Syria news/Archive/2018-08

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31 Aug. CNN hears from "multiple" unnamed US officials that the Trump regime has already drawn up a target list for the case that a chemical incident in Idlib should appear to occur.

Lavrov says terrorists’ use of Idlib for attacks on Russian, Syrian troops is unacceptable, in a long and tense TASS article.

Lavrov -Muallem formal press-release and press conference (including detail on ongoing negotiations with Turkey - with no agreement yet).

Russia informed OPCW Director General of impending provocation in Syria.

Staffan de Mistura called for humanitarian corridors.

Russia blocked UN 1718 committee report on North Korea (RFE/RL, TASS Eng., TASS Rus.)

30 Aug. Russia announced 'large-scale exercises' (Navy cmd. presentation, map) of the Navy and the Airspace Forces in the Mediterranean Sea, 1-8 September 2018. (This follows large scale maneuvers in Russia’s eastern and central military districts Vostok-2018).

Andre Vltchek takes a look at the Syrian curriculum's view on modern history. (A US teacher on related matters, here).

29 Aug. After the blacklist of "Assadists" mentioned on 24 Aug was taken down by the host for violation of terms, Brandon Turbeville turns it around and compiles a Directory Of Accurate Alt Media Sources On Syria, which with some minor flaws (first of course the omission of this humble wiki ;o)) constitutes a useful tool for people starting to explore the true nature of the topic hidden behind NATO propaganda.

28 Aug. Pentagon denies claims on military build-up, repeats concerns, including on chemical weapons (CNN, Sputnik).

At the UNSC, the UK ambassador calls the Russian claims about a planned chemical weapons attack in Idlib with UK involvement "fake news". The Russian ambassador replies that if the MoD says something, it knows something. He elaborates that two trucks with "a large amount of chemical agents", accompanied by eight members of the White Helmets, have arrived in Saraqib, from where some of them were delivered to militants. (Further details here). Full UNSC recording, Eng here; Russian presentation from 1:11:00, the main claim from 1:21:00). UNSC in Rus. here.

27 Aug. The third congress of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) takes place in Rimelan near Qamishlo. The second congress in December 2011 paved the way to the political project in the northern, Kurdish-dominated regions.

26 Aug. Konashenkov gives another statement saying that according to information received today from "residents", "foreign experts" have arrived in the southern Idlib Hbrit settlement and plan to target Kafr Zita with a staged chlorine attack in the next two days. If this is the same group from yesterday's statement with changed plans was not immediately clear.

25 Aug. Konashenkov gives a statement in which he describes details of another false flag chemical attack planned by Al Qaeda with the help of UK special services. Eight containers with chlorine have been delivered to Jisr al-Shugour where they were given to a Turkistani Jihadi group which now stocks them in the near village of Halluz. The attack is to be staged in Jisr al-Shugour and a rescue operation simulated by "a special group of terrorists who have been trained by specialists of the UK private military company Olive", the Russian MoD spokesman elaborated.

24 Aug. A Dutch activist (evolutionary biology MSc student; writing sample) publishes a list of 150 leading Western intellectuals Assadist. ACLOS member Adam Larson is honored by inclusion, along with links to ACLOS (mission statement) and our sister blog Monitor on Massacre Marketing.

The Turkish defense minister and intelligence chief visit Moscow to discuss the Idlib situation with their Russian counterparts. A similar meeting had taken place one week before.

22 Aug. John Bolton, ahead of his visit to Moscow to meet Nikolai Patrushev: Russia stuck in Syria / Iran must leave (Reuters), (kommersant.ru) / US would act very strongly if Syria uses chemical weapons.

21 Aug. FUKUS releases a statement on the fifth anniversary of the Ghouta chemical weapons incident, warning that they would "respond appropriately" to any future use of chemical weapons by Syria.

20 Aug. Lavrov (Russ; Eng.): ...' It turns out that the Political Department of the UN Secretariat issued and circulated throughout the UN system in October 2017 a secret directive prohibiting organisations that are part of this system to participate in any projects to restore the Syrian economy limiting their involvement to humanitarian aid and nothing more. Again, a condition was put forward that only after progress had been made on a so-called "political transition" will it be possible to deal with the restoration of Syria. I asked Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres why such matters are the subject of some in-house secret Secretariat’s directives and why the UN Security Council which deals directly with the Syrian settlement is not aware of them, and why such decisions are made without an open and objective analysis of the situation on the ground. Mr Guterres promised to sort it out. Also talks about artificial (US) attempts to stop the return of refugees by refusing to participate in the efforts to restore the infrastructure in Syria, with de Mistura-Pompeo meeting as an example.

17 Aug. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, accompanied by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, visited Moscow to discuss Syria and other cooperation, met Shoigu and Gerasimov, ahead of a possible start of operation in Idlib (Cassad. photos),(TASS),(Orient).

12 Aug. It is reported that YPG collaborates with the government, provides some 1300 fighters, to wear SAA uniforms, for planned operation in Idlib and Western Aleppo, following 'months' of negotiations with the Russians (Turkish state agency Anadolu),(Rusvesna). The SDF spokesperson calls the Anadolu report a lie.

11 Aug. Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad turns 43 years old.

10 Aug. The SAA has followed the retreating ISIS gangs into the as-Suweida desert where they now stand before the groups's "fortified" as-Safa hide-out, which is a gigantic lava field visible as a black circle from space.

Turkey: While Erdogan asks his people not to panic because of the collapsing lira (and calls Putin), Trump declares per tweet that he has just ordered to double Tarrifs on Turkish aluminium and steel.

Russia and China moved to prevent USA to expand DPRK sanctions list in UNSC 1718 Sanctions Committee, with Russia apparently making references to US recent sanctions on Russia.

8 Aug. The Syrian Presidency announces that Asma al-Assad "started the first stage of treatment of a malignant tumor in the breast which was discovered in its early stage".

The SDF announces that their operation against the ISIS pocket at the Iraqi border has come to a successful conclusion. 71,360 km² and 191 km border were liberated since it started on June 3.

7 Aug. The SAA is following ISIS into the desert between as-Suweida and al-Tanf.

6 Aug. A prominent scientist Dr. Aziz Isber, developer of missile technique, is murdered by a car bomb in Hama province. Many suspect Mossad behind the operation.

The YPG rejects accusations in a HRW report alleging they would routinely recruit child soldiers, saying that these are stories based on hearsay and isolated occasions have been dealt with.

Firat News Agency publishes an interview with a citizen of Afrin, according to whom the conditions in the Turkish-occupied canton are horrific.

With fresh space in Idlib prison (see 2 Aug), Nusra cracks down on rival gangs including recent green bus passengers.

4 Aug. Rania Khalek tells the story of Khaled al Ahmad, "The Mystery Fixer Who Negotiated the End of the Syrian War" (Part II).

Golan Heights, 3 Aug'18

3 Aug. Russian military police accompany UN vehicles on their way to patrol Golan heights separation line, for the first time since 2012-report, photos, video, music. (Former rebels who switched sides, and are still armed, said to be shown standing by the road).

Reuters reports on 'US government memo', in response to a proposal on rebuilding Syria, sent via military channels by Gerasimov to Dunford. Russian MoD confirmed that a letter was sent, expressing regret that confidential communication was made public. It is indicated that return of refugees from US-controlled areas and humanitarian issues, including US-controlled areas, have been raised in the letter.(TASS)

2 Aug. 180 of the 700 prisoners of the Nusra-run Idlib Central Prison, among them around 100 ISIS fighters, manage to flee the institution.

Situation in southern Syria

1 Aug. ISIS again attacks the As-Suweida area from their desert pocket, this time the SAA airbase Khalkhalah. While the attack was repelled, the SAA claims only four soldiers died and no equipment was lost, while ISIS propaganda claims 45 killed soldiers, two destroyed planes and several drones.