By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
The YPG have confirmed that they have successfully completed an operation on their southern and south-eastern front on Tuesday which began on April 8th to drive back the Islamic State (IS).
YPG Preparing for Battle Once More
During that period the YPG/YPJ, with support from Free Syrian Army (FSA) units, have captured as many as 9 villages, the Lafarge Cement Plant (scroll down – see below) and 2 quarries near Celebi.
The villages captured included Bocak, Xirab Hişk and Derfilît.
IS have continued an attack on the village of Gocekmetê, which the YPG had captured earlier, and attempted to penetrate the Kurdish defences with a suicide car bomb.
The YPG managed to detonate the car while it was still surrounded by Islamic State fighters.
Two other suicide bomb attacks were also repelled and 31 x IS Jihadists killed during this operation at a cost of 3 Kurdish fighters.
20 x AK-47s, a 120 mm mortar and 24 rounds, 8 Katyusha rockets, a military vehicle, 1 scope and 2 radios were also recovered.
Since these reports came in, latest information suggests that a combined YPG/FSA force has liberated another 6 villages including Hamdoun, with claims that as many as 60 x IS fighters have been killed in the Hamdoun area. This video footage shows parts of the battle at Hamdoun and (caution) a large number of bloody IS corpses at the end, HERE:
Along with Hamdoun, Khan-Mamed, Xorxori, Girek, Dafiye and Xwedan, all 40 – 50 kilometres from Kobane city, were freed by the YPG/FSA force late on Tuesday or earlier today.
Between Sunday am and Monday morning, US Central Command (Centcom) reports 6 airstrikes in Kobane Canton, which destroyed 12 x IS fighting positions and 2 x IS vehicles as well as hitting an IS tactical unit.
From Monday morning through to Tuesday am, 3 more airstrikes by the Coalition destroyed 4 x IS fighting positions and 1 x IS vehicle, as well as hitting 2 x IS tactical units.
This video declassified by Centcom shows a Coalition strike on an IS fighting position on April 6th (not even time to say prayers), here:
To the east in the Kurdish Canton of Cizire, numerous battles with the Islamic State continue along its western edge, with a YPG operation near Tel Xenzir destroying an IS vehicle and all its occupants.
A joint Kurdish/Arab fighting force is being trained to defend the Canton and recently went into action after passing out, (sub-titles) HERE:
Cizire Canton Situation Map courtesy of @MarkMonmonier , here:
Cizire Canton Situation Map 14.04.15
OPPOSITION FIGHT IN ALEPPO HOTS UP AND MODERATE FIGHTERS IN THE SOUTH REJECT COOPERATION WITH THE AL NUSRA FRONT:
In the north-western district of Aleppo city this week, Opposition fighters did a thorough job of finally demolishing the regional headquarters of Assad’s Air Intelligence, where hundreds, if not thousands have been tortured and/or imprisoned.
At the weekend the Opposition completed mining a tunnel under the Air Intelligence building, HERE: followed by the grand finale, here:
The result caused widespread celebrations in Opposition held parts of the city, HERE:
Since destroying Assad’s security building, Opposition fighters have gone on to take over the Al-Basheer Mosque nearby and an orphanage and have moved into the Al-Zahraa district below it, attacking regime-held positions,HERE: and using their homemade “Hell-Fire” cannon to good effect, HERE:
Rumours have circulated that some senior Assad officers and their families have left Aleppo in the face of the renewed Opposition offensive, but this has been denied by the Syrian Government’s Information Minister, Omran al-Zoubi – though this probably does not mean a lot as he is frequently seen as Assad’s chief “Minister of Propaganda”.
The Opposition’s current strength in Aleppo has certainly persuaded Syria’s Grand Mufti, Ahmad Hassoun, to apparently issue a Fatwa allowing Assad to barrel-bomb Opposition-held areas of the city out of existence.
Assad’s murderous regime has been quick to follow through with shell, rocket and barrel-bomb bombardments, with more than 100 killed in Aleppo province in air attacks in the last few days.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has already recorded 1709 airstrikes by Assad’s forces all around Syria in April 2015 alone, including 984 barrel-bombs. 260 civilians have been killed in the first half of this month by these attacks, including 81 children and 51 women, and an estimated 1500 wounded.
Assad airstrikes in Idlib province yesterday, Tuesday, killed 11 in Idlib city and another 12 in Saraqeb, HERE:
Situation Map for Aleppo courtesy of @PetoLucem, here:
Aleppo Situation Map 14.04.15
In Damascus, barrel-bomb attacks and clashes between warring sides have also continued in the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp, though latest reports from local people suggest that the bulk of the Islamic State fighters have withdrawn to their stronghold in nearby Hajar al Aswad.
Some IS fighters remain in the south-west of the camp, while Palestinian factions – both pro and anti-Assad – are controlling most of the eastern and northern sections of the camp.
This leaves the largest fighting group inside the camp as the Al-Nusra Front (ANF), who allowed the Islamic State to enter the Camp in the first place. Both of the extremist groups loath the Palestinian Opposition force, who were until recently running the camp, Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis.
Palestinians Have Suffered Chronic Food Shortages for 2 Years in Yarmouk
Hopefully, ANF will allow in more aid, so desperately needed by those trapped inside, some of whom demonstrated yesterday to bring their plight to world attention, HERE:
Al-Qaeda aligned ANF have fared less well in southern Deraa province, where the “Southern Front”, an alliance of FSA and more moderate Islamic Groups, has pushed them away from the border crossing at Nassib to Jordan and now attacked a number of their HQs.
The Southern Front issued a strong statement rejecting ANF’s ideology, refused any cooperation with it, and declaring themselves the “sole military force representing the Syrian revolution” in the south.
“We can’t go from the rule of Assad to Zawahri and Nusra,” said a spokesman referring to the Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
He then went on to invites ANF members to defect and join their more moderate ranks.