Revolutionary Guards commander denies Iranian targets hit in Syria air strikes

This image grab taken from a handout video released by the Syrian General Organization of Radio and Television late on August 24, 2019 shows lights in the sky reportedly over Aqraba, southeast of the Syrian capital Damascus during an Israeli air strike. (AFP)
Updated 25 August 2019
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Revolutionary Guards commander denies Iranian targets hit in Syria air strikes

  • Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus
  • "Israel and the United States do not have the power to attack Iran’s various centers," Revolutionary Guards commander says

DUBAI: A senior Revolutionary Guards commander denied on Sunday that Iranian targets had been hit in Israeli air strikes in Syria, the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.
Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus that had been planning to launch “killer drones” at targets in Israel, an Israeli military spokesman said.
“This is a lie and not true. ..Israel and the United States do not have the power to attack Iran’s various centers, and our (military) advisory centers have not been harmed,” said Revolutionary Guards Major General Mohsen Rezaei, who is also the secretary of a powerful state body, ILNA reported.


Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

Updated 15 September 2019
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Thousands return to government-seized areas in northwest Syria: state media

  • The Syrian Observatory reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control
  • The Idlib region is one of the last holdouts of opposition forces

DAMASCUS: Thousands have returned to their hometowns in northwest Syria after military advances by government loyalist against militants and allied rebels, state media said Sunday.
“Thousands of citizens return to their villages and towns of the northern Hama countryside and the southern Idlib countryside,” state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported “around 3,000 people” going home from other areas under regime control.
Since August 31, a cease-fire announced by regime backer Russia has largely held in northwestern Syria, though the Observatory has reported sporadic bombardment.
SANA said the returns came amid “government efforts to return the displaced to their towns and villages.”
The Idlib region of around three million people, many of them dispaced by fighting in other areas, is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Moscow announced the cease-fire late last month after four months of deadly violence that displaced 400,000 people, most of whom fled north within the jihadist-run bastion, according to the United Nations.
Regime forces had chipped away at the southern edges of the jihadist-run stronghold throughout August, retaking towns and villages in the north of Hama province and the south of Idlib province.
Syria’s civil war has killed more than 370,000 people since it started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Assad’s regime now controls more than 60 percent of the country after notching up a series of victories against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015.
But a large chunk of Idlib, fully administered by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate since January, as well as a Kurdish-held swathe of the oil-rich northeast, remain beyond its reach.