"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


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Russia’s Syria strategy hinges on Jordan- Al-Monitor

The news reports about US President Donald Trump sharing highly classified information with Russia have taken a bit of a twist, causing concern in Moscow.

Initial coverage said Trump’s revelations might have endangered an Israeli spy embedded with the Islamic State. However, more recent reports by Al Jazeera suggest that a Jordanian might have been the source of the critical security information, throwing a shadow on the much-trumpeted alliance between Moscow and Amman and their readiness to coordinate on Syria.
To observers closely following Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict and its political role in the wider region, it was surprising to hear that Jordan might not have shared critical pieces of intelligence with Moscow. The information was related to a potential IS attack on a plane — something Russia and Jordan would normally work together to prevent. In fact, Russia was the first and only state to fall victim to an Islamic State attack on a civilian aircraft when one was hit over Sinai in 2015, killing 224 people. Since then, Russia has stepped up airline security as well as intelligence efforts to prevent other attacks, meaning cooperation on the issue with other countries is paramount.
A source close to the Russian intelligence community confirmed to Al-Monitor that Russia and Jordan consistently cooperate on airline security, exchanging intelligence including information on people suspected of having ties to extremists who could pose a threat. What’s more, the two appear to have cooperated on ground operations.

Lavrov: IŞİD'in Kürtlerle anlaştığına dair güvenilir veriler var- Sputnik News

Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı'ndan yapılan 'IŞİD'in Rakka'dan çıkmak için Türkiye tarafından PKK'nın Suriye kolu olarak değerlendirilen YPG'nin oluşturduğu Demokratik Suriye Güçleri (DSG) ile anlaştığına' dair açıklamanın güvenilir verilere dayandığını söyledi.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The complex battle for control in eastern Syria (Aron Lund- IRIN)

Ever since a deal was struck in the Kazakh capital of Astana early this month to de-escalate the conflict in western Syria, all eyes have been turning east. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies have just launched an operation to “take control of the eastern desert in Syria”. It is not just about driving out the Sunni extremist group known as the Islamic State, but also about preventing other rivals from filling the void.

The Astana agreement is less a driver of this new logic of war, in which all sides seek to position themselves for maximal gain in a fragmented Syria, than a reflection of new realities. Though al-Assad’s opponents remain reluctant to say so in public, they increasingly operate under the assumption that Russian and Iranian support has succeeded in saving his regime in Damascus and the pertinent questions now are: Which areas will he be able to retake – when, how, and from whom?

The presence of American, Jordanian, Turkish, and other foreign advisers among some insurgent groups has raised the spectre of Syria’s partition. Not in the sense of a formal division, but as a “frozen conflict” in which outlying regions may remain independent of an otherwise dominant Damascus due to de-confliction deals negotiated between foreign governments. Well-founded or not, such fears appear to play a prominent part in the thinking of al-Assad and his Iranian allies, who worry that US-backed Kurdish fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces will seize northern Syria while other US-backed rebels take control of the rest of the Iraqi border.

Change and Reform Rejects 'Encroachment on President Powers', Urges Abolition of 20 Parliamentary Seats- Naharnet

The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc announced Tuesday that it is against “any encroachment on the president's powers,” amid a row between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri over who between them has the jurisdiction to open an extraordinary legislative session.
“We reject any encroachment on the president's powers,” Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil said after the bloc's weekly meeting, adding that “the Constitution's articles are clear in this regard.”
He however reassured that “there is no political dispute” over the issue of opening an extraordinary session, noting that Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri are inclined to do so.
Turning to the issue of the latest electoral proposal – proportional representation in 15 districts – Bassil said the suggested law needs “several restraints” to ensure proper Christian representation.

Powerful Saudi Prince Talks Syria, Oil with Putin- Naharnet

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday discussed cooperation on oil and the conflict in Syria with powerful Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting in the Kremlin. 
Oil producers within and outside the OPEC cartel last week agreed to extend a November accord to cut crude production by nine months in a move spearheaded by Moscow and Riyadh.
"We are grateful to you for your ideas and joint work on the combined steps by OPEC members and non-members," Putin told 31-year-old Prince Mohammed, who is also the country's defense minister, the Interfax news agency reported. 
"The actions we agreed are helping to stabilize the situation on the world hydrocarbon markets."

Geagea: No Return to 1960 Law despite Dangerous Aoun-Berri Clash- Naharnet

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stressed Tuesday that there will be no return to the 1960 electoral law despite what he described as a “dangerous political clash” between President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri.
“No matter how much things aggravate and no matter how much political disputes intensify , including the dangerous (Aoun-Berri) political clash, there will be no return to the 1960 law,” Geagea said in an interview with the al-Markazia news agency.
He reassured that “ninety-five percent” of the latest electoral law proposal – proportional representation in 15 districts – has been finalized and “the remaining 5% will not be an obstacle.”
“We will exert all efforts possible” to secure a final agreement on the proposal, Geagea vowed.

Putin meets Saudi Prince after oil production cuts deal extension- RT

Russian President Vladimir Putin has met Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Moscow. It's the first meeting since the world’s two largest oil producers agreed last week to extend a deal to cut production.

This is very significant and “our coordinated actions helped stabilize the situation on the world hydrocarbons market,” Putin said Tuesday at the Kremlin meeting.
“We’re grateful for your initiative to work together on joint actions between OPEC countries and non-members,” added the Russian President.
Putin said that after a lull in business between the two, this year trade between Russia and Saudi Arabia had grown 130 percent.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers lead by Russia, agreed last week to cut oil production until the end of the first quarter of 2018, nine months longer than originally planned.

Kirli ittifak çatırdıyor (Musa Özuğurlu- Gazete Duvar)

Ortadoğu’nun kirli ortaklığı bu kez tamamen bitiyor gibi. Müslüman Kardeşler cennetinin finansörü Katar ile yerini kaptırmamak için çırpınan Suudi Arabistan arasında yıllardır süren ölümcül rekabet faş oldu, iki haydut silahları birbirine doğrulttu.

Kamışlı'da Asayiş'ten 'İran projesine karşı savunma' toplantısı- Sol Haber

Suriye'nin Kamışlı kentinde bir araya gelen Asayiş yetkilileri, Haşd eş-Şaabi'nin Suriye sınırına ulaşması üzerine "İran projesine karşı savunma" toplantısı yaptı.

Iraklı milis gücü Haşd eş-Şaabi'nin (Halk Seferberlik Kuvvetleri) Suriye sınırına ulaşması ve Suriye ordusu ile birleşmesine ramak kalmasının ardından, Suriye Kürtlerinden "tepki" geldi.

ARA News'deki habere göre, Rojava bölgesindeki kuvvetlerden olan Asayiş, Kamışlı kentinde bir toplantı düzenledi.

Toplantının konusu, Haşd eş-Şaabi'nin Rojava sınırına ulaşması ve buna üretilecek yanıttı.

Haşd Şabi lideri: Irak güçlerinin sınıra ulaşması, Suriye ordusunun sınıra ilerleyişine yardım edecektir- Al-Masdar News

Irak Bedir Teşkilatı Genel Sekreteri, Amerikalıların Irak ve Suriye sınırlarını kontrol etmesine izin vermeyeceklerini ve bu konuyu onlara da söylediklerini açıkladı.
Tesnim Haber Ajansı’nın haberine göre; Irak Bedir Teşkilatı Genel Sekreteri Hadi El-Amiri, El-Meyadin kanalına verdiği röportajda, Haşd-i Şaabi kuvvetlerinin bugünden itibaren Suriye ile sınır bölgelerini temizleme ve Irak kuvvetlerinin yeniden ülke genelinde sınırlara hâkim olma operasyonlarına en kısa sürede başlayacağını açıkladı.
Haşd-i Şaabi’nin asıl komutanlarından olan El-Amiri, IŞİD’e Suriye’den yapılan yardım yollarının kesilmesinin Irak kuvvetlerinin sınırlara ulaşmasında rolü olduğunu belirtti.

Syrian War Report – May 30, 2017: Tiger Forces Prevail Against ISIS In Aleppo- South Front

The Bazreh area in eastern Damascus has been fully liberated from militants.
On Monday, the last batch of militants and their supporters left the area and Barzeh was taken under full control by government forces.
With the liberation of Bazreh, government forces made a large step in a wider effort aimed at securing the Damascus countryside from various terrorist threats.
According to some pro-government sources, the area of Jobar controlled mostly by Hayat Tahir al-Sham (HTS) terrorists, excluded from the ceasefire agreement, could become the next target for the Syrian army.
Meanwhile, the Syrian military has deployed the 4th Armoured Division and its special forces known as al-Ghaith Forces in Daraa aiming to repel the ongoing advance of HTS and its allies and to reverse their gains in the city.
In early May, HTS seized about 40 buildings northeast of the Al-Manshiyya district that had been also captured by militants.

In the province of Aleppo, the Syrian Army Tiger Forces have regained the villages of Hamedaia, Mestariha, Maza, Wasteh, and the nearby areas and advanced on the ISIS-held town of Maskanah from northern and western directions.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Berri Says Redistribution of Parliamentary Seats 'Unacceptable'- Naharnet

Speaker Nabih Berri emphasized that a proposal to reallocate Maronite seats from Muslim-majority to Christian-majority districts is completely “unacceptable,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.
“We can never accept such a proposal and a major questions arises here: What is the purpose of this concept? Winds of division are blowing in the region and here we are amid these atmospheres going for a sectarian separation. This is totally unacceptable,” Berri told the daily.
The Speaker pointed out that the said law was initially discussed and approved in Bkirki without any reference to the reallocation of parliamentary seats.
“When MP George Adwan first suggested the law based on full proportional representation and 15 districts, we assured him that we will go along with this law which was discussed in Bkirki,” said Berri.
“But when we asked whether the reallocation of seats was also agreed, they said it was not. Why do they want to move seats now? asked Berri.
The political parties have agreed on a law based on full proportional representation and 15 districts but the FPM and the LF are reportedly demanding the reallocation of three Maronite seats from Muslim-majority districts to Christian-majority districts.
The FPM and the LF believe that moving a Maronite seat from Tripoli to Batroun, another from West Bekaa to Jbeil and another from Baalbek-Hermel to Bsharri would raise Christians' ability to elect MPs with their own votes to 50 out of 64 seats, media reports say.

Aoun Receives French Ambassador to Lebanon as His Mission Ends- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun received French Ambassador Emmanuel Bonne at the Presidential Palace in Baabda who came on a farewell visit ending his two-year service in Lebanon, the National News Agency reported on Monday.
Aoun awarded the Ambassador the National Order of the Cedar-Grand Officer rank in recognition of his efforts.
Bonne was appointed in August 2015 heading the mission in Beirut after Ambassador Patrice Paoli's term expired.

Şam: Barze bölgesi, 6 yıl sonra ilk kez tamamen Suriye hükümetinin kontrolünde- Al-Masdar News

BEYRUT, LÜBNAN(16:05 ) – Suriye Ordusu Şam’ın Barze Mahallesi’nde cihatçıların son kafilesinin kenti boşalmasıyla 6 yıldan sonra ilk kez tamamen kontrolü sağladı.

Son kalan cihatçılar günün erken saatlerinde kenti terk ederek İdlip’e doğru yol aldılar.

Barze 2011 yılında Şam’da cihatçıların eline geçen ilk yerlendendi.

Shabaan: Syrian Govt Has Dealt Positively With All Rounds of Dialogue- The Syrian Observer

Top adviser to Assad speaks to loyalist Al-Watan newspaper on the progress of talks between Syrian government and the opposition.

Presidential political and media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban said that the Syrian government has done all it should have to avoid criticism for its role in all rounds of the inter-Syrian dialogue.

Her comments came in a brief statement to Al-Watan on the sidelines of the “War in Syria and its Consequences and Outlook” conference, sponsored by the Syrian British Association, which concluded on Thursday.

Regarding the two upcoming rounds of talks in Geneva and Astana, Shaaban said: “There is nothing fixed so far, but we have been dealing positively since the war on Syria began up until today,” adding, “The other side and its backers and inciters have no political solution for Syria.”

On another topic, Shaaban also said that, “education is now our main concern, especially given that we have a generation in hotspots who need assistance, and we are working so that this generation will not be lost.” She stressed that what was being taught in these hotspots was “the curriculums of darkness, and this is a problem that needs to be faced.”

Military Situation In Syria On May 29, 2017 (Map Update)- South Front

Syrian government forces made advances in the provinces of Aleppo and Homs and increased pressure on US-backed militants near the area of al-Tanf in southeastern Syria. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are still advancing in order to isolate the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah from the western flank.

hree-Dimensional Chess Set: How Realistic is Syria's De-Escalation Zone Plan?- Sputnik News

Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that experts from Russia, Iran and Turkey are mapping the borders of the agreed-upon cease-fire zones in Syria. The plan, however, affects the interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Sputnik international affairs contributor Alexander Khrolenko reviewed the complicated situation on the ground.
On Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov said that experts from Russia, Iran and Turkey will map the borders of the agreed-upon cease-fire or de-escalation zones in Syria.
The diplomat added that the checkpoints must be set in the mentioned areas to prevent armed infiltration of terrorists and secure the free passage of citizens.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Syria urges UN to immediately halt US coalition strikes, which ‘spread chaos & benefit terrorists’- RT

Syria has demanded an immediate halt to US-led airstrikes after another 35 civilians were killed by a coalition airstrike this week. In a letter to the UN, Damascus says these strikes create chaos and help terrorist launch attacks against government troops.

“Syria condemns the attacks of the alliance which target civilians and cause massive material damage to the infrastructure, facilities, and properties in Syria,” the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General and the President of Security Council.

At least 35 civilians, including women and children, were killed on Thursday night when US-led coalition warplanes targeted the city of Al Mayadeen in the southeastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor province.
Damascus denounced the strike as an attack on “Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity under the pretext of combating terrorism.”
While the coalition admitted it had conducted strikes near Al-Mayadin on May 25 and 26, in a statement to Reuters, its spokesman said they were still “assessing the results.”
The action of the US and its coalition partners only contribute to spreading “chaos and destruction” which benefit terrorists, “particularly ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra,” Damascus said.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

IŞİD ve Fetih el Şam arasında Lübnan sınırında çatışma: En az 30 ölü- Sputnik News

Suriye-Lübnan sınırındaki Arsel bölgesinde IŞİD ve Fetih el Şam (eski adıyla el Nusra) Cephesi militanları arasında çıkan çatışmalarda en az 30 militanın öldüğü bildirildi.

Lübnan'ın Suriye sınırında yer alan Arsel bölgesinde IŞİD militanları ile Fetih el Şam (eski adıyla el Nusra) Cephesi'nin öncülük ettiği Heyet Tahrir'uş Şam (HTŞ) grubu arasında çatışma çıktığı belirtildi.
Al-Masdar'da yer alan habere göre, dün gece başlayıp sabahın erken saatlerine kadar süren çatışmalarda, 3'ü saha komutanı olmak üzere en az 30 IŞİD militanı öldü.

Why the Russia-Brokered De-escalation Zones in Syria Make Pentagon Nervous- Sputnik News

US Air Forces Central Command commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian has indicated that the US does not recognize the Russia, Turkey and Iran-brokered Syrian 'de-escalation zones'. Independent military analyst Alexander Sitnikov explains why tough talk notwithstanding, the US has been forced to take account of Russian military power in Syria.

Defense Department identifies soldier killed in vehicle rollover in Syria- Army Times

The Defense Department on Saturday identified the U.S. service member who died Friday in Syria while participating in Operation Inherent Resolve. 

Spc. Etienne Murphy, 22, died in Al-Hasakah, Syria, of injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover related incident, according to the Pentagon. 

Army Shells Militant Posts in Arsal Outskirts amid IS-Nusra Clashes- Naharnet

The Lebanese army pounded with heavy artillery the posts of militants on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal, as clashes between militant groups of the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front intensified early on Saturday, the National News Agency reported.
NNA said violent clashes erupted between al-Nusra and IS extremists after the latter waged a dawn attack at Nusra positions in Shmais al-Ajram, Kherbet Daoud, al-Shahout Serj al-Nammoura, al-Malahi, al-Ajram and Kherbet Younin in the outskirts of Arsal.
Several casualties on both sides were reported amid a state of chaos that overwhelmed citizens in the Wadi Hmeid camp, it added.
According to military sources, the army targeted the militants' posts in the outskirts, killing and wounding around 24 jihadists.

Berri Adjourns Legislative Session to June 5- Naharnet

Speaker Nabih Berri on Saturday adjourned to June 5 a legislative session that was scheduled to convene on May 29, as the fate of a new electoral law to rule the upcoming parliamentary polls remains unclear.
This is the second time that the Speaker adjourns the parliament meeting.
President Michel Aoun used his presidential powers in April and suspended a parliament meeting that was scheduled to extend the parliament's term.

Putin, Rouhani stress importance of joint efforts in settlement of Syrian conflict- TASS

MOSCOW, May 27. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Iran’s leader Hassan Rouhani, greeted him with the new presidential term and discussed the situation in Syria, the Kremlin’s press service said on Saturday.

"The Russian leader congratulated Hassan Rouhani with the new term and wished him success," the press service said.

The parties confirmed the aspirations for development of the multifaceted bilateral cooperation in line with the agreements achieved during the Iranian president’s visit to Russia in March.

"They paid special attention to trade and economic cooperation, including to implementation of major joint projects in the sectors of oil and gas and peace use of nuclear power," the statement reads.

Körfez monarşileri arasındaki kriz derinleşiyor: Suudiler, Katar'ın Bin Ladin ile bağlantılarını anlattı- Sputnik News

Suudi Arabistan'ın El Arabiya televizyonu, Katar yönetimini terörü desteklemekle suçladı. Yeni bilgilerin, El Kaide lideri Usame Bin Ladin'i öldüren ABD askerleri tarafında ele geçirilen belgelerde yer aldığı ileri sürüldü. Russia Today (RT) televizyonu, iki ülke liderinin neden kavgaya giriştiğini araştırdı.

US-backed Militants Counter-Attack Failed. Syrian Military Deploys Reinforcements In Southeastern Syria- South Front

On Friday, US-backed Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra launched an attack against the Syrian Army in the Zuluf Reserve area in the southeastern Syrian destert in order to regain this strategic point from the Syrian military. However, the attack filed and Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra was not able to capture any point.
Jaish Maghawir al-Thawra targeted the SAA allegedly using a US-made Switchblade suicide drone. It is known that this type of suicide drones are operating only by the US Special Forces.

SDF Denies Alleged Agreement With ISIS In Raqqah, Blames Syrian-Iranian-Russian Alliance For Making Agreements With... -South Front

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have released an official statement commenting on reports appeared in Russian media that the SDF would allow ISIS to redeploy freely from the city of Raqqah to the area of Palmyra to fight with Syrian government forces.
The SDF officially denied existing of any safe passage agreement and aruged that these reports are aimed at distorting the public image of the SDF.
In turn, the SDF said that the group has information that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has agreements of this kind with ISIS in the area of Palmyra.
It’s also interesting to note that the SDF said that the reports about the SDF-ISIS agreement had came from the Russian Foreign Ministry. Meanwhile, it’s untrue. The source of the reports was Ria Novosti that quoted own source in the Russian Defense Ministry.
The US-backed SDF has officially made at least two safe-passage deals with ISIS terrorists. These information are confirmed by the US-led coalition.
  1. The SDF allowed about 70 ISIS fighters to leave freely the Tabqa dam area in 2017; (the coalition’s statement is here);
  2. About 500 vehicles with ISIS fighters and their supporters (as well as an unknown number of civilians taken hostage, according to the SDF) were given safe passage by the SDF in the city of Manbij out of the city of Manbij in 2016. (the coalition’s confirmation is here).
Meanwhile, there are no confirmed reports that the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance has ever made a deal with ISIS so far. Earlier this week, government forces liberated a large area south of the Palmyra-Homs highway from ISIS. Most likely, this development was referred by the SDF in its statement.

Rusya: Kürtler, IŞİD teröristleri için koridor açarak Rakka’dan sorunsuz çıkmalarını sağlamak istedi- Al-Masdar News

Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı, Suriye’nin Rakka kentinden Palmira yönünde giden IŞİD konvoyuna yönelik düzenlenen hava saldırısında 32 araç ile 120’den fazla teröristin yok edildiğini açıkladı.
Sputnik’in haberine göre; Rusya Savunma Bakanlığı’ndan bir kaynak, “25 Mayıs günü, 36 araçtan oluşan IŞİD konvoyu, Palmira yönünde ilerlerken tespit edildi ve Rus savaş uçakları tarafından yok edildi” dedi. Kaynak, araçların ağır makineli tüfeklerle donatıldığını belirtti.
IŞİD’in Rakka’dan çıkmak için Türkiye tarafından PKK’nın Suriye kolu olarak değerlendirilen YPG’nin oluşturduğu Demokratik Suriye Güçleri (DSG) ile anlaştığını belirten kaynak, “Kürtler, teröristler için güvenli güney koridor açarak kentten sorunsuz çıkmalarını sağlamak istedi. Ancak Rus Uzay Hava Kuvvetleri bu manevrayı önlemeyi başardı” diye konuştu.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Aoun-Hariri Meeting Precedes Meeting of Higher Defense Council- Naharnet

President Michel Aoun held talks with Prime Minister Saad Hariri Friday at the Baabda Palace ahead of a meeting for the country's Higher Defense Council.
Aoun, Hariri, the relevant ministers, security chiefs and judicial officials took part in the meeting.
"The president lauded the performance of the security agencies and the continuation of the military and security operations to deter terror and confront all its forms... amid the proliferation of terrorist movements across the globe," said a statement issued after the meeting.
"The council then discussed the readiness of the relevant security and administrative agencies on the occasion of the advent of the holy month of Ramadan and the summer season, in order to provide the needed stability for citizens, tourists and expats in all regions," it added.

Mısır'da Kıptilere silahlı saldırı: 26 ölü- Sputnik News

Mısır'da Hristiyan Kıptilerden oluşan bir gruba silahlı saldırganlar ateş açtı. Saldırıda en az 26 kişinin öldüğü açıklandı.

Lavrov: Suriye'ye gözlemci gönderimi için hangi ülkelerin davet edileceğine Şam karar verecek- Sputnik News

Rusya Dışişleri Bakanı Sergey Lavrov, Suriye'deki gerilimi azaltma bölgelerinde yer alacak gözlemci gruplarda çeşitli ülkelerden asker ve polislerin görev yapacağını ancak hangi ülkelerin davet edileceğine Şam ile yapılacak görüşmelerde karar verilmesi gerektiğini açıkladı.

Syrian War Report – May 26, 2017: Syrian Army Liberated 5,000km2 From ISIS- South Front

On Thursday, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies announced start of the Operation “Grand Dawn” in eastern Syria. The aim of the operation is to expel militants from the eastern desert and to set a foothold for a push to Deir Ezzor. The declaration followed a major success of government forces in southeastern Homs where they had liberated about 5,000 km2 and got a full control over the Damascus-Palmyra highway.
ISIS deployed a force for a counter-attack but its formidable military convoy was fully destroyed by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force en route to the Zaza triangle area. Thus, the terrorist group defense lines just collapsed.
The government advance south of the Homs-Palmyra highway also allowed government forces to isolate Jaish al-Islam militants in eastern Qalamoun and to prevent their attempt to unite efforts with US-backed militant groups operating near the Syrian-Jordanian border.

A new photo appeared online showing a Russian-made self-propelled 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Syria. The modern howitzer was supplied to the Syrian government by the Russian military.
The photo shows the howitzer deployed is a desert area, most likely somewhere in the countryside of Palmyra or north of Suweida. The presence of these weapon systems is another argument contributing to a success of pro-government forces in the area.
In the province of Aleppo, the SAA Tiger Forces and their allies further outflanked the strategic ISIS-held town of Maskanah liberating the villages of Fariyah, Khirbat Ghudraf, Jubab Masudiyah, Shumriya, Batushiya, and Salemiyah.
Meanwhile, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued steadily isolating the city of Raqqah from the western direction.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Shorter: We're Not Afraid of Terrorism, We're Proud to Invest in Lebanon Future- Al-Jazeera

“Despite the dreadful terrorist attack in Manchester that targeted children and young people, it is in our nature to keep calm and carry on. Not to be cowed by terror. Because you Lebanese know something about resilience, your support means so much to us.” With those words, British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo shorter addressed his guests to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 91st birthday and her Sapphire Jubilee -- 65 years on the throne.
A moment of silence was observed in honor of the victims.
Attended by Minister Nicolas Tueini representing President Michel Aoun, MP Ali Bazzi, representing Speaker Nabih Berri, Minister Jamal al-Jarrah representing PM Saad Hariri, superstar Ragheb Alama, and political, economic, social and media officials, more than 600 guests flooded the Besançon School located in the heart of Beirut’s cityscape reflecting this year’s ‘Investing in the Future’ theme.

Saudi Arabia and UAE block Qatari media over incendiary statements- The Guardian

Qatar claims official websites were hacked after reports appeared in which emir made controversial remarks about Iran and Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates took the extraordinary step on Tuesday of blocking the websites of fellow Gulf state Qatar – including al-Jazeera – over incendiary statements about Iran and Israel posted on Qatar’s state-run news agency.

Qatar claimed its official websites had been hacked after reports appeared in which the Qatari emir criticised Donald Trump, described Iran as a force for stability in the region and threatened to withdraw ambassadors from a range of Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia.

However, a number of Arab news agencies pointed out the some of the emir’s remarks had already appeared on Qatar state broadcasting before they were disowned, raising questions whether they were genuine, but should not have been reported.

ABD'li Korgeneral Stewart: Esas soru Iraklı Kürtlerin 'ne zaman' bağımsızlık elde edeceği- Sputnik News

ABD Savunma İstihbarat Teşkilatı (DIA) Başkanı Korgeneral Vincent Stewart, esas sorunun 'Kürtlerin Bağdat'tan bağımsızlıklarını elde edip etmeyecekleri' değil, bunun ‘ne zaman' gerçekleşeceği olduğunu belirtti.

Stewart, Senato'ya yaptığı konuşmada, Iraklı Kürtlerin Bağdat'la yeni bir çatışma yaşanmaması için anlaşmaya varmasının gerekli olduğunu vurguladı.

Bahrain, Egypt Block Al-Jazeera Websites Amid Qatar Dispute- VOA

Bahrain and Egypt on Thursday apparently joined Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in blocking access to websites run by the pan-Arab satellite network Al-Jazeera, part of a growing regional dispute with Qatar after an alleged hack of its state-run news agency.
The alleged hack - and a purported fake news report that was published during it - have exposed real tensions still lingering in the Gulf between Qatar and other nations over the small gas-rich country's support of Islamist groups.
While Qatar quickly denied the comments in the fake report attributed to ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi-owned satellite channels repeatedly aired them throughout the day Wednesday. The incident revived suspicions that exploded into the open three years ago, when several Gulf nations pulled their ambassadors from Qatar over similar worries about its politics.

Saudi Arabia steps up efforts to reduce global oil supply- Al-Jazeera

Khaled Al-Faleh, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, is under pressure to rally support among key oil producers to rein in excess supply.
He has played a crucial role in convincing non-OPEC members such as Russia to cut output for the first six months of this year.

US sends truckloads of arms to Kurds in northern Syria: Reports- PRESS TV

The US has dispatched over 100 trucks loaded with armaments and ammunition to the Kurdish-controlled northern Syrian city of Hasakah over the past weeks, Turkish and Kurdish media say.
The US arms shipment was sent to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the reports said.
The SDF is currently getting prepared to launch an offensive against Daesh in Raqqah, the terror group’s main stronghold in Syria.
According to Turkey’s Daily Sabah, the US arms shipment crossed into Syria from northern Iraq through the Simelka border on May 15 and May 20.
The convoys reportedly moved to Hasakah and later headed to the Raqqah region where the SDF forces are fighting against Daesh.
Based on Turkish media reports, the consignment consisted of US-made multiple rocket launchers, 80mm and 120mm heavy mortars as well as MK19 grenade launchers, M4 carbines and M16 infantry rifles alongside FGM-148 anti-tank missiles.

In pictures: ISIS seizes tons of Syrian Army weapons in hit-and-run attack on Aleppo supply line- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (0:20 P.M.) – The Islamic State has stocked up on armaments stolen from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) after a large raid on three government checkpoints along Ihtriya-Khannaser road led to the capture of a large batch of armaments on Tuesday...

In addition, Amaq Agency said the aforementioned raid killed 11 SAA soldiers and resulted in the capture of an unspecified military vehicle. However, no footage was released backing up the latter claim.

ISIS hit-and-run operations on the Aleppo supply line in the northeastern countryside of Hama are believed to be diversionary attack to relieve the eastern Aleppo frontier where the Tiger Forces have liberated a handful of villages on average per day since their deployment to the region earlier this month.

Islamist rebels advance against the Syrian Army in Daraa safe zone- Al-Masdar News

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 A.M.) – With a new wave of rebel attacks and subsequent government air raids in Daraa city, the province’s ‘de-escalation’ plan seems to have faltered completely.
According to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions, their joint forces were able to capture 34 buildings in the embattled Manshiyah district on Wednesday.
Additionally, HTS claimed their elite Inghimasi units had infiltrated a small portion of the neighboring Sajnah suburb for the first time since the ‘death rather than humiliation’ offensive began back in February.
The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) responded with brute force, conducting 22 aerial sorties over the provincial capital, most of which were carried out by combat helicopters.
With the rebel offensive centered around the Manshiyah district – by now transformed into a killing zone and death trap for both sides – for over three months, the city of Daraa itself is split roughly 50/50 between government forces and Islamist insurgents.

Manchester saldırısı: Polis ABD’yle bilgi paylaşımını durdurdu- BBC Türkçe

Manchester Emniyet Müdürlüğü'nün Pazartesi gecesi 22 kişinin hayatını kaybettiği intihar saldırısıyla ilgili basına sızan haberlerin ardından ABD'yle istihbarat paylaşımını durdurduğu öğrenildi.
BBC'nin ulaştığı bilgilere göre, Manchester polisi yakın zamanda istihbarat ilişkilerini normale döndürmeyi umuyor. Ancak yetkililer Washington'dan sızan bilgiler konusunda "öfkeli".
İngiltere hükümeti ve polis, Manchester'daki intihar saldırısının hemen ardından olay yerinde çekilmiş fotoğrafları yayımlayan ABD medyasına tepki göstermişti. Fotoğraflar New York Times gazetesinde yayımlandıktan sonra İngiltere basınında da paylaşılmıştı.

Syrian Army Liberates Large Area Southwest Of Palmyra, Takes Control Of Al-Busairi Crossroad, al-Sawaneh Junction- South Front

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the National Defense Forces (NDF) and other pro-government factions have liberated a large area from ISIS southwest of Palmyra, according to the Hezbollah media wing.
According to the report, government forces have liberated Jabal Abush, Jabal al-Nasrani, Jabal al-Abd, Jabal Ghanem, Khan Aniba, the al-Sawaneh area, the al-Sawaneh junction and the al-Busairi crossroads.
Thus, government troops have de-facto secured the most important areas south of the Palmyra-Homs highway and now are clearing the rest of the area from vestiges of terrorists.
A majority of ISIS units have reportedly retreated from the area.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Army re-establishes control over al-Jarah Airport and new areas in Aleppo countryside- SANA

Provinces, SANA – The Army and Armed Forces units re-established control over al-Jarah Airport and restored security and stability to a number of villages and towns in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, after killing and injuring around 3,000 ISIS terrorists.
A military source told SANA that army units expanded their operations in hunting down ISIS terrorists in the eastern countryside of Aleppo during which the army established control over al-Jarah airport and restored security and stability to the villages and areas of al –Mahdoum , al-Bailouneh, Jirah Sagheir, Tel Hassan, Um Nesourah, Wajab Ali, Bani Zeid, Kherbet Hassan, al-Khaldieh, Ateireh, Jirah Kabeir, the cattle ranches, Droubieh, Sekarieh, Maziunet al-Jabiri , al-Hamra, Qawwass, al-Reihanieh, al-Samerieh, the third station, al-Naserieh, al-Naserieh train station, al-Ajouzieh, Tel Feddah, al-Mazran, al-Kenawieh, Mohsent al-Khafseih, Rasm al-Hamam Gharbi, Rasm al-Kiwan, and al-Masoudieh.
The source added that the military operations resulted in killing and injuring over 3,000 ISIS terrorists ,destroying 19 tanks, 5 BMP vehicles, 11 vehicles rigged with explosives, 6 artillery pieces, 9 munitions depots, 2 communication and operation centers, and 61 field command centers.
The military source affirmed the military leader of ISIS terrorist organization in the eastern countryside of Aleppo , including one nicknamed “Abu Odai al-Iraqi” who was the so-called chief judge the eastern countryside, Mahmoud Abdul-Jabbar bin Hassan aka “Abu al-Walid al-Tounsi” who was the “emir” of Debsi Faraj town , Obadah Salim al-Daaboul, and three Saudi terrorists named Abdelrahman Mitawea al-Dakheil, Abu Muhammad al-Najdi, and Sultan Abdullah al-Ghallab aka “Abu Remh al-Saudi.”