SYRIANS on Sunday commemorated the 70th anniversary of Evacuation Day on Sunday (Syrian Independence Day, which marks the evacuation of French occupation forces from the country in 1946).
Syrians recalled the sublime meanings and indications underpinning the concept of independence in terms of defending the homeland and preserving its sovereignty and national unity.
These figure highly now that Syria has been for five years confronting foreign interference at its best and an atrocious war of terrorism in which over 80 countries are involved in equipping and arming terrorists and mercenaries and sending them into the country.
As they celebrate this occasion, which is annually marked on April 17 when French soldiers were evacuated to the last one ending the French colonial mandate of Syria, the Syrians renew their pledge to maintain their country’s sovereignty and independence.
With their greatest aspiration now being that of achieving final victory against the terrorists, the Syrian people believe that this hope can only become a reality through continued support for the Syrian Arab army in its unrelenting struggle that has been going on since 2011.
‘As they once achieved independence and expelled the enemy from their homeland seventy years ago, the Syrians are facing a similar act of aggression perpetrated by Takfiri terrorists and backed by world countries,’ said the retired pilot and officer Ismael al-Atrash, son of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, the Commander General of the Syrian Revolution against the French colonialists (1925–27).
The anniversary this year seems to be celebrated amid growing popular momentum in light of the recent strategic victories made by Syrian army on various fronts on Syrian soil, most importantly that of recapturing Palmyra city from the grip of ISIS terrorists, as the retired lieutenant Mahmoud al-Shaqa pointed out.
‘The largest victory will be when we defeat terrorists, their supporters and all those who wish Syria ill,’ al-Sahqa said. For his part, Fahd Hweijeh, a retired officer and member of the Veterans Association, highlighted that independence came to crown the struggle of the Syrians and prove to the whole world their rejection of any foreign intervention in their internal affairs.
‘Today, the Syrians reiterate this truth again thanks to their army and to their unity in the face of terrorism,’ Hweijeh said. Marking the Independence Day, the activities of the 19th edition of Sheikh Saleh al-Ali festival kicked off on Sunday in Sheikh Badr city in Tartous province.
The festival is held by Tartous Governorate in cooperation with the Directorate of Culture in Tartous, Sheikh Badr City Council and other popular, corporative and economic figures.
The three day festival’s activities include two exhibitions for traditional handicrafts and plastic arts, a poetic concert honouring symbols of the Syrian revolution against French occupation and a theatrical show by Friends of Tartous National Theatre Group, wrapping up with a musical concert by Amrit band on Tartous-seaside Corniche next Friday.
The People’s Assembly (parliament) renewed its call for the Syrian people to stand together and mobilise their efforts to face the heinous war being waged against Syria with the aim of undermining the state and killing its people.
Marking the 70th anniversary of Independence Day, the assembly stressed on Sunday that Syria, since the independence day, has been the centre of civilisation and freedom as the Syrians stood by their brothers in other Arab countries, fought beside them against the coloniser and backed them to achieve independence.
‘Syria’s destiny today is to be a spearhead that defends the future of peoples of the region,’ the People’s Assembly said in a statement, expressing confidence in the Syrian people’s ability to protect their homeland and preserve its sovereignty and independence.
The assembly pledged to continue cleaning Syria from terrorism and preserving it united and to work for the completion of liberating the occupied Golan and defeating the Zionist occupation. The People’s Assembly saluted the martyrs who paid heavy cost to defend Syria’s future and draw the glory of independence with their blood and souls.
Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halaqi on Sunday laid the foundation stone for a number of vital and development projects in Sehnaya and Dummer in Damascus countryside with a total value estimated at SYP 4 billion. Meanwhile, units of the Syrian Arab army intensified their military operations against positions of the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the countryside of Aleppo province on Sunday.
A military spokesman said the army targeted Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists’ fortified positions in Sawran and al-‘Aweijeh villages and al-Shaqeif and Dahret Abd Rabbo areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The strikes inflicted heavy losses upon terrorist groups in personnel and equipment, destroying a bulldozer which the terrorists used in making barriers to protect their fortified post in Dahret Abd Rabbo area.
Large numbers of foreign mercenaries continue to infiltrate from Turkey to the northern countryside of Aleppo to join Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisation, in addition to smuggling advanced weapons backed by Erdogan and Al Saud funds.
In the southern countryside, the army destroyed ISIS terrorists’ positions and supply routes south to Khanaser town and in the villages of Atshaneh and Jeb al-Ali. On Saturday, the Syrian army units destroyed several vehicles carrying ISIS terrorists and others equipped with machineguns in the villages of Hamima al-Kabira, Rasm al-Kama, Serbes, Shweilekh in the eastern countryside.
Syrian army forces wrested control of a military airport near the capital, Damascus, late on Saturday. The recapture of the strategic al-Sin air base came as Syrian soldiers further liberated the Safa resort in eastern Qalamoun region. Meanwhile, 20 terrorists were killed while four of their vehicles were destroyed in heavy clashes with the Syrian troops in a village located in the southern Suwayda Province.
The Syrian forces further foiled a Daesh attack on a village in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr. The country’s air force further struck positions held by Daesh in the southeastern part of the recently-liberated city of Palmyra in Homs Province.
• The Russian Coordination Centre in Hmeimim said on Saturday that eight breaches of the cessation of hostilities agreement by terrorist organisations were monitored during the past 24 hours. In a statement, the centre noted that six breaches were registered in the northern countryside of Lattakia province in addition to two breaches in Damascus.
The statement indicated that a number of military positions were attacked by Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Aleppo, Idleb and Hama, adding that the number of towns which joined the agreement reached 63 towns. The agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, which went into effect on February 27th, doesn’t include the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups listed on the international terrorism list.