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A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber

Syria forces continue advance toward Raqqah

Syrian government forces are continuing their advance toward the headquarters of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in the northern city of Raqqah.

Troops on Monday reached within 24 km (15 miles) of Lake Assad, the key reservoir in the Euphrates Valley contained by the Tabqa Dam.

On Saturday, the Syrian army entered Raqqah Province for the first time since 2014, when Daesh unleashed its ferocious campaign of terror in the Arab country.

The potential recaptures of the city of Raqqah in Syria, and the Iraqi city of Mosul are seen as the ultimate blows to Daesh.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber lands at the Russian Hmeimim military base in the Latakia Province in the northwest of Syria, May 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

On Monday, Russia pledged firm aerial support for Syrian operations against Daesh and al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in Aleppo.

“We will be actively supporting the Syrian army from the air to prevent terrorists from seizing territory,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

On Friday, Lavrov said The US had asked Russia to stop conducting airstrikes against Nusra Front terrorists in Syria.

Russian Su-34 fighter bomber

Russian jets target 4 Daesh-held oil plants in Syria’s Raqqah

Russian fighter jets have targeted four oil facilities held by the Daesh terror group near the Syrian city of Raqqah amid reports of fresh army offensives aimed at liberating the northern city.

In a Friday statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said Moscow’s “air force jets destroyed four targets of illegal oil extraction, located to the northwest of Raqqah and controlled by Daesh militants.”

According to the report, Russian Su-34 strike fighters have conducted a series of aerial raids against oil operations of the foreign-backed terrorist group in Syria within the past week, taking out one Daesh-held oil facility in Hasakah Province.

The statement further added that similar air strikes on Tuesday, also targeted oil installations near Raqqah, which serves as the main Daesh stronghold in Syria near the Turkish border.

It has been widely reported that the terrorist group partially finances its terror operations in Syria and neighboring Iraq by illegal production and shipment of oil mainly to Turkey, known as a staunch supporter of anti-Damascus militants.

Moscow has repeatedly said it has evidence showing Turkey was involved in the smuggling of oil from areas held by Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Ankara has strongly rejected the allegation.

A frame grab taken from a video made available by the Russian Defense Ministry on December 2, 2015, shows the Turkish-Syrian border crossing with columns of tanker trucks purportedly loading oil at Daesh-controlled installations before entering Turkey. ©Reuters

The development comes amid reports that the Syrian armed forces have launched a new major offensive to regain control of Raqqah.

According to a Friday report by the Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper, the Syrian operation, backed by Russian airstrikes, is not expected to reach Raqqah “in the coming weeks.” It is rather intended to reach the town of Tabqa, nearly 50 kilometers west of the city and home to Daesh’s major arms depot.

Suffering heavy losses on the battlegrounds in Syria and Iraq, Daesh has recently stepped up its terror activities, killing mostly unarmed civilians for their ethnic and religious identities or due to their refusal to follow their orders.

This is while the US and its regional allies are widely accused of supporting multitudes of the militant groups across Syria and Iraq.

This file photo posted on the Twitter page of the al-Nusra Front terrorist group on April 1, 2016, shows the militants marching toward the northern village of Ais, Aleppo Province, Syria. (AP)

This file photo posted on the Twitter page of the al-Nusra Front terrorist group on April 1, 2016, shows the militants marching toward the northern village of Ais, Aleppo Province, Syria. (AP)

Turkish troops, militants mass in Aleppo [Russian monitor]

A Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria says more than 2,000 militants have gathered in a northern neighborhood of the embattled city of Aleppo for an offensive.

In a statement, the center said Saturday that “militants from different terrorist organizations and groups of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ are concentrated in the region of Sheikh Maqsood.”

Quoting civilians in Aleppo, the center said armed groups, partly made up of Turkish soldiers, had appeared north of the city and begun an offensive against positions held by Syrian troops southwest of Aleppo.

An official with the monitoring base said more than 40 people were killed and about a hundred injured in a shelling by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorist group on Saturday.

“There was continuous bombardment by rocket launchers, canon artillery, mortars and anti-aircraft installations. The terrorists shelled several areas of the city inhabited not only by government forces and Kurdish troops but also civilians,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted the official as saying.

Syrian security forces and residents gather near a building that was hit by militant shelling as they search for survivors in the Hamdaniyeh neighborhood, Aleppo, June 4, 2016. (AFP)

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in televised remarks that Washington has asked Moscow not to target the Nusra Front.

He called on the so-called moderate opposition groups, supported by the US, to leave the areas held by Nusra extremists.

“They (the US) are telling us not to hit it (Nusra), because there is ‘normal’ opposition next to it,” Lavrov said.

Confirmed [again]: UK Special forces are operating alongside mercenary-terrorist gangs in Syria

According to British newspaper ‘The Times’, Special British forces are beside one of the branch of the FSA mercenary-terrorist gang fighting against Daesh.

Based on the report, British Special Forces based in Jordan frequently cross into Syria to assist the militant group.

This marks the first evidence of the UK troops’ direct involvement inside Syria on the side of mercenary-terrorist organizations, rather than training fighters in neighboring Jordan.


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