Syria

First aid convoy reaches Syria's Ghouta, stripped of medical supplies
An aid convoy gets in to a suburb of Ghouta. it has some food, enough for 27,000 plus (scaled down from 70,000) but all of the med supplies, insulin, dialysis, trauma and surgical kits etc. have been removed:
A World Health Organization (WHO) official said government authorities had removed most medical material from U.N. vehicles, preventing surgical kits, insulin, dialysis equipment, trauma and other supplies from reaching the enclave of 400,000 people.

Za’tari said the convoy had been scaled back from providing food for 70,000 people to providing for 27,500. The United Nations says Syria has agreed to let it bring the rest of the food for the full 70,000 in a second convoy in three days.

“The convoy is not sufficient,” Za’tari said.
'Loud shelling' (is there ever quiet shelling?) heard near the crossing point but doesn't say if its incoming or outgoing:
A senior U.N. official accompanying the convoy said he was“not happy” to hear loud shelling near the crossing point into eastern Ghouta despite an agreement that the aid would be delivered under peaceful conditions.

“We need to be assured that we will be able to deliver the humanitarian assistance under good conditions,” Ali al-Za’tari told Reuters at the crossing point.
Multi agency attempts are being made to bring in the supplies:
Monday’s convoy of trucks sent by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent passed the last Syrian government checkpoint and began to drive into the rebel-held area, a Reuters witness said.

The U.N.’s Za’tari said it would take“many hours” to offload the aid and it might be“well after nightfall” before it could return. Syrian army and Russian soldiers stood on the government-held side of the crossing point, and empty buses waited to evacuate any civilians who might leave eastern Ghouta.

The U.N.’s aid agency OCHA said on Sunday it aimed to deliver a convoy with 46 truckloads of health, food and nutrition supplies to eastern Ghouta. A WHO official told Reuters that Syrian government officials had rejected 70 percent of the supplies it had prepared for Monday’s convoy, including“all trauma (kits), surgical, dialysis sessions and insulin”.
 
Syrian government forces have been making gains in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus. Syrian troops capture new areas in suburbs of Damascus
The Syrian army has, in effect, cut off the two large eastern Ghouta towns of Douma and Harasta by advancing into areas between them and the rest of the rebel enclave, and by bringing roads linking them into firing range, a war monitor said.
The offensive seems to be focused on the town of Mesraba.
The advances on Saturday morning included taking the town of Mesraba at a narrow point joining the northern and southern halves of the rebel area, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media said opposition fighters in Mesraba are crumbling amid the offensive.

State-run Ikhbariyah TV said government forces and their allies captured farms outside the village of Aftris and are now marching toward the village.
Al Jazeera reports Mesraba as being captured, effectively splitting Eastern Ghouta in three. Syria army 'splits rebel-held Eastern Ghouta in three'

They also report that a few of the rebels holding Eastern Ghouta have agreed to be evacuated. The numbers are small, but it could mark the beginning of a trend.
Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in Eastern Ghouta, announced it had agreed to the evacuation of several Hayat Tahrir al-Sham fighters – previously part of al-Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front – who were detained by the group in Eastern Ghouta.
According to Syrian state media, 13 fighters were evacuated with their families through the al-Wafeedin passage and bussed to Idlib province.
 
Just as things were going massively pear-shaped for the US and pals in Syria multiple sources are now citing that the DoD is applying to congress for extra taxpayers money to train,equip and mobilise a 60,000 man proxy to keep on destabilising the theatre with the aim of finally getting rid of that tyrant ,Assad, who only rx'd 89% of the vote when the internationally monitored presidential elections were held back in '14.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/trump...for-60000-man-army-to-overthrow-assad/5631433
Trump Seeks Congressional Funding for 60,000-Man Army to Overthrow Assad | Washington's Blog


All paid for by the US taxpayer.

Who doesn't love the world police?

Look here (page 14), straight from the donkey's mouth ...
FY 2019 OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS (OCO) REQUEST
COUNTER-ISIS TRAIN AND EQUIP FUND (CTEF) TRAIN AND EQUIP FUND
III. REQUIREMENTS IN SYRIA:
http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2019/army/ctef/PB19_CTEF.pdf
 
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Just as things were going massively pear-shaped for the US and pals in Syria multiple sources are now citing that the DoD is applying to congress for extra taxpayers money to train,equip and mobilise a 60,000 man proxy to keep on destabilising the theatre with the aim of finally getting rid of that tyrant ,Assad, who only rx'd 89% of the vote when the internationally monitored presidential elections were held back in '14.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/trump...for-60000-man-army-to-overthrow-assad/5631433
Trump Seeks Congressional Funding for 60,000-Man Army to Overthrow Assad | Washington's Blog

All paid for by the US taxpayer.

Who doesn't love the world police?

Look here (page 14), straight from the donkey's mouth ...
FY 2019 OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS (OCO) REQUEST
COUNTER-ISIS TRAIN AND EQUIP FUND (CTEF) TRAIN AND EQUIP FUND
III. REQUIREMENTS IN SYRIA:
http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Documents/defbudget/fy2019/army/ctef/PB19_CTEF.pdf
Global Research? You quote agitprop sites again? Last I heard it was 30,000.

Just what is going wrong for the coalition in Syria? It’s not going that well for Russia tbh. Losing an aircraft, a pilot and hundreds of mercenaries. No wonder Vlad feels the need to show his ‘strength’ in other areas despite a undoubted election win.
 
Russia have well and truly spannered the west's usual ambitions of conquest this time round and the fact is the document has defense.gov at the end and Global Research picked up on it- so what?
GR is just the vehicle not the author.
The US govt is the author.

I haven't seen any mainstream means picking up on this official doc have you?

As for going well for the US?
If you say so... But why would they need to send 3 and 6 pence if all is going so well?

After 7 years of war, Assad has won in Syria. What’s next for Washington?
 
Russia have well and truly spannered the west's usual ambitions of conquest this time round and the fact is the document has defense.gov at the end and Global Research picked up on it- so what?
GR is just the vehicle not the author.
The US govt is the author.

I haven't seen any mainstream means picking up on this official doc have you?

As for going well for the US?
If you say so... But why would they need to send 3 and 6 pence if all is going so well?

After 7 years of war, Assad has won in Syria. What’s next for Washington?
Shouting at thin air again?

Plenty of reports on the 30,000, which is one of the things which upset the Sultan and led in part to his assault on Afrin.

Assad ‘wins’ when he has taken back all of Syria according to him. He needs Ghouta, Idlib and the 25% plus or minus held by the SDF and the land held by Tr supported FSA. A long way to go yet and seven years of civil war with hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced along with confirmed use of CW....... Not exactly ‘won’ yet. ‘Winning’ maybe.
 
No, he hasn't won and I doubt it'll end well for him.
The US don't like losing face and they certainly aren't used to their plans being FO'd
 
Lost the ‘quote function’?
No, he hasn't won and I doubt it'll end well for him.
He seems happy to let Russians, Iranians and Iranian supported militias (plus many Syrian Republican Guard) die so that he can put up more posters of himself over the rubble.
The Russians don't like losing face and they certainly aren't used to their plans being FO'd
More accurately.
 
Ghouta appears to be split according to Assad regime forces. Reports also from rebel sources that they will fight on, not surrendering and not a negotiated withdrawl:
The advance on Mudeira, after the capture of the neighbouring town of Mesraba on Saturday, has driven a wedge deep inside the insurgent territory, leaving the major towns of Douma and Harasta cut off.

Rebel groups in eastern Ghouta have vowed they will fight on. A statement issued by Free Syrian Army factions there late on Saturday said they had taken a decision not to accept a surrender and negotiated withdrawal.

After the army advances split up the enclave, Jaish al-Islam emerged as the strongest group in the town of Douma, Ahrar al-Sham in the town of Harasta and Failaq al-Rahman in the new southern pocket of eastern Ghouta.
Allegations of the use of incendiary weapons and again chlorine. Assad govt sources say they don't use incendiary weapons and the rebels are preparing to fake CW attacks:
But the violence of their assault has prompted condemnation from Western countries and repeated calls by United Nations aid agencies for a humanitarian ceasefire.

Activists and fighters in eastern Ghouta in recent days have said the bombardment has included incendiary material that causes fires and burn injuries. Local doctors have also reported several incidents of bomb attacks followed by the smell of chlorine and choking symptoms.

The government denies using either incendiary weapons or chlorine gas bombs, and said on Saturday it had information that the rebels were planning to stage a fake chemical attack to discredit the army.
The unanimous UNSC Resolution appears to be ignored and the fighting goes on even during the Russian sponsored temporary ceasefires. No civilians have left using the corridors. Only minimal food aid is getting in during those temporary ceasefires and again the medical supplies are being seized.

Assad govt sources say the rebels fire on any civilians leaving. The rebels deny this, albeit shelling has been reported by independent witnesses. The source being unknown. Civilians are reported to be moving deeper into rebel territory as they believe they will be persecuted by the Assad regime. Denied by Assad govt sources:
While the government and Russia say they have set up safe routes into government-held territory, no civilians are known to have crossed through them yet.

Damascus and Moscow accuse rebels of firing on anybody who tries to leave, something the insurgents deny though a Reuters witness said there was shelling and gunfire near one exit route on Friday.

Rebels and some eastern Ghouta residents contacted by Reuters have said people there do not want to come back under Assad’s rule for fear of persecution, an idea the government says is groundless.
Syrian army splinters rebel enclave in Ghouta onslaught
 
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Russian military says it evacuated 52 civilians from Syria's Ghouta
Further to the above 'as if by magic' Russia says it has managed to evacuate 52 civilians. Only a couple hundred thousand to go apparently removing those killed and actual rebels in Ghouta:
The Russian military said late on Sunday that it had managed to evacuate 52 civilians, including 26 children, from Syria’s rebel-held eastern Ghouta after talks with local authorities.

The civilians, inhabitants of the town of Misraba, were taken to a temporary refugee camp where they were receiving medical aid, the Russian military said in a statement.
E2A: Syria's Douma faces catastrophe - local council
In Douma (where the civilians appear to be heading as they fear persecution by Assad govt forces which is denied); they cant't bury the dead due to air strikes reportedly:
Thousands of families are now sheltering in open streets and public gardens as existing basements and shelters are already overcrowded, the opposition-run Douma local council said.

“After more than 20 days of a barbaric campaign ... this has led to a deterioration of the humanitarian and food situation to a catastrophic level,” it said in a statement.

Burials of the dead at the city cemetery have been suspended due to the intensity of aerial strikes, it added.
 
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France will strike Syria chemical arms sites if used to kill - Macron
Quelle surpise, YarS was wrong:
“The day we have, in particular in tandem with our American partners, irrefutable proof that the red line was crossed — namely the chemical weapons were used to lethal effect — we will do what the Americans themselves did moreover a few months ago; we would put ourselves in position to proceed with targeted strikes,” Macron said.

The French leader has made the threat before but has so far made little headway influencing events in Syria.

“We are cross-matching our own information with that of our allies but to put it very clearly we have an independent capacity to identify targets and launch strikes where needed.”
He's unhappy that the unanimous UNSC Resolution is not being complied with:
Damascus and Moscow have been carrying out a fierce bombing campaign and ground assault against the besieged rebel-held eastern Ghouta enclave since mid-February, despite a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a countrywide ceasefire.

“This is a debate we will have in the coming hours at the United Nations, where it will be shown that the concessions on the ground from Russia, but first and foremost the Syrian regime and its Iranian allies, are insufficient,” Macron said
E2A: U.S. warns it may act on Syria as onslaught against Ghouta grinds on
Looks like the US is stepping up the rhetoric. Whether it leads to action remains to be seen:
“It is not the path we prefer, but it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again,” Haley told the 15-member Security Council. “When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action.”

The United States bombed a Syrian government air base last year over a deadly chemical weapons attack.

The Security Council demanded a 30-day ceasefire across Syria in a unanimously adopted Feb. 24 resolution.
UN Sec Gen is also unhappy:
“There has been no cessation of hostilities,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday. “Violence continues in eastern Ghouta and beyond - including in Afrin, parts of Idlib and into Damascus and its suburbs.”

“No sieges have been lifted ... To our knowledge, not one critically sick or wounded person has yet been evacuated.
Russian response remains resolute:
Russia’s U.N. envoy Vassily Nebenzia also said some states were accusing the Syrian government of carrying our chemical weapons attacks in a bid to “prepare the ground for the unilateral use of force against sovereign Syria.”

“We have heard hints of that in the statements of some delegations today,” Nebenzia said. “Basically steps are being weighed which could hit regional stability very, very hard.”
 
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Russia says U.S. plans to strike Damascus, pledges military response
More on a proposed Russian response to any US action taken. Apparently the rebels will fake a CW attack, the US will use this as a pretext to attack an Assad govt site and russia will respond if any of their service personnel are in danger:
Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, said Moscow had information that rebels in the enclave of eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.

He said the United States intended to use the fake attack as a pretext to bomb the government quarter in nearby Damascus where he said Russian military advisers, Russian military police and Russian ceasefire monitors were based.

“In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia’s armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used,” Gerasimov said in a statement.

He did not say when the alleged attack would take place or provide detailed evidence to back his assertions.
Sick and injured start leaving Syria's besieged Ghouta
Sick and injured allowed to leave for the first time since the unanimous UNSC Resolution was announced. Apparently some fighters and their families have also taken the opportunity to leave the Ghouta enclave:
Sick and injured civilians left a rebel enclave in Syria’s eastern Ghouta on Tuesday under the first medical evacuation since one of the deadliest assaults of the seven-year war began nearly a month ago.

In another sign of success in the government’s mission to retake all rebel-held territory near the capital, the army also evacuated hundreds of fighters and their families from a separate small rebel-held pocket south of Damascus.
Hezbollah news agency (confirmed by SOHR) reporting more than 300 fighters and their families have been moved to Idlib, ready for the next round:
Military Media, a news outlet controlled by Lebanon’s Hezbollah group allied to Damascus, said buses had transported around 300 fighters from the Ajnad al-Sham group and their families to rebel-held Idlib province in the north.

The Observatory said hundreds of fighters had left on buses over the past 24 hours.
 
Civilians flee as two big Syria battles enter decisive phases
Final stages in the battles for Ghouta and Afrin. As usual it’s the civilians that cop it. 48,000 apparently displaced in Afrin with the Turkish op and thousands fleeing the bombing in Ghouta by SAAF and Russian allies. Whether the Turks continue after Afrin and how long after Ghouta falls before the assault in Idlib begins remains to be seen.

Seven years of civil war
 
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited recently captured eastern Ghouta.
Syria's Assad ventures into eastern Ghouta, says area is on 'right path' after army offensive
He videoed himself driving his car through traffic to meet front line soldiers, the video can be found in the story above.
President Bashar al-Assad flaunted government advances in Syria's seven-year war by filming himself driving to meet frontline soldiers near Damascus, making a video of the journey from the city centre into areas recently recaptured.

"The road is open ... everything is running now in the city and in Syria," he said in the video, describing a road that had previously been cut by sniper fire and saying it was now easier to travel around the country.

The video, released overnight after a trip on Sunday, showed Assad in sunglasses at the wheel of his Honda car, speaking about the government's increasing strength as peaceful scenery behind him gave way to battle-scarred concrete.
The news report mentions something about "tens of thousands of civilians began fleeing the opposition area for government lines", but lacks further details on what was happening there.
His visit to the battle front in eastern Ghouta, where state television showed him cheered by soldiers as smoke rose in the distance, came after tens of thousands of civilians began fleeing the opposition area for government lines.
In other developments, Turkey said they would withdraw from Afrin to leave it to its "real owners" once it had been cleared of terrorists.
"We are not permanent there [in Afrin] and we are certainly not invaders. Our goal is to hand the region back to its real owners after clearing it of terrorists," Bekir Bozdag, a deputy prime minister, told reporters.
There was no elaboration on who the "real owners" are to be.

Turkey also said they had taken from the YPG most of the weapons which the US had given them. They said these weapons had been left behind in the YPG retreat.
Bozdag said Turkey had collected "most" of the weapons given to Kurdish fighters by the United States, after the YPG left the arms behind as they fled the town.
 
U.N. envoy sees Syria partition 'catastrophe', fears return of IS
De Mistura mentioning that which has been a concern for many and mentioned before, a military victory for Assad will be hollow if Syria remains divided and he allows IS to rise again by not including the Sunni majority population:
“The truth is that a soft, long-term partition of Syria, which (is) the one that we are witnessing at the moment, in different areas of control, will be a catastrophe, not only for Syria but for the whole region,” he told an audience at Geneva’s Graduate Institute.

“Without an inclusive political process, including those who are excluded, particularly the majority, the Sunnis, Daesh will come back,” he said, referring to Islamic State by its pejorative Arabic name.

De Mistura, holding up a map of Syria with different colours for territory held by different parties, said: “This is fragmentation, this is in fact a country which has areas under the influence of other countries.”

“This is not sustainable, he added. “I believe at end of day Syria has to remain unified.”
$352Bn estimated rebuild cost. Any military victory would be pyrrhic without a political process, power sharing, elections under UN supervision and power sharing:
He said he believed neither the European Union nor the World Bank would help fund the estimated $352 billion cost of rebuilding Syria unless there was a political process with a new constitution, elections under U.N. supervision and power-sharing.

Without that any military victory would be a pyrrhic victory, he said.
He wants the US and Russia who do talk to each other, to ... err ... talk to each other some more. To attain a mutual resolution on Syria:
No country actually wanted to see Syria break up, and Russia and the United States had a common interest in seeing Islamic State defeated and were talking to each other, which was positive, de Mistura said.

“Much of what we are seeing in Iraq, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Yemen is connectable to the tectonic fight between one country and another: Iran and Saudi Arabia, Shia and Sunni. We cannot hide it,” he said.

An agreement between those two countries to sit down and talk would have an immediate impact across the region.
No IFOR/SFOR/KFOR. I'm not sure if the final part is aimed at the US or Iran:
But he saw no chance of “diplomacy backed by force”, a formula used to end the war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

“I think there is no willingness by any country to get involved militarily inside Syria in a pro-active way, except Russia which is there to defend the government, and others there for other reasons but not necessarily to find a solution.”
 
Islamic State takes Damascus area after rebels pull out - monitor
Away from Ghouta SOHR reports that IS have taken over the al-Qadam area, a suburb of Damascus after fighting SAA elements. An area abandoned by rebels last week following one of Assad's relocation programmes. The rebels had been sporadically fighting IS:
Islamic State fighters holding a small district in Damascus have gained some ground after driving out Syrian army units that moved into a neighbouring area that rebels abandoned last week, a war monitor said.

In fighting that lasted 24 hours, the ultra-hardline militant group killed 36 Syrian soldiers, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Syrian army could not immediately be reached for comment.

The district of al-Qadam lies in the Syrian capital’s southern suburbs and has not been part of the month-long offensive waged by the army against rebels in eastern Ghouta.
IS still remain in parts of Syria, notably by the southern border and in areas near the border with iraq on each side of the Euphrates:
However, the Islamic State group that had held a separate part of Qadam, and had sporadically fought the rebels there, launched an assault to take the area they had vacated.

Islamic State has lost almost all its territory in Syria after two rival offensives last year by the Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, and an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by the United States.

It now controls only the small pocket in Qadam, a patch of territory in southwest Syria near the borders with Jordan and Israel, and two small areas of desert on each side of the Euphrates near the border with Iraq.
 

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