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Thursday, April 12

While Trump boasts US rid Syria of ISIS, Syrian Army prepares to attack ISIS in S. Damascus

From President Trump's Twitter page today:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 10:15 AM UTC - 12 Apr 2018
Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS. Where is our “Thank you America?”
The U.S. did not rid the "region" of Islamic State. The U.S. directed Kurdish proxy forces to drive ISIS out of Raqqa city. But ISIS is alive and well in Syria -- famously so! Or I should say famously known outside the United States of America -- its public so poorly informed about what is going on in Syria that goat herders in Upper Botswana probably know more! 

The question is whether President Trump is just as poorly informed as the majority of the American public. If not -- if he really knows about the continued presence of ISIS in Syria -- then he is deliberately misleading the America public. Either scenario is scary to contemplate.  

Meanwhile --

Breaking News: Syrian Army’s Tiger Forces head to southern Damascus for showdown with ISIS
By Leith Aboufadel
April 12, 2018

Al Masdar News (AMN)(6:50 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army’s elite Tiger Forces have received orders to redeploy from the East Ghouta region to southern Damascus, a military source told Al-Masdar News this afternoon.
Following their victory in the East Ghouta, the Syrian Arab Army’s High Command made the decision to send the Tiger Forces to the Yarmouk Camp [521 acre-Palestinian refugee camp] and Al-Qadam districts in order to halt the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) advance in the area.
[...]
And for the benefit of low-information Americans -- from a Wikipedia article I linked to above:
The Southern Damascus offensive (January–February 2018) began on 5 January 2018 as Jaysh al-Islam fighters attempted to infiltrate ISIL [Islamic State] positions within the orchards situated between Yalda and Hajjar As-Aswad to the immediate south of Damascus city.[3] This resulted in numerous casualties and as such, a week later, on 12 January ISIL shock troops launched a counter-assault on Yalda's Zein neighborhood, triggering heavy clashes, resulting in the eventual capture of several buildings in the area.[4][5] On 22 January, ISIL made further progress in Taqdam Neighborhood of Hajjar al-Aswad, to this date ISIL ended up controlling three quarters of Yarmouk Camp, the majority of Hajjar al-Aswad, Qadam, Tadamon and a large part of Yalda's eastern axis.[6]
Fighting continued with ISIL forces continuing their advance against other militant groups later into January, with majority of a street between Yalda and Babbila as well as some gains within the district of Tadamon.[7] By 27 January, ISIL controlled almost entirety of Hajjar al-Aswad after breaking through the last lines of defense and were on the verge of entering the town of Yalda, during the same time, further areas were also captured in the Yarmouk district.[8]
[...]
ISIL fighters managed to make a breakthrough, with the capture of the Halfa neighborhood located in the Yarmouk Camp district, during a short skirmish with Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militants on 13 February. By 16 February, each side had inflicted around 100 casualties on each other.[9][10] Haifa street and the Al-Malyoun and Al-Mashrou neighborhoods of Yarmouk were also been captured by ISIL, while Tahrir al-Sham fighters fell back to their final defensible positions at Ar-Rija Square, which came under attack by ISIL on 17 February.[11]
[...]
Aftermath 
On 10 March, ISIL threatened to kill any rebels that evacuate from the area after the Syrian Government gave rebel groups 48 hours of amnesty to leave behind all heavy equipment and either go to the Idlib Governorate or settle their issues with the Syrian Government [14]
On 13 March ISIL began attacking Syrian Military positions west of the Yarmouk Camp while the rebels in al-Qadam were evacuating. During clashes between SAA and ISIL in al-Qadam opposition groups attempted to break through ISIL lines however failed to do so [15].
[...] 
But their presence in southern Damascus isn't the half of it. The Trump Administration has a lot to answer for regarding Islamic State's continued presence in Syria. Anyone who would blame this on Obama Administration is ignoring that the present one has had enough time to clean house at CENTCOM, the State Department, and the CIA -- and to send strong warnings to Members of Congress who support the U.S. giving weapons and training and other forms of aid to terrorist groups in Syria.  

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