Syrian government forces surround city of al-Ruhaiba near Damascus, and Pentagon says that Syrian government is still able to use chemical weapons
Local and Field Updates:
On Thursday, the Syrian government forces surrounded the city of al-Ruhaiba in Northeastern Damascus following gaining control over al-Kharnouba land and al-Nariya Battalion.The opposition military factions withdrew to the back outposts due to intensified bombings using 300 barrel bombs, according to Sa’id Saif, the media spokesman for the martyr Ahmad al-Abdo forces.
In Southern Damascus neighborhoods, the government forces clashed with the Islamic State (ISIS) in al-Qadam area, at the edges of al-Tadamon neighborhood, and at the entrance of al-Yarmouk camp. The two sides used medium and heavy weapons amidst government airstrikes.
In Daraa, On Thursday, clashes erupted between the Free Syrian Army and Jaysh Khalid bin al-Walid, which is accused of being affiliated with ISIS, in the village of al-Sheikh Sa’d (30 kilometers northwest of Daraa) in Southern Syria.The clashes injured dozens of civilians.
In Northern Syria, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) reached an agreement with people of the city of Sarmada, north of Idlib to solve a dispute, which erupted inside of the city, injuring seven civilians.The agreement states the withdrawal of military checkpoints and armed manifestations from the city. Some people of the city refused the deal, calling for HTS to leave.
New Turkish reinforcements arrived in al-Saraman silos area near the city of Jarjanaz in Southern Idlib. The reinforcements included five vehicles and other vehicles carrying logistic materials.
Political and International Updates:
The United States’ Defense Ministry, stated that the Syrian government is still able to launch “limited” chemical attacks in the future despite the foreign military strikes.The Pentagon did not rule out the potentiality of any government new chemical attacks .
Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, accused the Syrian government and Russian of “purging” the site of the chemical attack in the city of Douma and removing evidence, which proves the use of chemical weapons. Nauert added that she has trustful information that Russian officials and the Syrian government attempt to postpone the arrival of the United Nations investigation teams in Douma.
Mevlut Cavic Oglu, Turkish Foreign Minister, stated that the nine sessions of the Astana Talks would be held on May.14 and 15, according to Turkish TRT.
The CNN reported U.S. official sources as saying that the U.S administration is considering giving Saudi Arabia a “mandatory bonus” to encourage Riyadh to send Arab troops to replace the U.S. military contingent in Syria. The U.S sources reported that convincing Riyadh require a price and in case Saudi Arabia agreed, then Washington had to specify what to offer in exchange.