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:49 P.M.) – Syrian state media reports that a ceasefire agreement has just been reached between government forces and armed rebel groups in southern Damascus.

According to the report, the ceasefire applies to Free Syrian Army-linked factions and other non-ISIS militant groups in the districts of Yalda, Babila and Beit Samh as well as parts of Hajjar al-Aswad.

The agreement comes amid an new offensive operation by the Syrian Army and allied Palestinian paramilitary groups in southern Damascus aimed at defeating heavily-entrenched Islamic State forces throughout the area.

The full extent of the ceasefire and its terms are not entirely clear at this time and may only be intended for effect until ISIS is removed from southern Damascus.

Updates to follow and more information becomes available.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Moscow can boost its defenses by studying intact US missiles in Syria – Analyst

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 02:07 AM PDT

On April 14, the United States, France and the UK fired over 100 missiles at multiple targets in Syria in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by government forces in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. Almost two-thirds of the rockets were shot down, according to Russian military.

According to Viktor Murakhovsky, member of the advisory council of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission, two cruise missiles that had failed to detonate during the US-led strike on Syria and were reportedly handed over to Russia by the Syrian military may come in handy for Russian specialists.

"These findings may be very useful for our country. Russian experts do not copy western arms patterns, since we have our own development strategy, but it will be interesting for them to get acquainted with the latest western developments in this field. Some missiles, used to strike Syria, were not new, while others were exploited for the first time," Murakhovsky told Sputnik

The missiles found by the Syrian forces were reportedly transferred to Russia on April 18, and, as Murakhovsky explained, they will be of special interest because the rockets were quite new.

"It would be interesting to look at the American missile – JASSM-ER – that the US used in the battlefield for the first time. Studying these rockets will help Russia improve its missile defense systems and electronic warfare systems," the military analyst elaborated.

Nearly a week ago, a trilateral alliance, comprised of the United States, France and the United Kingdom, delivered a massive missile strike on numerous Syrian targets as retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack perpetrated by the Damascus government in the city of Douma which supposedly took place on April 7.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, a total of 71 rockets out of the 103 cruise and air-to-surface missiles were shot down by Syrian air defenses. The airstrikes came on the same day that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was set to launch a fact-finding mission and inspect the site.

The West's decision to hit Syria with over a hundred of missiles was triggered by reports, covered in several media outlets, citing militants in Douma claiming the Syrian government forces had dropped a chlorine bomb on civilians – information that was "substantiated" by the White Helmets-provided footage, showing the aftermath of the alleged use of chemical weapons.

Both Damascus and Moscow dismissed the claims, slamming the entire incident as a false flag, with the Russian Defense Ministry sending a chemical corps commission to Douma to investigate the alleged use of toxic agents, days after the reports emerged on media; the expert group did not find any traces of chemical poisoning either with chlorine or sarin.

Source: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Breaking reports: ISIS militants raise white flags across south Damascus (unconfirmed)

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:45 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – Unconfirmed reports have begun to emerge on pro-government social media pages covering events in southern Damascus that Islamic State militants under attack from the Syrian Army and its allies are raising white (surrender) flags.

Reports claim that the raising of white flags by ISIS fighters has been observed in the southern Damascus districts of Yarmouk Camp, Al-Qadam and Hajjar al-Aswad – these being key embattled areas at the present time.

Even if true, the chances are that the such an event is being done on an individual basis, rather than collective basis.

To this end there exists indications that some ISIS terrorists in southern Damascus preferred evacuation rather than a battle with the Syrian Army.

Updates to follow.

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Situation in Syria like ‘terrible sci-fi film’ starring Trump – German Left Party chair

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:34 AM PDT

The situation in Syria is like a “terrible sci-fi film” which is guaranteed to have a bad ending “if the main character is Donald Trump,” the chairperson of Germany’s Die Linke party said during a discussion in the Bundestag.

The Wednesday comments by Sahra Wagenknecht of Die Linke (Left Party) came on the same day that the party held a rally in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to protest against the airstrikes carried out by the US, France, and the UK in Syria last weekend. Members of the party waved peace flags and held up signs calling for an end to war.

Wagenknecht also spoke at the rally about the movie-like situation unfolding. “Where air raids are announced from one nuclear power to another nuclear power via Twitter, one thinks we’re in the wrong movie,” she said, referring to Trump’s tweet that Russia should “get ready” for missiles to be launched at Syria.

Also at the rally, Die Linke co-chair Dietmar Bartsch slammed his own country’s role in ongoing conflicts, noting that Germany is a weapons exporter. “Weapons don’t make peace, they always end up in the wrong hands,” he said.

Back in the Bundestag, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said that Berlin supports an independent investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to “document the current war crime” which will serve as evidence later on. His comment was in reference to an alleged chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma, which Trump and his allies have blamed on the government of Bashar Assad.

But unlike Maas, Trump – along with British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron – had no desire to wait until the result of any investigation before launching strikes. The premature move has been slammed by Russia, which maintains that the alleged attack – which was initially reported by the rebel-linked White Helmets – was staged.

"We have not just a 'high level of confidence,' as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7," Russia's ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons, Aleksandr Shulgin, said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog's executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a "pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington."

Meanwhile, the leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Alexander Gauland, said during the Bundestag session that Russia remains “the key to a better Syria.”

“Let’s use it. We don’t have another key,” he said, adding that the problem with Syria can only be solved through “dialogue with Russia and also with Assad.”

Source: RT

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

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Syria’s Assad returns Legion of Honor award back to ‘slave country’ France

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:17 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:15 A.M.) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has returned his Legion of Honor (Grand Croix of the Légion d’honneur) award back to France in light of recent developments.

The foreign national award, the highest among French diplomacy, had been awarded to the Syrian leader in 2001. According to the Syrian Presidency on Twitter, it has now been returned to France via Romania.

President Assad reportedly finds it ‘unacceptable’ to wear the honor award of a ‘slave country and follower of the United States’ that participated in the ‘tripartite aggression’ against Syria on April 14.

On April 14, the US, Britain and France all carried out a joint missile strike against Syrian military targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack which all three countries blamed on government forces.

Source material: RT

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source

Russia ‘no longer has any moral obligations’ to deny Syria’s military S-300 air defense system – Lavrov

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 12:32 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:30 A.M.) – In a recent interview with RIA Novosti, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated among several topics that Russia is no longer bound by moral duty to deny allied Syrian forces access to its game-changing S-300 strategic air defense system.

The Russian FM stated that, until now, Syria’s military had been denied access to the weapon because certain other nations thought that this would disturb the sensitive balance of diplomatic-military relations in the Middle East. He explained:

‘We [Russia] promised not to do it around a decade ago at the request of our partners, and we took into consideration their argument that this would destabilize the situation, despite this [S-300] being a purely defensive system. We heeded their call.’

However, in light of recent events (namely the US-led missile strike on Syria), ‘now we [Russia] have no such moral obligation,’ Lavrov said concluding the matter, somewhat signalling that the Syrian military may soon receive S-300 systems.

Source material: Sputnik

Source: AMN - Al-Masdar News | المصدر نيوز - The Arab Source