Syria news/Current

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23 Mar. The SDF declares "the military victory over ISIS after six years of continuous war and great sacrifices."

22 Mar. Interdepartmental coordination headquarters of Russia and SAR issued a statement "On measures to eliminate the Rukban camp for internally displaced persons" , seeking to close the camp while working with tribal leaders, US and Jordan (robo-translation).

Cassad: "Fighting at Bagous, 22.03.2019", published 23 Mar., reports some continued fighting.

21 Mar. Trump recognizes "Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights".

20 Mar. All over the region, people are celebrating Newroz, the start of the new year/spring at the astronomical spring equinox.

Following the resignation of long-time president Nursultan Nazarbayev, the parliament decides to rename the capital city of Kazakhstan and host of Syria talks from Astana to Nursultan.

Cassad: "The last camp."

19 Mar. The SDF says it "fully" controls the ISIS "tent city" in Baghouz now, but some gangs unwilling to surrender seem to hide on the banks of the Euphrates (pics and vids).

Russian defense minister Shoigu meets Assad in Damascus to discuss the fight against terrorism and other topics. According to the MoD, he also delivered a message from Putin.

18 Mar. Assad receives a high-ranking joint Iranian-Iraqi military delegation including the chiefs of staff of both armies to discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

Hajin pocket

17 Mar. An SDF statement gives numbers about the Baghouz fight, but doesn't declare it finished. According to this, 29,600 ISIS members (incl. families) surrendered and 1,306 were killed, while the loss on SDF side is 11 fighters.

Turkey opens a new border crossing connecting Hatay province with the Syrian Afrin canton in the Jandaris district.

12 Mar. A joint Russian-Syrian statement again points out the grave situation in Rukhban camp and calls on the US to let the prepared convoys in. It mentions that without the cross-border efforts of the Jordanians there would be no water supply at all, and that satellite footage shows several new mass graves in and near the camp.

While "hundreds" of ISIS fighters have surrendered in Baghouz during the last 48 hours, the "endfight" is still going on.

11 Mar. According to Turkish AKP-friendly Yeni Safak newspaper, the US has interrogated 2000 ISIS fighters and given 140 of them new identities and passports. ISIS leader al-Baghdadi is in US custody according to the paper which opens the article with a picture allegedly showing him in a US military vehicle (of which ISIS has taken over plenty in the conquer of Mosul).

10 Mar. It looks like the remaining ISIS fighters under siege in Baghouz are finally preparing to surrender.

Assad receives a Chinese delegation headed by the assistant foreign minister.

9 Mar. The Russian MoD again complains that the US is sabotaging the Syrian-Russian attempts to evacuate the civilians willing to return home from al-Rukhban camp where the conditions are "disastrous".

8 Mar. Joint Turkish-Russian military patrols along the border of the Idlib deescalation zone start today with the Russians patrolling the outside and the Turks the inside.

7 Mar. The UK MoD is ridiculed for its claim, answering a FOIA request, that in their air attacks against ISIS only a single civilian died while 4,013 "targeted individuals" were killed and 302 wounded.

5 Mar. Andre Vltchek publishes his report from the Idlib frontlines.

4 Mar. Turkey faces growing Kurdish insurgency in Syria's Afrin

3 Mar. Russian MOD via TASS (Eng.) (Rus): US forces in Syria bar entry to convoys sent to transport refugees from the Rukban camp to their pre-war locations.

28 Feb. The situation in Baghouz remains unchanged, although the surrounded remains of ISIS have let go some more civilians, likely due to food shortages, and the SDF says it rescued 24 of their fighters who had been taken as hostages by the terror cult. In the evening ANHA reports that around 200 fighters and their families have just surrendered.

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is in Raqqa and tweets some impressions from the former ISIS capital including from the already renovated central square.

27 Feb. Russia and Syria accuse the US of preventing refugees from leaving the al-Rukhban camp in the shadow of their al-Tanf base to return home.

25 Feb. Assad visits Tehran and meets Khamenei and Rouhani.

22 Feb. The US now says it plans to keep 400 soldiers inside Syria, half of them at al-Tanf and the other half in Rojava.

17 Feb. Assad gives a speech to local lawmakers from around the country.

The US military warns the Kurds that it will "have to" stop any assistance to them in case they "partner" with the Syrian or Russian governments.

16 Feb. Afternoon: According to the SDF, ISIS is besieged in a tiny spot of a few hundred square meters but still holds many civilians as human shields, so the operation isn't finished yet. Meanwhile, the SOHR has already reported that the remaining fighters have surrendered and the pocket, and with it the caliphate, is history.

14 Feb. Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani meet in Sochi for a trilateral summit on Syria.

13 Feb. For the first time in weeks, ISIS releases battle footage from the fight in the former Hajin pocket. Meanwhile, they are trapped in a 1 km² area and have been given a 24 hours ultimatum to surrender by the SDF.

Germany arrests two Syrians on refugee status accused of being involved in systemic torture operations by the government between 2011-2012 allegedly documented in the Torture Photos from "Caesar".

12 Feb. SANA accuses the US-led "coalition" of having killed almost 100 civilians in two air attacks on refugee camps near the last ISIS-occupied territory in al-Baghouz village in the former Hajin pocket.

It is said that an attack with explosives, attributed to IS, has targeted the headquarters of the French military intelligence in Raqqa (no independent confirmation or coverage in mass media; picked on Cassad). It is also reported by Iranian PressTV, by Sputnik in Arabic, and by Lebanese media. It is unclear where those news originate. More strange claims about it here, in French. 1, 2.

11 Feb. The Russian defense minister visits his Turkish counterpart to discuss Idlib ahead of the trilateral meeting including Iran planned for February 14 in Sotchi.

10 Feb. The SDF rescues around 200 civilians used as human shields by ISIS in al-Baghouz village and sends them to refugee camps in the area.

8 Feb. According to British media, alleged ISIS leader al-Baghdadi has fled the Hajin pocket to a desert hide-out after an attempt to kill him by a rival among the "500 remaining fighters" failed.

6 Feb. According to SANA, the Turkish army has transported 1500 foreign jihadists from Turkey into Idlib province in recent days.

5 Feb. Apparently Erdogan still has no success in convincing any other power of his idea about a buffer zone inside northern Syria.

4 Feb. ISIS remains again try to flee the Hajin pocket to Iraq and are stopped by the PMU.

The US State Department calls on foreign nations to take back their citizens among the now over 800 ISIS fighters the SDF is holding captive.

Elijah Magnier explains why the claims by Western analysts that ISIS could return when US troops leave are wrong.

3 Feb. The US air force attacks a SAA artillery position near al-Bukamal west of the Euphrates. Shortly after, the position is attacked by ISIS ground forces.

2 Feb. According to SOHR, 700 recently arrived US Special Forces are searching SDF-controlled areas for ISIS fighters and leaders who fled the Hajin pocket.

The YPG captures alive the known German ISIS torturer Martin Lemke and his two wives.

1 Feb. A certain Dr. Neshat Dihile on Egyptian TV shows alleged Turkish state documents of a plan that amounts to genocide against the Kurds. Today Firat News Agency publishes an English translation of the alleged secret plan.

Iraqi media reports that the PMU have killed a group of ISIS fighters that tried to flee the Hajin pocket to Iraq.

31 Jan. SANA reports that a ten truck SARC human aid convoy was prevented to reach Hajin town by a local militia who say they were ordered by US forces to keep the convoy away.

30 Jan. Following the release of Leyla Güven, a statement in support of her and many others on hunger strike for the end of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan is signed by hundreds of intellectuals and read in front of the German Parliament.

A Turkish military delegation is heading for Moscow to discuss Syrian matters tomorrow.

29 Jan. Reports that the SDF has asked Hezbollah to mediate in the negotiations with the government are declared untrue by its spokesperson.

According to Firat News Agency, the remaining ISIS fighters in the Hajin pocket demand that they get a "corridor" to move to Idlib over Turkey, otherwise they would harm the civilians they hold as human shields. The SDF reportedly refused.

France takes back 130 French ISIS fighters hold captive by the SDF to put them on trial. This makes it the first Western country to answer the SDF calls to take their captured ISIS terrorists back.

28 Jan. Syria and Iran sign a number of agreements, among them about long-term strategic economic cooperation.

27 Jan. Asma al-Assad continues her cancer treatment and underwent a successful surgery.

26 Jan. The ISIS fighters remaining in the Hajin pocket show no signs of giving up.

The YPG releases a statement commemorating the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Kobane.

25 Jan. Activist Leyla Güven, who has been on a 79 days hunger strike demanding the end of isolation for Kurdish leader Öcalan, which has sparked solidarity demonstrations all over Europe, is released from Turkish prison.

24 Jan. A "solidarity pause" in front of the Venezuelan embassy in Damascus is attended by many political and public figures after the government had already condemned the "flagrant interference" in Venezuelan affairs by the US and its satellites.

23 Jan. Reports come in that after further SDF advances in the Hajin pocket, parts of the remaining ISIS fighters have surrendered, which led to the securing of many civilians. The remaining gangs are now reduced to the territory of a single village at the Euphrates, Marashidah.

Erdogan is in Moscow to discuss northern Syria with Putin. Elijah Magnier sums up the situation.

After former US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk said in a CNN interview on Monday that Turkey has provided ISIS "with everything they needed" over the years, PYD's Salih Muslim points out that this is obviously true, but not news to anybody who followed the events in Kobane.

22 Jan. Bashar al-Ja'afari calls on the UN to stop the constant Israeli attacks in violation of international law and invokes the prospect of "symmetric" retaliatory attacks on Tel Aviv airport.

21 Jan. Another Israeli air attack on targets near Damascus takes place.

Jordan opens the main Jaber border crossing with Syria for the first time in three years.

20 Jan. A Syrian delegation attends a bilateral private sector forum in Abu Dhabi.

19 Jan. Russian military police said to be on patrol in Manbij -Cassad (photos).

Hawar News Agency publishes a ten points list it says it obtained from Kurdish sources that represents their position in the negotiations with Damascus over the future of Rojava.

18 Jan. DIA civilian killed in Syria identified; Green Beret, two language specialists, SEAL-turned-DIA civilian among dead in ISIS-claimed bombing in Manbij, Syria; Trump meets with families of soldiers killed in Syria.

17 Jan. The SDF takes Al-Susa in the Hajin pocket and reduces ISIS to a territory of four villages.

16 Jan. Unsurprisingly, the idea of a Turkish-controlled "safe zone" along the border on Syrian soil, brought up by Erdogan for years and now picked up by Trump, is opposed by the Kurds, Damascus and Moscow.

15 Jan. According to Arab media, the PMU have stopped a US military reconnaissance mission in Anbar province border region and forced them to return to their base.

14 Jan. Alexander Yefimov becomes new Russian ambassador to Syria.

13 Jan. Trump tweets "Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds."

Several gulf airlines are briefed on the situation at Damascus airport in preparation for a resumption of flights.

According to the Syrian govenment, negotiations between them and the Kurds about resolving the situation in Rojava have "intensified". This seems to be confirmed by a statement from PYD co-chair Shahoz Hesen.

12 Jan. Another Israeli attack on targets near Damascus ends with most missiles intercepted.

Frontlines Idlib pocket

As part of the surrender agreement, HTS is now in control of the Taftanaz airbase.

11 Jan. Italy considers to re-open its embassy in Damascus.

According to a US military spokesperson, the withdrawal from Syria has begun.

10 Jan. After HTS scores several victories in the Idlib-internal "rebel" war, the Turkish-backed gangs basically surrender and agree that those areas will be run by the HTS' "salvation government" in the future.

9 Jan. At a joint press conference with his US counterpart, the Jordanian Foreign Minister demands that Israel returns the Golan Heights to Syria.

7 Jan. Heavy snow falls in several parts of Syria.

6 Jan. The winners of the Syrian Science Olympiad are honored in Damascus.

HTS keeps on advancing against Turkey's proxies in Idlib pocket after the Zenki group was defeated and had to retreat to occupied Afrin.

5 Jan. Under heavy bombardments by US-coalition jets, ISIS withdraws from the town of al Shafa in the Hajin pocket. Five fighters are captured by the SDF, among them one from Ireland and two from the US.

4 Jan. Heda Saratova, member of Chechnya human rights council, says that women and children, including at least one woman-a mother of many children and a child with Russian citizenships, from Chechnya, were killed, and more injured, in US-led coalition airstrikes in IS-held Deir ez-Zor area during the holidays. Asks for a corridor for women and children to leave. (Rus.)(Robo-Eng).

3 Jan. The "rebel" war between HTS and Turkey's proxies is now raging over the whole Idlib pocket. A SOHR summary counts casualties in the hundreds over the last three days.

The Iraqi airforce attacks another ISIS meeting in Hajin pocket, killing seven leaders.

2 Jan. Several hundred YPG fighters withdraw from Manbij city. Meanwhile, Turkish-backed "rebels" are reported to withdraw from the surrounding frontlines.

Firat News Agency interviews TEV-DEM Diplomacy Officer Aldar Xelil about the situation in Rojava and their relationship to international forces and the Damascus government (two parts).

Jaysh al-Islam, who were green-bused from the eastern Ghouta to Afrin canton, declare their intent to move south and join the "rebel" war in the Idlib pocket fighting their old rivals al-Qaeda/Nusra/HTS.

ISIS forces in the Hajin pocket cross the Euphrates and attack a SAA camp, killing 20+ soldiers before fleeing in the direction of Homs desert. Meanwhile on the other side of the river, the SDF is still advancing against the cult.

1 Jan. In a new round of the inter-"rebel" war inside Idlib pocket, al Qaeda captures several towns and villages from the Turkey-backed Nouredine al-Zinki group after the latter had killed a couple of fighters of the former.

31 Dec. The Iraqi airforce flies attacks on al-Susah village in Hajin pocket and reportedly kills 30 ISIS commanders at a meeting.

US anti-ISIS envoy Brett McGurk leaves office.

30 Dec. Syria and Iran sign a long-term strategic agreement focusing on "comprehensive cooperation at the financial and banking levels".

Syria and Iraq sign an agreement on security cooperation.

According to Iraqi media reported by Al Masdar, Assad has given green light to Iraqi forces to enter the country to fight ISIS without his specific approval. This would mean that the PMU forces amassed at the border can cross over and get active in the Hajin pocket whenever they see fit.

Military sources talking to Al Masdar say that the SAA has taken control over the Tishren Dam connecting Aleppo and Raqqa provinces over the Euphrates.

29 Dec. After the meeting of a high-level Turkish delegation with its Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss Syria, both sides praise the cooperation between the countries.

First on-the-ground reports of actual US troops withdrawing come through Turkish loyalist media.

28 Dec. The YPG issues a statement inviting the SAA to take over Manbij. The SAA enters the town immediately after. Erdogan tells reporters that Turkey "will have nothing left to do in Manbij once the YPG leaves the area".

27 Dec. The United Arab Emirates reopen their embassy in Damascus. Bahrain follows later in the day. Reportedly core members of the Arab League including Saudi Arabia and Egypt want Syria back in the club.

26 Dec. In the early morning, six Israeli F-16 fighter jets attack targets in and around Damascus from the Lebanese airspace. To the great anger of the Russians, they again use a trick hiding behind other aircrafts to confuse the air defense systems. This time two civilian planes landing in Beirut and Damascus airports are used as cover, unlike last time without causing harm to the passengers.

Turkish proxy forces deny statements of lower proxies the day before that an attack on Manbij or in the East has begun.

The main minorities in Rojava - Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenians, publish Christmas messages in full support of the SDF and against any Turkish invasion.

25 Dec. Syrian and Russian troops enter a formerly SDF-controlled village west of Manbij and erect a checkpoint.

Turkey's foreign minister says that the Turkish army would enter Syria "as soon as possible" to prevent a power vacuum created by the US withdrawal.

The SDF makes further progress against ISIS in the Hajin pocket and cuts several supply lines between the remaining villages.

24 Dec. Russia's deputy foreign minister essentially doubts that the US military will follow Trump's orders to withdraw, and states that so far no change in their activities has been observed.

Trump tweets "Saudi Arabia has now agreed to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States. See? Isn’t it nice when immensely wealthy countries help rebuild their neighbors rather than a Great Country, the U.S., that is 5000 miles away. Thanks to Saudi A!".

22 Dec. Brett McGurk, Obama-appointed US "envoy" to the coalition against ISIS, joins "Defense" Minister "Mad Dog" Mattis in resigning in protest over Trump's decision to withdraw the troops from Syria.

21 Dec. Erdogan says that the planned military operation is now "put on hold" but may come "in the next months". He also says that "regional security" will be ensured in cooperation with Russia and Iran.

According to al Masdar sources, the SAA Tiger Forces move to eastern Deir ez-Zor province to finish off ISIS in the Hajin pocket.

20 Dec. US approves $3.5bn "Patriot" missile sale to Turkey as Turkey's defence minister said that Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates in Syria "will be buried in their ditches when the time comes". Reportedly, Turkey had floated the idea of offering U.S. technical experts the chance to study any S-400s that it purchased from Russia.

Trump tweets "After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!" and includes a 79 seconds long video saying that they are coming home "now".

According to Yeni Safak, Trump's special representative to Syria Jim Jeffrey, who opposed the withdrawal, has cancelled all his scheduled meetings at the UN for today.

19 Dec. According to WSJ and other US media, the US is preparing to withdraw their troops in Northern Syria "immediately" (MoA summary). Meanwhile Trump tweets "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency."

17 Dec. Erdogan claims that after "a positive response" from Trump, the east of Euphrates operation can launch "any moment now" "without harming the US soldiers".

16 Dec. In a German language interview, a member of a Syrian Kurdish youth organization calls the anticipated Turkish attack on Rojava "likely the biggest war that has ever been forced on the Kurdish people". He mentions that mobilization has taken place across the region over the weekend.

15 Dec. WaPo Claims American "Tortured Then Executed" in Syria - Admits No Evidence

13 Dec. After a new offensive lasting several days, the SDF stands in the center of Hajin city, the last urban stronghold of ISIS in Syria.

12 Dec. Turkey 'primed to start' offensive against US-backed Kurds in Syria (The Guardian), (Cassad Rus, robo-Eng).

11 Dec. Andre Vltchek publishes a travel report from Syria.

Archive 2019
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Archive 2018
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Archive 2017
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Archive 2016
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