Tag Archives: Syrian

Turkey vows to 'drown' US-backed Syrian Kurdish force

Turkey vows to 'drown' US-backed Syrian Kurdish forceBEIRUT (AP) — Turkey's president on Monday denounced U.S. plans to form a 30,000-strong Kurdish-led border security force in Syria, vowing to "drown this army of terror before it is born," as Russia and Syria also rejected the idea.



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The Latest: Turkey's Erdogan to 'drown' Syrian Kurdish force

The Latest: Turkey's Erdogan to 'drown' Syrian Kurdish forceBEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):



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Syrian rebels declare counter attack in Idlib province

Syrian rebels declare counter attack in Idlib provinceBEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Rebels launched a counter attack against Syrian government forces and their allies in Idlib province on Thursday, trying to roll back an advance that is fuelling tension with neighboring Turkey. Fighting raged in Idlib, where a government offensive helped by Iran-backed militia has gathered pace in the last two weeks, according to rebels and a military media unit run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is fighting on the Syrian government side. Idlib province is the biggest chunk of Syria still held by rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad, with a population swollen by Syrians who have fled government advances in other parts of the country.



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Syrian troops reach outskirts of key rebel-held air base

Syrian troops reach outskirts of key rebel-held air baseBEIRUT (AP) — Syrian pro-government forces reached the outskirts of a sprawling rebel-held air base on Wednesday, the target of a wide-ranging offensive in the northwestern Idlib province.



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Israeli air strikes, rockets hit Syria: Syrian army

Israeli air strikes, rockets hit Syria: Syrian armyThe Israeli army overnight carried out air strikes and fired rockets at targets in Syria, causing damage near a military position, the Syrian army said in a statement on Tuesday. Israel’s army has carried out several attacks on the Syrian army and its ally Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011. The Israeli air force carried out strikes on the Qutayfeh area northeast of Damascus, causing the Syrian army to retaliate and “hit one of its planes”, the Syrian army said.



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Syrian government escalates bombing campaign over last-remaining rebel strongholds

Syrian government escalates bombing campaign over last-remaining rebel strongholdsThe Syrian government has increased pressure on the rebels’ last-remaining strongholds with deadly air strikes and bombings, as it looks to reclaim every inch of the country. Syrian and allied Russian aircraft pounded targets in the northwestern region of Idlib on Sunday and Monday, pressing an offensive targeting the only province outside of regime control. Air strikes left at least 21 dead, including eight children and 11 members of the same family west of the town of Sinjar, according to monitors. Meanwhile, an explosion near an Islamist rebel group base on Sunday night killed 34 people, including 19 civilians. The Syrian army lost Idlib, which borders Turkey, to insurgents when the provincial capital fell in 2015. Idlib has seen fierce clashes in recent weeks, as the army pushed to seize a pivotal road between Damascus and the city of Aleppo. People look at the damage in the aftermath of an explosion at a base for Asian jihadists in a rebel-held area of the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib Credit: AFP The province is part of a so-called de-escalation zone agreement struck last year by President Bashar al-Assad’s sponsors, Russia and Iran, and opposition ally Turkey. However, the regime has failed to abide by the deal and has targeted all but one of the four areas covered. At the same time, the regime has stepped up its bombing campaign on the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Shelling and bombardment of the enclave, where the humanitarian conditions have sharply deteriorated, has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians in recent weeks. The latest casualties came on Monday when air strikes killed a child and two other civilians in Madira, a village in Eastern Ghouta, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. People inspect the damaged buildings after explosions were carried out with bomb-laden vehicles in Idlib, Syria  Credit: Getty At the height of the fighting, in 2015, the Syrian government controlled less than a sixth of the country. Since offensives in the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Deir Ezzor in the east, they have regained control more than half of Syrian territory. Assad has repeatedly vowed to retake “every inch” of the country, including Raqqa and other areas taken from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) by US-backed forces. “The regime is doing now what it did in Aleppo,” Abdulkafi al-Hamdo, a teacher from Aleppo who was displaced to Idlib, told the Telegraph. “The bombing is unbelievable in the south. We are seeing the worst days for the revolution now.” Pictures shared by Syrian activists showed a family who had fled fighting in their village in the south of Idlib hiding in a hole in the ground in an attempt to escape circling warplanes. Families cowers in a hole in Idlib province to avoid warplanes in the skies Fighting has driven tens of thousands of residents of the Aleppo and Idlib countryside to areas further north and to the closed Turkish border. According to aid agencies, more than 80,000 have arrived in camps in the last two weeks. While Turkish security forces caught a record number of nearly 10,000 attempting to cross the frontier in the last 10 days of December. Displaced Syrians from Idlib province buy sweet milk pudding, known as sahlab, at a makeshift camp near the rebel-held town of Azaz in northern Syria Credit: AFP "If the strikes on civilian centres continue, there is the possibility of an additional 400,000 civilians trying to make their way to the Turkish border,” said Selim Tosun, from the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation. “This area is already saturated with people and is currently housing roughly one million people.” The city is largely under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which consists of mostly fighters from a former al-Qaeda affiliate. Schools, hospitals and government institutes in the province are run by a patchwork of different rebel groups, including HTS. Idlib has become something of a holding pen for rebels from all over the country. Opposition fighters and activists from Aleppo and other formerly rebel-held areas were sent to the province under so-called reconciliation deals when their strongholds fell. The fight for Idlib could prove to be the toughest and mostly costly fight yet in the Syrian war. WIth over two million people now living in the province, the population is much larger than east Aleppo at the start of the Syrian regime’s offensive there. It will likely see a grinding fight, with high numbers of civilian casualties, due to how densely populated the urban centre is.



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Battle looms for rebel-held Syrian province after IS defeat

Battle looms for rebel-held Syrian province after IS defeatBEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces and allied militiamen are advancing on the largest remaining rebel-held territory in the country's north, forcing thousands of civilians to flee toward the border with Turkey in freezing winter temperatures.



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Syrian rebels say discussing evacuation from territory near Israel

Syrian rebels say discussing evacuation from territory near IsraelSyrian rebels in a pocket of land near where the Syrian, Lebanese and Israeli borders meet are negotiating a deal with the government to leave for other insurgent-held areas, rebel officials there said. The Syrian army, backed by Russian air power, Shi’ite militias supported by Iran and local fighters from the Druze sect have besieged the rebel enclave around Beit Jin for weeks. “There is now negotiation on the departure of fighters and those who wish to leave with them,” said Abu Kanaan, an official in a local rebel group.



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Syrian prisoner release deal breaks deadlock on Ghouta medical evacuations

Syrian prisoner release deal breaks deadlock on Ghouta medical evacuationsBy Tom Miles and Ellen Francis GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Months of deadlock over medical evacuations from Syria’s biggest remaining siege broke late on Tuesday when a deal between Damascus and a rebel faction allowed the Red Crescent to evacuate a handful of critically ill patients. Four patients were evacuated from eastern Ghouta, where almost 400,000 people have been under siege by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces since 2013, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said in a statement.



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Syrian, Iranian backed forces advance in border area near Israel

Syrian, Iranian backed forces advance in border area near IsraelBy Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian army forces backed by Iranian-backed militias pushed deeper into the last rebel-held enclave near a strategic border area with Israel and Lebanon in a new expansion of Tehran’s influence in the war-torn country. The army and the Shi’ite forces helped by Druze militias in the area advanced east and south of the Sunni-rebel held bastion of Beit Jin backed by some of the heaviest aerial bombing and artillery shelling since a major assault began more than two months ago to seize the area, rebels said. The Syrian army said it had encircled the village of Mughr al Meer at the foothills of Mount Hermon as troops moved toward Beit Jin amid fierce clashes.



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