Syrian Army Captures Strategic Town
by Stephen Lendman
Since Russia’s Syrian anti-terrorist aerial campaign began, government forces made steady gains, retaking previous lost territory.
Over the weekend, the strategically important town of Rabi’a was captured, ISIS’ second Lattakia province stronghold, a key government victory. After hours of heavy fighting, Syrian forces regained full control.
Russian airstrikes played an essential role. The victory came after 18 towns and villages were liberated, seven near Turkey’s border, areas ISIS and other terrorists used to move freely cross-border between both countries, Erdogan permitting it.
A Syrian military statement said its “army has pushed back the militant groups from the village of al-Tefahiyeh in the Western part of the town of Rabi'a and has stormed the militant groups' defense lines front three Southern, Northern and Western direction around the town.”
ISIS suffered heavy losses. Government forces seized large quantities of missiles, including US-made anti-tank TOWs.
Rabi’a was key in letting ISIS maintain its supply lines from Turkey, as well as aiding its free movement in the area.
Syria’s General Command said controlling it permits government forces to continue eliminating terrorists in Lattakia province. Hundreds of terrorists were reported fleeing cross-border to Turkey.
Mop-up operations continue. Government engineering units are clearing areas of IEDs and mines.
Separately, Turkey threatened to boycott upcoming Syrian peace talks in Geneva if Syrian Kurds are invited as expected. It’s waging terror war against its own Kurdish population.
Their Syrian fighters are some of the most effective against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Turkish forces attacked them earlier in northern Syria.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu outrageously accused Russia of comprising peace talks by inviting Syrian YPG Kurdish forces. An official invitation so far hasn’t been extended.
“Some circles, including Russia, want to spoil the opposition side, putting some other elements in the opposition side like the YPG, which has been collaborating with the regime and attacking the (nonexistent) moderate opposition,” Davutoglu irresponsibly claimed, adding:
“There should not be any representation of terrorist groups around the table.” Saudi-backed terrorist groups are expected to participate, some elements as ruthless as ISIS.
In November 2013, Syrian Kurds declared their own autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Syria. At a January 18 UN briefing, Arab League/UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said:
“I would expect all sides to recognize my mandated responsibility to finalize a list of invitees to the process, to include all those I deem appropriate.”
Washington intends using peace talks to serve its imperial interests, wanting Assad and loyalists supporting him replaced by Western-controlled puppet governance.
Russia forthrightly insists Syrians alone may decide who’ll lead them, free from outside control - as mandated under international law.
Resolving differences aren’t likely. Endless war continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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