International Military Review – Syria, Mar. 9, 2016

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The Syrian Army supported by the Russian warplanes continued an advance against Al-Nusra and its allies in the province of Latakia liberating Jabal Zuwayqat. The nearby village of Zuwayqat was also liberated. Thus, the Syrian forces are in position to launch and advance on Kabani which is one of the highest points inside the province’s northeastern countryside.

On Mar.8, Kurdish units and its allies took control of the villages of Al-Hamd, Al-Jad’an, Al-Jadou, Al-Badr, Al-Sarad, Delian and Delian Matli in the province of Raqqa after clashes with the ISIS. In a relevant development on Monday, the Kurdish forces liberated the village of al-Makman in the Hasaka province.

A top ISIS emir, Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Kaleezi, has been assassinated by unknown assailants in the Tabaqa Military airport on Mar.8. Al-Kaleezi is the third ISIS emir to be killed in the last 7 days.

On Mar.7, nearly 100 men left ISIS for the Faylaq al-Sham militant alliance in northern Aleppo. The pro-militant sources claimed that defectors had been mistreated at the hands of ISIS, including being repeatedly accused of treason. On the other hand, there are numerous cases of sharing manpower among militant groups in Syria. Faylaq al-Sham has been formed from 19 different Islamist militant groups some of which directly affiliated with the Qatar-backed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Considering Qatar’s role in creation of ISIS, it could be suggested that the case of Mar.7 is an attempt to re-brand ISIS militants excluded from the ceasefire supported by the US and Russia.

According to Syrian officials, over 100 villages have agreed on the ceasefire. The majority of the reconciliation agreements have taken place in the province of Hama.

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