Syria news/Archive/2019-08

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Frontlines Idlib pocket

31 Aug. 06:00 o'clock on August 31, 2019 at the initiative of Moscow and Ankara, the Syrian Arab army unilaterally announced a ceasefire in the entire Idlib de-escalation zone

On or about 15:00, officially acknowledged US strike on rebels commanders gathering in northern Idlib.

30 Aug. Reports on a successful operation in southern Idlib attributed to Russian forces.

25 Aug. 5 Turkish generals stationed in northern Syria resign

23 Aug. The SAA command announces that it has taken over a number of towns and villages in the new pocket south of Khan Sheikhoun, the list of which - including Latamina, Morek and Kafr Zita - sounds like the whole pocket is already in their hands.

21 Aug. According to reports, the SAA has taken Khan Sheikhoun from the "rebels" during the day and connected their forces from west and east, building a cauldron around the towns and villages south of Khan Sheikhoun including the Turkish observation post at the M5 south of Morek.

20 Aug. While "rebels" are fleeing Khan Sheikhoun, the SAA is entering the northern parts of the city.

Putin expresses Russia's full support for the actions of the SAA, saying that Turkey failed to live up to the Astana agreements and stop the "rebels" from constantly attacking targets outside the "deescalation zone", including the Russian airforce base which has been under (failed) attack several times in recent weeks.

19 Aug. Al-Nimr checkpoint on M5 road, north of Khan Sheikhoin, at elevated position over the city, is under SAA control, cutting Maarat-an-Numan to Khan Sheikhoun road and supplies and creating an operative cauldron; - collection of photos, maps and videos by Cassad. Turkey tried to send in a military hardware convoy, said to travel from checkpoint 7 to checkpoint 9 (towards Khan Sheikhoun); its movement was stopped by Syrian airforce strike near the convoy (TV Zvezda; TASS). Turkey's foreign minister said that 3 were killed and 12 wounded by the strike. According to SouthFront, Turkey sent F-16 jets to protect the convoy but the Russian airforce was hovering the region, so they retreated. (Details are disputed)

18 Aug. "On the road to Khan Sheikhoun", ANNA News / Cassad.

15 Aug. Moon of Alabama publishes a summary of the recent developments in and around the Idlib pocket.

14 Aug. Rebels' "headquarters of joint operation al-Fatah al-Mubin" claimed that they shot down a Su-22 of Syrian AF on the border of Hama and Idlib and captured the pilot (report and some videos, Rus.; i24 news, Eng.)

13 Aug. Over the weekend, the SAA has continued their advances at the southern fronts of the Idlib pocket. After taking the towns of Hobit and Sakik, they are now approaching Khan Sheikhoun from both the west and the east. Meanwhile, there has been infighting at a "rebel" meeting in Idlib city between Al Nusra and other gangs and it is reported that a number of leaders have fled to Turkey.

8 Aug. The SAA captures the strategic hill Tal Zakhar and the village of the same name in northern Hama at the south-western border of the Idlib "deescalation zone".

Turkish state media reports that some US-Turkey agreement about a "safe zone" along the Turkish border was reached. The Syrian Foreign Ministry categorically rejects any agreement reached "by the US and Turkish occupations". Later, the Turkish foreign minister claims that Trump has promised Erdogan in a phone call to withdraw troops from the planned "safe zone" area and that Turkey would under no circumstances allow the US to "delay".

6 Aug. Syrian and Iraqi troops meet in Al-Bukamal at a new border crossing a bit south of the old one and outside populated areas. The crossing's official opening is planned for the near future.

US "defense" secretary Esper says that unilateral actions by Turkey in northern Syria are "unacceptable" and that the US has no "ambition" to abandon the SDF.

5 Aug. Erdogan threatens again to invade east of the Euphrates soon, claiming the US and Russia are informed, while the Kurds are not amused, still feeling backed by the US, and Emirate media leaking alleged documents about a Saudi "strategic plan" to take down Turkey.

4 Aug. In an interview with Syrian TV, First Lady Asma al-Assad shows herself for the first time in over a year without headscarf and declares her victory over cancer.