- Pictures: Syrian Army’s Republican Guard seizes entire district from ISIS during blitz assault in south Damascus
- Graphic video: UN peacekeepers watch nine Syrian policemen get ambushed by militants in Golan Heights
- Syrian Army bulls through ISIL’s defenses in southern Damascus (video)
- Breaking: Syrian Army scores massive advance in south Damascus amid total collapse of ISIS defenses
- Rastan rebels suffer big losses after Syrian Army artillery, Russian warplanes launch joint attack in south Hama – details
- Pictures: Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces send first convoy towards north Homs for upcoming offensive
- Russia, Iran, Turkey warn against attempts to divide Syria
- Top jihadist commander in northern Homs killed by Syrian Army
- Breaking: Syrian Army, Palestinian forces liberate large parts of ISIS-occupied Al-Qadam
- Syrian Army kills 68 ISIS terrorists in southern Damascus: monitor
- Syrian Army uncovers more militant weapons left behind in East Ghouta (photos)
- Bilateral talks between Lavrov and Iranian FM start in Moscow
- Nigerian Shiite leader faces new criminal charges
- Gaza death toll now 46: Israeli Snipers execute 14 yr old
- Recent events in Syria have demonstrated that not everyone wants peace – Lavrov
- US denies agreement with Turkey on withdrawing YPG from Manbij
- Thousands pay respects to Houthi chief Sammad killed in airstrike
- Syrian gov’t denies alleged Assad decree confiscating refugee properties
- Breaking: Syrian Army, Palestinian forces liberate large neighborhood in southern Damascus
- Syrian Army, Palestinian forces keep advancing in southern Damascus amid heavy resistance from ISIS
- Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces gear up for northern Homs offensive
- Sanctions against Iran won’t work – Iranian Military Chief of Staff
- Syrian Army, Palestinian forces liberate several areas southern Damascus
- Breaking: Houthis launches largest missile strike on Saudi Arabia
- Syrian Army kills jihadist commander in Daraa
- Russia’s military police patrolling three neighborhoods in Syria’s Eastern Qalamoun
- Mysterious rebel assassinations continue as high ranking FSA commander killed in southern Idlib
- ISIS hurls several vehicle bombs at Syrian Army in south Damascus – details
- Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza Strip port
- Map: Syrian Army cracks open ISIS defenses in key areas of south Damascus
- Large Syrian cargo plane leaves Damascus for Iran
Posted: 29 Apr 2018 12:00 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 A.M.) – On Saturday afternoon, the Syrian Army – led by veteran Republican Guard assault units – drove Islamic State militants from the district of Al-Qadam in southern Damascus.
Specifically, Syrian government troops – backed by artillery, armor and airstrikes – retook the neighborhoods of Al-Madaniyah, Al-Asali and Al-Jorah.
Although capturing all three residential areas during a blitz assault that lasted less than 24 hours, the Syrian Army spent days before that gradually eroding the main ISIS defense line that guarded the neighborhoods with non-stop artillery and aerial bombardment.
With the collapse of Islamic State defenses in Al-Qadam on Saturday, many terrorist fighters found themselves isolated into small pockets of resistance where they were either killed or pushed to make a desperate retreat for safer positions in Hajjar al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 11:15 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:15 A.M.) – A video (below) has been released which shows the ambushing of nine Syrian policemen by militants in the Hermon area of the Golan Heights some time in 2013.
Information is now surfacing that, apparently, Austrian UN peacekeepers present in the area where the attack took place saw insurgents setting up the ambush and, even then so, did not warn Syrian policemen who passed through their UN checkpoint of the impending danger.
The result was that the government vehicle was ambushed and all nine Syrian policemen traveling in it were ultimately killed.
The attack appears to have been filmed at a distance by the same Austrian UN peacekeepers who seemingly allowed it take place.
Source: FALTER Stadtzeitung (https://www.facebook.com/FALTER.Stadtzeitung/videos/2081599171855601/)
This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 03:17 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:45 A.M.) – Heavy shelling struck the district of al-Hajar al-Aswad, to the south of Damascus on Saturday, as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) worked to gain further ground against the remaining members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) still in the capital.
The Syrian Arab Army and their Palestinian allies were able to impose full control over the strategic Al-Qadam District, following the collapse of the Islamic State’s positions near the Hajar Al-Aswad District.
The offensive comes after the Syrian military announced the full recapture of Eastern Ghouta from militants late last month.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:24 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:23 P.M.) – The Syrian Army and allied Palestinian forces have just scored a huge advance against Islamic State militants in southern Damascus amid a total collapse of the terrorist group’s defenses.
According to military-affiliated sources, following the capture of the Al-Madaniyah neighborhood earlier on Friday, Syrian pro-government forces have since pushed on to now seize of the nearby neighborhoods of Al-Asali and Al-Jorah.
By this advance the Syrian Army and its allies have come into full control the Al-Qadam district and de facto reduced the area held by ISIS in southern Damascus by about one third.
Reports say that Islamic State forces are now ‘mass retreating’ back towards positions in the districts of Hajjar al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp.
Updates to follow.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:08 PM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:05 P.M.) – Rebel fighters operating in the southern countryside of Hama province near Rastan city suffered heavy losses on Friday afternoon after getting snagged in a surprise joint attack by Syrian Army artillery units and Russian warplanes.
According to military-affiliated sources, rebel forces came under heavy artillery shelling (including the use of rockets) and aerial bombardment at the towns of Hirbnafsah and Zara.
Reports say that the Syrian, Russian joint strikes targeted militant tactical positions and movements in and around both towns with deadly accuracy – precision munitions were used.
Overall, the attack – which caught insurgents out in the open and hit them with a lot of firepower in a very short period of time – killed at least 15 rebel fighters, although this number may actually be as high as two dozen.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 11:43 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:40 P.M.) – Photos (below) have been released showing the first convoy of the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division to be sent towards the northern countryside of Homs province for an upcoming offensive against armed rebel groups.
The convoy in question comprises units that had been preparing to strike Islamic State terrorists in southern Damascus as well as units based in the eastern Qalamoun region.
The photos show an exclusively motorized force of technicals and logistical trucks, indicating that the first batch of the elite division’s units bound for northern Homs belong to light fire support (i.e. machine gun platoons) and combat services outfits.
The Tiger Forces Division is likely to commence its main ground assault within the next fortnight after preparing all of its units, assessing weak points in rebel lines around the city of Rastan and formulating a plan of attack.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 07:47 AM PDT
Moscow, Tehran and Ankara believe attempts to split Syria on ethnic and religious grounds to be unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday following a meeting with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts – Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We agreed that attempts to split Syria on ethnic and religious grounds were totally unacceptable,” Lavrov said.
“We have stated that we will counter attempts to undermine our joint efforts and pointed out that the Astana process is stable,” he said. “We will continue solving important tasks related to de-escalation, easing tensions and reducing the conflict potential. Ceasefire violations continue to happen but we have a mechanism to monitor them and we will seek to overcome this situation, particularly by strengthening trust among the parties 'on the ground',” Lavrov added.
He pointed out that Saturday's meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey “comes when developments in Syria are not always positive.” “We have already said that the illegal attack on Syria on April 14 that the United States, Great Britain and France carried out before experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had even started their work, caused a setback in efforts to advance the political process,” he said.
“However, we are determined to continue these efforts, we agreed on specific steps that our three countries will take individually and together in order to get us all back to the path leading to the implementation of the [UN Security Council] Resolution 2254,” Lavrov stressed. “We strongly believe that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis based on the Resolution 2254 and recommendations issued by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi,” the Russian top diplomat noted.
Attempts are being made to hinder the peace process in Syria, particularly to prevent the establishment of a constitutional committee, Lavrov said.
“The developments of the recent weeks show that not everyone wants peace to be restored in Syria. Every time hope arises, a strike is carried out on it,” Lavrov said. “We have to point to ongoing attempts to prevent dialogue among Syrians and the establishment of a constitutional committee in accordance with decisions made at the Sochi event, which were supported by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and his Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, who participated in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi,” the Russian top diplomat added.
“It turns out that were create and build, while our counterparts seek to destroy the results of our joint constructive efforts, even violating international law, just like the US, Great Britain and France did when they carried out an attack on Syria on April 14,” Lavrov said.
According to him, the trilateral attack “not only significantly raised tensions on the international stage but also considerably damaged the prospects for a political settlement.”
Opposition's demands to change political regime
Syrian opposition's demands to change the political regime in Damascus complicate the restoration of the Geneva negotiating process, Lavrov said.
“In the context of efforts to revive the Geneva negotiating platform, we consider as extremely destructive some statements made by specific representatives of the external opposition, which set preliminary conditions for the settlement of the Syrian conflict and the switchover to political negotiations,” Lavrov said.
“As preliminary conditions, they advance the demands of changing the regime and bringing the Syrian leadership to trial as war criminals,” the top Russian diplomat said.
“Such approaches contradict the substance and the form of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and are also openly aimed at maximally complicating the work to resume the negotiating process, considering those breakthrough results that were achieved at the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi,” Lavrov stated.
War on terror
The war on terrorists who are trying to hide in de-escalation zones in Syria will be uncompromising, Lavrov said.
“The ceasefire must be observed in the de-escalation zones, naturally, except for terrorist groupings, which are trying to hide in these zones and speculate on their status. This struggle against terrorists will be absolutely uncompromising. Those groups of the armed opposition who are patriotically minded must immediately separate themselves from terrorists,” Russia's top diplomat said.
“The UN, which has contacts with all the basic armed groups, with all the main political forces of the Syrian opposition and with those who support and direct the work of these oppositionists, could convey this idea more clearly: you needn’t be entangled with terrorists, you needn’t create some unions and alliances with them, even if situational,” Russia's top diplomat said.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey are determined to urgently agree further steps within the framework of the Astana process towards a settlement in Syria.
“We agreed to hold this early Astana process meeting at the foreign minister level to discuss the no simple situation in Syria and around it,” Lavrov said. ” We believe it is necessary to urgently agree collective measures within the framework of the Astana format we created more than a year ago to keep moving Syria towards peace and normalization in these difficult conditions.”
“We share a common wish to facilitate this process and hope to discuss the situation that has emerged in Syria and new additional steps that would foster positive trends, including those in the context of decisions made at the second summit of the presidents of Russia [Vladimir Putin], Iran [Hassan Rouhani] and Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan], which took place in Ankara. The Astana process is an example of how seemingly insoluble problems can be resolved, provided there is the political will,” he said.
The UN may help the Astana process on Syria effectively develop in all areas, Lavrov added.
“The UN was invited to the Astana process when it was launched. Now the UN can do much to make the Astana process effectively develop in all areas,” Lavrov said. “Now the UN can do much to make the Astana process effectively develop in all areas,” the minister stressed, noting that the main areas of work are de-escalation zones, humanitarian support and political dialogue.
Russia, Iran and Turkey will be working with Damascus and the opposition in providing humanitarian assistance to Syria, Lavrov said.
“Today we confirmed the need for stepping up efforts in providing humanitarian assistance,” he said. “We will ensure this aid should be provided in the most effective way. We will be cooperating with the government, the opposition and, of course, with our counterparts at the United Nations, the International Red Cross, the Syrian Red Crescent and other international organizations. It is important to ensure international assistance, including assistance in mine-clearing operations, be provided to the areas that return to peaceful life as a result of our joint efforts without any politicization or any political preconditions put forward.”
“We are calling on the UN to avoid being pressured for politicization of humanitarian deliveries and humanitarian help,” he said. “And, of course, the UN has no right to play to those who state that help will be provided only to areas controlled by the opposition.
Lavrov noted that Russia has contacts with UN humanitarian bodies and helps them reach agreements with the Syrian government under the norms of international humanitarian law. “We induce our colleagues in Damascus to be more flexible, think constructively, although it is difficult at times, regarding the discriminate approaches of some Western partners that they are observing,” the minister stressed.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 07:41 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – The top commander of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the militant-held pocket in northern Homs was reportedly killed by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) today.
According to a military report, the Syrian Army killed the HTS commander, Abu Khaled Al-Hamwi, inside the northern Homs town of ‘Ezzeddine, which is not far from the government front-lines.
The Syrian Army also killed Abu Khaled Al-Hamwi’s brother, Abu Ramah; he was the deputy leader of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the northern Homs countryside.
This is a major blow for the jihadist rebels in northern Homs, as the Syrian Arab Army is already preparing to launch a big operation to capture this pocket.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 07:30 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:15 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their Palestinian allies resumed their offensive operations in the southern districts of Damascus this afternoon, seizing new areas from the Islamic State (ISIS) forces.
Led by their 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army managed to liberate more ground in the Al-Qadam District after launching a big attack on the Islamic State’s defenses along the Old Damascus-Daraa Highway.
According to a military source in southern Damascus, the Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies liberated several points in Al-Qadam this afternoon, including the Bour Sa’eed Roundabout and its corresponding Industrial Zone in the western part of the district.
This big advance came shortly after the Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies managed to break-through the Islamic State’s first line of defense in the Al-Qadam and Hajar Al-Aswad areas.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 07:12 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies have killed 68 Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists over the last few days in southern Damascus, the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed on Saturday.
While Al-Masdar cannot verify the exact number, reports from southern Damascus have indicated that the Islamic State has suffered heavy casualties due to the heavy bombardment from the Syrian military and Russian Aerospace Forces.
However, despite the heavy losses in their ranks, the Islamic State has managed to fend off most of the Syrian Arab Army’s attacks, while also inflicting many casualties on the government forces.
ISIS is still attempting to beat back the Syrian Army assault, but the likelihood that they will remain in the Yarmouk Camp, Hajar Al-Aswad, Al-Qadam, and Al-Tadamon is very slim.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 06:58 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:45 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has uncovered more weapons in the East Ghouta region after combing through the Jobar suburb on Saturday.
According to Damascus Now, the weapons were found while the Syrian Arab Army was clearing some buildings that were once under the control of Faylaq Al-Rahman.
Below are the photos from Jobar:
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 05:27 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held bilateral talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Moscow on Saturday.
"We highly appreciate the dialogue on regional, in particular, Caspian Sea issues, as well as international issues. First of all, our cooperation in the triumvirate format with Turkey on the Syrian settlement," Lavrov said.
"The defeat of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is the key to our joint work. As for our cooperation, we work with Russia in the Astana format. This is the only international initiative that is being implemented jointly with our Turkish friends and it is fruitful," Zarif said.
Zarif came to Moscow to participate in a special meeting with the Lavrov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, as Turkey, Russia and Iran are the sponsors of the Astana Process, which promotes the Syrian peace settlement.
In addition to the bilateral talks, the Russian foreign minister will also hold trilateral talks with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 05:08 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 P.M.) – The Nigerian Shiite leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, is facing new criminal charges by the local government, the AFP News Agency reported this afternoon.
According to the AFP report, Sheikh ZZakzaky is facing eight criminal charges from the High Court of Justice of the Kaduna State.
The Shiite leader is facing charges of committing culpable homicide, disturbing the peace, and unlawful assembly.
According to court documents, his supporters were armed with dangerous weapons — such as pistols, cutlasses and axes — and killed a soldier.
IMN spokesperson Abdullahi Yola told AFP the charges were “absurd”.
“Why is it that the charges keep coming after keeping the Sheikh (Zakzaky) in an illegal detention for two and a half years?” he asked.
If found guilty for culpable homicide, he could face the death penalty.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 04:53 AM PDT
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:00 P.M)- A fourteen year old Palestinian has this morning been confirmed dead, bringing the Gaza death toll since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’ to 46.
Forteen year old Azzam Awaed was declared death this morning by the Palestinian Health Ministry. The 14 year old child was shot yesterday by an Israeli sniper, whilst participating one of several ongoing border demonstrations.
Over 800 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces yesterday, 174 reportedly shot with live ammunition. Six journalists and four paramedics were also reportedly injured.
The total number of injured protestors, during the course of this – 5 week -ongoing peaceful demonstration, has superseded 6,400. More than 500 children have confirmed to have been injured during the demonstrations.
Yesterday Israel executed the following Palestinian demonstrators:
The following is a list of all the demonstrators who have been killed by Israeli sniper and artillery fire, since the beginning of the ‘Great Return March’ on the 30th of March:
1) Wahid Nasrallah Abu Sammour, (27)
Israel also launched strikes on Gaza, from the Sea, Air and Land. Six sites were struck, following an initial airstrike carried out against a boat docked in the Gaza port (Gaza City), Hamas have claimed that the boat was preparing to send the injured to break the siege and receive their essential medical help that has been denied to them by Israel.
Israel claim that the airstrikes “targeted Hamas militant positions”, although there are no reports to indicate that Hamas members inured or the any military equipment or sites were actually struck. It is alleged that Israel were tested their weapons technology on Gazan infrastructure.
Hamas did not respond to Israel’s provocations with violence, yet they did respond with verbal comdemnation.
The ‘Great Return March’ will continue until Nakba day, on the 15th of May.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 04:43 AM PDT
The top diplomats of the three countries serving as guarantors of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria are expected to give their views on a number of international and regional issues including the Iran nuclear deal.
Sergei Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mevlut Cavusoglu, the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey respectively, are holding a press conference in Moscow on April 28.
Foreign Minister Lavrov pointed out that the US, French and British coalition airstrikes against Syria on April 14 were conducted before the OPCW completed its investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma on April 7.
Ahead of the press conference, Lavrov said that Moscow believes that collective measures were necessary in the Astana peace talks format to normalize the situation in Syria. He also reiterated that Russia, Turkey and Iran need to work together to help Damascus clear the wartorn country of terrorists.
The Russian foreign minister added that unfortunately, “the events of recent weeks have shown that not everyone seems to want peace in Syria.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif thanked Lavrov for Russia’s hospitality, noting that he had “lost count” of the number of meetings he has held with his Russian counterpart. He added that Moscow and Tehran have reached a high level of understanding not only in security, but the economy as well.
According to Zarif, the Astana platform for Syrian settlement was “the only initiative where Tehran cooperates with its Turkish partners, and this cooperation yields results.”
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 04:19 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – The Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, Heather Nauert, stated on Friday that her country had no agreement with Turkey regarding the alleged withdrawal of the Kurdish-led YPG forces from the northeast Aleppo town of Manbij.
“The Secretary and Foreign Minister agreed on the value of U.S.-Turkish partnership in the region and of maintaining close communication. Secretary Pompeo conveyed the Administration's concern for U.S citizens and Mission Turkey local staff detained in Turkey. Building upon prior discussions on Manbij, the two reaffirmed their support for the established bilateral process to find a common way forward,” Nauert stated.
Nauert’s statement contrasted that of the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who told reporters on Friday that he and his U.S. counterpart, Mike Pompeo, had an agreement regarding the eventual withdrawal of YPG forces from Manbij.
“The YPG will be withdrawing from Manbij. Otherwise, we will intervene as we did with Afrin,” the Turkish Foreign Minister stated on Friday.
Manbij has been under the control of the YPG since 2016 when their forces expelled the Islamic State (ISIS) from the town.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 04:03 AM PDT
Tens of thousands of people hit the streets in the Yemeni capital of Sana’a on Saturday, to pay their final respects to former Houthi political leader Saleh al-Sammad and his six companions who were killed in a Saudi-led airstrike on April 19.
Earlier this week, former director of the Houthis leader office Mahdi al-Mashat was sworn in as president of the Supreme Political Council, replacing Sammad.
Sammad was allegedly killed in an air raid with his six companions on the way to meeting with local officials last Thursday in Hodeidah.
The Saudi-led bombing campaign continues in Yemen with US backing. The United Nations estimated that more than 10,000 have been killed and more than three million people have been displaced since beginning of the war in March 2015.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 03:40 AM PDT
Syrian President Assad has never issued a decree which allows for property of Syrian people, who fail to provide documents confirming their ownership of said property, to be confiscated, Secretary of the Syrian People’s Council Khaled Abboud told Sputnik, stressing that such actions would contradict the nation’s constitution.
“There is no decree on this subject. And, in my opinion, such a decree would violate the constitution… Areas are being returned to the Syrian army, which represents the Syrian government, which is responsible for its citizens,” Abboud said.
The Syrian government understands that today many Syrians do not have the opportunity to reach their homes, and that many of them were forced to leave because of terrorism, according to the official.
“In this regard, how can one issue such a decree when citizens cannot reach their property rights certificates in order to confirm it,” Abboud stressed.
At the same time, he noted that over time, Syrian citizens may be asked to confirm their ownership, since many areas had been damaged or destroyed during the war.
“But I do not think that we will come to this stage soon. Especially bearing in mind that the [Syrian] army has not finished the liberation yet,” Abboud underlined.
On Thursday, Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported, citing the country’s Foreign Ministry, that Assad had signed a decree under which Syrians could lose their property if they failed to register their ownership within a period of 30 days. Berlin criticized the measure, calling on Syria’s allies, including Russia, to prevent the decree from being implemented, according to the media outlet.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 03:25 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:20 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their Palestinian allies have established full control over the Ma’daniyah neighborhood of the Al-Qadam District, a military source told Al-Masdar News moments ago.
According to the military source, the Syrian Army was able to infiltrate the Islamic State’s last line of defense in the Al-Ma’daniyah neighborhood this afternoon, forcing the terrorist group to fully withdraw south towards Hajar Al-Aswad.
With Al-Ma’daniyah under their control, the Syrian Army will now attempt to clean up the remaining sites under the Islamic State’s control in the Al-Qadam District.
The Al-Qadam District was previously under the control of the Islamist rebels; however, when they were getting ready to handover the district, the Islamic State launched a major attack that gave them possession of most neighborhood.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 03:14 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:00 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) continued their large-scale advance in the southern districts of Damascus this afternoon, seizing more ground from the Islamic State (ISIS) forces in the southeastern part of Al-Qadam.
Backed by several Palestinian paramilitaries, the Syrian Army managed to score a swift advance near the Hajar Al-Aswad axis, leaving them within striking distance of this large town in southern Damascus.
This new advance came just two hours after the Syrian Arab Army and their Palestinian allies liberated a dozen farms and buildings from the Islamic State terrorists in the Al-Qadam District.
The Syrian Arab Army and their Palestinian allies are now attempting to secure the Qadam-Hajar Al-Aswad axis .
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 02:56 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:25 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces were given orders on Friday to redeploy from the southern districts of Damascus to the northern countryside of the Homs Governorate.
According to a military source in Damascus, the Tiger Forces were initially given the task to liberate the Yarmouk Camp District from the Islamic State (ISIS) forces there; however, due to the Republican Guard’s success, they were not needed anymore.
With the rebels in northern Homs refusing to reconcile with the government, the Syrian military has decided to intensify their operations at this front.
While the 4th and 11th divisions have already begun an operation in nearby southern Hama, the Tiger Forces will solely concentrate on the northern Homs pocket, which includes the entire Al-Rastan Plain.
The Al-Rastan Plain has long been a stronghold for the Islamist rebels; its towns of Rastan and Talbiseh have served as the headquarters for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other militant groups.
No date has been set for this offensive.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 02:19 AM PDT
Mohammad Baqeri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, has warned the United States against imposing sanctions on Tehran, which he said would not affect the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s Fars news agency has cited the Iranian military’s Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri as saying Tehran won’t alter its defense strategy, despite the US allegedly hatching plots against the Islamic Republic.
“Iran’s strategy of supporting the oppressed people and those who are seeking independence in the world, and confronting the organized plots of arrogant leaders will remain unchanged. The enemies’ sanctions against Iran, a country that is bestowed with divine blessings, will not work, and the sinister enemies will be disappointed,” Baqeri stressed.
The statement echoes remarks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said earlier in the week that the Islamic Republic’s “progress” would not be disrupted by “the plots hatched by the US, the Zionists and certain reactionary Arab regimes in the region.”
Rouhani also reiterated Tehran’s adherence to the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal, but warned that far-reaching consequences will be there “if anyone wants to betray our nation and our agreement.”
Since his election campaign in 2016, US President Donald Trump has expressed his dissatisfaction with the JCPOA. In late January 2018, he intensified his rhetoric, asking the Congress to address the flaws in the “terrible Iran nuclear deal and threatening to pull out of it otherwise.
Trump is expected to announce his decision by the May 12 deadline, whether or not he imposes economic sanctions against Iran.
European countries which are signatories to the JCPOA have repeatedly voiced concern about Washington’s plans on the Iran deal, while Moscow has warned against scrapping the agreement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it would stick to the JCPOA provisions as long as other participants do. Moscow also added that it does not believe the deal needs to be changed.
The Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, for his part, pointed out that the Iran deal “has no alternatives and that it should be implemented by all parties.”
After his visit to the US, French President Emmanuel Macron, in turn, expressed a willingness to preserve the deal, but noted that he wants to add several new provisions to the document.
Earlier this week, Fars news agency cited Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying that Tehran would not accept any amendments to the JCPOA.
Velayati also underscored that “if Trump exits the deal, Iran will surely pull out of it… Iran will not accept a nuclear deal with no benefits for us.”
The JCPOA was signed by the European Union, Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, including Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, on July 14, 2015.
The deal stipulates Tehran pledging to not seek to develop or acquire nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 02:10 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:55 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their Palestinian allies scored a big advance in the southern districts of southern Damascus, today, liberating several areas that were under the control of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS).
Led by the 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army and their Palestinian allies managed to liberate several points inside of the Al-Qadam District after short battle this morning.
According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Army and their Palestinian allies were able to liberate a dozen farms and building complexes in Al-Qadam after making a big push from two axes inside this district.
Meanwhile, in the Yalda District, the Islamic State (ISIS) launched a surprise attack against the remaining rebel forces in the area.
ISIS reportedly seized several sites from the rebels in Yalda, including the Al-Yabani Hospital and its surroundings.
The ISIS attack on the rebel forces in Yalda came just 24 hours after an agreement was made that would give the Syrian Army access to Jaysh Al-Islam’s front-lines in the area.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 01:55 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:45 A.M.) – Minutes ago, the Houthi forces launched a massive missile attack on Saudi Arabia, targeting several areas across this Gulf kingdom.
According to the official media wing of the Houthi forces, their rocket battalion fired at least eight ballistic missiles into Saudi Arabia, hitting targets in the southern province of Jizan.
The Houthi forces claimed that their rocket battalion utilized their domestically-made Badr-1 ballistic missile to attack Saudi Arabia this afternoon.
This massive attack by the Houthi forces is in response to the Saudi airstrike that killed the Yemeni group’s political leader earlier this week.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 01:25 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has killed another jihadist commander in southern Syria after clashing with a militant group inside Dara’a city.
According to the Syrian military, the army killed the commander of Faylaq Siyouf Mohammad and several of his fighters inside the Dara’a Al-Balad District on Friday.
The military claimed that the Syrian Army killed the jihadist commander after an intense exchange of artillery shells and missiles in the provincial capital of Dara’a.
Recently, the Syrian Arab Army and rebel forces have traded attacks in Dara’a, as each group attempts to gain the upper-hand in the area.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 01:09 AM PDT
Russia's military police have begun patrolling the settlements of Ruheiba, Jeiroud and Nasiriyah in Syria's Eastern Qalamoun, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria Yuri Yevtushenko said on Friday.
“To prevent provocations, ensure security for civilians and maintain law and order, units of the Russian military police have organized patrolling in the settlements of Ruheiba, Jeiroud and Nasiriyah,” he said.
According to the Russian officer, chiefs of administrations in Eastern Qalamoun neighborhoods are working to raise awareness of members of illegal armed groups who are willing to surrender arms and undergo a status normalization procedure.
“During the past day, as many as 1,871 people settled their statuses under the control of the Russian reconciliation center and Russian military police units,” he noted.
The Russian reconciliation center said on Thursday a six-day operation to liberate Eastern Qalamoun from illegal armed groups was over.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:59 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:40 P.M.) – The mysterious assassinations plaguing the rebel forces in the Idlib Governorate continued this weekend after one of the highest ranking commanders in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was killed in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
According to pro-opposition activists via social media, the deputy commander of Jaysh Al-Izza, Khaled Marati (aka “Abu Lahab”) was killed last night in Khan Sheikhoun when unknown assailants opened fire on his vehicle.
Marati is the highest ranking commander to be killed in Idlib since the start of these assassinations this month.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the assassinations, the rebel forces have blamed Syrian government spies for these attacks in Idlib.
Most recently, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham claimed they found a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) sleeper cell in the northern Hama town of Morek; however, the government has yet to corroborate these claims.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:52 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:50 P.M.) – Since the beginning of the Syrian Army’s offensive operation in southern Damascus, Islamic State (ISIS) forces have – in line with their typical military doctrine – deployed several vehicle bombs (VBIEDs) against government troops.
According to Al-Masdar News correspondent Ibrahim Joudeh, at least four vehicle bombs have been used by the terrorist group to attack Syrian Army vanguard units over the last week.
It is unclear exactly what number of these attacks where foiled before reaching their mark and what number managed to land a hit – at least one is said to have been stopped before inflicting losses on government ranks.
In all probability, the number of VBIED attacks by Islamic State forces in southern Damascus will increase as the Syrian Army fights its way into the inner parts of the Hajjar al-Aswad and Yarmouk Camp districts.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:34 AM PDT
Israeli jets fired at six naval targets that belong to Palestine's militant group Hamas in a Gaza port on Friday night in response to new clashes on the border, the army said.
“IAF [Israeli Air Force] fighter jets targeted 6 military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization’s naval force in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces tweeted.
Palestinian media said several small vessels had been hit. The IDF justified the strikes by a new wave of unrest on the Gaza-Israeli border, which it called a “mass infiltration attempt.”
Hundreds of Palestinians tried to breach the fence earlier in the day to cross into what they say is their ancestral land. Israeli soldiers used live fire, killing three people.
A total of 43 people have lost their lives over five weeks of violence at the border, which IDF blames on Hamas.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:20 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:20 P.M.) – By the time of Thursday night, and a after a week of brutal clashes, the Syrian Army finally scored two key breakthroughs against Islamic State defenses across southern Damascus.
In the district of Hajjar al-Aswad, Syrian troops – supported by armor, artillery and airstrikes – breached the first line of terrorist positions by capturing the Al-Jorah orchards area.
On the eastern flank of Hajjar al-Aswad, the Syrian Army took over some positions from rebel forces within the district of Yalda (this not being shown on the map).
Finally, in the district of Al-Qadam, the Syrian Army has advanced into the neighborhood of Al-Madaniyah, capturing a key industrial area.
As of Friday (not shown in the map above), government forces more decisively broke into heart of the Al-Madaniyah and Al-Asali neighborhoods, isolating Islamic State militants into small pockets and driving a larger wedge between Al-Madaniyah and Hajjar al-Aswad.
Posted: 28 Apr 2018 12:09 AM PDT
BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 A.M.) – For the second time in the last 24 hours, a Syrian cargo plane has departed from Syria and flown over Iraqi airspace in order to reach Iran.
According to Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorous Observer, a Syrian Arab Airlines Ilyushin Il-76T YK-ATD left the Damascus International Airport this morning and is currently traveling to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport.
The Ilyushin Il-76T is a four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter that has been used in the past by the Syrian Arab Airlines to transport military cargo from neighboring countries to Syria.
Most recently, the Ilyushin Il-76T has made repeated flights from Tehran to different airbases in Syria, including the Kuweires, T-4, Hama, and Abu Dhuhour airports.
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