Tag Archives: Syria

Needed in Syria: Disengagement

Needed in Syria: DisengagementOne is the outbreak of another war between Israel and its neighbors.  A reminder of this danger has come from events that began when Israel said it shot down an Iranian drone that had entered its airspace.  Israeli F-16s then attacked a command center in Syria, during which Syrian air defenses downed one of the Israeli warplanes (a rare event for Israel).  Israel subsequently launched a much more widespread set of aerial attacks within Syria.  The Israelis have conducted scores of attacks in Syria over the last five years, but this most recent assault may have been the largest Israeli attack there since the 1980s. A new war involving Israel would surely also involve Lebanese Hezbollah.  There is no indication that Hezbollah seeks such a war.  The group has incurred significant costs by participating in fighting within Syria and has many wounds to lick.  Its leaders still have regrets about the brinksmanship that last got Hezbollah entangled in a war with Israel.  Even though it could get in some hits with cross-border rocket fire, the group’s leaders know that in a new clash it would get badly bloodied by its militarily more capable foe.



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Turks propose joint deployment with U.S. in Syria as allies aim to mend ties

Turks propose joint deployment with U.S. in Syria as allies aim to mend tiesBy Yara Bayoumy, Orhan Coskun and Ece Toksabay ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey proposed on Friday staging a joint deployment with U.S. troops in Syria, as the two NATO allies sought to rescue a rapidly deteriorating strategic relationship that Washington acknowledged had reached a “crisis point”. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met President Tayyip Erdogan during a two-day visit that followed weeks of escalating anti-American rhetoric from the Turkish government. Relations between Washington and its main Muslim ally in NATO have been strained to the breaking point by several issues, above all Turkey’s anger over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey sees as terrorists.



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Turkey, US to 'work together' in Syria after crisis

Turkey, US to 'work together' in Syria after crisisTurkey and United States on Friday agreed to work together in Syria after weeks of tensions over Ankara’s latest cross-border operation that raised fears of a military confrontation between the two NATO allies. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said after talks in Ankara that the two sides would set up working groups to solve key issues that have bedevilled relations. “We are not going to act alone any longer, not US doing one thing, Turkey doing another,” Tillerson said after the talks.



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Russia: 5 citizens probably killed by US strike in Syria

Russia: 5 citizens probably killed by US strike in SyriaMOSCOW (AP) — After a week of unanswered questions, Russia acknowledged Thursday that five of its citizens may have been killed by a U.S. strike in Syria, the first time Russians have died at U.S. hands in Syria's chaotic battlefield.



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Russian mother grieves for son killed by US strike in Syria

Russian mother grieves for son killed by US strike in SyriaKEDROVOYE, Russia (AP) — For Russian mother Farkhanur Gavrilova, the blow came a week ago when an acquaintance called her to say that her son was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria that pitted Russian and U.S. combatants against each other for the first time in the Syrian war.



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Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sources

Russian toll in Syria battle was 300 killed and wounded: sourcesBy Maria Tsvetkova MOSCOW (Reuters) – About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured in Syria last week, according to three sources familiar with the matter. A Russian military doctor said around 100 had been killed, and a source who knows several of the fighters said the death toll was in excess of 80 men. The timing of the casualties coincided with a battle on Feb. 7 near the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor where, according to U.S. officials and associates of the fighters involved, U.S.-led coalition forces attacked forces aligned with Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.



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US strike in Syria kills Russian fighters in first such clash

US strike in Syria kills Russian fighters in first such clashA US air and artillery strike has killed Russian combatants in the first lethal violence in Syria between the two nuclear powers, according to sources on both sides.  The battle, which was briefly alluded to in a US-led coalition statement last week, took place in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria. On 7 February, a large force loyal to Bashar al-Assad and supported by tanks and artillery advanced and fired at a Syrian Democratic Forces base manned by Kurdish troops and American military advisors, a US military spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday.  The United States, which was communicating with the Russian side during the clash, drove the attackers back with aircraft and artillery fire, suffering no fatalities, the spokesman said.  On 10 February, a US drone destroyed an advancing Russian-made T-72 tank from the “same hostile force,” the US military said on Tuesday. While reports have varied widely, claiming anywhere from a handful to more than a hundred Russians were killed and describing them alternately as military troops or private contractors, the 7 February clash nonetheless appears to have been the deadliest between US and Russian citizens since the Cold War.  A US military adviser shakes hands with a Kurdish commander in Manbij in northern Syria last week Credit: Susannah George/AP Photo On Monday, the Russia-based independent research group Conflict Intelligence Team published the names of four Russians who had been killed by the US strike. It said the men were mercenaries from the Wagner group, a highly secretive private military company whose alleged commander was photographed with Vladimir Putin in 2016.  Friends and relatives confirmed to RBC newspaper that the men had been killed in Syria on 7 February. Conflict Intelligence Team told The Telegraph on Tuesday that three other Russians were also killed in the attack, which it said was the only time Russians had been killed by the Western coalition. The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that 13 Russians had been killed and 15 wounded in the strike. It said Wagner troops had been operating with a special forces unit known as the “ISIS Hunters”. Bashad regime soldiers wounded in the US strikes near Deir Ezzor are seen in a hospital last week Credit: AFP/Getty Images Igor Strelkov, a nationalist with links to Russian intelligence who commanded Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said 100 Wagner employees had died in the strike. Bloomberg quoted Russian sources as saying that 200 professional soldiers, most of them Russian, were killed, while an American official told the publication about 100 had been killed.   If true, those numbers would easily eclipse previous Russian losses in Syria, which has been presented by Mr Putin as a largely bloodless conflict. Russia has insisted it does not have troops on the ground even as reports have mounted of small numbers of soldiers and mercenaries killed. Surveys have shown Russians are largely lukewarm toward the Syrian conflict.  Vladimir Putin speaks to servicemen at Russia's airbase in Syria in December Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP In other circumstances, such a clash would have likely sparked a diplomatic crisis, but the Kremlin did not appear to want to discuss possible casualties before Mr Putin stands for re-election next month.  After liberal presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky called on the president to comment on the Russian deaths, Mr Putin's spokesman said these reports “need verification” and argued that so many Russians were located in so many countries it was “difficult to have any detailed information”. In a statement last week, the defence ministry said no Russian soldiers were in that area of Deir Ezzor and claimed that the US strike had hit Syrian rebels by mistake, injuring 25 of them. A memorial ceremony for Russian air force pilot Roman Filipov, who killed himself with a grenade after his aircraft was shot down over Syria this month Credit: Vadim Savitsky/Handout via Reuters “If public opinion paints a picture for itself that the Syrian war will require losses and those to blame are not terrorists but American soldiers, then they will have to react, and no one wants to react to this right now,” said Carnegie Centre Moscow analyst Alexander Baunov.  The clashes in Deir Ezzor bode ill for the future of the war, suggesting that conflicts between the many regional powers present in Syria could grow more frequent even as the terrorists are defeated. “The fight with the Islamic State is being replaced by old and new conflicts amid the intersection of internal and external players' interests,” said Conflict Intelligence Team researcher Ruslan Leviev.



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Coalition destroys Russian-made tank in Syria

Coalition destroys Russian-made tank in SyriaA US-led coalition drone has destroyed a Russian-designed tank in eastern Syria close to the scene of last week’s attack on pro-regime forces that left more than 100 Damascus loyalists dead, officials said Tuesday. The strike on the T-72 tank occurred Saturday near Al Tabiyeh, in Deir Ezzor province, the Pentagon said in a statement. “We detected and saw a tank that took a shot at us,” Lieutenant General Jeffrey Harrigian, who heads up Air Force operations for the region, told Pentagon reporters.



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New fronts emerge in Syria as Assad, allies push for victory

New fronts emerge in Syria as Assad, allies push for victoryBEIRUT (AP) — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.



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Could Russia and America Accidently Go to War in Syria?

Could Russia and America Accidently Go to War in Syria?With American, Russian, Syrian government, Syrian rebels, Iranian forces, Turkish forces, ISIS and others operating in the close confines of Syria, there is a real possibility that a miscalculation or error might lead to a wider conflict. Indeed, one only needs to look to a recent confrontation between U.S. forces and the Syrian regime in eastern Ghouta to see the potential danger. In the ensuing battle, U.S. forces killed approximately 100 regime fighters.



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