Syria news/Current

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12 Nov. Reinforced, the SAA starts a new offensive against ISIS at the al Safa volcanic fields.

Fights between SAA and al Qaeda "rebels" along the Idlib demarcation line continue.

ANHA publishes a report about what they call the "systematic Turkification policy" in Turkish-occupied Afrin canton.

Pro-Erdogan Turkish newspaperYeni Safak claims that the US "is monitoring Turkey from military bases located near border". It claims that the US has three bases in Manbij, 22 over the whole Syrian north, three military runways, a radar system and seven resupply lines from the south(ern oil fields) to the north(ern border region).

Hajin pocket

11 Nov. An SDF statement announces the resumption of the suspended offensive against ISIS in the Hajin pocket. It also announces that a high-ranking leader of the terror cult was arrested during a special operation in Raqqa.

10 Nov. Arab clan elders in Hasakah province issue a statement of support for the SDF in case of any Turkish cross-border aggression.

The military chief of the 6,000 fighters strong FSA "Hamza division" tells Daily Sabah that they completed training by the Turkish military and are ready to fight the US-supported YPG east of the Euphrates now. As Joshua Landis points out, the Hamza Divison was originally vetted and armed by the US to fight Assad.

9 Nov. According to SOHR, coalition airstrikes on the Hajin pocket have again caused many civilian deaths, at one target today "twenty-six IS family members including 14 children and 9 women".

A captured ISIS member tells his interrogators that the ISIS cell in the al Safa volcanic fields gets supply directly and indirectly from the US Army base at al Tanf to the north-east of it.

SANA publishes details on the liberated ISIS hostages.

8 Nov. Based on the controversial so-called Caesar Report, France indicts and issues arrest warrants against three Syrians including Assad intimus Ali Mamlouk for complicity in torture, disappearances and crimes against humanity.

The SAA liberates 19 women abducted months ago in as-Sweida by ISIS in an operation in Homs desert.

A SANA correspondent is sentenced to four years in prison in Turkey for "insulting the state and the Turkish government". According to SANA, his real "crime" is that he exposed Turkish aid to terrorist groups through its border policies.

The Turkish army again shells border villages in Kobane and Tal Abyad countryside.

7 Nov. At a film screening at the European Parliament, the protagonist of the film, a YPJ commander during the defense of Kobane, is present through a video call and urges the EU to "stop the Turkish state" from destroying the progress made in Rojava.

The SAA at Al Safa volcanic fields receives reinforcements from Syrian and Russian special forces after the recent attacks by the surrounded ISIS forces there.

6 Nov. After having arrived there recently with the UN convoy, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent is carrying out a vaccination campaign for the children of Rukban camp.

5 Nov. According to Turkish state news agency Anadolu, YPG and ISIS made a deal earlier this year to hand over seven US soldiers captured by ISIS in exchange for the YPG leaving some oil wells for the terror cult to take over. The US denies the allegations.

According to Novaya Gazeta, six Russian mercenaries of the "Wagner" company are among 11 victims of an explosion in a former police station between Damascus and Deir ez-Zor.

4 Nov. Iraqi PMU forces stand at the border willing to take up the fight against ISIS in the Hajin pocket after the SDF halted its efforts. They are waiting for the Syrian and Iraqi governments to make an agreement.

According to its chief pharmacist, Syria is exporting medicine to 16 countries, down from a pre-crisis number of 56 countries.

The US continues to be accused of using banned white phosphorus ammunition in their air attacks on Hajin pocket.

3 Nov. After several attempts failed due to security reasons, a Russian-escorted UN humanitarian aid convoy finally reaches Al Rukban camp in the illegally US-occupied Al Tanf pocket.

2 Nov. There are continuous skirmishes happening between SAA and Al Qaeda across the Idlib buffer zone.

According to SOHR, Turkish intelligence is mobilizing its proxy forces west of the Euphrates for the expected operation to the east of it.

Turkish military expands its cross-border artillery attacks further east from the previous targets Kobane and Tal Abyad to Ras al-Ayn.

Two young reporters of ANHA agency are attacked and injured by Turkish military while covering the attacks on the Syrian border towns. The agency directs a statement at international human rights organizations.

1 Nov. The surrounded ISIS gangs in Al Safa volcanic fields conduct a number of attacks with considerable SAA casualties.

31 Oct. In a wide ranging press briefing, Konashenkov shares details about new chemical weapon provocations planned in Idlib by the Turkistan Islamic Party gang, and blames ISIS' recent gains in the Euphrates valley on the US' "inability to efficiently fight terrorism" and the fact that the terror cult is still supplied with weapons and equipment through channels the Russians don't name but claim to monitor.

The SDF announces that it will halt the operation in the Hajin pocket because of the need of defense against the Turkish attacks on Rojava in the northern border regions.

30 Oct. Erdogan announces that Turkey has finished preparations for a large scale operation against the YPG east of the Euphrates.

Reuters reports that Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen will replace Staffan de Mistura as United Nations Syria envoy at the end of November, with the approval of all five permanent members of the Security Council and Syria.

29 Oct. Putin appoints a new Russian ambassador to Syria.

After ISIS' recent gains towards the Iraqi border, the PMU sends reinforcements to safeguard their side of the border.

Mark Ames exposes how Bellingcat collaborated with ShamiWitness, the most influential ISIS propagandist on Twitter.

28 Oct. The Turkish army uses the first anniversary of the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS for attacks across the border east of the Euphrates on villages in Kobane countryside. Meanwhile ISIS uses sandstorms as cover for further counterattacks in the Hajin pocket, taking back several villages from the SDF. Sandstorms also hit Rukhban camp in the illegal US protectorate around al Tanf and kill over 20 refugees.

27 Oct. On initiative of Erdogan, a four-way summit about Syria with the leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France is taking place in Istanbul. It is meant as addition to the ongoing Geneva and Astana processes and, judged by the Turkish foreign minister's words, apparently to lure France and Germany away from the "Syria small group" around UKUS and the Arab Kingdoms. (Hürriyet)(TASS)

Firat News Agency interviews a member of the MSD presidential council about the developments in Rojava and why he thinks that all governments of the region are afraid of their model.

26 Oct. Joshua Landis' blog publishes an interview with Lebanon's minister for refugee affairs about the situation of the around 1.5 million Syrians living in the country.

ISIS continues to fiercely resist and even counter the SDF's attempt to progress in the Hajin pocket.

25 Oct. An exchange of bodies and prisoners between ISIS and SAA takes place at the al Safa volcanic fields, which according to reports is part of a larger deal with the goal that the terror cult leaves the south-eastern desert spot and withdraws to the Hajin pocket or to the Hama desert.

24 Oct. Another alleged massacre by US-led "coalition" bombardments of al-Susah is reported by loyalist sources, while Kurdish sources report that almost all of the village has been conquered today after several days of intense fighting.

23 Oct. A mixed US-SDF patrol near Manbij, including US special forces, gets under fire from "unknown" forces, likely Turkish-backed.

22 Oct. As part of a nation-wide campaign for early detection of breast cancer, a march takes place in Qamishli. Syria's first lady has recently been diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and pictured with a headscarf, which she doesn't usually wear.

21 Oct. Russian media of unknown reliability report "some US successes in electronic warfare against Russian installations in Syria".

Shoigu says around 88,000 militants were killed by the Russian military during their three years long operation.

20 Oct. According to several sources, the US-led "coalition" has bombed several non-military targets including a mosque in al-Susah village in the Hajin ISIS pocket and killed a total of 62 civilians in recent days. The US command comments that those were legitimate targets used by ISIS. The SDF reports intense fighting over the village.

19 Oct. According to SANA, a large explosion in a plant near the Turkish border in Idlib province was an accident caused by experimentation on the manufacturing of conventional and chemical weapons, with foreign "experts" present.

There are ceasefire violations at several places along the Idlib de-escalation zone, including the western border of Aleppo city.

18 Oct. At Valdai, Putin picks up the remarks of the Reconciliation Center about ISIS taking 700 hostages and moving them to the Hajin pocket last weekend. According to him, the terror cult threatens to kill 10 people a day if demands not specified are not followed, and has started to put their threats into practice the day before yesterday. US officials "rebut" the claims.

A Legal Status Settling Center for returning citizens to use the general amnesty is installed at the freshly-opened Nassib border crossing with Jordan.

17 Oct. At a PYD meeting, the co-chair asks the Syrian government to stop the language of threats and look into ways of implementing the system of Democratic Confederalism envisioned by Öcalan, calling it the only solution for the whole region.

Kurdish sources report that the Manbij defense lines got attacked by Turkish forces and their proxies.

16 Oct. Erdogan again accuses the US of failing to make the YPG leave Manbij and threatens to take military steps if the situation isn't resolved soon.

The Turkish military reinforces its observation points in the Idlib buffer zone on the first day after the deadline to demilitarize it, which al Qaeda/Nusra/HTS refused to do.

15 Oct. The Nassib border crossing to Jordan is re-opened for the first time in over three years. Also, the Quneitra crossing to the occupied Golan Heights is re-opened for the first time in four years.

al Qaeda releases a statement reaffirming that they will not comply with the Russian-Turkish Idlib agreement that asked them to leave the to-be buffer zone until today. It is Turkey's agreed duty to make them leave, and some of the groups they control have done so in recent days.

The Syrian foreign minister and the political wing of the SDF have an indirect exchange of words over their ideas on how to move on with the situation west and east of the Euphrates.

According to the Russian Reconciliation center, on October 13 ISIS has attacked a refugee camp in Deir ez-Zor province, abducted 700 people and taken them back to the Hajin pocket to be used as human shields.

14 Oct. Syria takes the white phosphorus issue to the UN.

13 Oct. There are reports that the US-led "coalition" has used banned white phosphorus weapons in their attacks of the ISIS stronghold Hajin. Russia calls for an investigation.

The public radio and TV infrastructure in Deir ez-Zor province is completely working for the first time in seven years.

Amnesty International's new Secretary General Kuma Naidoo visits Raqqa and shows himself "shocked" by the devastation left by the US-led "coalition"'s bombs. It "defies logic" that anybody is still able to live there, he added.

11 Oct. Ursula Behr is buried in the Latin cemetery of Damascus' al-Tabbaleh neighbourhood.

9 Oct. Terminally ill friend of ACLOS "Urs" dies on her last wish journey to Syria at age 58, after opening an exhibition of her art in Damascus. (German language report by her husband about their last trip to Maaloula). Condolences and may she rest in peace.

Assad issues Decree 18 which grants "general amnesty for military deserters inside and outside the country and the crimes included in the Military Penalties Law", including fugitives from justice if they turn themselves in in four months inside and six months outside the country.

Trump announces that UN ambassador Nikki Haley will leave her post at the end of the year.

An al Watan report finds that Turkey is responsible for deploying up to 7,000 Turkistani Jihadis to Syria over the years.

7 Oct. Assad speaks in front of the Baath party's central committee on latest developments.

6 Oct. Moscow calls on the UNHCR to help to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

5 Oct. After complaining for some time about the US' delay to implement the Manbij agreement, Turkey now through state-owned Anadolu Agency claims that against the US' wishes, the YPG instead of leaving is digging trenches and preparing for the defense of the town.

4 Oct. ISIS executes another of the Druze women they kidnapped in the villages of as-Sweida in August, threatening to kill them all if the SAA doesn't stop their advance in the al Safa volcanic fields where the cult's gangs are surrounded without access to fresh water.

According to IDF sources, Israel plans to commit its future war crimes against Syria with the F-35i fighter jet to counter the S-300 defense system.

Israel and Syria are in a state of war since the establishment of Israel, 1948, with an armistice agreement. War conventions ban attacking civilians, grossly disproportionate response, etc. Israel is a signatory of Hague convention. Both Israel and Syria are signatories of Geneva conventions, but not all its protocols.

3 Oct. Friend of ACLOS "Urs", terminally ill with cancer, has fulfilled her last wish and seen Syria with her own eyes.

The series of assassinations of high-ranking Nusra leaders in Idlib continues with several victims in recent days, all foreigners from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The EU parliament withholds 70 million € aid to Turkey because of "violations of human rights and the freedom of the press".

2 Oct. According to ANNA News, a first S-300 system has come into service with the SAA. According to Shoigu, 49 pieces of military equipment have been delivered, including four S-300 launchers. (videos of unloading)

The 4th "Re-Build Syria" expo starts in Damascus.

Both Israel and Syria have expressed their readyness to re-open the Quinetra crossing into the occupied Golan heights.

1 Oct. Peter Korzun takes a look at three years of direct Russian involvement in Syria which started on September 30, 2015.

Iran hits targets in the ISIS pocket at the very east of the Syrian Euphrates with ballistic missiles, claiming that it was in retaliation for the terrorist attack in Ahvaz and killed several ringleaders.

On the International Day for the elderly, 6% of Syria’s population are above 60 years old. For comparison, the global number of people over 60 is 13%, in the US 22%, in Germany 28% and in Japan 33%.

30 Sep. Advancing in the al-Safa volcanic fields, the SAA busts an ISIS hide-out and kills a high-ranking leader and his four bodyguards.

Firat News Agency interviews Salih Muslim about the situation in Idlib, Afrin and the rest of Syria.

Jaysh al-Izza, a large "rebel" fraction in Idlib, counted as "moderate" and Turkish-backed, releases a statement rejecting the to-be-created buffer zone of the Turkish-Russian agreement. Meanwhile, their ally Faylaq al-Sham has started to retreat from the area, as reported by Al Masdar citing SOHR. Later the group issues a statement saying that they are staying where they were and the news is false.

29 Sep. Foreign minister Walid al-Moallem delivers Syria's speech at the UN General Assembly.

Iraq: Adel Abdel Mahdi, known for politics trying to balance the influence of Iran and the US, becomes the country's new prime minister.

28 Sep. Erdogan accuses the US of not keeping its promises regarding the roadmap in Manbij, complaining that the YPG hasn't left the city.

Lavrov says that the S-300 delivery to Syria has already begun.

27 Sep. The Saudi foreign minister calls the Idlib agreement "excellent".

26 Sep. Trump takes credit for stopping the Idlib offensive with a single tweet.

Syria and Jordan are preparing to re-open the strategic Nassib border crossing in the coming weeks.

25 Sep. The Israeli security cabinet orders the IDF to "continue to act against Iran’s military build-up in Syria without stopping coordination on Syria with the Russian military."

24 Sep. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu announces that Syria will get S-300 air defense systems within two weeks and "underscores" that the planned delivery was halted in 2013 by request of Israel in a situation that "has now changed". Russia will equip Syrian air defenses with 'friend-foe' system so far only available to the Russian forces. In Syrian offshore areas, radio -electronic suppression of satellite navigation and airborne radar and communication systems of combat aviation attacking objects on Syrian territory will be deployed (Shoigu statement on video starts with re-stating the Russian version of IL-20 shoot-down). Later, Putin has phone conversations with Assad and Netanyahu.

A German court sentences a Syrian man to life in prison for war crimes he committed in Aleppo as a "rebel" commander, including plundering, kidnapping and torture. The man was identified in Germany by a survivor of his crimes.

At an exhibition for sustainable development in Italy, the organization of the economy in Rojava is presented.

23 Sep. Following a Russian MoD presentation about the details of the downing of their IL-20 plane, in which they stay by their initial assessment that Israel deliberately used it as cover and is therefore to blame for the accidental Syrian downing of the plane, Israel insists that this information is false and they also warned the Russians in time about their actions.

Eva Bartlett publishes an English-language video interview she conducted yesterday with Syrian comedian Treka.

Syrian inventors win 15 medals at int’l exhibition in China.

According to the regional head of the opposition Future of Syria Party, Turkey has started to move Al Nusra (HTS) fighters from the to-be-created Idlib buffer zone into Afrin canton, where the YPG is now fighting a guerilla war against the Turkish army and their proxy "rebels".

22 Sep. Unnamed Turkish officials talking to Middle East Eye share details about the Idlib deal with the Russians and how it came into being.

SANA reports that according to local witnesses, helicopters of the US-led "coalition" have evacuated a number of ISIS commanders from the village of al Marashida in the Euphrates pocket near Hajin.

21 Sep. After three days of battle, the SDF have liberated the village of Al Bagouz and are now heading towards Hajin, the last town on the banks of the very eastern Euphrates occupied by ISIS, thought to be the hide-out of some of their remaining leadership.

The SDF hands over a Sudanese woman and her baby to a diplomat of her home country. The woman was one of over 500 who were captured in the fight against ISIS, in addition to over 1,000 children and over 500 fighters, all foreign nationals from 44 countries. The SDF calls on their home countries to take them back and doesn't see it as their duty or even inside their capabilities to put them on trial/keep them detained.

Rumours about US-Russian negotiations over an evacuation of the Rukban refugee camp inside the artificially created US protectorate around Al Tanf persist and seem to substantiate.

SANA publishes what is said to be 3 slightly different versions of staged chemical attack videos. White helmets emblem is briefly seen on video, in quite poor quality. See Rusvesna report. (Originally published by SMM Syria in July 2017)

20 Sep. According to an CSTO statement, more than 2,500 ISIS fighters have been transferred from Syria to Afghanistan in 2018. The statement does not say how and by whom this movement was organized, but calls Afghanistan the new "principal center" of the terror cult.

Borders of Idlib zone: West
Borders of Idlib zone: South
Borders of Idlib zone: East

19 Sep. Nebenzia tells the UNSC that preparations for chemical weapons provocations in Idlib are still going on.

The hardcore Islamist groups in the Idlib pocket reject the Turkish-Russian agreement which expects them and their heavy weapons to leave the to-be-created demilitarized zone by October 15 (map showing zones in question).

The UAE's The National publishes the full text of the Russian-Turkish memorandum as submitted to the UNSC in Russian and English.

The PYD turns 15 years old.

The SAA seizes ISIS' last water resource in the volcanic field of Al Safa.

The SDF continues to make slow progress against ISIS in the very east of the Euphrates after having taken an important bridge the day before.

18 Sep. Russia has formally complained to Israel about its air raid on Monday, which led to the downing of a Russian IL-20 plane off the Syrian coast. Moscow has laid the blame for the crew’s deaths “squarely on the Israeli side”, which had only given a warning one minute before the attack, so there was no time to get the IL-20 out of the way of the Syrian air defense which seems to have accidentally hit it. 15 Russian soldiers were killed. Russia vows to respond. Russia also accuses France of firing cruise missiles and thus being partly responsible for the crash. France denies any involvement. (Sputnik Newsticker)

Both Syria and Iran welcome the Turkish-Russian Idlib deal.

17 Sep. Following a meeting by the presidents and defense ministers of Russia and Turkey in Sochi, a memorandum is signed expressing the intend to install by October 15 a 15-20 km wide demilitarized zone along the contact line of the Idlib zone, which will be policed by both Russian and Turkish troops. Included in this zone is the crucial M5 highway which shall be reopened by the end of the year. No further military operations are planned (Putin-Erdogan press conference).

In the evening a larger number of missiles apparently coming from the Mediterranean Sea target spots in the coastal regions of Syria. Some are intercepted by air defense while others hit. So far it is unclear who committed these acts of war.

The hacker group Syrian Electronic Army releases footage allegedly showing the planing of a fake chemical attack video by the White Helmets.

Former UK ambassador to Syria Peter Ford issues a Bluffer's guide to bombing Syria countering "talking points" developed by FUKUS "propaganda mills".

16 Sep. In local elections all across government-held Syria, over 40,000 candidates run for over 18,000 seats in local administration councils.

15 Sep. In the evening SANA reports that air defense is shooting down Israeli missiles attacking Damascus International Airport.

Another Russian Reconciliation Center warning says that several canisters of chlorine have been delivered by Nusra fighters to the village of Bsanqul.

14 Sep. According to Ziad Fadel citing Ba'ath party sources, there are a total of around 300,000 people in the Idlib pocket, 33,000 of whom are fighters. According to recent UN statements, "at least" 3 million civilians are endangered by a possible Idlib operation. Wikipedia has the pre-war 2010 population at around 1,5 million people.

SAA sources talking to Al Masdar say that there is no plan to take back the whole Idlib pocket at the moment.

Several convoys of Turkish military are spotted entering Idlib province, apparently to reinforce the 12 observation points.

The US military conducts drills with "rebel" groups in their illegal protectorate around Al Tanf.

13 Sep. The battle between ISIS and the SAA in the volcanic field of Al Safa is still going on.

The battle between ISIS and the SDF in the Euphrates green belt close to the Iraqi border is still going on. In the process the YPG says they have captured a key ISIS figure of Italian citizenship who is providing crucial information for the further fight against the remains of the terror cult.

12 Sep. SANA comes out with its own warning about staged chlorine attacks, according to which the play shall take place at several spots in Jisr al-Shughour, the al-Ghab plains and northern Hama countryside.

11 Sep. Bashar al-Assad turns 53 years old.

The Russian Reconciliation Center in its daily briefing states that today several TV teams including "a regional branch of a leading US news channel" have arrived in Jisr al-Shughour and are filming the anticipated false flag chemical attack. Ziad Fadel describes more alleged details from his sources, including the composition of the US/UK film crew and a wikimapia link to the alleged place of the scene, near the village/suburb Shughour Tahtani just north-east outside of Jisr al-Shughour.

According to Belgian researcher of Jihadi networks Pieter van Ostaeyen, a purge of Idlib "rebels" Telegram accounts occurs.

10 Sep. Research by Dutch media shows that their government has supported "rebel" groups classified as terrorists with 25 million € worth of "non-lethal aid" including pick-up trucks, starting in 2015. The government says they have stopped the program in early 2018 due to their own, similar assessment.

Robert Fisk reports for Independent from Syria and finds no military build-up in the parts of Idlib border region he traveled.

9 Sep. A certain Dion Nissenbaum in The Wallstreet Journal has proverbial anonymous US officials claiming that Assad has approved a chlorine gas attack in Idlib.

8 Sep. RU MoD: after a rebel's meeting on 7 Sep., preparations for a chemical attack provocation are to be finalized by the end of the day today, 8 Sep. (robo-translation)

According to Russian and Syrian pro-government sources (1) rebel's multiple-launch rocket attack on a Christian town of Mahardah left 10 civilians killed, among them 5 children, 23 people were injured. (2) Russian and Syrian forces delivered sustained airstrikes on rebel's positions; those were presented as in response to the rebel attacks. Those strikes are also reported by SOHR and Western media (Rusvesna photos, videos, robo-translation; Southfront; SOHR; BBC).

Iranian rocket attack on Kurdish KDP, PDKI parties headquarters in Iraqi town of Koya killed a number of people-reports (1,2, video, Cassad (names,photos, video)).

7 Sep. The Iranian, Russian and Turkish presidents are meeting in Tehran to discuss the situation in Syria and especially in the de-escalation zone Idlib, including expected chemical provocations. They produce a joint statement.

At the UNSC Ja'afari states that Syria will not bow to FUKUS threats and attempted blackmail.

YouTube terminates the SANA channel.

US Marines start training exercises near al-Tanf, inside Syria (OIR version). This follows media reports that pro-Assad coalition threatened to clear that area.

This 'conveniently-timed' report includes text (Rus) and video of interrogation of a prisoner, said to belong to ISIS, who says he was trained and equipped 'by Americans'; training claimed to occur in Er- Rubkan camp (map), in al-Tanf area. Report cannot be independently confirmed and appeared in Russian sources. Prisoner responds in a weak voice, and does utter 'Americans'. No obvious signs of mistreatment on video.

6 Sep. The new US State Department special adviser on Syria, James Franklin Jeffrey, states that there's lots of evidence that Syria is preparing a chemical attack in Idlib. "I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings", he claims.

The 60th edition of the Damascus International Fair begins. Eva Bartlett reports.

4 Sep. Reports of Syrian (or Syrian and Russian) airstrikes in Idlib (Almadar, Topwar, Cassad, photos, Rusvesna). Also, Syrian reports on Israeli airstrikes in Syria.

2 Sep. In the early morning hours, several big explosions rock Mezzeh military airport near Damascus. It is first speculated about another Israeli attack, but the SAA says a short circuit led to a fire in one ammunition depot which exploded and caused several others to explode as well. They stored stuff taken from "rebels" marked to be destroyed anyway, it is said.

1 Sep. The activist known as "Syriangirl" publishes part one of a video interview with Peter Ford, UK ambassador to Syria from 2003-2006.

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