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What Happened Over the Weekend

Israeli army helicopters strike military targets, Syria and Iran lash out at US and the 25th Special Mission Forces Division arrive at frontlines. Catch up on everything that happened over the weekend.
What Happened Over the Weekend

1. On Friday, Israeli army helicopters struck military targets in southern Syrian, in retaliation for earlier munitions fired towards Israel from inside Syria, escalating tensions between the bitter rivals, AFP reported. The strikes came hours after America’s top general, Mark Milley, made an unannounced visit to Israel for talks on regional security including Iran, a key ally of the Syrian government. SANA reported that Israeli missiles hit three targets, leaving two people “lightly wounded” while also starting forest fires. Israel did not directly blame Syrian forces for the munitions fire, but said it held the Damascus government responsible for the incident.

2. Syria and Iran condemned the intercepting an Iranian plane by two American fighter jets Thursday. Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari has condemned the US interception of the Iranian airliner on Thursday, calling it a “double criminal act.” Jaafari said in statements to Iran’s news agency (IRNA), that, “they not only violated Syrian sovereignty, but also violated the Chicago International Civil Aviation Agreement and international laws.” For his part, according to SANA, Syria’s Ambassador in Tehran, Adnan Mahmoud, condemned the incident as, “a tangible embodiment of the US terrorist method that targets the lives of civilians”. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States of risking a civil plane disaster.

3. The Syrian army’s elite 25th Special Mission Forces Division (formerly Tiger Forces) have deployed to the southern countryside of the Idleb Governorate this week after taking a long-hiatus following the conclusion of the Ma’arat al-Nu’man operation. According to Al-Masdar, the 25th Division deployed to this front with heavy weapons, indicating a new operation against the militants in Jabal al-Zawiya is coming. This is the first time that the 25th Special Mission Forces Division has returned to this area. When the 25th Special Mission Forces typically show up to a front, it indicates a new operation is coming, as they are the primary division in the Syrian army that carries out offensives.

4. The Russian Navy carried out large-scale drills off the coast of Syria’s Tartous Governorate this week, showcasing their military capabilities in the eastern Mediterranean region amid increased tensions between several nations. According to Sputnik Arabic, the Syrian coastal region witnessed the qualitative training of the Russian Navy, as they used their warships, military choppers and combat aircraft to simulate the effectiveness of their forces in battle.

5. The Kurdish Self-Administration has recorded four coronavirus cases in northern Hassakeh province, a local official said at a press conference in Qamishli city, according to Zaman Al-Wasl. Three women from Qamishli and a young man from Hassakeh have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the region to six, one of whom had died in Hassakeh. The Syrian Ministry of Health announced 23 new cases on Thursday. The total number of recorded cases in regime-controlled areas reached 584, with 174 recovering and 35 dead.

6. Syrian artillery has pounded rebel-held areas in northern Idleb province despite the ceasefire, Zaman Al-Wasl reported. The bombardment targeted seven villages in the Jabal al-Zawiya region and the al-Kabbana hilltops in coastal Lattakia province, according to Zaman al-Wasl’s reporter. In retaliation, the opposition factions have hit the bastions of the Fourth Mechanical Division in the western countryside of Hama.


This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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