Russian, Syrian and Kurdish soldiers meet west of Manbij | March 8th 2017
March 10, 2017: Turkey Attacks Syrian Troops West Of Manbij
Turkey pounds Syrian army positions in Manbij
Syria sent two letters on Friday to the UN, holding Turkey responsible for supporting the ongoing terrorism in the country, which killed tens of thousands of innocent people and destroyed Syria’s infrastructure, local media said.
Syrian foreign ministry wrote in the letters sent to the UN Secretary General and President of Security Council that the terrorism has been done under direct instructions from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ‘his security apparatus’, SANA reported.
Syria added that the Turkish forces’ continued attacks have amounted to the breach of Syrian sovereignty over its territories.
The Syrian government demanded the UN Chief, the Security Council and the international community to oblige Turkey to withdraw its invading forces, stop the attacks and to maintain security and stability in the region and the world.
Syria: 400 Marines arrive in Syria ahead of joint Raqqa offensive with Kurdish forces
……video has emerged of dozens of heavily armored vehicles flying U.S. flags moving through desolate Syrian villages on their way to do just that.
The vehicles captured amid the maneuvers are a part of an amphibious task force of the 11th US Marine Expeditionary Unit that recently arrived in Syria to assist the Kurdish-led SDF and Syrian Arab Coalition as they are preparing for an operation to recapture the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa.
Deployment of the approximately 400 U.S. Marines was confirmed by US officials earlier today after reports of their ground presence surfaced yesterday. While the unit will be playing a crucial role in providing support for rebels in the coming offensive, in particular in form of artillery fire from M777 Howitzers capable of striking targets at a range of up to 20 miles, they will not engage in frontline combat and are supposedly only in Syria “for a temporary period.”
Per RT, US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, spokesman for the US-led coalition, was optimistic about the timing of the operation, as he stated that the effort by the forces battling ISIS in the area, to encircle the city, has been “going very, very well.”
A spokesman for the US-led multinational coalition against IS, Colonel John Dorrian, told Reuters news agency on Thursday that the dozens of Rangers who recently arrived on the outskirts of Manbij, about 110km (68 miles) from Raqqa, were also there “for a temporary period”.
Additionally, over the weekend, a separate force of elite US army Rangers was also deployed near a town north-west of Raqqa in heavily armoured vehicles, in an attempt to end clashes between SDF fighters and a Turkish-backed rebel force. Pentagon officials had earlier said the Rangers were taking part in a “reassure and deter” mission following clashes between Turkish-backed Arab rebels and local fighters from the Manbij Military Council, which was set up by the SDF when it captured the town from IS last year.
Last week, after Turkey’s president said the rebels aimed to capture Manbij, the council said it had agreed a deal with Russia to hand a string of villages on the frontline over to Syrian government forces in order to protect them. Turkey considers the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) militia, which dominates the SDF, an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which operates inside Turkey.
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The Syrian army dispatched tens of reinforcement forces to fight against the terrorist groups in the Southern and Western parts of Aleppo province.
The deployment took place with the aim of reinvigorating the combat and defense capabilities of the Syrian army in Aleppo province.
Meantime, the Syrian army and popular forces continued their military advances in other parts of Syria, including Hama and Idlib, over past 24 hours.
Military sources said on Thursday that the Syrian Army has dispatched a large number of forces and a large volume of military equipment to Southern and Western Aleppo to kick off an imminent anti-terrorism operation there.
The sources said that the army has forwarded a large number forces and a large volume of ammunition and arms from its bases in the cement factory and artillery academy near Aleppo city to the battlefield in al-Hadhar, al-Eis, Khalseh and al-Howeiz in Southern Aleppo to reinvigorate its forces’ combat capabilities for an imminent operation against the terrorists in the region.
The sources added that a large number of popular forces of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Movement have also been sent to al-Hadhar to take part in a pro-government assault South of Aleppo province.
They added that simultaneous with the dispatch of fresh forces, sporadic clashes erupted between the army soldiers and terrorists, while Russian fighter jets carried out three combat sorties over terrorists’ positions in the towns of Khan Touman, al-Zerbeh and Ma’arateh.
The sources said that the army assault is meant to end the terrorists’ siege on the Shiite towns of Fouaa and Kafraya by driving back the terrorist groups from their positions in the Western parts of Aleppo province.
Differences among the terrorist groups have increased after their crushing defeats in the battle against the Syrian Army troops in Eastern Ghouta, local sources disclosed on Thursday.
Local sources said that disagreements and differences have intensified between the two groups of Al-Nusra Front (Fatah al-Sham Front) and Jeish al-Islam (that is mainly comprised of Al-Nusra) on one hand and Faylaq al-Rahman on the other hand in Eastern Ghouta.
A Syrian source, meantime, underscored collapse of Al-Nusra Front in al-Qaboun district Northeast of the capital, Damascus, adding that although al-Qaboun is of paramount importance for the terrorists, they have held several meetings in the last few days to find a way to conclude an agreement for their relocation or surrender to pave the ground for joining peace with the Syrian government.
In the meantime, terrorist groups violated the ceasefire and targeted Damascus with a number of rockets, while several cases of clashes took place between the army soldiers and terrorists in a region between Hawsh al-Zawahereh and Haraza near Douma city.
Syrian Army troops and Air Force targeted again the positions and movements of the ISIL and Al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front) in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib, killing and wounding over 70 terrorists.
The army aircraft hit ISIL’s concentration centers in the villages of Albu’izeh, Qalib al-Thowar and al-Lubideh in Hama, killing and wounding over 40 terrorists and destroying seven military vehicles equipped with 23mm machineguns.
In the meantime, the army units targeted terrorists’ positions in al-Latamina town in Northern Hama, killing six terrorists and destroying an arms depot and several vehicles.
The army soldiers also targeted Al-Nusra’s positions in Kafr Zita town and al-Sayad village in Northern Hama, killing 13 terrorists and wounding 15 others.
Local sources in Northern Hama said that six terrorists were killed and seven more were wounded in an army attack in al-Masaseneh village East of Morek town in Northern Hama.
Meanwhile, the army soldiers hit Al-Nusra’s centers hard near the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib, killing five terrorists.
The predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to advance against ISIL in Northeastern Syria and managed to deploy forces near the Euphrates River between the cities of Raqqa and Deir Ezzur.
The SDF continued its anti-ISIL operation codenamed the Euphrates Rage in the Abu Khashab front and deployed troops in the Euphrates River and closed off ISIL’s supply lines from Deir Ezzur province and Iraq’s territories to Eastern Raqqa.
The SDF forces had previously cut off the main road connecting Raqqa to Deir Ezzur.
In the meantime, the Kurdish fighters engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL and drove them out of al-Kabr village and Mankher Qarbi strategic hill 19km East of Raqqa city.
A military source pointed to the closure of ISIL’s supply road from Raqqa to Deir Ezzur, saying ISIL is now under the Kurdish forces’ siege from the Northern and Eastern directions, while the SDF has reached the regions near the town of al-Tabaqa and the Euphrates dam in Western Raqqa.
A Russian delegation and representatives of militants held a meeting over a new peace agreement between the Damascus government and militant groups in al-Wa’er settlement, Arab media outlets reported on Thursday.
The Arabic language al-Hadath reported that the Russian delegation and militants’ representatives explored new avenues to reach a new peace agreement in al-Wa’er settlement and region.
If terrorists do not violate the new peace plan, the army will end its operation in al-Wa’er, al-Hadath added.
In the meantime, Sputnik reported that the Free Syrian Army militant group has agreed to cease fire in the al-Wa’er region.
Osama Abu Zeid, a representative of the Syrian armed opposition, announced in a statement his group’s agreement with the new peace plan, the statement said.
The document was signed in al-Waer, the statement said.
The Iraqi army has made fresh gains as it pushes ahead with an offensive to retake the key northern city of Mosul from Daesh terrorists. In their latest achievements, government troops liberated two new neighborhoods in Mosul. They are also advancing toward al-Hadba Minaret which is one of the historical icons of the city. The forces earlier captured the village of al Reyhaneh and repelled an attack on the Nineveh provincial headquarters. Iraqi army soldiers and allied fighters launched the offensive to retake Mosul last October. They took control of eastern Mosul in January.
Cleansing operations underway in western Mosul
Video At The Mosul Mosque Where ISIS Leader Declared A Caliphate
News of Al-Baghadi’s flight from Mosul “did not have an impact on soldiers’ morale yet”
A senior Iraqi commander said on Friday that the ISIL militants are fleeing the front lines in Western Mosul, as pro-government forces are pushing on with their assaults on the terror group in the area.
“Intelligence reports indicate the majority of ISIL militants remaining in west Mosul are non-Iraqis,” noting that they were likely to be “suicide bombers,” said the commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity, New Arab reported.
He added that most ISIL units were now fighting without guidance from leaders.
“The majority of armed militants and senior ISIL leaders have fled the battle scene, which indicates that the militant group knows it is losing the battle,” the commander told The New Arab.
He said that the battle in Mosul is now being left to a core of hardline “foreign militants”.
Early on Friday, Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service assaulted the al-Amil al-Oula neighbourhood of west Mosul, and were battling the militants inside it.
“The enemy fought fiercely in the first defensive line from al-Ghazlani base to Wadi Hajar and to al-Sumood neighbourhood,” said Staff Major General Maan al-Saadi, from Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service, referring to areas recaptured by Iraqi troops.
But “after these neighborhoods, after we broke the defensive line, they lost many fighters”, Saadi said.
“The enemy has begun to collapse. They have lost many of their combat capabilities. Today, the enemy sent car bombs, but not in the numbers that they sent at the beginning of the battle.”
But the battle for Mosul’s Old City, which could see some of the toughest fighting of the operation, has not yet begun, nor has fighting inside the city of Raqqa, ISIL main bastion in Syria.
In another sign that the militants are feeling the squeeze, their chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported to have abandoned Mosul, leaving local commanders behind to oversee ISIL defense of the city.
“He was in Mosul at some point before the offensive…. He left before we isolated Mosul and Tal Afar,” a town to the west, a US defence official said.
“He probably gave broad strategic guidance and has left it to battlefield commanders.”
Baghdadi, who declared ISIL’s pro-clamed “caliphate” at a Mosul mosque in 2014, urged supporters in an audio message in November to make a stand in the city rather than “retreating in shame”.
Iraqi forces launched their operation to retake Mosul in October, and recaptured the whole Eeast bank of the Tigris River that runs through it in January.
Army forces consolidate their position in western Mosul