21 Sep. After three days of battle, the SDF has 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Russia informed OPCW Director General of impending provocation in Syria.
Staffan de Mistura called for humanitarian corridors.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
31 Jul. According to reports, the ISIS pocket in the shadow of the Golan heights is history after the last ISIS fighters surrender, apparently with a deal to transport them to the desert pocket east of as-Suweida in exchange for the women the terror cult has kidnapped a week ago.
The long line of assassinations of "rebel" commanders in Idlib province continues with two high-ranking Nusra fighters, an Egyptian and an Usbek.
According to "reliable" information obtained by Firat News Agency, a mixed delegation of Iraqi Kurds and Turkish intelligence visited Damascus immediately after the talks with the SDF and tried to convince the government to not further these talks, offering goodies like a consulate in Erbil and secret talks with the Erdogan regime in exchange. The meeting is said to have ended without result.
30 Jul. Russia has established a humanitarian corridor through which vetted civilians are able to leave Idlib province, which is thought to be the theatre of the next big operation once the SAA has finished ISIS in the very southwest.
Russia, Iran and Turkey are meeting in Sochi to discuss the state of the measures taken in the Astana format. Syria is represented by Bashar al-Ja'afari. The US was invited as an observer but refused.
Following a meeting discussing the outcome of the talks with the government, the SDF releases an optimistic statement calling on all democratic political forces in Syria to "join the political path" to a "democratic decentralized Syria". (Firat News Agency has interviewed Salih Muslim, who was not part of the Kurdish delegation, about his expectations)
On this day in 2006, Murray Bookchin died, who was a main influence on the thinking of Abdullah Öcalan, the father of the political system the SDF want to see implemented in all of Syria. Firat News Agency remembers the man and his work publishing a 1969 essay entitled Listen, Marxist!.
In recent days the SDF, with air support from the US-led coalition, has made considerable advances against the ISIS desert pocket at the Iraqi border north of the Euphrates.
Cassad reports (on 31 Jul, showing Jul. 30 map) that IS pocket is separated from the Purple Line. Also in the report: (1)The militants tried to negotiate that they are released into the desert, but it has been denied - the condition for survival is exactly one - the unconditional surrender ; (2)some militants from the "green" groups (FSA) take part in the 'mop-up' of IS together with the Syrian militia. Participation in battles against IS gives them the right to an amnesty and the subsequent integration into the Syrian society (FWIW).
29 Jul. Clashes in the desert following the ISIS terror attack on As-Suweida are still going on.
UAE: A Yemeni armed drone sneaks into the UAE and manages to fire three shots at Abu Dhabi airport.
26 Jul. The SAA has conquered all important population centers in the ISIS pocket in the very southwest and has forced the terror cult into a tiny mountain area.
25 Jul. A convoy of ISIS terrorist approaching from the east massacres over 200 civilians, but is repelled in As-Suweida. Three to six suicide bombings are used as a distraction. A number of female hostages are taken and attempted to sell back for ransom.
24 Jul. Sergei Lavrov visits Merkel in Berlin and Macron in Paris to discuss Syria and Ukraine. Both meetings were also attended by Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Staff of the Russian army, who is on the EU sanctions list since 2014 and not allowed to enter. Germany used a waiver to make the meeting possible.
After they broke through the ISIS defenses in the Golan pocket yesterday, today the SAA has liberated several towns before lunch.
The IDF claims to have intercepted a Syrian fighter jet which entered the Golan heights. According to Al Masdar, the SAA confirms the downing of the jet and says it has mistakenly crossed over into the occupied airspace. The pilot Colonel Omran Marii is dead.
23 Jul. Lavrov, Netanyahu, Gerasimov have met in West Jerusalem, discussed Syria. It is said (1,2) that Israel rejected Russian offer to keep Iran 100 km from Syria-Israel border. In TASS version, Netanyahu stated that Israel is interested in complete withdrawal of Iran, without rejecting the Russian proposal.
22 Jul. The Syrian and Russian air forces have conducted 1,900 air strikes on the ISIS pocket next to the Golan heights in recent days.
21 Jul. According to Israeli sources, their army helped to evacuate 800 "White Helmets" from the contact line to Syria through the Golan Heights and then to Jordan, from where they are supposed to be transported to "Western" countries. Meanwhile, a large evacuation operation under the usual "green bus north" deal is going on in Quneitra.
20 Jul. In the previous week, the SDF has taken 16 villages from ISIS in the remaining desert pocket at the Iraqi border north of the Euphrates river.
The Russian Hmeimim airbase is under drone attack again.
Iraq: The government declares a state of emergency following mass protests over the lack of basic services like electricity and drinking water.
19 Jul. The series of reconciliation agreements in the south is continuing in recent days and the SAA is now on some hills directly overseeing the ISIS pocket. They and the surrendered FSA "rebels" are jointly guarding the area so no cult members can escape, and plan a joint offensive once formalities are settled.
The civilians of the long-besieged Shi'ite villages Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya in Idlib province are now all evacuated, although reportedly the Nusra terrorists are waylaying on some leaving buses and try to use them to press free more of their imprisoned gang members.
The anniversary of the so-called Rojava Revolution, which is considered to have begun with the expulsion of government forces from Kobane on this day in 2012, is celebrated (Interview with Saleh Moslem, Interview with YPG spokesperson).
AP publishes a report from Talbiseh in the former Rastan pocket, speaking to locals about the situation after the reconciliation deals.
18 Jul. Israel: The Knesset passes with small majority controversial changes to the basic law, declaring the country "the Jewish Nation State", making Hebrew the language of the state and Arabic having 'a special status', and declaring Jerusalem the capital city (full text)
According to the Pentagon, the SDF holds around 600 "Foreign Terrorist Fighters" from more than 40 countries in prison.
17 Jul. The political wing of the SDF says that they will soon open offices in Government-controlled areas of the country.
15 Jul. Up to 1,000 "White Helmets" and their families are in danger of assassination and other intimidation according to "Western" media reports about efforts to evacuate or rescue them from Syria by "The Netherlands, Britain, France, Canada and Germany".
14 Jul. With reconciliation agreements in the important towns of Inkhil and Tal Al-Harrah, the "rebel" pocket in the south continues to implode.
13 Jul. Iraqi media reports that the US is planning a new military base in the country. Its location shall be close to the Syrian border, the Euphrates and the "international road" crossing at Al Bukamal/Al Qaim.
Elijah Magnier reports that "a top Syrian decision maker" told him that the US delivered - through Russian brokering - a message to Assad saying that they want to leave Al-Tanf and the northern regions as soon as possible and have only one condition: That Iranian forces leave as well. Assad reportedly replied that Iran also doesn't want to stay longer than necessary to defeat the Takfiris, but will stay exactly that long by his request.
Rudaw reports that in Al Tabqa the local authorities have reached an agreement with the Syrian government to run the Tabqa Dam together.
12 Jul. In the south, the SAA has taken over a couple of places including the town of Tafas in which some "rebels" had preferred to join ISIS over sticking to the surrender agreement. The town of Hayt even closer to the ISIS pocket has been handed over to the terror cult before the SAA could reach it. Negotiations in Deraa city are still going on, but in the afternoon reports come in that an agreement was reached and Russian military police has entered the "rebel"-controlled southern parts of the city.
Airstrikes on two villages near the Iraqi border kill more than 50 civilians. The US-led "coalition" is accused and doesn't deny, says they are investigating.
10 Jul. Among the places at the Jordanian border the SAA takes over is the old border crossing south of Deraa city.
9 Jul. The SAA continues to advance along the Jordanian border and has according to some reports already encircled the "rebels" in the southern part of Deraa city. Meanwhile, the Russians claim that a total of 90 towns and villages have joined the truce agreements.
8 Jul. The Syrian cabinet approves a plan on how to restore public services in the liberated areas in the south.
SANA reports that an Israeli attack on T-4 airbase in Homs was answered by intercepting several missiles and hitting one jet.
7 Jul. Russia is so far unsuccessfully putting pressure on gangs in western Deraa and Quneitra to come to an agreement with the SAA like their comrades further east have done.
Representatives of 55 clans and tribes meet at a forum in Aleppo directed against intervention in Syrian affairs by the US, France and Turkey.
The OPCW publishes a preliminary report about their investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma which was used as justification for the FUKUS missile attack in April. No traces of chemical weapons were found.
5 Jul. In a steady advance from the east, the SAA clears a large area of land along the Jordanian border and stands only a few kilometers away from the Nassib border crossing.
4 Jul. According to Elijah Magnier, the number of fighters in the ISIS pocket next to the occupied Golan heights is estimated between 1,500 and 2,000. As he points out, nobody is offering them any deal.
The SDF takes two more villages at the Iraqi border from ISIS in their ongoing and slowly progressing "Al-Jazeera Tempest" campaign.
Key Kurdish political figure Aldar Xelil states at a conference in Raqqa that while his side is ready for dialogue, the Syrian government has yet to make a serious effort and the reports of ongoing negotiations are false.
Lavrov and the Jordanian foreign minister hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Moscow.
3 Jul. The Russian air force launches "massive" attacks on targets near Jisr al-Shughour and the Turkish border. This region is known to harbour the "Turkistan Islamic Party" gangs which Russia accuses of having launched the recent attacks on the Khmeimim base.
According to the UNHCR, around 300,000 civilians had to flee and are internally displaced by the fighting in the south. 60,000 of them are said to have gathered at the Nassib border crossing to Jordan. The agency calls on Jordan to open the border and on the countries of the region to take care of these people.
2 Jul. According to military sources talking to Al Masdar, high level negotiations between the SAA and the YPG, resp. their civil control institutions, are going on with the end goal of finding a way to reunite forces. A local agreement over comparatively minor issues has reportedly already been reached in Hasakah, where the government has never ceased to have an outpost in otherwise Kurdish-controlled lands.
The source continued that the government is attempting to convince the Kurdish Democratic Federation to agree to the following:
- Join forces with the government across the country
- Handover the Tal Kojar and Simalka border-crossings into Iraq
- Handover the Al-Darbasiyah and Ras Al-‘Ayn border-crossing into Turkey
The YPG is asking in return that the government make the Kurdish language a part of the Syrian educational system, count the period the YPG fighters served as service in the SAA, and give a Kurdish official a permanent seat in the Syrian oil ministry.
After several rounds of negotiations, the important southern FSA stronghold town Busra al-Sham surrenders to the SAA.
A second repelled drone attack on Khmeimim airbase is reported. Russia blames jihadi groups from central Asia. In the evening the base is attacked a third time. Russian air defense shot down small aerial vehicles aproaching Khmeimim airbase.
1 Jul. Sunday Times: UK RAF Typhoon fighter jet dropped a 500lb laser-guided bomb "during a firefight" last month near the intersection of Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan (apparently near al-Tanf). A Syrian army officer was killed and seven others were wounded, "according to local reports."
Some FSA groups in Tafas refuse to follow the agreed hand-over of the town to the SAA and instead pledge allegiance to ISIS in its neighboring little pocket in the shadow of the occupied Golan heights.
Firat News Agency publishes a report on the state of the historical sites from the neolithic age located in northern Syria.