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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hezbollah, Iraqi forces poised to help Syrian Army capture Baghdad-Damascus Highway

BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:10 A.M.) – Over the course of ten days, hundreds of Hezbollah and Iraqi paramilitary fighters have poured into the southeastern countryside of Damascus, taking up positions alongside the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and their allies.

The Iraqi paramilitaries, comprised of fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd Al-Sha’abi), greatly outnumber the Hezbollah forces in southern Syria and for good reason.
Similar to Hezbollah’s field operations along the Lebanese border from 2013-present, the Iraqi paramilitaries are poised to not only secure the Baghdad-Damascus Highway, but also, seal the border from any jihadist forces.

Elements of the Popular Mobilization Units have been inside of Syria for 15 months, with the initial forces deployed to Damascus (Sayyida Zaynab area), Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor.
The Popular Mobilization Units will now have much more responsibility inside Syria, as the government in Damascus hopes their participation will help eliminate the last remnants of the Islamic State (ISIL) inside the country.

In pictures: US Army convoy transports weapons, vehicles to Kurdish forces in rural Raqqa

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:45 A.M.) – On Saturday, a new batch of armaments and military vehicles traveled through Kurdish-held northern Syria en route to the Raqqa frontier where Kurdish forward units are just four kilometers from the Islamic State capital.
The convoy was spearheaded by US Humvees and traveled from Iraq through the city of Qamishli onwards to rural Raqqa where the equiptment was handed over to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a staunch US ally in the battle against ISIS.
Pictures of the US convoy passing through territory Kurds have dubbed ‘Rojava’:
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
Last week, US President Donald Trump approved a bill to send armored vehicles and heavy weaponry, including TOW missiles, to the YPG-led SDF. The deal notably upset Turkey which believes the YPG to be an extended branch of the outlawed PKK.
This month, the SDF has nevertheless liberated a string of villages west, north and east of Raqqa. With brand new equipment ready, the battle for Raqqa city itself is expected to begin in the weeks to come.

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