Tag Archives: Damascus

‘This could be the massacre of the century’ – 50 children among 250 killed in brutal Syrian forces bombardment

  • At least 50 children are thought to be among the dead.

  • The attack by the Syrian government was on the rebel enclave of eastern Ghouta.

  • The suburbs are near Damascus and host rebel groups.

Concerns are growing that Syria faces the worst humanitarian catastrophe of its seven-year civil war after more than 250 civilians were reportedly killed in airstrikes by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad within two days.

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Syria war: Israeli fighter jet crashes under Syria fire, military says

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has crashed amid Syrian anti-aircraft fire after an offensive against Iranian targets in Syria, the Israeli military says.

The two pilots parachuted to safety before the crash in northern Israel. It is believed to be the first time Israel has lost a jet in the Syrian conflict.

Israel was carrying out strikes after the launch of an Iranian drone into Israel. The drone was intercepted.

Syria accused Israel of “aggression”, as Israel then launched more strikes.

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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted: “Moments ago, IAF aircraft, targeted the Syrian Aerial Defense System & Iranian targets in Syria. 12 targets, including 3 aerial defense batteries & 4 Iranian military targets, were attacked. Anti-aircraft missiles were fired towards Israel, triggering alarms in northern Israel.”

Israeli strikes in Syria are not unusual, the BBC’s Middle East correspondent Tom Bateman says, but the loss of an Israeli fighter jet marks a serious escalation.

Continue reading Syria war: Israeli fighter jet crashes under Syria fire, military says

US kills more than 100 in attack on pro-Assad regime forces in Syria after ‘unprovoked attack’ on allies

  • The US led an attack that killed more than 100 pro-Assad regime soldiers in Syria on Thursday.
  • The attack was a response to a pro-Assad airstrike on the headquarters of a long-time US ally in Syria.
  • The US has been edging closer and closer to fighting the Syrian government and Russia since the fall of ISIS.

A US attack on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad killed more than 100 in the country’s north on Thursday, and the regime came roaring back with airstrikes of its own on rebel forces near Damascus.

The airstrikes from Assad killed 21 and injured 125, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Thursday.

Assad’s strikes followed what the US called an “unprovoked attack” by his forces on the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of anti-Assad fighters the US has trained and supported for years.

Continue reading US kills more than 100 in attack on pro-Assad regime forces in Syria after ‘unprovoked attack’ on allies

WW100 – The Ottoman-German Attack on the Suez Canal — 1915

German painting of Bedouin fighters against English troops at the Suez Canal (Ottoman Imperial Archives)

WWI battles in the Middle East preserved in photos by the armies of the waning Ottoman Empire.

Turkish Camel Corps in Be’er Sheva (Ottoman Imperial Archives, 1915)

The opening shot of World War I in the Middle East was fired along the Suez Canal when the German-led Ottoman army attacked British positions along the Suez Canal in January 1915.

Continue reading WW100 – The Ottoman-German Attack on the Suez Canal — 1915

Israel attacks Syria with jets and ground-to-ground missiles, claims Syrian army

Israel has attacked several military outposts near the Syrian capital with jets and ground-to-ground missiles in an early-morning strike, Syria’s army said.

In a statement reported by state media, the Assad regime’s forces said Israeli jets fired missiles at the al-Qutayfah area near Damascus from inside Lebanese airspace, and its air defences hit one of the planes.

Israel then fired ground-to-ground rockets from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, but the Syrian defences brought the missiles down, the Syrian army said.

Continue reading Israel attacks Syria with jets and ground-to-ground missiles, claims Syrian army

Here’s where the Pentagon says that ISIS is dominant in Iraq and Syria

ISIS Control Pentagon Map

ISIS is experiencing a string of setbacks in Iraq.

Since August 2014, the militant group has lost control of somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 square miles, according to a Pentagon assessment. This amounts to the group no longer being able to freely operate in 25% to 30% of populated Iraqi regions where they were once active.

The following graphic, from the US Department of Defense, highlights the territory ISIS has lost since August in orange.

Most recently, ISIS was expelled from the Sunni city of Tikrit. The birthplace of Saddam Hussein and a hotbed of Sunni sectarianism, the loss of Tikrit to a coalition of Shiite militias and the Iraqi military aided through US airstrikes was a huge tactical loss for the militant group.

The Iraqi government is now launching operations against ISIS in western Anbar province. The heavily Sunni province’s most populous areas are mostly controlled by ISIS and the group has been openly active in Fallujah since at least December 2013.

So far, the Iraqi government’s Anbar offensive has bypassed Fallujah and focused on dislodging ISIS from the contested provincial capital of Ramadi. In response, ISIS has launched a counter offensive against the Iraqi government in both Ramadi and against the Baiji Oil Refinery north of Tikrit.

Although ISIS has been losing ground in Iraq, the Pentagon warns that the group’s total amount of territorial control in Syria has remained unchanged. Although the group has lost territory around Kobane, it has made gains in the south of the country around Damascus and in the Yarmouk refugee camp, which is just miles from the city’s downtown.

Israel Killed A Very Important Member Of Iran’s Foreign Operations

Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi ian

A senior general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force was among six Iranians and six Hezbollah operatives who were killed in yesterday’s airstrike in southern Syria that is thought to have been launched by the Israeli military.

Sepah News, the official online news outlet of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), confirmed that Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah-Dadi was killed in the airstrike in Quneitra, Syria. Both Hezbollah and the IRGC claimed that Israeli attack helicopters carried out the attack.

Brigadier General Allah-Dadi is the latest high-ranking Iranian military casualty in the wars in Syria and Iraq.

The combined Hezbollah and Qods Force unit is thought to have been scouting jihadist groups, including the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front, two organizations that are known to operate in Quneitra. Iran has supported the Syrian government and Hezbollah against rebel forces since civil war broke out in 2011.

Hezbollah confirmed on Jan 18. that Jihad Imad Mughniyah, the son of the notorious Hezbollah military and intelligence chief who helped found the group, and five other commanders were killed while conducting a reconnaissance operation in Quneitra.

The Iranian media has described Jihad, a rising star in Hezbollah who is said to have commanded the group’s units in the Syrian Golan, as the adopted son of Major General Suleimani, the leader of Qods Force. Jihad’s father, Imad, who was closely tied to Iran, is thought to have been assassinated by Israeli intelligence in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria in 2008.

Also reported killed was Mohammad Issa, who is also known as Abu Issa al Eqlim. He has been identified as a member of Hezbollah’s military intelligence branch.

An Islamic State sniper killed Hamid Taqavi, an IRGC brigadier general who was advising Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Samarra, Iraq in late December 2014.

In October 2014, General Jabar Drisawi, a general in Iran’s Basij militia, was killed during fighting near Aleppo, Syria. And in February 2013, Hassan Shateri, a top commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps who is also said to have served on Hezbollah’s advisory council, was killed in an ambushwhile traveling from Damascus to Beirut.

Brigadier General Allah-Dadi may provide clues to Qods Force’s leadership structure

The material released in the Persian and Arabic language material since Allah-Dadi’s death not only provides interesting insight into his career, but also to Qods Force’s recruitment pattern.

According to the IRGC Public Relations Department, Allah-Dadi was a veteran of the Iran- Iraq War, which was fought from 1980 to 1988. He had served as the commander of the Al Ghadir IRGC Ground Forces in Yazd province in eastern Iran. The most detailed biography however, was released by Mashregh News.

According to the news agency, Allah-Dadi, a native of Pariz, Sirjan in Kerman province, volunteered for the war effort in 1980 and initially served in the irregular forces of Mostafa Chamran (1932-1981). However, as the IRGC’s 41st Sarallah Division, based in Kerman, was established under the command of Qassem Suleimani, Allah-Dadi joined him and participated in most major operations up to the end of the war with Iraq in 1988.

The ceasefire between Iran and Iraq did not put an end to Allah-Dadi’s military career. For a time, he continued serving under Suleimani in Kerman, but later served for three years as Ramazan Brigade chief of the 27th Mohammad Rasoul-Allah Force based in Tehran. In 2006, he was appointed Al Ghadir Force chief based in Yazd, where he served until June 20, 2011.

Systematic references to Allah-Dadi’s work in the local press in Yazd came to an abrupt end after the end of his tenure. This can only be explained by a piece of information released by Mashregh News: “A few years ago, invited by Major General Qassem Suleimani, IRGC QF commander, he joined the Quds Force to fight the Zionist regime in Lebanon and Syria.”

Very little information about Allah-Dadi’s work in Syria has been released to the public. According to the Jan. 19 press release by the IRGC Public Relations Department, Allah-Dadi was deployed to Syria as a military adviser in order to “assist the government and nation of Syria against the takfiri-salafi terrorists [a reference to the Sunni opposition to the Baath regime in Syria].”

israel iran hezbollah

He was allegedly killed while inspecting Quneitra in Syria, as “a group of fighters of the Islamic Resistance [reference to Lebanese Hezbollah]” were attacked by a “military helicopter of the Zionist regime.”

The last recorded instance of Allah-Dadi’s whereabouts before his death appears in a report by journalist Hassan Shemshadi in the Central News Unit. Shemshadi allegedly met the Iranian general at a Shiite shrine in Damascus.

The most important information released about the late Allah-Dadi is the long history of his friendship and service under Suleimani, the current Qods Force commander.

A single case does not provide enough material for drawing conclusions concerning Suleimani’s pattern of appointments in his command, but should other former Suleimani associates and friends be identified as current Qods Force officers, that would provide important parts of the puzzle of the unit’s command structure.