17 Days Remaining

Tuesday 10th
posted by James Tweedie in World

MILLIONS of Syrians faced freezing conditions without heating or tap water yesterday as Isis stepped up its scorchedearth campaign.

The extremist group released a video of its zealots blowing up the Hayyan Gas Company plant near Palmyra in eastern Homs province — the country’s largest gas supplier — on Sunday.

The attack, which cut supplies to the capital Damascus and other areas, was grimly well timed with a cold snap set to sweep the country.

The Syrian Meteorology Department said yesterday temperatures would fall four degrees below the winter average, going as low as 2°C, with snow forecast on high ground.

The Isis sabotage follows the al-Qaida-affiliated Levant Conquest Front’s (LCF) contamination of water supplies to 5.5 million people in and around Damascus with diesel fuel on December 22.

Residents have been forced to rely on tanker deliveries for their water needs in what UN humanitarian envoy Jan Egeland has called a “war crime.”

On Sunday Syrian troops made significant gains against the LCF in the Barada valley — the water source for the capital — after ceasefire talks broke down.

The LCF and Isis are excluded from the new-year ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, but that has not stopped Ankara from accusing Damascus of breaking the truce.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said yesterday he was ready “to negotiate everything” at peace talks in Kazakhstan later this month.

“There’s no limit to negotiations,” he said. “But who is going to be there from the other side, we don’t know yet.

“Is it going to be the real Syrian opposition? And when I say ‘real,’ it means it has grassroots in Syria, not Saudi ones or French ones or British ones … The viability of the conference depends on that.”

US troops invaded Syrian territory to attack Isis extremists, anti-government sources claimed yesterday. German-based Omar Abou Leila, who runs Deir Ezzor 24, said four helicopters landed in the desert between the Isisbesieged cities of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa on Sunday.

Commandos set up checkpoints and intercepted a vehicle carrying several militants, killing all of them and flying off with the bodies, he said, adding: “It’s an operation that apparently targeted an important figure.”

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