Sunday, July 6, 2014

Battle for control in Syria

Islamic State seizes oil field and towns in Syria's east

Men ride a motorbike along a deserted street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria March 7, 2014. Picture taken March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Khalif
Men ride a motorbike along a deserted street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, eastern Syria March 7, 2014. Picture taken March 7, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Mohamed al-Khalif

(Reuters) - Militants from the Islamic State group seized control of Syria's largest oil field from rival Islamist fighters on Thursday, strengthening its advance across the eastern Deir al-Zor province, an opposition monitoring group said.
The capture of the al-Omar oil field gives Islamic State control of crude reserves which could be useful to its advancing fighters, and underlines how the al Qaeda offshoot has eclipsed its militant rivals by capturing territory and assets across Syria and Iraq in the past few weeks.
It has declared an Islamic 'caliphate' on lands it has seized in both countries, and urged Muslims worldwide to flock there and wage holy war.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamic State "took leadership" of the oil field from Nusra Front, the official wing of al Qaeda in Syria.

Islamic State extends gains in parts of Syria: monitor

Residents watch militant Islamist fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
Residents watch militant Islamist fighters taking part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.

(Reuters) - Around 30 Islamic State fighters broke out of a makeshift jail where rival Syrian Islamists had been holding them, a monitoring group said on Friday as it detailed the latest territorial gains by the al Qaeda offshoot.
The insurgents demolished a wall to escape the building - a former school - after fellow Islamic State fighters took control of al-Hawaaj village where al Qaeda loyalists had been holding them, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
In the same province on Thursday, Islamic State seized control of Syria's largest oil field from the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official wing in Syria, consolidating its position in the eastern Deir al-Zor province bordering Iraq.

Fresh gains and new enemies for Islamic State in Syria

Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.  REUTERS/Stringer
Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Stringer

(Reuters) - Islamic State militants have taken control of most of eastern Syria as they build on the momentum of their advance through Sunni Muslim provinces of neighboring Iraq.
The jihadi group, which claims authority over Muslims worldwide, has seized weapons from arms depots in Syria and Iraq, money from bank vaults in cities it has overrun, and controls oil fields and farmlands.
In Syria, the three-year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad is becoming a battle for supremacy among Sunni rebel groups, with the Islamic State in the ascendant.
Its fighters drove al Qaeda's Nusra Front from the Euphrates valley town of Albu Kamal on Syria's border with Iraq this week, securing their grip over both sides of a colonial era frontier which they say is now consigned to history.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Army continues counter-terrorism operations in several areas

Provinces, (SANA) Syrian army repelled Monday the armed terrorist groups in several areas, killed and injured huge numbers of terrorists and destroyed their equipments.
Non-Syrian terrorists killed, heavy weaponry destroyed in Lattakia
Army units in Lattakia targeted several terrorists' gatherings in several villages in the northern countryside. Those included Salma, Dorin, al-Dweirkeh, Khan al-Jouz, al-Kabir, al-Fruluq, al-Khadra and al-Samra.
The operations in those villages resulted in the death of numbers of terrorists and the injury of others, in addition to destroying heavy machine guns mounted on cars, rocket launchers and rocket launch pads.
Non-Syrians were among the dead terrorists.

Al Qaeda's Iraqi offshoot gains ground in Syria amid rebel infighting

(Reuters) - A rogue Iraqi offshoot of al Qaeda is now killing more rival al Qaeda fighters every week in Syria than President Bashar al-Assad's forces as infighting intensifies among opposition gunmen.
Clashes this year between al Qaeda's official Syria wing, the Nusra Front, and the franchise's disowned offspring, The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has killed hundreds of fighters and displaced tens of thousands of civilians.
Nusra lost control of Raqqa - the only rebel-held city in Syria - to ISIL fighters in January and intense fighting over the weekend resulted in ISIL making gains in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, Syria's oil region.

Al Qaeda splinter group moves to take eastern Syrian city

(Reuters) - An al Qaeda splinter group has wrested control of key parts of the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zor from other rebel groups, activists said on Sunday, worsening infighting that has handicapped the insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad.
More than 100,000 civilians have fled the province following weeks of intense clashes between Islamist insurgents, the anti- Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Civilians in Deir al-Zor lived through more than two years of fighting between opposition fighters and the government. Now they are dealing with a second wave of internecine war that has devastated parts of the country that the opposition considers "liberated" from Assad's forces.

Army moves into rebel-free Homs, starts de-mining operation

(Reuters) - Syrian armed forces moved into Homs on Friday, the provincial governor told Reuters, combing through rubble-filled streets for booby traps and mines a day after hundreds of rebels left the central city as part of a deal with the government.
Standing in the Old City, which at the start of this week was a besieged area and active conflict zone, Governor Talal Barazi said Homs "is empty of guns and fighters. Engineers have started to clear the streets of mines."
Hundreds of residents arrived on foot to reach their homes in Hamidiya district, the first area to be secured. State television said two soldiers were killed on Friday during the de-mining operation.
In Hamidiya, which was under siege for a year, most buildings had been partially or completely destroyed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Iran sends Syria 30,000 tons of food supplies

BEIRUT (AP) -- Iran delivered 30,000 tons of food supplies to Syria on Tuesday to help the government deal with shortages due to the civil war, state media said.
As the announcement came that the massive shipment arrived at a Mediterranean port, state TV also reported that government forces had made further advances against rebels near the capital, Damascus.
The aid is part of Iran's broader support for President Bashar Assad as he prepares to run for a third presidential term while his troops battle rebels seeking his overthrow.
Iran has been Assad's major backer throughout the 3-year-old conflict, lending Damascus military support through its proxy Hezbollah group and advising the government on strategy to fight the opposition. Tehran has also been pumping funds into Syria to save the country's battered economy from collapsing.
Last May, Iran extended a $3.6 billion credit line to Syria, enabling Assad's government to buy oil products and help shore up the diving value of the Syrian pound.

France says Assad survival would be 'total impasse' for Syria

(Reuters) - France said on Tuesday Syrian President Bashar al Assad had a policy to "wipe out" his people in his bid to stamp out a three-year uprising, but this would leave Syria at a total impasse.
Assad has forecast that much of the fighting in the Syrian civil war will be over by the end of the year, a former Russian prime minister was quoted on Monday as saying.
Responding to those remarks, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal appeared to acknowledge that the international community may have to accept the new status quo.
"A military victory against his own people? The only objective of Bashar al Assad is to wipe out his own people," Nadal said. "Maybe he will remain the sole survivor of this policy of mass crimes, but it is a total impasse for Syria."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Assad relative killed in Syria's Latakia

Hilal founded the National Defence Army, a pro-government group fighting alongside the Syrian army [SOHR]
Hilal al-Assad, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been killed along with seven of his fighters during fighting in the border town of Kasab in Latakia province, after shells from rebels targeted his vehicle.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, reported Assad's death. It was confirmed by Syrian state television, which described Hilal as the head of the National Defence Force in the province of Latakia.

Twenty soldiers killed in Yemen attack

Yemeni security forces have faced frequent attacks by fighters they say belong to al-Qaeda [AFP]
Gunmen have killed 20 soldiers in an attack on a military checkpoint in eastern Yemen, according to the country's state news agency.
Military sources blamed Monday's attack, which happened in Hadramawt province, on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
One source told the AFP news agency that fighters in several vehicles attacked the position in Reida, 135km from the provincial capital Mukalla.

Ukraine troops set to leave Crimea

Russian troops now have control of nearly all military sites in Crimea [EPA]
Ukraine's acting president has announced that the ex-Soviet nation's troops have been given orders to withdraw from Crimea following the peninsula's seizure and annexation by Russia.
Acting President Oleksander Turchinov told parliament on Monday that the decision had been taken in the face of "threats to the lives and health of our service personnel" and their families.
His comments came after Russian troops entered a key Ukrainian marine base near Feodosia crowning a gradual take-over of Ukrainian military facilities on the peninsula.
Russia completed its annexation of Crimea last week, following the February ouster of a Russian-leaning government in Kiev.

Muslim Brotherhood members sentenced to death

An Egyptian court has sentenced 529 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges including murder, in a sharp escalation of a crackdown on the movement.
Family members stood outside the courthouse screaming after the verdict - the biggest mass death sentence handed out in Egypt's modern history, defence lawyers said.
Turmoil has deepened since the army overthrew Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July.
Human rights groups said Monday's verdict suggested the authorities intended to tighten their squeeze on the opposition, according to the Reuters news agency. State television reported the sentences without comment.
A government spokesman and other government officials did not immediately respond to calls.
Most of the defendants at Monday's hearing were detained and charged with carrying out attacks during clashes which erupted in the southern province of Minya after the forced dispersal of two Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo on August 14.
"The court has decided to sentence to death 529 defendants, and 16 were acquitted," defence lawyer Ahmed al-Sharif told Reuters.

Rebels capture town near Turkish border

BEIRUT (AP) -- Al qaida related Hard-line Islamic rebels captured a small town in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border as part of their offensive in the rugged coastal region that is a bastion of support for President Bashar Assad, activists said Monday.
Fighters from an array of armed opposition groups seized the predominantly Armenian Christian town of Kassab on Sunday. The rebels, including militant from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, have also wrested control of a nearby border crossing to Turkey.
The advances, while minor in terms of territory, provided a welcome boost to a beleaguered rebellion that has suffered a string of battlefield losses in recent weeks. Forces loyal to Assad have captured several towns near Syria's border with Lebanon as part of a government offensive aimed severing rebel supply lines across the porous frontier and securing the border.