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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Despite US airstrikes S A A reinforcements pour into the Syrian desert as Iraqi Army breaks apart tiny ISIS pocket in Mosul

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:15 A.M.) – On Thursday evening, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) sent over a dozen technicals to the Damascus-Baghdad highway to reinforce contingents bombed by the United States Air Force earlier in the day.
The newly arrived SAA reinforcements will spearhead a drive towards the Al-Tanf border crossing with Iraq alongside the National Defence Forces (NDF), Hezbollah (Lebanese paramilitary), Imam Al-Ali Battalions (Iraqi paramilitary) and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (Syrian paramilitary).
However, government forces must stiffen their salient east of Damascus and deploy anti-aircraft units if they are to avoid renewed attacks from US jets and US-trained Free Syrian Army proxies lurking in the vast Syrian desert.
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Meanwhile, SAA units are also advancing against FSA rebels in eastern Sweida, capturing a large swath of rural territory on Thursday.Over 100 SAA soldiers have been killed by US airstrikes, mostly at Deir Ezzor, over the 12 months. Nevertheless, the SAA is yet to conduct a single direct hostility against US troops whom are present in both northern and southern Syria despite vocal objections from Damascus.

Iraqi Army breaks apart tiny ISIS pocket in Mosul as battle enters final stage

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:45 A.M.) – The Iraqi Armed Forces are moving ever closer to complete victory in the country’s second largest city after government troops spearheaded new key advancements on the western bank of the Tigris River on Thursday.
After liberating four neighborhoods earlier in the week, the Iraqi Army continued its blitz offensive by taking control of the Al-Rafaee district around noon.
Then, on Thursday afternoon, the Counter Terrorism Units began storming the Al-Najar neighborhood parallel to the Tigris River, thereby isolating the Old City and Al-Zanjali districts from a handful of ISIS-held suburbs to the north.
Should the Iraqi Armed Forces seize control of the Al-Najar neighborhood entirely, they would secure Mosul’s northern 5th bridge and deal a devastating blow to ISIS insurgents.
However, Iraqi contingents did not stop there as the Federal Police and Rapid Response Division proceeded to liberate the adjacent Al-Aqtasadeen neighborhood, an urban advance which reduced Islamic State control of Mosul city to less than 5%.
In addition, Iraqi troops liberated the ancient Christian monastery in the historically Assyrian Hawi Al-Kanisah area in northwestern Mosul and capture most of the vital ’17th Tammuz’ district.
Around 500 ISIS militants remain held up in the city, most of which are concentrated around the densely populated Old City neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Amaq Agency published a 40-minute Islamic State propaganda video depicting the battle for Mosul from the jihadist perspective.

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (2:50 A.M.) – On Thursday, Iraqi Army continued its large-scale operation in Mosul city striking the positions of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) in Sabat Ashar Tammuz neighbourhood.
In the meantime, government forces continue evacuation of civilian population from the aforementioned district.
Video footage below shows Iraqi soldiers helping civilians get to safety, covering them from sniper fire and shelling:

Iraqi forces gradually close in on the last IS positions in Mosul’s Old City, with around 12 square kilometres of territory remaining under jihadist control. According to senior military officials, Mosul is expected to be completely recaptured prior to the beginning of holy month of Ramadan on May 27.
The large-scale military operation to liberate Mosul from IS began on October 17, 2016, with joint forces of Iraqi Army, Popular Mobilization Units, Kurdish Peshmerga and US-led coalition storming the city from several directions.

U.S.-Led Coalition Strikes Hit Syrian Army in Southern Syria

A US-led coalition spokesperson has confirmed that coalition strikes in southern Syria struck pro-Syrian government forces, BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday. Later, a US defense official confirmed the information to Sputnik.
The coalition strikes reportedly occurred near At Tanf town, where US’ and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters (mercenary-terrorists) near the border with Iraq and Jordan.
A US defense official told Sputnik that the US-led coalition struck the pro-Assad fighters near the town of At Tanf in the area of an established deconflication zone with Russia.
According to the media outlet, US officials explain the strikes as “force protection” for the US Special Forces based in the area. Reuters cited a US official as saying that the strikes occurred after “warning shots by U.S. aircraft meant to disuade the [Syrian army’s] fighters.”
It is unclear yet whether the strikes have killed any Syrian soldiers or pro-government militia fighters as there has been no official comment from Damascus so far. The Pentagon has released no official statement as well.
According to a BuzzFeed News reporter, Syrian rebels based with the US Special Forces in the area said that militia supporting the Syrian army has been nearby as well.
“We notified the coalition that we were being attacked by the Syrian army and Iranians in this point and the coalition came and destroyed the advancing convoy,” the Pentagon-backed rebel (mercenary-terrorist) group called the Maghawir al Thwra told Reuters.
“A convoy going down the road didn’t respond to numerous ways for it to be warned off from getting too close to coalition forces in At-Tanf,” an unnamed official told AFP.
On Monday, Al-Masdr News reported that Syrian Arab Army soldiers along and militias affiliated with the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units are preparing to recapture the nearby Tanf Border crossing from Daesh.
Media reports suggested that Syrian rebels (mercenary-terrorists) have voiced concerns over the Syrian army getting “too close” to the US Special Forces’ base in At Tanf.
In April, Daesh terrorists attempted to take the US base near At Tanf in which three US-backed Syrian rebels were killed.
This was not the first time the US-led coalition intentionally or accidentally struck the Syrian army fighting against Daesh.
In the early hours of April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Idlib, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.
On September 17, 2016, US-led coalition aircraft carried out four strikes against the Syrian army near the Deir ez-Zor airport, killing 62 soldiers and wounding some 100. The Pentagon said that the airstrike was a mistake and was intended to target Daesh militants, while a number of Syrian officials stated that the attack was intentional. Later, the Pentagon released a report claiming that the US-led coalition’s forces struck the Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor as a result of an “unintentional, regrettable error.”
click on map to enlarge ~ here for the original link

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