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Voiceover by Harold Hoover
On April 26, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate Gen. Sergei Rudskoi announced that Russia had withdrawn half of its warplanes from the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria. Rudskoi said that the number of Russian aircraft in Hmeymim between November 10th, 2016 and January 10th, 2017 did not exceed 35 fighters; 80 UAVs. He added that the withdrawal of some warplanes comes after a decrease in the number of terrorists in Syria.
Pro-government forces, led by the Syrian Army’s 5th Assault Corps, recaptured the key ash-Shair gas filed and the ash-Shair gas plant from ISIS in the province of Homs. Earlier this week, government forces had captured a number of small hills near the ash-Shair field. Therefore, ISIS terrorists were pushed to withdraw from the area without stiff resistance.
The advance on ash-Shair is a part of the broader effort aimed at securing the countryside of Huwaysis and the nearby gas fields. If the Syrian army succeedes in this area, it will be able to secure the road between Salamiyeh and the T4 Airbase as well as gain control over gas fields located along the road.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), one of the largest groups in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), suspended its military operations with the US-led coalition in Syria, according to unconfirmed reports from some pro-Kurdish sources.
During the past two days, Turkish warplanes and artillery have bombed several YPG targets in northern Syria. Kurdish parties and groups in both Syria and Iraq have called the US-led coalition to establish a No-Fly zone against Turkish aircraft in northern Syria.
So far, the SDF has been continuing its operations against ISIS in the Raqqah countryside. However, it has not released any statement denying the YPG suspension of its anti-ISIS operations in Syria. Even if reports are not true, the Turkish actions have already delayed the SDF operation against ISIS.
The Turkish Defense Ministry confirmed that the airstrikes will continue in both Iraq and Syria against what they described as “terrorist groups.” Turkish President Recep Erdogan said that Washington, Russia, and the Iraqi government were aware of the airstrikes and that Turkey would not allow the Sinjar Mount or northern Syria to be turned into a safe haven for PKK militants.