Syria news/Archive/2019-10

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30 Oct. SANA: SAA in "fierce clashes" with Turkish forces

ISIS leader Baghdadi is killed for the 11th time

27 Oct. President Trump makes an announcement that US special forces kill the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi in a raid to Idlib, Syria. (It is said that part of the raid was through the Russian airspace; yet RU MoD says it 'does not have reliable information' and does not expect any 'operational effect.' Peskov later stated that Russian military saw some planes and drones in the area. Reaction by the other side so far is covered here; no word on a new caliph). Photos said to show bodies of others killed in the raid, some videos from the scene, + questions raised here. The news is said to favor Trump while Ukrainegate and impeachment dominate US headlines.

26 Oct. Russian MoD accuses US of smuggling Syrian oil; publishes some photos of fuel trucks in Deir-iz-Zor dated Aug-Sep. 2019

18 Oct. Russian servicemen from the reconciliation center visited a school in es-Salykhia on the western bank of Euphrates south of Deir ez-Zor. (Wikipedia; map). A center to facilitate Russian contacts with tribes on the eastern bank was established/announced here back in 2017.

Assad receives a high-ranking Russian delegation.

17 Oct. Following a visit of Pence and Pompeo in Turkey, the two countries release a statement which other than weasel words contains a point 11 that says that Operation Peace Spring is paused and the YPG has 120 hours to retreat from the borders. If that happens, the operation will be over and the US promises in point 12 that no further sanctions will be imposed on Turkey. Turkey, as stated in point 10, will "primarily" enforce the security in a not further specified "safe zone".

16 Oct. Two coalition fighter jets destroy the infamous Lafarge cement factory.

13 Oct. SDF and the Syrian government reach an agreement: the SAA will take control of the whole Turkish border. At the same time, US occupation forces are said to be withdrawing from all of "north" Syria.

The Iraqi foreign minister announces that his country will demand Syria's return to the Arab League.

12 Oct. SDF General Mazloum Kobani Abdi tells US envoy William Roebuck to either protect the Kurds or leave and let Russia and the SAA move in to offer protection.

Trump releases "$50 million in stabilization assistance for Syria to protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, and advance human rights."

11 Oct. The Iranian tanker Sabiti on its way to Syria is hit by two missiles in the Red Sea. This is the third Iranian tanker in 6 months to be attacked in this part of the Red Sea. The attack follows the Fujairah oil tanker explosions, the Gulf of Oman tanker attacks, and the seizure of the of Grace 1 in the Mediterranean, bringing the total number of tankers sized or attacked in the tanker war to at least 14.

US (or NATO) troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions. According to US Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt "All U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries. U.S. Forces have not withdrawn from Kobani," after earlier reports that US forces departed the targeted outpost. Prior social media reports claimed that 2 French soldiers were injured; those reports are not confirmed. (Apparently US and French troops presence near Kobani is known since at least 2017).

9 Oct. According to Erdogan, the invasion of Syria named Operation Peace Spring started in the afternoon. Live updates by SyriaInfo. This follows a phone conversation between Erdogan and Putin where, according to the Kremlin, "both sides reaffirmed the importance of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity of Syria and respect for its sovereignty". Earlier, the "Autonomous Administration" of the regions east of the Euphrates declared a three day mobilization state. There will be a UNSC meeting tomorrow morning on request of several European countries.

Firat News Agency publishes an article outlining the chronology leading up to Trump's latest withdrawal claim and the allegedly imminent Turkish invasion.

8 Oct. Surfacing videos seem to show the US army withdrawing from several border posts while the Turkish army is deploying forces to their side of the border.

7 Oct. The White House announces that US troops will withdraw from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to start its operation. Trump tweets that captured ISIS fighters are now the responsibility of Turkey. The SDF releases a statement accusing the US of "abandoning of its responsibilities in the war on terror". Vladimir Putin turns 67 years old.

5 Oct. Erdogan once again threatens to invade Syria east of the Euphrates "maybe today or tomorrow" while his spokesperson is in discussion with US National Security Adviser O'Brien about "accelerating safe zone establishment".

4 Oct. The Turkish-backed "Syrian National Army" and "National Liberation Front" collections of gangs from mercenary to jihadi merge under the "Syrian National Army" umbrella at the request of the Turkish government. Wikipedia has the combined man-power under the lemma "Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army" at 80-100 thousand.