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Russian UN envoy:
“Battle for Raqqa didn’t get same outcry as Ghouta”

Mercenary-terrorist gangs fire 70 rocket shells on Medical Surgery Hospital and residential areas in Damascus and Jaramana

[Damascus, SANA, 23/2/2018] – One civilian was killed and 60 others were injured on Friday due to 70 rocket shells fired by the armed groups on the residential neighborhoods of Damascus and its Countryside, in a new violation of the de-escalation zone agreement.

A source at Damascus Police Command said that armed groups fired a rocket shell on Salaheddin area in Rukn Eddin neighborhood in Damascus, killing one civilian and injuring tens others, some of them are in critical situation, in addition to causing severe material damage to public and private properties.

Seven other civilians were injured due to attacks with shells on Bab Touma and Ish al-Warwar, the source said.

Armed groups targeted residential neighborhoods in Damascus with shells:

The armed groups positioned in Eastern Ghouta targeted al-Sheikh Raslan area in Bab Touma neighborhood with a mortar shell, injuring a civilian, while another shell landed in Bab al-Salam area, causing only material damage.

The source added that an attack with a rocket shell by the armed groups positioned in Eastern Ghouta caused massive material damage to the ICU at the Medical Surgery Hospital in Baghdad Street in Damascus, damaging medical equipment in the hospital, cars parked in the area, and surrounding houses.

Earlier, the source told SANA that the armed groups positioned in Eastern Ghouta also fired mortar and rocket shells on the neighborhoods of Mezzeh 86, Barzeh, al-Joura, al-Qaboun, causing material damage to houses and properties.

A source at Damascus Countryside Police Command said that a number of shells landed in al-Assad residential suburb and its vicinity, causing only material damage to properties and infrastructure.

Three shells were landed on al-Homsi neighborhood in Jaramana city, causing only material damage, the source added.

SANA reporter said that units of the Syrian Arab Army have responded to the attacks by targeting the areas from which the shells were launched, inflicting losses upon the armed groups in personnel and weapons.

Material damage due to shelling attack on residential neighborhoods of Daraa

Material damage was caused on Friday when the armed groups fired shells on the residential neighborhoods of Daraa city in a new violation of the de-escalation zone agreement in the southern region.

Speaking to SANA’s reporter, a source at Daraa Police Command said that the armed groups fired a number of rocket shells on the neighborhoods of al-Sahari, Daraa al-Mahata and al-Kashef in Daraa city, causing material damage to citizens’ properties.

A unit of the Syrian Arab Army has responded with appropriate weapons to the areas form which the shells were launched, destroying a number of rocket launching pads.

Terrorists in Eastern Ghouta use civilians as human shields

[Moscow, SANA, Manar al-Freih / Hazem Sabbagh, 23/2/2018] – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the root of the problems in the Eastern Ghouta is the presence of Jabhat al-Nusra and groups affiliated to it which target the capital Damascus with shells, use civilians as human shields, and claim that humanitarian conditions are bad there.

In a press conference with his Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov on Friday, Lavrov said that the terrorists use civilians in Eastern Ghouta as human shields in order to put the blame for any casualties on the Syrian Army and government and present them as parties that violate international humanitarian laws, adding that whoever wants to ensure the human rights of the civilians in Eastern Ghouta should put pressure on the terrorist organizations that exist there.

The Russian minister said that the US-led international coalition doesn’t seem to fight Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization in Syria, adding that “al-Nusra is not being targeted. We still have no evidence that the US-led coalition considers the Nusra as a target for its military campaign.”

Lavrov also noted that the so called “White Helmets” have repeatedly been caught falsifying information.

He pointed out that the proposed UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s ceasefire (proposed by Kuwait and Sweden) doesn’t guarantee that the terrorists will lay down their weapons, but at the same time, Moscow is ready to back the proposal.

“In order to make this resolution effective — and we are ready to agree on a document that will do so — we propose a formula that will make the ceasefire real and based on the guarantees of the parties that are currently residing in East Ghouta; the guarantees should be backed by the external powers, including those who have influence over the extremist groups that entrenched themselves in the Damascus suburbs,” the minister said.

Lavrov said that the Astana process remains the only barrier that prevents the United States from dividing Syria, noting that these plans, even though they are denied by the US, are being implemented by them east of the Euphrates.

On the agreement on the de-escalation zones, Lavrov pointed out that the Americans do not want to recognize that Russia has played the key role in reaching it, which raises many questions for Moscow, adding that preparations are being made for the meeting between the foreign ministers of the three guarantor states (Russia, Iran, and Turkey) that will be based on UNSC Resolution 2254, which requires respect for the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic and its territorial inviolability.

Syrian Foreign Ministry: “Some Western officials are complicit in the crimes of terrorists against civilians in Damascus and its countryside”

[Damascus, SANA,Hazem Sabbagh, 20/2/2018] – The Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General and the head of the Security Council on the attacks carried out by armed terrorist groups on Damascus and its countryside, killing and injuring dozens of innocent civilians, affirming that terrorist officials and others who provide cover for these terrorists are complicit in these crimes.

In the letter, the Ministry said that armed terrorist groups located in the Eastern Ghouta targeted Damascus city and its countryside on Tuesday February 20th with scores of lethal shells, killing and injuring dozens of civilians as the shells targeted streets, residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, public establishments, and even the headquarters of diplomatic missions.

The Ministry said that this grave escalation by the terrorists, who fired more than 45 shells at Damascus in a few hours claimed the lives of six civilians and injured 29 more as of the date of writing these letters, is a continuation of the crimes committed on daily basis by these terrorists against the citizens in Damascus, as they have fired over 1,500 shells during the past seven weeks, killing and injuring hundreds, most of them women and children.

The Ministry noted that these attacks come at a time when some Western officials and others are carrying out campaigns that can only be described as direct support for these terrorists that encourage them to kill and carry out terrorist attacks without fear of being accountable.

The Ministry affirmed that these officials are complicit in the terrorists’ crimes against innocent civilians in Damascus and its countryside, as they are denying the Syrian state’s right to defend its citizens, fight terrorism, and confront those who fund and arm terrorists, adding that this is part of the underhanded conspiracy concocted by those officials around seven years ago, during which all parts of Syria suffered from terrorist bombings and massacres perpetrated by terrorists upon instructions from their masters in the capitals of Western and Arab Gulf states.

Syria affirms that these terrorist attacks will not dissuade it from continuing to fight terrorism, working to restore security and stability, and rebuilding what has been destroyed by terrorists and their partners and backers, the Ministry stated.

The Ministry also said that Syria demands an immediate and stern condemnation by the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General of this terrorist escalation, urging the Security Council to assume its responsibility by taking steps against the regimes and states that support and fund terrorism.

The Ministry concluded the letter by stressing that certain Western states’ prevention of condemning these terrorist attacks by the Security Council would send a message to the terrorists and their supporters to continue their crimes against Syrians and to keep using citizens in the Eastern Ghouta and other areas as human shields and hostages.

Lavrov: “U.S. & allies refuse to amend UN draft to include guarantee militants honor Syria ceasefire”

[RT News, 23/2/2018] ~ Washington and its allies refuse to amend a resolution drafted by the UN Security Council to include guarantees that militants will observe the ceasefire in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

Russia is ready to vote for the UNSC draft, but for the proposal to yield real results, it needs “a formula allowing the ceasefire to be made real, and based on the guarantees of everyone in Eastern Ghouta [province in Syria] and beyond.” Moscow’s top diplomat also cautioned that there are no guarantees that the militants will stick to the humanitarian pause instead of a continued shelling of residential areas in Damascus.

© Abdalrhman Ismail

These guarantees should be supported by those who can influence “extremist groups” in Eastern Ghouta, Lavrov stressed, apparently referring to the US-led coalition. At the same time, Washington and its allies do not want to pass any amendment that would place responsibility on itself for the militants’ failure to stop the hostilities, according to the diplomat.

“For now, they refuse to accept an amendment which will place responsibility on them to ensure that the militants give clear guarantees to stop the shelling,” the Russian foreign minister stated on Friday.

Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, has seen a new wave of clashes between Syrian government forces and both rebel and Islamist factions. The latter included Al-Nusra Front, currently known as Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham. Despite the terrorist group remaining a key problem in the area, Russia still has “no evidence that the US-led coalition considers Jabhat Al-Nusra as a real target for its actions.”

Addressing claims of human-rights abuses in Eastern Ghouta by the Syrian government, Lavrov said that many questions had been raised.

The Damascus suburb has recently been described by Western media outlets as the scene of a government-led massacre, with frequent claims that civilians are being deliberately targeted there. On Thursday, the UN Security Council convened for an emergency meeting in New York to discuss to the situation in Syria and Eastern Ghouta, in particular.

The Russian delegation rejected a proposed resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria, which was submitted by Sweden and Kuwait, as “non-implementable” as “long and hard work with parties to the conflict is needed to bring them together and work out all the details.”


[South Front, 23/2/2018] ~ On February 23, a heavy rocket launched by Jaysh al-Islam hit civilian buildings in the Rukn al-Din district in the northern part of the Syrian capital Damascus, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that one civilian had been killed and fifteen others had been injured in the rocket attack.

Jaysh al-Islam likely targeted the Rukn al-Din district with a Syrian-made Maysalun unguided artillery rocket. The rocket is a copy of the Iranian Zelzal-2 rocket. Maysalun has a range of 210km and a heavy high explosive (HE) warhead.

Jaysh al-Islam captured several Maysalun rockets from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Eastern Qalamun region during 2013. These rockets are still stationed in Jaysh al-Islam’s ammo depots in the Petra quarries in the northern part of the besieged Eastern Qalamun pocket, according to Syrian pro-government activists.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali Abdulbagi, Jaysh al-Islam’s Chief of the Staff, posted photos of Jaysh al-Islam’s Maysalun rockets via its official Twitter account on February 22 and openly threatened to use them. The official account of Jaysh al-Islam even retweeted Lt. Col. Abdulbagi threat.

In response to the rocket attack, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted pinpoints airstrikes against several ammo depots of Jaysh al-Islam the Eastern Qalamun pocket, according to Syrian pro-government activists.

Jaysh al-Islam, Faylaq al-Rahman, the Ahrar al-Sham Movement and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have shelled the city of Damascus on a daily basis over the last two weeks. According to SANA, four civilians were killed and eighty-eight others were injured in the armed groups shelling during the last 48 hours only.

Aftermath of the Jaysh al-Islam rocket attack on the Rukn al-Din district:

Jaysh al-Islam Shells Damascus With Heavy Rockets. Russian Warplanes Respond (Video, Photos)By Damascus Now, click to see the full-size image
Jaysh al-Islam Shells Damascus With Heavy Rockets. Russian Warplanes Respond (Video, Photos)By Damascus Now, click to see the full-size image
Jaysh al-Islam Shells Damascus With Heavy Rockets. Russian Warplanes Respond (Video, Photos)By Damascus Now, click to see the full-size image

Jaysh al-Islam Shells Damascus With Heavy Rockets. Russian Warplanes Respond (Video, Photos)By Damascus Now, click to see the full-size image

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