“There are ongoing attempts to attack the Hmeimim airbase and positions of the Syrian army in the Latakia province by the terrorist groups staying in the Idlib de-escalation zone with multiple-launch rocket systems and unmanned aerial vehicles,” Major General Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation said.
Born in the village of Qardaha in Syria on October 6, 1930, Hafez al-Assad became Syrian president of the country in 1971, after taking part in multiple coups. Though widely criticized for brutal tactics (most notably the 1982 Hama massacre), he is also praised for bringing stability to Syria, and for improving relations between Syria and Western powers by supporting America in the Persian Gulf War. He served as president of Syria until his death on June 10, 2000.
Of the five members of the Ba’ath Party’s Military Committee who seized power in Syria in 1963, Hafez Al-Assad went the furthest. Of the other four, one took the blame for Syria’s loss of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War and was pushed out of politics; one committed suicide; a third was assassinated; the other died in prison after 25 years.
Bashar al-Assad inherited power in July 2000, a month after his father, military strongman Hafez al-Assad died. But since March 2011, his rule over Syria has been under threat, with the country beset by violence that has killed an estimated 465,000 people and embroiled regional and world powers in the never-ending horror.
Despite Western and Arab countries backing the opposition, Assad has survived seven years of war and refuses to step aside.
Russia says US warplanes are using white phosphorous bombs in their airstrikes against civilian-populated areas east of the Euphrates River in Syria, leaving civilian casualties. White phosphorus munitions are banned under the 1977 First Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.