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Iranian Militias Move Further into Syria’s Desert, Russian Base in Suwayda | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Residents run through dust in a site damaged by what activists said were air strikes carried out by the Russian air force in a rebel-controlled area in Idlib province. Reuters file photo

London, Beirut- Iranian militias affiliated with the Syrian regime continued their desert push towards the border area of Jordan, Syria and Iraq, to get closer from the US-linked al-Tanf military camp, while a Russian flag was seen flying in the area of Suwayda amid reports about the establishment of a military base near the Jordanian border.

Meanwhile, dozens of fighters from “Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiya” were killed or injured on Sunday in Idlib in two suicide attacks believed to have been carried out by ISIS.

Also, the Iranian-backed al-Abdal Iraqi militias published photos of their members while on their way from western Qalamoun towards al-Tanf crossing with Iraq.

Syrian opposition sources said militants loyal to the Syrian regime have also advanced from Suwayda in the south of Syria towards al-Tanf, while other reports spoke about the arrival of generals from the Syrian forces to Suwayda.

The reports said the top officers include Major General Issam Zahreddine, who is there to push his forces in taking part in an incursion launched in the direction of the “triangle crossing,” together with a similar operation led by Colonel Suhail al-Hassan, aka al-Nimr (the Tiger).

Separately, at least 21 members from Ahrar al-Sham, including a high-ranking official, were killed on Sunday when two suicide bombings hit the headquarters of the movement in east Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Ahrar al-Sham accused ISIS of carrying out the attack, although the terrorist organization is not present in the province of Idlib, but instead operates through extremist groups supporting it.

Opposition activists expressed their concern that fighting between Islamist factions and opposition groups would return to Idlib.

Also on Sunday, the third phase of the residents’ deportation from the Barza neighborhood, east Damascus, ended together with the last phase of evacuation from al-Waer neighborhood in Homs.

Later, ISIS called on its members to move from southern Damascus to “the land of the Caliphates.”