US rejects SDF statement: No intention to stay in post-IS Syria

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US rejects SDF statement: No intention to stay in post-IS Syria

(BasNews) The United States has no intention to stay in Syria after the final defeat is brought to Islamic State (IS) in the country, said State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert.

“Our overall mission is to defeat ISIS, whether it’s in Iraq or in Syria. That is our intent — to defeat ISIS and not do anything more than that,” Nauert told reporters on Friday, using another acronym for the Islamic State.

The statement was made in response to the remarks made by Talal Silo, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces, who had told Reuters earlier that the US army in Syria, especially in the northern Kurdish areas, are expected to stay for decades even following the defeat of IS.

“They have a strategy policy for decades to come. There will be military, economic and political agreements in the long term between the leadership of the northern areas (of Syria) … and the U.S. administration,” Silo said.

“We want Syria governed by Syrians, not by the United States, not by any other forces, but by Syrians,” Nauert pointed out during Friday’s press briefing.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurds and Arabs, are the main US partners in the war against IS in Syria currently leading a battle to recapture Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital city of IS.


Source  :  Syria News media

Assad forces violate de-escalation deal and shells Jober area using toxic gases

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Assad forces violate de-escalation deal and shells Jober area using toxic gases

Damascus (Syria News) Syrian regime forces and allied militias have violated the de-escalation agreement in Jober neighborhood, and shelled the area using toxic gases, a source told Enab Baladi on Saturday.

The source revealed that Assaf forces shelled Jober neighborhood with missiles containing toxic gases, causing suffocation to 4 cases, which were documented by Jober Medical Office.

The shelling was carried out immediately after signing the deal, and also hit the cities of Zamlka and Hamoriyah, killing 3 persons and wounding dozens others, as well as shelling the areas of Saqba, Kafr Btna and Ayn Tarma with dozens of missiles.

Meanwhile, Syrian regime media said that the army forces carried out artillery shelling on the headquarters of the armed groups in the axis of Jober-Ayn Tarma.

Yeatserday, an agreement was conducted to ceasefire in Jober neighborhood and eastern Ghouta.


Source  :  Syria News media

Syria’s Assad says war still not won but West’s plots foiled

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Syria's Assad says war still not won but West's plots foiled

(Reuters) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that while his country had foiled Western designs to topple him, his army had not won defeated insurgents and the fight was continuing.

In an televised address, Assad said that even though there were signs of victory after six-and-a-half years of civil war, the “battle continues, and where we go later and it becomes possible to talk about victory…that’s a different matter”.

He did not elaborate on that point.

However, he said the assistance extended by stalwart allies Russia, Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement had enabled the army to make battlefield gains and reduce the burden of war.

“Their direct support – politically, economically and militarily – has made possible advances on the battlefield and reduced the losses and burdens of war,” Assad added.

He said his country welcomed Russian-brokered, regional ceasefire deals that Moscow is seeking to extend elsewhere in Syria as these would end bloodshed and bring an end to insurgency and pardoning of rebels.

“We have an interest in the success of this initiative.”

However, Assad condemned U.S.-inspired “safe zones” which President Donald Trump earlier this year said he hoped to achieve with Russia, saying such a plan would only “give cover to terrorists.”


Source  :  Syria News media

Fighters, refugees leave Lebanon enclave for Syria

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Fighters, refugees leave Lebanon enclave for Syria

(Reuters) The evacuation of a group of Syrian rebels and refugees from a border enclave in Lebanon back into Syrian territory started on Monday, Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar TV reported.

About 300 rebels from a group called Saraya Ahl al-Sham as well as about 3,000 refugees are to leave Lebanon under a deal that followed an assault by the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah on insurgent positions last month.

A convoy of 40 buses had left for the Syrian border, al-Manar said.

Their departure will leave an Islamic State enclave as the last militant stronghold straddling the border near the Lebanese town of Arsal, which is home to tens of thousands of refugees.

The transfer, and another one early this month of Nusra Front fighters and refugees, echoes deals struck within Syria in which Damascus has shuttled rebels and civilians to opposition areas.

On Friday, the Lebanese security official overseeing the arrangements, General Abbas Ibrahim, said a group of civilians would go to Assal al-Ward, an area just across the border from Arsal and held by the Syrian government.

The fighters and their families will go to another part of Syria which he did not identify. A military media unit run by Hezbollah last week said they would go to the rebel-held town of al-Ruhaiba in the Eastern Qalamoun region.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shi’ite group that has played a big battlefield role in Syria’s civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

Last month it defeated rebels in the insurgent enclaves near the border in Lebanon and forced the hardline Islamist Nusra Front group to leave. About 7,000 refugees departed with them for a rebel-held part of northwest Syria.

The Lebanese army is expected soon to assault the Islamic State pocket in the same area.

That would end a period of several years in which armed groups from inside Syria held positions in the hills around Arsal, the most serious spillover of the s civil war into Lebanon.

More than 1 million Syrian refugees are sheltering in Lebanon, about a quarter of its total population. Hezbollah has stepped up calls for the Lebanese government to engage directly with Damascus over the return of refugees to Syria.

Syria’s opposition has criticized previous evacuations of civilians under ceasefire deals as amounting to the forced transfer of populations, something Damascus denies.

The growing number of evacuation deals for fighters and civilians from besieged rebel areas inside Syria over the past year has helped Assad solidify his hold in several parts of the country.

Lebanon’s General Security, the government agency that negotiated Monday’s transfer, said all the civilians returning were doing so voluntarily.


Source  :  Syria News

Syrian army comes closer to encircling Islamic State in central Syria desert

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Syrian army comes closer to encircling Islamic State in central Syria desert

(Reuters) The Syrian army and its allies advanced in the central Syrian desert on Monday and could soon encircle an Islamic State pocket, part of a multi-pronged thrust into eastern areas held by the jihadist group.

A Syrian military source said the Syrian army and its allies had taken a number of villages around the town of al-Koum in northeastern Homs province.

This leaves a gap held by Islamic State of around only 25 km (15 miles) between al-Koum and the town of al-Sukhna to its south, which was taken by the Syrian government on Saturday.

If the army, supported by Russian air power and Iran-backed militias, closes this gap they will encircle Islamic State fighters to their west in an area of land around 8,000 km square, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Monday that it had contributed to this advance by advising on an airborne landing of pro-government troops north of al-Koum on Saturday.

The operation allowed them to take the al-Qadeer area from Islamic State militants before proceeding to al-Koum, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.

Islamic State has lost swathes of Syrian territory to separate campaigns being waged by Syrian government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic (SDF) Forces, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia. The SDF is currently focused on capturing Raqqa city from Islamic State.

Syrian government forces advancing from the west have recently crossed into Deir al-Zor province from southern areas of Raqqa province.

Islamic State controls nearly all of Deir al-Zor province, which is bordered to the east by Iraq. The Syrian government still controls a pocket of territory in Deir al-Zor city, and a nearby military base.


Source  :  Syria News

4 IS Blasts hit SDF locations in Syrian Raqqa

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4 IS Blasts hit SDF locations in Syrian Raqqa

Raqqa (Syria News) The Islamic State group detonated, yesterday, four booby-trapped vehicles in locations belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces, in the city of Raqqa, Qasioun News reported on Tuesday.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State group detonated four booby-trapped vehicles in the neighborhoods of al-Romaneya, Hisham Ibn Abdelmalek and the outskirts of al-Mashlab, leaving several casualties among the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between the two parties on the outskirts of the old neighborhoods in the city, amid mutual artillery and rocket shelling, allowing the Syrian Democratic Forces to recapture several buildings and military headquarters.

It is noteworthy that the SDF managed recently to recapture 50% of the city of Raqqa, backed by the international coalition aerial coverage.


Source  :  Syria News

Army establishes full control over strategic hills in Salamiyeh countryside, inflicts heavy losses upon ISIS in Deir Ezzor

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Hama, Deir Ezzor, SANA, Army and Armed Forces units, in cooperation with popular defense groups, established full control over a number of strategic hills in the surroundings of Salba village to the east of Salamiyeh city.

SANA’s reporter said that this was achieved after carrying out intensive operations against ISIS terrorists and eliminating their latest gatherings in the area, adding that army units found a
tunnel network in the hills which the terrorists were using to move and store ammunition and food supplies.

Deir Ezzor

Syrian Army units engaged in clashes with ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups southwestern of Deir Ezzor city, while the Syrian Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes against their positions in the city and the surrounding area.

Army units killed a number of ISIS terrorists and injured others, destroying their arms and ammunition in violent clashes at the axis of al -Bughailyia-al Panorama.

The Syrian Air Force destroyed dens and hotbeds of ISIS terrorists and killed scores of them in intensive airstrikes against their positions to the west of Deir Ezzor City, al-Mawared area, Hwaijet Qati’a, al-Tharda roundabout, the surroundings of the Airport, and in the neighborhoods of al-Hwaiqa, the Old Airport and al-Omal.

The airstrikes targeted fortifications of ISIS in the villages of al Bughailyia, al- Junaina, al-Shoula, al-Shmaita and al-Tibni, inflicting heavy losses upon them in the equipment and personnel.

Local sources in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor said that a group of ISIS terrorists, including Alaa al-Anad al-Mustafa, fled from al-Mohassan town to an unknown destination.

Terrorists of ISIS executed three young men on charge of fighting against the organization at the entrance of al-Ramadi village in the countryside of al-Bukamal city in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.


Source  :  Syrian Arab News Agency