Syria news/Archive/2018-06

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30 Jun. A number of towns and villages in the south accept the terms of surrender. These places lie along the M5 motorway to the Jordanian border and the strategic Nassib crossing. Others still refuse with no general settlement being reached.

29 Jun. After the SAA has generally advanced and taken over several towns and a military base from "rebels" in the south in recent days, a 12 hour ceasefire until noon to discuss terms of surrender is announced by the Russian Reconciliation Center. Incoming field reports say that as one result, the three towns of Ibta, Tafas and Dael, just north of Deraa city, have surrendered and will be handed over to the SAA.

Rusvesna version of events, robo-translared: "In the cities of Etbaa, Ta'afas, Daile and El Sheikh Saad, the militants laid down their arms and settled their status. Thus, the government troops came close to the area controlled by ISIS, located in the province of Quneitra. The cities of Teiba, Sayda, Umm Al-Meiyazin and Nasib agreed to lay down their arms and move to the side of the government. Residents of these settlements everywhere hold rallies in support of government forces in anticipation of the arrival of Russian military police and humanitarian aid units. The return of peaceful life to these settlements will allow the official Damascus to take control of highway M5 up to the border with Jordan."

Other reports suggest large number of refugees in the area; neither Jordan nor Israel are willing to allow refugees to enter. Some humanitarian aid is provided. On the Russian side, Kadyrov foundation sent some humanitarian aid too; aid delivery and recently constructed refugee housing shown on photos (Rusvesna).

The SDF-affiliated Syrian Democratic Council (of Kurds in the North) issues a statement accusing Staffan de Mistura of making "blatantly false statements" about the situation in Afrin and covering up Turkish atrocities in his June 27 briefing to the UNSC. In this they agree with Syrian UN ambassador Ja'afari who mentioned the topic among other distortions in his reply to the briefing.

28 Jun. Putin to military graduates: As you know, we started the withdrawal of our forces during my visit to Khmeimim. The withdrawal carries on as we speak: 13 aircraft, 14 helicopters, and 1,140 personnel were withdrawn over the past few days. All these people were tested in combat. You and your comrades-in-arms will have to make full use of this experience when training personnel in Russia ...

CNN claims to have been told that Trump plans to make a deal with Putin which would allow the US to get out of Syria "ASAP".

Three humanitarian corridors are opened for civilians to leave the combat areas in southern Syria.

27 Jun. UK wins bid for OPCW to attribute blame (full text) for chemical weapons attacks (82 countries for, 24 countries against, including Russia, China, India, South Africa, Iran, Syria, 26 abstained, 4 did not cast a vote). Russia criticizes the move but short of leaving OPCW.

26 Jun. At a UN conference in Vienna discussing chemical weapons, the Syrian representative complains that the OPCW is pressured into acting as a political tool of "the West".

24 Jun. Assad gives an interview to Russian NTV (transcript, video).

Turkey: In early presidential and parliamentary elections, Erdogan wins an absolute majority of 52.5% in the first run, while his AKP party loses it for the first time since they came to power and will, with only 42.5% of the votes, have to form a coalition government with the secular nationalist MHP. The left and pro-Kurdish HDP with its leader sitting in jail managed again to stay in parliament with 11.7% of the votes.

The Russian Reconciliation Center reports that FSA groups in 11 southern settlements have joined the SAA in efforts against HTS and other jihadis.

The Russian air force starts participating in the SAA's operation in the south.

23 Jun. The US sends a letter to FSA groups in the south telling them to not expect a military intervention on their behalf.

Berlin: At their annual "Freedom Award" ceremony, the Atlantic Council honours Syrian humanitarian intervention poster child Bana Alabed and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her quote that 500,000 dead Iraqi children due to sanctions in the 90s were "worth it" (Eva Bartlett article).

22 Jun. The SAA, led by the Tiger Forces, launches its long-awaited operation in the southern Quneitra, Deraa and Suweida provinces.

Briefing of chief of Russian radiological, chemical and biological defense forces, Major-General Igor Kirillov, critical of OPCW investigations in Syria and of Skripal incident.

ISIS desert pockets

20 Jun. Al Masdar reports that phase two of the SAA's operation against the ISIS desert pocket between eastern Homs and the Euphrates has led to "full liberation" of the "entire" area. The next day reports about further advances include maps that show that there is still a large, but shrinking pocket of ISIS control left in the desert between Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor.

Thierry Meyssan takes a look at the role Germany has played in the war on Syria (Cold war events also mentioned, such as Alois Brunner 'installed in Damascus', among other Nazi officers 'sent all over the world' to fight the Soviets, and to 'organize local secret services' in Egypt, Iran, Syria 'on the model of the Gestapo'). has published another detailed sitrep with the only German permanently accredited journalist reporting from Syria, Karin Leukefeld (Part I, Part II, German language).

19 Jun. At a UN conference against spread of small arms, Syrian ambassador Ja'afari condemns the on-going practice of arming terrorist groups and names as countries involved Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and FUKUS.

The US withdraws its membership from the UN Human Rights Council.

18 Jun. Mysterious foreign airstrikes kill several Syrian, Iraqi troops in east Syria. The US denies that it or members of its coalition were behind what seems to have been armed drone attacks. Later, CNN reports that a proverbial unnamed US government official told them that Israel was behind the attack that killed at least 52 people.

17 Jun. Top PYD Kurd leader Aldar Xelil tells Reuters that they hope Assad is serious about his negotiation offers and think that a deal between them and the Damascus government would be “a historic turning point”.

According to activists, looted and smuggled artifacts from an ancient synagogue in Jobar in the eastern Ghouta have shown up in Turkey, Israel and New York.

Iraq: Just as with the Euphrates river, Turkish upstream machinations with the water supply cause water crisis not limited to drought in the environment of the Tigris (Kurdish Dilja) river.

16 Jun. Aleppo Citadel re-opens for visitors and tourists.

The SDF takes the town Al-Dashishah in the desert of southern Hasaka province near the Iraqi border from ISIS.

15 Jun. After several recent ISIS attacks from inside the Badiya desert pocket, the SAA started a counter-offensive and has liberated around 2000 km² of land, overrunning the cult's defenses. A second phase of the operation targeting the pocket from the south-west is in preparation.

In an interview a YPG representative looks back at the liberation of Gire Spi (Tal Abyad) from ISIS three years ago today.

14 Jun. The US resumes funding of the so-called "White Helmets" organization which was frozen on May 3. $6,6 million are to be allocated through USAID and the State Department.

The SAA extends their deadline for reconciliation negotiations with the "rebels" in Daraa and Quneitra, which has originally been set to today. A member of the reconciliation commitee is shot dead on open streets in "rebel"-held al-Harra town. The doctor is the twelfth member of that committee who has been assassinated during the last two months.

According to information from PMU members, ISIS has, on Iraqi soil, executed 90 of its own fighters for unwillingness to fight the SAA in Syria. The bodies were reportedly thrown into the Euphrates.

13 Jun. Assad gives an interview to Iranian Al-Alam TV's Hosein Murtada (transcript, video).

Kurdish ANHA publishes a detailed report entitled Confessions of terrorist cell linked to Turkish intelligence reveal new facts (Part 1,Part 2).

11 Jun. The Russian defense ministry gives another specific warning about a planned chemical weapons false flag.

10 Jun. The UK's Mail on Sunday publishes an interview with Assad (transcript, video)

9 Jun. Turkey has finished construction of a 764 km long wall on the border to Syria. It is also building a 144 km long wall on the border with Iran.

8 Jun. The chiefs of staff of the Russian and US armies, Gerasimov and Dunford, meet in Helsinki and discuss settlement in Syria and deconfliction in Europe "in a constructive manner".

Reports come in that ISIS managed to break through the SAA defense lines and enter the important city of Albukamal on the Euphrates banks near the Iraqi border. Later it is reported that the SAA managed to secure the city again.

7 Jun. In the village of Zardana in Idlib province a massacre occurs in which according to SOHR at least 44 civilians die. Opposition sources point the finger at a Russian air strike. Russia denies that it flew attacks there and says it knows of infighting with heavy artillery between Nusra and Turkish-backed groups.

6 Jun. The Homs-Hama part of Syria's most important highway M5 re-opens for the first time in seven years.

5 Jun. The Syrian government sends a letter to the UN accusing the US-led "coalition" of crimes against civilians in Hasakah province which the letter says are committed as punishment for their refusal to join "separatist militias" under the SDF umbrella. The letter also accuses the US of directing the remaining ISIS gangs in the desert, all with the goal "to undermine Syria’s sovereignty, safety and territorial integrity".

According to a statistic published by Idlib24, there have been 93 assassination attempts against "rebel" leaders in Idlib province since late April. Over 40 of them have targeted leaders of the al-Qaeda incarnation HTS.

According to a YPG statement, the "last advisory group" has withdrawn from Manbij.

4 Jun. After a meeting in Washington by the two foreign ministers, the US and Turkey release a joint statement in which a mutually endorsed "roadmap" about the situation in Manbij is mentioned (Kurdish view on the statement).

Assad issues two decrees raising the salaries of active military personal by 30% and those of retired military personal by 20%.

The extremely low water levels in the Euphrates due to machinations of Turkey cause draught and animal diseases.

3 Jun. A very close adviser to the late Zahran Alloush turns out to be a government spy.

According to Fars SAA and RuAF launched heavy attacks in northern Hama and Southern Idlib.

According to Southfront and Fars(SAA) and its allies repelled an attack of ISIS along the western bank of the Euphrates River in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside.

2 Jun. Representatives of seventy tribes of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah provinces hold a conference entitled "Syrian tribes against foreign intervention and the American presence on Syrian soil".

The Syrian FM Muallem demands that the US leave Al-Tanf immediately.