"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, August 31, 2018

New map shows front-lines before Idlib battle- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is preparing to launch their large-scale offensive in the Latakia, Idlib, and Hama governorates in the upcoming days.
With several divisions deploying to these fronts, this Syrian Arab Army offensive is expected to be the largest operation of the war.
Among the Syrian Arab Army units participating in this upcoming offensive are the elite Tiger Forces, 4th Armored Division, 9th Shock Troops, and 14th Special Forces Division.

'I Would Rather Deal with President Putin,' Says Hariri on Syria Ties- Naharnet

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has announced that he prefers to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding Syria and not to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“Russia controls Syria. So we will deal with the Russians,” Hariri said in English in an interview with Euronews, when asked what the end of Syria's war would mean for Lebanon.
“I think Russia will have made its point,” the PM-designate answered when told that the Syrian regime is likely to recapture the rebel-held northern province of Idlib in the near future.
As for his relation with Russia, Hariri described it as "very good, perfect.”
“I have a very good relationship with Russia and I have a good relationship with President Putin that I respect very much. And I believe he is somebody we can work with," Hariri added.

10,000 Members Of Jabhat al-Nusra, Other Al-Qaeda-Linked Groups Remain In Syria's Idlib- South Front

On August 30th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey, Russia and Iran are working together to avoid a “disaster” in Idlib. As reported by PressTV this came as the Syrian Army is preparing for a “decisive battle” to drive militants out of the northern province of Idlib.
“We are carrying out work together with the Russians and the Iranians to prevent the catastrophe which took place in Aleppo from repeating in Idlib. We are also engaged in talks with the US [authorities], we are looking for ways to clear Manbij of terrorists,” Erdogan said during his speech in Ankara, cited by Sputnik.
Idlib shares borders with Turkey and is currently under the control of various militant groups. Erdogan is attempting to stave off the offensive while the Syrian army prepares to retake the region. As reported by Sputnik: “Idlib is one of the Syrian areas where terrorists and militants, particularly those who are part of the Jabhat Nusra terror group or affiliated with it, are still active. Moreover, thousands of militants have been transported to the province from other Syrian regions under deals with Damascus.”

New Coalition base established in east Deir Ezzor – report- Al-Masdar News

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:50 A.M.) – The Anti-ISIS Coalition has established a new military base in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor, Nors Media reported via Telegram on Friday.
According to the Nors report, the new Anti-ISIS Coalition base is located near the strategic town of Hajjin, which is the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/IS) last stronghold in the Deir Ezzor Governorate.
The construction of this new base comes as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) prepare to storm the terrorist group’s stronghold in Deir Ezzor.

Syrian War Report – August 31, 2018: Russian Navy To Hold Large Drills Near Syria- South Front

The Russian Navy will hold drills in the Mediterranean Sea, near Syria, in the period from September 1 to September 8, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on August 30. The drills will involve 25 warships led by the Marshal Ustinov missile cruiser and 30 aircraft, including the strategic Tu-160 missile-carrying bombers, the Tu-142MK and Il-38 anti-submarine warfare planes, Su-33 fighter jets and Su-30SM aircraft of naval aviation. The defense ministry said that “the grouping will practice a set of tasks of air defense, anti-submarine and anti-sabotage warfare and also mine counter-measures support”.

According to Syrian experts, these drills are a response to the growing threat of a new round of US missile strikes on government facilities in Syria.

On August 30, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the US currently has some 70 delivery vehicles with about 380 cruise missiles in the Middle East and is capable of preparing a missile-strike group for an attack against Syria in just 24 hours.

Syrian Army Discovers Weapons Depot Left Behind By Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham In Al-Quneitra Governorate- South Front

On August 31, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) discovered a large ammo depot, which had been left behind by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants, in the town of Jubata al-Khashab in the governorate of al-Quneitra during a search operation, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
The ammo depot contained dozens of M72 LAW unguided anti-tank missiles, two Fagot anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), two AGS-17 automatic grenade launchers, five SPG-9 73mm recoilless guns, dozens of machine guns and tons of ammunition.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Russia: Contact with US ongoing over Idlib- Middle East Monitor

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that his country continues to communicate with the United States with regard to the situation in Syria’s Idlib amid fears that the Syrian regime will escalate its raids on the province, Reuters reported yesterday.

The Syrian province is the last remaining opposition stronghold in the country with many fearing President Bashar Al-Assad will use heavy-handed tactics to regain control of the region as he did in Aleppo and East Ghouta.

Syrian FM: White Helmets Kidnapped 44 Children to Stage Chemical Attack in Idlib- Sputnik News

Syrian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Walid Muallem have met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a visit to Moscow.
The visit is being held within the framework of the Syrian-Russian intergovernmental commissions.
"Russia is ready to increase its contribution to these tasks (the restoration of Syria and the solution of the issue with the return of refugees)," the minister said at a press conference following the talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called the use of the de-escalation zone in Idlib by Al-Nusra* terrorists to attack Syrian and Russian forces "unacceptable."
"It is unacceptable that the terrorists who are entrenched there, primarily from the Nusra Front [a terrorist group banned in Russia], are trying to use this de-escalation zone to prepare attacks on the positions of the Syrian army and even for attempts to attack the Russian military base in Hmeimim using aerial drones," Lavrov said at a news conference following talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

urkey reinforces military posts inside Syria- Gulf Times

Turkey has sent troops and armoured vehicles to reinforce posts in north-western Syria, a monitoring group said Wednesday, amid fears in Ankara of an impending offensive by Syrian forces near the Turkish border.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Turkish reinforcements, including trucks carrying construction materials and concrete walls, have arrived in parts of Idlib and Hama provinces. 
Turkey has 12 "observation posts" inside Idlib as part of a de-escalation deal with Iran and Russia, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Turkey is concerned that a planned Syrian government offensive against rebels in Idlib province could set off a new wave of refugees heading for Turkey. More than 3 million civilians live in Idlib, which is dominated by Islamist forces, including militants linked to al-Qaeda.

Ankara has for weeks been engaged in diplomatic efforts to prevent a Syrian regime attack on Idlib along its border. Turkey, Russia and Iran are expected hold a summit on Syria on September 7 in Tehran. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Russia-Turkey Alliance Surviving Idlib Test -- for Now- Naharnet

Russia and Turkey are in intense negotiations to ensure the rebel-held province of Idlib does not become a breaking point in their alliance on Syria, but the long term fate of the area still risks provoking a rupture, analysts say.
President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spearheaded an unlikely but so far sustained partnership to bring peace to Syria since late 2016, despite being in theory on opposite sides of the civil war.
The cooperation now faces its biggest test over Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, bordering Turkey, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to recapture to complete a string of military successes.
Idlib has over the last years become an increasingly densely-populated region where problems in resolving the seven-year Syrian civil war were effectively dumped to be resolved at a later date.
That moment is now drawing closer with expectations of a government offensive and fears over the combustible mix in the province of displaced people from other Syrian regions, moderate rebels and Islamist radicals.

Syria ready to take 1 million returning refugees: Moscow- Daily Star

MOSCOW: Russia's defense minister said Tuesday that war-torn Syria would be ready to accept one million returning refugees, following Moscow-backed reconstruction work.
"Since 2015, when towns and villages gradually started to be freed, more than one million people have returned home," Sergei Shoigu said in comments reported by Russian news agencies.
"Now every opportunity has been created for the return of roughly one million [more] refugees," he told journalists.
"Huge infrastructure reconstruction work is ongoing, the rebuilding of transport routes and security points so that Syria can begin accepting refugees."

U.N. invites U.S. and allies for Syria talks next month- Daily Star

GENEVA: U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited the United States and six other countries for talks in Geneva next month, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Tuesday, as the United Nations continues its push for a new Syrian constitution.
He plans to meet senior representatives from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany, France and Egypt on Sept. 14, two days after he receives officials from Russia, Turkey and Iran for previously announced talks.
"This is going to be an opportunity to discuss the way ahead on the political process," U.N. spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said.
A U.S. State Department official said the United States would be represented by James Jeffrey, the newly minted special representative for Syria, and Joel Rayburn, the administration's special envoy for Syria.

'Pivotal' Regional Changes Place Lebanon in ‘The Eye of The Storm’- Naharnet

Lebanon must form a new government in order to “safeguard its internal arena” from the regional developments mainly “the latest US escalation in Syria,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.
A senior political source expressed concern to the daily about the recent U.S. escalation in the neighboring country, “because Lebanon, as historically known, is directly impacted by the happenings around it.”
“Evidently, the Americans will not allow the situation to turn against their interests in Syria, and the Russians are pushing for their own benefit too. Both sides are mobilized, and the situation is extremely dangerous. It is open to various possibilities,” said the source.
“This serious situation in the region, which I do not think Lebanon will remain immune to if things get worse, requires the highest limit of internal immunization. The first step is to form a government, which, unfortunately, does not seem imminent,” he added.

Government Forces Restore Control Of Hatil Dam In Sweida, Clash With Militants In Northern Hama- South Front

On August 28, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) restored control of the Hatil Dam in the eastern Syrian desert forcing ISIS members to retreat from the area. This advance came in the framework of the large-scale SAA effort to put an end to ISIS presence in the al-Safa area at the administrative border between al-Suwayda and Rif Dimashq.
According to the state media, ISIS cells have recently suffered significant loses in the al-Safa area and their defense is about to collapse. However, these claims still have to be confirmed by developments on the ground.
Meanwhile, clashes between the SAA and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants erupted in the northern countryside of Hama, near the administrative border of Idlib province. The SAA carried out a series of artillery strikes on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham targets reportedly destroying two vehicles and eliminating at least five terrorists.

Monday, August 27, 2018

US brings cruise missile carriers to Middle East for strikes against Syria — top brass- TASS

MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. The United States has been building the amount of cruise missile carriers in the Middle East for strikes against government forces in Syria after pre-planned provocation involving the use of chemical weapons in Idlib Province, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media on Monday.

Iran and Syria sign defence and reconstruction deal- MEE

The defence ministers of Iran and Syria have signed an agreement on military cooperation and reconstruction in the war-torn country, Iranian media reported on Monday. 
"Syria is passing through the crisis stage and entering the reconstruction phase," said Amir Hatami, Iran's defence minister, according to the Tasnim news agency. 
Hatami is on the second day of a two-day visit to Damascus, during which he held "detailed negotiations" with his counterpart Ali Abdullah Ayoub and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to Tasnim.
The "defence and technical agreement" provides for the continued "presence and participation" of Iran in Syria, Hatami added.
Tehran has provided steady political, financial, and military backing to Assad as he has fought back a seven-year uprising.
Last week, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran should remove its forces fromSyria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has also been providing the Syrian government with support, spoke with US President Donald Trump in Helsinki last month about the issue, Bolton said.

Militants in southwestern Syria surrender 11 tonnes of ammunition in 24 hours- TASS

MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. Militants in southwestern Syria surrendered 11 tonnes of ammunition and 231 pieces of light weapons in the past 24 hours, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Sides in Syria Major General Alexei Tsygankov said on Monday.

"Former members of illegal armed groups active in southwestern Syria surrendered 231 pieces of light weapons and 11 tonnes of artillery ammunition in the past 24 hours," he said.
The Russian general added that illegal armed groups active in the Idlib de-escalation zone continued to violate the ceasefire. "Over the past 24 hours, the Barisha, Ikko, Kermel, Safsafah, Kellaz settlements in the Latakia province, the Khalidiyah, Miraanaz, Maqanis al-Duwayri and Zahr al-Jayah districts, the northwestern outskirts of the city of Aleppo and the Abu Dali settlement in the province of Hama came under fire," Tsygankov added.

According to him, officers from the Russian Center for Reconciliation, together with the Refugee Reception Center, control the return of civilians from the Idlib de-escalation zone through the Abu al-Duhur humanitarian corridor. "Over the past 24 hours, 642 refugees, including 321 children, left the area. As many as 221 people, including 109 children, received medical assistance. Russian military doctors provided medical assistance to 242 civilians, including 123 children," Tsygankov pointed out.

In Maps: Possible Scenario Of Syrian Army Advance In Idlib- South Front

Multiple pro-government sources speculate that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies may soon launche a military operation against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) in the so-called Idlib de-escalation zone soon. According to these speculations, the SAA may target militant positions in northern Latakia, southern Idlib and southwestern Aleppo. The maps below provides a possible scenario of this advance.

Jordan says can't host more Syrian refugees- Daily Star

AMMAN: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Monday his country has exceeded its capacity to host refugees from Syria and is backing their voluntary return home.
Amman estimates that it has taken in close to 1.3 million refugees from its war-torn neighbour and says it has already spent more than $10 billion to host them.
It has repeatedly complained that hosting Syrian refugees is a burden on the country's infrastructure and limited resources.
"The kingdom encourages the voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. It is inevitable," Safadi said during a meeting with U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi in Amman, according to his office.

Army destroys Daesh position in al-Safa hills in Sweida Badyia- SANA

Sweida, SANA- An army unit on Monday destroyed a position and a machinegun-equipped vehicle belonging to Daesh (ISIS) terrorists in the surroundings of Khirbet al-Hawi in the area of al-Safa hills in Sweida eastern countryside.
SANA reporter said that army units, in cooperation with the supporting forces, continued to tighten the noose on Daesh-affiliated terrorist groups in the area of al-Safa hills.
The reporter added that army units engaged in sporadic clashes with terrorist groups in the surroundings of Abu Ghanem hill in parallel with carrying out bombardments and strikes by the army air force against their fortified dens and infiltration axes on the outskirts of the hills.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Russian Battleships, Cargo Ships Arrive In Syria’s Tartous Prior To Idlib Offensive- Muraselon

Russian battleships were sent to the Syrian port of Tartous, equipped with Kalbir missiles, in addition to several cargo ships carrying Russian equipment and weapons, as the Syrian Army mobilizing for its wide-scale offensive.

Iranian Defense Minister arrives in Damascus for talks- Al-Masdar News

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami has arrived in Damascus to meet senior Syrian officials, the ministry said.

Hatami is expected to hold meetings with his Syrian counterpart and heads of the Syrian Armed Forces, the defense ministry said in a statement on its website.

Speaking to the media upon his arrival in the Syrian capital, the top military official announced that Tehran hopes to have “active participation in the reconstruction of Syria.”

The aim of the trip is also to develop “bilateral cooperation” with the Arab Republic, according to the statement.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Putin: Rusya ile Türkiye, Suriye krizini çözmek için derin ekonomik işbirliği yapabilir- Sputnik News

Türk-Rus ilişkilerinin kapsamlı bir özellik kazandığını söyleyen Rusya Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin, Moskova ve Ankara'nın Suriye krizini çözmek için derin ekonomik işbirliği yapabileceğini söyledi.

US, UK and France Prepare New Strike Against Syria - Russian MoD- Sputnik News

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, militants are arriving in Syria's Idlib after being trained by a private British military company called Olive.
The Russian Defense Ministry has accused the United States, the United Kingdom and France of preparing to carry out new strikes against Syria under the pretext of chemical weapons use by Syrian government forces.

İdlib üst seviyede görüşüldü- Sputnik News

Rusya Devlet Başkanı Vladimir Putin'in dün Türkiye'den Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar ve Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) Müsteşarı Hakan Fidan'ın yer aldığı heyeti ağırlamasında Suriye'de olası yeni askeri operasyonun görüşüldüğü belirtildi.

At Least 27 Hostages Held by IS in South Syria, HRW Says- Naharnet

At least 27 people are being held by the Islamic State group in southern Syria, Human Rights Watch said Saturday as it deplored the hostage-taking as a "war crime".
The group of mostly women and children were abducted by IS during a massive July 25 assault on the Druze community in Sweida, in which the jihadists killed more than 250 people.
They are being held by IS to use as leverage in negotiations with the Syrian government and its ally Russia, according to HRW.
"Hostage-taking is a war crime," the rights group said.
"Civilian lives should not be used as bargaining chips," said its deputy Middle East director Lama Fakih.
Of more than 30 people taken hostage in the July offensive, at least two have since died.
A 19-year-old male student was beheaded and a video circulated of the killing, which was not released on the jihadists' usual channels. 
Later in August a 65-year-old woman died, with IS reporting she had been unwell.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Foreign-made weapons discovered during sweeping operations in Deir Ezzor southeastern countryside- SANA

Deir Ezzor, SANA-The competent authorities discovered during sweeping operations in the villages of al-Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor southeastern countryside weapons, ammos , rockets and shells, some of them are western-made, as well as medicine and medical equipment left behind by Daesh (ISIS) terrorists.
SANA reporter said that the Syrian army’s engineering units, in cooperation with competent authorities, discovered a weapons warehouse of assault rifles, mortar shells, tank shells and shoulder-mounted rockets in Sbeikhan town.
A workshop for manufacturing rocket shells was also discovered on the outskirts of the town which lies 70 km away from Deir Ezzor city that terrorists had used to mount attacks on residential areas and military points in the area.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Syrian Military Sends More Reinforcements To Its Positions In Hama, Idlib And Lattakia- South Front

On August 23, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) deployed several units and more heavy weapons in the northern Hama countryside, the southeastern Idlib countryside and the northern Latakia countryside, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The US-based monitoring group said that the deployment of these units is a part of the preparation for an upcoming large-scale military operation against the remaining militants in northern Syria.
A source in the SAA’s 4th Division told SouthFront that the operation may begin after Eid al-Adha, which ends on August 24. Furthermore, the source revealed that the SAA will attack from several fronts.

Bassil, FPM Hit Back at Geagea over 'President Share' Remarks- Naharnet

The Free Patriotic Movement and its chief Jebran Bassil snapped back Thursday at Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea over remarks he made about President Michel Aoun's share of seats in the new government.
“Personal and collective political suicide is when a person harms himself, his brother and his community for the sake of political ministerial gains and a transient political moment,” Bassil tweeted.
He also accused Geagea of “renouncing” the president's “jurisdiction,” the country's political “norms” and the FPM-LF agreement “while calling this support for the presidency.”
The FPM meanwhile issued a statement warning that depriving the president of an independent ministerial share would “weaken the presidency and its position in the executive authority regardless of the president's identity.”

Hariri Says Won't Forget Damascus Role in Tripoli Blasts- Naharnet

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri stressed Thursday that he cannot “forget” that two Syrian officers are accused of involvement in the deadly 2013 bombings that hit two mosques in the northern city of Tripoli.
“On the fifth anniversary of the bombing of the al-Taqwa and al-Salam mosques, we all stand by Tripoli. We won't forget its martyrs and we won't forget that two Syrian regime intelligence officers took part in the crime and are being tried in absentia before the Judicial Council,” Hariri tweeted.
The PM-designate's remarks come at a time of high tensions in the country over the issue of restoring full relations with Damascus.
On August 14, Hariri announced that the new government “will not be formed” should the pro-Damascus camp “insist on restoring Lebanese-Syrian ties.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Russia’s strikes on terrorists in Syria killed over 86,000 militants – MoD- Al-Masdar News

Russia’s strikes on terrorists in Syria have killed more than 86,000 militants and 830 gang leaders, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday, also publishing detailed information about the operations in Syria.
“A total of 830 gang leaders, more than 86,000 militants, including 4,500 immigrants from the Russian Federation and the CIS countries, were eliminated,” according to a video posted on the ministry’s YouTube channel.

ISIS Cells Carry Out New Attacks On US-Backed Forces Near Key Oil Field In Southeastern Deir Ezzor- South Front

On August 22, an IED, which had been planted by ISIS cells, struck a vehicle of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the village of al-Hawaij west of the al-Omar oil fields in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside, according to the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq. The terrorist group claimed that four SDF fighters were killed in the attack.
In a second attack, a booby-trapped motorcycle exploded near an oil tanker of the SDF in the village of Juma east of the al-Omar oil fields. Amaq said that ISIS fighters chased the driver of the tanker, who survived the explosion, and executed him.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that warplanes of the US-led coalition had killed three ISIS fighters in a series of airstrikes on the town of al-Baghuz, which is located few kilometers south of al-Omar oil fields. The airstrikes were likely a response to the attacks of ISIS cells.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Large-scale conflict in Syria is ending but ideological war continues – Bassel- Al-Masdar News

Large-scale military action in Syria is ending, however, ideological conflict on the country’s territory will continue, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil stated in an interview with TASS.

According to him, currently, there are pockets of conflict in Syria that had been left there deliberately to destabilize the situation in the country. “The big war is about to end, especially if Idlib ends,” Bassil pointed out.

“But this does not mean that the breeds of terrorism are not still planted in Syria under the protection of some countries and some forces, who are using extremism, terrorism and Islamist movements as a way to spread extremism and chaos. In that regard, it’s not ending ideologically, it’s ending on the ground in most of Syria.”

“But of course, the plot in Syria has failed, like it failed in 2006 in Lebanon (the conflict in the south of Lebanon in 2006 between Israel and the Shia Hezbollah movement – TASS),” the Lebanese minister stressed.

Monday, August 20, 2018

UN Secretly Prohibited by Sec. Gen. from Restoring Syrian Economy - Lavrov- Sputnik News

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Gebran Bassil and discussed Syrian issues.
The UN Secretariat secretly banned the organization's divisions from taking part in restoring Syria's economy, Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

U.S.-Backed Forces Repel IS Attack in East Syria- Naharnet

US-backed forces have repelled a raid by the Islamic State group targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday.
The Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition supporting them were on high alert after the raid late Friday at the Omar oil field in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Britain-based war monitor said.
"The attack targeted the oil field's housing, where US-led coalition forces and leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces are present," Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Seven jihadists were killed in the attack, which ended at dawn after clashes near the barracks, he added.
Contacted by AFP, neither the US-led coalition nor the Kurdish-led SDF were immediately available for comment.
In October last year, the SDF took control of the Omar oil field, one of the largest in Syria, which according to The Syria Report economic weekly had a pre-war output of 30,000 barrels per day.

Army destroys Jabhat al-Nusra dens and gatherings in Hama northern countryside- SANA

Hama, SANA- Units of the Syrian Arab Army pushed ahead with military operations against the dens and gatherings of Jabhat al-Nusra and associated terrorist groups in the northern countryside of Hama.
SANA correspondent in Hama reported that army units monitored the movements of terrorist groups from the so-called “Al-Izza Brigades” while they were carrying out acts of sabotage on the outskirts of the towns of Morek, Abu Ubaida and Maakabeh in the northern countryside, killing many terrorists and wounding others.
The correspondent pointed out that the army units launched artillery strikes against Jabhat al-Nusra gatherings in the vicinity of Tel al-Sakhr town and destroyed a number of them, in conjunction with targeting with shells the dens of terrorist groups in the vicinity of the town of Kafr Zeita, resulting in accurate injuries in their ranks.

Syrian Army Clashes With Militants In Northern Hama And Shells Their Positions- South Front

On August 18, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) clashed with a group of Jaysh al-Izza fighters, which was attempting to build fortifications around the towns of Abu Ubaydah, Maarkaba and Murak in the northern Hama countryside according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). Several fighters of Jaysh al-Izza were reportedly killed and injured as a result of the clashes.
The Syrian state-run news agency also reported that the SAA artillery and rocket launchers shelled several positions of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the towns of Kafr Zita and Tell al-Sakhir, which are also located in the northern Hama countryside.
Syrian artillery and warplanes have been pounding the militant’s positions and fortifications in northern Hama and southern Idlib since the beginning of this month. Syrian pro-government activists believe that the SAA and its allies will soon launch a ground operation in these regions.
According to the SANA, the northern Hama and southern Idlib countrysides are infested with foreign Jihadists, who entered Syria from Turkey. The Russian-Turkish-Iranian de-escalation zone in northern Syria does not cover the areas held by these Jihadists and does not protect them.

US-led Coalition Sends More Supplies To Northeastern Syria- South Front

On August 18, The US-led coalition sent at least 70 trucks loaded with supplies to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-held areas in northeastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). The pro-opposition monitoring group said that the trucks entered Syria from Iraq.
Kurdish activists revealed that some of the trucks were loaded with construction materials, while others were carrying engineering vehicles. After entering Syria, the trucks headed towards the town of Tel Tamer in the western al-Hasakah countryside.
Earlier this week, The US-led coalition sent 250 trucks to its bases on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. However, these trucks were loaded with weapons and ammunition.
The US-led coalition is currently working to expand its key military bases in Tel Tamer and the city of Kobani in the northeastern Aleppo countryside, according to a previous report of the SOHR.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Rahi, Ibrahim Meet, Discuss Refugees File, Stress Need to Lineup Govt.- Naharnet

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi discussed with General Security head Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim on Friday the file of Syrian refugees, and the delayed formation of Lebanon’s government.
The Patriarch stressed the necessity of following up on the refugees file, noting that their prolonged stay in Lebanon makes the economic and social burdens even more difficult.
Lebanon hosts around 1 million registered refugees, a quarter of the country’s population.
On the formation of the government, the two men stressed the need to expedite the process urging political parties to “make sacrifices” in light of the difficult economic and social conditions hitting Lebanon.

Lebanese banks suck in dollars to keep peg, but economy stagnates- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanese banks are pulling out the stops to bring in dollars as the country strives to preserve a 2-decade-old currency peg, offering high returns to customers willing to change their hard currency into long-term Lebanese pound deposits. It is one sign of Lebanon’s determination to maintain monetary stability as political leaders’ warnings of economic crisis have fueled rumors that have led the Central Bank to issue repeated assurances about the peg’s soundness.
But the Central Bank’s high interest rates that keep money flowing into banks are increasing risk within the financial system and strangling an already depressed economy.
That all comes at a time of renewed political uncertainty as Lebanon nears three months without a government.
With growth low and traditional sources of foreign exchange – tourism, real estate and foreign investment – undermined by years of regional tension, Lebanon is now relying more on the billions of dollars expatriate Lebanese deposit in local banks. The banks buy government debt, which finances the country’s eye-watering public indebtedness, and deficits.

Hezbollah's role evolving in Syria as Assad nears victory- Al-Monitor

As President Bashar al-Assad's regime consolidates its control over much of Syria — appearing ready to launch an offensive against Idlib, the last major insurgency stronghold — observers are wondering what the end to the war will mean for Hezbollah's involvement there in the wake of Assad’s seemingly impending victory? The Iran-supported, Lebanon-based Shiite militant group became heavily involved in the civil war in 2015, backing and beefing up Assad's previously beleaguered forces. 
Russia’s support of Assad appears to be yielding significant results with the passing of days. The July 16 summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was followed by a deal between Moscow and Tel Aviv under which Iranian forces would retreat 53 miles from Israel. Planned talks involving Russia, France and Germany in Turkey appear to be working toward an understanding on the conflict. These geopolitical changes will have significant repercussions for the various players in Syria, including Hezbollah.

U.S. raises $300 million from allies for Syria stabilization- Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it had secured $300 million from coalition partners to help stabilize parts of Syria retaken from Islamic State, after President Donald Trump demanded that allies help carry the costs of the war.

The State Department said it would redirect $230 million in frozen funding for Syria to other unspecified foreign policy priorities, while emphasizing that the move did not signal a retreat by Washington from the Syrian conflict.

Trump froze the $230 million in March, threatening to withdraw United States forces from Syria, subject to a review to reassess Washington’s role in the brutal seven-year-old conflict.

Turkish Millitary Deploys Upgraded Battle Tanks Near Border With Syria- South Front

On August 17, the Turkish military deployed several M60T battle tanks in the southern province of Hatay, near the border with Syria, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency. The state-run news agency noted that the battle tanks were recently upgraded by the Turkish ASELSAN company.

Suriye ordusu, IŞİD militanlarını çölde ablukaya aldı- Sputnik News

Suriye ordusu, Es Suveyde çölünde bulunan Tulul al-Safa tepe bölgesindeki IŞİD militanlarını kuşattı. Sputnik muhabiri, bunun, Şam ve Es Suveyde kentleri arasındaki grupların son mukavemet noktası olduğunu bildirdi.

Militanlar, birkaç kez keskin nişancılar ve intihar bombacılarını kullanarak kuşatmayı kırmayı denediler, ancak bütün saldırıları başarısız oldu. Sputnik muhabiri, çatışmalarda 20 militanın öldürüldüğünü, birçok otomobil ve silahın da imha edildiğini aktardı.

About half a million civilians return home in Deir Ezzor amid accelerated rehabilitation efforts- SANA

Deir Ezzor, SANA-Since the early hours after breaking the siege imposed by Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization on the city of Deir Ezzor in early September last year, the government in cooperation with civil society organizations and professional associations have begun working to restore life to the city and its countryside after years of terrorism.

After the Syrian Arab Army restored security to the majority of the countryside of the province and secured thousands of kilometers of main roads to other provinces, the first sector that was rehabilitated in the province was the public and private transport sector as demanded by the people of Deir Ezzor to return to their homes in the liberated neighborhoods of the city and the countryside.

The number of citizens who returned to their homes in the province reached 489,531 citizens since the beginning of 2018, putting the total number of the residents at up to 1,037,037 inhabitants according to the latest statistics of Deir Ezzor governorate.
The accelerated return of citizens to their towns has increased due to the efforts of the army units in combing the cities, towns and villages to remove the remnants of the terrorists in order to preserve the lives of civilians in addition to activating the work of police units, civil affairs, banks, post offices, fire brigades and municipal councils in parallel with the start of reconstruction workshops to remove the debris, open the streets and repair infrastructure, including water and electricity.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Russia says drone attacks on its Syria base have increased- Daily Star

HEMEIMEEM AIR BASE, Syria: The Russian military says the number of drone attacks on its main base in Syria has increased.
The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, says in just one month air defense assets have downed 45 drones targeting the Hemeimeem air base. The base in the province of Latakia serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria.
Konashenkov said Thursday that while the drones appear primitive, they use sophisticated technologies and have a range of up to 100 kilometers.
All drone attacks on Hemeimeem were launched by militants based in the northern province of Idlib, Konashenkov said.

Future calls on supporters not to block roads after Zahran comments- Daily Star

BEIRUT: The Future Movement Thursday called on supporters not to take to the streets in reaction to comments by a pro-Hezbollah journalist a day earlier.
"[The Future Movement] called on supporters and party members to refrain from resorting to any action that leads to blocking roads and impacts people's lives," a statement from Future said.
The public reaction came in response to comments made by journalist Salem Zahran Wednesday who used harsh language in a televised interview while saying that Prime Minister-designate Hariri have no choice but to go to Syria if told to do so by Abu Dhabi's crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan. Hariri and his party have long had strained relations with Syria.

Latest obstacle delaying govt: Lebanon’s ties with Syria- Daily Star

BEIRUT: The question of normalizing ties with Syria is the latest obstacle facing premier-designate Saad Hariri’s efforts to form a new Cabinet, political sources said Thursday.
With yet another hurdle to overcome, one political source said, “there are no positive signals of an imminent government formation.”
“This means that there will be no government before or after Eid al-Adha for now,” the source told The Daily Star.
“[MP] Teymour [Joumblatt] came to Hariri and told him that [the Progressive Socialist Party] is still demanding all three ministers allocated to the Druze sect,” a source close to the prime minister-designate told The Daily Star.
The issue stems from former MP Walid Joumblatt’s demands to appoint the three ministers, and efforts to block his rival, Lebanese Democratic Party head Talal Arslan, from obtaining one of the Druze ministerial seats.
Moscow entered the Lebanese fracas in recent days, looking to help find a solution to the issue of Druze representation in the new Cabinet, with the third Lebanese official in as many weeks visiting the Russian capital.