Syria news/Archive/2019-12

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31 Dec. @realDonaldTrump: "Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq"; see also: CNN; BBC; Rus.Vesna.

2019 ends, United States finds oil.

PressTV/Iran carries BisimchiMedia-signed video.

It is claimed on Cassad that: the advance was stopped by a man in the form of Shiite militia, who convinced the crowd not to continue, saying that: "The message was delivered." Bloodshed has not yet occurred, although there were people with weapons on both sides. So far, 3 people have suffered from breathing tear gas" (unsourced); see also: Rybar' 1, 2.

The US sends the 82nd Airborne Division to the Middle East. 750 soldiers were flown to Kuwait immediately, 4000 more will follow.

Videos appeared showing choppers, marines deploying at the US embassy in Baghdad, and troops om Kuwait -Fox; PressTV (followed by some footage and comments at the embassy).

29 Dec. After a US contractor is killed (1, 2) at K1 military base near Kirkuk, Iraq, US conducted air strikes on a pro-Iran militant group Kata'ib Hizbollah in Iraq and Syria; soon after, 4 rockets exploded near a base housing US troops near Baghdad, without wounding anyone.

US strike video images released.
TASS: According to Al-Sumaria TV channel, as a result of one of the raids on the city of Al-Qaim (map), bordering Syria, at least 25 Shiite fighters were killed and another 38 militias were injured.

The Turkish Minster of Defense states that Turkey doesn't intend to leave its observation points in Idlib that are now surrounded by the SAA after their offensive.

28 Dec. Four planeloads of "Asian mercenaries" are transferred from Turkish-controlled Syria to Libya. Videos show the first Syrian National Army fighters on the frontlines in Tripoli.

Following some counter-attacks by HTS-led militants and a pause due to bad weather conditions, the SAA resumes its Idlib offensive. ANNA News has published a half-an-hour documentary with war footage about the first week of the offensive.

27 Dec. Wikileaks publishes its fourth batch of leaked OPCW documents indicating that the OPCW leadership conspired to produce a fabricated report of the 2018 Douma hostage massacre and to destroy dissenting evidence. Western media is still silent on the story.

Presidential adviser Shaaban says that Russian and Syrian companies have started to explore oil and gas in the Mediterranean together.

25 Dec. Saudi Aramco involvement in oil projects at Al-Omar oil field/Deir-ez-zor/eastern Syria, SDF/Kurdish/US controlled, is alleged 1,2, 3, denied 4.

24 Dec. Spokesman for the Turkish President Ibrahim Kalin is quoted saying, as translated to Russian and quoted by patriotic Russian social media: “We see that the number of attacks in Idlib is growing. We sent our tough message to the Russian side. Our delegation (in the framework of the negotiations in Moscow - Ed.) was informed that they will make efforts to stop the attacks from the regime within 24 hours, ” Rus. Probably more accurate, softer-sounding wording is in Turkish here. Eng. versions are reported in mass media, eg here.

It is said that SAA 'takes a pause'. ANNA news correspondent explains this by low clouds and expected heavy rain, noting that the rebels took advantage of the pause to retake several settlements. Pro -government media broadcasts to the rebels instructions to surrender to save life.

23 Dec. The SAA has captured several towns and villages in their restarted Idlib offensive and it is reported that negotiations over the surrender of Ma'arat al Numan have begun.

22 Dec. At about 11 pm it is reported that Syrian air defenses in Damascus responded to guided missiles attack said to come from the Holland Heights or Lebanon and blamed on Israel. Also, DIY drone attacks on the Russia's Kmeimim airbase and "Hama army airbase" (aka Hama military airport?) are said to be repelled (1,2, 3).

It is reported quoting 'a military source' that as a result of suicide vehicle bomber attack near Raffa in Idlib, about 30 SAA special forces 25th division (former 'Tiger force') soldiers are killed, including colonel Basel Ali Khadur, and over 80 are wounded- report, photos, explosion video. The source is quoted to express SAA determination to continue the advance.

IS claimed (1, 2) that 2 Russian soldiers are killed in ambush near Nava, Daraa, showing 'Kalashnikovs' for proof. Report is 'not confirmed' on t-channels.

21 Dec. ANNA news report on SAA advances in Idlib, Eng. subs (videos, maps, 25th division mentions).

SANA: "synchronous attacks" on Homs refinery and Rayan Gas station cause damage

20 Dec. publishes an interview with Karin Leukefeld, the only German correspondent permanently accredited in Syria, about "Western" media's coverage of Syria in recent years and their dealing with her reporting from government-controlled parts of the country (German language video).

It seems like the SAA has started the next step of the Idlib offensive successfully.

19 Dec. According to Al Masdar citing Al Watan, the SAA is about to start the next phase of their Idlib offensive focusing on Ma'arat al-Nu'man.

The Rojava Information Center releases a report about "The Political System of North and East Syria".

16 Dec. SANA publishes the English-language transcript of an interview Assad gave to Chinese Phoenix TV. (video)

10 Dec. The 14th round of the Astana talks is taking place in Kazakhstan's capital city Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana).

9 Dec. SANA publishes the transcript of an interview Assad gave to Italian RAI at the end of November which wasn't broadcasted by the Italian TV station as scheduled on December 2nd. (video)