Syria news/Archive/2016-12

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31 Dec. The UN Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution supporting the ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia and the planned negotiations in Kazakhstan.

30 Dec. According to SANA, at 6 am in the morning ISIS cut the water supply to Aleppo city from its main source, two pumping stations on the Euphrates river. The next day it returned gradually, according to the same source.

The Northern Syria Constituent Assembly conference in Rimêlan ends with a declaration calling for a federal and democratic system in all of Syria.

29 Dec. The SAA General Command declares a ceasefire over all of Syria starting 0:00h on Dec 30, excluding the al-Qaeda offsprings, but including some of the largest militant groups like Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam. This follows Turkey-Russia negotiations. (ceasefire documents)

Wadi Barada (center left) north of Damascus

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 4 million civilians suffer water shortage in Damascus. This follows poisoning of the wells by militants in Wadi Barada. Answering an ultimatum of the SAA to leave the area, they are now manipulating gas pipelines.

Turkish FM Cavusoglu calls out the false US Embassy statement and declares in echoing its rhetoric that "the U.S. is providing arms to the YPG and PYD, period".

28 Dec. According to pro-AKP Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, "vetted" militants who were evacuated from Aleppo city to Idlib will be transported through Turkey to the Al-Bab front, re-entering Syria via Jarablus.

The US Embassy in Turkey releases a statement denying Erdogan's accusations, even claiming against ample evidence that the US doesn't arm the YPG.

27 Dec. Photos from Aleppo: American ammo boxes, Soviet BTR's, Russian 'red berets' military police, and curious double-flagged shoulder emblems. TASS: munitions manufactured in USA, Germany, and Bulgaria were found in Aleppo. Vesti report and video from Aleppo: 7 big ammo depots and many small ones were found in Aleppo; one weapons storage +rebel HQ, shown on video, was in a disused maternity ward building. More Western ammunition, Rusvesna (photos, videos).

Erdogan claims that Turkey has evidence that the US is supporting terrorist groups "including Daesh, YPG, PYD" in Syria.

26 Dec. Erdogan declares the lack of aerial support of the US-led coalition in the operation against Al-Bab "unacceptable".

25 Dec. The Turkish Army sends reinforcements incl. 10 tanks to Al-Bab, where ISIS was able to take back some positions on the western outskirts.

After further gains, the SDF stands 5 km west of Al Tabqa Dam.

Assad, his wife and children visit the Christian village of Saydnaya.

24 Dec. The Syrian Democratic Forces set up a radio station reaching Raqqa city on FM 106.7, which broadcasts information about escape routes for civilians, messages to ISIS encouraging them to give up, and music to raise morals of their fighters.

23 Dec. ANNA news video report from Aleppo, Eng. subs, including ammo, rebel use of civilian objects, execution of prisoners, child victim, etc. (Also includes some pine-tree propaganda).

Following reports of Turkish fighter jets attacking residential areas of Al-Bab the days before, a SOHR statement speaks of a massacre with so far 72 killed, among them 21 children. According to a report in a Turkish newspaper, the soldiers involved in Al-Bab are elite forces who have taken part in the destructive operations in Turkey's Kurdish cities of Sur, Diyarbakir, Silopi etc before going to Syria.

22 Dec. Moderate rebels massacre over 100 hostages at the Sukkari School before leaving Aleppo.

Battle of Aleppo

The Syrian Military, the International Red Cross and ACLOS' trusted map maker agree that all of Aleppo city is under government control. Merry white Christmas and a happy new year to the people of Aleppo and the proudly standing nation of Syria!

Two attempts by ISIS to enter the T-4 airbase west of Palmyra have been foiled by the SAA and allies.

ISIS releases a video in which two captured Turkish soldiers in a cage are burned alive.

21 Dec. Another attempt of Operation Euphrates Shield to storm Al-Bab ends with 14 dead and 33 wounded Turkish soldiers (two of the latter died from their wounds later), and an unknown number of "FSA" casualties, after ISIS counterattacked using a VBIED. The "state" is now in possession of at least three German-made Leopard tanks.

Evacuations from both east Aleppo and the villages Foua and Kefraya are still ongoing.

The Syrian Government expects to deliver 30,000 housing units early 2017. Negotiations with especially Indian companies about large rebuilding projects are underway.

20 Dec. The Syria meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Moscow ends with a joint statement.

In its first ten days, phase two of Operation Wrath of Euphrates has taken over from ISIS 1300 km² containing 97 villages along the east bank of Euphrates in western Raqqa province.

19 Dec. UN Security Council resolution 2328 is unanimously adopted. UN observers will be send to Aleppo to monitor the situation in the city.

18 Dec. UN Security Council to vote on humanitarian aid to Aleppo.

Green buses in Sukkari evacuating the last jihadists from Aleppo

16 Dec. According to Russian sources, everybody who was willing to be evacuated from the east Aleppo pocket has been, in total over 9,500 people. Syrian troops have now restarted operations against the remaining "radical and irreconcilable gangs" who chose to fight to the end.

Loyalist sources report that several NATO/-allied officers have been captured in a bunker in east Aleppo.

15 Dec. Evacuation of remaining militants and their families from the Aleppo pocket has started. Simultaneously an evacuation operation in the militant-besieged Shi'ite villages of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province is underway, apparently as part of the deal. Rudaw has a liveticker.

14 Dec. The agreed-upon evacuation of remaining militants in the Aleppo pocket is postponed due to internal disputes among the gangs.

ISIS continues to attack the T-4 airbase and has reportedly cut a supply line for the army.

IS captures S-125 SAM?

"ISIS Feared To Have Control Of Surface-To-Air Missile System"- American Military News; Случайный прохожий.

Assad interviews by RT (transcript) and Russia24/NTV (transcript) are aired.

13 Dec. According to the Russian military, another 7,796 civilians have been evacuated from east Aleppo during the last 24 hours, making it a total of 110,000, including 44,367 children.

According to Syrian military sources, ISIS has been driven back from the T-4 airbase and a new defense line was established.

According to Kurdish sources, 16 villages and several strategic hills have been taken over from ISIS in western Raqqa province in the first three days of phase two of operation Wrath of Euphrates.

12 Dec. The SAA takes more districts of eastern Aleppo back, leaving just two districts in militant hands: Sukkari and Bustan Al-Qasr. It is estimated that around 2,200 militants, among many civilians, are concentrated in the pocket.

According to media reports, IS attacks a military airbase Tiyas (T-4), located west of Palmyra, and used in the past as a 'jump-pad' for Russian helicopters, and by SAA airforce. The base is now in the firing range after SAA withdrawal, and it is said that anti-aircraft detachment positions nearby are captured by IS. Fighting for the airbase is ongoing.

11 Dec. After a surprise attack during extremely foggy weather and three days of intense fighting, ISIS took back control over Palmyra and some nearby oil fields. Loyalist journalist Danny Makki tries to sort it out in a series of tweets. Loss of Palmyra was confirmed by the governor of Homs province, Talal Barazi (Damascus now)(BBC).

10 Dec. According to Russian Military spokesperson Konashenkov, "more than 20,000 residents left eastern Aleppo in the first part of Saturday, and 1,217 militants laid down their weapons". Drone footage is said to show the long lines of civilians in the process of leaving (longer footage-RT).

9 Dec. SANA: SAA controls 93% of east Aleppo. During the last 24 hours 1000+ "rebels" surrender (953 of them are granted amnesty) and 11,000 civilians leave "rebel"-controlled area.

122 countries including Micronesia express "outrage" over the situation in Syria by passing a Canadian-sponsored resolution in the UN General Assembly. 13 vote against it and 36 abstain.

With the help of an additional 300 Turkish Army Special Forces and German-made Leopard tanks, Operation Euphrates Shield launches another attempt at taking Al-Bab. Meanwhile the Wrath of Euphrates Operation, including over 1,000 mostly Arab new recruits and an additional 200 US special forces, starts Phase two of the quest for liberating Raqqa, prepared by over 300 air strikes by the US-led coalition over the last month. One such air strike, the largest of its kind, destroyed 168 ISIS oil tankers near Palmyra the day before. The goal of phase two is to take over the important al-Tabqa dam 50 km west of Raqqa.

8 Dec. US-Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduces the Stop Arming Terrorists Act.

Barack Obama authorizes delivery of weapons to jihadists in Syria.

7 Dec. ANNA News publishes a documentary from the front lines called "Extermination of terrorists in Aleppo with fire" (video, graphic).

Assad is interviewed by Syrian al-Watan newspaper (English language transcript).

6 Dec. Turkish-backed militants restart their indiscriminate shelling of villages in western Manbij countryside, killing at least ten civilians and injuring forty and causing many residents to flee towards Manbij city.

5 Dec. Russia and China veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate seven day ceasefire in Aleppo. According to Churkin the submitting nations Egypt, New Zealand and Spain "were shamelessly pressured by the trio of permanent western members" into submitting the draft which Lavrov called "counterproductive".

Operation Euphrates Shield is still at the doors of Al-Bab without any progress over the weekend, according to Turkish military sources.

A Russian military hospital set for civilians in East Aleppo was hit by mortar strike, a Russian military doctor (a woman) was killed, two nurses seriously injured -Lizzie Phelan/RT, reporting from Aleppo. Russian MoD (Konashenkov) (video-press CC for Engl.) blamed the rebels. He stated that the (radical) rebels locked in the southern part of Eastern Aleppo are unable to make such precise strikes, and so he blamed (moderate) rebels and their Western sponsors, alleging further that hospital exact coordinates known to the coalition could be passed to the rebels. (No coalition response to his comments, so far).

  • ANNA news video from the scene; another video. Russian guards on the scene say that 3 balloons hit, first 300 meters away, next a direct hit on medics tent. Mentions that 'hospital opening was reported in media', and that 'by preliminary information, Nureddin Al Zenki group claimed responsibility'. Officer in the second part of *Second doctor died of her wounds in a hospital.
  • Some personal info about killed medics appeared. They, and a recently killed Russian colonel who served in an advisory role, received posthumous awards- Order of Courage.

A Russian Su-33 jet skids off Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier at landing attempt, making it the second lost plane involving that ship.

Following recent similar agreements in southern Damascus countryside, another 450 "rebels" hand over their weapons in exchange for amnesty.

4 Dec. Several ancient sculptures and artifacts looted from Palmyra are seized by the Swiss police in a warehouse in Geneva.

3 Dec. A Syrian Albatros plane crashes into an urban area inside the east Aleppo pocket. "Rebels" claim they shot it down.

2 Dec. The US congress passes a bill that extends the train-and-equip program for Syrian "rebels" for two years and for the first time explicitly allows the delivery of MANPADs to certain "vetted" groups.

1 Dec. After Russia demanded an explanation and Putin and Erdogan had the third phonecall in one week, the Turkish president pretends that he was misunderstood and the target of the Turkish operation is not "a country or person, but only terror organizations". Meanwhile at a meeting with the Turkish foreign minister, Lavrov clarifies that neither Russia nor Syria was responsible for the attack on Turkish soldiers on Thanksgiving day. The information that Russia said it was a Syrian plane resulted from a mistranslation. According to Lavrov, it's "essential to discuss this issue with the United States and other institutions" in order to prevent such things from happening again.