Suspected Russian airstrikes injure civilians in Idlib; United Kingdom says that Assad will remain in office for some time
Local and field updates:
On Friday, suspected Russian airstrikes injured seven civilians, including two women and a child in a residential area near the city of Khan Sheikhoun, 55 kilometers south of Idlib, Northern Syria.
Free Syrian Army factions formed a military council in the city of Kafr Zayta in Northern Hama, Central Syria. The factions said that the council will be neutral towards all other factions and that they refuse the infight and seek to neutralize the city.
Local councils near the city of Aleppo, Northern Syria, demanded the opening of safe routes after clashes between the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and FSA blocked the only major road leading to the area.
The HTS imposed curfew in the city of Saraqib, Eastern Idlib, on the background of clashes with the FSA. The curfew started on Thursday at 5:30.p.m until 8:00 a.m. on Friday.
An HTS military battalion suspended work with the HTS due to the clashes with the FSA. The National Liberation Front undertook to protect the HTS foreign fighters who do not participate in the clashes.
The Idlib University of the Salvation Government postponed exams for a week due to the deteriorated security situation in the area and to ensure the students’ safety. The university noted that the exams schedules remain as they are.
The al-Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih Division of the National Army belonging to the Interim Syrian Government forced a media activist to evacuate his house after the division raided it and seized personal property on the pretext of the house’s proximity to a Turkish military base.
On Thursday, an International Coalition strike killed 11 civilians, including eight children of one family in the city of al-Sh’ufa controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in Deir al-Zor, Eastern Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) advanced against the IS in al-Shu’fa following clashes, amidst International Coalition airstrikes on the IS outposts in the area.
Thirty families fled the IS-controlled al-Shu’fa and town of al-Susah in Deir al-Zor to areas controlled by the SDF, due to battles.
On Thursday, the SDF arrested 12 young men in the villages of Tall-Hamam and Hamam al-Turkman in al-Raqqa, Northeastern Syria, for compulsory recruitment.
The Syrian Lira (SYP) exchanging rate slightly increased against the American dollar whose exchanging rate decreased by ten SYP pre $1. The prices of gold decreased by 3000 SYP per gram in al-Raqqa, with the start of 2019.
The prices of tomatoes doubled in markets in the Daraa governorates, Southern Syria, due to purchasing tomatoes from other governorates after the stop of growing tomatoes in Daraa. The prices of tomatoes increased from 190 to 450 SYP per kilo.
Political and international updates:
On Thursday, Jeremy Hunt, the United Kingdom (UK)’ foreign minister stated that there would be peace in Syria with a regime led by Assad. Hunt added,” Assad hinders achieving permanent peace in Syria; however, the UK thinks that Assad will remain in office for some time, unfortunately.”
On Thursday, the United States (US) Department of Defense (Pentagon) stated that the US forces’ mission in Syria had not ended yet. Pentagon added that the US forces still have a lot of missions and operations to conduct in Syria against the IS.
The Pentagon’s statements followed a meeting attended by The US military Chiefs of Staff, Patrick Shanahan the acting secretary of defense, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and John Bolton, the national security consultant.