Units of the Syrian Army’s 11th Armoured Division have been delpoyed in the northern part of the Syrian-Lebanese border where they are set to replace Hezbollah fighters. The area of Qusayr has been one of the key Hezbollah footholds in western Syria. It is unclear if it will be abandoned.
According to some pro-government sources, Russian military police units are also withdrawing from the border area.
The situation over the northern town of Manbij has been rapidly developing since the US and Turkey endorsed a roadmap for the area.
On June 5, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) announced that their “military advisers” will leave the town. The militia claimed that its forces withdrew from Manbij in November 2016, but the military advisers remained to work with the Manbij Military Council (MMC). However, the group said its forces will be redeployed there once again if this is needed.
Both the MMC and the YPG are part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). However, the YPG and its political wing the PYD clearly dominate within the group.
At the same time, Ankara says that the YPG is a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and describes them both as terrorist groups.
On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Kurdish forces in northern Syria will be disarmed in the framework of the reached roadmap, which will also include the area east of the Euphrates. According to Cavusoglu, Turkish and US intelligence, military, defense officials and diplomats are set to hold a preparatory meeting in 10 days to set a foothold for the implementation of the plan.
According to the Turkish side, the roadmap will reportedly include 3 stages and will be fully implemented less than in 6 months.
While the US is yet to comment on Cavusoglu’s statements, it becomes clear that the YPG may find itself in a very complicated situation. If Ankara and Washington find a common ground over the situation in Syria, the YPG’s importance as a tool of the US foreign policy as well as the US support and supplies will decrease dramatically.
It was obvious from the moment that the Syrian-Kurds relied on US support (whose presence in Syria is illegal) that they would lose all potential claim to legitimacy.
its sad to see how the Syrian-Kurds shot themselves in the foot…they had gained the goodwill of Assad and the potential for an autonomous region with the full support of Assad, seemed within their grasp…and it all depended on the Kurds recognising the Russian role in the region and the reasons for it…Had they done so, the Russians might have / would have been able to give guarantees to Turkey…. but the Kurds have now to suffer the consequence of their lack of foresight…
Sad really…their one small step towards a new Kurdistan and they blew it, making Iran also back off from any wish to accommodate the Kurdish question.
But it will now further complicate the role the US intended to play in the region…so whats not to like about that…
Update from BTL analyst Canthama 1/2hr ago in SyrPer:
The offensive to liberate Homs desert from ISIS is about to start, large forces have gathered around the pocket, and the attack may come from several directions with the attempt to press ISIS into a smaller area away from the cities by the Euphrates. It is expected to be a bloody battle with ISIS in the beginning, then after ISIS defensive lines are broken it will be hunting time on the open desert. Mobile forces combined with CAS will be a must. The end of ISIS in Homs desert is a given; it will happen.
The Southern Front offensive is set to start after Ramadan, mid June. So far, skirmishes are on going with Prepping-and-Probing attacks, very concentrated in al Lajat and Quneytra at this stage [getting near the Israeli fence on Zionist-occupied Golan].
Should be interesting hope they publish a summary or transcript…..
Taking the war to the enemy’s territory; Dr.Assad trumps Trump, visits South Pacific ahead of POTUS. Ziad Fadel editor of SyrPer writes:
“The U.S.A has been curiously mum about Dr. Assad’s expected summit with Kim Jon Un in Pyongyang ahead of the much-ballyhooed meeting with Trump in Singapore. Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, is fully aware of the American attitude toward Dr. Assad arising from the Syrian leader’s defeat of all NATO plots to oust him. Yet, he has shrewdly accepted Dr. Assad’s arrival to the North Korean capital a few days before the expected meeting with the great POTUSA in Singapore. So, what is the U.S. thinking?
I had a short discussion with my source in Damascus the day before yesterday. While we could not speculate about the President’s thinking here, I got the impression that Moscow had a lot to do with his decision to meet up with President Kim. I believe that Dr. Assad will pursue a similar line to F.M. Lavrov’s warning to the young Korean leader: “Be extremely careful” and “Don’t believe that Trump as POTUS is the one calling the shots on this.” In other words, the “Libyan Model” announced by chicken-hawk John Bolton is very much relevant: the powers that really govern the U.S. will seek to oust President Kim at the first opportunity. In other words, don’t give up your nuclear arsenal under any circumstances …”
Re Ziad’s comments above, I recall that Dr. Assad as President of Syria has often said during one of his TV interviews in the West: “We do not concern ourselves over what US politicians say; we watch what they do, and plan accordingly”. Wise advice from an elder statesman to the young Korean.
An astonishing map showing the (shockingly small) territory that the Syrian government never lost during the last 7 years of war.
Yes…. quite a remarkable turn-around isn’t it….. looking at where they are today.
They owe the Russians a great deal – their country in fact.
Syrian Army, US forces come head-to-head in northern Syria (video)
“The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) stopped a U.S. military convoy from entering the city of Al-Qamihsli in the northern part of the Al-Hasakah Governorate.
According to a report from the Al-Hasakah Governorate, the U.S. military convoy attempted to pass a Syrian Army checkpoint, but were prevented by the soldiers manning this post in Al-Qamishli city.
The report added that the U.S. military convoy had just traveled to Al-Qamishli from the southern Al-Hasakah town of Al-Shadaddi; however, they were forced to return to the latter.”
When Private Ryan is shamed by quiet heroes in the Syrian Arab Army
“Syria is stemming the terrorist tide within its territory and the SAA is fighting and dying to contain the threat. Alongside its allies, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah – Syria is sacrificing everything to prevent the spread of a cataclysmic contagion that has been created and imposed upon them by the nations whose claims of moral superiority ring hollow when confronted by the bloodshed they leave in their wake.
The SAA is dehumanized and criminalised by media in the West, it is reduced to ‘Assad’s army”, a ‘Shia militia’ – portrayed as a ‘murderous squad of sectarian thugs’. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my experience. I have met with many families of martyred soldiers who have given their lives to defend their homeland, their people, their honour and their way of life. They fight because “a fallen building can be rebuilt, but a fallen homeland is lost forever.”
Hundreds Flee US-Held Refugee Camp in Syria to Government-Controlled Areas
“Hundreds of refugees from the US-led coalition-controlled Rukban refugee camp bordering Jordan have traveled several hundred kilometers west to the Damascus suburbs seeking assistance from Syrian authorities.
Speaking to journalists, some of the refugees said the lack of humanitarian aid drove them to make the journey west. Students from a Damascus university are helping to organize the provision of food and shelter for the refugees.
Others confirmed that the Rukban camp has problems with the supply of food and water.
The Rukban refugee camp is located in the Al-Tanf district in Homs province and surrounded by opposition militants. Tens of thousands of civilians fled to the area in 2014, hoping to cross into neighboring Jordan, when Daesh (ISIS)* began its assault into eastern Syria. Jordanian authorities did not let them into their territory, resulting in the creation of the Rukban camp.
An estimated 60,000 refugees are presently based at Rukban and the US-occupied al-Tanf military base. There have been numerous reports of militants creating problems for the refugees, from blocking them from leaving to preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. The United Nations has described the situation at the camp a “humanitarian disaster.” The US has been training Syrian opposition militia (some of them presumed to be ex-jihadists) at al-Tanf since 2016. Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly accused Washington of “spewing Daesh mobile groups” from the area and turning southern Syria into “a 100-kilometer ‘black hole’ on the Syrian-Jordanian state border.”
Last week, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem slammed the continued US military presence in the region and called on America to withdraw. Last month, senior Syrian diplomat Bashar Jaafari called the US presence at al-Tanf and Rukban “pure aggression and occupation.”
All remaining ISIS resistance zones in Syria are in US-controlled areas – Russian MoD
“All the remaining pockets of resistance of ISIS terrorists in Syria are only in areas controlled by the United States,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a defense ministry spokesman, said on Saturday.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a bold statement that pulling out of the Arab Republic “must avoid leaving a vacuum in Syria that can be exploited by the Assad regime or its supporters,” in apparent reference to Iran and Russia.
Konashenkov pulled no punches on the US military official, reminding him that the Washington-led invasion in Iraq under a false pretext in fact led to the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and eventually its expansion into war-ravaged Syria.
“Further expansion of ISIS in Syria became possible due to criminal inaction of the US and the so-called ‘international coalition,’ which resulted in quickly gaining control by ISIS militants over the main oil-bearing areas of Eastern Syria and constant flow of funds from the illegal sale of oil products,” Konashenkov said.
Washington supplied arms worth hundreds of millions to the “fictitious” Syrian opposition, while the vast majority of it ended up in hands of Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra Front, and Islamic State, he claimed. That, in Konashenkov’s view, shows that the terrorists groups’ goals in Syria coincide with Washington’s policies.
“In the Syrian provinces controlled by the legitimate authorities of the [Syrian Arab] Republic, peaceful life is now actively restored, settlements are being demined; enterprises, markets, schools and kindergartens are working. Humanitarian aid and food is arriving there, from which there is not even a piece of packaging, paid from the budget of the United States.”
Earlier, mass loss of civilian life in Islamic State-held Raqqa, inflicted by the US-led coalition, was slammed by Amnesty International. Its damning report, published earlier this week, said that residents were trapped as fighting raged in the streets between Islamic State militants and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were supported by coalition airstrikes.”
Daesh Continues Resistance in Syria Only in US-Controlled Areas – Russian MoD
“As for the current situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, we recommend the Pentagon chief to examine the map showing the situation in this country. All remaining pockets of resistance of Daesh terrorists in Syria are located only in areas controlled by the United States,” Konashenkov said.
“All this time Washington focused on financing and direct arms supplies to fictional ‘Syrian opposition’ totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the vast majority of US-supplied arms and ammunition fell into the hands of the Syrian al-Qaeda branch – Nusra Front [terrorist group, banned in Russia] and Daesh, who sought, like Washington, to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government,” Konashenkov said.”
President al-Assad to Mail on Sunday: UK publicly supported White Helmets that are a branch of Al Qaeda, US and UK existence in Syria is invasion
“President Bashar al-Assad said that the UK publicly supported the White Helmets that are a branch of Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra in different areas of Syria, stressing that Syria considers the White Helmets to be a PR stunt by the UK.
In an interview given to Britain’s Mail on Sunday published on Sunday morning, President al-Assad asserted that the alleged chemical attack in Douma was staged by the UK, France, and the US.
He also said that there had been communications from different intelligence agencies in Europe, but it was stopped recently because they’re not serious.
His Excellency stressed that the presence of the US and the UK in Syria is illegal and constitutes invasion as it breaches the sovereignty of Syria.
President Assad affirmed that Syria is the main party who’s been fighting ISIS, and that every inch of Syrian territory will be liberated.
He asserted that the only decision about what’s going on in Syria and what’s going to happen is a Syrian decision, and no one should have any doubt about this.
Following is the full text of the interview:” (see link)
Assad is very direct here. This is an excellent interview, would make a great topic posted at Saker’s, if that is a possibility.