Syrian Brigadier General Issam Zahreddine, was killed by Assad’s intelligence services, al-Mukhabarat, in a landmine explosion in the Hawijat-Saqr region of Deir Ez-zor, according to reports.
Zahreddine, a member of the Republican Guard and commander of Deir Ez-zor operations, was responsible for numerous massacres carried out by the Assad regime in the region.
Hundreds of civilians in Dara, Idlib were killed as a result of the massacres carried out by Zahreddine.
A Druze from the southern province of As-Sweidaa, Zahdreddine had recently attracted media attention after a video of him threatening refugees that they will be massacred if they are ever to return to the city of Deir Ez-zor emerged.
It is thought that the Assad regime has assassinated Zahreddine after remarks made by the General garnered a lot of negative coverage by international media.
Iraqi forces take control of border crossing with Syria
Iraqi government forces on Wednesday assumed control of a strategic border crossing with Syria, according to an Iraqi military source.Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Army Major Mohamed al-Omari said troops had hoisted the Iraqi flag over the Rabia border crossing linking the city of Rabia in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh province to the city of Al-Yarubiyah in neighboring Syria.“Security conditions are now stable in Rabia city,” al-Omari said, noting, however, that Peshmerga forces loyal to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) were still deployed in the vicinity.“Iraqi military forces have been instructed to bring the area back under the control of the central government in Baghdad,” he added.Kurdish Peshmerga forces assumed control of the crossing shortly after the Daesh terrorist group overran large swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq in mid-2014. Earlier this week, Iraqi forces secured Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk province following the withdrawal of Peshmerga forces.The moves come amid steadily mounting tension between Baghdad and the Erbil-based KRG following last month’s illegitimate referendum on regional independence.On Sept. 25, Iraqis in KRG-controlled-held areas -- and in several areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil -- voted on whether or not to declare full political autonomy from Iraq.According to poll results announced by the KRG, almost 93 percent of those who cast ballots voted in favor of independence.The referendum had faced sharp opposition from most regional and international actors (including the U.S., Turkey and Iran), who had warned that the poll would distract from Iraq’s fight against terrorism and further destabilize the already-volatile region.
From Damascus, Iran vows to confront Israel
Iran's military chief discussed ways to deepen cooperation with the Syrian military during a visit to Damascus on Wednesday, pledging to fight Israel and Daesh, Syrian state media said."We are in Damascus to assert and coordinate and cooperate to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists," Iranian General Mohammad Baqeri said, referring to Israel and Daesh. "We drew up the broad lines for this cooperation."Iran military chief of staff says not acceptable for Israel to violate SyriaIranian military chief of staff General Mohammad Baqeri said the Islamic Republic would not accept Israeli violations of Syria, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)."It is not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate Syria anytime it wants," Baqeri said during a visit to Damascus, according to IRNA.
More than 90 percent of Raqqa liberated: Pentagon
Nearly all of Daesh’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa in Syria has been cleared of the terror fighters, the Pentagon said Tuesday."Today in Syria, ISIS is losing its grip. After more than four months of operations, Raqqa is more than 90 percent cleared," Anti-Daesh coalition Army Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however, were emphatic in public statements that Daesh in Raqqa has been defeated and control of the city has changed hands.Dillion's comment stopped short of declaring victory and he said clearance operations continue and parts of the city are still controlled by the terror group. "We expect our Syrian Democratic Force partners to hit pockets of resistance as the final parts of the city are cleared," he said.The U.S. has supported a number of Arab militia groups under the umbrella of the SDF, including the PKK/PYD that is considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.The eventual liberation of Raqqa creates a situation in which the U.S. and Russia will be forced to collaborate in Syria where the regime of Bashar al-Assad is backed by Moscow. Dillon acknowledged Russian and coalition officials met for a second time regarding military operations in Syria more than a week ago."It was at the same level, about the one-star level, from the coalition," he added."And it was the same line of discussions that talked about the deconfliction and where Russian and pro-regime forces and Syrian Democratic Forces would go, further on down the MERV [Middle Euphrates River Valley where Daesh fighters remain], and what kind of deconfliction measures were going to be put in place,” he said.