1. Israeli Strikes Syria- Syria Intercepts.Link
Quneitra, SANA – The Syrian Arab Army’s aerial defenses on Friday night intercepted hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra.
A military source told SANA that aerial defenses detected hostile targets coming from the direction of Quneitra and intercepted them.
Earlier, SANA’s reporter said that aerial defenses targeted luminous objects coming from the occupied territories, shooting down a number of them.
Loud blasts echoed across Damascus late on Friday, residents said, as Syrian state media reported “enemy targets” coming from the direction of Israel, which has previously acknowledged conducting repeated strikes inside Syria.Airstrikes? Will need more info. Surely Syria is on hair trigger
Syrian air defenses detected objects coming from the direction of “occupied territory” and brought down several, Syrian state television reported a military source as saying.
The state television channel showed footage of the night sky with a point of light firing up into it and the sound of shooting. It did not immediately report casualties or material damage.
2. UN Security Council Meeting Today
UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council will meet Friday to discuss the escalation of fighting in Syria's northwestern region of Idlib, where hospitals and schools have been hit by strikes, diplomats said.
Belgium, Germany and Kuwait requested the meeting that will be held behind closed doors at 10 am (1400 GMT) on Friday, they said.
3. Turkey and Russia Working Group Convenes Today in Ankara- Met yesterday as well!
"A working group on Syria established by Russia and Turkey convened in Ankara on May 16-17 to discuss latest situation in Idlib and other regional issues, said a statement by Turkish Defense Ministry.
The two countries decided to form the working group after their presidents spoke on the phone on Tuesday in a bid to bring calm to recent escalation in Syria's Idlib within the context of Astana and Sochi Agreements"
"President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have agreed that a working group on Syria’s northwestern province Idlib should convene as soon as possible, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on May 15.
There are no direct attacks against Turkish military observation posts in Idlib at the moment, but Ankara has its concerns, he added.
Following a phone call between Erdoğan and Putin on May 13, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart discussed ways to reduce tension in Idlib on May 14"*Related: A Quagmire in the Making? Turkey to Move East in Syria?
*Related from 2018: Firas Tlass: SAA Will Invade Idleb with Russian and Turkish Help
Son of Mustafa Tlass talking about a future (no date) move on Idlib and how it would play out
4. US prepares new pressure campaign on Assad
A senior State Department official told Al-Monitor that the Trump administration plans to intensify political and economic pressure on Syria in the coming months to compel the Bashar al-Assad government to “see reality and make concessions” regarding the stalled UN-backed peace process.
Have a look at the report (pdf)The remarks come as a bipartisan study group of experts and former policymakers commissioned by Congress shared similar recommendations with lawmakers earlier this month even as it tacitly acknowledged the long odds of success.“Assad is unwilling to compromise and intends to retake all of Syria,” the Syria Study Group wrote in an interim report obtained by Politico.
The report then goes on to list key recommendations including “continu[ing] to isolate the Assad regime through sanctions, diplomatic pressure, and denial of reconstruction aid.”
5. Deir Ezzor province is without oil products … How does this relate to the Coalition?The pressure campaign comes as Assad’s forces are stepping up their offensive against the last rebel-held province of Idlib, which is largely under the control of al-Qaeda breakaway group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Meanwhile, talks on Syria’s political future are being led by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the US-backed peace process called for under UN Security Council Resolution 2254 largely sidelined.
see: US Pressure Campaign. Number 4 above
The areas controlled by the Assad regime are suffering from a severe fuel crisis in Deir Ezzor province, eastern Syria, where unexpectedly gasoline was unavailable in the markets.
Local source in Al-Mayadeen city who requested to remain unnamed told D24 network that there is no fuel in the gas stations in Al-Mayadeen and Deir Ezzor city, and that people have to stand for long hours in order to get fuel.
The source pointed out that there is not much choice for the people to get their need of the oil products, noting that the Assad regime militias and intelligence branches can get fuel easily and directly, while people who have no connections can’t get it.
The fuel crisis in the Assad areas came as a result of the actions taken by the international Coalition in the east of the Euphrates, as it expelled the companies which were working with the Assad regime and facilitating the process of exporting the crude oil and petroleum products to its areas of control in the west of the Euphrates.
More recently the international coalition has sought to prevent the oil flow to the Assad areas, as part of a new policy followed by the international Coalition to impose an economic blockade on the Assad regime.