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buglerbilly
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[*] posted on 9-6-2017 at 10:29 PM
Syrian Civil War and all involved


Iran says it hit targets in Syria with Zolfaghar ballistic missiles

Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

19 June 2017


A photograph purportedly shows one of the missiles that the IRGC launched from Iran at Islamic State targets in Syria on the night of 18-19 June. The missile can be identified as a member of the Fateh-110 family. Source: IRIB

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced on 19 June that it had launched ballistic missiles from Iran at terrorist targets in Syria: a move that seemingly confirms it has significantly extended the range of its solid-fuel missiles.

An IRGC spokesman told the Tasnim News Agency that six ballistic missiles were launched from the Iranian provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan and flew 650-700 km to hit terrorist headquarters and depots in Syria's Dayr al-Zawr province during the previous night.

He said the missiles were launched as part of Operation 'Laylat al-Qadr': a response to the 7 June attack on the parliament building and the mausoleum of Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran, which was claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

The Iranian media released imagery of ballistic missiles being launched at night time, including photographs showing a member of the Fateh-110 family of solid-fuel ballistic missiles.

As well as being easier to deploy than liquid-fuel 'Scud'-derivatives, these missiles are believed to have guidance systems that use commercial global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) to make them far more accurate.

The IRGC spokesman said Zolfaghar (Zulfiqar) ballistic missiles, the newest and longest-range member of the family, were used in the attack. Unveiled in September 2016, the Zolfaghar is claimed to have a range of 700 km.

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buglerbilly
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[*] posted on 21-6-2017 at 03:30 PM


US forces shoot down another Iranian drone in Syria

By: Shawn Snow, June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — U.S. forces shot down an Iranian drone in southern Syria on Tuesday, the second such air-to-air encounter this month as opposing forces converge around a key American training garrison near the border with Jordan and Iraq.

The Shaheed-129 drone was armed and displayed hostile intent when it was intercepted by an F-15E Strike Eagle around 12:30 a.m. local time near the Syrian city of Tanf, according to U.S. Central Command. It was observed heading toward coalition forces, who were outside the outpost, officials said.

The incident occurred in approximately the same location where, on June 8, a U.S. jet shot down a similar drone that attacked coalition and partner forces on the ground. In that instance, the munition turned out to be a dud. 

No Americans or U.S. allies were wounded in either incident, officials said. 

Tuesday's encounter is the latest development in what's become an increasingly hostile standoff between the U.S. military and the various forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fight to stay in power. On Sunday, a U.S. F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 attack jet after it fired on U.S. allies near the city of Tabqa, which is well to the north of Tanf. That incident flared long-simmering tension between the U.S. and Russia, which backs Assad and declared over the weekend it would begin to target coalition aircraft if they stray into territory the regime seeks to control.

These skirmishes illustrate how congested and complex the battle space has become in Syria.

American forces and their allies are focused on fighting the Islamic State. But as the terror group loses ground in and around the city of Raqqa, which is its self-declared capital, the chase is migrating southeast, into the Euphrates River valley. And there, warring parties in Syria's ongoing civil war continue to jostle over territory.

As a result, there is greater risk of conflict between the U.S. and Iran.

On Monday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps demonstrated some of its military prowess by launching ballistic missile strikes from western Iran against ISIS targets in the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zour, according to The Guardian. Propaganda videos followed, highlighting an Iranian Shaheed-129 filming the strike.

Some analysts believe Iran is attempting to establish a land corridor in Syria, linking its capital, Tehran, all the way to Lebanon, where its militant proxy, Hezbollah, operates.

“I think Iran is trying to preemptively shape what a U.S.- Iran conflict would look like, keep us focused on eastern Syria and away from key Iranian interests in the west,” said Jennifer Cafarella, an expert on the Syrian conflict at the Institute for the Study of War.

Iranian interests in the west include Lebanon and the Syrian city of Quneitra, a small city nestled near the Golan Heights. Israel has controlled the Golan Heights since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Attempting to de-escalate the situation, U.S. officials in Baghdad have sent out notices reminding parties involved in Syria that there is a de-confliction mechanism in place with Russian forces to reduce the chances of "strategic miscalculation."

On Tuesday, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. did not use the deconfliction line before destroying the Iranian drone because the event unfolded very rapidly. It was a “matter of minutes” between intercept and shoot-down, he said.
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[*] posted on 21-7-2017 at 12:11 PM


McCain: Cutting Syria train-and-equip 'irresponsible'

By: Tara Copp, July 20, 2017 (Photo Credit: Mohamad Abazeed/AFP via Getty Images)



WASHINGTON — Members of Congress said they were deeply concerned following reports that the U.S. is planning to abandon a covert operation to train and equip Syria moderate rebels.

The program, run by the Central Intelligence Agency, is separate from the one run by the Department of Defense. The move to end the program was first reported by The Washington Post. Pentagon officials referred questions about that program’s potential termination to the White House.
  
The Defense Department’s program, which had a shaky start in 2015 after almost all of the original trainees fled, has now trained thousands of Kurdish and Arab Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State group. Those forces have been getting additional training and assistance at various U.S. bases throughout Syria in preparation for the fight to retake Raqqa. The Pentagon requested $500 million in the 2018 defense budget to continue the program. 

However, that program also faces significant challenges. NATO ally Turkey opposes arming many of the Syrian rebel forces the U.S. has partnered with and earlier this year conducted airstrikes in northern Syria that killed several U.S.-partnered forces. In addition, Russia and the besieged government of Syrian president Bashar Assad have also targeted Syrian Kurds and Arabs trained by the U.S.

The U.S. has conducted airstrikes to protect the trained forces, downing a Syrian jet, two pro-regime drones and destroying pro-regime fighting positions that were attacking the trained fighters.

Still, the CIA’s program was seen as an integral part of securing a future for Syria that did not include Assad, whose regime has killed hundreds of thousands of its own civilian during its civil war, which began in 2011. Reports of the covert program’s demise were met with swift criticism on Capitol Hill.

"If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin," said Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted," McCain said.

Mattis briefed members of the Senate on Wednesday and members of the House of Representatives on Thursday on the overall ISIS strategy, including the train-and-equip program. McCain, who was in Arizona and who announced on Wednesday that he had a brain tumor, said that it would be premature to cut the program since the administration has not yet provided its full strategy for defeating the Islamic State. 

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., attended the Thursday ISIS briefing by Mattis and said he had a chance to ask if the Pentagon was ending the program.

"Let’s say that I have emerged from that briefing very concerned that we have cut our already inadequate support for reasonable Arab forces in Syria," Sherman said. "The vast majority of Syrians are looking for an end to the Assad regime, and we seemed to have abandoned those of our allies trying to achieve that effort in return for nothing."

Mattis told reporters he would "prefer" not to discuss the issue.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the DOD program continues. 

"We continue to support the [Syrian Democratic Forces] and other vetted Syrian groups that fight ISIS," Davis said. 
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[*] posted on 21-7-2017 at 01:12 PM


Pentagon Irked After Turkey Publishes Map of US Military Posts in N. Syria

(Source: Voice of America News; issued July 19, 2017)


This map of US military posts in northern Syria, published by the Turkish state-owned Anadolu press agency, has irked the Pentagon. (Anadolu Agensi image)

The Pentagon says it has raised its concerns with Turkey after a Turkish news agency published a map of U.S. military posts in northern Syria.

The state-run Anadolu News Agency printed the map Wednesday, showing 10 U.S. locations in a portion of Syria under Syrian-Kurdish control.

Turkey says the Kurdish People's Protection Unit is the armed branch of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group.

A Pentagon spokesman said U.S. military officials cannot identify the source of the map, but "would be very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information."

The Pentagon would not confirm if the information on the map is accurate.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 17-8-2017 at 03:51 AM
Aussie intel pinpointed Sharrouf for US strike


http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:5elZteJ...

Quote:
Australian intelligence agencies played a key role leading up to the planning of a US airstrike in Syria that is believed to have killed the nation’s most notorious terrorist, Khaled Sharrouf, and his two sons.

The Australian has been told that information supplied to the Five Eyes intelligence network, believed to be from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, was critical to tracking down the key Islamic State figure and convicted terrorist, who slipped out of Australia on his brother’s passport in December 2013, a year after being released from prison.

A government source said a large airstrike on a number of ­vehicles outside Islamic State’s self-declared capital Raqqa, under the supervision of the US Joint Operations Command, had killed the 36-year-old Sharrouf.

Reports provided to the Australian government suggested two of Sharrouf’s sons, Abdullah, 12, and Zarqawi, 11, who had been used by their father in ISIS propaganda material, were also killed. Abdullah was infamously photographed carrying a severed head.




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