Rami Abdul Rahman, AKA Syrian Observatory for Human Rights


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October 01, 2018 - Three years of Russian strikes on Syria kill 18,000: Monitor
Three years of Russian strikes on Syria kill 18,000: Monitor

5,233 Islamic State fighters were killed in Russian strikes, with the rest of the dead including other fighters, radicals, and terrorists

BEIRUT: More than 18,000 people, nearly half of them civilians, have been killed in Russian airstrikes on Syria since Moscow began its game-changing intervention three years ago, a monitor said.

Russia, a steadfast ally of Syria’s ruling regime, began carrying out bombing raids in the country on Sept. 30, 2015 — more than four years into the devastating conflict.

Since then, they have killed 18,096 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“That number includes 7,988 civilians, or nearly half of the total,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Another 5,233 Islamic State fighters were also killed in Russian strikes, with the rest of the dead including other fighters, radicals, and terrorists, the Britain-based monitor said. Russia has operated a naval base in Syria’s coastal Tartus province for decades, but expanded its operations to the nearby Hmeimim air base in 2015.

It also has special forces and military police units on the ground in government-controlled parts of the country.

The air strikes were crucial in helping troops loyal to President Bashar Assad retake swathes of the country, including second city Aleppo in 2016 and areas around Damascus, the rural center, and the south this year alone.

“The regime controlled just 26 percent of Syrian territory” when Russia intervened, said Abdel Rahman, compared with close to two-thirds now.

But human rights groups and Western governments have criticized Russia’s air war in Syria, saying it bombs indiscriminately and targets civilian infrastructure.

In addition to the Russian and Syrian air forces, warplanes from the US-led coalition fighting Daesh have also been carrying out bombing raids on Syria since September 2014.

Last week, the Observatory said that US-led coalition air strikes on Syria had killed more than 3,300 civilians since the alliance began operations against IS targets there in 2014. The Observatory, which relies on sources inside Syria for its reports, says it determines whose planes carried out strikes according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions involved.

Also on Sunday, security forces in northern Raqqa city said they had uncovered a Daesh sleeper cell which was plotting series of large attacks across the devastated city.

Raqqa served as the de facto capital of Daesh’s self-proclaimed caliphate until it was retaken by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia alliance last October.

A spokesman for the Raqqa Internal Security Forces set up by the SDF said it had killed two members of a Daesh cell and detained five others during an operation on Saturday.

“Special forces and explosives experts carried out a counter operation .. to confront plans which were about to be executed by a terrorist cell affiliated with mercenaries of Daesh in a neighborhood in Raqqa city,” the unit’s spokesman Mohannad Ibrahim said at a news conference.

The forces raided two residential apartments where the cell members were hiding and confiscated grenades, pistols and explosives, the spokesman said.

They also found a car bomb at the site of the operation and unearthed a large cache of arms and land mines buried nearby.

The city has witnessed lately a wave of road side bombings targeting mainly SDF officials and fighters.

In June, SDF imposed a three-day curfew in Raqqa and declared a state of emergency saying Daesh militants had infiltrated the city and planned a bombing campaign.


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October 20, 2018 - Six Sweida Hostages freed from Islamic State: Syrian State Media, Observatory
Six Sweida hostages freed from Islamic State: Syrian state media, Observatory | Reuters

Six hostages were freed on Saturday from Islamic State, which has held several women and children captive since it attacked Syria's Sweida city three months ago, state media and a monitor said.

Islamic State militants staged multiple suicide attacks in Sweida and overran nearby villages in southwestern Syria on July 25, killing more than 200 people, many of them civilians.

Sweida, which is under state rule, has a mainly Druze community. Druze authorities and Islamic State have held negotiations for the release of the hostages.

Syrian state news agency SANA said two women and four children returned home on Saturday after being kidnapped from a village east of Sweida city.

“As a result of the army’s siege on the terrorists, and efforts by the concerned entities, six of the 29 hostages were freed, and the rest will be freed very soon,” SANA cited Sweida Governor Amer al-Eshi as saying.

Islamic State fighters were holding at least 16 children among its captives in the Sweida desert and had beheaded one hostage, Human Rights Watch said in August.

Syrian government forces, backed by Russia and Iran, have been battling the militants in a small Islamic State enclave northeast of Sweida city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitoring group, said the militants released the first group of hostages after talks with local authorities.

Pro-government forces had amassed heavily around the Islamic State pocket to pressure the militants, it said.


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The US-led coalition's artillery units launched fresh attacks against Deir Ezzur province in Syria again with unconventional arms, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday.

Mon Nov 05, 2018 - US Attacks Deir Ezzur with Banned Weapons Again

SOHR that the coalition's artillery units opened heavy fire on Eastern Deir Ezzur using phosphorous shells that set ablaze the targeted areas.

In the meantime, local sources reported that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' artillery units targeted the village of Albu Daran in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing an Iraqi refugee woman and her two children.

Also, the US air force pounded the small town of al-Shafa'ah in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing 3 children and wounding several more.

The Arabic-language website of SANA news agency quoted several local sources in Deir Ezzur as saying last week that the US warplanes targeted several districts in the town of Hajin in Eastern Deir Ezzur with white phosphorous bombs which are forbidden internationally.

This was the second time in a month that the US-led coalition's fighter jets attack Deir Ezzur with banned weapons under the pretext of fighting the ISIL.


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On November 8, the US-led coalition foiled an attempt by ISIS to attack one of its military bases near the al-Tanak oil field in the middle Euphrates River Valley, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

In details, an ISIS force headed towards the US-led coalition base in the early hours of the morning. However, coalition warplanes detected the force and carried out several airstrikes on it destroying 7 vehicles and killing more than 20 terrorists.

“Intense airstrikes were able to foil the organization [ISIS] attack on the al-Tanak oil field, which is considered one of the biggest oil fields in Deir Ezzor, it also hosts a military base of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF], where military advisors of U.S. forces and the coalition are deployed,” the SOHR said in its report.​

After foiling the attack, the US-led coalition and the SDF deployed more troops in the a-Tanak oil field in order to secure their positions there, according to the SHOR.

The SDF halted its military operation against ISIS in the Euphrates Valley on October 31 after a series of setbacks. Since then, the terrorist group has launched several attacks in an attempt to take advantage of the situation.


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On November 11, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that the Jordanian border guards had targeted and killed a Syrian woman around the al-Rukban refugee camp. According to the pro-opposition monitoring group, Jordanian forces opened fire at the camp several times during the last two days.

Syrian opposition sources released several videos showing the body of the victim, who apparently died from a bullet wound. However, none of the videos show the moment of the supposed incident.

From it side, the Jordanian military denied the SOHR’s claims in an official statement and accused the US-backed groups, which controls the al-Rukban camp, of committing several crimes against the refugees there.

“These groups and websites, which belongs to elements from the [al-Rukban] camp, publishes such videos from time to time in order to spread confusion and false rumors … They use this to cover the crimes they are committing against the residents of the camp, which is located inside Syria territory,” the arm’s statement reads.​

The Jordanian military went on warning against believing in the information provided by these groups and accused them of “spreading corruption and perversion.”

Earlier this week, Jordan announced that it has accepted a Russian plan that includes dismantling the al-Rukban camp and allowing refugees there to return to their homes in the government-held port of Syria. This could explain why US-backed groups, which are benefiting from the situation of the camp, are accusing Jordan of committing crimes.
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