As the shaky Aleppo 'regime of silence' stumbles on, here's some of the latest news from Syria. First, South Front reports: "Infighting is ongoing between militants groups in East Ghouta, near Damascus, amid Syrian government forces' gains in the area. The situation is tense between Jaish al-Islam and Failaq ar-Rahman."
east ghouta
© South Front
Further north, in Idlib, a refugee camp was bombed, killing at least 28 people. The U.S., Syria, and Russia all denied that it was one of their airstrikes. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond blamed the Syrian Army. ("The Assad regime's contempt for efforts to restore the cessation of hostilities in Syria is clear for all to see," he said. The Right Honorable Gentleman (sic) had better look up the meaning of the word 'clear'.) The Russians probably have the right idea:
The refugee camp could have been shelled from multiple rocket launchers used by al-Nusra Front terrorists in the region, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said Friday. "Judging by the nature of destruction seen on photos and videos, the [refugee camp in Idlib] could have been either intentionally mistakenly struck from multiple rocket launchers, which are now often used by al-Nusra Front terrorists in the area," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

According to Konashenkov, photos of the site on social networks show that "there are no shell craters from aircraft ammunition and other traces of airstrikes." He also said that no flights were carried out by aircraft, Russian or other, over Sarmada in Syria's province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey where the refugee camp had been struck. "We have carefully analyzed the information from flight control area in that region on May 4 and May 5, 2016. There were no flights by Russian or any other aircraft over Sarmada."
East of Damascus, Daesh retook the Al-Sha'ar Gas Fields near Palmyra, but the Syrian Arab Army has sent its Desert Hawks forces to drive them out. Al Masdar reports:
Russian military advisers put in this request for addition troops to northeastern Homs after ISIS captured all of the wells at the Al-Sha'ar Gas Fields on Wednesday afternoon. Unlike the Tiger Forces, the Desert Hawks will not remain in northeast Homs for very long; they are only tasked with helping drive back the ISIS terrorists from the Al-Sha'ar Gas Fields. Since losing the Al-Sha'ar Gas Fields, the Tiger Forces and their allies have regained all of the hills surrounding this site; this includes the large hilltop of Tal SyriaTel. In addition to capturing the hills, the Syrian Armed Forces have liberated Well 102 from the ISIS terrorists after launching a counter-offensive on Wednesday night.

The notorious group infiltrated the area after a surprise attack, capturing several Army positions and killing dozens of soldiers. According to analysts, the Syrian authorities cannot afford losing Shaer region since it is the last government-gas field, and currently accounts for the majority of fuel that operates what left of the power stations countrywide. The area has been captured by the radical jihadists of ISIS in mid-July 2014. On November, ISIS re-attacked the area and seized most of the gas fields. In both occasions, the Syrian Armed Forces, backed by the paramilitary National Defense Forces (NDF), were able to expel the extremist militants after fierce battles.
As for the state of the 'cessation of hostilities' in and around Aleppo, al-Nusra continues their attacks there. The U.S. says they are in constant communication with the Russians on the state of the truce:
"The US side and the Russian side are in direct communication around the clock now about the situation, particularly in Aleppo," Kirby said. "And the purpose of that around the clock communication is to do exactly that, to make sure that violations don't occur."

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, most parts of the Aleppo region are controlled by Syrian troops, but the situation remains difficult.
Forgive me for not believing a word that comes out of Kirby's mouth. Until the U.S. stops claiming that the Syrians are targeting "moderate rebels", when they're obviously fighting violent militants, and supports the Syrians' attacks on al-Nusra and all related groups, take anything Kirby says with a load of salt. As veteran UN human rights adviser James Paul recently said to Sputnik, the U.S. exaggerates the moderates' power to hide the dominant role played by extremists:
"The so-called 'moderate opposition' groups, including the Free Syrian Army, are extremely weak militarily and not very numerous, though Western governments and press reports often suggest they are an important force," Paul observed.

The US government attempted to include al-Nusra Front in the new ceasefire agreement in Aleppo, but the Russian government insisted on excluding the Islamist movement as unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sputnik in an exclusive interview published earlier on Wednesday.

The overwhelming balance of forces on the opposition side is dominated by Islamic fundamentalist groups, Paul explained. "The most important are Daesh [Islamic State] and the Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda. Additionally, there are smaller jihadi groups that are powerful in certain regions such as Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham," he noted.
"The problem... is that in some areas, particularly in Aleppo, the 'moderate opposition' has a small role intermixed with the Islamists, particularly with the Nusra Front. Shelling and air strikes on the Nusra Front can hit the moderates, leading to complaints that the cease-fire has been broken," he noted.

Paul agreed with Lavrov that the United States complains loudly about these attacks, while saying nothing about the Islamic forces, Paul also said. "Washington has been providing military assistance not only to the 'moderates' but also to the Islamists, both directly and indirectly through its regional allies, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular... supporting Islamist forces, seen as the only viable military force to overthrow... the Assad regime," he maintained.

Russia has tried to curb foreign support to the Islamist groups through direct talks with the United States and through initiatives with the United Nations. However, the US government uses vague language when discussing the conflict to avoid admitting it is giving support to Islamists, Paul maintained.

Paul also agreed with Lavrov that the Obama administration was trying to obscure its practical support for al-Nusra Front in the Aleppo fighting. "Every analyst with knowledge of the Middle East knows very well that the United States has been supporting Islamist groups for decades, in spite of the terrible blowback that has resulted, like the US support for the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, beginning in 1979," he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dropped a bombshell, revealing that the U.S. had tried to "shoehorn the al-Nusra Front into [the] silent period in Aleppo", as former US diplomat Jim Jatras put it. Naturally, the Russians refused this request. Jatras continued:
"The fact is, the Obama administration will always stick with its client jihadists even if it means preserving groups they pretend are America's deadliest foes," he contended. ... "Despite all the talk about 'degrading' the Islamic State, and in spite of the obvious fact that the Syrian government headed by President Assad is going to survive, the Obama crowd still hopes to pull a rabbit out of their hat and force Russia to accept Assad's departure," he argued.
The so-called "moderates" in Syria remained an essential tool for the US government to achieve its hope of a post-Assad "transition," Jatras continued. "But because in Aleppo and elsewhere they are so mixed up with and dependent upon the al-Nusra Front to have any military credibility, Washington is willing to go to bat for the latter as well," he said.

Some prominent US figures, including retired Army General David Petraeus, the former US commander in Iraq, had openly called for the United States to cooperate with some elements of al-Qaeda, Jatras recalled.
Ordinary Syrians know the game. In response to the U.S.'s illegal invasion of around 150 U.S. troops in Hasaka, in northern Syria, residents and local authorities protested the move:
"We are categorically against the impermissible and flagrant violation of our country's sovereignty. We will not allow American boots on our soil. We are also against any plans for a division or federalization of Syria," Al-Hasaka Governor Mohammad Zaal said during the rally in Hasaka, the state news agency reported.

A similar rally had earlier been held in the neighboring town of Qamishli.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has called the reported deployment of 150 US troops to Rmeilan airport in the Northeast of the country as "an unacceptable and illegal intervention" which came without authorization from the Syrian government.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian stated the obvious:
A US-led coalition of over 60 countries has been bombing Daesh positions without Damascus' or UN approval since August 2014. Most recently, a group of 34 Muslim nations from the Middle East, Africa and Asia announced the creation of a new anti-Daesh coalition last December in a bid to tackle Islamic extremism. The force is led by Saudi Arabia.

"Iran, Syria [government], the Syrian army and Hezbollah are helping in the fight against terrorism in Syria, while other coalitions that were formed to combat terrorism and Daesh are doing nothing," Abdollahian said.
Iranian Supreme Leader's Top Adviser for International Affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, also spoke some basic common sense:
"The Russian side is insisting that Bashar Assad should remain Syria's president and the Islamic Republic of Iran is also determined that Assad should remain and this is our redline," Velayati said on Friday.

He reiterated that Bashar Assad is the Islamic Republic of Iran's redline since he has been elected by the Syrian people, and the Syrian people should finally decide about their country's fate.
He stressed that Tehran would never give up support for President Assad, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine.
Today, Iran has become a great country with a strong military and security power that would prevent all from even daring to think of an attack against the country, he said.
According to the U.S., they too support the will of the Syrian people - except if they were to support and choose Assad as their leader (which they have already done, and will do again, in all likelihood). Ahh, that good ol' American democracy.

Contrary to American and Saudi delusions, the ceasefire is actually going, for the most part, just fine. Aside from a handful of violations per day, the groups who actually signed on to the ceasefire are largely following it. The only ones who aren't are the crazies: Daesh (ISIS), al-Nusra (al-Qaeda), and their fellow jihadis, whom the U.S. calls 'moderates'. In fact:
More than 50 armed opposition groups, numbering approximately 7,000 individuals, in Syria have joined the cessation of hostilities agreement over the last two months, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. "Joining to the ongoing ceasefire in Syria by more armed groups has an important role in stabilizing the situation in Syria, as it is a catalyzer in the negotiations in Geneva," General Igor Konashenkov told journalists, Sputnik reported.

"These are not the final numbers since thanks to the hard and dangerous work by the representatives of the Syrian authorities the process of reconciliation is gaining momentum," the Russian general said.
By any objective measure of the situation on the ground in Syria, that is a huge success - just like the Syrian Arab Army's anti-jihadi operations have been a huge success.

But not according to the U.S., whose leaders still can't get over the fact that some Middle Eastern desert nation has had the skill and resolve to thwart their efforts - for over 5 years now - at regime change, and is effectively killing thousands of their hired thugs and violent fanatics. Until the last jihadi is eliminated, we can expect the U.S. to continue accusing Syria and Russia of targeting the "moderate opposition."

Thankfully, with Russian help, it looks like Syria can pretty much continue to battle U.S. terror proxies. All the U.S. can really do at this point is feign righteous indignation, funnel more terrorists in the country, and watch them get bombed to hell by the Syrian Army and its allies.