Russia has started creating a local force that will operate in northeastern Syria areas abandoned by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, several Syrian media outlets claim.
According to reports, the Russian military will train and equip a new pro-government militia in the province of al-Hasakah. This militia will be deployed at former positions of the SDF, which have not been taken by the Syrian Army.
Since the start of the Russian military operation in Syria, Moscow has trained and equipped several pro-government factions that successfully operate in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Daraa and near Damascus. The Russian military also helped to create the 5th Assault Corps of the Syrian Army. The al-Hasakah-based militia will likely be used as a part of the wider plan to de-escalate the situation on the border with Turkey.
A team of experts from Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco has reportedly visited and inspected the al-Omar oil fields in southeastern Deir Ezzor. Local sources suggest that the US-led coalition is going to involve experts and entities linked to the Saudi company in an attempt to expand the scale of its oil smuggling business.
In November, the Syrian military carried out a series of strikes on oil smuggling facilities near the Turkish-occupied city of Jarabulus in northern Aleppo. Back then, sources in Damascus warned that these strikes were only a first step in a campaign to put end to the smuggling of the Syrian oil by foreign forces.
More and more data contradicting the mainstream narrative blaming the Assad government for the April 7, 2018 Douma incident become available to the public. On December 14, WikiLeaks released another batch of documents that reveal mass dissent within the OPCW’s experts over the formal decision to lay blame for the supposed chemical attack on Assad. The leaked data includes a memo stating 20 inspectors think that the officially released version of the OPCW’s report on Douma “did not reflect the views of the team members that deployed to [Syria]”. Another revelation is that the OPCW possessed scientifically credible evidence showing the victims of the alleged attack had symptoms not consistent with chemical gas exposure.
These documents became the latest in a series dissent memos and documents destroying the “Assad chemical weapons” narrative. The previously released evidence revealed that the OPCW had doctored the Douma report and manipulated the collected evidence. It should be recalled that the United States, the United Kingdom and France carried out a joint missile strike on Syria in 2018 justifying the move by claims that it was a needed response to the supposed “Assad chemical weapon attack” in Douma.