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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Civil War’

Another US-Russian Ceasefire Deal for Syria, Again

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov shook hands Friday on a deal to impose a new cease-fire in Syria after marathon talks in Geneva. More than half a million Syrians have died since the start of the savage civil war that has raged in the country since March 2011.

The truce is scheduled to begin Monday together with the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

But few have faith the deal will hold up for more than a few minutes.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself little more than a name on paper for a collection of secular opposition groups backed by the West, quickly dismissed the possibility that this time the deal would bring peace.

Fares al-Bayoush, head of the FSA’s Northern Division group, pointed out that Russia and Syrian government troops had not complied with the previous cease-fire. Likewise, Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesperson for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Brigades opposition group said the agreement would only give government troops the opportunity to gather forces and reinforce troops in Aleppo with more Iranian-backed military forces.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement but reminded that “broken promises” had been heard before, The Guardian reported. “I call on all parties to the Syria conflict and all countries with influence upon them to do what is needed to end violence and lift sieges,” he said. “In particular, it’s vital that the regime in Damascus now delivers on its obligations, and I call on Russia to use all its influence to ensure this happens.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry by phone on Saturday that Ankara welcomes the cease-fire. Two and a half weeks ago, Turkey launched its own invasion of Syria after dealing with an endless flood of Syrian refugees through its southeastern border, and numerous “overflow” attacks from the war. Now Ankara has said it will provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo, in northern Syria, in cooperation with the United Nations, following the cease-fire.

It’s not the first time such a cease-fire has been proposed the same two parties; just six months ago, a similar truce was made, and violated repeatedly by both sides almost immediately. Before that, the two sides worked out a cease-fire deal in 2013. That one didn’t happen, either.

Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Lavrov, “The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe Russia and my colleague have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace.

“Out of complexity in Syria, there is emerging a simple choice between war and peace,” he said.

The plan is for the U.S. and Russia to establish a joint operation center to coordinate military efforts against the Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.

Russia informed President Bashar al-Assad about the agreement and, according to Lavrov, the regime agreed to comply. Although the terms were documented and agreed to by both sides, they would not be made public, he told reporters, according to the UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph.

The deal rides on Russia’s ability and willingness to stop attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and the same cooperation by the United States to halt attacks by “moderate” opposition forces who unite with Al Nusra and other radical Islamists when it suits their needs.

Other forces that have become involved in the Syrian conflict include Iran and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the Kurds.

It’s a coin toss whether anyone will actually pay more than five minutes’ attention to the terms of the deal in Damascus this time — and some bookie is probably making good money on the estimates of how long the quiet will last, or if it will even be quiet at all by Monday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Retreats from Syria

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

The elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is retreating from Syria.

Just 700 of the elite forces remain in the country, according to Bloomberg. The figure does not, however, include Iranian military advisers embedded among the Syrian armed forces since 2012.

More than 7,000 troops were fighting for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in October, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. By late October, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that just 2,000 Iranian troops were fighting in the country.

The deaths and injuries of top officers in major military campaigns this year has clearly taken its toll on the force, and convinced Iran enough is enough. “They are losing lieutenants,” former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told Bloomberg. “When you lose lieutenants it means you are losing people fighting on the front lines.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institute last Friday that the campaign to take back control of the Idlib province and other areas that have come under rebel control has been a “failure.”

Ya’alon cited the “incompetence” of the Syrian armed forces, and the “lack of determination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps” as factors in that failure.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken up the battle, however, with Moscow’s military forces escalating their air campaign in Aleppo. Russia remains firm that Assad is the best option for leadership in Syria, despite the fact that only a small bit of territory around Damascus actually remains under his control.

The rest of what once was Syria has been carved up into small emirates and bits of territory divided among the rebel groups, Al Qaeda-linked forces and the Da’esh (ISIS) terror organization.

Hana Levi Julian

Major Airbase Falls to Rebels, Syrian Troops Driven from Idlib Province

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Syrian government troops have lost control over a major military airbase in the northwestern province of Idlib.

The troops pulled out of the Abu al-Duhur base after a two-year siege by Islamist-led rebels, according to a news flash broadcast Wednesday on Syrian state television.

The rebels have now secured control over nearly all of Idlib province – but it is still not entirely clear which faction controls the province.

It is believed the fighters who seized the base are members of the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) group.

A number of cities in the province are already under the control of the opposition forces, including Idlib and Jisr al-Shughour, according to the BBC.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the airbase has fallen and the Syrian military has been entirely driven from Idlib province, except for the primarily Shi’ite villages of Foua and Kfariya.

Hezbollah guerrillas and the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, who both are also Shi’ite, may be defending that territory.

Hana Levi Julian

UN Security Council Passes Resolution on Peace Plan for Syria

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Monday calling for a political solution to end the savage civil war in Syria.

It was the first time in two years the UN Security Council has agreed on any statement regarding Syria, where at least 240,000 people have died since the start of the 4-year-old war.

At least 12 million Syrians have become homeless, the Council noted, expressing “grave alarm that the Syria crisis has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today.”

Although the future of President Bashar al-Assad was not specifically mentioned in the statement, it was clear that any “transition” would involve his exit at some point.

Venezuela dissociated itself from parts of the statement due to its strong ties with Syria.

The 16-point peace plan drafted by France was been under discussion since last month, when it was presented to the Council by UN envoy Staffan de Mistura. The statement came a day after Assad government troops attacked a town near Damascus, killing nearly 100 people in one of the most brutal assaults of the war.

The plan calls for a “Syrian-led political process leading to a political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.”

It includes “the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions.”

French Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek pointed out that progress on creating a new government for Syria would also strengthen the campaign against Da’esh (ISIS).

“We will not defeat Da’esh without an organized transition in Syria,” Lamek said.

As with everything else at the United Nations, the gap between discussion and action is wide: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to report back to the Council on the next phase of consultations led by his envoy within 90 days.

Hana Levi Julian

No One Killed in Syria Yesterday

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Yesterday, on Wednesday, for the first time in three years, not a single person was killed in Syria in their civil war.

Due to the snow and the stormy, freezing cold weather it is apparently too cold to kill one another.

In the month of December, on average of 150 people were killed every single day.



Jewish Press News Briefs

Syrian Groups Respond to Israel’s Downing of Jet

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Syrians on both sides of the civil war responded to Israel’s downing of a Syrian Sukhoi-24 fighter jet that had infiltrated into Israeli airspace on Tuesday morning.

A senior member of the Syrian opposition told the Hebrew-language NRG website, “We thank Israel for knocking down the plane, and we hope it is the start of a new situation, where the airspace in Syria, and in particular, the Golan Heights are clear of any of Bashar al-Assad’s jets.”

The opposition member added that the plane was on its way to attack Syrian rebel positions.

Syrians supporting Assad’s side of the civil war blamed Israel for taking sides and cooperating with the rebels, and specifically Da’ash (ISIS) and the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) terrorist organizations.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Kurds Block ISIS Advance on Syrian Town

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Kurdish fighters in Syria say they have blocked an advance by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) towards the town of Kobani near the border of Turkey.

“Fierce clashes are still underway but the ISIS advance to the east of Kobani has been halted since last night,” said Redur Xelil, spokesman for YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish group.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that ISIS fighters have made no significant advance in the past 24 hours. The Observatory tracks violence in the Syrian civil war.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/kurds-block-isis-advance-on-syrian-town/2014/09/22/

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