Syria Daily: Rebels Deny Claims of Truce Near Damascus



UPDATE 1715 GMT: A pro-Assad site says that, in a further breaking of the ceasefire, the regime has launched airstrikes on Tal al-Eis near Aleppo city.

Earlier this week, local opposition sources warned that Iranian troops and Iranian-led foreign militia were being flown into airports near Aleppo, possibly in preparation for a ground offensive.

UPDATE 1130 GMT: An outlet linked to the Free Syrian Army says pro-Assad attacks are continuing on Wadi Barada, despite yesterday’s claims by Assad supporters of a truce:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Assad regime outlets are claiming that a truce agreement has been reached over the besieged and under-assault opposition Wadi Barada area, northwest of Syria’s capital Damascus, but a senior rebel official has denied the claim.

Defying the national ceasefire arranged on December 29, regime and Hezbollah forces have continued a four-week offensive to overrun Wadi Barada, a pocket of 10 villages and between 50,000 to 100,000 people. Bombing and shelling have damaged much of the infrastructure, including the facilities providing more than 60% of Damascus’s water.

Footage of some of the destruction:

Hezbollah’s military news service said a truce had been reached for “a number of hours”, but Munir Sayal, head of the political wing of the Ahrar al-Sham faction, said the report was “a lie”.

Sayal asserted that on Thursday the regime rejected a ceasefire that would have allowed for repairs to the water pumping station and for people to return to two nearby villages.

However, a pro-Assad propaganda outlet maintained the line that an accord had been reached and will take effect at 9 a.m., circulating a claimed copy of the agreement on Twitter:

The pro-Assad forces had stepped up bombing and shelling in the 48 hours to Friday, including artillery fire from a steep hill into the valley. A pro-regime site, hailing the attacks, also proclaimed the deployment of an elite brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division to the battlefront.

An outlet for the Free Syrian Army tweeted on Friday afternoon:

Despite the ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia, the regime and Hezbollah have not stopped airstrikes, shelling, and the ground offensive. Pro-opposition activists also say an Iranian headquarters is involved in the siege and organization of the attacks.

Damascus and its allies are using the pretext that they are targeting the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Nusra, whom the regime says is excluded from the truce. However, JFS (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) left Wadi Barada by late 2015, according to local sources, activists, the opposition, and rebels. There is no evidence of an organized return to the area, although individual members may remain: journalist Nour Samaha claims from a local source that a “small” number are present, and analyst Charles Lister says there are no more than 30.

Picture: Assad Among Aleppo Destruction

A poster of the President among the destruction in an area of Aleppo city recently reoccupied by pro-Assad forces:


Car Bomb Kills At Least 30 in Azaz Near Turkish Border

Local sources report at least 30 people have been killed by a large car bomb in Azaz, in northwest Syria near the Turkish border.

The bomb — some reports say two — reportedly detonated near a market. Claims are circulating of up to 100 dead, while Turkish media said 23 wounded people were transported across the border for treatment and local hospitals put out an emergency call for blood donations.

The Islamic State has regularly attacked in and near Azaz.


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    • “But the regime’s history of collaboration with IS against the West, its diligent work to empower IS and similar groups for many years as part of its effort to defeat the Syrian uprising, and its shamelessness about both, should mean that Assad is disqualified from being a Western partner not only on moral grounds but even on the very narrow counter-terrorism grounds on which the West is currently engaging with Syria.”

      Lol what moral grounds??, turkey has done the same and the U.S is shamelessly empowering a terrorist-designated neo-marxist guerrilla and shia extremism in the region to defeat ISIS´s uprising!

      • Putin is persecuting homosexuals and denounces the liberal values that threatened his rule in the street protests of 2012 so vehemently his ideologue Alexander Durgin could say the world needs “a Nuremburg Trial for liberalism”.

        Go ahead – looks like if Nuremburg Trial against Democrazy and Liberalism are real true Chrismas gifts
        for you.

        Additional – Have you already reached the stage of postfactual discussion or have you never used arguments in the discussion?

  1. “…Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only “stupid” people, or fools, would think that it is bad!
    We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now …
    both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”.
    I will feel much safer here in the HolyLand, when Russia and Amrica work with each other rather than against each other

  2. John Kerry:
    “The reason Russia came in is because ISIL was getting stronger. Daesh was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus, and so forth, and that’s why Russia came in, because they didn’t want a Daesh government–and they supported Assad.

    And we know that this was growing–we were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage–that Assad might then negotiate. Instead of negotiating, you got Putin support”.

    • Not only “were they watching” IS growing, but they were supporting it grow when they could, and not helping others stop it when they should have. The treacherous Amrica

      • Amir in Tel Aviv has been watching the Syria situation for many years. But I can’t agree with Amir in Tel Aviv when he claims that the Americans “were supporting Islamic State grow when they could”. He knows well that Kerry and the Americans wanted to strengthen the overall rebellion in order to “create the conditions for Assad to negotiate from a weaker position” while at the same time they didn’t want to strengthen the rebellion so much that the rebels would be able to negotiate from a dominant position. But the Americans always aimed to avoid supporting ISIS and Nusra. The Americans prohibited the Saudis from supplying anti-aircraft missiles to the rebellion and key reason was that the missiles were liable to be transferred to ISIS and Nusra. John Kerry as quoted above in no way suggests that the Americans were supporting ISIS. He just says the Americans saw ISIS growing in strength, as we all did. And please remember that the Americans have been bombing ISIS in Syria for 2.5 years now.

        Amir additionally has the political opinion that the Americans “were not helping others stop Islamic State when they should have”. The Americans have no duty to stop Islamic State in any non-US jurisdiction. I have the political opinion that the US should be non-interventionist in foreign affairs and should let foreign jurisdictions solve their own problems on their own. That’s one of the political opinion differences I have with Amir. However, Amir’s claim that the Americans “were supporting Islamic State grow when they could” is about facts and it is a perversion of the facts.

  3. The commenter “Bill Anderson” on this board yesterday said correctly about Wadi Barada that the truce agreement was between the govt and representatives of the RESIDENTS of Wadi Barada and “the residents are not doing the fighting and the rebels deny accepting a truce and fighting is still ongoing”.

    Ehsani22 explicitly said yesterday that the agreement he was reporting was between govt and RESIDENTS. Today Ehsani’s contacts on the ground in Wadi Barada informed him today that “Syrian State technicians team just arrived at Wadi Barada water stations. The negotiated agreement yesterday went into effect as planned…. Team of engineers and technicians backed by the Republican Guards are now in charge of Damascus [read: Wadi Barada] water stations.”

    Let’s have some clarification about what “residents” means. A very substantial percentage of the armed rebels in Wadi Barada are native locals in the area. The rebels have been controlling the area since 2012, and the initial rebel controllers were local men (and boys). Today the locally born armed rebel men are still the most vital of the factions on the ground (the same is also true in many other rebel held towns, by the way). Nearly all the villages of the Wadi Barada valley agreed to a truce many days ago and are not being targeted by the army. Two recalcitrant villages have the been scene of fighting in recent days.

    The local rebel men in past years have agreed to many truces with the govt. They want another truce now, though the truce terms now are less favorable to them. They are generally with the local community in wanting to avoid turning their area into a destroyed battlefield.

    The govt is today negotiating with the non-resident rebel groups. The govt is in a position of strength because residents (including resident local rebels) want a truce, and have already agreed to truce terms, and the Syrian army has moved in big numbers to fight in the event of no truce.

    It is clear to me that Ehsani has got a reliable government informant for the Wadi Barada story and he’s farther out in front than AlMasdarNews on this story. It remains true that the FSA has not agreed to a truce. Fighting may restart at any time. But it looks like it would be a lost cause for the FSA to fight against the agreement that the govt has done with the residents.

    • I said: in many rebel-held towns the locally born armed rebels are the most vital of the factions. That’s badly put. I should say they are most vital of the fighting forces. A town’s local rebels are very often split up into factions that are allied to different nationwide umbrella organizations. The locals, as such, aren’t a “faction”.

  4. Hezbollah denied Russian observers entry to rebel-held Wadi Barada, a besieged Damascene enclave that supplies water to the capital, for a second day on Friday, local activists and media outlets claimed.

    Lebanon’s Shia terrorist militia Hezbollah is heavily involved in operations in the area, which contains the main source of water for five million people living in Damascus.

    Osama Abu Zeid, the official spokesperson for the opposition factions taking part in the ceasefire negotiations, said on Twitter: “A Hezbollah checkpoint in Deir Qanun denied for the second time Russian observers entry to Wadi Barada.

    “Russia is failing to control Iran’s islamistic terror militias.”

    Fuad Abo Hatab, a lawyer living in Wadi Barada, said on his Facebook: “Today again Hezbollah members denied a delegation compromised of 4 Russian officers, the leader of (FSA) Division 13, and a number of notable figures from Wadi Barada from entering Wadi through al-Mosalbeya checkpoint in Deir Qanun.

    “Russia’s prestige is being dragged through the dirt.”

    The 13th Division originated in March 2012 under the name ‘Liwa Ibad al-Rahman’ and grew that year to 1,000 men according to its leader Ahmad al-Saoud. In 2013 the group was incorporated into the Free Syrian Army as the 13th Division.

    In November 2014, the 13th Division and the al-Nusra Front clashed in Jabal Zawiya as part of the al-Nusra Front-SRF/Hazzm Movement conflict.

    On 13 March 2016, the al-Nusra Front and Jund al-Aqsa seized the headquarters of the 13th Division after an overnight battle for control of Maarrat al-Nu’man. Division 13 was involved in a truce with the Syrian army since February 27.

    Several fighters have deserted before the conflict with the Nusra began. Division 13 has confirmed that al-Nusra and Jund al-Aqsa captured all of their weapons. According to social media activists in support of the Syrian opposition, Jabhat al-Nusra attacked Division 13 after local demonstrations used the Syrian independence flag, rather than the black flag of jihad.

    Terror Hizbollahis from Libanon are playing their own game.

  5. From the beginning of the uprising in Syria in 2011, there have been accusations that Bashar al-Assad’s regime was in a de facto partnership with the Islamic State (IS) against the mainstream opposition.

    Assad collaborated with IS jihadists in the destabilization of Iraq, killing thousands of Iraqi civilians and hundreds of American and British troops. Once the Syrian uprising was underway, the regime undertook various measures to bolster extremists in the insurgency. Assad and IS worked in tandem to leave Syria as a binary choice between themselves: Assad was sure this would rehabilitate him in the eyes of the world and transform his criminal regime into a partner of the international community in suppressing a terrorist insurgency, and IS wanted to rally Sunnis to its banner.

    The Secretary of the Syrian Parliament has now come forward to underline this.


    “”Where is Daesh [IS] and Jabhat al-Nusra [al-Qaeda in Syria, now known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS)] and all these jihadist revolutionary factions. They are on the outskirts of Damascus.

    Then why have there been no bombings in Damascus? Why are these bombings happening in Turkish cities instead? [Because] the Syrian security establishment and the Syrian intelligence services have infiltrated and deeply penetrated these networks. They have managed to take control of key structures within.

    Consequently, in my opinion, what is happening in Turkey—no one can stop that without co-operating with the Syrian security establishment. I tell you, the Syrian state is aware of important aspects of what is going on in Jordan and Turkey.

    There is a difference between knowing about these operations and actually running them.””


    Interesting revelations. Looks like a russian methode to solve problems.

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