Syria Daily: Rebels — “Ceasefire Has Practically Ended on Ground”


PHOTO: Regime airstrike on Wadi Barada, northwest of Damascus, at the end of December



As Regime Cuts Off Water, Damascus’s Children Fall Ill

Leading Syrian rebel factions have said that the December 29 ceasefire has “practically ended on the ground” because of pro-Assad offensives that have continued despite the supposed truce.

On Tuesday, a commander of the Fastiqim Union, prominent in Aleppo Province, is now preparing to respond to violations.

Leaders of three other factions — Shuhada Al-Islam, Jaysh Al-Mujahideen, and Suqour Al-Sham — said on Sunday that the ceasefire has failed because of the pro-Assad assaults on Wadi Barada, northwest of Damascus, and East Ghouta to the northeast of the capital. They also said warned that a rebel response is forthcoming.

The Fastiqim commander, Abu Qutaiba, said rebels have not decided yet whether to participate in political talks with the regime in Kazakhstan because of the conditions on the ground.

Russia and Turkey, the brokers of the ceasefire, declared that the truce would be followed by the discussions to begin establishment of a political resolution. However, on Monday President Assad challenged the talks by questioning if there was a genuine Syrian opposition and saying that he will step down, even at the end of a transitional process.

The opposition and rebels have said that they will not withdraw their demand of Assad’s departure.

Attacks by regime and Hezbollah forces continued on the Wadi Barada area on Tuesday, including bombing by Syrian warplanes, according to opposition outlets.

Local opposition sources said the airstrikes, mortars, and tank fire were “the single most violent” day since the start of the offensive on 22 December against the area of 10 villages and between 50,000 and 100,000 people.

The offensive was not halted by the December 29 ceasefire. President Assad had said that the attacks will continue until “terrorists” are removed.

See Syria Daily, Jan 11: Assad Draws Line Against His Departure

Wadi Barada is vital because it contains the al-Fija springs, which provide more than 60% of Damascus’s water. Regime airstrikes in late December damaged the pumping facilities, limiting water to more than five million people to about two hours per day.

See Syria Feature: As Regime Cuts Off Water, Damascus’s Children Fall Ill

Pro-Assad forces have also been trying to seize territory in East Ghouta, northeast of Damascus. On Tuesday, a pro-Assad site proclaimed that an offensive, led by Hezbollah, will soon be launched in southern Aleppo Province.

Officials: US Begins Support of Turkish-Rebel Offensive v. ISIS

Officials say US aircraft have begun regular surveillance in support of the Turkish-rebel offensive against the Islamic State in northern Syria.

The flights follow weeks of military and diplomatic talks between American and Turkish counterparts.

Since autumn 2015, the US had switched most of its military support from rebels to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have advanced against the Islamic State in northeastern Syria.

However, in August 2016, Turkey intervened alongside rebels with airstrikes, tanks, and troops to push the Islamic State back in northern Syria, clearing a corridor along the Turkish-Syrian border and advancing south in Aleppo Province.

Over the past six weeks, the Turkish-rebel offensive has struggled to advance against the Islamic State’s last major position in Aleppo Province, the town of al-Bab.

White Helmets Criticize Detention, Forced “Confession” of Rescuer

The White Helmets civil defense organization have criticized the regime’s detention of a rescuer, forcing his “confession” which was then shown by a Russian media agency.

Abdulhadi Kamel, a volunteer since May 2013, was in a convoy removing civilians from eastern Aleppo city to western Aleppo Province. The buses were stopped and attacked, killed four people and injuring 10.

Shot in the shoulder, Kamel disappeared, reportedly under interrogation by the Air Force Intelligence branch in Aleppo. He finally was shown on January 7 in ANNA News’s “The White Helmets: The Mask of Terror”, with disinformation to tarnish the organization.

The White Helmets summarize:

We have no doubt that he has been forced to make a false confession for propaganda reasons. One glance at his face is enough to realise that this man is not speaking his mind, he is speaking out of fear for his life. The Assad regime has a long history of broadcasting false confessions from those they consider “terrorists”.

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  1. On the 20th day of the assault against Wadi Barada area, Assad forces and Hezbollah militia launched the fiercest attack against the area in Rural Damascus.

    RFS correspondent said that Assad forces and Hezbollah militia heavily attacked several frontlines in Wadi Barada, mostly the frontline of Basseema village, where fierce battles have been raging in the Basseemah valley for few hours today.

  2. War goes on
    Qalaat Al Mudiq ‏@QalaatAlMudiq

    East Ghouta: a joint operation allowed Rebels to take back positions lost to pro-Regime forces on Hazrama front.

  3. full 30 min interview with Abu Al-Abd, leader of Aleppo rebels in the last few days before it’s fall, on the reasons for it fall. At the end of the vid, he confirms the conspiracy between the sponsors of some of the rebel groups and the factions on the ground to hand the city over and points to Turkey as the main culprit.

      • The entry of Turkey into the Syrian war and the opening of a front in Northern Aleppo countryside was already a weakening of the military strength of the rebels in Aleppo because rebel groups were withdrawn from Aleppo.

        But decisive for the defeat of rebels in Aleppo was the inability to unite and the political weakness to build up convincing political leaders.

        The biggest mistake of the rebels is to fall back into sectarianism. If you follow the way back of the syrian opposition you could see that 2005 there was a unity between islamic opposition groups and kurdish fractions. Looking back to the declaration from Damascus of 2005 obviously there was a unity between different opposition groups above religous believes..

      • Thanks for this fascinating interview.
        So the Emir of the muaminin admits that there was “plenty of food”, in his words. By this he blatantly refutes the propaganda of deliberate starvation.

        • So this was is sectarian, he says. Not a single word about democracy, human-rights or anything that Progressives in the enlighted West tell us it is about.

          • You won’t hear praise of democracy from Islamists, obviously.
            These are the typical fanatics who push themselves forward in a revolution or civil war, seeing a chance to grab power. Compare the extremist Protestants in the English civil war.
            Such people always have plenty to say and are glad to give interviews. This doesn’t mean that their views are those of the majority. The whole point of democracy is to try to prevent rule by a power-hungry minority.

    • I wouldn’t be shocked if we start hearing about clashes renewing in Eastern Aleppo. The opposition wasn’t eliminated. They were allowed to leave. They will most likely start re-infiltrating small units into the rubble to harass SAA infill units. This is one of Hezbollah’s major complaints: For example, when they clear an area of rebels, the forces left behind give it back up, usually in spectacular fashion. Sound familiar?

  4. rebels have not decided yet whether to participate in political talks with the regime in Kazakhstan” — Translation: they are awaiting an SMS of ‘their’ decision from Taqqiya Tayyip’s White Palace by the 22nd, as he likes to keep ’em in suspense about what further booby-traps he has prepared along the winding path to their proximate political demise.
    The biggest mistake of the rebels is to fall back into sectarianism.” — To remain latched onto the Saudi money-teat, exhibiting sectarianism is mandatory. Ergo, their biggest mistake was ever having accepted the filthy Wahhabi lucre in the first place. And their second biggest mistake, made concurrently, was allowing NATO to wriggle its fist up their collective arse and use them as political glove-puppets.
    Still, any ‘rebel’ survivors left at the end may at least have learned to chose their ‘Friends of Syria’ rather more carefully before starting the next ‘revolution’.

    • Don`t rumble around because of NATO. Can`t see you whining anymore. Do you have no shelters at Moscow where you can hide yourself?

      Second, nobody can see any reason to take part at the discussion. Maybe it`s a good possibility for russian to destroy more hospitals and to kill more civilians at Syria?

      Third, you do not seem to understand that there is nobody who believe that fascist Russia is helpfull to find a solution. Putins Russia and Iran were helpful to create an never ending war at Middle east.

      Fourth, next revolution is on the way. Most Nato allies have committed troops to a Russia-deterrent force in the Baltic region. Six of them have also pledged troops to a similar force in Romania.
      Nato head Jens Stoltenberg announced the decisions after a Nato defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

      Canada is to lead one of four Nato battalions to be stationed in the Baltic states and in Poland.

      Germany is to lead the Nato battalion in Lithuania, with up to 6.00o soldiers, joined by another 4.000 from Belgium, Croatia, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway.

      The UK is taking charge of the Estonia force, with some 8.00 soldiers, Stryker armoured vehicles, and surveillance drones, alongside soldiers from Denmark and France.

      The US is to lead the Polish force, with some 9.000 soldiers, as well as with pre-positioned tanks and artillery, alongside extra British and Romanian troops.

      Fifth,, NATO will station another series of medium-range missiles in Poland

      Sixt, another round of sanctions is on the way against Putins russia.

      You west will make live Very pleasant for russian you.

    • Seven, more sanctions against russia, the new US secretary of state Tillerson says he spoke to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew himself to point out gaps between EU and US sanctions on Russia energy sector.

      Looks like if everybody thinks that Russia should use his gas & oil for themselves.
      You see the west exemplaryis takes care of Putins russia.

  5. Shame Mike is not here for his views on the latest Donald Trump ‘Pross P freely’ controversy. LOL! That aside.
    #National: Turks going after Manbij next? “Turkey stopping civilians to cross Sajur River + troop build up (including tanks) along the Sajur river north of Manbij. ANHA ” – 4rj1n
    #Damascus: Wonderful news “FSA Ahmad al-Abdo Martyrs Brigades | seizing large parts of East Mountains overlooking #Damascus-#Baghdad Highway” – badly_xeroxed
    Lets hope they/FSA are now able to stop regime convoys just like what rebels did to Ithriya-highway in northern Syria. I do wonder whether the Southern Front FSA will have the sense to the do the same?

  6. #Observation: I’ll say this about a successful future political strategy for rebels – as the defeats of Darayaa and Madaya have shown victory for rebels (or even the regime for that matter) won’t come just through them causing more KIA/WIA on regime troops rather victory for rebels will come through rebels inflicting (through denyal of service?) starvation/famine upon a greater number of regime areas then regime is doing to pro-rebel civilian areas in Aleppo/Homs/Latakia/Hama/Deraa. Victory will come through not just by ambushing regime troops regularly but also by denying regime ALL means of earning an income (ie capture of oil/gas fields, fertile arable land or capture of water supply, gas/oil/water pipelines etc) so not only regime troops not get paid money by Assad but Assad’s political supporters in Aleppo/Homs/Latakia/Hama/Deraa have nothing to prosper also (right now rebels are losing because Assad is doing exactly this to regime areas by bombing the homes and farms of pro-rebel civilians so they have nothing – rebel can win by making sure that this happens more to regime supporters then rebel-supporting civilian areas) and finally victory will come by rebels not only destroying the regime’s military presence in the areas of Aleppo/Homs/Latakia/Hama/Deraa but also by destroying the political presence (ie regime’s political control through the way state infrastructure and local economy is used to patronage-bribe local political leaders) by not only making regime protection/security of those areas insecure (ie constant hit-and-run attacks with special ops against senior regime officers in the areas and over-running those areas through mobile guerrilla warfare) through constant rebel ‘presence’ (I don’t mean by having buildings/trenches in the area being constantly manned by rebels but rather by having enough ‘concealed/camouflaged’ troops in the area to launch a successful ambush against regime troops on a daily basis) but also by permanently capturing (or destroying even?) enough regime infrastructure (ie oil/gas fields, power plants, gas/oil/water pipelines, water treatment facility, fertile arable land or capture of water supply/spring) that local regime elites/politicians are FORCED (because rebels are the only source of security not regime?) to have individual treaties (which could include not sending troops to help Assad’s army and thereby have fewer regime troops fighting for Assad) with rebels in order to have access to rebel-controlled water/gas/oil/electricity which not only enriches rebels (so they buy more necessary equipment on the black market like jammers and surveillance equipment) but also gives rebels the opportunity to convert those pro-regime civilians to their cause.

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