UK May Reopen Its Embassy In Damascus Soon – Reports
The United Kingdome may reopen its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus in a year or two, the Sunday Telegraph newspaper hinted in a report on January 6 citing a British diplomat.
“Give it a year or two and you can bet we’ll be reopening our embassy,” the unnamed diplomat said in the what the British newspaper described it as “an off-the-cuff remark.”
During the last two weeks, the restoration of the Syrian-British relations was discussed by several unofficial figures. On December 30, former UK Ambassador to Syria said that we may witness the return of the British and French ambassadors to Damascus during 2019.
Le même jour : ▻https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/05/roads-lead-damascus-world-welcoming-bashar-al-assad-cold
All roads lead to Damascus: How the world is welcoming Bashar al-Assad in from the cold
Bashar al-Assad’s international rehabilitation has begun
Europeans Help ’Idlib Rebels’ To Equip Missiles With Chemical Warheads – Report
French militants-experts are helping Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria] to arm newly delivered missiles with chemical warheads, local sources familiar with the situation told the Russian news agency Sputnik on November 22.
According to the sources, the White Helmets organization transferred five containers with toxic chemicals from one of HTS’ warehouses in the town of Kafr Nabl in the southern Idlib countryside to an underground facility in Idlib city, which has recently been built near the Central Prison.
“The five containers were handed over in the underground facility to French experts, of the black ethnicity .. they arrived recently to modify missiles of an unidentified type, which were supplied along with their launchers through the border,” Sputnik quoted the sources as saying.
South Front, Sputnik : rien que des complotistes contre la révolution en #syrie
UAE To Reopen Its Embassy In Damascus Within Few Weeks - Report
The UAE is going to reopen its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus within the upcoming two weeks, diplomatic sources told the Lebanon news outlet Debate on November 5.
The Lebanese news outlet didn’t provide further information on the matter. However, several Syrian pro-government sources confirmed on November 7 that the Abu Dhabi embassy in Damascus is undergoing maintenance.
China Expands Economic Efforts In Lebanon, Syria Challenging US Foreign Policy In Region
On October 9th, a new shipping line opened between China and Lebanon’s Tripoli, doubling the volume of products coming from China to the country.
The first delivery was made by a container ship called the CMA CGM Congo.
“The vessel is the first to hold 10,000 containers. It will unload 1000 containers in Tripoli port for the local market, and the rest will go to other ports in the region,” said Ahmad Tamer, manager of Tripoli port.
The new line is called Beks and according to Tamer it is characterized by its capacity to hold big-size cargo vessels that can be up to 50 meters wide and 300 meters long. He also said that improvement of the port and trade between the countries resulted from Lebanon’s efforts and China’s support of the improvement plan.
US-Led Coalition May Withdraw From Al-Tanaf Base Under Deal With Russia – Reports
The US is considering to abandon the al-Tanaf base near the Syrian-Iraqi border under a deal with Russia, that will also force Iranian-backed forces and the Lebanese movement Hezbollah to withdraw away from the border with Jordan and from the contact line with Israel, the Newsweek magazine reported on May 30.
Earlier this week, the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat released a similar report, in which it claimed that Russia, the US and Jordan are negotiating a deal that will enable the SAA to capture the opposition-held areas in the governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra in exchange for pushing Iranian and Iran-backed forces more than 25km away from the border with Jordan. According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the militants who will reject this deal will be evacuated to the northern governorate of Idlib.
Several Israeli news outlets, including Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, also reported that Israel and Russia are currently finalizing a deal that will force Iranian forces and Hezbollah to withdraw more than 60km away from the contact line between Syria and Israel.
While these reports remain unconfirmed by any official source, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier that all non-Syrian forces must withdraw from the de-escalation zone in southern Syria. This could be a proof that Russia, Jordan, Israel and the US are indeed preparing an agreement.
Syria Kurds announce start of campaign to retake #Raqqa
The United States considers the Syrian Kurdish fighters as the most effective force against the IS, but Turkey views them as a terror organization and has said it will not accept a role for the Kurds in the liberation of Raqqa.
« Accord » avec Washington pour écarter les Turcs de la bataille de Raqqa - L’Orient-Le Jour
La coalition arabo-kurde, qui s’est lancée dimanche à la conquête de la ville de Raqqa, fief des jihadistes du groupe Etat islamique (EI) en Syrie, a affirmé s’être mise d’accord avec les Etats-Unis pour écarter la Turquie de l’offensive.
« Les Forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS) se sont mises d’accord de manière définitive avec la coalition internationale (dirigée par Washington) qu’il n’y aura aucun rôle turc ou des rebelles qui leur sont alliés dans l’offensive » de Raqqa, a affirmé à l’AFP Talal Sello, leur porte-parole.
Arab Fighters Massively Defect from US-backed SDF, Attack Kurdish YPG Units in Northern Syria
Via Joshua Landis
On September 2, Liwa al-Tahrir announced that it will leave the YPG-led SDF due to the group’s policies and called for remodel of the coalition. Following the statement, the YPG attacked Liwa al-Tahrir units near the village of Suluk south-east of Tell Abyad in the province of Raqqa.
The YPG also attempted to encircle Liwa al-Tahrir checkpoints near the village of Qunaitra located north-east of Suluk. Firefights were reported there. According to Baladi News, at least 50 Liwa al-Tahrir militants are now in the city of Jarabulus where they jointed the Turkish-led forces in northern Syria. A commander of Liwa al-Tahrir, Abo Mohamad Kafrzita, is reportedly in Turkey now.
Separatly, Arab-Kurd tensions increased in Ayn Issa forcing YPG to dispatch units to take over checkpoints under Liwa Ahrar Raqqa control. Liwa Ahrar Raqqa claim to have expelled YPG from 5 villages around Ayn Issa – al-Qadriyah, al-Hamdanat, Kardushan, al-Duraybiyah and Abo Tabat after a series of firefights in the area.
Further reports added that Hazm Movement, Jabhat Thuwar Syria and Jabhat al-Haq also joined the Turkish-led forces that participate in the “Operation Euphrates Shield.”
Summarising the situation in northern Syria, it’s easy to conclude that on September 2, the SDF ceased to exist as a united force of the YPG and some non-Kurdish units.
U.S. Navy ship targeted in failed missile attack from Yemen: U.S. | Reuters
A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer was targeted on Sunday in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters, saying neither of the two missiles hit the ship.
The attempted strike on the USS Mason, which was first reported by Reuters, came just a week after a United Arab Emirates vessel came under attack from Houthis and suggests growing risks to the U.S. military from Yemen’s conflict.
The U.S. government, which has become increasingly vocal about civilian casualties in the war, this weekend announced a review of its support to a Saudi Arabia-led coalition battling the Houthis after a strike on mourners in the capital Sanaa that killed up to 140 people.
The failed missile attack on the USS Mason began around 7 p.m. local time, when the ship detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period in the Red Sea off Yemen’s coast, the U.S. military said.
“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. “There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.”
New Facts about Yemen Missile Attack on USS Mason : US Ship Fired 3 Missiles to Defend Itself
Three missiles were fired by the crew of the USS Mason (DDG-87) guided-missile destroyer in the Red Sea in order to defend it and the nearby USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) from an attack of two presumed cruise missiles, fired by the Iran-backed Houthi forces from the Yemini shore, on October 9, the USNI News informational website reported, citing two defense officials.
According to the sources, the vessel was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack. A single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) were launched by the USS Mason in order to intercept the two missiles. The Nulka anti-ship missile decoy also was used by the ship.
As one of the defense officials told USNI News on October 10, the Mason “employed onboard defensive measures against the first suspected cruise missile, although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway.” However, it was not specified that the “defensive measure” was a missile fired from the ship.
Débat sur l’utilisation ou non de missiles anti-missiles.
Former aide to retired former-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert and a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Bryan Clark, noted that the use of both missiles by the US is “very significant.”
“It might be the first time the SM-2 used against an actual threat for which it was designed,” Clark said. “It’s definitely the first time ESSM has been used… This is obviously a huge deal.”
At the same time, other experts noted that the fact that the Pentagon is not able to say if the missiles were intercepted indicates that this event did not take place. According to them, the Pentagon would actively use this incident to promote the US Navy and the defense industries due to the fact that the system has not ever been used to intercept a target in a real incident before.
Enfin, analyse des dégâts sur le HSV Swift (cf. billet sur le sujet)
Apparemment, les navires états-uniens ont subi deux attaques au missile distinctes.
Navy launches Tomahawk missiles at rebel sites in Yemen after attacks on U.S. ships - The Washington Post
In the first attack launched at the U.S. Navy, two cruise missiles were launched Sunday at the USS Mason, a guided-missile destroyer, and the USS Ponce, an amphibious staging base. In that case, the first missile was launched while the ships were at least 12 miles away from Yemen’s shore in international waters near the Bab el-Mandeb strait, a waterway between Yemen and Djibouti that is heavily trafficked by oilers. The ships were even farther away when the second one was launched.
In the second attack Wednesday, at least one missile was fired from rebel-held territory at the Mason, [Pentagon spokesman Peter] Cook said. That missile was launched at about 6 p.m. from south of the coastal city Al Hudaydah.
Photos Show Catastrophic Damage to ’HSV Swift’ Following Missile Attack – gCaptain
The Emirates News Agency has just released pictures showing damage to the HSV Swift after it was destroyed by an anti-ship missile on Saturday.
The ship is owned by UAE Marine Dredging Company but was chartered by the United Arab Emirates military when the attack occurred.
Tiens, tiens, cette précision : chartered by the UAE military, mais quand même
The HSV Swift was on a humanitarian mission in the Red Sea when it was targeted by Yemen’s Houthi group in a missile attack near the Bab al-Mandab strait off Yemen, a key chokepoint for ships transiting between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal.
New Facts about Yemen Missile Attack on USS Mason: US Ship Fired 3 Missiles to Defend Itself
The type of the missiles was has not been confirmed by the US sources, but open source naval analyst and retired Navy Capt. Chris Carlson said that it seems that the damage on the Swift was caused by the warhead used in a Chinese-built C-802 anti-ship missile (NATO reporting name CSS-N-8 Saccade). Cold War-era French technology is a base for the C-802.