IMAGE CREDITS: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Syrian state YouTube channels have been shut down this morning just as the Syrian Army’s ground offensive has officially begun.
This includes the following now terminated Syrian state and pro-government channels: Syrian Presidency, Syria MoD (Ministry of Defense), SANA, and Sama TV. This follows YouTube reportedly closing Syria’s Ortas News last week.
It is unclear whether or not the action is part of a broader move among US social media companies to close “Iran-linked” accounts, or if directly connected to events now rapidly unfolding in Idlib.
A number of Syria observers say the account closures could be connected with potential US plans for military action in response to the Syria-Russian forces air and ground attack on Idlib.
This news comes just as CENTCOM chief Gen. Joseph Dunford said on Saturday the Pentagon is preparing “military options” and is in “routine dialogue” with the White House concerning a potential military response.
Meanwhile Syrian-British journalist Danny Makki, currently tracking events on the ground in Syria, reports: “Huge bombardment in Idlib today by Syrian Forces, over 60 different locations targeted. Shelling all along the frontlines of North Hama also.”
“The Idlib offensive will be one of the most complicated, most followed internationally & potentially one of the bloodiest battles of the Syria war,” Makki describes further.
Currently, the Twitter accounts for the aforementioned Syrian government channels appear to be active.
Here we go again…
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Elsewhere in the country, to the northeast, where American forces are stationed in support of Syrian Kurdish groups, rare clashes have broken out between US-backed groups and the Syrian Army.
As Al Masdar News reports more than ten Syrian soldiers were killed Saturday after a series of intense clashes broke out between their troops and the Kurdish forces in Qamishli city.
According to a military source in Qamishli, intense clashes broke out between the Syrian intelligence forces and Kurdish Asayish police in the city, resulting in the death of several involved.
The source said that in addition to the 10+ Syrian military personnel lost, at least seven Asayish fighters were also killed during the fierce engagement.
The attack occurred when three vehicles carrying Syrian soldiers were heading towards the military checkpoints to change personnel; it was at these checkpoints where the clashes began.
No one knows why the clashes broke out, but they have since died down, the source added.