17 Aug. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, accompanied by National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, visited Moscow to discuss Syria and other cooperation, met Shoigu and Gerasimov, ahead of a possible start of operation in Idlib (Cassad. photos),(TASS),(Orient).
12 Aug. It is reported that YPG collaborates with the government, provides some 1300 fighters, to wear SAA uniforms, for planned operation in Idlib and Western Aleppo, following 'months' of negotiations with the Russians (Turkish state agency Anadolu),(Rusvesna). The SDF spokesperson calls the Anadolu report a lie.
11 Aug. Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad turns 43 years old.
10 Aug. The SAA has followed the retreating ISIS gangs into the as-Suweida desert where they now stand before the groups's "fortified" as-Safa hide-out, which is a gigantic lava field visible as a black circle from space.
Turkey: While Erdogan asks his people not to panic because of the collapsing lira (and calls Putin), Trump declares per tweet that he has just ordered to double Tarrifs on Turkish aluminium and steel.
Russia and China moved to prevent USA to expand DPRK sanctions list in UNSC 1718 Sanctions Committee, with Russia apparently making references to US recent sanctions on Russia.
8 Aug. The Syrian Presidency announces that Asma al-Assad "started the first stage of treatment of a malignant tumor in the breast which was discovered in its early stage".
The SDF announces that their operation against the ISIS pocket at the Iraqi border has come to a successful conclusion. 71,360 km² and 191 km border were liberated since it started on June 3.
7 Aug. The SAA is following ISIS into the desert between as-Suweida and al-Tanf.
6 Aug. A prominent scientist Dr. Aziz Isber, developer of missile technique, is murdered by a car bomb in Hama province. Many suspect Mossad behind the operation.
The YPG rejects accusations in a HRW report alleging they would routinely recruit child soldiers, saying that these are stories based on hearsay and isolated occasions have been dealt with.
Firat News Agency publishes an interview with a citizen of Afrin, according to whom the conditions in the Turkish-occupied canton are horrific.
With fresh space in Idlib prison (see 2 Aug), Nusra cracks down on rival gangs including recent green bus passengers.
4 Aug. Rania Khalek tells the story of Khaled al Ahmad, "The Mystery Fixer Who Negotiated the End of the Syrian War" (Part II).
3 Aug. Russian military police accompany UN vehicles on their way to patrol Golan heights separation line, for the first time since 2012-report, photos, video, music. (Former rebels who switched sides, and are still armed, said to be shown standing by the road).
Reuters reports on 'US government memo', in response to a proposal on rebuilding Syria, sent via military channels by Gerasimov to Dunford. Russian MoD confirmed that a letter was sent, expressing regret that confidential communication was made public. It is indicated that return of refugees from US-controlled areas and humanitarian issues, including US-controlled areas, have been raised in the letter.(TASS)
2 Aug. 180 of the 700 prisoners of the Nusra-run Idlib Central Prison, among them around 100 ISIS fighters, manage to flee the institution.
Situation in southern Syria
1 Aug. ISIS again attacks the As-Suweida area from their desert pocket, this time the SAA airbase Khalkhalah. While the attack was repelled, the SAA claims only four soldiers died and no equipment was lost, while ISIS propaganda claims 45 killed soldiers, two destroyed planes and several drones.
31 Jul. According to reports, the ISIS pocket in the shadow of the Golan heights is history after the last ISIS fighters surrender, apparently with a deal to transport them to the desert pocket east of as-Suweida in exchange for the women the terror cult has kidnapped a week ago.
The long line of assassinations of "rebel" commanders in Idlib province continues with two high-ranking Nusra fighters, an Egyptian and an Usbek.
According to "reliable" information obtained by Firat News Agency, a mixed delegation of Iraqi Kurds and Turkish intelligence visited Damascus immediately after the talks with the SDF and tried to convince the government to not further these talks, offering goodies like a consulate in Erbil and secret talks with the Erdogan regime in exchange. The meeting is said to have ended without result.
30 Jul. Russia has established a humanitarian corridor through which vetted civilians are able to leave Idlib province, which is thought to be the theatre of the next big operation once the SAA has finished ISIS in the very southwest.
Russia, Iran and Turkey are meeting in Sochi to discuss the state of the measures taken in the Astana format. Syria is represented by Bashar al-Ja'afari. The US was invited as an observer but refused.
Following a meeting discussing the outcome of the talks with the government, the SDF releases an optimistic statement calling on all democratic political forces in Syria to "join the political path" to a "democratic decentralized Syria". (Firat News Agency has interviewed Salih Muslim, who was not part of the Kurdish delegation, about his expectations)
On this day in 2006, Murray Bookchin died, who was a main influence on the thinking of Abdullah Öcalan, the father of the political system the SDF want to see implemented in all of Syria. Firat News Agency remembers the man and his work publishing a 1969 essay entitled Listen, Marxist!.
In recent days the SDF, with air support from the US-led coalition, has made considerable advances against the ISIS desert pocket at the Iraqi border north of the Euphrates.
Cassad reports (on 31 Jul, showing Jul. 30 map) that IS pocket is separated from the Purple Line. Also in the report: (1)The militants tried to negotiate that they are released into the desert, but it has been denied - the condition for survival is exactly one - the unconditional surrender ; (2)some militants from the "green" groups (FSA) take part in the 'mop-up' of IS together with the Syrian militia. Participation in battles against IS gives them the right to an amnesty and the subsequent integration into the Syrian society (FWIW).
29 Jul. Clashes in the desert following the ISIS terror attack on As-Suweida are still going on.
27 Jul. A delegation of the political wing of the SDF is in Damascus for talks with the government, apparently with some success.
UAE: A Yemeni armed drone sneaks into the UAE and manages to fire three shots at Abu Dhabi airport.
26 Jul. The SAA has conquered all important population centers in the ISIS pocket in the very southwest and has forced the terror cult into a tiny mountain area.
25 Jul. A convoy of ISIS terrorist approaching from the east massacres over 200 civilians, but is repelled in As-Suweida. Three to six suicide bombings are used as a distraction. A number of female hostages are taken and attempted to sell back for ransom.
24 Jul. Sergei Lavrov visits Merkel in Berlin and Macron in Paris to discuss Syria and Ukraine. Both meetings were also attended by Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Staff of the Russian army, who is on the EU sanctions list since 2014 and not allowed to enter. Germany used a waiver to make the meeting possible.
After they broke through the ISIS defenses in the Golan pocket yesterday, today the SAA has liberated several towns before lunch.
The IDF claims to have intercepted a Syrian fighter jet which entered the Golan heights. According to Al Masdar, the SAA confirms the downing of the jet and says it has mistakenly crossed over into the occupied airspace. The pilot Colonel Omran Marii is dead.
23 Jul. Lavrov, Netanyahu, Gerasimov have met in West Jerusalem, discussed Syria. It is said (1,2) that Israel rejected Russian offer to keep Iran 100 km from Syria-Israel border. In TASS version, Netanyahu stated that Israel is interested in complete withdrawal of Iran, without rejecting the Russian proposal.
22 Jul. The Syrian and Russian air forces have conducted 1,900 air strikes on the ISIS pocket next to the Golan heights in recent days.
Netanyahu says Trump, Trudeau asked Israel to help evacuate 800 White Helmets. Bild got a video. It is said that Germany is ready to accept some.
21 Jul. According to Israeli sources, their army helped to evacuate 800 "White Helmets" from the contact line to Syria through the Golan Heights and then to Jordan, from where they are supposed to be transported to "Western" countries. Meanwhile, a large evacuation operation under the usual "green bus north" deal is going on in Quneitra.
20 Jul. In the previous week, the SDF has taken 16 villages from ISIS in the remaining desert pocket at the Iraqi border north of the Euphrates river.
The Russian Hmeimim airbase is under drone attack again.
Iraq: The government declares a state of emergency following mass protests over the lack of basic services like electricity and drinking water.
19 Jul. The series of reconciliation agreements in the south is continuing in recent days and the SAA is now on some hills directly overseeing the ISIS pocket. They and the surrendered FSA "rebels" are jointly guarding the area so no cult members can escape, and plan a joint offensive once formalities are settled.
The civilians of the long-besieged Shi'ite villages Al-Fou'aa and Kafraya in Idlib province are now all evacuated, although reportedly the Nusra terrorists are waylaying on some leaving buses and try to use them to press free more of their imprisoned gang members.
The anniversary of the so-called Rojava Revolution, which is considered to have begun with the expulsion of government forces from Kobane on this day in 2012, is celebrated (Interview with Saleh Moslem, Interview with YPG spokesperson).
AP publishes a report from Talbiseh in the former Rastan pocket, speaking to locals about the situation after the reconciliation deals.
18 Jul. Israel: The Knesset passes with small majority controversial changes to the basic law, declaring the country "the Jewish Nation State", making Hebrew the language of the state and Arabic having 'a special status', and declaring Jerusalem the capital city (full text)
According to the Pentagon, the SDF holds around 600 "Foreign Terrorist Fighters" from more than 40 countries in prison.
17 Jul. The political wing of the SDF says that they will soon open offices in Government-controlled areas of the country.
15 Jul. Up to 1,000 "White Helmets" and their families are in danger of assassination and other intimidation according to "Western" media reports about efforts to evacuate or rescue them from Syria by "The Netherlands, Britain, France, Canada and Germany".
14 Jul. With reconciliation agreements in the important towns of Inkhil and Tal Al-Harrah, the "rebel" pocket in the south continues to implode.
13 Jul. Iraqi media reports that the US is planning a new military base in the country. Its location shall be close to the Syrian border, the Euphrates and the "international road" crossing at Al Bukamal/Al Qaim.
Elijah Magnier reports that "a top Syrian decision maker" told him that the US delivered - through Russian brokering - a message to Assad saying that they want to leave Al-Tanf and the northern regions as soon as possible and have only one condition: That Iranian forces leave as well. Assad reportedly replied that Iran also doesn't want to stay longer than necessary to defeat the Takfiris, but will stay exactly that long by his request.
Rudaw reports that in Al Tabqa the local authorities have reached an agreement with the Syrian government to run the Tabqa Dam together.
12 Jul. In the south, the SAA has taken over a couple of places including the town of Tafas in which some "rebels" had preferred to join ISIS over sticking to the surrender agreement. The town of Hayt even closer to the ISIS pocket has been handed over to the terror cult before the SAA could reach it. Negotiations in Deraa city are still going on, but in the afternoon reports come in that an agreement was reached and Russian military police has entered the "rebel"-controlled southern parts of the city.
Airstrikes on two villages near the Iraqi border kill more than 50 civilians. The US-led "coalition" is accused and doesn't deny, says they are investigating.
10 Jul. Among the places at the Jordanian border the SAA takes over is the old border crossing south of Deraa city.
9 Jul. The SAA continues to advance along the Jordanian border and has according to some reports already encircled the "rebels" in the southern part of Deraa city. Meanwhile, the Russians claim that a total of 90 towns and villages have joined the truce agreements.
8 Jul. The Syrian cabinet approves a plan on how to restore public services in the liberated areas in the south.
SANA reports that an Israeli attack on T-4 airbase in Homs was answered by intercepting several missiles and hitting one jet.
7 Jul. Russia is so far unsuccessfully putting pressure on gangs in western Deraa and Quneitra to come to an agreement with the SAA like their comrades further east have done.
Representatives of 55 clans and tribes meet at a forum in Aleppo directed against intervention in Syrian affairs by the US, France and Turkey.
6 Jul. According to several reports in the afternoon, the SAA has taken control of the Nassib border crossing with Jordan and raised the Syrian flag.
The OPCW publishes a preliminary report about their investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma which was used as justification for the FUKUS missile attack in April. No traces of chemical weapons were found.
5 Jul. In a steady advance from the east, the SAA clears a large area of land along the Jordanian border and stands only a few kilometers away from the Nassib border crossing.
4 Jul. According to Elijah Magnier, the number of fighters in the ISIS pocket next to the occupied Golan heights is estimated between 1,500 and 2,000. As he points out, nobody is offering them any deal.
Another round of negotiations fails in the south after the SAA rejects a list of demands issued by the FSA.
The SDF takes two more villages at the Iraqi border from ISIS in their ongoing and slowly progressing "Al-Jazeera Tempest" campaign.
Key Kurdish political figure Aldar Xelil states at a conference in Raqqa that while his side is ready for dialogue, the Syrian government has yet to make a serious effort and the reports of ongoing negotiations are false.
Lavrov and the Jordanian foreign minister hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Moscow.
3 Jul. The Russian air force launches "massive" attacks on targets near Jisr al-Shughour and the Turkish border. This region is known to harbour the "Turkistan Islamic Party" gangs which Russia accuses of having launched the recent attacks on the Khmeimim base.
According to the UNHCR, around 300,000 civilians had to flee and are internally displaced by the fighting in the south. 60,000 of them are said to have gathered at the Nassib border crossing to Jordan. The agency calls on Jordan to open the border and on the countries of the region to take care of these people.
2 Jul. According to military sources talking to Al Masdar, high level negotiations between the SAA and the YPG, resp. their civil control institutions, are going on with the end goal of finding a way to reunite forces. A local agreement over comparatively minor issues has reportedly already been reached in Hasakah, where the government has never ceased to have an outpost in otherwise Kurdish-controlled lands.
The source continued that the government is attempting to convince the Kurdish Democratic Federation to agree to the following:
- Join forces with the government across the country
- Handover the Tal Kojar and Simalka border-crossings into Iraq
- Handover the Al-Darbasiyah and Ras Al-‘Ayn border-crossing into Turkey
The YPG is asking in return that the government make the Kurdish language a part of the Syrian educational system, count the period the YPG fighters served as service in the SAA, and give a Kurdish official a permanent seat in the Syrian oil ministry.
After several rounds of negotiations, the important southern FSA stronghold town Busra al-Sham surrenders to the SAA.
A second repelled drone attack on Khmeimim airbase is reported. Russia blames jihadi groups from central Asia. In the evening the base is attacked a third time. Russian air defense shot down small aerial vehicles aproaching Khmeimim airbase.
1 Jul. Sunday Times: UK RAF Typhoon fighter jet dropped a 500lb laser-guided bomb "during a firefight" last month near the intersection of Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan (apparently near al-Tanf). A Syrian army officer was killed and seven others were wounded, "according to local reports."
Cassad: another attempted drone attack on Khmeimim airbase, drones shot down; some videos. No casualties or damage reported.
Some FSA groups in Tafas refuse to follow the agreed hand-over of the town to the SAA and instead pledge allegiance to ISIS in its neighboring little pocket in the shadow of the occupied Golan heights.
Firat News Agency publishes a report on the state of the historical sites from the neolithic age located in northern Syria.
30 Jun. A number of towns and villages in the south accept the terms of surrender. These places lie along the M5 motorway to the Jordanian border and the strategic Nassib crossing. Others still refuse with no general settlement being reached.
29 Jun. After the SAA has generally advanced and taken over several towns and a military base from "rebels" in the south in recent days, a 12 hour ceasefire until noon to discuss terms of surrender is announced by the Russian Reconciliation Center. Incoming field reports say that as one result, the three towns of Ibta, Tafas and Dael, just north of Deraa city, have surrendered and will be handed over to the SAA.
Rusvesna version of events, robo-translared: "In the cities of Etbaa, Ta'afas, Daile and El Sheikh Saad, the militants laid down their arms and settled their status. Thus, the government troops came close to the area controlled by ISIS, located in the province of Quneitra. The cities of Teiba, Sayda, Umm Al-Meiyazin and Nasib agreed to lay down their arms and move to the side of the government. Residents of these settlements everywhere hold rallies in support of government forces in anticipation of the arrival of Russian military police and humanitarian aid units. The return of peaceful life to these settlements will allow the official Damascus to take control of highway M5 up to the border with Jordan."
Other reports suggest large number of refugees in the area; neither Jordan nor Israel are willing to allow refugees to enter. Some humanitarian aid is provided. On the Russian side, Kadyrov foundation sent some humanitarian aid too; aid delivery and recently constructed refugee housing shown on photos (Rusvesna).
The SDF-affiliated Syrian Democratic Council (of Kurds in the North) issues a statement accusing Staffan de Mistura of making "blatantly false statements" about the situation in Afrin and covering up Turkish atrocities in his June 27 briefing to the UNSC. In this they agree with Syrian UN ambassador Ja'afari who mentioned the topic among other distortions in his reply to the briefing.
28 Jun. Putin to military graduates: As you know, we started the withdrawal of our forces during my visit to Khmeimim. The withdrawal carries on as we speak: 13 aircraft, 14 helicopters, and 1,140 personnel were withdrawn over the past few days. All these people were tested in combat. You and your comrades-in-arms will have to make full use of this experience when training personnel in Russia ...
CNN claims to have been told that Trump plans to make a deal with Putin which would allow the US to get out of Syria "ASAP".
Three humanitarian corridors are opened for civilians to leave the combat areas in southern Syria.
27 Jun. UK wins bid for OPCW to attribute blame (full text) for chemical weapons attacks (82 countries for, 24 countries against, including Russia, China, India, South Africa, Iran, Syria, 26 abstained, 4 did not cast a vote). Russia criticizes the move but short of leaving OPCW.
26 Jun. At a UN conference in Vienna discussing chemical weapons, the Syrian representative complains that the OPCW is pressured into acting as a political tool of "the West".
24 Jun. Assad gives an interview to Russian NTV (transcript, video).
Turkey: In early presidential and parliamentary elections, Erdogan wins an absolute majority of 52.5% in the first run, while his AKP party loses it for the first time since they came to power and will, with only 42.5% of the votes, have to form a coalition government with the secular nationalist MHP. The left and pro-Kurdish HDP with its leader sitting in jail managed again to stay in parliament with 11.7% of the votes.
The Russian Reconciliation Center reports that FSA groups in 11 southern settlements have joined the SAA in efforts against HTS and other jihadis.
The Russian air force starts participating in the SAA's operation in the south.
23 Jun. The US sends a letter to FSA groups in the south telling them to not expect a military intervention on their behalf.
Berlin: At their annual "Freedom Award" ceremony, the Atlantic Council honours Syrian humanitarian intervention poster child Bana Alabed and former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, famous for her quote that 500,000 dead Iraqi children due to sanctions in the 90s were "worth it" (Eva Bartlett article).
22 Jun. The SAA, led by the Tiger Forces, launches its long-awaited operation in the southern Quneitra, Deraa and Suweida provinces.
Briefing of chief of Russian radiological, chemical and biological defense forces, Major-General Igor Kirillov, critical of OPCW investigations in Syria and of Skripal incident.
20 Jun. Al Masdar reports that phase two of the SAA's operation against the ISIS desert pocket between eastern Homs and the Euphrates has led to "full liberation" of the "entire" area. The next day reports about further advances include maps that show that there is still a large, but shrinking pocket of ISIS control left in the desert between Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor.
Thierry Meyssan takes a look at the role Germany has played in the war on Syria (Cold war events also mentioned, such as Alois Brunner 'installed in Damascus', among other Nazi officers 'sent all over the world' to fight the Soviets, and to 'organize local secret services' in Egypt, Iran, Syria 'on the model of the Gestapo').
weltnetz.tv has published another detailed sitrep with the only German permanently accredited journalist reporting from Syria, Karin Leukefeld (Part I, Part II, German language).
19 Jun. At a UN conference against spread of small arms, Syrian ambassador Ja'afari condemns the on-going practice of arming terrorist groups and names as countries involved Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Israel and FUKUS.
The US withdraws its membership from the UN Human Rights Council.
18 Jun. Mysterious foreign airstrikes kill several Syrian, Iraqi troops in east Syria. The US denies that it or members of its coalition were behind what seems to have been armed drone attacks. Later, CNN reports that a proverbial unnamed US government official told them that Israel was behind the attack that killed at least 52 people.
17 Jun. Top PYD Kurd leader Aldar Xelil tells Reuters that they hope Assad is serious about his negotiation offers and think that a deal between them and the Damascus government would be “a historic turning point”.
According to activists, looted and smuggled artifacts from an ancient synagogue in Jobar in the eastern Ghouta have shown up in Turkey, Israel and New York.
Iraq: Just as with the Euphrates river, Turkish upstream machinations with the water supply cause water crisis not limited to drought in the environment of the Tigris (Kurdish Dilja) river.
16 Jun. Aleppo Citadel re-opens for visitors and tourists.
The SDF takes the town Al-Dashishah in the desert of southern Hasaka province near the Iraqi border from ISIS.
15 Jun. After several recent ISIS attacks from inside the Badiya desert pocket, the SAA started a counter-offensive and has liberated around 2000 km² of land, overrunning the cult's defenses. A second phase of the operation targeting the pocket from the south-west is in preparation.
In an interview a YPG representative looks back at the liberation of Gire Spi (Tal Abyad) from ISIS three years ago today.
14 Jun. The US resumes funding of the so-called "White Helmets" organization which was frozen on May 3. $6,6 million are to be allocated through USAID and the State Department.
The SAA extends their deadline for reconciliation negotiations with the "rebels" in Daraa and Quneitra, which has originally been set to today. A member of the reconciliation commitee is shot dead on open streets in "rebel"-held al-Harra town. The doctor is the twelfth member of that committee who has been assassinated during the last two months.
According to information from PMU members, ISIS has, on Iraqi soil, executed 90 of its own fighters for unwillingness to fight the SAA in Syria. The bodies were reportedly thrown into the Euphrates.
13 Jun. Assad gives an interview to Iranian Al-Alam TV's Hosein Murtada (transcript, video).
Kurdish ANHA publishes a detailed report entitled Confessions of terrorist cell linked to Turkish intelligence reveal new facts (Part 1,Part 2).
11 Jun. The Russian defense ministry gives another specific warning about a planned chemical weapons false flag.
10 Jun. The UK's Mail on Sunday publishes an interview with Assad (transcript, video)
9 Jun. Turkey has finished construction of a 764 km long wall on the border to Syria. It is also building a 144 km long wall on the border with Iran.
8 Jun. The chiefs of staff of the Russian and US armies, Gerasimov and Dunford, meet in Helsinki and discuss settlement in Syria and deconfliction in Europe "in a constructive manner".
Reports come in that ISIS managed to break through the SAA defense lines and enter the important city of Albukamal on the Euphrates banks near the Iraqi border. Later it is reported that the SAA managed to secure the city again.
7 Jun. In the village of Zardana in Idlib province a massacre occurs in which according to SOHR at least 44 civilians die. Opposition sources point the finger at a Russian air strike. Russia denies that it flew attacks there and says it knows of infighting with heavy artillery between Nusra and Turkish-backed groups.
6 Jun. The Homs-Hama part of Syria's most important highway M5 re-opens for the first time in seven years.
5 Jun. The Syrian government sends a letter to the UN accusing the US-led "coalition" of crimes against civilians in Hasakah province which the letter says are committed as punishment for their refusal to join "separatist militias" under the SDF umbrella. The letter also accuses the US of directing the remaining ISIS gangs in the desert, all with the goal "to undermine Syria’s sovereignty, safety and territorial integrity".
According to a statistic published by Idlib24, there have been 93 assassination attempts against "rebel" leaders in Idlib province since late April. Over 40 of them have targeted leaders of the al-Qaeda incarnation HTS.
According to a YPG statement, the "last advisory group" has withdrawn from Manbij.
4 Jun. After a meeting in Washington by the two foreign ministers, the US and Turkey release a joint statement in which a mutually endorsed "roadmap" about the situation in Manbij is mentioned (Kurdish view on the statement).
Assad issues two decrees raising the salaries of active military personal by 30% and those of retired military personal by 20%.
The extremely low water levels in the Euphrates due to machinations of Turkey cause draught and animal diseases.
3 Jun. A very close adviser to the late Zahran Alloush turns out to be a government spy.
According to Fars SAA and RuAF launched heavy attacks in northern Hama and Southern Idlib.
According to Southfront and Fars(SAA) and its allies repelled an attack of ISIS along the western bank of the Euphrates River in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside.
2 Jun. Representatives of seventy tribes of Aleppo, Raqqa and Hasakah provinces hold a conference entitled "Syrian tribes against foreign intervention and the American presence on Syrian soil".
The Syrian FM Muallem demands that the US leave Al-Tanf immediately.