Saturday, May 4, 2019

Syria: Blow by Blow

It appears Syria and Russia are working one location. As Turkish backed rebels work another. Moving on Idlib? Limited fighting? Something else? Perhaps cooperative? 
In the spirit of Adana? 
What does it all mean?
Syria's state news agency SANA reported that government forces targeted positions of the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, the most powerful group in Idlib.

In violence in other parts of northern Syria, Turkey's defense ministry announced one Turkish soldier was killed and one lightly wounded in northwestern village of Tel Rifaat (Kurdish held territory well west of the Euphrates)  when Syrian Kurdish fighters shot at Turkish troops. The ministry said Turkish troops launched a counter-attack.

The attack was believed to have been carried out by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization with links to Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The attack came days after YPG militants carried out an attack in a Turkish-controlled region in northern Syria killing a soldier and wounding three others.

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel force captured a village from Kurdish YPG forces north of Aleppo on Saturday, the spokesman for the rebel force said.

“There is military action, and the village of Maranaz has been liberated,” said Yousef Hammoud, the spokesman for the Syrian National Army, a force formed from a number of factions of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The YPG could not immediately be reached for comment.

The village is part of a YPG-held piece of territory north of Aleppo including the town of Tel Rifaat that the FSA groups have long vowed to recover. “Our aspiration is to reach Tel Rifaat and what is beyond it,” Hammoud said.
See map to the right

The Turkish-backed National Army on Saturday claimed to have launched an operation to take Tel Rifaat after a Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded in clashes with Kurdish forces near the Syrian city.

According to reports by local Kurdish media, the operation has only targeted the villages of al-Malikiyah, Shewragha, and Tanb with shelling and heavy weapons. However, there are no signs of an offensive against Tel Rifaat itself.

It also remains unclear if the Turkish-backed militias have actually taken control of any villages.

The operation allegedly began after Turkish soldiers were killed in recent clashes with Kurdish forces near Tel Rifaat.
AZAZ, Syria

The Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) has liberated the northern Syrian villages of Maranaz and Al-Malikiyah from the YPG/PKK terror group, according to local sources.

After the terror group carried out attacks against Turkish and FSA positions in northern Syria, the FSA launched operations to head off these attacks.

After brief clashes in the villages of Maranaz and Al-Malikiyah, FSA forces expelled the terrorists.
A Turkish security official said on Saturday that an area near a Turkish military observation post in the northern Syrian region of Idlib had been hit by an artillery strike that may have been launched by Syrian government forces.
MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. Washington is using Kurdish separatists in Syria to fulfill its plans on a long-term presence there, undermining the achievements of the Astana format, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

On May 3, in the Ayn Issa town some Kurdish leaders backed by Western sponsors tried to carry out a congress of tribes and peoples of Syria. However, after failing to achieve a broad Arab representation, the organizers of the pseudo congress were forced to downgrade its status to a conference, the ministry emphasized.

"The United States and its allies have been consistently carrying out a course towards settling the Syrian crisis only with the goal of ensuring its long-term presence in Syria," the ministry said. To this aim, they use Kurdish separatists, who had played a role in struggling against the Islamic State (terror group, outlawed in Russia) and are now seeking to set up a quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River with the US assistance, it noted.

"This event, which is obviously aimed at splitting the country, blatantly violates the declared UN principles of preserving territorial integrity and state sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic, including those stipulated by Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council," the ministry said.

"This triggers a new spiral of tension and destroys this fragile construction, which makes it possible to achieve national accord in a multinational Syrian state. The move is clearly aimed at undermining the efforts of the international community, the UN and guarantor states (Russia, Iran, Turkey) of the Astana format on settling the Syrian crisis as soon as possible," according to the statement."

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