Syria Daily: Pro-Assad Attacks Kill 209 Civilians in 10 Days

White Helmets rescuers carry a victim of a pro-Assad attack on Idlib Province

Rebels take 16 villages in Idlib counter-offensive


Pro-Assad attacks, including bombing by Russian warplanes, killed 209 civilians in Syria in the first 10 days of 2018, according to the pro-opposition Syrian Network for Human Rights.

An SNHR report on Wednesday set out the deaths
from pro-Assad assaults on Idlib Province in northwest Syria and in the besieged East Ghouta area near Damascus. The organization said 48 children and 29 women are among the dead.

The SNHR added that 113 civilians, including 33 children and 25 women, were killed in Idlib Province from December 25 to January 10.

UN human rights head Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein said on Wednesday that at least 85 civilians, including 21 women and 30 children, have been slain in East Ghouta since December 31.

“Residential areas are being hit day and night by strikes from the ground and from the air, forcing civilians to hide in basements,” Hussein said. He added that, with the failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants, there are “concerns that war crimes may have been committed”.

Hussein also said the Assad regime’s refusal to allow evacuation of seriously ill people from East Ghouta, with its almost 400,000 residents, also violated international humanitarian law.

Both Idlib and East Ghouta are nominally Russian-backed de-escalation zones. However, the Assad regime has said that it will not enter meaningful negotiations until it has overrun the areas. On the pretext that attacks are against the hardline Islamist bloc Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Russian warplanes have joined the assault in Idlib.

Moscow has offered no explanation for its support of the pro-Assad offensive trying to seize East Ghouta.

The BBC profiles the life of 15-year-old Muhammad Najem in East Ghouta: “They’re bombing us with everything they have: airstrikes, artillery, mortars.”

Another report from East Ghouta:

Rebels Retake Territory in Idlib Counter-Attack

Rebels have regained 16 villages from pro-Assad forces in a counter-attack in southeastern Idlib.

Pro-Assad outlets had proclaimed that their forces, after weeks of gains, were poised to take the Abu Duhur airbase, with the frontline only 2 km away. However, the counter-attack pushed back on the advance.

Significantly, today’s response was by rebel factions — Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish Nasr, Jaish Izza, the Free Idlib Army, Faylaq al-Sham, Noureddin al-Zinki, and the Turkestan Islamic Party — rather than the hardline jihadist bloc Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which had withdrawn from positions in recent days. Equally significant, those rebel forces have been seen with new Turkish-supplied arms and armored vehicles, indicating a possible pushback by Ankara against not only the Assad regime but also its Russian and Iranian allies.

Local sources also report Turkish provision of ammunition, RPGs, mortars, Grad rockets and launchers, and tank shells.

Video has been posted of captured regime troops.

Capture of a regime armored tracked vehicle:

Battle footage:

Rebels in Turkish-supplied mine-resistant vehicles:

Russian has responded with airstrikes to try and push rebels back:

Battle footage:

Rebels in Turkish-supplied mine-resistant vehicles:

Regime Irritation at French Concern Over Idlib

The Foreign Ministry has responded angrily to France’s expression of concern over the attacks on civilians, forcing up to 130,000 to flee, in Idlib Province.

The Ministry said Paris had pursued the “adoption of allegations of the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization”, and denied any targeting of hospitals and civilians.

At least 10 medical facilities have been knocked out of service by pro-Assad bombardment. Germany has also called on the regime to desist.

Video: UN Head of Humanitarian Operations Tours Regime-Held Homs

The head of the UN’s humanitarian operations, Mark Lowcock, gives a brief report on his visit to Homs.

Lowcock is holding three days of meetings with regime officials in Damascus and Homs.

Syrian NGOs, humanitarian groups, medical workers, activists, and residents have called upon Lowcock to visit besieged and bombarded East Ghouta near Damascus:

When you are meeting your colleagues in Damascus, please ask them why aid is not reaching us? Are they too close to the regime or too scared of having their visas revoked? Can the UN honestly say they’ve done everything to prevent our children from dying from malnutrition-related diseases?

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  1. “Equally significant, those rebel forces have been seen with new Turkish-supplied arms and vehicles, indicating a possible pushback by Ankara against not only the Assad regime but also its Russian and Iranian allies.”
    It had to happen. Erdogan does not want any more refugees from Syria. At some point he has to stop the regime driving them out of Syria and into Turkey and it looks as though he has already drawn a line. That is why he has moved the SAM systems to Syria; he does not need them against ISIS, he does need them against Assad and Russia. He will now make a stand and depend on the backing of NATO if his troops are attacked. He now regrets selling out the rebels in Aleppo and the world has moved closer to a full out WWIII.

  2. Yesterday someone posted this about rebel use of ‘drone swarms’ to attack Hmeimm airbase –
    ”K9…this is exactly what rebels should be doing on a regular basis. Though that said he also use to saying that rebels should use these kind of ‘drone swarm attacks’ just before an artillery barrage (i.e. artillery barrage & tank shelling would attack regime units at the front whilst rebel drone swarms would attack regime units in the rear with rebel ATGM/IED units infiltrating & ambushing the supply lines between regime frontline and rear units at the same time as the artillery barrage & drone swarms attacks) & tank shelling.’
    That said I do have these points to make: A) Rebels, when using their drone swarms, don’t even need to use GPS that much. Impossible you? Not according to this study by an American university –
    Basically the GPS can be replaced by having an onboard sensor (that monitors where it is each as well as how far & what direction it’s destination is) on each drone that uses & tracks (via google earth?) landmarks. So far example if a ‘drone swarm’ flew from Idlib it would use the landmark of Mount Nabi Younus (west) and then Salma (north-west of Idlib) before arriving at Hmeimm airbase. By switching off the GPS before arriving Hmeeim rebels disable Russian use of GPS jammers to block their ‘drone swarm’.

    • B) Rebels current ‘swarm drone’ model (see first link below) can be made bigger:
      Rebels should imitate this Chinese model (see link below) by fusing a single drone engine with another:
      Or this model –
      This increases the drone’s ability to drop 8 mines to 12.

      • C) As soon as those drones have either dropped all their mines on their target, or the Russians start using GPS jammers on those drones, rebel operators could activate a ‘self-destruct mode’ (like V2?) where the drone just dives/drops from the air and crashes onto a target (guided using a camera?) to double the damage.
        D) Make it harder for the Russians to stop those ‘drone swarms’ by using them to attack their target from more then one direction (e.g. west & north), like rebel units do when they attack from more then one axis. For example rebel ‘drone swarm’ operators in Idlib would launch their raid on the same day on Hmeimm airbase 30 minutes before rebel ‘drone swarm’ operators in Latakia (north of Hmeimm airbase) launch their strike so Russia troops are forced to spread out their anti-drone weapons more widely & thereby increase odds of rebels destroying more Russian jets.

        • E) Use these ‘drone swarms’ for strategically (i.e. targets like airbases and fortified bases like Mount Zayn Al Abideen or oil refineries/terminals like the one in Tartous) and sparingly (e.g. targeting regime airbase ONLY if they have more then 4 jets – use quadrocopter drone to find out – so the targets can be knocked out in one raid) but in large numbers (e.g. groups of 4 or 5 in 1 team in Idlib with a 2nd team of 3 or 4 groups of drone from Turkish border/Latakia).
          F) Use it tactically (i.e. supporting Inghimazi assault units) ONLY for surprise offensives (i.e day 1 of offensive or night-time assault) or if rebel artillery/MLRs risk being targeted by Russian jets if they shell a regime position for too long or to chase regime units running away but can’t be attacked by ATGM.

          • G) It ‘drone swarms’ should also be used if rebel units in another front (e.g. Hama) risk being encircled, by using ‘drone swarms’ from Idlib to attack regime units trying to encircle rebels (i.e. attack from two different axis) so as to delay that regime assault long enough that rebels get the time to both ‘booby-trap’ the buildings/areas they’re forced to leave as well as organise a safe withdrawal.
            I hope rebels in Buniyan Massous are paying attention to the way rebels in north Syria are using ‘drone swarms’ so they can use something similar next time they activate the front in Deraa.

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