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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:28
Idlib is the last remaining opposition stronghold in the country. It is home to about three million people, half of whom are internally displaced.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:33
Idlib, Syria - Nearly three million Syrians living in the northwestern province of Idlib are bracing for a possible government assault, which neighbouring Turkey has warned would result in a large-scale humanitarian disaster.

Idlib is the last remaining opposition stronghold in the country. It is home to about three million people, half of whom are internally displaced.

If the forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad press ahead with an offensive, observers say as many as 2.5 million Syrians could try to flee to the shuttered Turkish border, creating a new refugee crisis.

On Friday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned against the possible assault, while offering to work with Syria's ally, Russia, to pursue a ceasefire in the area and prevent a mass exodus.

Many in Idlib are already preparing themselves for the worst case scenario.

"We won't leave our nation alone again, we will defend our people until the last breath," Ahmad Ghajar, an Idlib resident, told Al Jazeera.

Meanwhile, Muhammad al-Hajj Marai, owner of a candy shop, said the possible Syrian government assault "does no difference".

"Why should I be scared? Assad has already been killing us for seven years - our families, brothers, and sisters, even the children."

'A catastrophe'

Since the conflict, Idlib has provided a refuge for many Syrians fleeing other parts of the country, including after government offensives targeting other rebel-held parts of the country.

The so-called Syrian Salvation Government is a civil authority formed in Idlib last year, and is backed by Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the dominant rebel group in the province.

"It will be a disaster and a catastrophe if such an attack happens, because even rich and able governments can't evacuate three or four million people quickly in such difficult conditions that we are living in," said Jamal Shahoud, deputy prime minister of the Syrian Salvation Government.

Opposition groups in Idlib are attempting to unify into a "National Army", with Turkey's help, to try and overcome any divisions to fight the Syrian government. Some 70,000 fighters have pledged to fight against Assad's forces.

But HTS has not offered its support yet.

Syrian forces have already dropped leaflets over Idlib, calling for rebel groups to surrender.

For now, those living in Syria's last opposition stronghold can only wait and see what happens next.

www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/syrias-war-attack-idlib-en...
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:45
Chemical attack is imminent in Idlib. In the past, all chemical attacks by Russia and Assad has been blamed on the rebels.

Russia accuses Syrian rebels of preparing Idlib chemical attack

Russia has said Syrian rebels are preparing a chemical attack in Idlib province which will be blamed on Damascus and used as a pretext for Western powers to hit government targets in the war-torn country.

Moscow’s accusation comes after U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton this week said Washington will respond “very strongly” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad uses chemical weapons in an offensive to retake Idlib, one of the last rebel held provinces in the country.

Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Aug. 25 that the jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is “preparing another provocation of the ‘use of chemical weapons’ by Syrian government forces against the peaceful population of the Idlib province.”

He said the group delivered “eight chlorine tanks” to Jisr al-Shughur town in order to “stage” the attack and that these were later taken to a village eight kilometers away.

The statement also said a group of militants “trained in handling poisonous substances under the supervision of specialists from the private British military company ‘Oliva’” arrived in the town a day earlier.

“The militants have the task of simulating the rescue of the victims of the chemical weapons attack dressed in the clothes of the famous ‘White Helmets’,” it said.

Konashenkov accused British special services of being “actively involved” in the “provocation” which will “serve as another reason for the U.S., the U.K. and France to hit Syrian government targets with air strikes.”

In April, the U.S., France and Britain launched joint missile strikes on Syrian targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in the town of Douma that left scores dead.

Russian stuck by its ally Syria and angrily insisted the Douma attack was staged by the White Helmets volunteer rescue service.

In Jerusalem on Aug. 22, Bolton said Washington was “concerned about the possibility that Assad may use chemical weapons again.”

“Just so there’s no confusion here, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time,” Bolton said.

Speculation is increasing that there could be a Russian-backed government assault on Idlib, one of the so-called “de-escalation” zones set up as a result of talks by Russia, Turkey and Iran last year.

On a visit to Moscow on Aug. 24, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned Russia that seeking a military solution in Idlib would be a “catastrophe” before meeting President Vladimir Putin.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the situation in Idlib is “multi-faceted” and called for separating out “the healthy opposition from terrorist structures.”

Damascus still holds the southeastern tip of Idlib, a strategically important province adjacent to Latakia on the Mediterranean coast that is home to Assad’s clan.

More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria’s war started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

www.hurriyetdailynews.com/russia-accuses-syrian-rebels-of...

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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:52
Kenneth Roth
@KenRoth

Many of the 2.3M residents of Syria's Idlib province (the last held by anti-government rebels) feel like they are waiting for their funerals--unless Europe presses Russia to stop the imminent slaughter.
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:54
Channel 4 News
@Channel4News
Aug 20

"What I fear is human suffering like perhaps none we've seen before in this conflict."
 
The UN's Jan Egeland says violence in Syria's Idlib province "could be worse than Aleppo, worse than eastern Ghouta, worse than Raqqa".
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 26th August 2018 22:59
It seems that the Russian plan for
Idlib is clear:
1. Chemical attack on a city in Northern
Hamaor Southern Idlib

2. Assad regime ground offensive on
Idlib to "repell a foreign invasion by
US/ UK/ France/ Turkey/ AQ

3. Russia, Iran & Hezbollah fighters will be involved
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 27th August 2018 05:08
Colonel Sahab's (Muadh Khan) take on the whole situation?
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#8 [Permalink] Posted on 27th August 2018 12:22
ALEPPO, Syria — Even as Ankara warns that a military confrontation in northern Syria would be a disaster, Turkey is preparing for just that scenario by working to unite rebel forces at Idlib against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has Russia's support.

Turkey is encouraging leaders of the National Liberation Front (NLF) and the Syrian National Army (SNA) to join forces. Both groups are affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Turkey offers support to the SNA — which was formed Dec. 30, 2017, and is also affiliated with the opposition’s Syrian Interim Government in the Euphrates Shield area, east of the river. Turkey also supports the NLF in Idlib. Thus, it would serve Ankara for both groups to unite under a single military command, as Turkey doesn't want to give up the area it occupies in northern Syria.

After 11 years of civil war, the regime has cleared rebel groups from most of Syria, and those left are concentrated in Idlib. There are also terrorist forces there, and many civilians. The people there are living in fear, as the Syrian regime is threatening to invade Idlib, disregarding all Russian-Turkish de-escalation understandings reached during numerous peace negotiations. Turkey hopes unifying the factions will ward off possible attacks by the regime.

The factions began meeting Aug. 10 in opposition-controlled areas in northern Syria, under Turkey’s sponsorship.

On Aug. 12, the SNA commander, Col. Haitham al-Afisi, expressed the readiness of the army stationed in the Euphrates Shield area to merge with the FSA factions in Idlib. Those factions joined the NLF as it was being launched in May.

When it was first formed, the NLF included 11 FSA factions from opposition-controlled areas, namely Idlib and the northern countrysides of Hama and Latakia provinces. On Aug. 1, four other FSA factions from Idlib and northern Syria joined the NLF, including the Syrian Liberation Front (SLF) and Jaish al-Ahrar.

The SNA deputy commander, Col. Ahmed Al-Othman, told Al-Monitor, “SNA and NLF leaders have been meeting in Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo to reach an understanding on the unification of the two military blocs under one command.” He added, “We are making great efforts to achieve this crucial unity at this critical stage in the Syrian revolution. If we succeed, the Syrian opposition would have an undeniably strong military force in the Syrian north, with over 100,000 fighters.”

Othman said, “After the FSA took control of the area of Afrin, northwest of Aleppo, the coast became clear between the Euphrates Shield area in Aleppo’s countryside and Idlib; the areas are now geographically linked and the FSA factions can easily unite.”

NLF spokesman Capt. Naji Mustafa also told Al-Monitor his group is ready to unite with the others, though he added, "The developments around Idlib and the invasion threats the regime is making are forcing us to shift our attention toward fighting off possible attacks, instead of focusing on our unity.”

He added, “There is no difference between the FSA factions affiliated with the SNA and those affiliated with the NLF. It is quite easy; we can reach an understanding over unifying ranks as soon as consultations are over.”

Meanwhile, NLF leader Capt. Abdel Salam Abdel Razzaq told Al-Monitor, “I believe this step will be a success because it is based on sound foundations and takes into account the military standards in force in these armies. For the first time ever, the FSA will [become] an organized entity that relies on professional officers and academics who defected from the regime’s army years ago.”

He continued, “The people here in the north wish that all FSA factions would unite under one military entity and have unitary decision-making, after all these years in which the opposition suffered from division and chaos. If we succeed in uniting the SNA and the NLF, our army would be the strongest and the scales would tip in our favor.”

Abdel Razzaq said, “Turkey wants all FSA factions to unite. It would bode well for the Turkish side and would strengthen its position against other regional powers that are interested in the Syrian issue, such as Russia and Iran.”

One can’t help but wonder whether such a unification could indeed help the Syrian opposition in the north in its fight against the Syrian regime. It all seems to depend on Turkey's role in supporting all the factions and accelerating the process of uniting under one entity.

www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/syria-idlib-fs...
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#9 [Permalink] Posted on 28th August 2018 23:02
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#10 [Permalink] Posted on 28th August 2018 23:05
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#11 [Permalink] Posted on 29th August 2018 05:51
Ash Sham, will be the head quarter of Imam Mahdi so Insha Allah, Sunnis will win one day. Allah is preparing Khorasan and Sham and other places mentioned in the ahadith which will play important role in the Malhamatul Qubrah.
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#12 [Permalink] Posted on 29th August 2018 10:25
salaam

where are the abdals of sham gone in all of this? who are the abdals?
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#13 [Permalink] Posted on 29th August 2018 13:13
xs11ax wrote:
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One has to be at least an Abdal himself to know them :)
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#14 [Permalink] Posted on 29th August 2018 14:59
xs11ax wrote:
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Maybe the crisis is not as huge as we think it is. i.e. There is worse to come or they know better than us
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#15 [Permalink] Posted on 29th August 2018 16:39
ALIF wrote:
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forgot about that. is that a myth or is there actually some basis in that saying?
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