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SDF AND SYRIAN MILITARY MAKE SECRET DEAL, DIVIDE SPHERES OF INFLUENCE IN DEIR EZZOR, RAQQAH PROVINCES – MEDIA

FILE IMAGE The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian military have made a secret deal dividing the psheres of influence in the provinces of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor, the al Modon Online website reported. The agreement was reportedly reached in the village of Ukayrshah on July 20 and was backed by Russia. According to the agreement, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and pro-government tribal forces will be able to gain areas in the southern and southeastern Raqqah countryside and the northwestern Deir Ezzor countryside without any resistance or antagonism from the SDF. According to the  report, this will allow government forces, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, to advance towards Deir Ezzor from the countryside of Raqqah. The article argues that some 400 members of the Tiger Forces and the Tribal Forces with battle tanks, multiple rocket launches and other equipment wer deployed in the Ukayrshah and Dahla areas. This force is a part of the Syrian military grouping invol…

EGYPTIAN BATTLE TANK CRUSHES VBIED TRYING TO DETONATE AT ARMY CHECKPOINT

A screenshot from the video A Egyptian M60 battle tank has crushed a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that was attempting to reach a Egyptian army check point and to detonate it. Meanwhile, 8 members of Hasm Movement, an Islamist militant group, have been killed in the city of Fayoum in central Egypt. The group is active in central Egypt, including the capital of Cairo.

ERDOGAN: TURKEY REACHED DEAL WITH RUSSIA ON S-400 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Erdogan announced that Russia and Turkey have signed some documents as part of a deal on the purchase of Russian-made S-400 long-range air defense systems. “We have made steps on this issue with the Russian Federation. Signatures have been put and I hope that we’ll see S-400 missiles in our country. We’ll also request the joint production of these systems,” Erdogan said according to TV Channel Haber 7. The Kremlin has not commented on the issue. Rumors that Ankara may purchase S-400 air defense systems have been circulating since the Russian-Turkish rapprochement as a result fo a series of important developments over the Syrian crisis. The US and its NATO allies are concerned that the Russian-Turkish cooperation may decrease the US influence in the Middle East and boost Moscow’s role in the ongoing crises in the region.

CURRENT U.S. POLICIES IN MIDDLE EAST FAIL TO ESTABLISH SECURITY FOR WASHINGTON

Written by Evgeny Satanovsky; Originally appeared at VPK, The current situation in the Middle East is far from stable. Wars in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan show that there is a growing opposition from local power centers and external players.  The Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) is in crisis due to strained relations between UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt with Qatar. Iran is actively developing missile programs while Pakistan is focused on nuclear ones. Algeria is busy with succession planning. Islamist groups are increasing their terrorist activity throughout the region, although in Syria and Iraq, the “Islamic State” (banned in Russia) is failing.  The volume of drug trafficking, which includes Afghan opiates, and the flow of immigrants, moving to Europe through Maghreb and Turkey is growing. Iran is inciting direct confrontation with Israel. Meanwhile, U.S. and E.U. policies in the Middle East have proven to be contradictory and jeopardize their security. A. Bystrov and …

CURRENT U.S. POLICIES IN MIDDLE EAST FAIL TO ESTABLISH SECURITY FOR WASHINGTON

Written by Evgeny Satanovsky; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by Olya Kay exclusively for SouthFront The current situation in the Middle East is far from stable. Wars in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan show that there is a growing opposition from local power centers and external players.  The Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) is in crisis due to strained relations between UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt with Qatar. Iran is actively developing missile programs while Pakistan is focused on nuclear ones. Algeria is busy with succession planning. Islamist groups are increasing their terrorist activity throughout the region, although in Syria and Iraq, the “Islamic State” (banned in Russia) is failing.  The volume of drug trafficking, which includes Afghan opiates, and the flow of immigrants, moving to Europe through Maghreb and Turkey is growing. Iran is inciting direct confrontation with Israel. Meanwhile, U.S. and E.U. policies in the Middle East have proven to be contradict…

BOTCHED US DRONE STRIKE KILLS 15 AFGHAN POLICE

The US has tried to bolster the Afghan government in Helmand Province with air support in their fighting against the Taliban, but the support appears to have gone horribly wrong today, as a US drone attacked and killed at least 15 Afghan police. A US MQ-9 Reaper drone (file photo) The airstrike was targeting what the US thought was a Taliban compound in Helmand’s Gereshk District, but was actually a site used by Afghan security forces to meet and plan operations against the Taliban. A number were inside when the US attacked. Death tolls still aren’t totally finalized, but Helmand Governor Hayatullah Hayat confirmed that two top police commanders were among the slain. The Afghan government suggested no soldiers were among the slain, and that it was only the local and provincially-provided police forces that sustained casualties. The Pentagon expressed condolences for “the unfortunate incident,” but provided no indication as to why they attacked the compound, simply terming the attack …

Blast kills at least 25, injures dozens in Pakistan's Lahore

LAHORE, Pakistan: A suicide bomber killed at least 25 people, many of them police, in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday, officials said, an attack which shattered a period of relative calm in Pakistan's second-largest city. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack which wrought carnage near the Lahore Technology Park in the centre of the city. Police deployed to clear street vendors from the area had been targeted, a police official said. "We suspect that he (the suicide bomber) came on a motorcycle and he rammed it into a police checkpoint," Lahore police operations chief Haider Ashraf told Reuters. Rescue workers shifted the wounded to hospital and police officers cordoned off the bomb site as army troops also arrived at the scene. "The death toll we have now is 25 dead and 52 are wounded," said Jam Sajjad Hussain, a spokesman for the Rescue 1122 service. A wounded man sitting on the roadside was shown crying in pain on televi…

CIA-backed Fighters Killed Or Wounded 100,000 Syrian Soldiers

What the demise of the CIA’s anti-Assad program means

By David Ignatius
What did the CIA’s covert assistance program for Syrian rebels accomplish? Bizarrely, the biggest consequence may be that it helped trigger the Russian military intervention in 2015 that rescued President Bashar al-Assad — achieving the opposite of what the program intended. Syria adds another chapter to the star-crossed history of CIA paramilitary action. These efforts begin with the worthy objective of giving presidents policy options short of all-out war. But they often end with an untidy mess, in which rebels feel they have been “seduced and abandoned” by the promise of U.S. support that disappears when the political winds change. One Syrian opposition leader highlighted for me the danger for his rebel comrades now: “The groups that decided to work with the U.S. already have a target on their back from the extremists, but now will not be able to defend themselves.” The demise of the Syria program was disclosed by T…