Syria Today – Turkey to Reopen M4, Attack on Regime Bus, ISIS Targets SDF

Your daily brief of the English-speaking press on Syria.

The Turkish intelligence is trying to reopen the M4 highway in a meeting in Idleb with HTS and the Turkish-backed factions. Meanwhile, ISIS has killed several members of the SDF and the Syrian army, and 15 security service members are injured in an attack with an IED. The IDF says the two armed Syrians who approached the Israeli border in the southern Golan Heights the previous day — one of whom was shot dead by troops — were not combatants, and an Alabama woman who ran away from home to join ISIS and had a child with one of its fighters says she still hopes to return to the United States, serve prison time if necessary, and advocate against the extremists.

15 Syrian security forces were injured in a terrorists attack on their bus

After they carried out their duty in Daraa and while returning to Damascus in a bus, internal security personnel were targeted with an explosive device (IED) attached to the vehicle carrying them by terrorists on the Khurbat Ghazale bridge, Daraa – Damascus Highway.

According to SANA, the IED went off, causing injuries to 15 personnel, seven of them are severe.

Police patrols immediately attended the place and rushed the wounded to several hospitals.

Investigations are still underway to identify the criminals and take the appropriate legal procedures against them.

Turkish Intelligence, HTS, Turkish-Backed Faction Meet In Syria’s Idleb

Turkish intelligence held a meeting on Sunday with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly al-Nusra Front) and the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham faction in Idlib Governorate, northwest Syria, in order to discuss re-opening the M4 highway, a security source told North Press.

In Syria’s west, the M4 highway runs from Latakia to Saraqib, southeast of Idlib. It also connects Ariha and Jisr al-Shughur, in the southern and southwestern countryside of Idlib.

The highway’s length in Idlib is 120 km, 100 km of which is under HTS control. The highway reaches Aleppo and, from there, was expanded into a two-lane expressway to Iraq, ending at Mosul.

Turkey tried, through a trilateral meeting, to restore Russian patrols to the highway in order to normalize ties with the Syrian government.

They discussed how to secure the highway against possible attacks, in addition to the possibility of opening the Saraqib crossing.

Turkish intelligence members informed HTS that Turkish patrols in the northern countryside of Idlib will start next week in order to monitor the highway. The aim is to prepare a common security plan with local factions to prevent any operations that may target the patrols in the future.

‘ISIS attacks’ on SDF, regime positions in eastern Syria kill four

Meanwhile, members of the Syrian regime forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were killed on Sunday in two separate attacks in eastern Syria, according to reports.

Two members of the SDF were killed and others wounded in the northern countryside of Deir az-Zor, local media activist Abu Omar al-Bukamali told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

According to the activist, armed gunmen targeted the SDF’s Tallah point causing the deaths.

Two members of the Syrian regime were also killed by unidentified gunmen believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) group in the town of Al-Mariya in the eastern countryside of Deir az-Zor, al-Bukamali said.

Armed Syrians, one of whom IDF shot dead on the border, weren’t combatants

In a follow-up to the story of two armed men that tried to enter Israel, the Israel Defense Forces on Monday said two armed Syrians who approached the Israeli border in the southern Golan Heights the previous day — one of whom was shot dead by troops — were not combatants.

According to the IDF’s initial probe, the pair were likely hunters and were not attempting to perpetrate an attack on the border.

According to the IDF, soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras on Sunday morning spotted the two armed men crossing the so-called Alpha Line — a UN buffer zone separating Israel from Syria — and approaching Israel’s security fence.

“IDF troops dispatched to the scene acted to prevent the suspects from crossing the fence and opened fire according to standard operating procedures,” the IDF said.

One of the suspects was treated by military medics at the scene but was later declared dead. The second man fled back to Syria, the IDF said. It was unclear if he had also been hit by the gunfire.

“An initial inquiry indicates that it is unlikely that this was terrorist activity,” the IDF said, adding that it was being investigated further.

Alabama woman who joined ISIS hopes to return from Syria camp

A woman who ran away from home in Alabama at the age of 20, joined the Islamic State group and had a child with one of its fighters says she still hopes to return to the United States, serve prison time if necessary, and advocate against the extremists.

In a rare interview with AP from the Roj detention camp in Syria where she is being held by U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, Hoda Muthana said she was brainwashed by online traffickers into joining the group in 2014 and regrets everything except her young son, now of pre-school age.

“If I need to sit in prison and do my time, I will do it. … I won’t fight against it,” the 28-year-old told The News Movement. “I’m hoping my government looks at me as someone young at the time and naive.”

It’s a line she’s repeated in various media interviews since fleeing from one of the extremist group’s last enclaves in Syria in early 2019.

In her interview with TNM, Muthana now says her phone was taken from her and that the tweets were sent by IS supporters.

Muthana was born in New Jersey to Yemeni immigrants and once had a U.S. passport. She was raised in a conservative Muslim household in Hoover, Alabama, just outside Birmingham. In 2014, she told her family she was going on a school trip but flew to Turkey and crossed into Syria instead, funding the travel with tuition checks that she had secretly cashed.

The Obama administration cancelled her citizenship in 2016, saying her father was an accredited Yemeni diplomat at the time she was born — a rare revocation of birthright citizenship. Her lawyers have disputed that move, arguing that the father’s diplomatic accreditation ended before she was born.

The Trump administration maintained that she was not a citizen and barred her from returning, even as it pressed European allies to repatriate their own detained nationals to reduce pressure on the detention camp.


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