Syria Daily: 3rd Set of Forced Removals from al-Wa’er in Homs


Total of about 6,000 people forcibly moved from last opposition district in Homs city to northern Syria


The third set of forced removals of thousands of rebels, their families, and other civilians was carried out on Saturday in al-Wa’er, the last opposition-held district of Homs city.

Up to 20,000 of the estimated 50,000 people in the area are being removed to northern Syria under a capitulation agreement reached earlier this month. About 4,000 people were transferred in the first two sets of removals to Jarablus on the Turkish-Syrian border, and others are being taken to opposition-held Idlib Province.

Local sources said almost 1,800 people, including 358 women and 434 children, left in 50 buses.

Al-Wa’er was besieged since 2013, after other opposition areas in Homs fell to the regime, and subjected to regular aerial and ground bombardment. The Assad regime has prevented any UN delivery of aid since September.

Negotiations from last autumn for a truce, brokered by Iranian officials, never reached the point of implementation; however, they were concluded when the Russian military stepped in early this year.

Syrian State news agency SANA said 936 people were removed on Saturday. It framed the transfer as part of a “reconciliation agreement” and, in an easing of rhetoric, referred to “gunmen and some of their families” rather than “terrorists”.

Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi called on residents, including rebels, to remain in al-Wa’er: “The governorate is ready to welcome all those who want to get back on the right track.”

Those who are leaving have said that, despite uncertain conditions in Jarablus and Idlib, they cannot stay because of the risk of arrest, forced conscription, and other abuses by regime authorities.

AL WA'ER 01-04-17 2

TOP PHOTO: Woman and baby aboard one of the buses leaving al-Wa’er on Saturday

Reports: Russian Jets Cross Turkish Airspace to Hit Rebel Positions

Local sources report that Russian warplanes have crossed Turkish airspace to attack rebel positions in northern Syria.

The jets attacked near the village of Babeska in Idlib Province, killing one fighter and wounding seven.

Both Free Syrian Army factions and Jaish al-Islam are based in Babeska.

Turkey has not yet protested the crossing of its airspace.

In November 2015, after warnings to Moscow, Turkey shot down a Russian MiG-24 jet fighter near the Turkish-Syrian border. The incident led to several months of tension between Ankara and Moscow before a reconciliation in summer 2016.


Hezbollah: We Are Collaborating with Kurdish Militia YPG

Two Hezbollah commanders have revealed collaboration with the Kurdish militia YPG over the past year.

The Assad regime has denied any arrangements for co-operation with the YPG, formally rejecting any autonomous Syrian Kurdistan.

However, the Hezbollah commanders said they directly coordinated with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, led by YPG, as they advanced in northern Syria against the Islamic State and clashed with Syrian rebels.

“We share intel…everything,” one commander said. “These people [the YPG] will take from whoever will serve their interests.”

A lengthy article in The Nation on Hezbollah did not reveal where the coordination was occurring. However, in a sign of de facto cooperation earlier this month, the SDF handed over villages to the regime, west of the city of Manbij in eastern Aleppo Province. The transfer helped establish a buffer zone against any attack by rebels and Turkey, who consider the YPG part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.

Rebels and pro-opposition activists have long claimed that the YPG, which has fought with rebels across northern Syria since early 2016, is tacitly cooperating with regime forces and their allies.

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  1. #National: A remarkable development if true “17 rebel groups from #Idlib, #Aleppo, #Hama and #Latakia will form a joint operations room to fight against #Assad.” – worldonalert
    But will this rectify the deficiencies in strategic planning that was exposed in the last offensive I wonder? Good strategic planing means that even if you lose tactically (e.g. abandoned an offensive because of airstrikes) there would still be irreversible long-term damage (ie strategic victory) to an enemy’s ability to fight you militarily (e.g. permanently destroyed airbase, destruction of a major oil terminus or refinery centre so no petrol becomes available to regime tanks etc). But as the last offensive showed most rebel officers/planners don’t factor in these strategic elements in their planning and if they do there’s often never a plan B in case plan A gets blocked. In fact most of them consider capturing land just for it’s own sake (e.g. political prestige) rather then aiming to capture regime territory to further a particular strategic aim (e.g. permanently stop airstrikes from a particular airbase). Surely this shows that in order to achieve ANY strategic objective (e.g. permanent capture or destruction of an important area that will either permanently damage regime’s ability to launch offensives against rebels) in an offensive in any particular province rebels need to appoint a general military commander with disciplinary (e.g. punish commanders whose units stay fixed on an inactive section of the front) power and resources (e.g. can quickly organised transportation of ammo from one location to another depending on the need) to ensure these strategic objectives are achieved (through better coordination?) by a particular deadline? And a general military secretary to ensure (by having control over depots that stores all booty captured from previous offensives and the vehicles to transport it?) the resources (ie arms/ammo/men and petrol for the vehicles and tanks) of the general military commander’s plan are provided for (e.g. makes sure every company unit commander receives an average/fixed number of ammo) to achieve those plans? Surely company level (ie units of 100+ men) commanders whose front-line is not active be allowed permission to organise behind-the-lines raids/ambushes/temporary offensives against regime check-points and depots instead of being idle? And surely some element of covert (e.g. use of sleeper cells) and mobile (ie small units not fixed to one area but constantly raiding/ambushing behind enemy lines) warfare be included? If the answer is no to any of these questions then it’s better for rebels to go back to the drawing board because until the area of strategic planning is more logically thought-out by rebel commanders then they will end up repeating the same mistakes (ie launching pointless offensives against the same location repeatedly even after the element of surprise has been lost) over and over again wasting lives and opportunities.

  2. #Idlib: “After Regime counterattacks in #Hama a delayed assault on #Jisr_al_Shugor will begin within seven days unless new threats occur.” – CombatChris1
    See my first post, rebels are heading for disaster unless: A) Sort out (ie logically think through) their strategy side. B) Appoint a general military commander to implement (including disciplinary powers?) operationally (e.g. tactics that’s are going to be used, the areas to be targeted and by what deadline) that strategy. C) Appoint a general military secretary to provide resources (e.g. by pooling all captured booty into a depot and then having the means to fairly distribute ammo EQUALLY to all participating rebel factions, making sure gas-masks are created/distributed before an offensive) to assist that general military commander.
    Hama: “Recent Opposition advances were lost when HTS (Nusra) refused to coordinate defense with Ahrar al Sham and the #FSA.” – CombatChris1
    Here’s the first proof that failure happens when there’s not a common/agreed strategy or a general military commander to implement that strategy. Guarantee you rebels will lose Idlib if they don’t solve this problem. A common strategy (ie a strategic objective that would permanently harm regime and permanently strengthen rebels) and a common/general military commander to implement that strategy operationally (ie the tactics to be used and the areas to be captured to achieve that strategic objective) are two sides of the same coin. Don’t believe me? Look at what Zahran Alloush achieved, look at what YPG are achieving right now. Allowing everyone to have their own plans under their own generals just allows regime forces to pick-apart/split rebel units and isolate into pockets just like in Derrayya and Aleppo.

  3. #Hama: ” Pro-#Assad forces attacking the rebels from the Christian town of #Mahardeh. Rebels must capture the town.” – worldonalert
    *Coughs ‘rebel artillery’ ‘Mahardeh dam’.

  4. “Qalaat Al Mudiq‏ @QalaatAlMudiq 4h4 hours ago

    S. #Idlib: main Maaret Al-Numan Hospital out of servive after being deliberately targeted by 3 airstrikes, incl. with a bunker-buster bomb.”
    When will something be done about Putin’s war crimes? He is not just bombing hospitals and killing people, he is killing civilisation.

    • Something is being done … NATO-conform fanbois are composing whiney faux-naïf why-oh-why comments while studiously ignoring hospital bombings done with greater precision by their overlords in Mosul, Raqqa, Al Bab, Al Bukamal, Kunduz and Sana’a.

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