Russian and regime strikes on towns across East Ghouta region such as Harasta



Is Iran Establishing a Military Base near Syria’s Capital Damascus?

Russia and the Assad regime have renewed air and ground attacks on the East Ghouta area near Damascus, setting aside the Russian-backed “de-escalation zone” in the area.

The regime’s military has continued rocketing and shelling of opposition territory, which has almost 400,000 besieged residents, throughout the autumn despite the Russian proclamation, and Moscow’s warplanes have joined them since Tuesday with activists reporting dozens of strikes.

Residents say at least 10 people have been killed, with the towns of Harasta, Erbin, Misraba, Hamouriya, and Saqba all attacked. One shell reportedly hit a mosque in Hammouriyeh.

The latest surge followed an attempt by rebels to stop a source of the regime military’s rockets, the Military Vehicles Administration in the regime-held part of the town of Harasta.

Abu Kutaiba, a military commander for the Ahrar al-Sham faction, said fighting is continuing despite the “heavy” shelling and airstrikes on towns as well as near the base.

Pro-Assad social media accounts posted the photographs of 12 troops whom they said had been killed near Harasta.

Footage of Ahrar al-Sham fighters trying to take buildings in the base:

Regime media outlets cited a military official who said the army repelled “terrorists who sought to infiltrate in large numbers”, killing dozens and destroying their weapons. The articles did not mention the airstrikes.

Last week the UN’s humanitarian advisor for Syria, Jan Egeland, warned that the residents of East Ghouta face “complete catastrophe” because of the Assad regime’s refusal to allow aid deliveries. The regime has tightened its four-year siege with the seizure of tunnels in March and the closure of the last checkpoint allowing supplies in July. Only one convoy of 40 trucks — timed for the start of Russian-led talks in the Kazakh capital Astana last month — has been permitted since the summer.

See Syria Daily, Nov 10: UN — People in Besieged East Ghouta Face “Complete Catastrophe”

Men retrieve a body in Erbin:

ERBIN 15-11-17

Rescuers rush to assist people after an attack on Kafr Batna:

In Douma:

In Erbin:

And in Saqba:

On Monday, a Russian-made warplane attacked a market, police station, and other sites in Atareb, an opposition-held town in Aleppo Province in northwest Syria, killing at least 160 people, according to pro-opposition activists.

See Syria Daily: Deadly Pro-Assad Strike on Western Aleppo Province — Why?
Syria Developing: 47+ Killed in Pro-Assad Airstrike on Western Aleppo Province

The destruction from the airstrikes:

Kremlin: It’s OK to Use Fake Photographs for Our Syria News

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov has explained that it is OK to use fake photographs in statements about Syria — as long as the “mistakes” are “corrected” when Russian agencies are caught out.

Peskov was commenting on the latest propaganda episode, the use by the Russian Defense Ministry of a screenshot from a video game, which became a “satellite image” of an Islamic State convoy supported protected by US air cover in eastern Syria.

See Syria Daily, Nov 15: Russia Uses Fake Photo — From a Video Game — to Denounce US Over ISIS

“Mistakes do happen and they’re no big deal, if they are corrected in a timely manner,” Peskov said.

The spokesman defended the approach by citing another episode in faked imagery, this time from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin showed the filmmaker Oliver Stone, making a documentary echoing some of the Kremlin’s positions, claimed footage of the Russian air force fighting “terrorists” in Syria. In fact, the clip was of a US airstrike on Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

“The documentary turned out to be brilliant, remarkable, and interesting,” Peskov rationalized.

General in Kurds-Led SDF Defects to Rebels

Brig. Gen. Talal Silo of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces has defected to rebels.

Silo, a Syrian Turkmen, has been a leading spokesman for the SDF in western media since the force was created in autumn 2015 to fight the Islamic State.

Rebel officials said Silo handed himself in at dawn on Wednesday to the Free Syrian Army near Jarablus in northern Syria. He was then escorted to Turkey.

“Silo was secretly coordinating with commanders from the FSA, and when he entered areas under their control he then crossed into Turkish territory,” said FSA spokesman Ibrahim al-Idlibi.

The officials did not offer Silo’s motive for defection.

The US-led coalition said it was “aware of reports of Talal Silo’s apparent departure from the SDF, but have no further details on his current status at this time”.

Turkish media said Silo has been questioned by Ankara’s intelligence services, providing information on the structure of the Syrian Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey considers part of the TUrkish Kurdish insurgency PKK.

The reports also claim Silo is detailing the situation in the Kurdish canton in Afrin in northwest Syria, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to take from PYD control.