"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

Lübnan Marunîleri / Yasin Atlıoğlu


Friday, October 30, 2015

Civilian killed, 12 others injured in terrorist mortar attacks in Damascus and its countryside- SANA

Damascus, SANA – A civilian was killed and 12 others were injured on Friday after terrorist groups targeted residential areas in Damascus and its countryside with 20 mortar shells.
A source at Damascus Police Command told SANA that terrorists targeted al-Salehia neighborhood in Damascus with a mortar shell, killing a citizen and injuring 4 others.
Earlier, 3 civilians, including an 8-year-old child, were injured and 6 vehicles were damaged by 2 mortar shells that hit al-Qasaa neighborhood.

2 citizens were injured and material damage was caused to citizens’ possessions as a result of targeting al-Abassyin area with 6 shells.
5 others shells landed in al-Qasaa neighborhood and the area surrounding al-Sofania Park in Bab Touma neighborhood, causing only material damage to the cars which were parked in the area.
The source added that 3 citizens were injured when a mortar shell hit al-Mawasim Square in al-Zablatani area.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

U.S. coalition slows air strikes on Syria- Al-Arabiya

U.S.-led coalition forces have not carried out any air strikes in Syria for three days as of Monday, a lull that contrasts with the continued intensity of Russia's bombing campaign.
According to Pentagon data, the last coalition strike was a drone attack on October 22 that targeted an ISIS vehicle and a "mortar tube."
Russia, on the other hand, continues to maintain an intense tempo as it nears the end of its first month of bombing in Syria.
The Russian defense ministry said Monday it had hit 94 targets in just the past 24 hours.
U.S. defense officials say Russian sorties have no bearing on coalition actions in Syria, and insist the situation reflects greater discrimination and refinement in terms of which targets are struck.
"It's not because of Russia," said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.

Obama weighs moving ground troops closer to battle in Syria: Report- PRESS TV

Senior national security advisers to US President Barack Obama have recommended measures that would put a number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria and expand military involvement in Iraq.
The debate over the proposed options reflects growing White House frustration with the failing campaign against Daesh (ISIL), The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The new changes, which would position American “advisers” closer to combat in Iraq, also come as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter presses the military leaders to deliver new measures for greater military involvement in long-running conflicts overseas.
The recommendations have been put forward at the request of Obama and his national security team who are concerned that the battle in Iraq and Syria has reached a deadlock and is in need of new ideas.

Turkey confirms shelling Kurdish fighters in Syria- BBC News

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has confirmed that the Turkish military has attacked Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) said Turkey shot at its forces in the town of Tal Abyad on Sunday.
The YPG has been a key ally of the US in fighting the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
Turkey fears advances by the YPG near its Syrian border could fuel separatist sentiments amongst Kurds in Turkey.
The attacks come amid increasing tensions in Turkey ahead of elections.
"We said the [YPG-aligned Democratic Union Party] PYD will not go west of the Euphrates and that we would hit it the moment it did," Mr Davutoglu told Turkish ATV television late Monday.
He gave no further details.

IS 'blows up Palmyra columns to kill three captives'- BBC News

Islamic State militants have killed three captives in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra by tying them to columns and blowing them up, activists say.
The identities of those reportedly killed on Sunday have yet to be given.
But they are thought to be the first to have been killed in that way since the jihadist group seized the ruins in May.
IS has destroyed two 2,000-year-old temples, an arch and funerary towers at Palmyra, one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.
The group believes that such structures are idolatrous. The UN cultural agency, Unesco, has condemned the destruction as a war crime.

Russian Airstrikes Target 285 Terrorist Sites in Syria- Al-Masdar News

The Russian Air Force, in cooperation with Syrian Air Force, carried out 164 sorties, 60 of them during the night, targeting 285 terrorist targets in Hama, Idleb, Lattakia countryside, Damascus countryside, Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor on Friday Saturday.
A military source said the sorties resulted in destroying of 24 command centers for terrorists, 3 workshops for manufacturing explosive devices and rockets, 21 ammo and fuel depots, 233 fortified positions, bases, and camps.
The source went on to say that in the past 24 hours, 59 sorties targeting 94 terrorist targets were carried out, resulting in destroying 8 command centers for terrorists, 5 ammo depots, 3 convoys of vehicles loaded with weapons and munitions, 6 artillery positions, 38 training camps and bases, and 43 fortified sites.

Islamist Rebels Launch Counter-Attack to Reclaim 45km of Territory Lost in Southern Aleppo- Al-Masdar News

It has been a rough month for the Islamist rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Harakat Nour Al-Deen Al-Zinki, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham, and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”, as they have reportedly lost over 45km of territory inside the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside to the Syrian Armed Forces and Lebanese Resistance in the last two weeks.
However, the Islamist rebel fighters from Harakat Nour Al-Deen Al-Zinki, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, and Liwaa Suqour Al-Sham have now countered the Syrian Arab Army’s large-scale offensive in southern Aleppo with an assault of their own that is geared to recapture the several villages and hilltops lost over the course of two weeks to the pro-government forces.

Carter: US-Trained Syrian Rebels Not Targeted by Russian Airstrikes- Sputnik News

The US-trained Syrian opposition fighters were not targeted by Russian airstrikes, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The forces of moderate Syrian opposition that went through US train-and-equip program have not been attacked by Russia during its air operations in the country, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a testimony on Tuesday.

FSA is So Secretive It Has No Idea If Its Members Were in Moscow- Sputnik News

The Free Syrian Army is somewhat of a Schrödinger's cat these days: its representatives visited Moscow last week and at the same time FSA leaders deny claims that they went to the Russian capital.

The information regarding the visit was confirmed by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday. The next day, several senior members of rebel groups linked to the FSA claimed the visit did not take place.

French National Assembly member: No solution in Syria without President al-Assad- SANA

Damascus, SANA – Jean-Frederic Poisson, member of the National Assembly of France, stressed that there can’t be a solution to the crisis in Syria without President Bashar al-Assad.
His remarks came during a meeting with Speaker of the People’s Assembly Mohammad Jihad al-Laham on Tuesday.
Poisson, who is on a visit to Syria along with a French delegation, said the delegation could not grasp the tendency of France’s foreign policy.
“All those whom I met during my previous visit to Syria expressed regret that France has lost its weight in the region,” he added.
Poisson met with President Bashar al-Assad on his latest visit to Syria that took place last July. He stressed back then the necessity to cooperate with the Syrian to eliminate terrorism and terminate its risks.
He said having stability prevailing in Syria once again would reflect positively on the stability of the region and Europe, adding however that this would not be achieved without supporting the Syrian state and talking with President al-Assad to solve the crisis in Syria along with the efforts of fighting terrorism.
Speaker al-Laham affirmed during the meeting that national sovereignty and the independence of the national decision cannot be compromised as “they are the right of France, Syria and all countries, and governments should maintain them.”
“No country has the right to interfere in the affairs of other countries and support the opposition with arms and through media and financing, because this would be a violation of the international law and the national laws,” added al-Laham.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lebanon drugs seizure: Saudi-bound jet held at Beirut- BBC News

The Lebanese authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle a huge quantity of drugs to Saudi Arabia, officials say.
Five Saudis, reportedly including a prince, were detained at Beirut's airport after two tonnes of pills branded as Captagon were found in cases due to be loaded onto a private jet.
It was the largest drug smuggling operation yet uncovered at the airport.
Captagon pills, which typically contain amphetamine and caffeine, are consumed widely in the Middle East.
The drug has helped fuel the conflict in Syria, generating millions of dollars in revenue for producers inside the country as well as being used by combatants to help them keep fighting.
NNA reported that 40 bags of Captagon pills were found by inspectors from the Gendarmerie in cases due to be put on board a jet bound for Hael, in northern Saudi Arabia.
It did not identify the Saudi citizens who were detained, but sources told the Associated Press and the AFP news agency that they included a Saudi prince.

General Command: Syrian Army continues targeting terrorists across Syria- SANA

Damascus, SANA- The spokesman of the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces affirmed that the Syrian Arab Army reestablished control over 50 villages and farms in the southern countryside of Aleppo and a number of strategic hills in Lattakia countryside, expanding control area in Damascus Countryside.
In a statement on Monday, the spokesman said that units of the Army and Armed Forces continued their operations in Harasta and Nouleh farms in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus Countryside, and expanded their control over the areas, killing a number of terrorists and destroying their arms and munitions in the process.
An army unit killed all members of a terrorist group belonging to the so called the “Islamic Union for Cham Soldiers” in Daraya area in Western Ghouta.
Another army unit in cooperation with popular defense groups restored control over Dahrit al-Kasara in the northern countryside of Quneitra.
In Daraa, the army foiled terrorists’ attempt to infiltrate from al-Gharia al-Gharbia towards the Electricity Station northeast of Daraa and launched concentrated strikes against terrorists’ gatherings in Attman town, Makas al-Hajar and the crossing between al-Mantra and al-Yadoda.
In the central region, the spokesman said that army units in cooperation with popular defense groups continued to progress in the northern and northwest countryside of Homs, reestablishing control over Snisil village, al-Mahta village, Jawalik Housing and number of blocks of buildings in Tirmaala.
The Army also targeted terrorists’ gatherings in Howsh al-Zabadi, Ezz Eddin, al-Quneitrat villages while army units thwarted a terrorists’ attempt to infiltrate from al-Smaalil, Talbeisa, Ayn al-Dananir and al-Saan al-Aswad.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Kerry: US to Join Syria Talks- VOA

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has announced plans for a broad international meeting on Syria during the coming week, stepping up diplomatic efforts to reach a political settlement of the prolonged and bloody conflict there.
Kerry spoke to reporters here late Friday after meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Officials said the two senior officials were trying to find common ground between Washington and Moscow in their discussions about Syria's political future.
The two also met with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in talks that Kerry described as "constructive" and "productive." He said they agreed "to consult with all parties and aim to reconvene," as early as next Friday, in a broader meeting aimed at advancing "the meaningful political process."
"This is a multilateral, collegiate effort, and there are no self-appointed leaders. We are just trying to explore ideas," Kerry said, emphasizing that all participants would be equals. "We look forward to expanding to countries that have a great deal of concern about this."

Russia Says Broke 'Combat Capability of Syria Terrorists', West Playing 'Double Game'- Naharnet

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the West of playing a "double game" with terrorist groups in Syria, where both Moscow and a U.S.-led coalition are conducting separate bombing campaigns. 
"It's always difficult to play a double game: declaring a fight against terrorists while simultaneously trying to use some of them to arrange the pieces on the Middle East chess board in one's own interests," Putin said at a meeting of political scientists in Sochi known as the Valdai Club. 
"It is impossible to prevail over terrorism if some of the terrorists are being used as a battering ram to overthrow undesirable regimes," Putin said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as their Turkish and Saudi counterparts, in Vienna on Friday for crucial talks on the Syrian conflict, a four-year war that has killed more 250,000 people and forced millions from their homes.
The high-level meeting follows the surprise visit of Syrian President Bashar Assad to Moscow for talks with Putin on Tuesday, the embattled leader's first foreign visit since 2011. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

No solution in Syria without victory over terrorists — Russian diplomat- TASS

SOCHI, October 22. /TASS/. Political settlement in Syria will be impossible until the terrorists have suffered serious losses, the president of Russia’s Council for International Affairs, Igor Ivanov, said on the sidelines of the international discussion club Valdai in Sochi on Thursday.
"Without inflicting serious losses upon the terrorists in Syria it will make no sense to discuss any political settlement issues, because the focus of attention is now on military operations," he explained.

Kerry Somewhat Optimistic on Solution to Israeli-Palestinian Violence- VOA

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced a "cautious measure of optimism" that a solution can be found to defuse deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Following a four-hour meeting Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Berlin, Kerry said some proposals may be put on the table in the coming days that will have an impact on stopping the unrest.
He said he plans to raise the proposals with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian President King Abdullah during a meeting Saturday in Jordan's capital, Amman.
Kerry also said it is time for the Israelis and Palestinians to move beyond "condemnations and rhetoric," and he urged both sides to take concrete steps to stop the violence, which has left at least eight Israelis and about 50 Palestinians dead.

'Ruslar gücünü ve sahayı sınıyor'- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye'deki Kafkas kökenlilerin oluşturduğu 'Cundu Şam' grubunun Çeçen lideri Müslim Şişani, Rusların saldırılarla güçlerini ve sahayı sınadıklarını, buna göre gelecekle ilgili strateji belirleyeceğini savundu. Daha önce Çeçenistan'da Ruslara karşı savaşan Şişani, hava saldırılarından korunmak için özgün yöntemler geliştirdiklerini söyledi. Şişani'yle, Suriye'deki yabancı savaşçıları ve Rus saldırılarını konuştuk.

US, Turkey angered by Assad’s ‘red carpet’ visit to Moscow- RT

The US and Turkey, two of the Syrian President Bashar Assad’s key opponents, have not cheered his visit to Moscow, with the White House slamming it as a “red carpet welcome.” Russian and Syrian leaders were meeting for crisis consultations and planning.
The White House criticized the way the Syrian leader was received, saying it resembled a “red carpet welcome.” In that same statement, the US also accused Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people and questioned Russia’s interests in a political transition of power in Syria.
“We view the red carpet welcome for Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, at odds with the stated goal by the Russians for a political transition in Syria,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
Assad has stressed on multiple occasions in the past that Western claims that his government had used chemical weapons against the Syrian population are “an insult to common sense” and “nonsense.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Putin uses Assad visit to talk up Kremlin role as Syria broker- Reuters

Vladimir Putin used a rare visit to Moscow by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to talk up the Kremlin's potential to help broker a political settlement to the crisis as he tried to show the West Russia has become a major player in the Middle East.
Assad flew to Moscow on Tuesday evening to thank Putin personally for his military support, in a surprise visit that Russian state media cast as a diplomatic coup.
It was Assad's first foreign visit since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, and came three weeks after Russia launched a campaign of air strikes against Islamist militants and rebels in Syria that has bolstered Assad's forces.
The Kremlin, which said it had invited Assad to visit Moscow, kept the visit quiet until Wednesday morning.
Putin told Assad he hoped progress on the military front would be followed by moves towards a political solution in Syria, bolstering Western hopes Moscow will use its increased influence to cajole Assad into talking to his opponents.
Moscow, which feels shut out by the West because of the Ukraine crisis, is keen to show its detractors it is pursuing military and diplomatic tracks simultaneously, and Putin spoke to several regional leaders after meeting Assad.
He talked by telephone to the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the presidents of Egypt and Turkey to brief them on the details of Assad's visit.
Assad's confidence is likely to be boosted by his Moscow visit, which comes as his forces wage counter offensives in western Syria against insurgents backed by Assad's foreign opponents, as well as Islamic State militants.

"First of all I wanted to express my huge gratitude to the whole leadership of the Russian Federation for the help they are giving Syria," Assad told Putin.

Syria's Assad in surprise visit to Moscow- Al-Jazeera

President Assad visits Russian President Putin, believed to be his first trip abroad since the start of the war in 2011.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad flew into Moscow on Tuesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in what is believed to be his first trip abroad since start of the war in 2011.
The leaders discussed their joint military campaign against rebels in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, calling the meeting a "working visit". 
The Syrian presidency confirmed that Assad and Putin held three meetings in which Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu were present.

‘Moskova ziyareti Rusya’nın Esad’dan vazgeçmediğinin göstergesi’- Sputnik News

Suriye Devlet Başkanı Beşar Esad’ın 2011’de ülkesindeki çatışmaların başlamasının ardından ilk kez yurtdışına çıkarak Moskova’da Rusya Devlet Başkanı Putin’le görüşmesi Türkiye’de de yankı bulurken, uzmanlar ziyareti “Rusya’nın Esad’dan vazgeçmediğinin göstergesi” olarak yorumladı.

Richard Falk: Suriye’deki çatışma, 21. yüzyılın yeni gerçeği- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye'de 2011'in Mart ayında başlayan rejim karşıtı gösteriler vekâlet savaşlarını da içine alan bir iç savaş hâlini aldı. Al Jazeera'ye konuşan Ortadoğu uzmanı Richard Falk, "Ben birbiriyle çelişkili bu kadar çok etkenin bir arada olduğu, bu kadar karmaşık başka bir çatışma daha görmedim" diyor.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Türkiye ve sekiz ülkeden Esad'lı geçişe şartlı onay- Sputnik News

Aralarında Türkiye’nin de bulunduğu dokuz ülkenin Suriye’deki çatışmaların sona ermesi için Devlet Başkanı Beşar Esad’ın iktidarda olduğu geçiş süreci için uzlaşmaya vardığı iddia edildi.

Radikal yazarı Murat Yetkin’in adını açıklamadığı bir kaynağa dayandırdığı haberine göre, Türkiye'nin yanı sıra ABD, Fransa, İngiltere, Almanya, Suudi Arabistan, Katar, Ürdün ve Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri Esad’ın başında bulunduğu bir geçiş süreci konusunda uzlaştı.

Thousands of Syrians Flee Aleppo Countryside- VOA

Thousands of Syrian villagers are fleeing homes in the countryside south of Aleppo in the face of a government ground assault backed by Russian airstrikes, one of four major offensives mounted since Russia’s military intervention in the long-running Syrian civil war.
The three other offensives are focused mainly on rural areas in the provinces of Homs, Hama and Latakia.
Three weeks into the Russian air campaign, no ground assault has been launched by government forces in major rebel-held urban areas.
Militia commanders say they suspect the strategy of the government of President Bashar al-Assad is focused on stretching the rebels, seizing control of key highways and encircling larger insurgent-held towns in northern Syria.

Putin: Suriye’deki teröristler yeni bölgelere yayılmayı planlıyor- Sputnik News

Rusya Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin, Suriye’ye yerleşen teröristlerin yeni bölgelere yayılarak, buraları da istikrarsızlaştırmayı planladığını söyledi.

Üst düzey Rusyalı askeri yetkililerle bir araya geldiği toplantıda Suriye'deki son durum hakkında açıklamalar yapan Putin, “Suriye ve diğer Ortadoğu ülkelerinde, kendilerine askeri manevra açısından güvenli noktalar oluşturan teröristler, yeni bölgelere yayılarak buraları da istikrarsız hale getirmeyi planlıyor” uyarısında bulundu.

Putin, Suriye’deki teröristlerin eski Sovyetler Birliği ülkeleri dahil birçok ülkeden militanlar edindiğini de belirtti.

Rusya’nın ‘önleyici adım’ olarak Suriye’de hava operasyonu başlattığını yineleyen Putin, Suriye’ye sağladıkları askeri yardımın hem Rusya’nın askeri doktrinine hem de uluslararası hukuka uygun olduğunu vurguladı.

Kommersant: PYD Moskova'da temsilcilik açabilir- Sputnik News

Kommersant gazetesi, PYD'nin (Demokratik Birlik Partisi) Moskova'da resmi bir temsilcilik açabileceğini yazdı.

Gazetenin haberinde, Suriye'nin kuzeyinde büyük bir alanda etkin olan PYD liderlerinin resmi temsilcilikle ilgili görüşmeler için yarın Moskova'da Rusya Dışişleri Bakanlığı yetkilileriyle bir araya geleceği ifade edildi.
PYD'nin Moskova'da temsilcilik açmak istemesinin nedeninin, IŞİD'le mücadelede Moskova ile işbirliğini güçlendirmek olduğu belirtildi.

Syria conflict: Russian air strikes 'kill 45 in Latakia'- BBC News

At least 45 people have been killed in Russian air strikes on a rebel-held area of north-western Syria, a monitoring group says.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Russian warplanes bombed the rugged Jabal al-Akrad region of Latakia province on Monday afternoon.
The commander of a Western-backed Free Syrian Army brigade and the families of rebels were among the dead, it added.
Russia said it had targeted Islamic State militants in Latakia on Monday.
However, activists say the jihadist group has little or no presence in the coastal province, which is a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.

Suriye Muhalif ve Devrimci Güçler Ulusal Koalisyonu Başkanı Halid Hoca ile Söyleşi- ORSAM

Rusya’nın sahaya inmesiyle Suriye’deki savaş başka bir boyuta geçti. Bu beklediğiniz bir şey miydi?

Dr. Halid Hoca: Ruslar baştan beri vardı aslında, rejime destek veriyorlardı. Bir de bunun yanında milisler, yani paralı askerler, vardı. Paralı asker adı altında, Rus özel kuvvetleri savaşıyordu. Fakat Rusların son adımı herkesin beklediği bir adım değildi. Rusya şu anda Suriye’yi gerek askeri olarak gerek yönetimsel olarak da resmen işgal ediyor.


Monday, October 19, 2015

US-Led Coalition Carries Out 1 Strike in Syria, Hits 3 ISIL Vehicles- Sputnik News

An airstrike near the Syrian city of Manbij, carried out on October 18, hit three Islamic State tactical vehicles, CENTCOM said.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US-led coalition against the Islamic State conducted 18 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq resulting in the destruction of the terrorist group’s personnel and infrastructure, the US Central Command said in a statement on Monday.

Report: Mustaqbal-Hizbullah Tensions Weigh Heavily on Political Scene as Salam Urges Sensible Stances- Naharnet

Tensions between the Mustaqbal Movement and Hizbullah reached their peak over the weekend in light of party chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's response to Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq's recent speech, with the cleric stressing his commitment to dialogue and the minister threatening to quit it, reported al-Joumhouria newspaper on Monday.
The dispute between the two sides is threatening the 20th Mustaqbal-Hizbullah dialogue scheduled for October 26 and the country's national dialogue.
Informed sources told al-Joumhouria that the escalation is “linked more to the growing tensions between Tehran and Riyadh rather than the situation in Lebanon.”
“The fiery speeches will have short-term repercussions over the two sets of dialogue,” they predicted.

Syria conflict: 'Thousands flee Aleppo offensive'- BBC News

Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled a government offensive on rebel-held areas south of the city of Aleppo in the past three days, an activist says.
Dr Zaidoun al-Zoabi, head of the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations, told the BBC that several villages he had visited were empty.
He saw thousands of people on the move, with no shelter or medical support.
The government offensive is the latest of at least four launched with Russian air support in the past two weeks.
Aside from the Aleppo countryside, they are taking place in mostly rural areas north of the cities of Homs and Hama, and in the north of the coastal province of Latakia.
Rebel fighters - not including jihadist militants from Islamic State (IS) - had penetrated most of these strategically important areas earlier this year.

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: September 30 - October 18, 2015- ISW

Key Takeaway: The Russian air campaign in Syria continues to bolster the Syrian regime’s fight against the opposition. Russian warplanes provided air support to regime ground offensives against rebels in Aleppo, Latakia, northern Hama, and Damascus Provinces from October 17-18. Russian airstrikes largely concentrated in the southern Aleppo countryside as regime forces, backed by Iranians, Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi’a militias, and other Iranian proxies, advanced south of Aleppo City. In addition, Russian warplanes heavily targeted rebel positions amidst ongoing regime ground offensives against the rebel-held pocket around the towns of Rastan and Talbiseh in the northern Homs countryside which has been besieged by regime forces since 2012, as well as against rebel forces in the Eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus. 

The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, Syrian state-run media, and statements by Russian and Western officials.

High-Confidence reporting. ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated both by official government statements reported through credible channels and documentation from rebel factions or activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible.

Low-Confidence reporting. ISW places low confidence in secondary sources that have not been confirmed or sources deemed likely to contain disinformation.

Muhalifler İHA düşürdü- Al-Jazeera Turk

Suriye’de muhalif Ceyşul Mucahidin grubu, Halep’in güney kırsalında bir Rus gözetleme uçağını düşürdüklerini duyurdu. İnsansız uçağın görüntüsünü internet üzerinden paylaşan muhalif grup, İHA'nın Rus yapımı olduğunu öne sürdü. İnsansız uçağın, geçen Cuma Türk savaş uçakları tarafından düşürülen İHA'ya benzerliği dikkat çekiyor.
Geçtiğimiz Cuma günü, Suriye sınırından Türkiye hava sahasına giren milliyeti bilinmeyen bir insansız hava aracı da Türk savaş uçakları tarafından düşürüldü. Başbakan Davutoğlu, düşürülen İHA'nın Rus yapımı olduğunu açıklarken, Rusya, "Tüm insansız hava araçlarımız planlandığı gibi faaliyetlerini sürdürmektedir" açıklamasını yapmış, bir ABD'li yetkili, 'Rusya'ya ait olmasından şüpheleniyoruz" demişti.
Söz konusu bölgede muhalifler, rejimin güçleriyle çatışmaya devam ediyor. Lübnan Hizbullah'ı ve Şii milislerin desteklediği Esed güçleri, Halep'in güney kırsalında günler önce muhaliflere karşı büyük bir saldırı başlatmıştı. Muhalifler cephe hattında onlarca rejim askerini öldürdüklerini duyurmuştu.

Russian Jets Destroy 49 Terrorist Targets in Syria- Sputnik News

The Russian Air Force has conducted 33 sorties hitting 49 ISIL targets in the Syria's provinces of Idlib, Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo, Hama, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Russian strikes in Syria destroyed 2 terrorist command centers, 3 arms depots, 2 underground bunkers, 32 fighting positions in alpine terraine, 9 fortified firing positions and a plant producing firing platforms and reactive warheads, the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman said.

Syrian rebels say they receive more weapons for Aleppo battle- Reuters

Rebels battling the Syrian army and its allies near Aleppo said on Monday they had received new supplies of U.S.-made anti-tank missiles from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad since the start of a major government offensive last week.
The rebels from three groups contacted by Reuters said new supplies had arrived in response to the attack by the army, which is backed up by Russian air strikes and on the ground by Iranian fighters and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
The delivery of the U.S.-made TOW missiles to rebels in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria appears to be an initial response to the new Russian-Iranian intervention. Foreign states supporting the rebels include Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.
But officials from one of the Aleppo-based rebel groups said the supplies were inadequate for the scale of the assault, one of several ground offensives underway with Russian air support.
"A few (TOW missiles) will not do the trick. They need dozens," said one official, declining to be named due to the political sensitivity of the military support program.
A number of rebel groups vetted by states opposed to Assad have been supplied with weapons via Turkey, part of a program supported by the United States and which has in some cases included military training by the Central Intelligence Agency.

These groups fight under the banner of the "Free Syrian Army" - a loose affiliation of rebels that do not operate with a centralized command structure and have been widely eclipsed by jihadist groups such as the Nusra Front and Islamic State.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Khorasan Group leader 'killed by US airstrike in Syria'- The Telegraph

Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national and trusted Al-Qaeda militant, was killed in an air attack in the northwest of the country last week.

The leader of a group of Al-Qaeda veterans which Washington calls the Khorasan Group has been killed in a coalition air strike in Syria, the Pentagon said Sunday, proclaiming it another victory against a shadowy outfit it says targets the United States.
Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national and trusted Al-Qaeda militant, was killed in an air attack in the northwest of the country on Thursday, according to the Pentagon.
"This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the United States and our allies," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement.

Nasrallah: Toppling the Government Brings Vacuum, Hizbullah Presence in Syria Greater than Ever- Naharnet

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stated on Sunday that the party does not approve to topple the cabinet despite its slow performance, affirming that Hizbullah commits to dialogue despite warnings that some parties might withdraw from the sessions.
“We reaffirm our commitment for dialogue and convergence among the Lebanese. We have participated in this government for the security and political stability in Lebanon,” said Nasrallah in a televised appearance.
“We refuse to be blackmailed. Those who wish to stay in the dialogue sessions and the government are welcome, and those who wish to leave, are free to do so,” added Nasrallah.
On Friday al-Mustaqbal movement warned that it might quit the government and the ongoing dialogue if the political deadlock continues in the country.
“Despite the government's sluggish performance we voice calls on maintaining and not toppling it.Toppling the government means vacuum and collapse," he added in his speech commemorating the death of leading Hizbullah figure Hassan Hussein al-Hajj.
On the participation of the party in the Syria war, Nasrallah said: “Our people feel safe because of Abou Mohammed al-Iqlim (al-Hajj) and the Resistance together with the Lebanese army. I would like to assure all that the Resistance has had great leaders for many years.”
Al-Hajj died on October 10 fighting in Sahl al-Ghab, a strategic plain in northwest Syria where Hizbullah has dispatched fighters in support of the embattled regime of Bashar Assad, reports say.

Report: Rahi Appalled by Political Situation, International Indifference towards Lebanon- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi expressed dismay at the destiny of the political situation in Lebanon, blaming the christian leaders for not realizing the magnitude of danger surrounding the Christians, al-Mustaqbal daily reported on Sunday.
“Rahi arrived at a conviction that many political leaders, mainly Christians, do not want to elect a president because they are benefiting from the vacuum and from the absence of the president to exercise their powers on behalf,” sources close to the Patriarch told the daily.
“Rahi is also shocked by the indifference of the international community toward Lebanon,” they added.
“The Patriarch is working hard through his presence at the Synod of Bishops to restore Lebanon to the map of international attention through the Vatican,” the sources said.
“Diplomatic circles in Rome have expressed concern over the situation in Lebanon," which they said is "turning from bad to worse in light of the international indifference towards the country,” added the daily.

Syrian jihadists feud & bomb each other over funds as Russian jets destroy supply lines- RT

Russian attack jets have hit 51 Islamic State targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, including four command posts, six arms depots, a mortar battery, two underground bunkers, 32 field camps and six outposts.
The strikes took place in the Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Damascus provinces.
The damage the Russian SU-34 jets caused to the underground bunkers was especially significant, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Report: Russia blocks Israeli jets over Lebanon- Ynet

Lebanese newspaper claims Israeli jets turn back after confrontation with Russian aircraft over northern Lebanon.

Russian forces warned Israel over IAF flights in Russian controlled airspace near the Syrian–Lebanese border area after Israeli jets were detected nearby, according to a report Friday in the Lebanese media outlet As Safir.

Russia offers US ‘broader cooperation’ in Syria, but Washington not ready – Defense Ministry- RT

Russia is offering the US “far broader cooperation” than merely the coordination of air strikes in order to fight Islamic State in Syria, but Washington is not ready to accept it, the Russian Defense Ministry has stated.

Syrian army, backed by Iranian fighters, advance south of Aleppo: monitor- Reuters

Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters made advances on Saturday in their offensive to retake territory around the northern city of Aleppo from insurgents and jihadist fighters, a monitoring group said.
The campaign around Aleppo, which the army launched on Friday, is one of several assaults it has waged against rebel fighters since Russian jets began carrying out air strikes on Sept. 30 in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
It has concentrated so far on clearing rebel areas south of Aleppo rather than the city itself, which is home to 2 million people and divided between government forces and rebels.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army and its allies retook three villages amid fierce fighting in which at least 17 Islamist fighters and eight soldiers or allied forces were killed.