By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
On Friday, combined YPG/FSA forces on the eastern front of Kobane Canton launched an operation which regained the Guris Cement Plant and no less than 10 more villages.
Jubilant Kurdish Fighters Infront of Recaptured Cement Plant
The villages liberated include Edîfê, Diçkiram, Şerebanî, Korpiling, Bîrxas, Bîrnasir, Gocekmêt, east and west Sefêriyê and east and west Yedûkî. The village of Sulûxke was also freed from Islamic State control, as well as 3 strategic hills in the area.
Initial reports said that 17 x IS Jihadists had been killed and large amounts of equipment gained. As well as binoculars, night vision equipment, 4 radios and 2 vehicles, the Kurdish led force also recovered 14 AK-47s, RPG rockets and launchers, mortar rounds and thousands of bullets.
Advancing further on Saturday, 4 more villages were also freed; Sheshê, Girikê Hemêr, Korik and north Bîrnasir and another 13 x IS Jihadist reported killed.
2 x IS military vehicles and a motorbike were seized this time, along with more rockets and launchers, hand-made mines, hand grenades and more AK-47s plus stocks of ammunition.
EDITOR: I have often reported on this page on YPG blowing up IS suicide vehicle bombs before impact. This is how it is done with concentrated fire until they get a result, here:
To give you some idea of the booty recently recovered from the Islamic State, take a look at this, at least 500 mortar shells, HERE:
Joint operations by the YPG/YPJ and the FSA on the eastern front in Kobane Canton can be viewed, HERE: and more with co-ordinated Coalition airstrikes on IS positions, HERE:
In Cizire, the Kurds eastern Canton, they launched a major operation in memory of Rubar Qamishlo, one of their experienced commanders who was killed recently in fighting near Tel Tamer.
By Sunday night, yesterday, they had seized the villages of Um El Mesamîr Ereb, Um El Mesamîr Rojava, Heci Qedrî, Hiwêce, Tel Hemam and El Mesamîra, all within 10 kilometres of Tel Tamer, and hemming in an Islamic State force.
23 x IS Jihadists were killed in this operation and many more wounded. In another operation near Tel Hemam village a further 3 x IS Jihadists were killed and 2 of them captured alive, with an IS tank and 3 x IS military vehicles destroyed.
16 kilometres north-west of Hasakah city on Saturday at Tel Hirmiz, a major battle with IS resulted in another 20 of their fighters killed.
YPJ Fighters on the Frontline
Once again this follows a successful operations in Cizire on Friday night through to Saturday morning retaking Gozeliyê and Şiwêş, with 4 x IS Jihadists killed, and another on Saturday night capturing Lîlan, Emriya, Rêhaniyê Rojava and Abu Heyya Remo Farmlands (12 kilometres to the west of Tel Tamer) as well as Til Fîtêtat and Hûda villages, killing a further 6 x IS fighters
Total number of YPG/YPJ fighters killed across Cizire in all these engagements reported as 5.
EDITOR: This brings, by my reckoning, the number of villages recaptured in the last 4 days to 27+ and around 80 x IS fighters killed across the 2 Cantons.
DETAILS EMERGE OF US SPECIAL FORCES ATTACK IN SYRIA, AND ASSAD REGIME’S ELECTRICITY/GAS SUPPLIES UNDER THREAT:
In Idlib province, the demolition of Assad’s last defences in the province continues, with a major attack on Mastoumah base still underway and nearby villages falling to the Opposition.
The Al-Nusra Front set off another vehicle bomb near the camp and had quickly taken Mastoumah Hill by Sunday night and the village of the same name just to the north of the military base. You can see the explosion on this video at around 1.20, HERE:
13 of Assad’s troops were reported killed as the Opposition surrounded and took over Mastoumah school, also capturing an ammunition depot in the village.
A recent video of the entrance to Mastoumah camp is, (Arabic only) HERE:
Opposition Destroy Assad Armoured Vehicle Near Kufayr
To the south-west of Matoumah, Opposition fighters captured the village of Muqbalah after Assad’s forces retreated under attack, HERE: and they are now attacking Nahlaya, both just north of Ariha.
Journalist/activist Hadi al-Abdallah watched the fighting over the weekend,HERE: but almost came a cropper himself, bullets whizzing overhead, HERE:
The Assad regime attempted to send reinforcements from Ariha to Mastoumah but it came under Opposition fire and was stopped according to Opposition sources.
Similar sources also reported that a Syrian Army officer, Colonel Asef Suleiman, was executed by the regime in Jorin for refusing to lead a convoy to rescue Masoumah.
A good supply of anti-tank missiles and launchers is clearly helping the Opposition considerably. So far 5 regime tanks have been destroyed in the assault on Mastoumah.
Near Kufayr the Opposition destroyed an armoured vehicle, HERE: and in the same area, a second one, HERE:
Near Al-Fanar just above Ariha, a T55 tank was destroyed, HERE: and another tank near the Sawmill Barrier not far from Jisr Al-Shughur, HERE:
The Assad regime did not have much luck sending in supplies to its troops still trapped in Jisr Al-Shughur National Hospital either. Five packages containing water, cigarettes and other supplies fell straight into Opposition hands,HERE:
The only way the Assad regime can effectively strike back at the moment is using its air power. 96 people are reported killed across Syria in airstrikes on Saturday alone, including 18 children and 12 women. 56 of the deaths were in Idlib province.
Courtesy of @archicivilians, this is a situation map for the area around Masoumah Syrian Army camp, here:
Situation Map of Area Around Mastoumah
In Aleppo, Assad’s Air Force “helpfully” dropped a barrel-bomb on a major depot operated by the Syrian Red Crescent.
In Deir Ez-Zour province more detailed reports have started to emerge of US Special Forces ground attack on a compound at Al-Amr in the Omar Oil field. The compound was formerly home to oil-field workers but is now occupied by Islamic State officials and pro-IS civilians.
In the early hours of last Saturday morning a team from the US Delta Force flew under cover of darkness from Iraq in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Coalition aircraft passed over over the target compound at around 1.00am without shelling, as they had done for the last 10 days, and the helicopters arrived at around 3.00am.
Fighting broke out immediately and 19 IS fighters, including 12 foreign fighters were killed almost immediately. One of the main targets of the strike, Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian in charge of managing the Islamic State’s oil revenues and other finances, and who they hoped to capture alive, was also killed in the clashes.
However, his wife Umm Sayyaf, was arrested and brought back to Iraq, along with a freed Yezidi woman who had been used as a slave. Dogs were used by the special forces troops and 2 woman at the compound were reported bitten.
There are around 50 houses in the compound, which includes a swimming pool and tennis courts and approximately 1,000 people live there.
The operation lasted around 20 minutes and all of Delta Force left the area unhindered and with no reports so far of casualties. Coalition aircraft bombed the nearby oil-fields shortly after.
According to local sources, IS were stunned by how the Americans knew exactly in which house to find Abu Sayyaf. Since the raid all the civilians have been removed from the compound and checkpoints set-up around it.
There have been some suggestions that the real target of the operation was Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the chief Islamic State spokesman, as he and Abu Sayyaf were often know to be together.
Syria state media, Sana put out a stupid statement that it’s “commandos” had killed the Islamic State “Oil Minister” but later withdrew the claim.
Regime Troops in Palmyra Fire Artillery at IS
Over in Palmyra in Homs province, the regime also claimed that that it had stopped the IS advance into the city and pushed them out of the northern suburbs, but latest reports suggest that this is little more than a regrouping after as many as 30 regime airstrikes.
Street fighting is reported near the main hospital and at the Bkhitan Barrier and IS has released several hundred inmates from the prison.
A barrage of IS rockets falling on civilian areas in Palmyra today, Monday, is also said to have killed 5 people.
2 of the rockets landed in the garden of the archaeological museum, but did not destroy any antiquities.
The Assad regime is reported to have lost at least 150 men in fighting at Palmyra and nearby gas fields (including Brigadier General Haidar Ali Asaad, the head of the regime’s Palmyra operations and 2 more of Assad’s cousins, Brigadier General Mou’tadh Deeb and Colonel Muhammad Makhlouf) where IS also took over large stocks of ammunition and weapons.
The gas fields which finally fell to IS control late Sunday are north-east of Palmyra at Al-Hail and Arak, 40 and 25 kilometres (25 and 15 miles) respectively from the city and are vital for the Syrian Government’s generation of electricity to supply areas under its control.
In Iraq, a total of 500 men were reported killed on both sides in the battle for Ramadi, which is now almost completely under Islamic State control, the Syrian Army reportedly having fled once again obligingly leaving large amounts of military vehicles and equipment behind.
A force of several thousand Shiite militia has been assembled to try and get Ramadi back and to stop IS marching on Baghdad. IS now controls continuous territory all the way from Aleppo province to the Iraqi capital, though its overall territorial hold is actually shrinking.