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The US-Iranian standoff in the Persian Gulf has once again entered an acute phase. On April 22, US President Donald Trump announced that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that follow or harass US ships. In response, Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Hossein Salami declared on April 23 that Iran will provide a swift, “decisive” and “effective” response to US forces if they threaten Iranian “vessels or warships”.
One of the reasons behind the escalation is the consistent and strengthening anti-Iranian rhetoric of the White House as a part of Trump’s presidential campaign. Another driving force of the US actions is likely the sharpening global economic crisis and the turmoil on the energy market that has led to the dramatic collapse of oil prices. Indeed, a new conflict in the Persian Gulf could theoretically return the oil prices to $50-60 per barrel.

#Iran #IRGC #UnitedStates

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In the second half of the week the military situation in Syria’s western Aleppo escalated.
On April 22, Turkish forces shelled positions of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo. Pro-Turkish sources claimed that this shelling was a response to Syrian Army strikes on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups near the villages of Kafr Amma, al-Qasr, Kafr Taal and Kafr Nouran. Pro-government sources described these strikes however as a defensive measure to counter regular ceasefire violations by Turkish-backed militants.
On April 23, the Syrian Army reinforced its positions east of Atraib by deploying additional troops and equipment there. If Turkish forces and Idlib militants continue attacks on Syrian Army positions in western Aleppo, open military hostilities could resume in the area.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham executed a 19-yo Syrian refugee deported from Turkey to Greater Idlib. Mohamad Aqib Hamam Tanu was killed on April 20 after militants found that SMS messages in his phone contained criticism of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham leader Abu Mohamad al-Julani.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham remains the most powerful group in Greater Idlib and controls most of the militant-held area in the region, including Idlib city, the border with Turkey and key positions on the contact line with the Syrian Army. The ..

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On April 21, clashes broke out in the city of Qamishly between the Kurdish Asayish, a security force of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and the pro-government National Defense Forces.
Local sources claim that NDF units tried to capture several Asayish positions in the city, but failed to do so. Both sides allegedly suffered no casualties. The situation de-escalated rapidly after the Russian Military Police deployed in a nearby area intervened .
On April 16, an Asayish checkpoint in the city was attacked with two hand grenades allegedly thrown by NDF members.
The current escalation is reportedly the result of disagreements between local NDF and Asayish commanders. Nonetheless, it should be noted that Qamishly city is infamous for regular clashes and tensions between the NDF and the SDF’s Asayish. The Kurdish group is trying to establish full control of the city and does not like the fact that the Damascus government has strong support there. In their turn NDF units seek to push back the creeping advance of the Kurdish force, which they see as a betrayer of Syrian national interests because of its open cooperation with foreign occupants – i.e.the United States.

#Syria #USA #Russia

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An internal crisis is developing within Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the most powerful armed group in Greater Idlib.

On April 7, Abu Malek al-Tali, one of the group’s most prominent field commanders, announced his resignation, claiming that he was being kept away from the decision making on the supposed shift of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s policies. According to pro-militant sources, al-Tali resigned as a result of disagreements with top members close to the group’s general commander, Abu Mohamad al-Julani.
Earlier, Bassam Suhyuni, head of the General Shura Council affiliated with the terrorist group, also announced his resignation, saying that he will clarify the reasons later. Suhyuni was reportedly managing “foreign relations” for al-Julani.

#Syria #Iraq #Turkey

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The Syrian Army and local self-defense forces have carried out an operation against ISIS cells hiding in the desert area on the administrative border of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor provinces. According to pro-government sources, Syrian forces eliminated up to 10 ISIS members and destroyed their hideouts.
The security operation came in response to the recently increased IED attacks and ambushes conducted by ISIS cells near Deir Ezzor city and the town of Mayadin. At least 5 Syrian service members and 8 civilians were killed during the past 2 weeks alone.
The Afrin Liberation Forces, affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, conducted a new series of attacks on Turkish proxies in the region of Afrin. The attacks took place in Kafr Hashir and on the road between Chima and Deir Survan. A vehicle was destroyed and several Turkish proxies were killed.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Infighting among Turkish-backed groups has erupted near the town of Ras al-Ayn. According to local sources, conflicts over the captured houses and looted properties became the main reason of the conflict between members of the Sultan Murad armed group which attacked other Turkish-backed rebels. The situation rapidly escalated to the extent when the Turkish Army had to deploy additional troops and equipment in the area in order to put an end to the infighting. At the same time, the Turkish Army continued deploying additional troops and military equipment in the province of Idlib.
Last night, nearly 30 trucks and military vehicles entered Syria and reached the countryside of the town of Jisr al-Shughur, controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants. Two days ago, the Turkish Army established 3 new observation points there.

#Syria #Turkey #UnitedStates

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Late on March 17, at least three rockets struck the area near the US embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. This was the fourth such attack in the span of a week. A day earlier, a pair of rockets struck the Besmaya base south of Baghdad. This military facility is the second largest military base operated by the US-led coalition in Iraq after Camp Taji.
The threat of rocket attacks already forced the US military to announce that it is evacuating some of its bases in the country. The al-Qaim base, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, is among them. The al-Qaim facility has been an important logistical and operational hub employed by US forces for operations in western Iraq and eastern Syria. Its presence there, as well as in Syria’s al-Tanf, has allowed the US to project its power along the Syrian-Iraqi border more effectively and to support Israeli military actions against Iranian-backed forces in the area.
Al-Qaim is located on the highway between the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor. The town of al-Bukamal, which Israeli and US media often label as a stronghold of Iranian-backed forces, is located on the Syrian side of the border.
The withdrawal from al-Qaim is a signal that the US has been forced to admit that its attempts to cut off the land link between Syria, Iraq and Iran..

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Terrorist groups operating in Idlib are preparing for a new rebranding under Turkish patronage. According to Syrian sources, Hayat Tarir al-Sham (formerly the official Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), the Turkistan Islamic Party (an al-Qaeda-linked group), the National Front for Liberation (a coalition of Turkish proxies friendly to al-Qaeda) and several smaller groups are going to create a united command center and even declare a formal merger.
The idea is to shuffle well-known al-Qaeda terrorists with their supposedly moderate Turkish-backed counterparts, and give them a new name and logo. So, Ankara will have a formal reason to claim that there are no ‘terrorists’ in Idlib and the current situation in the region fully corresponds with the agreements reached with Iran and Russia. These agreements exclude terrorist organizations, which control up to 90% of the militant-held part of Greater Idlib, from the ceasefire and allow military actions against them. The issue is that the same agreements declare that Turkey must separate so-called ‘moderate rebels’ from ‘terrorists’. This is hardly possible because there is little difference between them. Therefore, the Turkish leadership opted to unite them painting them as the ‘moderate opposition’ once again violating the word and spirit of the de-escalation agre..

Dear friends, SouthFront is now offering a new video product: "Syrian War Diary". Over the past several years, the Syrian conflict has passed through several turning points. Now the military and diplomatic situation is quite different to what we observed before the start of the Russian military operation in 2015. "Syrian War Diary" videos unite SouthFront's War Reports produced during this period and provide a retrospective of these developments.

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The first days of March broke the dreams of the Turkish political and military leadership of a swift victory over the Syrian Armed Forces. Operation Spring Shield failed to achieve the goal officially declared by top Turkish officials – to push the Syrian Army back from territories liberated in Idlib since September 2018, when Moscow and Ankara reached so-called Sochi agreements. The deal was intended to separate terrorists from moderate rebels, create a 30km deep demilitarized zone and de-escalate the situation in Greater Idlib in general. These agreements have never been fully implemented because Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other al-Qaeda-linked groups did not withdraw from the demarked demilitarized zone and did not separate from these mysterious moderate rebels that reportedly existed somewhere in Idlib.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Early on March 5, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the Syrian provinces of Homs and Quneitra. According to the Syrian military, the attack was conducted from Lebanese airspace at 00:30 local time. Israeli warplanes used two civilian flights of Qatar Airways as a cover for their strikes. The Syrian side claimed that it had intercepted all the hostile missiles. However, ground explosions were reported in Quneitra. Therefore, at least some of them in fact did hit their targets.
The previous Israeli strikes on Syria took place on March 2 and February 23. On March 2, an Israeli attack helicopter destroyed a vehicle in the province of Quneitra after Israeli troops in the Golan Heights had reportedly come under sniper fire. On February 23 Israeli warplanes targeted positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Damascus.
‘Entirely by chance’ the increase of Israeli military actions in Syria came amid the escalation of the Syrian-Turkish conflict in Idlib.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Erdogan’s forces continue their bloody battle for peace and prosperity for al-Qaeda groups in the Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
On March 3, Turkey shot down an L-39 warplane of the Syrian Air Force in eastern Idlib. The warplane, which was carrying out strikes on al-Qaeda militants, crashed near the town of Maarat al-Numan. One of the ejected pilots landed in the militant-held area and was killed. On the same day, Turkish media released videos showing drone strikes on the Syrian Army convoy supposedly moving near Maarat al-Numan and the destruction of an alleged Pantsir air defense system of the Syrian Air Defense Forces near Saraqib.
Additionally, a large Turkish military column consisting of M113 and ACV-15 armoured vehicles, Leopard 2A4 battle tanks and ALTIGNAN air defense systems entered Batbu village in the northern part of Idlib. Pro-Turkish sources also claimed that the Turkish military will soon deploy Hisar air defense systems to the region in order to put an end to the constant aggression of the Syrian and Russian air power against peaceful al-Qaeda members and their Turkish supporters. Thus far, al-Qaeda members and the Turkish Army are on a ‘tactical retreat’.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Members of al-Qaeda-linked groups embedded with Turkish troops have reentered the town of Saraqib in eastern Idlib following the collapse of the Syrian Army defense northwest of the town.
The attack was backed by Turkish artillery strikes on positions of the Syrian Army. Al-Qaeda members were actively using Turkish-supplied armoured vehicles and even MANPADs.
Since the evening of February 26, government troops have lost the villages of Salihiya and Afis and been forced to retreat towards the eastern and southern vicinities of Saraqib. Turkish forces reportedly captured three battle tanks, including a Russian-supplied T-90, in the course of the attack. Several other military vehicles were destroyed. Earlier, Syrian troops withdrew from Nayrab leaving behind 2 battle tanks, 4 amoured vehicles and 2 bulldozers as well as other weapons and equipment.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

Dear friends, SouthFront is now offering a new video product: "Syrian War Diary". Over the past several years, the Syrian conflict has passed through several turning points. Now the military and diplomatic situation is quite different to what we observed before the start of the Russian military operation in 2015. "Syrian War Diary" videos unite SouthFront's War Reports produced during this period and provide a retrospective of these developments.

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#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Turkey will take the Idlib matter into its own hands and the military operation in northwestern Syria is simply a “matter of time”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on February 19. Erdogan said that Turkey is not satisfied with talks on the matter with Russia, and it will not leave the region to “the Assad regime and its backers.” He recalled that only a few days left until the end of February, the deadline given by Ankara to Syrian forces to stop operations against Idlib armed groups. If the Syrians do not withdraw, Turkey promised to attack and push the Syrian Army back from the areas cleared from militants. Erdogan’s “last warning” came as Turkish media outlets were broadcasting news showing how columns of Turkish troops and vehicle were moving towards the border with Syria. However, did Turkey really deployed enough forces to deliver a devastating blow to the Syrian military and do not pay a heavy price?

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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On February 19, Turkish Sultan-in-Chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the Turkish military has finished preparations for an operation against the Syrian Army in Greater Idlib, and its start is inevitable because Syrian troops are not planning to withdraw from the recently liberated areas. On the same day, Turkey continued deployment of additional troops and equipment to the region, as well as directly to the frontline. The frontline areas where the Turkish military presence is especially strong is the eastern countryside of Idlib city and the town of Atarib. Turkish media outlets are enthusiastically drawing maps of a possible Turkish aggression.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

DEAR FRIENDS,
In view of recent events in Syria, SouthFront wants to explain why we are critical towards Turkish actions in Greater Idlib.
- The internationally recognized Syrian government did not invite Turkey and its forces to the country. It has repeatedly and officially stated that it stands against the Turkish military presence, calling it an “aggression”.
- The “opposition-held” part of Idlib is in fact a hotbed of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), various other al-Qaeda-linked groups and even ISIS. According to the US leadership, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in this particular area, near the Turkish border.
- The provinces of Idib, Latakia, Hama and Aleppo are an inalienable part of Syria, where Syria exercises its national sovereignty.
The inconsistent Turkish foreign policy, including its actions towards its declared allies, leads to the destabilization of the region.
Despite our critical position towards Turkey, SouthFront will continue providing a fact-based coverage of the situation in Syria and beyond. We are neither hiding nor underreporting gains or setbacks of any party involved in the conflict. Furthermore, we are not going to take cues from the various propagandists (Turkish, Syrian, Russian, American, Iranian, Israeli etc) engaged in this standoff.
SUPPORT SOUTHFRONT WORK NOW: PayPal: [email protected], http://southfront.org/donate/ or via: https://www.patreon.com/southfront, BTC: 3Gbs4rjcVUtQd8p3CiFUCxPLZwRqurezRZ, BCH ABC: qpf2cphc5dkuclkqur7lhj2yuqq9pk3hmukle77vhq, ETH: 0x9f4cda013e354b8fc285bf4b9a60460cee7f7ea9
Sincerely yours,
SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence

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Syrian government forces have cleared the entire western countryside of Aleppo city of members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other Turkish-backed armed groups.
During the past week, the Syrian Army and its allies cleared up to 300km2 delivering a devastating blow to members of Idlib armed groups despite the fierce Turkish support to them and even the direct participation of Turkish forces in clashes. On February 15, the Syrian Army opened a new front in western Aleppo attacking Turkish-led forces from the both southern and northern directions. By the evening of February 16, the entire western countryside of Aleppo was captured by pro-government forces. Idlib armed groups demonstrated no real resistance to pro-government forces.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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Turkey and the United States are employing active diplomatic, media and even limited military measures to contain the Syrian Army offensive against terrorists in Greater Idlib.
On January 31, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened the Damascus government with a military action if the Syrian Army does not stop its anti-terrorism operation in Idlib. The official Turkish rhetoric says that the operation against rebels (i.e. al-Qaeda—linked radicals) put the region on the brink of the humanitarian crisis and displaced hundreds of thousands people that started fleeing to Turkey. This stance corresponds with the position of the US State Department that also accused the Assad government and its allies of violating the ceasefire regime and causing civilian casualties. Both Ankara and Washington did not address the fact that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other groups linked to al-Qaeda were excluded from all ceasefire deals that have ever been reached on the situation in Idlib. Turkey and the US are not interested in the defeat of terrorists by the Syrian Army because this would strengthen the positions of the Damascus government. At the same time, they contributed no efforts to defeat al-Qaeda by themselves.

#Syria #Turkey #Idlib

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On January 27 evening, units of the Syrian Army continued their operation in southeastern Idlib. Government troops liberated Hamidiya, Bseida, Maasaran, Tal Al-Shih, Maziyan and several other villages. By this advance, the army fully besieged Maarat al-Numan from the northern, southern and eastern directions.
According to pro-government sources, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants are not planning to defend the encircled city for a long time. They are actively planting mines and IEDs in the area. Therefore, even if militants withdraw from Maarat al-Numan via the remaining corridor, government troops will not be able to secure the city immediately.
On January 28, government sources claimed that the Syrian Army had already entered Maarat al-Numan. However, government forces still have to remove IEDs and fortify their new positions.

#Syria #Russia #Turkey

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46 Syrian service members have been killed and 77 were wounded in recent clashes with radical militants in Greater Idlib in the period from January 16 to January 19, the Russian Reconciliation Center reported. According to the report, 57 civilians were killed and 116 others were injured as a result of attacks and shelling by militants.

#Syria #Russia #Turkey

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Dear friends, SouthFront is now offering a new video product: "Syrian War Diary". Over the past several years, the Syrian conflict has passed through several turning points. Now the military and diplomatic situation is quite different to what we observed before the start of the Russian military operation in 2015. "Syrian War Diary" videos unite SouthFront's War Reports produced during this period and provide a retrospective of these developments.

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#Syria #Russia #UnitedStates

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A new ceasefire in the Greater Idlib region of northwestern Syria started on January 12, at 00:01 local time. The ceasefire, once again brokered by Turkey and Russia, followed a series of successful advances by pro-government forces in southern Idlib. Just a few hours after start of the ceasefire, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria) and its supposedly ‘moderate’ counterparts shelled Aleppo city, targeting the districts of Shahba, al-Khalidiyah, al-Neil, al-Sabeel and Tishreen. At least 3 civilians were killed and 5 others – injured.

#Syria #Turkey #Russia

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The Iran Air Defense Forces brought down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Flight PS752) near Tehran due to “a human error”, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said in an official statement on January 11. The statement denounced the previous Iranian main version that the tragedy was a result of technical malfunction.

#Iran #Ukraine #PlaneCrashIran

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Created 1 year, 1 month ago.

175 videos

CategoryNews & Politics

SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence is a public analytical project maintained by an independent team of experts from the four corners of the Earth focusing on international relations issues and crises and working through a number of media platforms with a special emphasis on social networks. We focus on analysis and intelligence of the ongoing crises and the biggest stories from around the world: conflicts in the Middle East, Ukraine, Central Asia issues, protest movements in the Balkans, migration crises, and others. In addition, we provide military operations analysis, the military posture of major world powers, and other important data influencing the growth of tensions between countries and nations. We try to dig out the truth on issues which are barely covered by governments and mainstream media.

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