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Chinese jihadis rise in Syria raises concerns at home

BEIRUT: Many don’t speak Arabic and their role in Syria is little known to the outside world, but the Chinese fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria are organised, battled-hardened and have been instrumental in ground offensives against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the country’s northern regions. Thousands of …

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Chemical weapons experts in Turkey to investigate

By Anthony Deutsch | AMSTERDAM — Global chemical weapons investigators have gone to Turkey to collect samples as part of an inquiry into an alleged chemical weapons attack in neighbouring Syria last week that killed 87 people. The fact-finding mission was sent by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical …

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New Military Adviser Ivanka Trump Reportedly Convinced Her Father to Bomb Syria

By Esther Yu Hsi Lee, ThinkProgress — “I’m sure she said: ‘Listen, this is horrible stuff.’” vanka Trump — an official government employee without military experience but with her own White House office— reportedly influenced President Donald Trump’s decision to strike against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad last week, according to her brother …

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Russia Notes Continued Ceasefire Breaches in Syria

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Cases of open ceasefire breaches continue in Syria, chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said Tuesday. “At the same time, the number of violations of the cessation of hostilities is not decreasing. Moreover, there are cases of open breaches of …

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Syria peace talks in Astana close with no sign of rebels

The Levant News — Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan closed on Wednesday without any substantive negotiations taking place, after rebels boycotted the meeting that took place as a deadly double suicide bombing marked the start of the civil war’s seventh year. The only concrete outcome from the third round of …

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Syrian army advances inside Palmyra

The Levant News — Syria’s army and allied forces advanced inside Palmyra on Thursday after ISIS pulled most of its forces back from positions inside the ancient desert city, a war monitor reported. The Syrian army, backed by Russia’s air force and Shi’ite militias supported by Iran, is attempting to …

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The Blackwater of Jihad

By Rao Komar, Christian Borys and Eric Woods, Foreign Policy: Heavily armed and expertly kitted with body armor and ballistic helmets, the men can be seen defending bunkers, storming buildings, and even posing by whiteboards giving tactical lessons. Though the titles of these YouTube videos are written in Russian Cyrillic, …

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Syrian President Assad meets with Damascus manufacturers

The Levant News — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Damascus manufacturers affected by war on Tuesday, state media said, in his first reported meeting since rumors circulated that he was suffering from ill health. Assad greeted business owners from the capital and its countryside to discuss challenges they have …

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Syrian army says it will enter Aleppo enclave

The Levant News – Syria’s army broadcast messages into the last rebel enclave of Aleppo saying it would enter the area on Tuesday, a military media unit run by the government’s ally Hezbollah reported, urging insurgents to speed up their evacuation of the city. A rebel official based in Turkey …

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Syria army tells remaining rebels to quit Aleppo

ALEPPO, Syria: Syria’s army on Tuesday urged the last remaining rebels and civilians to leave the bombed-out eastern quarters of Aleppo as it prepares to take full control of the devastated city. The evacuation of east Aleppo is seen as a pivotal moment in the nearly six-year war that has …

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Kurd-led forces press ISIS near Syria’s Raqqa

The Levant News – Several villages held by Islamic State have been captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of militias backed by the United States that includes a strong Kurdish contingent, an organisation that monitors the war said on Monday. The advance is part of a military …

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Israel hits Syrian military targets in Damascus

Israeli warplanes were said to have struck the military target in the Syrian capital of Damascus, while the raid on the weapons convoy occurred on the Damascus-Beirut highway, according to the reports. As with past claims of Israeli strikes, Israel did not immediately confirm or deny news of the purported …

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Turkey entered Syria to end al-Assad’s rule: Erdoğan

The Levant News – The Turkish military launched its operations in Syria to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Nov. 29. “In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and …

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Syrian government drives rebels from swath of Aleppo

By Tom Perry and Laila Bassam | BEIRUT The Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of a large swath of eastern Aleppo from rebels on Monday in an accelerating attack that threatens to crush the opposition in its most important urban stronghold. Two rebel officials said the insurgents, …

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A Voice From the Shadows

By ARON LUND for Diwan — A political taboo was quietly shattered this month, when one of Syria’s most powerful security officials, Lieutenant General Jamil al-Hassan, gave his first-ever interview to a Russian news site. Though Hassan mostly voiced common pro-government positions that are in themselves unremarkable, the interview itself …

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Turkey’s intervention in Syria from Syrian perspective

THE LEVANT NEWS EXCLUSIVE – By Niazy G. Atay* – Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian crisis expanded to military action with the Operation Euphrates Shield (OES), initiated on 24 August. Hotly-debated issue of Turkey’s intervention to Syria at international and domestic levels came into existence following the reconciliation with Russia …

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Syrian rebels battle each other north of Aleppo

By Tom Perry for REUTERS| BEIRUT – Syrian insurgents clashed in a town near the Turkish border on Monday as inter-rebel tensions spilled over, playing to President Bashar al-Assad’s advantage with the government tightening its grip on rebel-held eastern Aleppo. The confrontation in Azaz pitted a prominent Free Syrian Army …

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Assad aide meets with Lebanese president

BEIRUT: An aide to Syrian President Bashar Assad affirmed “deep” bilateral ties between Damascus and Beirut after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun Monday. The Syrian Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Fadellulah Azam told reporters after the meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace to congratulate him on …

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ISIS hits back in Mosul but faces new Raqqa front

By Ahmed Rasheed and Rodi Said | BAGHDAD/AIN ISSA, SYRIA – Reuters —ISIS fighters targeted Iraqi troops with car bombs and ambushes in Mosul, stalling an army advance in their north Iraq stronghold, but faced attack on a new front on Sunday when U.S.-backed rebels launched a campaign for the Syrian …

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