ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey has designated the insurgent group Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organisation, according to a presidential decision published on Friday, as Damascus prepares for a military assault in northwest Syria where the group holds sway. The notice in the Official Gazette matches a decision by the United Nations in June to add Tahrir al-Sham to the list of people and organisations whose assets are to be frozen because of links to militant groups al Qaeda and Islamic State. It comes before an expected attack by the Syrian army, backed by Russia, on the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib which is home to nearly 3 million people on the border with Turkey. Tahrir al-Sham, which includes the al Qaeda-linked group formerly known as Nusra Front, is the most powerful jihadist alliance in Idlib, the last major rebel-controlled enclave outside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's control. Russia said on Friday the Syrian government had every right to chase terrorists out of … [Read more...] about Turkey designates Syria’s Tahrir al-Sham as terrorist group
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World Syria Syrian army Russia Iran Israel Syrian Rebels Bashar al-Assad A high-profile Syrian opposition leader has condemned the U.S. for allowing the Syrian military and its allies embark on a sweeping campaign to retake the southwest, one of the last rebel-held regions in the country. Nasr al-Hariri, the secretary-general of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told reporters Thursday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that it was "shameful" for the U.S. not to act as a ceasefire brokered last year between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's top military ally Russia and opposition supporters the U.S. and Jordan collapsed, the Associated Press reported. The deal would preclude violence between Syria's armed forces and insurgents, but a new offensive has already seen Syrian troops make lightning gains across southern towns and villages. Hariri further speculated that such "U.S. silence" as airstrikes bombarded rebel territory could … [Read more...] about Why Won’t U.S. Stop Russia, Iran and Syria? Asks Opposition Leader As Government Moves In
World U.S. Military Syrian Democratic Forces Syrian army ISIS Syria Russia Iran Israel The Syrian military and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have announced sweeping gains against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in the last of its major hideouts in eastern Syria. The two rival anti-jihadi campaigns, however, now risk turning against one another. The Syrian Army and Armed Forces General Command issued Wednesday a statement declaring the clearing of up to 2,240 square miles of the desert region, known as the Syrian Badiya, from ISIS control. The military hailed the latest in a series of nationwide victories against the jihadis, who have suffered "heavy losses of life and equipment," and vowed to continue fighting until the entire nation was free of "takfiri" ideology, a term used to describe groups such as ISIS that brand other Muslims to be infidels for not adhering to their ultraconservative strain of religious thought. "In the face of the persistence of … [Read more...] about What Happened to ISIS? U.S. and Syria Near Total Victory Over Jihadis, But May Turn On Each Other Next
World Turkey Russia India S-400 Russia is selling key United States allies a missile system in a move the U.S. warned could drive the countries away from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Of particular concern is Turkey, a NATO member that occupies a significant geopolitical position. The U.S. has warned Turkey that the Russian S-400 missile system is incompatible with NATO technology, but that fact does not seem to have deterred Ankara. "The purchase of S-400 air defense missile systems meets Turkey’s national interests that have nothing to do with politics. The Russian systems minimize Turkey’s external dependence. This is very important for our country," Turkey’s minister of interior Suleyman Soylu told reporters on Thursday. Turkey and Russia agreed last year that Moscow would sell Ankara the S-400 system, and Turkey has already reportedly paid the first installment. Russia will likely deliver the system as early as 2019 or 2020. Recommended … [Read more...] about Russia Sells Deadly Missile Systems to Turkey and India, Sparking Controversy With U.S.
World Iran Iraq Syria U.S. Military ISIS Israel Donald Trump Saudi Arabia Hezbollah Mike Pompeo A top Iranian Revolutionary Guards official has responded to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent policy speech targeting Iran's presence in Iraq and Syria, arguing it was the U.S. that was unwelcome. Brigadier General Yadollah Javani, the lieutenant commander for the elite force's political affairs wing, said that Pompeo's remarks "indicate that he has been sleeping over the past 40 years and is unaware of what has happened during these years in the world and the region." The newly appointed top U.S. diplomat devoted his first major foreign policy speech on Monday to condemn the Shiite Muslim revolutionary government that has led Iran since toppling a pro-West monarchy in 1979 and has expanded the country's foothold in the region. "Iran has been present in Iraq and Syria at the invitation of the legitimate governments of these countries and sided with the regional nations based on … [Read more...] about Iran Tells U.S.: We Were Invited to Iraq and Syria, What About You?