by Sharmine Narwani, Russia Today
Palestinians didn’t jump into the fray in Syria. They were dragged into it – violently and reluctantly. Here is the story of how and why Palestinians and their 14 refugee camps became strategic targets in the Battle for Syria.
My first visit to Yarmouk took place a few days after 20 people were killed in the Palestinian camp’s first major shelling incident on August 2, 2012. Residents showed me the damage caused by the first mortar – which hit the roof of a small apartment building not far from Tadamoun, a Damascus suburb where rebels and security forces were clashing daily.
As bystanders rushed to investigate the damage, a second shell hit the narrow street outside where onlookers had congregated, killing and injuring dozens.
Foreign media headlines suggested the Syrian government was shelling Yarmouk, but Palestinians inside expressed doubt. Some said these were rebel mortars from adjacent neighborhoods, but it was clear nobody could provide definitive answers for what may simply have been a series of stray shells. Continue reading Stealing Palestine: Who dragged Palestinians into Syria’s conflict?
The Syrian Arab Army frustrated Takfiri terrorists’ attempt to infiltrate into Assal al-Ward in Qalamoun in the Damascus countryside, inflicting heavy losses upon them.
The Syrian Arab Army also regained control over the orchards of Bala town in Eastern Ghouta in the Damascus countryside, killing and injuring a large number of militants. Continue reading Syrian Arab Army Repels Terrorist Infiltration in Qalamoun, Advances in Eastern Ghouta
by Ayham Merhi, Al-Akhbar English
The Syrian crisis has altered the demographics of areas witnessing changes from the war. More than half of the Syrian Assyrian community has left their main city – Tel Tamr in al-Hasaka’s countryside – to neighboring Arab states and other countries. But those who remain are still holding on to their land, refusing the temptation of emigration.
The situation in the city of Tel Tamr in the western countryside of al-Hasaka seems unreal.
Tel Tamr is no longer crowded with its residents, who used to breathe life into the city. The city was famous for being the capital of tourism in Hasaka and the homeland of Syria’s Assyrians, in effect becoming their main city. People from all over the district used to travel tens of kilometers “to eat the local burghul at Umm Hani’s in the village of Tel Nasri or the grilled fish in Tel Jumaa or Tel Jazirah.” This is in addition to the droves of people from al-Malikia, 200 kilometers away, who spend their holidays at the banks of al-Khabour river. Continue reading Tel Tamr, Syria: Assyrians cling to their homeland despite threats
by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) has had a rough week in eastern Syria, as the loss of ground and men have demoralized their forces in the Homs, Al-Hasakah, and Deir Ezzor Governorates. The recent losses for ISIS marks the first time since ISIS’ emergence in Syria that they are on the defensive against both the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in certain areas; this has also caused issues for their militants fighting Iraq due to their forces stretching too thin. Continue reading ISIS Suffers Devastating Losses in Eastern Syria This Week
)- Foreign-backed militants suffered heavy losses in confrontations with the Syrian army in Quneitra and Homs provinces.
The army soldiers attacked the hideouts of the rebels in al-Madajen, Tal Mazhara, al-Bohouth, al-Elmiyah, and Rasm al-Khawaled areas in Quneitra and killed huge numbers of them during a series of operations.
Continue reading Syrian Arab Army Strikes Major Blow at Takfiris in Quneitra and Homs
by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
The 18th Tank Brigade of the Syrian Arab Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, backed by the National Defense Forces and Liwaa Al-Qalb Al-Suqour Sahra’a (Syrian Arab Army Special Forces), have captured the remaining gas fields of Jabal Al-Sha’ar (Poet Mountains) in east Homs. This marks the 2nd time in 4 months that this mountain area in the Homs Governorate has been recaptured by SAA and their allies. Continue reading ISIS Suffers Their Biggest Setback in Syria; Jabal Al-Sha’ar Captured by the Syrian Arab Army
by Nahed Hattar, Al-Akhbar English
Ever since Washington put together an international anti-ISIS coalition, the situation in Syria and the region has become more ambiguous and blurry. The Syrian position has been to accept US airstrikes against the terrorist group as a fait accompli, while Iran continues to object to them and Moscow criticizes them sharply. What is happening inside the Russian-Iranian-Syrian alliance?
The question would disconcert most diplomats, let alone Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who usually weighs his word very carefully. But, to my surprise, the minister spoke unreservedly, and at the end of our meeting, he told me, “Publish whatever you see fit from what I said. I will let you judge the situation.” Thus, I will have to choose what may be published from a long conversation with Syria’s top diplomat that was not meant for publication, but for “comprehension.” Below is what I judged to be appropriate to publish. Continue reading Syrian foreign minister: our diplomatic priorities are to ensure resilience, secure more arms
by Leith Fadel, Al-Masdar News
As the Anti-ISIS Coalition continues to bombard east Aleppo, the battle between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Islamic Front (Jabhat Al-Islamiyya) has started to heat up. The SAA’s offensive dubbed “Operation Canopus Star” began in December of 2013; this attack followed the strategic capture of the As-Safira District, which opened a new SAA supply route from Khanesser Road. The Khanesser Road supply route has proved to be one the most imperative victories for the SAA in the Aleppo Governorate, as the consistent flow of supplies have replenished the once scarce resources for the embattled soldiers. Continue reading Syrian Arab Army Prepares To Envelop Aleppo