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VIDEO: Syrian military uses rocket fire, airstrikes and heavy mortars to break-up ISIS defenses in south Damascus

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 10:54 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:50 A.M.) – More video footage (below) has emerged showing the Syrian Army’s ongoing bombardment of Islamic State defenses throughout various districts of southern Damascus.

Staple fire support assets used in the attack on ISIS positions includes IRAM rockets (generally fired from Goulan systems), 120-mm and greater caliber heavy mortar pieces and airstrikes.

According to sources, most of the government bombardment of southern Damascus is so far being directed against Islamic State forces in the districts of Yarmouk Camp and Hajjar al-Aswad.

Despite several probing attacks and days of shelling, the Syrian Army ground offensive is yet to begin. The main assault is pending the readiness of the elite Tiger Forces Division (the military’s most tested vanguard formation) which moved into the southern Damascus areas two days ago.

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

VIDEO: Houthis avenge fallen leader by assaulting Saudi troops in Jizan

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 10:38 PM PDT

Houthi rebel fighters launched a wide-scale offensive against positions for the Saudi Army in Jizan province to avenge the death of Saleh al-Sammad who was killed in a Saudi airstrike.

Headquarters and gatherings of the Saudi troops near the northern borders of Yemen have come under heavy attack by ATGMs and light weapons, causing heavy losses as well as material damage.

Video footage published by pro-Houthi social media accounts shows a Saudi Abrams tank and a bulldozer set on fire after being hit by ATGM.

In the same context, Houthis targeted the Saudi-backed militiamen in Al-Makha port area in west Yemen with a ballistic missile type Gaher-M2 in retaliation for their fallen leader.

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

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

Russian warplanes smash militants across south Idlib during night attack

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 10:21 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:20 A.M.) – On the night of Monday to Tuesday, Russian warplanes struck rebel forces and their assets at various points throughout the southern countryside of Idlib province.

Reports say that, in particular, Russian airpower attacked jihadist tactical positions, storage sites, camps and movements in and around the town of Al-Habit (near the militant stronghold of Kafr Nabudah).

The Russian airstrikes in southern Idlib were, at the same time, supplemented by the Syrian Army’s heavy shelling of rebel forces at Al-Latamenah, Kafr Zita and Zakat with Smerch rocket artillery (details here).

Syrian Army artillery and Russian warplanes often hit rebel targets in northern Hama and southern Idlib (sometimes on a daily basis) in response to insurgent shelling of government-held areas and as a means of foiling militant mobilizations.

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

‘Neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia can be the hegemons of the region’ – Iran FM Zarif

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 10:19 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:10 A.M.) – “Neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia can be the hegemons of the region, that’s a fact. We need to realise and appreciate this fact however heart-breaking it may be,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said during his address to the US Council on Foreign Relations in New York City on Monday.

“In an attempt to be the strongest in the region, to exclude one-another from the region, we have managed to destroy the region,” he added as he highlighted Iran's willingness to engage in "real transformational change" in the region.

Zarif also addressed the tensions in the lead up to the May 12 deadline by which US President Donald Trump either has to issue new waivers to suspend US sanctions against Iran or exit the nuclear accord, saying: “We experienced that during the nuclear discussions…there are no winners. Only the degree and amount of loss will be different.”

Video credit: Ruptly

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

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

‘Most Syrians support Assad, it appears BBC fails to accurately report on Syria’ – British House of Lords member

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 09:49 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:45 A.M.) – According to British House of Lords crossbencher Baroness Caroline Cox speaking to Russia Today, most Syrian people support President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian military.

The statement by Baroness Cox comes after she undertook a fact-finding trip to Syria, during which time she visited several cities throughout the Arab republic.

The baroness claims to formulated her opinion on the matter by talking to a ‘wide range of people’ during her visit to Syria, including artists, intellectuals, writers, random passing civilians, government officials and even opposition members.

Baroness Cox also commented in regards to the BBC’s coverage of the Syrian conflict, saying that there exists strong sentiment that the media group has so far done a poor job of accurately reporting the reality on the ground.

Source material: RT

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

Syrian Army deploys Smerch heavy rocket artillery to shell multiple rebel strongholds across north Hama

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 09:11 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:10 A.M.) – On the night of the Monday to Tuesday, Syrian Army rocket artillery units shelled multiple rebel strongholds across the northern countryside of Hama province.

Specifically, the bombardment witnessed government forces deploy a number of BM-30 ‘Smerch’ self-propelled rocket launchers. The weapon is considered a ‘heavy’ artillery piece due to the fact it launches a 300-mm rocket with a quarter of a ton warhead.

According to military-affiliated source, Syrian Army rocket artillery struck militant tactical positions, storage sites and bases in and around the towns of Al-Latamenah, Kafr Zita and Zakat.

There are also reports that the government bombardment in Hama was supplemented  Russian airstrikes across other areas of northwest Syria, an update on which will be made as more information becomes available.

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

VIDEO: Syrian Army battle tanks, BMPs fire onto ISIS positions at point-blank range in south Damascus

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 08:48 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 A.M.) – Combat footage (below) has been released by the Syrian Ministry of Defense showing part of the Syrian Army’s ongoing operation against Islamic State forces in southern Damascus.

The video offers insight into some of the tactics being employed by Syrian Army armored assault groups currently storming the districts of Yarmouk Camp and Hajjar al-Aswad.

It can be seen that whilst older T-55 battle tanks (which are slower and less protected) are used to shell ISIS positions from stand-off ranges, more modern T-72 models along with BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles are sent right up to the edge of the engagement line and fire away at point-blank range.

According new information, the Syrian Army’s main ground assault has not even begun yet due to ongoing preparations by elite Tiger Forces Division which only arrived in the southern Damascus area at some point in the last two days.

Source: Syrian Ministry of Defense

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

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

Assad accuses US, UK, France of supporting militants since start of Syrian War

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:53 PM PDT

The US, the UK and France, which hit Syria, have supported militants since the start of the country’s civil war and failed to help Damascus in the anti-terror fight, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Monday at a meeting with Senior Assistant to Iran's Foreign Minister for Special Political Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari.

“Those states and groups, which are their pawns in countries of the region, have been supporting terrorists since the first day of war on Syria. Their recent aggression has not succeeded in stopping the war on terrorism, which will continue until control is recovered over all Syrian lands,” Assad said, as quoted by his presidential press service.

Ansari, in turn, said that this tripartite aggression was triggered by the victories of the Syrian government army and its allies against terrorists, since Western states concerned over the implications of Damascus’ military success.

On April 14, the United States, the United Kingdom and France launched over 100 missiles on multiple targets in Syria in response to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta’s Duma that reportedly took place on April 7. The Syrian government has denied the accusations and said that the Jaysh al-Islam terror group had staged the attack to justify potential foreign intervention in Syria.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, most of the Western missiles were shot down by the Syrian air defense. Damascus, which has repeatedly said it had eliminated its chemical weapons stockpiles, stated that the attack damaged Syrian infrastructure and left three civilians injured. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the strikes had been carried out in violation of the norms and principles of international law.

Source: Sputnik

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

Armenia: Drone captures protest in Yerevan as Sargsyan resigns from office

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:21 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 A.M.) – Drone footage captures a mass demonstration in Yerevan, Monday, as Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigned from his office amid protests in Armenian capital.

Sargsyan announced his resignation in the written statement: "I will resign from the post of the country's leader, the prime minister. The street movement was against me. I will fulfil your claim."

Despite his resignation, the leader of the opposition movement Armenia’s Civil Contract Nikol Pashinyan reportedly called for protests to continue until the 'shift in power'.

Acting PM Karen Karapetyan agreed to meet with Pashinyan for talks.

Video credit: Ruptly

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

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

Breaking: Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces arrive in Yarmouk Camp to begin offensive

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:49 PM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) elite Tiger Forces have arrived in the southern part of Damascus after a short deployment in the eastern Qalamoun region.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Tiger Forces are preparing to storm the Yarmouk Camp after receiving orders to deploy to this front from their high command.

The source added that the Tiger Forces are tasked with liberating the entire district from the Islamic State terrorists.

In the next 48 hours, the Tiger Forces are expected to start storming the Yarmouk Camp from several axes, as they look to secure the entire southern Damascus front.

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

Russia capable of providing S-300 to Syria within one month — source

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:49 PM PDT

Russia is technically capable of providing its air defense systems S-300 to Syria within one month, a military-diplomatic source has told TASS, adding that for this the launchers already at the Defense Ministry's disposal might be used after the required reconfiguration, a military-diplomatic source has told TASS.

According to the official, there are two options of delivering the S-300 to Syria. One is Russia may provide to Syria the export configuration of the air defense launchers. In that case Syria will get them in 18 to 24 months from now. The other possibility is the available systems may be retrieved from the Defense Ministry's reserves. Those replaced by S-400 in the Russian army might be use, too.

“Naturally, the used S-300 systems that may be taken to Syria will have to be reconfigured to suit the standards of the Syrian air defense. This work may take about a month,” the source said.

TASS has no official confirmation of this.

Earlier, the daily Kommersant quoted its own sources as saying that Russia in the near future might start the delivery of S-300 Favorit air defense systems to Syria.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/1001329

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

Disheartening footage shows aftermath of Saudi attack on Yemeni wedding

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:28 PM PDT

An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition on a wedding party killed at least 20 people, locals say.

Harrowing images showing the aftermath of an alleged Saudi-led airstrike on a wedding party in Hajjah, northern Yemen, were released on Monday.

Top health official in the Hajjah province Ayman Madhkoor said at least 20 people were killed and more than 50 injured, including many women and children, when the strike hit the wedding late on Sunday. It is thought the bride is also among the dead.

Footage from the scene shows mutilated and limbless bodies, scattered human remains and a young boy hugging a man's lifeless body.

Eyewitnesses said that ambulances were unable to reach the scene for fear of subsequent airstrikes.

The Saudi-led bombing campaign continues in Yemen with US backing, with casualty figures exceeding 16,200 people since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015.

A reported 40,000 have been injured and more than two million people have been displaced.

The war devastating Yemen is now in its fourth year, with human rights organisations repeatedly accusing the Saudi-led coalition of targeting civilian areas.

Video credit: Ruptly

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

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

No decision made yet if S-300 is to be provided to Syria: Lavrov

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:48 AM PDT

The question of providing S-300 air defense systems to Syria has not been settled yet, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the media in Beijing on Monday. Lavrov's reply was published on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website.

“I cannot say that this question has been settled,” Lavrov said. “We know what Russian President Vladimir Putin said. He has discussed such matters with an official of our Defense Ministry from the standpoint of preventing a situation where Syria might turn out insufficiently prepared for aggressive attacks, like the one that occurred on April 14. It remains to be seen what decisions will be made by the Russian leadership and Syrian officials. Apparently, no secrets are due here. All this can be announced.”

He warned there existed a certain risk of more provocations by Western countries against Syria.

“Certainly, one should be prepared to see more provocations, although we have warned our US and European counterparts who participated in that adventure,” he said.

Moscow finds worrisome “the plans regarding Syria's future our Western counterparts are hatching.”

“Just recently I heard French President Emmanuel Macron urge the United States not to pull troops out of Syria even after the last terrorist has been eliminated or driven out of that country. The French leader was very close to saying foreign presence there should remain permanent for building new Syria,” Lavrov said. “That's colonial stance.”

“We will ask our French partners what specifically they have in mind, because so far they have said at all levels that the US-led coalition in Syria pursues exclusively the elimination of the threat of terrorism coming from the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) and other organizations the UN Security Council has identified as terrorist. This is a very serious question. We will keep working,” Lavrov said.

Media reports

Earlier, the daily Kommersant quoted its sources as saying that Russia would provide S-300 systems to Syria on the disinterested basis. The newspaper said this would make it possible to create a multi-tier system of air defense in Syria capable of protecting Damascus and air bases from attacks. The Russian military command said such a decision might be made after the missile attack the United States and its allies dealt against military and civilian facilities in Syria.

Strikes on Syria

On April 14, the United States, Britain and France dealt a massive strike on Syria without approval from the UN Security Council. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry a research center in Damascus, the headquarters of the republican guard, an air defense base, several military airdromes and military warehouses were among the targets.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the attack lasted from 03:42 to 05:10 local time. Of the 103 missiles launched the Syrian air defense shot down 71.

Three local civilians were injured. Washington, London and Beijing said the strikes were in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria's Douma on April 7.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/1001272

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

Breaking: Houthis retaliates for Saudi wedding massacre by launching ballistic missile in KSA

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:34 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – Minutes ago, the official media wing of the Houthi forces announced that their forces fired a ballistic missile into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

According to the Houthi forces, their rocket battalion fired a Badr-1 ballistic missile towards the Saudi Aramco Company dock in the Jizan Region of southern Saudi Arabia.

No details have been released regarding the fate of the missile.

The Houthi forces said the ballistic missile attack today was done in retaliation for the Saudi airstrike that killed scores of Yemeni civilians inside the Hajjah Governorate.

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

Rally on genocide remembrance day ‘unethical’ says Armenian FM (video)

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:25 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:15 P.M.) – Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan said that holding a rally on Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day would be “unethical,” during a joint press conference with Armenian Minister of Justice David Arutunyan in Yerevan on Monday.

“The Armenian nation and the Armenian diaspora has always consolidated in the commemoration of the innocent victims of genocide rather than manipulating or abusing it for their own political ends,” he said.

Talking about the detention of protesters and opposition leaders, Arutunyan said “there are cases when even a peaceful rally may be broken up by the police. These are cases when the rally disproportionally infringes or restricts others’ constitutional rights or public interest. Yesterday the police took this decision.”

Protests in Armenia began on April 13, shortly after the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) nominated former Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan for the prime minister's post.

Thousands have been rallying since April 17 when the Armenian Parliament elected the ex-president as head of the government. The opposition called for Sargsyan's resignation.

The leader of the opposition movement Armenia's Civil Contract Nikol Pashinyan has reportedly declared the start of a national “non-violent Velvet Revolution”.

The newly elected Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan stated he will leave his post only after dealing with Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

Video credit: Ruptly

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

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

Jihadist civil war turns into bloodbath in northern Syria after JTS launches big attack

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:18 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:10 P.M.) – Jabhat Tahrir Souriya launched a big attack in the western countryside of Aleppo, today, targeting Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions in several areas.

The Jabhat Tahrir Souriya attack would prove effective, as their forces managed to capture several towns from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the western countryside of Aleppo.

Among the localities captured by Jabhat Tahrir Souriya, today, were the following towns: Balnta, Al-Habateh, Al-Sadiyah and Jamiyat Al-Sadiyah.

The battle was reportedly very costly for all parties involved, as more than 20 jihadists were killed on both sides.

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

BREAKING: Israeli strikes hit Syrian Army near Occupied Golan Heights

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:09 AM PDT

An Israeli missile strike targeted a position for the Syrian Army in al-Kom town near the Occupied Golan Heights  as the government forces crackdown on jihadi groups in the area.

According to a military source, the strike hit an artillery position in the bordering town but no casualties reported.

The Israeli aggression comes as the Syrian Army has been targeting Islamist militants in Al-Hamidiyah and al-Qahtaniyah towns. The bordering area between Syria and the Golan Heights are controlled by ultra-conservative Islamist groups whose members repeatedly receive medical treatment  in Israel.

Nearly two weeks ago, Israeli fighter jets struck the Syrian T-4 military airbase in central Homs, killing several Army troops as well as Iranian military advisers.

 

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

Armenia’s Prime Minister Sargsyan resigns amid opposition protests

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:08 AM PDT

Mass protests against the rule of Armenian ex-President and newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan have been ongoing in the country for the second week, with soldiers also taking to the streets earlier in the day.

“I address you for the last time as a head of state. Nikol Pashinyan was right. I made a mistake. In this situation, there are several solutions, but I will not resort to any of them. That’s not my thing. I abandon the post of the head of our country,” Serzh Sargsyan said as qouted by his press service.

Nikol Pashinyan, opposition’s leader, was released earlier today after he had been detained on Sunday after failing to reach any deal in brief talks with Sargsyan, who called for a dialogue between the government and opposition.

The protests against Sargsyan began on April 13, with the demonstrators accusing him of inefficient management and the deterioration of the economic situation in the country. On April 17, after Sargsyan, despite the ongoing unrest, had been appointed as Prime Minister of Armenia, the opposition announced the beginning of a “velvet revolution”.

The backlash against his rule was triggered after Sargsyan, who served as Armenia’s president from 2008, stepped down when his term ended but was subsequently nominated for the premiership, which has largely been viewed as an attempt to stay in power as a newly amended constitution transferred some of the presidential powers to the head of the government.

Source: Sputnik

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

Last convoy of militants leaves East Qalamoun

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 07:01 AM PDT

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (5:00 P.M.) – The last batch of militants has just left their former bastion in East Qalamoun region to Syria’s north under an evacuation deal with the Syrian government.

A convoy of 35 buses carrying up to 1078 of rebel fighters and their families headed to the northern city of Jarabulus after concluding an agreement with the Syrian government.

Militants who chose to stay will have their status legally settled and given full pardon in order to join the Syrian Army ranks.

With the last batch leaving the area, the whole East Qalamoun region has become entirely under the Syrian Army control.

Before evacuation, the surrendered militants handed over all their weapons and armories which contained huge quantities of ATGMs, ammunition, tanks and armored vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Army resumes military operations in the southern districts of Damascus still under ISIS control in order to enforce a similar evacuation deal.

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

Exclusive photos of surrendered rebel vehicles from eastern Qalamoun

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:41 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) recently secured a deal that would see the Islamist rebels leave the eastern Qalamoun region for northern Syria.

However, before the Islamist rebels could leave the area, they were ordered to surrender their heavy weapons and vehicles.

The Ahmad Al-‘Abdo Brigade, Faylaq Al-Rahman, Jaysh Al-Islam, and Jaysh Thuwar Al-Sham all handed over their heavy weapons and vehicles, leaving the Syrian Army a plethora of military hardware.

An Al-Masdar field correspondent in the eastern Qalamoun region was able to capture photos of several vehicles that were surrendered to the Syrian Army last week – please see below:

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

Syrian Army fights off rebel assault in west Aleppo

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:37 AM PDT

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:l35 P.M.) – An offensive launched by rebel fighters in west Aleppo countryside was successfully foiled by the Syrian Army as militants target the residential districts with mortars.

The Turkish-backed fighters attacked the Syrian Army positions near the Scientific Research Center and Jamiyat Al-Zahraa district using heavy machineguns, mortars and homegrown rockets.

The assault, however, was repelled by the government troops – backed by National Defense Forces (NDF), with the assailants sustained heavy losses.

Once the attack was thwarted, the Army units pounded rebel gatherings and supply routes with heavy artillery and tank shelling, scoring direct hits among the insurgents.

The attack comes as the rebel group continuously targets, on a daily basis, the residential areas of Aleppo with mortars, killing and injuring civilians and causing substantial material damage.

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

Putin to Macron: US-Led Coalition’s strikes in Syria seriously violate international law

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 06:11 AM PDT

The presidents of Russia and France discussed on Monday by phone the situation in Syria after an airstrike carried out by the United States, France and the United Kingdom in response to an alleged chemical attack in the city of Douma near Damascus, the Kremlin spokesman said.

Speaking with his French counterpart, Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the US-led coalition’s strikes against Syrian targets at the beginning of April were conducted in violation of international law and have complicated the situation in the Middle Eastern country.

He also noted the importance of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) conducting a thorough investigation on the ground in Syria.

French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, has expressed Paris' readiness for a dialogue with all parties involved in the Syrian political settlement, particularly Russia, according to the Elysee Palace.

France was one of the states from the US-led coalition, along with the United States and the United Kingdom, that carried out on April 14 a missile attack on a number of targets in Syria, including facilities in Barzeh and Jamraya, amid reports of an alleged chemical attack in Douma.

The OPCW mission arrived in Damascus earlier this week, however, it has not entered Douma 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.

Iran Nuclear Deal

Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have also talked about the implementation of the nuclear deal with Iran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying it should be continued, the Kremlin said Monday.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif called on EU leaders Monday to encourage US President Donald Trump to begin implementing US obligations under the JCPOA, adding that “there is no alternative” to the agreement. At the same time, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief coordinator Cornel Feruta said that Tehran fulfills its commitments under the agreement.

Donald Trump has been a consistent opponent of the JCPOA – negotiated by former US President Barack Obama’s administration. US President Donald Trump described it as the worst deal in US history and threatened to withdraw Washington from the deal if it was not amended.

The JCPOA was signed on July 14, 2015, by China, Germany, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States (collectively referred to as the P5+1 group) and Iran. The accord stipulated a gradual lifting of anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for Tehran’s assurance that its nuclear program would remain peaceful.

Source: Sputnik

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

Breaking: Syrian Army scores new advance in southern Hama

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:56 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside the National Defense Forces (NDF), kicked off their military operations in southern Hama, today, following the collapse of peace talks with the Islamist rebels in the Al-Rastan Plain of Homs.

Backed by heavy airstrikes, the Syrian Army began the day by pounding the militant positions with nonstop missiles and artillery shells.

Once the militant defenses were weakened, the Syrian Army and National Defense Forces stormed the town of Jabr and the Abu Tha’er Poultry Farms in the southern countryside of Hama.

According to a military source in Hama, the Syrian Army was able to overpower the Islamist rebels at Jabr and its corresponding farms, forcing the latter to retreat to safety.

In addition to capturing these areas, the Syrian Army also captured the nearby Al-‘Alameh Checkpoint after the militants retreated from the area.

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

Map Update: Syrian Army advancing in ISIS pocket in southern Damascus

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:52 AM PDT

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Army is using artillery, rockets  and airstrikes to pound districts in southern Damascus still held by the Islamic State in bid to secure the capital.

Thuds and explosions from the heavy shelling and aerial bombardment were heard all night and day long as ground troops managed to make slight advance inside the area.

According to a military source, the government troops succeeded in recapturing several farms in the area located between Hajar al-Aswad and Yalda town from the southern axis, thus reaching to Al-Bawayek area.

The advance was achieved following heavy and non-stop clashes with ISIS jihadists. Several tunnels, barricades and trenches were destroyed in the process.

The Syrian Army aims, primarily, at separating Hajar al-Aswad from the Yarmouk Refugee Camp; the largest bastions for the Islamic State in southern Damascus.

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

Syrian Army destroys 4 jihadist hideouts in southern Hama

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:45 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) launched a big attack against the jihadist rebels in southern Hama and northern Homs, today, following the collapse of peace talks in this region.

With peace talks now on hold, the Syrian Army took the offensive by launching a plethora missiles and artillery shells towards the Islamist rebel positions along the Orontes River.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), the Syrian Army’s attack managed to destroy at least four hideouts that belonged to the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the southern countryside of Hama.

A reporter from SANA also added that the Syrian Army’s artillery targeted several militant-held towns, including Al-‘Amariyah, Aidon, and Al-Sutaihat.

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

US won’t help rebuild Assad’s Syria: State Dept.

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:35 AM PDT

Earlier this year, acting assistant secretary of state for the Middle East David Satterfield estimated that Syria would need some $200-$300 billion to rebuild following the war. Russian economists have estimated that costs could be as high as $400 billion. According to the Syrian government, reconstruction will take 10-15 years to complete.

There is broad support among G7 ministers for the Geneva peace process on a political transition in Syria which would force President Bashar Al-Assad to step down, an anonymous high-level state department official said, speaking to reporters Sunday after a G7 ministerial meeting in Toronto.

According to the official, Washington had no plans to provide Damascus with any support for reconstruction. “The United States does not believe that any reconstruction assistance should go to any areas under the control of the Assad regime,” he said.

Governments and economists have estimated that it would take hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild Syria after hostillities are concluded. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Tehran would help Syria with reconstruction. Earlier this year, Russia urged European nations to help the war-torn country rebuild following the war. The United States froze a $200 million aid commitment late last month amid President’s talk of a Syria pullout.

The US and its European allies have vacillated on whether or not to recognize the UN-recognized Syrian government. Last month, President Trump hinted that the US may be pulling out of Syria entirely after Daesh (ISIS)* would be defeated. But on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said France and its allies must stay in the country and “build a new Syria” after the war against the terrorists is finished.

Russia’s Responsibilities & Western Airstrikes

The state department official also accused Russia of “failing” in its responsibility to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. “On Syria, the ministers recalled that Russia is the guarantor of the chemical weapons in Syria and have failed in that role,” he said, referring to the alleged April 7 use of chemical weapons in Douma, Syria. Syrian and Russian officials described that attack as a false flag used to justify Western airstrikes. Syria completed the elimination of its chemical weapons stocks in 2014 in a deal brokered by Russia and verified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Commenting on the April 14 missile strikes, the US official said that this was “not a one-off, but…part of a sustained allied campaign to reestablish the deterrent against chemical weapons.”

US, British and French warships and aircraft launched over 100 cruise missiles against multiple targets in Syria on the morning of April 14, hours before OPCW inspectors arrived to investigate the alleged Douma attack. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 71 of the missiles were intercepted by Syria’s air defenses.

Russia’s ‘Malign Behavior’

Turning to Russia, the official stressed that the G7 were united in “opposing” that country’s “malign behavior.” “There was also openness among G7 members to dialogue with Russia while we hold them accountable for their malign activities and their efforts to destabilize nations,” he said.

The two day G7 meeting running April 22-23 in Toronto, Canada is the first since the US, French and British attack on Syria following the alleged Douma chemical attack. The G7 includes the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada, and is touted to comprise the largest advanced economies in the world.

Source: Sputnik

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

US builds new base in Syria despite Trump’s claims of withdrawing troops soon

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 05:12 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 P.M.) – The U.S. military is constructing a new military base in Syria’s northeastern province of Al-Hasakah, despite President Donald Trump’s claims of withdrawing troops from the country in the near future.

According to Twitter user @Obretix, the U.S. military base is located between the Al-Hasakah towns of Tal Tamer and Tal Baydar.

This new base will also have an airfield that is similar to the other U.S. installations in Syria.

Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Trump to extend the stay of his troops in Syria, which is similar to the Saudi Crown Prince’s statement that was made earlier this month in Paris.

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

Putin, Macron discuss OPCW mission to Syria — Kremlin

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:52 AM PDT

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have held a telephone conversation, emphasizing the importance of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to Syria, the Kremlin press service said in a statement following the April 23 telephone call.

“There has been a discussion of the situation in Syria in the wake of the US-led air strikes,” the statement reads. “Russia stressed that this action was a blatant violation of international law, which created new difficulties in the process of political settlement in Syria. In this regard, it was noted that the OPCW mission to Syria was particularly important,” the Kremlin press service added.

More:
http://tass.com/politics/1001267

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

‘Truth will force its way out’ – Lavrov on Syrian crisis

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:45 AM PDT

The “truth will force its way out” when it comes to the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a press conference after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing on Monday.

Lavrov was commenting on the planned investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma.

He added that most of the countries who expressed support for the US-led strikes on Syria were "forced" to do so and that those countries "clearly understand that this is an unacceptable way of dealing with very serious international crises."

Russia's top diplomat stressed that, "we'll insist that the [OPCW] experts visit all those places connected with the so-called news of the alleged chemical attack."

Source: Ruptly

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

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Iraqi Air Force keeps chasing ISIS terrorists in Syria

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 04:08 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – For the second week in a row, the Iraqi Air Force has carried out airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group inside Syria.

According to local reports, the Iraqi Air Force’s airstrikes targeted the Islamic State’s positions inside the eastern countryside of the Deir Ezzor Governorate.

In particular, the Iraqi Air Force has been targeting the Islamic State’s movements around the Syrian-Iraqi border, with a strong emphasis on the Albukamal-Qa’im area.

The Iraqi airstrikes have proven to be effective, as reports from Deir Ezzor indicate that the Islamic State’s second-in-command was killed during this morning’s attack.

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

Qatar reportedly denies intercepting UAE passenger plane with 86 onboard

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:56 AM PDT

On April 22, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accused Qatar of intercepting a civilian plane with 86 passengers on board, which was forced to maneuver in order to avoid a collision with Qatari fighter jets, according to the media.

Qatar rejected accusations that it intercepted a civilian aircraft registered in the UAE, stressing that a Qatari military aircraft was scrambled due to an Emirati plane violating the country’s air space, state news agency QNA reported.

According to the Qatari civil aviation authority, the route of the military aircraft ran near the corridor, “in a flying route close to that of the UAE civil aircraft."

“The United Arab Emirates has unfortunately been manipulating the facts to inflame and mislead the international community. The latest statement is proof of this,” the Qatari authority said, commenting on the accusations leveled by the Emirates, as quoted by the media.

Doha’s reaction comes a day after the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of the UAE reported that on Sunday at 10:50 local time (06:50 GMT) a Qatari fighter intercepted a passenger aircraft heading for Bahrain. However, the UAE statement contains no information on a military aircraft being in the sky during the incident.

The UAE has repeatedly accused Qatar of such mid-air incidents, whereas Qatar, in turn, has blamed the UAE for violating the country’s airspace and, according to local media, has already filed a complaint with the United Nations (UN). Earlier in April, the United Arab Emirates lodged an official complaint against Qatar with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over the country’s jets intercepting Emirati civilian aircraft.

Tensions between the UAE and Qatar have been running high since summer 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed travel and economic sanctions on it, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs. In particular, these countries closed their airspace to Qatari planes.

Source: Sputnik

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

Syrian Army’s elite unit in action against ISIS in southern Damascus (video)

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:49 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is steadily advancing inside the Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold of Hajar Al-Aswad, seizin several building blocks that were under the control of the terrorist group.

Led by both the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard and 42nd Brigade of the 4th Division, the Syrian Army has managed to liberate several areas in the southeastern part of this once densely populated town in southern Damascus.

In addition to their attack at the southeastern axis, the Syrian Army is also attempting to advance in the western part of Hajar Al-Aswad; however, they have had mixed results.

Below is footage of the Syrian Army’s 42nd Brigade in action against the Islamic State in Hajar Al-Aswad:

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

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Free Syrian Army brigade surrenders themselves to Syrian Army in east Qalamoun (video)

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:35 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 P.M.) – One of the largest Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades recently surrendered themselves to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the eastern Qalamoun region of Damascus.

According to a military report from Damascus, the Free Syrian Army’s Ahmad Al-‘Abdo Brigade surrendered themselves and their weapons to the Syrian Army in the towns of Jayroud and Ruhaybah last week.

Per the peace deal established in the eastern Qalamoun, the Ahmad Al-‘Abdo Brigade has vowed to join the ranks of the Syrian Army and fight their enemies.

Below is the video of the Ahmad Al-‘Abdo Brigade surrendering to the Syrian Army.

 

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

‘Assad will pay the price for any Iranian attack on Israel’ – Israeli minister

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:20 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:05 P.M.) – Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources, Yuval Steinitz, told Ynet on Monday that “if Assad allows an Iranian or any other element to declare war on Israel from Syrian territory, he will bear the consequences.”

Steinitz would then go onto tell Ynet that the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is endangering his survival by allowing this to happen.

“He is endangering his regime and his own existence,” Steinitz added.

Recently, Israel attacked Iranian troops at the T-4 Airport in eastern Homs, killing at least seven soldiers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

This attack by Israel marked the first time that their forces had deliberately targeted Iranian troops in Syria.

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

Breaking: Iraqi Air Force allegedly kills ISIS second-in-command in Syria

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 03:07 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The Iraqi Air Force killed the Islamic State’s (ISIS) second-in-command while bombing the terrorist group’s positions in eastern Syria on Monday, Iraqi News reported, citing an intelligence source.

The Iraqi publication quoted Shafaq News, claiming the "Iraqi air forces launched an air strike targeting a group of IS militants, who were gathering at a building inside the Syrian territories, managing to kill a notorious IS leader, identified as Abu Luqman al-Souri."

According to the Shafaq report, Al-Souri is believed to be deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Al-Souri was reportedly "in charge of recruiting suicide attackers and dispatching them to Iraq to carry out terrorist attacks there."

If this report proves true, Al-Souri would be the highest ranking member of ISIS to be killed.

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

Russian cargo ship potentially carrying S-300 system arrives at Syrian port

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:57 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:50 P.M.) – The Russian cargo ship, RoRo Sparta II, has reportedly arrived to the Port of Tartous in western Syria, today, Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorous Observer told Al-Masdar News this morning.

According to Isik, the RoRo Sparta II made the long journey from the Russian port-city of Novorossiysk earlier this week to the Port of Tartous.

The Russian ship is believed to be carrying a large quantity of military equipment that is meant to be distributed to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

Some rumors have surfaced that this Russian ship is carrying the S-300 system; however, these claims still remain unfounded.

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

Death toll from Saudi airstrike on Yemeni wedding rises to 88: report

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:50 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:40 P.M.) – The death toll from the Saudi airstrike on the Yemeni wedding, yesterday, has risen exponentially, the Yemen-based Saba News Agency reported this morning.

According to the Saba report, at least 88 civilians have been found dead as a result of this Saudi airstrike on the wedding in the Al-Raqa area of Hajjah.

“The Republican Hospital declared a state of emergency yesterday evening because of the continued flow of casualties to it.. Calling citizens to donate blood,” The Saba report added.

Initially, the death toll was placed by local monitors at 20, but it quickly rose to 33 overnight after more bodies were found under the rubble.

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

Large Syrian cargo plane travels from Iran to Idlib airbase

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:39 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – A large Syrian cargo plane recently made the short trip from the Iranian capital of Tehran to the Abu Dhuhour Military Airport in southern Idlib, Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorous Observer reported on Sunday.

According to Isik, the Syrian Arab Airlines was using the Ilyushin Il-76T, which is a multi-purpose four engine turbofan air lifter.

This plane is typically used by the Syrian Arab Airlines to transport heavy material, such as weapons and other supplies for the military.

Below is the travel route this cargo plane took from Tehran to Abu Dhuhour Airport:

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

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Latest map update of southern Damascus battle

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:15 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been on the move today, liberating several buildings from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in the southern districts of Damascus.

Backed by several Palestinian groups, the Syrian Arab Army’s 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard was able to control of more buildings inside the town of Hajar Al-Aswad, forcing the Islamic State to consolidate their defensive positions.

While the Syrian Army advances on the ground, the Russian Aerospace Forces have been relentlessly bombing the Yarmouk Camp, Hajar Al-Aswad, Al-Qadam, and Al-Tadamon in the hopes of forcing the Islamic State to surrender.

The Islamic State’s leadership in southern Damascus initially agreed to surrender their positions; however, a large number of their fighters refused to leave, vowing to fight until the death.

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

Syrian military intensifies attack on northern Homs (video)

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 02:03 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:50 A.M.) – Earlier today, the Syrian and Russian forces launched a powerful assault against the Islamist rebels in the northern countryside of the Homs Governorate, targeting several areas in the Al-Rastan Plain.

Using both air and ground strikes, the Syrian and Russian forces have been pounding the Islamist forces in a bid to punish them for rejecting the latest peace talks with the Russian Reconciliation Center.

According to local reports, the Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their assault against the Islamist rebels, hitting several targets in the towns of Deir Fool, Al-‘Amariyah, Al-Quntarah, and ‘Ayn Hussein.

Below is the video of the Syrian Army launching missiles towards the Islamist rebels in northern Homs:


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

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Saudi airstrike kills at least 20 civilians at Yemeni wedding

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:52 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 A.M.) – The Saudi-led Coalition carried out another deadly bombing in northern Yemen, killing scores of civilians that were attending a wedding ceremony.

According to the Yemen-based Al-Masirah TV, at least 20 civilians were killed and another 40 more were wounded in the Hajjah Governorate, Sunday, when a Saudi airstrike hit a crowd attending a wedding.

The Yemeni network said that the toll is expected to rise, with many of victims were still under the rubble.

The Saudi jets also carried out raids on ambulances trying to transport the wounded from the attack to local hospitals, Al-Masirah added.

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

US mulls keeping naval carrier in eastern Mediterranean

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:40 AM PDT

The US military is debating whether to keep its aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman near the Middle East instead of rotating it after a set period of time, according to the Defense News website.

It quoted US Defense Department officials as saying that the move is still under discussion and that it "would be a response to "increasingly assertive Russian activities in the region," while also being in line with Washington's new National Defense Strategy.

At the same time, Defense News reported, the Harry S. Truman staying on in Europe "would be a major departure from the normal rotational presence missions the Navy has conducted since Operation Desert Storm, in which a trip through 'The Ditch' is almost a foregone conclusion."

Additionally, the aircraft carrier's deployment in the Mediterranean should "serve as an imposing reminder" of US President Donald Trump's warning against the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government forces, according to the Defense News.

Leaving a Norfolk base on April 11, the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group entered the Mediterranean Sea on April 19, almost a week after the US, France and Britain launched an aggression on Syria in response to the alleged chemical attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

Source: Sputnik

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

German reporter claims Douma residents told him chemical weapons attack was staged

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:28 AM PDT

The German TV reporter Uli Gack visited a refugee camp, where about 20,000 people from East Ghouta and Douma have fled. According to the reporter, people from there were convinced that the chemical attack, which the Syrian government has been blamed for, was staged by terrorists.

According to the former Douma residents cited by the ZDF reporter, the attack site was a Daesh* command post. The terrorist group had placed chlorine gas balloons there on purpose, so that they would explode if struck by government air forces, facilitating allegations of a deliberate government chemical attack.

The reporter also said that people from the camp told him there had already been such provocations in Douma. They said that some kind of training, as the journalist called it, had taken place, when people had been exposed to gas. This was filmed and later distributed as evidence of the attack.

Gack wouldn't vouch for every sentence of these reports, but he also pointed out that it seemed there was something in it. In his report from Syria, he also talked to the doctors from the hospital which was featured in the alleged video evidence of the attack, distributed by the White Helmets. The medical men told the journalists that they had noticed no signs of gas poisoning among the reported victims.

The reports from the refugee camp correspond to the recent findings of the Syrian government forces in the Damascus suburb of Douma. An ongoing search operation discovered a series of underground rooms that terrorists who were recently driven from the area allegedly used to make chemical weapons.

Last week, a fact-finding mission of the OPCW visited Douma to collect samples in a bid to investigate the alleged April 7 chemical attack, attributed to Bashar Assad's government.

The Syrian government denied the allegations for this incident, and earlier in March, the Russian Defense Ministry had warned that terrorists in Syria might be planning a false-flag attack involving chemical weapons.

However, before the investigation concluded, the US, the UK and France launched a massive missile strike against Syria, which they claimed targeted government facilities used to manufacture chemical weapons.

In 2013, Syria was also accused of launching chemical attacks, which reportedly also took place in the Damascus suburbs. Afterwards, the government relinquished its sizable arsenal of chemical weapons, which was subsequently destroyed under OPCW control.

Source: Sputnik

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

Syrian Army, Palestinian forces begin storming strategic town in southern Damascus

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:13 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), alongside their Palestinian allies, launched a powerful attack on the key town of Hajar Al-Aswad in the southern part of Damascus this morning, a military source told Al-Masdar News.

Led by the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army and their Palestinian allies stormed the western axis of Hajar Al-Aswad, today, leading to a series of intense clashes that are ongoing at the moment.

According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies have sent much of their reserves to Hajar Al-Aswad in a bid to strengthen their numbers around this imperative town in southern Damascus.

The Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies are attempting to seize several neighborhoods in Hajar Al-Aswad that they previously lost to the Islamist rebels in 2012.

The Islamist rebels would later lose much of Hajar Al-Aswad to the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2015.

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

GAZA PROTEST: 41 dead and 5000+ injured

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 01:09 AM PDT

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 A.M)- An 18 year old Palestinian boy has been confirmed dead this morning, falling victim to his previously inflicted gunshot wounds.

Eighteen year old, Said Mahmoud Wahba from Rafah (Gaza Strip), was shot in the head last Friday, he was suffering from deafness prior to being shot by an Israeli Sniper. The 18 year old was declared dead this morning after fighting for his life in hospital since being shot at the peaceful demonstration he took part in.

This mornings dead now brings Gaza’s death toll to 41 since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’, more than 5000 have also been injured.

No Israelis have been injured or have died as a result of this – currently 4 week – ongoing peaceful demonstration.

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

Netanyahu rebukes Iran, claims IRGC is creating army to fight Israel

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:55 AM PDT

Speaking at a session of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)’s General Staff, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted recent remarks issued by Tehran towards Israel.

“Today I heard what Iran’s Foreign Minister said, accusing Israel of violating international law. This is the Foreign Minister of a country that dispatches armed drones against Israel and missiles against Saudi Arabia. I also heard his moderate words, and there is an enormous gulf between the words and the actions of the Revolutionary Guards [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], that are building up an army against Israel with the declared aim of destroying the State of Israel,” Netanyahu alleged.

Adding that he had not been impressed the Iranian Foreign Minister’s remarks, Netanyahu stressed that he trusts the Israeli Defense Forces, which “will be prepared for any possibility and any scenario.”

His statement came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CBS News that “unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations of international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of US support.”

Zarif blamed Israel for “violating Syrian airspace and violating Syrian territory,” warning that if “they continue to violate the territorial integrity of other states, there’ll be consequences.”

On April 9, two Israeli F-15 fighter jets conducted an attack against Syria’s T-4 base. Israeli sources claimed the attack was aimed at Iranian fighters in the Arab country, while Tehran denied the claims that it had a military presence in the country.

About half of the missiles fired by the warplanes were intercepted by Syrian air defenses before they reached their targets, but the remaining missiles killed seven Iranian militia personnel, prompting condemnation from Tehran and Damascus.

Sky News Arabia cited an IDF official as saying that Israel is determined to strike back if Iran decides to retaliate in response to the attack on the T-4 airbase.

Relations between Iran and Israel remains tense, as Tehran doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, while Israel accuses Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons to threaten and potentially attack Israel with.

Additionally, Israel claims that Iran is allegedly building up its military presence in war-torn Syria in a bid to use it against Tel Aviv. Tehran rejects the allegations, insisting that it only sends military advisers and humanitarian aid to Syria.

Source: Sputnik

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

Syrian, Russian forces unleash massive assault on northern Homs after rebels rejet peace terms

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:37 AM PDT

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 A.M.) – The Syrian and Russian forces unleashed a massive assault on the Islamist-held towns in northern Homs this morning, a military source told Al-Masdar News.

According to the military source, the Syrian and Russian air forces launched several airstrikes over the northern countryside of Homs, targeting many towns inside the Al-Rastan Plains.

Among the towns targeted by the Syrian and Russian air forces were towns of Deir Fool, Al-Za’franah, Al-Quntarah, Al-‘Amariyah, ‘Ayn Hussein, and ‘Izzeddine, which are currently controlled by the Islamist rebels of Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The primary reason for today’s massive assault was due to the rejection of peace terms by the Islamist forces in northern Homs and southeastern Hama.

The Russian Reconciliation Center had warned the Islamist rebels about rejecting the peace terms; however, it appears their warning had little-to-no influence on them.

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

Rebels trained by Norway are planning to fight Syrian gov’t: report

Posted: 23 Apr 2018 12:10 AM PDT

The Norwegian-trained Syrian militia called the Revolutionary Command Army (MaT) meant to help quell Daesh* are now waging a war against the Syrian leadership and pro-government forces, the Norwegian daily Klassekampen reported.

According to Klassekampen, the rebel group is now openly fighting for a regime change in Syria, while also being an important part of the US’s efforts to prevent Iranian influence in the region.

In May 2016, it was announced that Norwegian soldiers were to be dispatched to Syria’s neighbor country Jordan to provide “training, counseling and operational support” to Syrian paramilitary groups fighting Daesh as part of the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve. In June 2016, the Norwegian parliament also green-lit similar missions in Syria itself.

While Norway’s Syria contribution was formally concluded in March this year, as the mandate formally expired, the exact extent and nature of Norway’s involvement was largely kept secret. MaT commander Muhannad al-Talla confirmed to Klassekampen that his group was trained by Norwegians in al-Tanf in southeastern Syria, where the US also has a base.

While both Prime Minister Erna Solberg and then-Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide emphasized the mandate was to fight Daesh, ensuring that they “won’t endanger the peace process,” al-Talla claimed that his Western allies never concealed that his soldiers were to fight both terrorists and the Syrian government.

“From the very beginning, I’ve been completely aware that I’m fighting “the Islamic State” and the al-Assad forces. [Daesh] is not gone but is clearly weakened. Now the priority is the fight Assad,” al-Talla admitted to Klassekampen.

The al-Tanf Base is a strategic outpost along the main route between Damascus and Baghdad. There, the US has created a so-called 55-square-kilometer safety zone secured by US soldiers with the help of al-Talla’s units.

Within the zone, Assad-loyal troops have been bombed at least two times by US combat aircraft. At the same time, several rebel groups, including MaT took part in an offensive against government forces after Daesh’s withdrawal from eastern Syria. Insurgent Free Syrian Army (FSA) spokesman and counselor Ibrahim al-Idlibi confirmed to Klassekampen that Norway-trained “militia” took part in the struggle against Assad associated forces, such as the operation “The Country is Ours” carried out in May and June 2017.

While the Syrian government has managed to reclaim most of the country’s territory from Daesh and various rebel groups, MaT leader Muhannad al-Talla is by his own admission not ready to lay down arms.

“It is true that the current balance of power favors Assad. But we will never let him have peace. Even if he wins the war, we will continue to make his life sad for him,” al-Talla pledged.

According to Klassekampen, MaT and other West-supported paramilitary groups are part of a larger superpower game, where the US seeks to ensure control in the border area between Syria and Iran to stop further Iranian influence in the region.

According to FSA spokesman al-Idlibi, the goal of MaT and similar rebel groups is to “fight Iranian and Shia groups” in the area. Al-Idlibi pledged that the fight will continue “until the mission is complete.”

“At the moment, the goal is to control the main road between Damascus and Baghdad. Thus, we prevent land expansion for Iranian forces between Syria and Iraq through the desert,” al-Idlibi pointed out.

Both Muhannad al-Talla and the Norwegian Ministry of Defense denied that Norwegians ever participated in the fight against the Syrian government and its allies. Norway formally ceased its mission in Syria, with the Defense Ministry deciding to focus on Iraq.

Source: Sputnik

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