July 14 — Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed five oil tanks, a front-end loader and a wellhead
About one week ago, with coalition assistance, “our Syrian Democratic Force partners, mostly Arabs”, the SDF, breached into the ancient citadel of Old Raqqa in the central part of the city. We should not forget that ISIS has had more than three years to prepare the defense of Raqqa. While SDF operations are off to a good start, resistance has been stiffening, and we know this is not going to be an easy fight. Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, July 11, 2017, [VOA July 11] In the 1970s, Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, displaced tens of thousands of Kurds in the province of Raqqa in order to resettle Arab families. Raqqa’s Arabs fear the Kurds now may seize the opportunity to even the score and engineer a Kurdish expansion, which would result in an upending of current demographics. If the Kurdish-led SDF fails to oversee the city and its outlying villages evenhandedly and within traditional Arab and tribal power structures, the odds of future sectarian conflict will increase, providing an opening for the jihadists.
On July 8, 2017, the Already Happened Twitter account, which bills itself as “independent media,” pointed out satellite imagery from June 2017 that appears to show a small airstrip in southern Syria a few miles from the trinational border where Jordan, Iraq, and Syria meet.
IS still controls territory in three areas of Iraq – around Hawija, 130km (80 miles) south-east of Mosul; around Tal Afar, 65km west; and from Ana to Al-Qaim in the Euphrates river valley, 250km to the south-west.
IS also holds a string of towns along the Euphrates in Syria, including Albu Kamal and Mayadin, but its stronghold of Raqqa is besieged by US-backed fighters.
Many have relocated to Mayadeen, a town 110 miles southeast of Raqqa near oil facilities and with supply lines through the surrounding desert. They have taken with them the group’s most important recruiting, financing, propaganda and external operations functions, American officials said. Other leaders have been spirited out of Raqqa by a trusted network of aides to a string of towns from Deir al-Zour to Abu Kamal.
40 min (46.6 km) via Route 4
[July 5 Isis melts into desert in Syria? ]
After Raqqa, from a military perspective, many of ISIS’s fighters, including its commanders, will simply melt away into the desert. The northern Palmyrene mountain range ts said to be new base to transfer its first and second line commanders, who are considered its fighting, political, and security elite, and to transfer its military and financial stocks to that region located in the desert, east of Raqqa. The rugged mountainous region that is of desert nature and void of villages and population groups portends a long-standing guerrilla war, making the restoration of stability very difficult.
This region extends to the villages of the eastern countryside of Salmiya, at the end of Bala’as mountain range to the west, and is connected in the south to the northern Palmyrene mountain range that reaches al-Qalamoun mountains.
This region is a central point between three countries: Jordan, Iraq and Syria, through which ISIS can reach most of the Syrian regions; from the predominantly Druze Sweida, adjacent to Israel in the far south, to Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in the east.
From this mountain range, ISIS can easily cross the international road between Homs and Damascus and can have easy access to the countryside of Homs and Hama, which include Alawis and Christian villages, to the countryside of the Ismaili-majority Salamiyah and Idlib, a stronghold of the Nusra Front in al-Tamanah town, and can enter Damascus countryside from Dumair.
[June 25 Iran not Russia: Deir al-Zour hit by Iranian missiles ]
IS has moved most of its leaders to al-Mayadin in Syria’s Euphrates Valley, southeast of the group’s besieged capital there, Raqqa. Among the operations moved to al-Mayadin, about 80 km (50 miles) west of the Iraqi border, were its online propaganda operation and its limited command and control of attacks in Europe and elsewhere, they said.
“A number of mid-range surface-to-surface missiles” were launched from bases in Iran’s western border provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan, delivering “fatal and crushing blows” to targets in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor area, according to a statement from the IRGC’s office of public affairs, published by Tasnim. U.S. and Coalition jets around Sept. 17, 2016 hit oil pipelines, fuel trucks and other parts of the Islamic State’s oil infrastructure in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour, according to daily statements from Centcom. Some Trump appointees saw Iran’s missile strike as an illustration of Tehran’s regional ambitions, making it an existential enemy. Blaming enemies for unpredictable bad things restores their sense of personal control. A situational threat to control over an external hazard strengthens the belief in the conspiratorial power of a political enemy. Basically, turning enemies into scapegoats makes them feel more in control. Political Existentialism. Some remarks on Schmitt’s enemy reflections in the light of Heidegger .
These Iran hawks are pushing for a Syria strategy that calls for concentrating first on defeating Islamic State, then turning on Iran and its allies, including Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraq’s Shi’ite militias, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to three U.S. officials.
U.S.-led coalition forces killed Turki al-Bin’ali, a top cleric of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), in an airstrike. The cleric and self-proclaimed “Grand Mufti” was killed in an airstrike on May 31 in Mayadeen, Syria It is the capital of the Mayadin District, part of the Deir ez-Zor Governorate. Mayadin is located about 44 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. The Euphrates River flows through the town.
[May 15 Qaboun, on the northeastern edge of Damascus, in evacuation deal. ]
About 1,500 rebels and civilians have been evacuated from the Qaboun district of Damascus after enduring months of bombing attacks. The discovery of a network of tunnels forced their hand.
The rebels were cornered overnight in a small section of Qaboun, on the northeastern edge of the Syrian capital, and agreed to the evacuation deal. After a nearly three-month-long bombing campaign, which included air strikes and artillery shelling, much of the area has been reduced to rubble.
[May 19 2014 Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense, dies of wounds ]
Lt. Gen. Hussein Ayoub Ishaq, the general in charge of Syria’s air defense has been killed in fighting near Damascus. The officer, , one of the highest-ranking officers to die during the country’s three-year conflict, commanded 60,000 troops in Syria’s air defense forces. But it was unclear what impact General Ishaq’s death would have on the battlefield, given that Syrian opposition fighters possess no aircraft. Rebel fighters fired toward what they said was a government helicopter dropping supplies to forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad last week in the Idlib countryside.
He died of injuries sustained on May 17 in Mleha, a district on the outskirts of Damascus where there have been intense battles in recent weeks. Iit was unclear how General Ishaq had been wounded.
[September 5 2012]
In Beijing September 5, talks between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese leaders failed to narrow gaps on how to end the crisis in Syria. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said his country backs a “political transition” in Syria to end worsening bloodshed after 18 months of unrest, but repeated China’s opposition to forceful foreign intervention in the crisis.
Clinton acknowledged it is “no secret” the U.S. government is disappointed by Chinese and Russian policy on Syria and repeated that the best course of action remains tough U.N. Security Council measures.
February 12]The Revolution Leadership Council, an anti-Assad group in Damascus, alleged that the government had carried out the killing itself.
Tunisia will host a “Friends of Syria” meeting on February 24 to attempt to build an international consensus on how to end the violence. Tunisia’s foreign minister said the meeting will include Arab, regional and international states, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who is also the country’s foreign minister, said he backed the proposal.The Arab League will ask the United Nations to form a joint peacekeeping force and appoint a special Arab envoy to try to halt the violence in Syria, members have agreed.The request for a peacekeeping force raised a number of questions, including whether Syria would agree and which Arab countries might contribute troops.
Arab foreign ministers have been engaging in “intensive talks” with Russia and China and are hoping they can help encourage Assad to accept a peacekeeping force as an alternative to escalating conflict,
The league also agreed to step up economic sanctions and provide the Syrian opposition with political and financial support, though it again refrained from recognising the Syrian National Council – the most prominent of anti-Assad groups.
“Its a very difficult process to recognise the SNC – the Arab League made it clear to the opposition that the body as a whole cannot do it, but rather the individual countries will need to do that on their own,”
[February 11: Issa] came from an Alawite family with close ties inside the Assad government and believed to have been the nephew of Mohamed al-Khouli, the former head of the widely feared Air Force Intelligence Directorate, the most powerful of the multiple security agencies that cement the government’s power. The elder Mr. Khouli was a security adviser to President Hafez al-Assad until the president died in 2000.
In the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March. Capt. Ammar al-Wawi of the Free Syrian Army, a rebel group that wants to bring down the regime by force, denied involvement in the assassination, which came a day after two suicide car bombers struck security compounds in Aleppo. Western and Arab countries are considering forming a coalition to help Syria’s opposition, though so far there is no sign they intend to give direct aid to the FSA. Director of Hamish Hospital in Damascus Brigadier General, Dr. Issa al-Kholi,was assassinated before his house at Rukn Eddin Neighborhood. Three gunmen awaited al-Kholi till he got out of his home and shot him dead. Brigadier General al-Kholi held a Bachelor’s Degree of Medicine in the Joints from the Romanian universities and is a specialist from Parisian Universities and Hospitals.