by Tobias Schneider, Emma Bapt and Karam Shoumali, March 2021 – CHEMICAL WEAPONS GPPI NET
In the early hours of 7 April 2017, a senior pilot and squadron commander of the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) prepared to take off from Shayrat Air Base in central Syria. This flight marked his third mission carrying lethal Sarin in just over two weeks. The pilot’s precise routine set off alarm bells for the opposition activists who had tuned into Syria’s radio towers in anticipation of the near daily air-raids:
“Su-22 took off [from Shayrat Air Base], [code-named] Quds 1, known to be the squadron commander. The situation is calm. [This pilot] does not conduct these raids unless he is carrying something dangerous – unless he has toxic materials. The aircraft took off at 6:26.”
A few hours later, at least 89 civilians had been killed in Khan Shaykhoun. As images of civilians gasping for air raced around the world, the United States prepared to respond with military force.
Over the course of the war, the Syrian air force has served as the Syrian government’s primary means of inflicting violence and suffering on civilians in opposition-held communities.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Islamic State claims responsibility for twin attacks on SDF in eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor / SYRIA
By ENAB BALADI 12 April 2021
The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on the head of the local council of al-Harmousheya village— affiliated with the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration— and fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
The IS group released a statement on its affiliate Amaq News Agency on 9 April, saying that the IS fighters detonated an IED in the house of the head of al-Harmousheya’s local council, which resulted in only material damage.
The IS group previously assassinated the directors of local councils and offices.
- April 2021 10h
“What happens in Syria is going to be a political matter, not a military matter, Lieut Gen Paul Calvert, commander of U.S. forces in Syria & Iraq, told me. “We’re holding the space with the S.D.F. to enable a political solution.” The SDF has a big bargaining chip: oil fields.”
Lebanon: “One of the commanders who briefed Gen. McKenzie (Head US Forces M.E.) told me: “We’re losing Lebanon. It’s only months away.” After the state, the most powerful institution—politically, militarily, and economically—is Hezbollah.” By
More via www.mesop.de
BEHIND THE LINES: State Department, UN and NGO reports cite a pattern of grave human rights violations, assaults and targeting of women.
Turkish forces occupied Afrin in late 2018, in an operation dubbed Olive Branch, destroying the Kurdish authority which had previously ruled there.
Since that time, Afrin has been ruled by a coalition of Syrian Arab Sunni Islamist groups, with the Turkish authorities as the real power behind them. Significant Turkish investment in the infrastructure of the area, along with the frozen diplomacy of the Syrian conflict, suggests that the current situation will last for some time.
ISRAEL Should Change its Policy
Udi Dekel, Carmit Valensi – INSS Insight No. 1451, April 7, 2021 – ISRAEL
Israel has preferred “the devil it knows” – Bashar al-Assad, who opened the door to Iran – over the chance to change the reality in Syria. Now, however, is the time for a paradigm shift in Israel’s approach – to stop sitting on the sidelines, recognize that Syria will remain divided, and work intensively to obstruct efforts by Iran and its proxies to consolidate their power in the northern arena over time
It is unclear why the US saw these groups as assets, considering that not long ago, they were cheering 9/11 and supporting genocidal terrorism.
By SETH J. FRANTZMAN APRIL 6, 2021 11:05 JERUSALEM POST
In a bizarre twist of the remnants of the Syrian civil war, it was revealed in a recent PBS interview that the former US envoy on Syria saw an extremist group as an “asset” in the war-torn county.
How this was revealed is a circuitous route that ended with an interview by PBS Frontline correspondent Martin Smith in Syria’s Idlib province. Smith spoke with Mohammad al-Jolani, a terrorist and senior extremist Islamist leader whose group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Levant Liberation Committee – HTS) has turned Syria’s Idlib province into a mini theocratic state.
According to the article at PBS, former US Syria Envoy James Jeffrey, who also headed a separate envoy’s office to the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, told Smith that Jolani’s organization was an “asset” to US strategy.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS SPECIAL : Sind die Türkei & die islamistische HTS-Gruppe in Syriens Idlib Verbündete?
- Paul Iddon AHVAL NEWS – 05.04.2021 11:43 Uhr Gmt+3 – Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, Anführer der Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in der nordwestsyrischen Provinz Idlib, versuchte kürzlich in einem PBS-Interview zu betonen, dass seine Gruppe keine Bedrohung für die USA oder den Westen darstelle, sondern im Gegenteil gemeinsame Interessen teile. Ist seine Fraktion bereits ein Verbündeter oder gar ein Stellvertreter der Türkei?
“In den letzten Jahren wurde Idlib von syrischen, russischen und iranischen Streitkräften angegriffen, wobei die Türkei Oppositionsgruppen unterstützt, darunter manchmal Auch Jolanis Gruppe”, heißt es in dem PBS-Bericht.
Der ehemalige US-Sonderbeauftragte für Syrien-Engagement James Jeffrey sagte Anfang März, HTS sei“ein Vorteil” für die US-Strategie in Idlib.
- Paul Iddon – AHVAL NEWS Apr 05 2021 11:43 Gmt+3 – Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, leader of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northwest Syria’s Idlib province, sought to stress in a recent PBS interview that his group doesn’t pose a threat to the US or the West but to the contrary shares common interests. Is his group already an ally, or even a proxy, of Turkey?
“For the last couple of years, Idlib has come under attack from Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces, with Turkey backing opposition groups, including, sometimes, Jolani’s group,” the PBS report noted.
Former US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey said in early March that HTS is “an asset” for US strategy in Idlib.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ASSAD&ERDOGAN&PUTIN AGAINST KURDS IN SYRIA – Daoud: Tightening the siege on NES is a Russian-led plan
The co-chair of the Economic Authority in Afrin region, Imad Daoud, pointed out that the government blockade on NE Syria aims to satisfy the people and the Autonomous Administration, as part of a joint plan between Turkey and the Damascus government led by Russia against the region.
NEWS 05 Apr 2021, Mon – 02:58 2021-04-05T02:58:00 Al-Shahba – Firas Ibrahim ram
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS SITU REPORT „ AL HAWL CAMP“: THE ISLAMIC STATE THREAT IN SYRIA TWO YEARS AFTER THE CALIPHATE
by Ido Levy
PolicyWatch 3461March 31, 2021 – Since losing its territorial base, the group has shown troubling signs of recovery amid a deteriorating situation at al-Hawl refugee camp.
On March 28, the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) sent 5,000 fighters into al-Hawl refugee camp to apprehend over thirty people suspected of links to the Islamic State (IS). Housing 61,000 people—mostly women and children, and also a significant portion of IS supporters—al-Hawl first gained notoriety for absorbing thousands of foreigners and families who stayed with the IS “caliphate” until its last stand at Baghuz two years ago. Marking the anniversary of the March 23, 2019, liberation of Baghuz, SDF commander-in-chief Mazloum Abdi tweeted, “The war isn’t over, reconstruction efforts are vital to prevent ISIS resurgence”—a statement that rings true as the situation at al-Hawl deteriorates, echoing Abdi’s warning last month that the jihadist group “is trying to revive itself” in Syria.
The IS Role in East Syria