[ Editor’s Note: As VT had predicted, ISIL units are switching over to those who have come under the ceasefire. What we don’t know is if there is any name listing required by the groups participating so that this shifting game does not make a joke out of the separation of the legitimate opposition and those designated as terrorists.
Are those crossing over local or foreign jihadis? Are they really wanting to end the fighting or just laying low to start up again after some rest and relaxation and triggered to do so by their handlers?
As meticulous as the Russian campaign has been, and blending its Intel with the Syria effort, this is not an issue that could have been “overlooked”. But that said, it could be one they do not want to discuss now while trying to consolidate good momentum for getting the political talks started… Jim W. Dean ]
The Syrian Army supported by the Russian warplanes continued an advance against Al-Nusra and its allies in the province of Latakia liberating Jabal Zuwayqat. The nearby village of Zuwayqat was also liberated. Thus, the Syrian forces are in position to launch and advance on Kabani which is one of the highest points inside the province’s northeastern countryside.
On Mar.8, Kurdish units and its allies took control of the villages of Al-Hamd, Al-Jad’an, Al-Jadou, Al-Badr, Al-Sarad, Delian and Delian Matli in the province of Raqqa after clashes with the ISIS. In a relevant development on Monday, the Kurdish forces liberated the village of al-Makman in the Hasaka province.
A top ISIS emir, Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Kaleezi, has been assassinated by unknown assailants in the Tabaqa Military airport on Mar.8. Al-Kaleezi is the third ISIS emir to be killed in the last 7 days.
On Mar.7, nearly 100 men left ISIS for the Faylaq al-Sham militant alliance in northern Aleppo. The pro-militant sources claimed that defectors had been mistreated at the hands of ISIS, including being repeatedly accused of treason. On the other hand, there are numerous cases of sharing manpower among militant groups in Syria.
Faylaq al-Sham has been formed from 19 different Islamist militant groups some of which directly affiliated with the Qatar-backed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Considering Qatar’s role in creation of ISIS, it could be suggested that the case of Mar.7 is an attempt to re-brand ISIS militants excluded from the ceasefire supported by the US and Russia.
According to Syrian officials, over 100 villages have agreed on the ceasefire. The majority of the reconciliation agreements have taken place in the province of Hama.