Syrian War Report – July 19, 2018: SDF’s Political Wing Seeks To Normalize Relations With Damascus

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On July 18, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said that their members, backed up by the US-led coalition, had captured 1,100km2, which included sixteen villages, from ISIS in the provinces of al-Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

According to the SDF, four ISIS members were killed and four others were captured during the advance. One SDF member reportedly died. Additionally, the SDF captured a pickup truck, two heavy machine guns, a RPG-7 launcher, mines and ammunition. The provided numbers show that ISIS had shown almost no resistance to the advancing US-backed force.

A day earlier, on July 17, Ilham Ehmed, co-chairperson of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), a political wing of the SDF, announced that the SDC will open offices in the provinces of Hama, Homs, Latakia and in the capital of Damascus in the near future in a move allegedly aimed to propel negotiations between the SDF/SDC and the Damascus government.

The announcement came a day after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Putin in Helsinki on July 16, during which the discussed the situation in Syria and other important topics.

Meanwhile, militants in the southern Syrian city of Daraa handed over another batch of weapons to the Syrian Arab Army. This batch included three T-55 battle tanks, two BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, four so-called “Hell canons”, several heavy machine guns and ammunition.

A reconciliation agreement in the area was reached on July 14 and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) restored control of the city. Since then, militants have been surrendering their weapons there.

A local reconciliation deal was also reached in the town of Nawa, northeast of Daraa city. According to pro-government sources, units of the SAA have established control of key hills around the town by July 19 and militants have started preparing to hand over their weapons.

Earlier a series of firefights between the SAA and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham took place in Nawa. However, a more moderate part of militants was able to expel Hayat Tahrir al-Sham from the area.

Russia has established a center for receiving, relocating and accommodating refugees in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on July 18. The center will monitor the return of displaced persons and Syrian refugees from foreign countries to their homes. It will also be involved in humanitarian aid deliveries and will assist the Syrian government in restoring healthcare and human services.

As the conflict in most of Syria comes to an end of its hot phase, humanitarian operations and the ability of the Damacsus government to restore a peaceful life across the country will become important factors impacting the prospects of a possible political solution of the entire conflict.

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  • neil barron

    Amen!

  • Oscar Silva Martinez

    Yeah, the terrorists are handing over their asses, they know their “cause” is lost.

    • gustavo

      They had not any cause. They were paid by Israel-USA-NATO to help them to destroy their own country, so fools brain washed.

      • Augsta “Augsta”

        REBEL WITHOUT A “CAUSE ” HOW IRONIC …

  • Rob

    Mr. Putin is a true world leader without any doubt.

  • Konrad Ingvarssen

    I’d be interested to know what this means for relations between Turkey and Syria. The S.D.F. have a lot of fighters who would happy change uniforms and become P.K.K. And start taking pot shots at Turkish troops and their current allies from Syrian territory. But I don’t think Syria can afford a war with Turkey, even a limited one. So I think SDF will probably be kept at arm’s length by the Syrian government. Though they obviously want the Turks gone from northern Syria, they don’t want to get dragged into a fight they can’t win.

    • Ronald

      SAA will just sweep by the Turkish out posts, and if the Turks raise resistance, they will be crushed along with the Al Qaeda jihadists. Turkey the SAA can remove.

    • Willing Conscience (The Truths

      Russia doesn’t want to worsen it’s relations with Turkey, but Assad’s relationship with Turkey couldn’t get much worse, Assad himself has said many times he won’t stop until all unsanctioned foreign troops are out of Syria altogether, that included Turkish troops.

    • Bob

      It’s little remarked upon in current analyses, but decades ago al-Assad senior basically conceded under military pressure that Turkey could enter Syria along the northern border for distance of around thirty kilometers deep during Turkish military pursuit operations against the PKK. This stems from earlier time, particularly 1980’s, when the PKK and Turkish forces were in full domestic conflict. It is quite possible that come the end of the Syrian conflict something similar to previous status quo might re-emerge – possibly with Turkish proxies displacing SDF along a narrow border corridor.

    • Konrad Ingvarssen

      It would seem to me that if the Syrian Government wanted to force Turkish troops out it would have to do it without Russia and Iran. Does anyone think this is possible? I don’t know much about Turkey’s military, but they are a NATO member and my impression is that their army is fairly professional. It’s not there to provide salaries for friends of the government but rather to be good at their jobs in the advancement of the military objectives of the Turkish government. They have a fairly modern air force. Wouldn’t the Turks rule the skies above Syria and bomb pretty much at will if they wanted to? That’s not a war that the Syrians would win, especially when there is such a desperate need for them to focus on rebuilding the country. Assad’s objectives for the long term will have to face the reality of Turkish military might and the pressing needs of Syrian society. I’m sure he will make his feelings known, but what can he realistically do about Turkish troops on Syrian soil?

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    The 5000 Isis fighters in this Al-Hasakah/Dier ez-Zor pocket are about to lose the Al-Hasakah part of their territory, which will leave both pockets of Isis, in US controlled Dier ez-Zor, this one with 5000 fighters, and the other one at Hajin, with 1500 fighters, probably less by now. Things have certainly sped up here over the last 3 or 4 months, I’m starting to wonder if there’s a bit of a race going on for bragging rights. Maybe Trump doesn’t like the idea of him being left with the baby, if the SAA were to eradicate Isis from Syrian Government controlled territory first.
    Once again the Kurds are letting us know they want to normalize relations with Assad, is Trump also on board since his meeting with Putin, or are they about to stab Trump in the back, I’m starting to lean towards, a deal was done.
    Poor HTS fighters, their old friends now not only wont touch them with a barge pole, they actually turn their backs on them, don’t we all feel just so terrible about that. I can just imagine the looks on their faces as they realized the terrible truth, I can’t help laughing every time I do.
    I also hope the Russian Defense Ministry releases accurate refugee and displaced persons data concerning this offensive in Daraa and Quneitra, I’ll drop dead if it’s as high as the 200/300,000 the UN has been quoting.

  • Icarus Tanović

    How about Turkey do the same with those phony freedom fighter YPG, actually American mercenaries.

  • Rodney Loder

    The biggest mistake in war is a reluctance to consolidate victory with the demise of enemies, the victors of Vietnam in the West and the East became the victims of free love, consequent the petrol dollar was conceived by pox, the Christian pigs actually ended up winning everything, Arab Spring was as it turns out is now proven by the US floating a childlike Evangelical Administration that seems like a push over but the victors of Arab Spring probably wont push, feeling the need to suck up to pox.
    Although principally Arab Spring a British French strategy that Obama was forced into, he still did so willingly.
    Have some sympathy for the victims and crucify the Syrian YPG.