Executive Summary for September 7th

We review the key developments in Syria, including an Israeli airstrike on a military facility and research center in Hama, the U.N. saying the opposition must accept it has lost the war and Russian airstrikes killing thousands of ISIS militants over the past two weeks.

Published on Sep. 7, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Israeli Warplanes Target Research Center and Military Base in Syria

Two Syrian soldiers were killed by an Israeli airstrike on a military position in Hama province on Thursday, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The attack targeted areas near the town of Masyaf, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad.

Rami Abdulrahman, who heads the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), told the AP that airstrikes targeted a military base where surface-to-surface missiles are being stored plus a nearby scientific research center.

Citing the SOHRReuters said that the Scientific Studies and Research Center facility targeted has been described by the U.S. as Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturer.

The facility at Masyaf “produces the chemical weapons and barrel bombs that have killed thousands of Syrian civilians,” Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, tweeted on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The strike occurred one day after U.N. investigators presented further evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for a sarin gas attack on Idlib in April. The attack also comes at a time when Israel has expressed alarm over the establishment of long-range missile factories in Syria that it believes could be used against it in the future.

This is not the first time Israel has attacked research facilities in the country. In 2013, Syria said Israeli warplanes carried out an air raid on a scientific research center in the Damascus suburb of Jamraya, according to the AP.

De Mistura: Opposition Must Accept It Has Lost the War

The U.N.’s special envoy to Syria said on Wednesday that the Syrian opposition needs to come to terms with the fact that it has not won the war, Reuters reported.

“For the opposition, the message is very clear: If they were planning to win the war, facts are proving that is not the case. So now it’s time to win the peace,” Staffan de Mistura told reporters from Geneva.

He also suggested the war was almost over and that a national cease-fire should follow soon after the so-called Islamic State has been defeated in its lasts strongholds of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, according to Reuters.

De Mistura’s comments come at a time when Syria’s embattled opposition is on the verge of defeat in Syria. Outgunned rebel groups are being overpowered by extremist al-Qaida-linked militants in Idlib province – the last major rebel enclave in Syria. Battered by divisions and defeats, Syria’s opposition has also lost the support of foreign backers such as the U.S. and Jordan.

Russian Warplanes Kill Thousands of ISIS Militants in Eastern Syria: Commander

Russian warplanes have launched at least 2,600 airstrikes on so-called Islamic State positions in eastern Syria in the past two weeks, the AP reported on Wednesday, citing a Russian commander.

The commander of Russian forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin, said that the attacks “killed an estimated 1,200 militants and destroyed an unspecified number of ammunition depots, armored vehicles, and artillery.”

Russia has been stepping up its aerial campaign in eastern Syria since last month with the aim of assisting the Syrian government in driving militants from one of their last strongholds in the country.

Syrian troops and allied forces reached the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor on Tuesday in a significant advance that breached a near-three-year militant siege on parts of the city.

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