PHOTO: General Issam Zahreddine and regime troops in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastern Syria
- “I Don’t Know How Russian Warplanes Attacking Civilians is Not News”
- Video: Free Syrian Army Clashes with Regime Forces in Latakia Province
- Large Aid Delivery Into Rebel-Held Area of Homs as Truce Talks Continue
- Video: Regime Attacks Continue Near Damascus, Another 27 Killed
UPDATE 1400 GMT: The US command for Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria has denied that American warplanes hit the Syrian army’s position near Deir ez-Zor city.
Colonel Steve Warren, the command’s Baghdad-based spokesman, said the alliance had conducted four strikes in the province on Sunday, all against oil wellheads.
Our strikes were approximately 55 kilometers (35 miles) south east of Ayyash. We did not strike any vehicles or personnel targets. We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were near our strikes.
A “US military official” said Washington is certain that Russia was responsible for the deadly strike on the Syrian army camp .
Ali Layli, the director of the pro-opposition Deir ez-Zor 24, said that the news site’s correspondents in Deir ez-Zor saw three warplanes carrying out the bombing on the outskirts of a military base, hitting one of its barracks. He continued:
When IS took over Deir ez-Zor, they also launched several military operations on the base but these were thwarted. It is an empty area; there are no civilians living within six kilometers, although the regime regularly mortars nearby towns that have an IS presence in it from this base.
UPDATE 0915 GMT: The Syrian Foreign Ministry says that three soldiers were killed and 13 injured in the air attacks on regime forces.
The Ministry claimed that four US-led coalition warplanes hit the position with nine rockets, destroying three armored vehicles, four military vehicles, and machine guns and ammunition.
A protest letter has been sent to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council.
The Syrian military has suffered casualties from a rare aerial attack on its forces, but it is still unclear who carried out the strikes.
The regime troops were struck on Sunday night in the village of Ayyash near Deir ez-Zor city in eastern Syria, where they have faced the Islamic State. At least one soldier was killed and six critically wounded, according to pro-regime outlets.
The pro-regime website al-Masdar, citing “a military source from the Syrian Army’s 104th Airborne Brigade”, blamed the US without providing any other evidence. Theories included that the Americans mistakenly attacked a position in the belief that it was still held by ISIS.
Another possibility is that Russia, pursuing its bombing campaign in support of the Syrian military throughout the country, made the error in one of its sorties.
The Syrian military and Islamic State have held a tense frontline in Deir ez-Zor Province since ISIS advanced in early 2014, occupying part of Deir ez-Zor city and launching periodic assaults on the nearby airport.
Neither the Islamic State nor rebels have an air force which can challenge Assad forces, and the US-led coalition has never targeted the Syrian military. Regime troops have been killed in “friendly fire” incidents involved their own warplanes.
“I Don’t Know How Russian Warplanes Attacking Civilians is Not News”
Journalist Rami Jarrah writes from Aleppo on Monday:
Russian warplanes have been taunting the city since the morning, and now it’s apparent that the Sukari area which is basically a marketplace has become a target once again. It was attacked yesterday, killing only civilians and again just now….
I don’t know how Russian warplanes attacking civilians is not news. I don’t know what it is that should happen for it to become the news, but this is becoming a bit ridiculous. There is really no longer any room for people to ask what is pushing Syrians into supporting groups that are not accepted as legitimate resistance.
This is bullshit.
— Sakir Khader (@sakirkhader) December 7, 2015
Video: Free Syrian Army Clashes with Regime Forces in Latakia Province
Footage of the Free Syrian Army’s 1st Coastal Division fighting regime forces on Mount Nouba in northern Latakia Province in western Syria:
Supported by intense Russian airstrikes, the Syrian military has tried since early October to advance in the area near the Turkish border.
Large Aid Delivery Into Rebel-Held Area of Homs as Truce Talks Continue
In a show of good faith amid truce talks, the Assad regime has allowed aid trucks into the last rebel-held district of Homs city.
After years of siege and bombardment, destroying much of Homs, the regime is seeking the withdrawal of rebels from the al-Waer district, which has an estimated 90,000 residents.
“A truce agreement still has not been signed — we’ve entered a good faith gesture phase that could last up to 22 days….The beginning of this phase includes the entrance of humanitarian aid and a ceasefire,” a negotiator said. “If things continue to go well, the truce will be signed before the 22 days are up.”
Saturday’s delivery of aid was the largest into al-Wa’er since the Syrian militar encircled the neighborhood more than two years ago. Supervised by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the World Food Program, it included eight trucks carrying food, two carrying medicine, and four carrying clothes.
A negotiating committee from al-Wa’er reached an oral agreement with the regime last Tuesday to begin a truce. A rebel negotiator said the final agreement would include the release of detainees from regime prisons and the entrance of food and medicine into the neighborhood. In exchange, 200 to 300 rebel fighters will leave al-Wa’er in batches. He said those rebels who accept the truce will be allowed to remain, although it is unclear if they can keep their arms.
Videos: Regime Attacks Continue Near Damascus, Another 27 Killed
Aftermath of attacks on the Damascus suburb of Douma on Sunday:
The Local Coordination confirmed the deaths of another 27 people near the capital yesterday, most of them in regime assaults on Zamalka.
— Khaled AL Homsi (@PalmyraPioneer) December 7, 2015
The Syrian military has besieged and bombarded the rebel-held suburbs for years, killing hundreds of civilians since the summer. On Friday, airstrikes and shelling killed more than 50 people.
The LCC said it confirmed 63 fatalities across Syria on Sunday, including 10 children and three women.