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Old 03-18-2017   #1001
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Russian Syrian Express....

Heavily laden #ВМФ Ropucha class LSTM #Бф BF Korolev transits Med-bound Bosphorus en route to #Tartus for its 4th #Syria deployment in 2017
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Old 03-18-2017   #1002
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Charles Lister‏
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"U.S Airstrike Rounds Out Brutal Anniversary Week in #Syria War"

- Good piece by @jamiewrit, with my thoughts
:
http://www.voanews.com/a/3770824.html

From former US ambassador to Syria....

Robert Ford‏#
@fordrs58
US Govt denials wont carry weight in Syrian + other Arab communities that will believe we intentionally hit a mosque. Do we now feel safer?

NOTE:
it's almost as if this administration wants a terror attack. Bannon certainly would love nothing more. It vindicate his world view

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Old 03-18-2017   #1003
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First the Obama WH and NOW the Trump WH and CENTCOM have signed on to support and protect a US named Kurdish communist terror group which has been fighting Turkey a NATO partner for over 40 years.....

There has been a serious escalation of repression in Syria's PYD/PKK-run Kurdish areas in the last fortnight.

http://henryjacksonsociety.org/2017/...kurdish-areas/

Well worth the long read.....

Analysis: ‘Repression Increases in the Syrian Kurdish Areas’

by Kyle Orton

Quote:
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian front of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is the leading group in the administration of the Kurdish areas in north-eastern Syria. The PYD and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have become the preferred instrument of the U.S.-led Coalition against the Islamic State (IS) and as a by-product have been assisted in conquering some Arab-majority zones of northern Syria—and perhaps soon of eastern Syria. The PYD/PKK has always treated all dissent harshly and the Kurdish opposition in recent days has reported an escalation in repression by the PYD, which the West—as has become a habit in cases of PYD misbehaviour—has made no public protest about.
THE PYD’S AUTHORITARIAN REGIME
The PYD regime promulgated a law on 13 March, based on a previous order, “Decree Number Five” of 15 April 2014, demanding that all “unlicensed” political parties register with the authorities within twenty-four hours or “we will be forced to close the office and duly transfer the official to the judiciary.”
The Kurdish opposition, including the Kurdish National Council (KNC), also known by its Kurdish acronym ENKS, objected to this ruling on three grounds:
First, as the KNC office in Berlin put it to me, nobody has elected the PYD. The PYD announced its interim administration in November 2013 after the areas were handed to them in July 2012 by the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the hopes of keeping the Kurds out of the then-widening revolution.
Secondly, this vetting procedure is not objective. Though PYD claimed at the foundation of its government to be ruling in alliance with fifty other organizations, these groups “either have close ties to the PYD or are unknown,” KNC Berlin says. This law, for example, says that “no political parties can have any ties to foreign parties,” KNC Berlin went on, which could be used to ban the Kurdistan Democratic Party-Syria#(PDK‑S), the sister party of Masud Barzani’s Iraqi-Kurdish KDP. “It can be safely assumed, however, that the PYD will not employ the law to ban itself, even though it is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party#(PKK), which is based in Turkey.” (Indeed, while the nature of the power centres in the PYD-run areas remains secret, there is little mystery: it is widely suspected that “real power is wielded by shadowy military commanders who have fought with the PKK in Turkey”.)
Which means, third, this was a clear attempt to criminalize all political actors except the PYD and in effect formalize the one-party regime.
The next day, 14 March, according to a statement released by the KNC/ENKS today, a series of attacks against them by the PYD began. By now, the PYD “have abducted and arbitrarily detained” at least forty KNC members in more than nine cities across the area controlled by the PYD, which is often called “Rojava”. “In addition to the detentions, attacks against offices of the KNC and its member parties have taken place,” the statement added. “More than twenty offices have been torched or demolished, and subsequently were sealed up by PYD security forces.” Shortly before these attacks, the PYD had closed down the office of a Christian group, the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) in Hasaka.
On 4 March, the PYD arbitrarily detained thirty-six politicians, most of them PDK-S members. Around the same time, the headquarters of three opposition parties in Serê Kaniyê (Ras al-Ayn) and Qamishli were sacked by the PYD.
On International Women’s Day (8 March)—heavily exploited by the PYD, which uses its female fighters as a central point of its propaganda, framing its state-building project as a fight against IS and using the language of universalist liberal values—the PYD’s (male) police forces, the Asayish, stormed IWD meetings and arrested numerous people.
During one of the IWD events, Dr. Khaled Issa, a member of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party (PDPKS), was stabbed by a mob of PYD youth. A number of women were arrested the next day as they tried to organise an IWD event independent of the PYD and the offices of the PDPKS were put to the torch.
This morning, in conformity with its promise, the PYD burned to the ground the office of the Kurdish Women’s Union or HJKS in Derik (Al-Malikiya) because it did not have a license that only the PYD can issue.
The persecution of dissent by the PYD is hardly new. In 2011 and 2012, the PYD was accused of murdering Kurdish politicians Mishal Tammo, Nasruddin Birhik, and Mahmud Wali (Abu Jandi). The current vivacity in oppression can probably be dated to August 2016, when the PYD arrested a dozen Kurdish opponents, kidnapped several more over a series of days, and beat and imprisoned those who protested about it. Ibrahim Biro, the overall head of the KNC, was expelled from the PYD-ruled areas into Iraq and told he would be murdered if he returned.
In its long war with the Turkish state, the PKK has always striven for total control of the Kurdish political scene, murdering its own dissidents, even when they escape to Europe, and ruthlessly suppressing all independent Kurdish factions. The PKK began as a movement that blended Kurdish nationalism with Marxist-Leninism and acted as a proxy for the Soviet Union in destabilizing a frontline NATO state (Turkey). In recent years, the PKK has claimed a reformation, proclaiming a new ideology, “Democratic Confederalism,” an eco-anarchistic, stateless, direct democracy, but it has not been able to break itself from its deeply authoritarian origins.
THE PKK AND THE COALITION
The PKK’s misbehaviour goes beyond human rights abuses, and it remains baffling in simple strategic terms that the PKK has not come up against at least rhetorical protests from the West.
This month, the PKK—which has strong historical links with Russia, the Assad regime, and Iran—has been, through its Yazidi proxy militia, the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), forging stronger links with Tehran in Iraq via its proxy, the Shi’i militia, Kataib Hizballah (KH), which happens to be a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that killed tens of American soldiers in the last decade. KH’s anti-American animus was clear at the meeting, where it insisted that one of its roles was to resist the American conspiracy to partition Iraq. The YBS praised KH and Iran’s other “Islamic Resistance” groups for defending Iraq from takfirism. Given that Iran has flooded these and other Shi’a jihadists tied into its global terrorist network into Syria to rescue Assad under the cover of the anti-IS war, and might well move more of them into the country after the fall of Mosul, the PKK’s assistance in Tehran’s access to the Iraq-Syria border might have been imagined to be objectionable.
The PKK has long been accused of being aligned with the pro-Assad coalition, and events in Minbij earlier this month, where the PKK handed over areas to the regime coalition in order to block Turkey’s advance on the city, hardly helped. The U.S. and Russia both moving ground forces into Minbij to deter the Turkish-backed rebels and the U.S.’s assistance in the Assadists’ recapture of Palmyra increased the optical sense of a global coalition—the U.S., Russia, Iran, its Shi’i militias, Assad, and the PKK—against the largely-Sunni opposition in Syria, a sectarian narrative the jihadi-salafists thrive on.
The PKK seconded the Russian air force for assaults on CIA-backed rebel assets in Syria multiple times in the last eighteen months, it helped the pro-Assad coalition close the siege of Aleppo City, and the PKK helped the regime coalition during the closing stages of its unmerciful conquest of that city. None of this brought a public rebuke from the United States—or any other member of the Coalition. I have been told by people well-placed to know that the PYD’s more unsavoury behaviour has come up in discussions with U.S. officials. But the appearance of uncritical support from the U.S. to the PYD is its own reality and a very worrying one in terms of the impending Raqqa operation that it now seems inevitable the PYD will lead.
In Raqqa, the PYD will enter a city in the aftermath of IS where there are sleeper cells left behind, where there are people who committed horrific crimes for the jihadists, and where there are also clerks at government offices, oil workers, and farmers who just got on with their jobs so they could feed their families but who incidentally contributed to the functioning of IS’s statelet. The requirements—of justice and ensuring IS as little political space as possible to revive—is that the PYD be discriminating in its identification of collaborators. The PYD will be essentially free of U.S. leverage by this time, and that hardly restrained them before. The PYD’s abusive behaviour toward Arabs under its rule in previous instances, especially in Tel Abyad—and its wild accusations that even a group like Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS), which has paid such a high price for its resistance to IS, is pro-IS just because RBSS also opposes the imposition of PYD rule over Raqqa—has already made other Arab populations fearful that the PYD displacing IS will lead to a vengeful occupation, rather than liberation.

Continued.....
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Old 03-18-2017   #1004
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Leader of #YPG #Sipan_Hamo told me that #SDF expecting Apaches from US to start the battle for #Raqqa beginning of April

After rejecting Obama's #RaqqaOp plan, Trump appears to have adopted it. Sending Apaches to "SDF" before Turkish referendum should be fun …
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Old 03-18-2017   #1005
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REMEMBER the US is totally supporting YPG which is really a fig leaf for the PKK a US named communist terrorist group.....supporting with USAF CAS...US SOF...US Rangers and Marines....

Since when does US FP include working with US named terrorists...????

Updated list of offices of opposition parties & bodies shut down/attacked by the PYD ruling party across northern Syria/Rojava. By @NSO_SY
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Old 03-18-2017   #1006
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Iran sees its role in Syria as an "existential" fight for the "heart" of its anti-Western Resistance Axis.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...ce-memoir.html

In Syria, Iran sees necessary war

Author Ali Hashem
Posted March 16, 2017


Quote:
Six years into the crisis in Syria, Iran sees the outcome of the conflict as shaping the new Middle East. It was Iran’s first overt foreign intervention in decades, one that some Iranian ideologues have called a war for existence. Iranian officials say it spared the Islamic Republic from having to fight a similar war within its own borders. Yet#it has been costly, draining#and merciless in terms of material losses, and even worse when it comes to Iran’s image in the Muslim world. It has limited Iran’s options#and has caused alliances — notwithstanding the common ground Iran shares with its partners — to seem very shaky and fragile.
New accounts detailing Iran’s decision to intervene in the Syrian war shed light on an important and previously unknown chapter of the conflict.
“Iran learned a lot from these years,”#an Iranian military source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. The source said the conflict in Syria has not been a traditional war where things can easily be anticipated:#“The mandate was changing from one day to another. When Iran decided to take part in the war via our military advisers, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was on the verge of falling. More than 70% of the country was under [the control of] terrorist groups who were enjoying widespread international, regional states’ and popular support. Today, President Assad has the upper hand, and the world knows well that he’s the only choice for those who seriously want to defeat terrorism. Yet this is not the final phase.”
In Tehran, political and military elites believe enemies of the “resistance axis” created the crisis in Syria to take revenge for what Iranian elites see as the latter’s achievements and widespread popularity in the region. “It’s obvious that after the 33-day war in Lebanon and Hezbollah’s victory over Israel [in 2006], the Americans and their local agents started thinking of how to defeat us,”#an Iranian official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. The official said, “Since they can’t wage a war on Iran#and their attempt to destroy Hezbollah failed, there was only one option at that time left —#hitting the heart:#Syria.” Therefore, according to the Iranian official, the Islamic Republic had no choice but to defend itself, and therefore, “Iran’s struggle in Syria is different from others: It’s an existential war with no choice for us but to win. All the other parties fighting in Syria can afford to win#or lose, save Iran. Not winning this war will have dire consequences not only for Iran but for the Shiites of the world. Therefore, it was the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who took the decision to help Syria. It was both a religious and a political decision.”
The story of the Iranian decision to intervene in Syria has been a question for many, mainly with regard to how the decision was taken and whether a plan was in place from day one. Filling out the picture is the account of former Iranian member of parliament#Esmail Kowsari — a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — who told the semi-official Fars News Agency in November 2013 how Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah had gone to Ayatollah Khamenei with fears that Assad would be toppled. Kowsari said that Nasrallah, nine months after the Syrian war started, had concluded that the situation was bad and#was almost over.#Nasrallah was quoted as saying, "Along with some officials, we went to the [supreme] leader and told him our thoughts. After we finished speaking, he said: ‘No, that is not the case. We must just do our duty. If we do our duty, Assad and Syria will be stable.'”
The Iranian military source confirmed this account to Al-Monitor, adding, “When Nasrallah returned to Beirut, he met the [Hezbollah] Shura Council and told it about the [supreme] leader’s point of view; he asked them to prepare their plans. At the same time, Ayatollah Khamenei started meeting the leadership of the IRGC and asked it to put together their views and road map for how this conflict could end.” The Iranian source elaborated that Khamenei had two main concerns: preserving the weapons pipeline to Lebanon and keeping the holy shrines in Syria safe. The source said the two main leaders#chosen to ensure that these objectives were met were#Nasrallah and IRGC Quds Force commander#Qasem Soleimani.
A third man with a key role to play was IRGC Gen.#Hossein Hamedani, who was killed#in Syria in October#2015. Hamedani’s role was essential in leading the forces on the ground. He left behind a full account of what happened on the way to Syria. The book, titled “Letters of the Fish,”#focuses on Hamedani's life. He recalls surprise at his being asked to go to Syria and how he met with many figures and visited several areas. He said 75% of the country "was under the control of the terrorist groups.”#He added, “After some time, I sent a detailed report to the supreme leader, asking him to allow me to return to Iran, given that the Syrians weren’t making use of our presence. The leader told Hajj Qasem [Soleimani]: ‘You shouldn’t leave and return! Syria is sick, but doesn’t know it is sick; this disease should be explained to Syrian politicians and statesmen.'”
Hamedani also sent a report to the leadership of the IRGC. That report was later read by Ayatollah Khamenei, who asked Hamedani to consult with Nasrallah, who — according to the book — was “in charge of all the policies of the resistance axis in Syria.” Hamedani had more than 100 proposals for steps to be implemented, along with five main suggestions on the political, economic, cultural, military#and security fronts. Since Nasrallah was the man in charge of Syria, Hamedani and his aides went to meet him in Beirut, with the discussions lasting “from the evening prayer until the morning prayer.” The book says the Hezbollah chief saw no need for political, cultural#and economic steps at that time, saying, “Bashar Assad and the Baath Party are drowning#to their necks in a quagmire. Nothing is left until they completely drown.” Hamedani then quotes Nasrallah as saying, “On the cultural side, do you want to teach them how to pray? Set up classes and teach them? Discuss spirituality with them? The time isn’t right; they are drowning! On the economic side, you want to sew clothes for them? You want to give them food? Those people need no food;#they are vanishing. On the political front, you want to discuss the correct structure for the regime#and reform it? They are losing everything!” Nasrallah concluded, “First we have to get Bashar and the Syrian government outside the quagmire; then, we’ll clean them, give them clothes, feed them, ask them to study and do their prayers. Now is the time to get them out [of the quagmire], and this is the strategic move.”
Hamedani’s account along with other ones#by#various Iranian commanders#tell a lot about the Syrian war#and about how and why Iran is keen to fight to the last man standing. Today, just as when Iran decided to enter Syria, the Islamic Republic continues to believe that compromising Damascus is akin to giving up Tehran — and that whatever the price of the war, it will never exceed the cost of losing it.

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Old 03-18-2017   #1007
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Aftermath of overnight #Russian airstrikes west of #Aleppo.
Last pix: Alleged Russian strikes continue now.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiSK...ture=youtu.be#
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Old 03-18-2017   #1008
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Damascus: Photo shows rebels with killed #Assad fighter after failed regime attacks against besieged #Barzeh this evening.
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Old 03-18-2017   #1009
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Aleppo: The #Russia|n regime declared all civilians who were killed and wounded by #US airstrikes on a #Syria|n mosque as terrorists
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Old 03-18-2017   #1010
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Shooting children while they trying to get food from the frist aid convoy that arrived #Madaya since months

Damascus: #Assad and #Hezbollah snipers have killed or wounded several civilians at the #Madaya aid distribution point today.
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Old 03-18-2017   #1011
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Daraa: #FSA destroyed 3 #Assad regime bulldozers with 3 ATGM strikes (incl. 2 #TOWs) near #Khirbet_Ghazaleh today.
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Old 03-18-2017   #1012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
Ethnic cleansed continues in #Syria under #Russia'n supervision (#Homs suburb Al Waer)
Russian army members in #Homs #Waer today

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Old 03-18-2017   #1013
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NE #Damascus: #FSA using BM-21 Grad and #TOW (2nd strike in 2 days) in its offensive vs #ISIS in E. #Qalamoun desert.

Rebels are shelling #Fuah & #Kefraya after Hezbollah/Regime targeted depots housing Red Crescent aid who reached Madaya 4 days ago.

E. #Damascus: Regime seized over parts of Hafez street on #Qabun front and this building belonging to #FSA 1st Brigade (#Damascus prov.).

Regime offensives on E. #Damascus and E. #Ghouta fronts visibly increasing: Rebels declare 6 tanks damaged/taken out since morning.

Meanwhile Ahrar Al-Sham declares Regime attack on #Barzeh orchads foiled. One T-72 destroyed and 8 fighters killed. E. #Damascus

E. #Damascus: Jaish Al-Islam trying to repel Regime attack on #Qabun orchads.

Reports Tell Ashtara in NW #Daraa countryside is back under Rebel control.

E. #Qalamoun: battle launched by #FSA to expel #ISIS from Afai & Batra Mounts. #TOW strike spotted. http://wikimapia.org/#lang=en&lat=33...18869&z=11&m#…
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Old 03-19-2017   #1014
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Rebel car bombs, #Assad air strikes on the front east of #Damascus.
Rebels in desperate counteroffensive.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sd_d2lm_pk#

This particular US so called ME analyst has been largely wrong in a number of his articles...this one supports the Trump take over of Raqqa not the Turkish plan....

Why the U.S. Should Team Up w Kurds & Not Turkey to Take Raqqa and Destroy the Islamic State http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/u-s...lamic-state/#…
via @joshua_landis

Following is a critique by Charles Lister...

Has #Turkey talked about going to “eastern Syria” proper, i.e. Deir ez Zour? No.
- Nobody talks of partition
- 3 is v simplistic

Para 2:

- Hang on a minute, if #Assad has already achieved this ‘cutting into two,’ then why does #Turkey need to achieve it a second time?

Para 3:

- “No Kurdish allies to attack #Raqqa” ? In the immediate term, it’d divert yes, but never at all?
- #YPG ≠ all of #Syria's Kurds

Para 4:

- Sorry, #YPG has no territorial interests around #Raqqa? Really?
- I suspect YPG is looking at more than just good U.S relations

By The Way...this was the Landis response to Lister's para 4 question...he actually confirmed what Lister was asking...
Joshua Landis‏
Verified account
#@joshua_landis 5h
5 hours ago
Joshua Landis Retweeted Charles Lister
Do you believe that the Kurds will take Raqqa for Rojava whether US urges them to or not?

Para 5:

- Ahrar is no way near ES's “dominant” force
- Ahrar lost 8-10% of its men to #HTS, not 50%
- #Turkey wld not allow AQ to its areas

Para 5:

- #Turkey sees AQ/#HTS as a hostile adversary & vice-versa.
- 2013 was 4yrs ago, how about using current dynamics to assess today?

Para 6:

- #Aleppo-based groups (who dominate ES) have many former #Raqqa-based fighters
- #Turkey has been training Raqqan tribes & groups

Para 6:

- I’m pretty confident that most Raqqans would rather Sunni Arabs than the Marxist-Leninist #YPG & some pro-#Assad Sunni militias.

Para 6:

- Handing #Raqqa to #SDF, knowing they’re likely to eventually hand it to #Assad & #Russia will *definitely* invite AQ recruitment!

Para 7:

- Actually, the main reason is that #Turkey has no workable plan that can be implemented *now.* The #Trump admin wants acceleration

Para 8:

- Turkish plan => escalation, yes, but is #Raqqa & the Euphrates a “#Iran-#Russia-#Assad-#Iraq” sphere of influence right now? No.

Para 9:

- Handing Euphrates area to “Kurds & #Assad” = fastest way to bring stability.” - You surely cannot honestly believe that, really?

Para 10:

- Restraining #Iraq’s Kurds from aggression is *extremely* different to restraining a group (#YPG) inherently hostile to #Turkey.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-19-2017 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Remove attachment which duplicates link
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Old 03-19-2017   #1015
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Israel threatens to 'destroy' Syrian air defence systems

If fired on again by AD systems they will strike back on the system and or systems that fired on them...
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Old 03-19-2017   #1016
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Damascus: Hysterical #Assad regime shelling has killed 11+ civilians and wounded around 50 more in Eastern #Ghouta today.
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Old 03-19-2017   #1017
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Damascus: A fire reported near #Damascus Parliament.

Damascus: Photos show the #HTS double #SVBIED attack against the #Assad regime in #Jobar District today.

Assad army tried to storm Jobar several times in past weeks, this will further improve Jobar chances from another forced displacement deal.
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Old 03-19-2017   #1018
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Hama: #ISIS has destroyed/damaged a second T-72 northeast of #Salamiyah. #Assad regime is in trouble there.
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Old 03-19-2017   #1019
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Hama: #ISIS has destroyed/damaged the third (!) #Assad T-72 tank northeast of #Salamiyah. 4 #ATGM strikes in northeastern #Hama today.

Hama: #ISIS established fire control about the supply road towards #Aleppo. #ISIS has sent ATGM units to Eastern #Hama.

Damascus: Large explosion reported near TV building in Umayyad Square in #Damascus.

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Old 03-19-2017   #1020
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A US general says an ally used a $3 million Patriot missile to shoot down a $200 drone
http://read.bi/2mJz0oH
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