US BACKED militants in Syria have sent a delegation to the Syrian capital for talks with Syrian government officials. The so-called Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which is linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants holding a grip on northeastern Syria – sent the delegation to Damascus last Wednesday, according to SDC co-chair Riad Darar.
The delegation, led by executive head of SDC Ilham Ahmed, was expected to discuss matters of service provision in the areas controlled by the Kurdish group, but ‘the talks might widen to political and security matters’, Darar told Reuters on Friday.
‘This is certainly the first visit that happened,’ he added. The militants are allied with the United States and French troops deployed to Syria under the pretext of fighting Daesh. Chief among their demands is having an autonomous region within the Syrian borders. Darar, however, said that the outcome of the meetings is not yet clear, and that he did not know which Syrian officials will be meeting with the Kurdish delegation. He also did not clarify how long the delegation will stay in Damascus.
Their Kurdish militant group, once called by President Bashar al-Assad as ‘traitors’ to the nation, announced last month that it was ready for ‘unconditional’ peace talks with the government amid the Syrian army’s major gains against the foreign-backed terrorist groups. Assad said back in May that he was ‘opening doors’ for negotiations with the SDF, who have apparently become wary of their unpredictable ‘ally’, the United States.
In an interview with Russia’s RT television network, Assad said: ‘We started now opening doors for negotiations, because the majority of them are Syrians, supposedly they like their country, they don’t like to be puppets to any foreigners. If not, we’re going to resort… to liberating those areas by force.’
According to Syrian media, the Kurds had expressed readiness to hand over control of the Eastern Euphrates to the government after Washington withheld its support for the Kurdish militants in the northern Syrian cities of Manbij and Afrin. The presence of the Kurdish militants in the area have been a source of tension between the US and Turkey. Last month, the two sides reached a deal about the withdrawal of the Kurds from Manbij.
The Kurds have stressed that they do not seek independence, but say they want a political deal to safeguard an autonomous administration which is now under their control in the north. • Iraq’s senior Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has urged the formation of a new government as soon as possible in the wake of protests against alleged government corruption and poor public services in southern cities.
In a message delivered at the Friday sermon in the holy city of Kerbala through one of his representatives, Ayatollah Sistani called on the administration of incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to urgently meet the demands of people for improved basic services and employment. ‘The current government must work hard urgently to implement citizens’ demands to reduce their suffering and misery,’ Ayatollah Sistani’s representative said.
The demonstrations in southern Iraq first erupted on July 8th in the city of Basra, an important hub for oil exports which account for over 95 per cent of Iraq’s government revenue. Long neglected, Basra is one of the few cities in the Middle East without an effective water treatment system. Many of its waterways are stagnant cesspools, with state officials blaming it on a public funding crisis caused by years of low oil prices.
The timing of the demonstrations is critical due to the fact that political factions are trying to form a coalition government following the May 12th parliamentary elections. Ayatollah Sistani said the next prime minister should work to fight governmental corruption. ‘He (the new prime minister) must launch a relentless war against the corrupted and those who protect them,’ Ayatollah Sistani’s representative said.
• An Israeli general has claimed that it was Daesh that fired two rockets into the occupied Palestinian territories last Wednesday, saying it was an attempt by the terrorist group to draw the Tel Aviv regime into the conflict in Syria. ‘I actually think Daesh did want to harm us,’ said Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli army general, adding, ‘What Daesh wanted was apparently to cause some kind of confrontation between us and the Syrians, who are putting immense pressure on them… ’
Yadlin added that Daesh was taking advantage of recent attacks by Israel against the Syrian government positions and was trying to help escalate the situation between Israel and Syria. He said such an escalation could undermine Syria’s advances against the terrorists and help Daesh remain longer in south and east of Syria.
The claims by the Israeli general come against the backdrop of reports showing that Israel has helped anti-government terrorists in Syria since the very beginning of the war in the Arab country in 2011. Daesh Takfiri terrorists are generally believed to have been a main recipient of the Israeli assistance as many members of the group have been transferred for treatment from battlegrounds in Syria’s part of the Golan Heights to Israel.
In its most recent show of sympathy for the adversary groups fighting the Syrian government, Israel sent around 100 buses to southern Syria earlier this week to evacuate members of the so-called White Helmets, a group which Damascus has designated as a terrorist organisation.
A picture taken on July 26th, 2018, near the Ein Zivan settlement in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, shows members of the Syrian security forces carrying a national flag across the border as government forces retake their positions from the militants. Israel also shot down a plane belonging to the Syrian army last week, claiming that it had entered the Israeli airspace from Syria. The plane was in the midst of an anti-militant operation and many believe Israeli downed it deliberately to help the terrorists escape from their hideouts.
Further in his remarks, Yadlin tried to calm down concerns about the failure of the Israeli air defence system to intercept the two rockets fired from Syria on Wednesday. He said Israel is not capable of stopping all missiles fired toward its position despite possessing some of the most modern missile defence systems in the world.
‘Although Israel has a defence system for missiles and rockets among the best in the world, it cannot intercept anything in any place. This is an illusion,’ he said. Syrian government forces have discovered a field hospital used by members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, containing a considerable amount of Israeli-made medicine and medical supplies in the country’s strategic southwestern province of Quneitra.
Video footage broadcast by Syria’s state-run television network on Friday showed the hospital at the Quneitra Crossing, in close proximity to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. It had an operating room with adequate Israeli-made medical devices, laboratory equipment and a warehouse, where large quantities of Israeli- and Jordanian-made medicine were being kept.
There were also medical products manufactured by a number of Persian Gulf littoral states, particularly the United Arab Emirates, in the warehouse. Also on Friday, Syrian army troops scored progress in the fight against Daesh Takfiri terrorists at Yarmouk basin in the southern countryside of Dara’a province. A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on July 26th, 2018 shows Syrian army soldiers carrying the national flag in the village of Hamidiya in the southern province of Quneitra.
A Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said government forces established control over the Wadi Saisun area and the Sahem al-Golan dam after fierce battles with the extremists. The development came a day after army soldiers captured the strategic Tal al-Jomou’ hill as well as the towns of Jalin, Hait, Tasil and Sahem al-Golan. Most of those areas are close to the Golan Heights.
Syrian forces have raised the national flag in Quneitra and liberated several villages and towns in the southwest. Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
On May 21st, the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces announced in a statement that complete security was restored to Damascus and its countryside after al-Hajar al-Aswad district and al-Yarmouk camp were totally purged of Daesh terrorists. The development was preceded by flushing the Takfiris out of the towns of Yalda, Babbila and Beit Sahem on the southern outskirts of Damascus.