World New fronts emerge in Syria as Assad, allies push for victory

16:06  14 february  2018
16:06  14 february  2018 Source:   Associated Press

Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin: Erdogan

  Turkish helicopter shot down by Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin: Erdogan A Turkish army helicopter was shot down by Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters near the north Syrian town of Afrin, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday and the Turkish military said two soldiers on board the aircraft died. YPG sources separately confirmed the downing of the helicopter."One of our helicopters was downed just recently," Erdogan said speaking to members of his AK Party (AKP) in Istanbul. "These things will happen, we are in a war... We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this."The Turkish military in a statement did not specify a reason for why the helicopter fell.

BEIRUT: As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

Image 2 of 2. BEIRUT – New fronts have opened up in Syria as President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end.

FILE - This Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, shows U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard left, thanks Manbij Military Council commander Muhammed Abu Adeel near the town of Manbij, northern Syria. As Syrian troops and their allies push toward final victory and the battle against Islamic State militants draws to an end, new fronts are opening up, threatening an even broader confrontation. The U.S., Israel and Turkey all have deepened their involvement, seeking to protect their interests in the new Syria order. (AP Photo/Susannah George, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, shows U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard left, thanks Manbij Military Council commander Muhammed Abu Adeel near the town of Manbij, northern Syria. As Syrian troops and their allies push toward final victory and the battle against Islamic State militants draws to an end, new fronts are opening up, threatening an even broader confrontation. The U.S., Israel and Turkey all have deepened their involvement, seeking to protect their interests in the new Syria order. (AP Photo/Susannah George, File)

BEIRUT — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

Russia to U.S.: Don’t ‘play with fire’ in Syria

  Russia to U.S.: Don’t ‘play with fire’ in Syria Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a stark warning to the U.S. on Monday for its support of the Kurds in Syria, saying Washington should not "play with fire" in the region."The U.S. should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state," Lavrov said at a Middle East Conference in Moscow on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

BEIRUT (AP) — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end To read this article in one of Houston's most-spoken languages, click on the button below. World news. New fronts emerge in Syria as Assad

While large areas of the country have stabilized, giving the impression of a war that is winding down, violence has exploded in other areas with renewed ferocity, killing and injuring hundreds of people in a new and unpredictable spiral of bloodshed. The United States, Israel and Turkey all have deepened their involvement, seeking to protect their interests in the new Syria order.

The recent chaos has been exceptional: within a week, al-Qaida-affiliated rebels shot down a Russian jet, Kurdish fighters downed a Turkish helicopter, Israel downed an Iranian drone and the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16.

Meanwhile, a joint Russian and Syrian air campaign killed hundreds of civilians in the rebel-held enclaves of Eastern Ghouta and in the northern province of Idlib, amid accusations that the Syrian government is once again using toxic agents such as chlorine against its opponents.

Syria denies possessing chemical arms, says use 'unacceptable'

  Syria denies possessing chemical arms, says use 'unacceptable' <p>The Syrian government on Wednesday denied it possessed chemical weapons and branded the use of such arms "immoral and unacceptable."</p>"Syria's government categorically denies possessing ... chemical weapons. We consider the use of such arms as immoral and unacceptable, whatever the context," said Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, quoted by state news agency SANA.

BEIRUT (AP) — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

BEIRUT (AP) — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

In the east, the U.S. military launched rare airstrikes on pro-government fighters following a coordinated assault on U.S.-backed forces accompanied by U.S. advisers. That has increased fears that American troops meant to fight Islamic State militants increasingly are being dragged into the war.

Over the weekend, a battle erupted along Syria's border with Israel, which shot down an Iranian drone that infiltrated its airspace before one of its own fighter jets was downed by Syrian air defense missiles. It was the most serious flare-up between the neighbors since fighting began in Syria in 2011.

All this happened while Turkey's air and ground operation against Kurdish fighters in northwestern Syria rages on with no end in sight.

"The specter of the world's worst civil war in decades is becoming demonstrably worse by the week — and even more complicated by the actions of outside forces — creating a perfect storm of chaos and suffering in Syria," the Soufan Center said in an analysis of the situation.

U.S. Kills Russians in Syria Strikes, Reports Say

  U.S. Kills Russians in Syria Strikes, Reports Say Russian names are appearing among the scores of pro-Syrian government fighters believed dead in clashes with U.S.-led forces.Load Error

BEIRUT — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

BEIRUT: New fronts have opened up in Syria as President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end.

Here is a look at some of the new and old fronts in Syria's war:

TURKEY'S WAR ON KURDS

Turkey opened a new front in Syria's nearly 7-year-old war on Jan. 20, launching an offensive against the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia in the northwestern enclave of Afrin. It is the latest effort by Turkey to limit Kurdish expansion along its border with Syria and aims to drive out the militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey considers to be a "terrorist" organization.

The Turkish campaign has strained relations between NATO allies Ankara and Washington, which has partnered with the Syrian Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey's president is threatening to expand the offensive east, toward the town of Manbij, where U.S. troops maintain bases, while U.S. officials accuse Turkey of hampering the fight against IS with its Afrin operation.

Residents speak of a rapidly worsening humanitarian situation, adding that medical supplies are running low. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says around 80 civilians have been killed so far, along with more than 160 Kurdish fighters. Turkey says it has lost 31 soldiers in the slow-moving offensive.

American strike in Syria killed 5 Russians, Moscow says

  American strike in Syria killed 5 Russians, Moscow says The incident marks the first time Russians and Americans have become directly engaged in combat in Syria.Maria Zakharova, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told a briefing that none of the dead were military personnel. They were killed in a clash in the eastern Deir el-Zour province on Feb. 7.

BEIRUT — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

New fronts have opened up in Syria as President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end.

ASSAD'S WAR ON REBELS

The Syrian government and its ally, Russia, have in the past two weeks dramatically escalated attacks on two of the largest and most important remaining opposition-held areas, in Idlib province in northwestern Syria and on Eastern Ghouta, a besieged area near the capital of Damascus.

The sprawling region, where rebels launch rockets on Damascus, has been a particular thorn in the government's side for years, and Assad appears determined to recapture it at all costs.

The recent violence has left hundreds dead and wounded amid relentless airstrikes that have transformed the besieged area into a death trap. In Idlib, the bombardment has hit hospitals and created yet another wave of displaced civilians.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on Saturday for urgent international action, saying the past week in Syria "has been one of the bloodiest periods of the entire conflict."

The commissioner said the "no-holds-barred nature" of the assault included attacks on nine medical facilities and the death of 277 civilians between Feb. 4 and Feb. 9 in both Idlib and Eastern Ghouta. There were also reports of the government using toxic agents in residential areas.

In Eastern Ghouta, nearly 400,000 residents are trapped by the violence and a tightening government siege. At least 2 million people live In Idlib, the largest area controlled by the opposition.

Russia steps up air raids on Syria's Idlib province after jet shot down

  Russia steps up air raids on Syria's Idlib province after jet shot down Russian jets intensified their raids on rebel-held towns and cities in Syria's northern Idlib province on Sunday night, a day after rebels shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot. Civil defence sources said air raids struck the towns of Kafr Nubl and Maasran, as well as the cities of Saraqeb, Maarat al Numan and Idlib, and that several deaths and dozens of injuries were reported as rescuers dug through the rubble.A hospital was hit in Maarat al Numan, witnesses and residents said, and at least five people were feared killed in another attack that damaged a residential building in Kafr Nubl.

BEIRUT — As Syrian President Bashar Assad and his allies push toward final victory and the fight against the Islamic State group draws to an end, new fronts have opened up, threatening an even broader confrontation among regional and world powers.

7, 2018 file photo, shows American troops looking toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij, northern Syria . As Syrian troops and their allies push toward final victory and the battle against Islamic State militants draws to an end, new fronts are opening up

ISRAEL'S WAR ON IRAN

The downing of an Israeli fighter jet this weekend by Syrian air defenses suggest yet another frontier in the conflict is opening up, risking a wider and possibly regional conflagration.

Israel has been warning of an Iranian buildup in Syria for months, vowing to prevent Tehran from building bases near its border. On Saturday, Israel's military said it shot down an Iranian drone that took off from a base in Syria and infiltrated Israeli airspace. It carried out about 12 strikes targeting Syrian army and Iranian sites in Syria before Syrian air defenses shot down an F-16, marking the first time an Israeli jet was downed since 1982.

According to the Syrian government and its allies, the downing of the Israeli jet signals new rules of engagement in Syria, following more than 100 Israeli strikes that went without any retaliation.

"The new phase in the Syrian conflict makes the anti-ISIS war look like a stroll in the park. This has the potential to turn into a regional war," said Bilal Saab, an expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. ISIS is an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.

U.S. WAR ON THE ISLAMIC STATE GROUP

The U.S. policy in Syria has always been vague and often inconsistent. But earlier this year, U.S. officials confirmed Washington's intention to keep troops indefinitely in northern Syria even after the defeat of IS. The U.S. says it seeks to prevent an IS resurgence as well as to counter Iranian influence in Syria.

But as IS shrinks, the estimated 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria find themselves caught in a highly unpredictable and shifting battlefield, as demonstrated by an unexpected attack by pro-Assad fighters on U.S.-backed forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in Deir el-Zour.

The U.S. responded with a deadly barrage of bombs and artillery that U.S. officials say killed about 100 of the attackers. Russian news reports said Tuesday that several private military contractors from Russia were among the dead.

Many of the U.S. troops in Syria are operating with local, Kurdish-dominated allies known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, in the eastern oil-producing Deir el-Zour region along the Euphrates River. The area had been a stronghold of IS militants until late last year.

But they are competing for control of Deir el-Zour with Russian-backed Syrian troops that are reinforced by Iranian-supported militias.

Keeping U.S. forces in areas that Assad's government hopes to reclaim inherently increases the probability of more clashes.

On Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister accused the U.S. of trying to create a quasi-state in eastern Syria.

New Kurdish alliance complicates relationship with US .
Forces loyal to the Syrian regume are expected to be deployed to the Kurdish-held region of Afrin, to support the defence of a month-long Turkish offensiveLoad Error

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/news/world/-120081-new-fronts-emerge-in-syria-as-assad-allies-push-for-victory/

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