Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, January 2018
Scores of Syrians Still Massacred Daily by Russian-Regime Air Strikes and Bombardment
January 4, 2018
The following news stories are just examples of the daily horrors of war in Syria. Readers can find more detailed daily news stories at the sources below as well as many other sources in the internet.
The following are news stories from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) website (http://www.syriahr.com/en/):
Tal al-Tokan Massacre claims the lives of 6 civilians at least; many people are injured and missing
Idlib Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: it rose to 6 at least, the number of people who were killed in the massacre the was carried out by warplanes which targeted Tal Tokan area, located near Saraqib town in the eastern countryside of Idlib, while the rescue teams are still searching for survivors under the rubble caused by the aerial bombardment, and the number of casualties may increase due to the presence of injured people in dangerous situations, and due to the presence of missing persons under the rubble.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored today shelling by the regime forces on areas in the towns of Sukayk and Al-Tamanah in the southern countryside of Idlib, in conjunction with 2 raids carried out by warplanes on areas in Maarrat Al-Nu’man city, where the Syrian Observatory published yesterday that the warplanes targeted in the morning of the 2nd of January 2018 a museum in Maarrat Al-Nu’man in the southern countryside of Idlib, and caused significant destruction in parts of the museum, which used to be a headquarters of the regime in the city back in 2011 and 2012, and later became the headquarters of Ansar al-Islam Brigades, and the trusted sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that these airstrikes have damaged parts of the museum, but no information about casualties, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published this morning that a squadron of warplanes flew yesterday before the midnight and after the midnight over Idlib countryside, targeting by intensive strikes places in the outskirts of Saraqeb town and the road linking Ariha, Saraqeb, Maar Dibsah, Jarjnaz, east of Idlib, and the outskirts of Maarrat Al-Nu’man, Horsh Bnin, Maarat Shurin, and the outskirts of Al-Mastumah and Wadi Al-Deif in the southern section of Idlib countryside.
18 casualties at least -including 11 women- in a massacre carried out by Russian warplanes in Mesraba town controlled by Jaysh al-Islam in the Eastern Ghouta
Rif Dimashq Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: More citizens are dying due the aerial bombardment that targeted Mesraba town; and the raids that targeted areas in Arbin city by warplanes believed to be Russian, where it rose to 23 including 3 children and 12 women, the number of people who were killed in Mesraba, Arbin and Beit Sawa, they are: 18 casualties including 1 child, 11 woman and a member of the Civil Defense were killed in a massacre carried out by warplanes in Mesraba town, and 2 casualties at least were killed in aerial bombardment on areas in Arbin city, and 2 children and a woman were killed in shelling by the regime forces on areas in Beit Sawa, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.
These casualties have raised to at least 70 including 14 children and 16 citizen women, the number of people killed due to the aerial, artillery and rocket shelling on cities and town in the Eastern Ghouta since the 29th of December 2017 and until now, and the casualties are 47 citizens including 9 children, 14 citizen women and a male nurse, they were killed in raids by the warplanes on areas in Harasta city controlled by the Islamic movement of Ahrar Al-Sham and raids on Madyara town, and 23 citizens including 5 children and 2 citizen women and 2 male nurses were killed by artillery and rocket shelling targeted areas in the cities of Harasta, Hamuriya, Douma and Arbin as well as the towns of Kafr Batna, Mesraba, Al-Nashabiyah and Otaya, and the aerial and artillery shelling left tens of casualties and wounded included a large number of children and citizen women, and the number of casualties may increase because of the presence of serious injuries.
Russian warplanes join to target in the Eastern Ghouta, raids on Mesraba cause a massacre and artillery and air shelling wound 17 in Arbin
Rif Dimashq Province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Artillery and rocket shelling and airstrikes target the eastern Ghouta, as part of the continuous escalation on the area with the continuous battles, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored on Wednesday the 3rd of January 2018 the participation of the Russian warplanes in the raids on the Eastern Ghouta, where this evening the warplanes carried out 3 raids, but it is unclear whether they were regime’s warplanes or Russian warplanes, the warplanes targeted areas in Mesraba town which is controlled by Jaysh al-Islam, and caused a massacre of at least 6 casualties including a child and 4 citizen women, also others were injured with varying severity, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation, also the raids damaged the property of citizens, while the Syrian Observatory monitored the regime forces targeting areas in Arbin city -which is controlled by Rahman Corps- by more than 35 shells, which caused material damage and injured 7 citizens, while it rose to about 30, the number of raids that targeted areas in Harasta city since the morning of today, also the warplanes carried out 2 raids on areas in Arbin city, rising to at least 14, the number of raids that targeted areas in Arbin city today, and the raids this evening have injured 10 persons including children and citizens women, 8 of them are seriously wounded, rising to at least 55 including 14 children and 9 citizen women, who were killed due to the aerial, artillery and rocket shelling on cities and town in the Eastern Ghouta since the 29th of December 2017 and until now, and the casualties are 32 citizens including 9 children, 7 citizen women and a male nurse, they were killed in raids by the warplanes on areas in Harasta city controlled by the Islamic movement of Ahrar Al-Sham and raids on Madyara town, and 23 citizens including 5 children and 2 citizen women and 2 male nurses were killed by artillery and rocket shelling targeted areas in the cities of Harasta, Hamuriya, Douma and Arbin as well as the towns of Kafr Batna, Mesraba, Al-Nashabiyah and Otaya, and the aerial and artillery shelling left tens of casualties and wounded included a large number of children and citizen women, and the number of casualties may increase because of the presence of serious injuries.
This intense shelling accompanied by continuous violent clashes between the Islamic movement of Ahrar Al-Sham, Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and Rahman Corps against the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them, in areas at the vicinity of the Vehicle Department and near the Governorate Building and in the vicinity of Harasta city, accompanied by exchange of targeting in the clash areas between both parties.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights published hours ago that the it monitored that the ongoing and violent fighting as well as the continuous shelling resulted in more human losses in the ranks of the both parties, in which the number of the members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen who were killed in the shelling and the clashes in the Eastern Ghouta, has increased to 44 members at least, including 3 officers at least including 4 brigadiers, while it rose to 47, the number of fighters of the factions who were killed in the same clashes, also tens of both parties were injured with varying severity, while 10 members at least of the regime forces and gunmen loyal to them were captured during the fighting and the hit-and-run clashes.
47 were killed yesterday including 18 members of the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them and 18 civilians
In Rif Dimashq Province 8 citizens were killed they are: a man and 2 of his children as well as the children’s grandmother were killed in raids on areas in Harasta city carried out by the warplanes, a male nurse died affected by the injury he had due to shelling by the regime forces on Arbin city, 2 men were killed by shelling by the regime forces on areas in Douma city, and a man died affected by the injury he had due to shelling by the regime forces which targeted Kafr Batna town
In Idlib Province 8 citizens were killed, they are: a man was killed in an aerial bombardment on places in Orem al-Joz village in the countryside of Idlib yesterday night, and 5 children and 2 women were killed in raids on places in Khan al-Sabil town in the southern the countryside of Idlib.
In Homs province a citizen was killed in targeting for areas in al-Ghantu town in the northern countryside of Homs.
In Hama Province a person was killed by aerial bombardment on areas in al-Himaniyyeh village in the northeastern countryside of Hama.
Also the number of the members of the regime forces and their allied militiamen who were killed in the shelling and the clashes in the Eastern Ghouta has increased to 44 members at least; since the start of attack on the 29th of December 2017, while it rose to 47, the number of fighters of the factions who were killed in the same clashes including a fighter of a Gulf nationality who blew himself up in a booby trapped vehicle, also tens of both parties were injured with varying severity
And 11 members of the regime forces and militiamen loyal to them were killed in shelling and clashes against the “Islamic State” organization and the factions.
And at least 9 fighters of the “Islamic State” organization and the factions of non-Syrian nationalities were killed in clashes, bombing by warplanes and helicopters, and shelling on areas of their presence.
And 2 members of the Lebanese Hezbollah were killed in shelling and clashes in places in Hmimeh area in the eastern countryside of Homs.
The following are news stories from the US Department of Defense website (http://www.defense.gov/News) :
Mattis Says Operations Against ISIS Will Change in 2018
By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2017 —
The destruction of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s physical caliphate will change the way the coalition will go after the terror group, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told Pentagon reporters here today.
Operations against the group dominated the informal press gaggle with the secretary.
“We sit here today at the end of 2017, the caliphate is on the run, we’re breaking them,” he said.
Some ISIS (members) escaped the encirclement of Raqqa into the Middle Euphrates River Valley. “We are in the process of crushing the life out of the caliphate there while trying to keep the innocent people safe -- which is very hard with this group,” he said.
The demarcation line between the Assad regime and its ally Russia, and the Syrian Democratic Forces and the coalition, is the middle of the river in this area. Mattis said the line has held up well, and that communications between Russian and coalition forces continue.
ISIS Fighters ‘Will Have to be Hunted Down’
The ISIS fighters that escaped into the valley “will have to be hunted down,” Mattis said.
ISIS operatives who move into the region controlled by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Russians are another matter. The SDF and the coalition will not launch attacks past the demarcation line, Mattis said. Having the terrorists in their area is not in Assad’s or the Russian’s best interests. The United States tipping off Russia of a potential ISIS attack in St. Petersburg is an example of ways the countries can work together against the group.
Mattis stresses that the battle against ISIS is not over. While the group has been shattered, its survivors are looking for ways and places to reconstitute, he added.
“It’s only a safe haven if people give them one,” Mattis said.
In Iraq, the coalition will continue to work with the Iraqi government to train troops and police and develop the intelligence needed to find and take down (ISIS members) trying to launch attacks.
“We need to drive this down to the point where it can be handled by local authorities -- police,” he said. “But right now, it is still very much a military intelligence type of operation as the police try to set up local operations. Eventually, it will be rule of law and local security forces.”
Hunting ISIS down is not over. “Am I worried about it? Not in the least,” Mattis said. “These guys have not proven they can stand against the Iraqi security forces [or] the SDF. They are best against unarmed men, women and children.”
Moving forward in Syria involves ensuring diplomats have what they need to solve this civil war.
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