Syrian War Report – August 29, 2018: Government Forces Launch Final Push To Eliminate ISIS In Al-Safa

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Syrian government forces have restored control of the Hatil Dam near the administrative border between al-Suwayda and Rif Dimashq after brief clashes with ISIS terrorists. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has also repelled an attack by ISIS on its positions in Khirbat Abu Khashabeh in the al-Safa area.

According to state-run media, ISIS suffered significant casualties in the recent clashes. However, such reports lack photo and video evidence.

Clashes between the SAA and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) erupted in the northern countryside of Hama, near the administrative border of Idlib province. The SAA carried out a series of artillery strikes on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham targets reportedly destroying two vehicles and eliminating at least five terrorists.

Pro-militant sources also reported alleged air and artillery strikes by government forces in the villages of al-Lataminah, Kafr Zayta and Qalaat al-Madik.

Pro-government sources continue reporting more and more reinforcements from the Tiger Forces, the 4th Armoured Division and other pro-government factions deploying on the frontlines in northern Latakia, northern Hama and southwestern Aleppo.

While both sides are preparing for military actions against each other, the unclear diplomatic status of the Idlib de-escalation zone delays the start of large-scale hostilities. According to media reports, Ankara, the main backer of militants in Idlib, has time until the end of September to deal with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups in the area. If it is not able to do this, the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance will employ a military solution to this problem.

The Russian military has deployed an additional battery of Tor-M2 surface-to-air missile systems at its Khmeimim Air Base in Syria, Kommersant newspaper reported on August 28 citing a source in the ministry of defense.

The move, as well as the deployment of the Admiral Grigorovich and Admiral Essen frigates both armed with Kalibr cruise missiles near Syria, came amid announcements by the ministry that the US and its allies are preparing to carry out a new missile strike on government forces in Syria.

Earlier Russia warned of possible chemical weapons provocations in Idlib, which would lead to the escalation of the conflict. According to the Russian side, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and the White Helmets backed by foreign intelligence, are already preparing this provocation.

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  • Oscar Silva Martinez

    All the U.S. has to do is touching one, just one Russian soldier and their last card in Syria will go directly to the toilet.

    • Ma_Laoshi

      They touched the Wagner personnel alright. They helped, according to a formal accusation of the Moscow MoD, ISIS touch a Russian general. “Someone” delivered the MANPAD to the moderates that touched a Russian jet. All the Kremlin has been able to muster as a response is saying “naughty, naughty”.

      Seems “stupid” Americans approach war not so different from their advertisement-saturated consumer culture. With incremental psychological conditioning you can get people to do the darndest things.

    • Jon

      This confrontation should be avoided. Let the Turks corral the various armed insurgents holed up in Idlib. Let them administer the area they occupy civilly, to everyone’s benefit.

      Russia can back the Latakia, Tartus, Homs triangle and protect their allawite buddy.

      Leave Israel and Syria to their own devices along the Golan and if the Iranians want to participate, the Russians should not intervene between Israel and Syria/Iran/Hezbollah group. Israel can handle it and participation does not advance Russian interests.

      But avoid the potentially horrific consequences of a blood bath to take back Idlib for the allowite clique.

      • Ronald

        You want to give Al Qaeda and the Turkish jihadists the Syrian province of Idlib.
        The Syrian Sunni’s and Christians backing the Shia Allowite certainly do not agree.
        Your just dreaming of a “Greater Turkey”, go back to chasing Kurds.

  • gustavo

    Al-Safa has been very very difficult for SAA to take it, but it looks like the finally will do it this week. Good for Syria force. Now, it is time for Al-Tanaf and Idlib. I hope Russia gives strong enough electronic warfare protection to Syria-Hezbolah-Iran-Russia ground troops because of USA-NATO threat.

    • alejoeisabel

      And Israel.

  • frankly

    HTS (formerly those blamed for 9/11). Fully exonerated and now gainfully employed by F.uk.us and cohorts in Evil. Really now we give them air cover? You people have truly gone. Is there any constituency in the US who would stand by government policy if they actually knew what it is? Methinks even the Nazis would abandon you. They would not like the ultimate leaders of this conquest.

  • Rob

    Some losers and drug abusers in the world for example US, UK and their stooges have come together and want to invade every country in the world.

    • Icarus Tanović

      Yeah, very true.

  • AlexanderAmproz

    https://www.counterpunch.ORG/2018/08/29/john-mccain-war-criminal-not-war-hero/

    John McCain: War Criminal, Not War Hero

    by BRETT WILKINS

    “I hate the gooks,”Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) doubled down when asked on the 2000 presidential campaign trail about his continued use of the racist slur for Vietnamese people. “I will hate them as long as I live.”

    In the mind of the settler-colonialist, the white invader is always the victim and the people he invades, occupies, expels or exterminates are always the aggressors, going all the way back to the Native American genocide. McCain was never able to understand that in Vietnam, as in just about everywhere else they went, Americans were the invaders, not the victims. Even as McCain deserves praise and perhaps even admiration for the manner in which he endured the unendurable while imprisoned in Vietnam, we conveniently forget what he was doing when he was shot down over Hanoi. That day, US warplanes were bombing and strafing a light bulb factory in the densely populated capital, where thousands of innocent men, women and children were being killed by relentless American aerial attacks.

    One Man’s Terrorist…

    Bombing civilian targets is a war crime. It was a war crime in Vietnam and it was a war crime in Serbia too, one of the at least 13 countries McCain wanted to bomb, bomb, bomb over the course of his congressional career. As Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and other NATO powers waged the 1999 air war against the Serbian people in order to preserve the alliance’s “credibility,” McCain supported the brutal bombing campaign, which targeted utilities, hospitals, apartment buildings, nursing homes, railways, bridges, marketplaces and media outlets. Here’s a little refresher on the Geneva Convention:

    It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works.

    McCain had previously backed bombing Iraq’s water purification plants during the first Gulf War, a war crime later proven to be part of a US plan to cripple that country’s infrastructure through sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children. Many would call this an act of terrorism, but McCain was never one to shy away from supporting terror when he felt it necessary. He personally donated $400 to Nicaraguan Contra rebels while angrily declaring that “historians will look back and view the vote that cut off… aid to the Contras as a low point in United States history.” Congress banned such aid after widespread reports of horrific Contra atrocities like this one:

    Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slit.

    Of course, one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, or perhaps both at once. The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, better known by its Farsi acronym MEK, was a State Department-designated terrorist group that had previously assassinated half a dozen US officials back when it was fighting the Shah’s regime. After the Shah’s ouster, MEK waged a guerrilla terror war against the Islamic Republic, endearing it to US leaders including McCain who supported and arranged secret training for its fighters in Nevada.

    In 2009, McCain was part of a delegation of conservative senators who traveled to Libya to meet longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who briefly flirted with US rapprochement after agreeing to scrap his weapons of mass destruction program. McCain even promised to help the Gaddafi regime acquire US weapons. But the Libyan love affair was short lived and by 2011 McCain was a leading voice for war against Libya, accusing Gaddafi of having “American blood on his hands.” Then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton was more than willing to amplify McCain’s war call, pressing a reluctant Barack Obama to add Libya to the Bush-beating list of countries he bombed.

    The Woman and the Ape

    Iran was a longtime target of McCain’s threats, with the senator infamously channeling his inner Beach Boys on the presidential campaign trail in 2007. McCain’s animus toward Iranians, a nation whose people are among the most America-loving in the world, bordered on pathological. Upon learning that $158 million worth of American cigarettes were exported to Iran in violation of US sanctions he quipped, “maybe that’s a way of killing them.”

    Oh, McCain was a joker, all right. Here’s one of his greatest hits: during his initial run for Senate back in 1986, McCain asked a Washington, DC audience if they’d heard “the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?” Ready for the knee-slapping punchline? “When she finally regained consciousness and tries to speak,” McCain continued, “her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, Where is that marvelous ape?’”

    McCain’s periodic misogyny spared no one. During a 1992 campaign stop, his wife Cindy playfully noted that the then-56-year-old was losing his hair. “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt,” he lovingly retorted. It was more than just shocking words — when it came to issues of reproductive rights, equal pay, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment, McCain repeatedly demonstrated a disdain for women that’s been forgotten in all the lofty eulogizing.

    No to MLK Day, Veterans and 9/11 First Responders

    His relationship with black people was just as fraught with controversy. McCain vehemently opposed the national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, a popular move in a state known for its racism but a shock to millions of Americans who watched McCain vote against the holiday even after President Ronald Reagan finally approved it. He also supported flying the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol and, more importantly, consistently pushed policies and actions that fueled racial economic disparities and the disproportionate mass incarceration of people of color.

    What’s arguably most confounding about the recent media fawning over McCain is the myth-making surrounding his record on veterans’ issues. Lost amid all the gushing over McCain’s patriotic service is the fact that he voted dozens of times against funding for veterans’ health care and other crucial services, claiming they were “too expensive.” Yet McCain had no problem waging and expanding the never-ending “War on Terror” that has cost more than a million lives and more than $5 trillion taxpayer dollars. McCain’s reluctance to spend public funds to care for the men and women who put their lives on the line while fighting to advance the government’s agenda is indeed curious given it was the public who financed his own education at the United States Naval Academy.

    Also too expensive for McCain’s taste was the 9/11 first responders’ health care bill, which provided life-saving medical care for the thousands of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and others who selflessly rushed to the burning Twin Towers that fateful morning and who suffered from deadly cancers and other diseases years later. A watered-down version of the bill was ultimately passed after months of Republican objection.

    Grading McCain

    McCain surely gets an “A+” grade from the military-industrial complex, for endless war spending was always a top priority for McCain. Taking care of those who fight, and who are physically and mentally maimed by fighting, not so much. That’s likely why the nonpartisan Disabled American Veterans graded him a 2 out of 10 for his poor record on veterans issues, and why Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a “D” for, among other travesties, voting against additional body armor and PTSD funding for troops.

    He also gets an “F” for peace. McCain seemed to deplore peacemakers. When activists interrupted a congressional appearance by Henry Kissinger, who promoted and protected genocide, illegal wars and invasions, military coups, terrorism and torture on every inhabited continent, McCain ordered Capitol police to remove the “low life scum.” Not Kissinger, mind you, but rather the protesters. Ask yourself, who are “low life scum,” those, like Kissinger and McCain with the blood of millions of innocent men, women and children on their hands, or those trying to stop such slaughter?

    War Hero? War Criminal.

    John McCain is only a “hero” in the settler-colonialist mind. By the letter of the law, he was a war criminal. We Americans may praise McCain for opposing Bush-era waterboarding, or for standing up to the bigot who called Obama a Muslim at a campaign rally, or for casting the deciding vote that saved millions of Americans’ health insurance. Yet one is reminded of Chris Rock reality-checking a black man boasting about how he pays his child support and stays out of jail. “You’re supposed to pay your child support, you’re supposed to stay out of jail,” the comedian retorts. Well, you’re supposed to be against torture and racism and people dying because they can’t afford insurance. In a sane world, these things wouldn’t even be up for debate.

    Alas, this is no sane world and so we see the surreal, Orwellian spectacle of a war criminal hailed as a war hero, of a warmonger praised by purported peace-lovers like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of someone who staunchly opposed MLK being fondly remembered by the NAACP and by America’s first black president. Americans have short, convenient memories. We also love lionizing monsters, from Columbus to Andrew Jackson to Henry Kissinger. In a nation built upon a foundation of genocide and slavery and maintained through global militarism, Olympic feats of mental gymnastics are regularly performed in service of empire. McCain faithfully served the empire and will be rewarded with a lofty place in the official narrative. But in the annals of truth, the John McCain story will read quite differently.

    Join the debate on Facebook

    Brett Wilkins is editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace.

    • Willing Conscience (The Truths

      Brilliant piece. I’d forgotten some of the things this demon has been responsible for.
      There is one important omission though, the fact that he switched from an anti LGBTQI stance, that he held for all his early life, to a pro LGBTQI stance towards the end of it. Why the change of heart so late in life, can you guess?
      At 81 years of age most of us would be to frail to endure a surgical procedure, but not John McCain, he’s been in top health lately. He has access to the most advanced technical equipment, procedures, and surgeons on the planet, and is right now preparing to have his long awaited trans gender operation. This will be his reward for helping to bring about a New World Order, his devoted wife will be waiting for him at the end of the operation, and she’ll be the first to greet her new ‘friend’ Mrs. Joan McCain.
      What’s that, you’re trying to tell me he’s actually dead from a brain tumor, noooo, you were all just fooled, you were all looking at right hand when you should have been looking at the left hand, that’s the oldest trick in the magicians handbook, I don’t fall for those old tricks.
      People should start checking out what some of his greatest [sickest] achievements were in the last few years of his life, how anyone could be in any doubt as to his true intentions, and also his perverted nature, is beyond the limits of my comprehension.
      The rainbow warrior isn’t really dead, he’s just transformed into she.

      • Feudalism Victory

        Thats fucking ridiculous

      • Enkidu

        AHahahha lmao

    • Feudalism Victory

      Yes fuck john mcain it is good that he is dead next up his isis pals. Theyve lived too long already.

      • Icarus Tanović

        Yeah, fuck him.

  • Icarus Tanović

    Foreign forces… Hmmm… English ones, right?

  • Attrition47

    Has South Sront done a report on the re-armament o the Syrian Air Force? I’d be interested in one. Anyone else?

  • Davki

    The resurgence of IS in the area of Suweida is bogus. The Russian-backed Asad-regime forces use IS, like everybody else, as an excuse to punish local population. Ask the common people who actually live there. Asad’s regime had struck a deal for them to join the army (it’s compulsory) under the condition that the recrutes would stay in their own region. That deal had been recently changed by the regime, which resulted in protest. Boom. Few days later ‘IS’ commits massacres against the misbehaving populace. In reality, there is no IS there. It’s just the regime killing to keep people in line.