Hello and welcome to the 353rd installment of the SWD.
Military events/news are listed below by the governorates:
Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish Air and Land Forces captured four localities from the Syrian Democratic Forces’ YPG in Afrin region, as a part of the operation ‘Olive Branch’ (AR: Ghasin al-Zaytun, TR: Zeytin Dalı). Free Syrian Army captured Ma Mali, Maskanli, Atmanli, and Tellat Bilal Kui in Rajo subdistrict.
Turkish Armed Forces stated that over 73 elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ YPG were killed in yesterday’s encounters in Rajo subdistrict. In the same encounters eight Turkish Armed Forces’ elements were killed and 13 wounded. Turkish Armed Forces also stated that 2295 elements of the YPG were “neutralized” since the start of the operation ‘Olive Branch’.
Turkish Air Force targeted National Defense Forces and allied milita’s positions in the YPG-held areas of Rajo, Jindires, and Sharran subdistricts of Afrin. According to the reports, 18 National Defense Forces’ elements were killed and at least eight wounded by the airstrikes.
Turkish Land Forces’ artillery shelled localities in Jindires, Shaykh al-Hadid, Rajo, and Sharran subdistricts of Afrin. According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, one civilian was killed and eight wounded by the shelling.
Syrian Democratic Forces were forced to retreat from the village of Aun al-Dadat, after an incident reportedly occurred with the residents of the locality. According to the reports, an element of the Syrian Democratic Forces physically assaulted a civilian at a checkpoint in the locality, which prompted the residents to storm the group’s headquarters and checkpoints in the locality and force them to leave.
Syrian Arab Army and Free Syrian Army’s Liwa al-Muntasir Biallah conducted a prisoner exchange deal at Deir Qaq crossing in the city of Al-Bab. Nine captured Syrian Arab Army’s elements were exchanged for 11 individuals detained in the prisons of the Syrian government.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham captured Batbou, Kafr al-Nasah, Babika, Ibbin Samaan, and Al-Jina in the western Aleppo from Jabhat Tahrir Suriya (Ahrar al-Sham and Harakat Nour al-Deenz al-Zenki). After these advances, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham reached the outskirts of Jabhat Tahrir Suriya’s stronghold of Al-Atarib, and reportedly prepared around 1500 fighters and 30 tanks and vehicles for an attack on Al-Atarib. However, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s elements had to retreat from their staging positions in Al-Jina village to Ibbin Samaan, after dozens of civilians demonstrated against the attack on Al-Atarib. Head of Al-Atarib’s local council, Yasser Abdul Razzaq stated that they reached an agreement with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which states that the group will not enter the locality.
Rebel factions operating in Al-Atarib; Thuwar al-Sham, Liwa Shuhada al-Atarib, Faylaq al-Sham, and Ahrar al-Sham, formed a unified military formation named Thuwar al-Atarib (Revolutionaries of Al-Atarib), consisting of over a thousand of fighters. The new formation’s goal is to protect Al-Atarib from any aggressor, as well as repel Syrian Arab Army’s advances in the area.
Over a dozen of rebel battalions (including one gathering) operating in Anadan plains area northwest of Aleppo, decided to join Faylaq al-Sham and exclude themselves from the infighting between Jabhat Tahrir Suriya and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The factions that joined Faylaq al-Sham are; Katibat Shuhada Kafr Hamra, Katibat al-Shahid Abdul Rawouf, Katibat al-Shahid Qatiba, Katibat Ashbal al-Khilafa, Tajammu Ahrar Andan, Katibat Tariq ibn al-Ziad, Katibat Rayat al-Islam, Katibat Tullab al-Shahada, Katibat al-Shahid Amin al-Saghir, Katibat al-Shahid Muhammad Shaghal, Katibat Ansar al-Haqq, Katibat al-Shahid Omar Jaelouk, Katibat Farsan al-Shahadat Rashashat, and Katibat al-Qanasat.
Residents of Binnish reportedly agreed to hand over checkpoints surrounding the locality to Jaysh al-Ahrar, in order to neutralize the locality from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jabhat Tahrir Suriya’s infighting in Aleppo and Idlib governorates.
Two preachers/clerics from Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdullah al-Muhaysini and Sheikh Musalah al-Olayan announced formation of Tajammu Al-Aba (Gathering of Fathers), with the former figure being the leader of the formation, and the latter figure being the deputy. Statement released by the two clerics states that the new formation for foreign fighters is not a new military faction, but rather focuses on excluding foreign fighters from the infighting between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jabhat Tahrir Suriya. According to the statement, the foreign fighters are going to remain in their factions. The newly-formed formation will encourage the aforementioned fighters to focus on fighting the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.
Hurras al-Deen’s (Religious Guards / Guardians of Religion) Jaysh al-Sahel released a statement threatening to engage Jabhat Tahrir al-Sham’s elements, if the latter storms the villages of Muhambal, Bisanqul, and Kafr Shalaya in the southwestern Idlib governorate. Hurras al-Deen is a newly-formed organization, made up of seven rebel factions.
Syrian Arab Army made limited advances around Kufa farms on Al-Amiriyah front in the Northern Homs pocket, however, these advances were reversed by the rebel Northern Homs Countryside Operations Room. The operations room reported that more than 15 elements of the Syrian Arab Army were killed and wounded in the encounter, as well as a tank destroyed and a BMP damaged. Sources from Ahrar al-Sham claim that 11 Syrian Arab Army’s elements were killed and seven wounded in the encounter.
Syrian Arab Army’s artillery and Syrian Arab Air Force targeted Hazrama, Mesraba, Saqba, Madyara, Beit Sawa, Madyara in the East Ghouta. According to the Syrian Civil Defense (The White Helmets), three civilians were killed by the targeting of Beit Sawa, while two civilians were killed in the targeting of Hazrama and Mesraba.
Rebel forces in the East Ghouta shelled Harasta and Barzeh area of the city of Damascus. According to the Syrian Arab News Agency, three civilians were wounded by the shelling of Dahiyet al-Assad in Harasta.
Rebel ‘Bianahum Zulimu’ operations room, led by Ahrar al-Sham reported that they recaptured several buildings from the Syrian Arab Army in Harasta. The operations room also claimed to have destroyed an operations room of the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Division on the hospital front in Harasta, allegedly killing 12 soldiers and destroying two tanks and a ground-to-ground missile launcher.
Syrian Arab Army reportedly captured Al-Zariqiyah in the East Ghouta from Jaysh al-Islam. It is important to note that Al-Zariqiyah was falsely reported as captured by the Syrian Arab Army on the 25th of February. Syrian Arab Army also made advances in farmland areas around Al-Shifuniyah and captured the 274th Regiment base from Jaysh al-Islam, which is known for hosting a large Jaysh al-Islam’s military parade in 2015. After today’s advances, Syrian Arab Army cut Jaysh al-Islam’s supply route to Awtaya and Beit Naim.
Reported Syrian Arab Army’s advances on Al-Shifuniyah front in the East Ghouta. Source: Suriyak
Improvised explosive device killed a civilian on a road in Al-Lajat area, northeast of Daraa.
Islamic State’s Amaq Agency reported that two improvised explosive devices destroyed two Iraqi Army’s vehicles and killed 11 soldiers near the border between Jordan and Iraq.
Iraqi Security Forces conducted operations in Al-Kantar, Al-Khamas, and Albu Alwan areas in the vicinity of Baghdad. Security forces dismantled an improvised explosive device in Al-Kantar area, and seized a pistol, an assault rifle, and a grenade in Al-Khamas. In Albu Alwan area, security forces found a rocket launcher and two grenades.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban) ambushed and killed two elements of the Afghan National Army in Nurgram district.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan National Army’s checkpoint in Marawara district, wounding two soldiers.
Afghan National Security Forces killed two and wounded two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Hisarak district. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan reported that it killed three and wounded one element of the Afghan Local Police, during the encounters between the two in Hisarak district.
Approximate situation in Nangarhar province (red = Afghan National Security Forces, blue = Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, and yellow = Islamic State), HD version of this map can be found here. Source: Afganistan Bülteni
Maidan Wardak Province:
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed Afghan National Army’s elements in Chaki Wardak district, killing one and wounding two soldiers. Separately, Afghan Local Police’s commander, Sayed Hassan was killed in an attack on a checkpoint in Nirkh district.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan ambushed Afghan National Security Forces’ supply convoy heading for Zurmat district. According to the reports, three supply trucks and two military vehicles were destroyed in the ambush, as well as two elements of the Afghan National Security Forces killed and four wounded.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan raided Afghan Local Police’s positions in the city of Gardez, reportedly killing four and wounding six policemen. Similarly, two elements of the Afghan Local Police were wounded in an attack on a checkpoint in Lazha Ahmadkhel district.
Afghan National Security Forces killed four and wounded eight elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in Waghaz district. Afghan National Security Forces also destroyed two vehicles in the district.
Afghan National Security Forces killed ten and wounded two elements of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as destroyed three vehicles and several weapons depots and ammunition caches in Pusht Rod district.
Afghan National Security Forces killed three and wounded one element of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as well as destroyed a vehicle in Kajaki and Nad Ali districts.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive device destroyed Afghan National Army’s armored personnel carrier in Balari area of Nad Ali district.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s snipers killed four elements of the Afghan National Army in Mateki area of Nad Ali district.
Two Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s improvised explosive devices destroyed Afghan National Army’s ranger and armored personnel carrier in Sang Dara area of Khakrez district.
Between the 23rd of February and the 1st of March 2018 CJTF-OIR has conducted 17 strikes in Syria. CJTF-OIR‘s main focus in Syria at the moment is Deir al-Zour-Albu Kamal region where they did 16 strikes supporting SDF‘s operations against IS destroying a heavy machine gun, five fighting positions, three IS supply routes, an IS vehicle, an IS-held building, an IS motorcycle, and two weapons caches.
Other area where one strike occurred is Al-Shadaddi, engaging an IS tactical unit and an IED facility. Full report on CJTF-OIR strikes conducted in both Syria & Iraq can be found here.
Islamic State’s improvised explosive device destroyed Ansar Allah (Houthis) vehicle, killing and wounding eight elements of the group in the city of Ibb, Al-Shaar directorate.
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