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Syria Daily: Kurdish Militia Help Tighten Siege of Aleppo

Syria Daily: Kurdish Militia Help Tighten Siege of Aleppo
July 28
14:31 2016

PHOTO: Fighters of the Kurdish YPG militia


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UPDATE 1440 GMT: Leaflets have been dropped on opposition-held areas, telling civilians to leave, promising passage to regime territory, and giving “guidance for a safe exit”.

However, at least one resident is resisting the call, according to Erika Solomon of the Financial Times:

Other sources in Aleppo say no corridor for passage has been established by the Assad regime and/or Russia. They warn of a possible “trap”, luring out people who may then be detained.

Other observers comment on a tactic by which the area is “de-populated” so Russia, the Syrian military, and their foreign allies can then step up assaults on remaining rebels — similar to tactics used in cities such as Homs.


UPDATE 1430 GMT: President Assad has issued a decree granting amnesty to rebels who surrender and give up their arms within the next three months.

The measure also grants exemption from harsh punishment for kidnapping, if those abducted are freed within one month.


UPDATE 1045 GMT: Russia has declared that it will help establish three corridors through which besieged civilians can leave opposition-held parts of Aleppo city.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said mobile centers will provide food and medical assistance to those who leave.

Shoigu said another corridor can be used by rebels who lay down their arms.

“To avoid unnecessary casualties among the militants who have not laid down arms yet and were not involved in the bloody crimes we ask the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic to guarantee them amnesty and pardon,” Shoigu said.

He said Russia was appealing to international organizations to join the “humanitarian operation”.

The Governor of Aleppo Province, Mohammad Marwan Olabi, echoed the Russian announcement.

Meanwhile, the Syrian military and pro-regime outlets are claiming that rebels withdrew from the Bani Zeid district of western Aleppo city on Wednesday after weeks of battles.

A regime soldier stands atop a Syrian Revolution flag in Bani Zeid this morning:

SYRIA SOLDIER BANI ZEID 28-07-16


ORIGINAL ENTRY: Syria’s Kurdish militia YPG have helped tighten the siege of opposition-held areas of Aleppo, seizing a position on the last route into the city.

The YPG seized the Youth Housing Complex on the al-Castello road north of Aleppo on Wednesday. Pro-opposition activists said Kurdish occupation would reinforce the Assad regime’s control of the route, established three weeks ago when pro-Assad forces took the nearby
al-Mallah Farms and positioned heavy artillery near the route.

Pro-Kurdish outlets claimed the YPG counter-attacked after rebels attacked their positions in the Sheikh Maqsoud area of Aleppo city. There have been clashes in the mainly-Kurdish area between rebels and the YPG for months.

Rebel supporters responded that the YPG had effectively coordinated their attacks in Sheikh Masqoud with ongoing regime assaults in nearby areas such as Layramoun and Bani Zaid.

A pro-regime blogger, with contacts in the Syrian military, pointed to the de facto YPG-regime coordination this morning:

The YPG took parts of opposition-held Aleppo Province early this year, taking advantage of attacks by both a regime-Russian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive and by the Islamic State in northwest Syria.

High-level UN officials have warned since last week of the effects of a siege, with Stephen O’Brien, the head of humanitarian operations, saying on Monday, “I cannot stress enough how critical the situation is for those trapped.” Activists and local officials say up to 400,000 people are in the neighborhoods.

However, the US and other powers have given no indication of pressure on the Assad regime to lift the siege. Instead, Washington is working with Russia on a proposal for a joint command-and-control center inside Syria, pursuing operations against the Islamic State and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra.

See Syria Daily, July 27: Kerry Talks of Progress as Aleppo Endures Bombing and Siege

Meanwhile, Russia and the regime have continued bombing of opposiition areas in and near Aleppo, killing hundreds of people and destroying infrastructure such as hospitals.

See Syria Daily, July 25: The Russia-Regime War on the Hospitals

The Syrian military dropped leaflets on east Aleppo warning residents to leave. The regime’s UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, sent a letter to the Security Council on Tuesday saying that the residents had been offered safe passage and assurances of temporary accommodation.


Whose Mortars Killed 25 People in Damascus on Monday?

Syria Direct has interviewed a student in Damascus about mortar attacks on neighborhoods in central Damascus that reportedly killed at least 25 people.

The attacks were the first in regime-held districts such as Bab Touma since a now-defunct “cessation of hostilities” on February 27.

Rebels have previously areas in Damascus, saying that they were attacking regime military positions. In early 2015, Jaish al-Islam fired rockets into the capital in response to bombardments on opposition-held Damascus suburbs that killed hundreds of civilians.

Prior to February’s ceasefire agreement, rebel militias in the East Ghouta suburbs regularly shelled regime-controlled Damascus neighborhoods.

However, no one has claimed responsibility for Monday’s killings.

The student says of earlier assaults, “People used to want the opposition to enter. But they don’t any more, not since hundreds of people died last year because of their mortar attacks.”

But he comments about Monday’s mortars: “Both the regime and the opposition target Damascus. They’re both just as bad.”


Jabhat al-Nusra Repositions Itself to Fight Regime in South

The jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra have repositioned their fighters in southern Syria to confront pro-Assad forces rather than the Islamic State.

In the past two weeks, Nusra has pulled back its members from four-month battles in southwestern Daraa Province — working alongside rebel factions — to push back the ISIS-linked groups Liwa Shuhada al-Yarmouk and Harakat al-Muthanna.

Nusra worked with rebels such as Ahrar al-Sham and the Southern Front to push back initial gains by the ISIS forces.

However, “Nusra withdrew large numbers of its forces” this month, according to frontline citizen journalist Omar al-Jolani. “It hasn’t completely withdrawn from the fighting, but no longer has any real numbers to speak of at the flashpoints.”

A Southern Front commander confirmed, “Nusra has withdrawn from the ongoing battles against Jaish Khaled bin al-Waleed [the merged ISIS groups]. The FSA [Free Syrian Army] factions are displeased.”

A local source explains that Nusra’s move was prompted because of the US-led restriction of support to the anti-ISIS forces:

You see what happens when the US throttles funds and supplies — fighters join Jabhat al-Nusra.

From what I know, Nusra in the south will definitely attack the regime soon, because they know the fight against Daesh is supported by MOC [the US-led Military Operations Center in Jordan] whilst the fight against the regime is halted by the MOC.

[Nusra’s] street credit will increase [because of this].

Citizen journalist Jolani supported the analysis, without mentioning the MOC restrictions: “If Nusra and Ahrar are able to open fronts against the regime and advance, this would increase their support base.”


Human Rights Watch Documents 47 “Systematic” Russian-Regime Cluster Bomb Attacks in 2 Months

Human Rights Watch has documented 47 cluster munition attacks by Russian and regime forces in the last two months across three Syrian provinces.

The organization said the total of assaults, which have killed and injured dozens of civilians in opposition-controlled territory, is likely to be higher.

Many of the attacks were north and west of Aleppo, as pro-Assad forces — enabled by Russian airstrikes — established a siege of the city.

Other bombings were in Idlib and Homs Provinces.

The use of cluster munitions is banned under international humanitarian law. Russia has denied using the bombs, but its aircraft have been filmed with the armed munitions and numerous videos have recorded the remnants of the exploded ordnance.

Targets included a fuel market, in which all the victims were civilians, with repeated strikes as rescuers responded. Cluster bombs were also used in a June 19 attacked on the US-supported New Syrian Army, which is fighting the Islamic State, in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border.

Witnesses identified the use of SU-34 jet fighters, which are only flown by Russian pilots, in some of the bombings.


Renewed Pro-Assad Offensive in East Ghouta Near Damascus

Pro-Assad forces have renewed their offensive in the East Ghouta area near Damascus, attacking farmland near the town of Hosh al-Fara.

Syrian State news agency SANA said the assault was successful. Islam Alloush, the spokesman for the rebel faction Jaish al-Islam responded, “It is not true, but the regime is waging a very big attack.”

The Syrian army and allied militias, including Hezbollah, took much of the southern part of East Ghouta in May.

The ground attacks have been accompanied by months of sustained bombing, killing hundreds of civilians, in towns in the area such as Douma.


ISIS Truck Bomb Kills At Least 44 in Qamishli

An Islamic State truck bomb killed 44 people in Qamishli in northeast Syria on Wednesday, according to State media.

Medical sources said 140 people were injured, many of them severely.

The Local Coordination Committees put the death toll at 48, among 113 victims across Syria on Wednesday.

ISIS claimed the attack near a Kurdish security forces headquarters in the mainly-Kurdish city near the Turkish border. It said the bombing was a response to the offensive of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to capture the city of Manbij, ISIS’s main position in Aleppo Province.

Local Kurdish officials said the detonation of the truck set off a fuel container nearby. The explosion was so powerful that it shattered windows in shops in the Turkish town of Nusaybin, where two people were slightly wounded.

QAMISHLI BOMB 27-07-16

Control of Qamishli is divided between Kurdish and regime forces. The Islamic State has regularly struck the city and nearby Hasakah with bombings. In April, a suicide bomb killed six Kurdish security officers, while at least 16 people were slain in an attack in Hasakah earlier this month.

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About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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18 Comments

  1. _Mustapha
    _Mustapha July 28, 14:04

    The Russian and the Americans,Bashar and the Kurdish Militias are all brothers in arms on the siege of Aleppo.everyone is either besieging or helping on the siege from somewhere but they will never succeed.
    This is a statement from the activist Hadi Alabdullah translated from his Facebook page:

    What is our duty as Syrians towards Aleppo?! Everyone knows that Aleppo which it still has about 350 thousands civilians inside it became besieged from all its sides,the civilians are subjected to genocide on daily basis! And because of the siege they are unable to get food or medicine or to take out the serious cases of their wounded ones outside of town! So What is our duty to all of this?! for the military factions the duty has become known to everyone .. And that is the initiation of a swift military action to open the Castilo road once again.. We Must rise up to the level of the event and to the level of the sacrifices made by our people in Aleppo..Enough waste of time. The Fire of the enemy will consume everyone without looking at the names of the factions..I recommend the rebel fighters to put pressure on their leaders to speed up the initiation of the battle of lifting of the siege even if they have to go out in demonstrations against them.. as for the families and civilians outside Aleppo, you should also put pressure on the military factions to initiate military action to lift the siege on Aleppo or at least to ease the pressure of the bombing of civilians.- Syrians in Syria, you too can do a lot to your people In Aleppo..Why aren’t we seeing protests and demonstrations daily or at least weekly where you are? Spreading the word to the world of the tragedy of Aleppo?!…Remember the campaign ‪#‎aleppo‬_ is _ burning how it moved audiences all over the world? The pressure forced Assad and Russia to a truce in Aleppo at that time..You can do like that again and even more. the political opposition which its voice has completely disappeared about the tragedy of Aleppo until the point we are starting to feel that the Opposition represents the state of Mozambique or Senegal maybe.. And it has nothing to do with what is going on in the ground in Syria. They could at least do press conferences, periodic explanations of the seriousness of the situation in Aleppo and the people in it.. They can try to do certain political pressure on some states that can do something. Even if it is just the admittance of medicine and food for the families or even take out the wounded.. right groups and humanitarian organizations, your role is big politically and on humanitarian term. to spread the word of people and ther suffering of civilians and to keep pressure on governments to allow aid for the children and women who are tasting all kinds of death.
    as for my people who are trapped in Aleppo there are no words I can speak of while I see your tragedies in the morning and evening but I will remind you by what our Lord Said { O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may succeed} 3:200.These quick messages and ideas that i wrote quickly so that no one say what can i do. And I’m sure there are a lot of ideas through which we can help our trapped brothers and families ..Let’s just all pray to God.. And let us work.

    Reply to this comment
  2. cocokarim199
    cocokarim199 July 28, 15:39

    There are a lot of civilians trapped in Aleppo; but only a small part , women, children ,elders will use Assad reconciliation. The others will fight!
    And it will be only one opposition army fighting the invaders.
    Al Qaeda new statement : it does not care what J.N. will do …. freedom to disband or to reintegrate in other formations.
    And the fight against ISIS will be stopped by Arabs.
    I think that fighters from Idlib not being J.N. (Al-Qaeda???) will be allowed to pass via Turkey ,but it depends to the lies of US (I hope the last lies of this administration sold to Turkey and GCC; these lies were not accepted by France and UK(by Boris Johnson???))

    Reply to this comment
  3. Barbar
    Barbar July 28, 15:43

    1. Russia opens humanitarian corridors around Syria’s Aleppo:
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2016/Jul-28/364364-russia-says-opening-humanitarian-corridors-around-syrias-aleppo.ashx
    .
    And, as we see, some trapped FSA Div.16 JI-Joes are already making good use thereof by surrendering to SAA in the Aleppo Kessel:
    https://twitter.com/hamza_780/status/758631341382590464
    .
    … but will kind-hearted Dr. Assad really just let these characters wander off into his amnesty program without even a stern telling-off?
    .
    2. Hmmn … maybe instead of amnesty Assad should offer the trapped ‘moderate rebels’ of Aleppo free passage [with their personal democracy-protection weapons, naturally] to the shores of France and watch the usual NATO ‘human rights’ sirens clam up pronto. Hollande for one richly deserves to spend more quality personal time with his little buddies:
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=105_1469652788
    .
    3. Principled AQ leader Zawahiri agrees with Obomber, the fix is in — “It’s OK, my Nusra chaps, your Bay’ah is nothing important to me, so go ahead and grab the filthy Qatari cash while dodging Yanki bombs, if you can, until régime-change cometh.”:
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2016/Jul-28/364386-al-qaeda-tells-syria-affiliate-nusra-front-to-take-any-steps-needed-to-preserve-battle-in-country.ashx
    .
    4. LOL, Putin nominated for Pulitzer for exposing The Psycho-HoseBeest’s DNC Dirty Tricks:
    http://buchanan.org/blog/will-putin-get-pulitzer-125477
    .
    5. Yanki Election Noise:
    .
    Trump’s Ego — http://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3981/2329/original.gif
    .
    And a glimpse into the repulsive ‘mind’ of The Psycho-HoseBeest:
    We saw. He died. I came.” — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

    Reply to this comment
  4. Barbar
    Barbar July 28, 19:27

    1. NATO’s JI-Joes in Aleppo Kessel accustom themselves to a new life, for as long as it lasts:
    https://twitter.com/MIG29_/status/758641495847079936
    .
    2. Santa’s Hell-Cannon Grotto discovered in stormed Bani Zaid — these delightful gifts will now be poetically fired into the remaining Kessel hold-outs:
    https://twitter.com/hamza_780/status/758628214877089792
    .
    3. Encroaching Doom in Darayya as SAA noose tightens:
    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/field-report-syrian-army-tightens-noose-around-rebels-darayya-map-update/

    Reply to this comment
  5. Genome45
    Genome45 July 28, 19:59

    This is really a decisive moment for Aleppo.

    I am surprised, I think it’s obvious something big happenned, notably among main rebels supporters or anti syrian governement countries.

    When the Northern Aleppo offensive happenned earlier this year and the rebels fully collapsed in northern Aleppo, there was massive hysteria from US, Turkey, and all about a ceasefire needed and all, when it was mainly a matter of relieving the siege two shia towns and to kick rebels out of North Aleppo.

    Now rebel held Aleppo is fully besieged, Bani Zaid and Layramoun have been retaken, when the city frontlines had barely moved the last 3 years.

    The rebels are taking a massive defeat, extremely decsive, but their main sponsors or supports don’t react in any way. The US; Turkey and others are silent.

    Aleppo could be the worst defeat of the rebels in this whole war, even worse than Homs. Yet, if feels like everybody has accepted it has an unavoidable issue. I wonder if the US has tacitely accepted with Russia the fall of the rebels parts of Aleppo.

    Reply to this comment
    • Barbar
      Barbar July 28, 20:37

      The FSA Kapos in Turkey have obviously been told to pipe down and let it slide, which is when you get characters like Hadi Abdallah as quoted above dropping his journalistic guise and trying his hand at Ersatz-General.
      .
      Either this indicates a generalised Yanki warcrim resignation in the face of determined SAA/Rooskie action or e.g. the sporadic closure of Bab al Hawa border crossing to Reyhanli since the failed Yanki backstabbing 12 days ago has considerably constricted the CIA’s logistics pipeline to keep the JI-Joes’ nose to the grindstone.
      .
      Neither is a good omen for them, and it may be both.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Bs As
    Bs As July 28, 20:27

    The coalition is bringing more freedom to syria.

    Amaq Agency: Horrific Scenes Of The Massacre Committed By US Aircraft In Ghandurah, North Of Manbij:

    http://paster.org/m/zooymh/

    Reply to this comment
  7. RedTornadoes
    RedTornadoes July 28, 20:55

    Time Magazine: HOW DONALD TRUMP MADE THE US A TARGET FOR RUSSIA’S NEW BRAND OF WARFARE
    .
    [Editor: Comment with RT’s analysis moved to latest post in US section]

    Reply to this comment
    • RedTornadoes
      RedTornadoes July 28, 21:53

      It’s bad enough that there is no header for “Election of 2016” or “US” or “US elections” or even “elections.” You have to go to global and then figure out where to post. You get bunch of headers which deal with the USA but not necessarily with elections. Why are their no dates so you can tel lwhich is which.

      I see no reason to post to a morque, given the work involved in assembling material or writing an analogy. Like I said, it’s akin to a North Dakota radio station at 3 am. So why bother making the effort which does take time?

      I’m out of here.

      Reply to this comment
      • Ben H
        Ben H July 28, 21:57

        To be fair, this is Syria Daily not Trump Daily. There are plenty of places on the internet to discuss Trump.

        I am sure I am not the only one who scrolls straight past your Trump posts.

        Reply to this comment
      • Scott Lucas
        Scott Lucas Author July 28, 23:18

        RT,

        Headers are being added for the US and Britain/Europe sections as we develop them.

        S.

        Reply to this comment
  8. Bs As
    Bs As July 28, 21:18

    Iran is stealing the show from the yankees in iraq:

    Iraq’s prime minister establishes Popular Mobilization Front as a permanent ‘independent military formation’:

    “The Iraqi government has officially incorporated the Iranian-supported Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) as an “independent military formation” in Iraq’s security forces. The move, which was approved by Iraq’s prime minister in February, is disturbing as it establishes the PMF as a parallel security organization akin to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).”

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2016/07/iraqs-prime-minister-establishes-popular-mobilization-front-as-a-permanent-independent-military-formation.php

    Reply to this comment
    • Matt
      Matt July 28, 22:39

      The Iraqi constitution outlaws militias. So, they had to bring them into the military. It was an easy solution to a legal problem.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Bs As
    Bs As July 29, 01:06

    Manbij ofensive is going down the sewer. Public opinion support for the “freedom fighters” (lol) banished in less than a week (after the couple of yanks airforce massacres). ISIS troops are hard as nails and well entrenched.

    From this point on is the downward spiral for the marxist sect, even pro-regime sites are acknowledging the change in momentum (the same tune is coming from many diffrent sides).

    —-

    The number of casualties of al-Ghandour massacre at the countryside of Manbij rises; it was carried out by the international coalition’s warplanes:

    http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=48868

    Rapid ISIS offensive endangers SDF buffer zone around Manbij city:

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/rapid-isis-offensive-endangers-sdf-buffer-zone-around-manbij-city/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss

    Reply to this comment

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