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Syrian War Report; May 10th – 12th, 2017

Syrian War Reports – May 10, 11,12, 2017

Syrian War Report – May 12, 2017: Pro-Turkish Militants Form Coalition To Fight ‘Terrorists’

Some 70 ISIS members have withdrawn from the town of Tabqah and the Tabqah Dam under a deal with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon confirmed in a statement at the website of its International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve on May 11. Thus, the US-led coalition officially confirmed rumors that had been circulating about a possible open corridor for the ISIS terrorists operating in the town of Tabqah and the nearby Tabqah dam. This was the second deal of the US-backed force with ISIS that became widely known. Previously, a large group of ISIS members left the town of Manbij encircled by the SDF in the province of Aleppo.

Following the withdrawal from Tabqah, ISIS militants launched an attack on SDF positions in the villages of Ayed Kabir and Al-Mushirfa near Tabqah. Clashes are still ongoing in the area.

According to pro-SDF sources, 26 ISIS militants were killed and 3 vehicles were destroyed. ISIS claimed that five Kurdish fighters were killed in the village of Ajeel south of the Tabqah military airport.

Talal Sallou, spokesman of the SDF said that the next aim of the US-backed force is to isolate Raqqa city from the western, northern and eastern flanks prior to storming the ISIS self-proclaimed capital. Thus, ISIS will have an open way to the south, which means that the US-led coalition may be willing to push ISIS to withdraw into the Syrian desert where terrorists will fight the SAA and its allies.

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, announced on Thursday that the group has dismantled its military positions on the border with Syria as the mission of securing the area has been completed and the Lebanese eastern borders have became safe.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have captured three hills in the mountains of Shomaria in the eastern Homs countryside after violent clashes with ISIS terrorists. As a result of this advance, pro-government fighters reached the outskirts of the village of Hamida.

Meanwhile, the SAA has been strengthening its forces in the vicinity of the Seen Military Airbase and at the Al-Tanf road. According to some pro-government sources, the SAA aims to take full control of the Al-Tanf road and then the Al-Tanf border area. However, this effort will be linked with clashes against Western-backed militants operating in the area.

Opposition sources announced the formation of a new force of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in northern Aleppo named. The group was named “First Corps” and created with a Turkish support.

The militant groups known as the Sultan Mohammed Al-Fateh Brigade, the Samarkand Brigade, Jaish al-Ahfad, the Al-Muntaser Bellah Brigade, the 101st Division, the Al-Fatah Brigade, the Tala’a al-Nasr Brigade joined the First Corps. The group now includes 10,000 fighters, according to Capt. Abu Kanan al-Homsi. Its militants had received training and equipment from Turkey.

According to opposition sources, the main objective of the First Corps would be to fight ISIS, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), and Kurdish militias (YPG, YPJ, PKK). The group will be stationed in the towns of Al-Rai, Akhtarin and Ghandoura in the northern Aleppo countryside.

In Idlib, the HTS issued a ban on the transfer of anti-tank missiles, Grad rockets and modern weapons and started an effort aimed to confiscate them from all local groups. HTS already arrested some members of Ana’ al-Sham and confiscated their weapons in the northern Hama countryside.

According to local sources, tensions have once again increased in the countryside of Idlib between Ahrar al-Sham and HTS. A new round of clashes in the province of Idlib may start soon.

 

Syrian War Report – May 11, 2017: Syrian Army Renews Operation Against ISIS In Eastern Aleppo

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

On May 10th, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fully liberated the important town of Tabqah and the Tabqah dam from ISIS terrorists in the province of Raqqah. The town of Tabqah is located within 40 km of the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah. US-led coalition aviation and US special forces assisted the Syrian rebels in the Tabqa campaign.

Meanwhile, the SDF resumed their anti-ISIS operations north of Raqqah, capturing the villages of al-Jalai and Mayselum that had been held by ISIS.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. John Dorrian revealed what kind of arms the United States would supply to Kurdish forces (a core of the SDF) when he told reporters, “…..what we are talking about here is ammunition, small arms, heavy machine guns, and mortars….”

Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that US President Donald Trump had approved a plan to directly arm Kurdish forces operating in Syria.

Government forces, led by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces, resumed anti-ISIS operations in the eastern Aleppo countryside, liberating the village of Al-Mahdoum and advancing further against ISIS near the Jirah Military Airport.

Russian Aerospace Forces supported the SAA advance by bombing ISIS gatherings and vehicles in the area between the Al-Jirah Military Airport and the town of Maskana.

Pro-ISIS sources claimed that ISIS members had destroyed a 23mm gun with an ATGM in the village of Kharaj Daham and a T-72 battle tank and BMP-1 vehicle in the village of Jarrah Saghir.

A number of Syrian soldiers were allegedly killed or wounded in the village of Atshana as a result of 2 VBIED attacks on SAA troops there.

ISIS also damaged an SAA T-72 battle tank in the village of Ma’moura after targeting it with an armed drone.

Russia has sent some 21 Soviet-made M-30 howitzers [122 mm] to Syria government forces, Fox News reported citing US officials. The artillery pieces arrived via cargo ship in the Syrian port city of Tartus in the past few days, according to the article.

The media outlet also speculated that Russia is sending more missiles for the advanced S-400 air defense system. The step is allegedly aimed at increasing the Russian air defense capabilities in Syria.

 

Syrian War Report – May 10, 2017: Trump Administration Approves New Plan To Arm Kurdish Forces

The administration of US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to directly arm Kurdish forces operating in Syria, the Pentagon said. Spokeswoman Dana W. White said the president made the decision Monday, describing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

The mainstream media and US officials have repeatedly argued that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are a “multi-ethnic and multi-religious alliance” fighting against ISIS. However, since the formation of the SDF, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) have remained the core of the organization. The upcoming advance on the ISIS-held city of Raqqa has pushed Washington to accept the reality publicly and to make a decision to army YPG and YPJ on an official level.

Meanwhile, Ankara argues that YPG and YPJ are terrorist groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The decision to arm Kurdish militias in Syria will further damage the already shaky US-Turkish relations.

Meanwhile, the SDF, backed up by US-led coalition forces, is still fighting against ISIS militants inside the town of Tabqa west of Raqqa. In late April and in early May, pro-SDF sources repeatedly spread reports that the town and the nearby dam were almost under the full control of the SDF. However, videos and photos appearing from the ground contested these reports.

Now, the number of ISIS militants operating in Tabqa and the Tabqa dam is estimated between 100 and 200 fighters and they are in very bad tactical situation. It’s expected that the town and the dam will be fully secured by the SDF this month.

Western backed militants have been trying to counter-attack Syrian army troops advancing in the desert southeast of Damascus. However, government forces were able to defend their gains in the area. Earlier this month, government troops have captured more than 70 square kilometers east of  the al-Seen Military Airbase, setting control over Beir al-Siba, the Mount Sabahiyat and the Rishi, Tal Shahab, al-Sabab Biyar and the Zaza Checkpoint. In case of further advances, the Syrian army will attempt to reach areas controlled by the 5th Assault Corps south of Palmyra.

In northern Hama, sporadic clashes continued in the area of Zaqilyat. However, the situation remained relatively calm as no sides were launching large attempts in order to change the current status quo.

In eastern Damascus, militants and their families have been evacuating from the area of Qaboun under a fresh deal with the government. The evacuation will include few stages and then the area will be transferred under the control of government forces. So far, about 1,000 have officially left the area to Idlib.

Reports are circulating in various sources that the government advance with a strategic goal to reach the city of Deir Ezzor will be launched soon. This operation will be possible only if the safe zones agreement signed in Astana and implementing a ceasefire in a number of areas in Syria will be kept by all the sides.

Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

Syrian War Report – May 12, 2017: Pro-Turkish Militants Form Coalition To Fight ‘Terrorists’

Some 70 ISIS members have withdrawn from the town of Tabqah and the Tabqah Dam under a deal with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon confirmed in a statement at the website of its International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve on May 11. Thus, the US-led coalition officially confirmed rumors that had been circulating about a possible open corridor for the ISIS terrorists operating in the town of Tabqah and the nearby Tabqah dam. This was the second deal of the US-backed force with ISIS that became widely known. Previously, a large group of ISIS members left the town of Manbij encircled by the SDF in the province of Aleppo.

Following the withdrawal from Tabqah, ISIS militants launched an attack on SDF positions in the villages of Ayed Kabir and Al-Mushirfa…

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