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ISIS attacked Syrian positions from US-controlled area, used sophisticated data – Moscow

RT | October 4, 2017

A series of recent Islamic State attacks against Syrian forces used sophisticated intelligence and originated from a US-controlled area near al-Tanf on the Syria-Jordan border, Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

“We have repeatedly pointed out that the major obstacle to the complete elimination of IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria lies not in the fighting capability of the terrorists but [in the fact] that American colleagues are supporting them and are ‘flirting’ with them,” the Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said in a statement.

He went on to say that the successful advances of the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, as well as the “rapid liberation” of the Euphrates Valley from Islamic State are “apparently at odds with the plans of US colleagues.”

The ministry’s spokesman then said that the recent well-coordinated actions of the terrorists indicate that they possess intelligence data that can only be obtained as a result of air reconnaissance. He noted that all the terrorist attacks originated from the same US-controlled area.

The extremists attempted to carry out an attack against the Syrian governmental forces, which was “coordinated in time and place,” in the Syrian Homs province on September 28, Konashenkov said.

He drew attention to the fact that a large terrorist unit “successfully bypassed” all the Syrian Army’s hidden outposts in the area. That, the official noted, could have been done only if the extremists had precise coordinates of each governmental forces’ position obtained through air reconnaissance data, which were analyzed by some specialists in advance.

The major-general said that, on the same day, the jihadists also attacked the Syrian Army positions along the highway linking the Syrian cities of Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor, which plays a crucial role in supplying the governmental forces in the Euphrates Valley.

The Syrian Army had to “make significant efforts” to repel these attacks, but the terrorists were eventually driven back.

All those attacks “have only one thing in common: all of them originated from a 50-kilometer zone surrounding the city of al-Tanf on the Syria-Jordan border,” Konashenkov said, adding that it is precisely the same area, where the US military mission’s base is located.

In his statement, Konashenkov doubted that all those incidents could be described as just “mere coincidences” by saying that, “if the US side considers such operations as “’unforeseen’ contingencies, the Russian Air Forces in Syria are ready to eliminate” them in an area they control.

It is not the first time, when the Russian officials suspected the US-led coalition of having links to some radical groups in Syria and the Al Nusra Front, a local Al Qaeda branch, in particular.

In early September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the situation around Al Nusra in Syria remains “highly ambiguous” as it was repeatedly spared in the operations conducted by the US-led coalition and its allies.

On September 20, the Russian Defense Ministry said it obtained data indicating that an offensive launched by Al Nusra terrorists and their allies seeking particularly to capture a unit of the Russian military police was orchestrated by the US security services.

Just four days later, the ministry released aerial images, which they said showed US Army Special Forces equipment in an ISIS-held area to the north of the city of Deir ez-Zor. The US, however, denied having any links to the jihadists.

On October 3, Lavrov once again raised the issue of the US-led coalition’s alleged links to the extremist groups as he criticized the US for playing dangerous games by inspiring “terrorists to attack strategic locations” held by the Syrian governmental forces or staging “fatal provocations against our [Russian] military personnel.”

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Conflict In Syria Was Always Israel’s War

By Whitney Webb | Mint Press News | September 4, 2017

After years of fomenting the Syrian conflict from the shadows, the U.S. has recently seemed to back away from its push to militarily intervene in the embattled nation, instead choosing to focus its saber-rattling and destabilization efforts on other theaters. The consequence of this has seemingly been the winding down of the long-running conflict, now entering its seventh year.

Buoyed by Russia, Iran and Lebanon, the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad has managed to retake vast swaths of territory, all while surviving and growing stronger over the course of a largely foreign-funded onslaught. As a result, many of the governments that were instrumental in funding and arming the so-called “moderate” opposition have begun to extricate themselves, unwilling to further test the resilience of Assad or the Syrian people.

With some anticipating the long-awaited conclusion of the Syrian conflict, recent threats from Israel’s government to assassinate Assad by bombing his residence seemed to appear out of the blue. According to the Jerusalem Post, a senior Israeli official accompanying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a recent visit to Russia warned the Kremlin that if Iran continues to “extend its reach” in Syria, Israel would bomb the presidential palace in Damascus.

Israel’s comments should come as no surprise, however, as the foreign-funded and manufactured conflict in Syria was always Israel’s war. The only real surprise is Israel’s growing isolation in pushing for the further escalation of the conflict.

WikiLeaks sheds light on the origins of the war

Though it has successfully avoided being labeled a major player in the effort to oust Assad, Israel has long been the mastermind of the plan, which stems in large part from the long-standing hostilities between the two nations as well as Israel’s own regional ambitions. State Department diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have shown that in 2006, five years before the conflict in Syria manifested, the government of Israel had hatched a plan to overthrow the Assad government by engineering sectarian strife in the country, creating paranoia within the highest-ranks of the Syrian government, and isolating Syria from its strongest regional ally, Iran.

Israel then passed this plan along to the United States, which would then involve Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt in fomenting the “breakdown” of the Assad regime as a way of weakening both Iran and Hezbollah — with the effect of empowering both Israel and the Gulf monarchies, two seemingly disparate forces in the region that are becoming increasingly allied.

Leaked emails belonging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton further reveal Israel’s role in covertly creating the conflict and its clear role in securing the involvement of the U.S. and other nations in executing its plan for Assad’s removal. One email, forwarded by Clinton to her advisor Jacob Sullivan, argues that Israel is convinced that Iran would lose “its only ally” in the region were Assad’s government to collapse.

It further stated that “The fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commanders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.” This possible sectarian war was perceived as a potential “factor in the eventual fall of the current government of Iran.”

Another Clinton email released by WikiLeaks stated:

“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,

Adding

Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly.”

The email also notes:

A successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States” and states that “arming the Syrian rebels and using western air power to ground Syrian helicopters and airplanes is a low-cost high payoff approach.”

Read the full Wikileaks release below:

Stated plainly, the U.S.’ decision to spend over $1 billion until 2015 to arm Syria’s terrorist-linked “rebels” — and to invoke the assistance of Wahhabi terrorism exporters like Saudi Arabia and Qatar in funneling weapons and funds to these same groups — was spurred by Israel, which not only drafted the original blueprint for the Syrian conflict but guided U.S. involvement by exerting its powerful influence over the foreign policy of that country.

Aiding the Rebels

Israel did more, however, than covertly instigate and guide the funding of opposition “rebels” — having secretly funded and aided opposition groups, including ones with overt terrorist affiliations, over the course of the six-year-long conflict.

Israeli involvement in direct funding and aiding the Syrian “rebels” was suspected for years before being officially made public by the Wall Street Journal in June of this year. The report revealed that Israel, since the beginning of the conflict, had been “supplying Syrian rebels near its border with cash as well as food, fuel, and medical supplies for years, a secret engagement in the enemy country’s civil war aimed at carving out a buffer zone populated by friendly forces.” Israel has also frequently brought wounded “rebels” into Israel for medical treatment, a policy it often touts as a “humanitarian effort.”

These “friendly” forces were armed groups that formed part of or were allied with al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, known for committing atrocities against thousands of Syrian civilians and slaughtering religious and ethnic minorities. Since 2013, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups have dominated the “eight-square-kilometer separation zone on the Golan.” Israel has stated officially that these fighters are part of the U.S. coalition-supported Free Syrian Army (FSA). However, it has long been known that the vast majority of the groups comprising FSA have pledged allegiance to the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, and that those who still fight under the FSA banner meet with al-Nusra on a daily basis.

Israel’s support for terrorist groups went far beyond medical treatment, food supplies and cash. The Israeli army was also found to have been in regular communication with these terrorist groups and even helped “pay salaries of fighters and buy ammunition and weapons.” In addition, when the positions of the “rebel” groups it funded, armed and paid were in danger of being overtaken by Syrian government forces, Israel stepped in to directly bomb Syrian targets. For instance, in June, Israel attacked several Syrian military positions after claiming a stray mortar had landed within the boundaries of the Golan Heights, part of Syria that has long been occupied by Israel. However, the attack tellingly coincided with Syrian army advancements against the “rebel” groups that Israel has long cultivated as part of the so-called “buffer zone.”

Furthermore, Israel has launched attacks inside Syria “dozens and dozens of times,” according to a recent admission by Netanyahu. Earlier this year, Israel also threatened to “destroy” Syrian air defenses after the Syrian army fired missiles at Israeli warplanes striking targets within Syria.

Also very telling has been Israel’s position on Daesh (ISIS). In June of last year, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevi, openly stated that Israel does not want to see Daesh defeated in Syria — expressing concern about the offensives against Daesh territory and lamenting their “most difficult” situation. Prior to Halevi’s comments, Israeli officials had regularly noted that Daesh conquering the whole of Syria would be preferable to the survival of the Assad government. These comments have been echoed by Israeli and NATO-affiliated think tanks, one of which called Daesh “a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Russia — despite Daesh’s barbaric tactics, war crimes, enslavement of women and ethnic cleansing efforts.

Israel’s larger geopolitical agenda

Though Israel’s support of Wahhabi terrorists like Daesh (ISIS) and al-Nusra may seem counter-intuitive, Israel’s overarching purpose in expelling Assad from power is based on strategic geopolitical and economic goals that Israel is determined to meet at any cost. While Israel frequently mentions Iran as the pretext for its involvement in Syria, the strongest motivators for Israel’s participation in the destruction of its northern neighbor are oil and territorial expansion.

One of Israel’s clearest reasons for being interested in the destabilization of Syria is its ability to assert further control of the Golan Heights, an area of Syria that Israel has illegally occupied since 1967 and annexed in 1981. Despite filling the area with illegal settlements and military assets, Israel has been unable to convince the international community, and even its close allies such as the U.S., to recognize its sovereignty over the territory. However, the conflict in Syria has proven beneficial to this end, allowing Israel to send even more settlers into the Golan, an estimated 100,000 over five years.

Israel is largely interested in gaining control over the Golan for economic reasons, owing to the occupied territory’s oil reserves, which are estimated to contain “billions of barrels.” Under the cover of the Syrian conflict, the Israeli branch of an American oil company — whose investors include Dick Cheney, Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch — has been drilling exploratory wells throughout the region, as the Heights’ uncertain territorial status prevents Israel from financially exploiting the resource.

Despite the prohibitions of international law, Israel is eager to tap into those reserves, as they have the potential to “make Israel energy self-sufficient.” Israel has even offered, per the Galant plan, to “rebuild” Syria with billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars in exchange for the Golan Heights — though the plan received a tepid reception from all involved parties other than Israel itself.

As its stands, Assad’s removal and replacement with a government friendly to Israeli and Western interests is Israel’s only real means of claiming the Golan Height’s energy resources for itself.

Pawns blocking Israel’s endgame

Aside from the oil and the territory it seeks to gain in the Golan Heights, Israel is also seeking to expand well beyond that territory in order to more widely exert its influence and become the region’s “superpower.” This ambition is described in the Yinon Plan, a strategy intended to ensure Israel’s regional superiority in the Middle East that chiefly involves reconfiguring the entire Arab world into smaller and weaker sectarian states. This has manifested in Israel’s support for the partition of Iraq as well as Syria, abetted by its support for the establishment of a separatist Kurdish state within these two nations.

This goal, in particular, largely explains Israel’s obsession with curbing Iranian influence in the Middle East, whether in Syria or elsewhere. Iran – more than any other nation in the region – is the most likely to threaten the “superpower” status that Israel seeks to gain for itself, as well as Israel’s loss of monopoly as the region’s only nuclear power.

Given Israel’s compound interests in seeing the removal of Assad and the partition of Syria, it is hardly surprising that Israeli political rhetoric has reached new heights of saber-rattling as Tel Aviv becomes increasingly concerned that the conflict it masterminded could backfire. Prior to the explosive comments regarding Israeli threats to bomb Assad’s residence, an anonymous Israeli government minister blamed the U.S. for backing out of Syria, a move he argued sacrificed Israeli interests:

The United States threw Israel under the bus for the second time in a row. The first time was the nuclear agreement with Iran, the second time is now that the United States ignores the fact that Iran is obtaining territorial continuity to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s northern border [through Syria].”

Not only that but Israel has recently vowed to “nullify” the ceasefire deal brokered between Russia and the U.S. with Syrian and Iranian support if it fails to comply with Israel’s needs — an ultimatum based on rather subjective terms given that “Israel’s needs” are hardly static. Israel’s response again shows the perception among officials in Tel Aviv that the Syrian conflict is of primary importance to Israeli geopolitical interests.

Furthermore, given that the response suggested so far by Israeli officials – on more than one occasion – has been to assassinate Syria’s democratically-elected President – the contemplated means of Israel “nullifying” the ceasefire deal will likely have explosive implications. Israel — apparently refusing to accept that the conflict it orchestrated is not going, and may not end, as planned — is now willing to escalate the situation militarily, with or without allies, resorting to dangerous brinkmanship with global implications.

September 5, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lebanon army discovers US-made weapons cache left by Nusra terrorists

This Photo purportedly shows a discovered weapons cache left behind by Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants in northeastern Lebanon.

This Photo purportedly shows a discovered weapons cache left behind by Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militants in northeastern Lebanon.
Press TV – August 19, 2017

The Lebanese army has discovered a weapons cache left behind by defeated militants from the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terror group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, in the northeast of the country.

The Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), citing an unnamed official from Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, reported on Friday that a patrol of the intelligence agency had found an ammunition and missile cache in Wadi Hamid Valley east of the border town of Arsal, without providing further details.

However, Reuters quoted an unnamed security source as saying on Friday that the cache contained at least a surface-to air missile (SAM) and a number of US-made TOW anti-tank missiles as well as plenty of other types of shells and rockets.

The following photos of the cache were provided by the security source.

On July 29, commanders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement said the group had successfully concluded a week-long military offensive against al-Nusra on the outskirts of Arsal and the adjacent town of Flita in Syria, seizing land in the rugged, mountainous area and killing about 150 terrorists.

In August 2014, the al-Nusra and Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups overran Lebanon’s northeastern border town of Arsal, killing a number of Lebanese forces. They took 30 soldiers hostage, most of whom have been released.

Since then, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern border.

Friday’s development come as the Lebanese army has been targeting Daesh hideouts along the Syrian border over the past several days, regaining more areas from the terror group. It also comes after Syria accused the US and the UK of supplying chemical weapons to terrorists in the country.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Media & establishment push for regime change but ignore consequences – Tulsi Gabbard

RT | June 26, 2017

Most media outlets and politicians often ignore the deadly consequences of US regime change policy, including the rise of Islamic State, according to Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

“I think that there has been a concerted effort both on the part of some in the media, as well as many in politics, and many in our foreign policy establishment seem to have been advocating for a continuance of these regime change wars, really ignoring the fact of what has been the consequence of these wars in countries like Iraq and Libya and Syria, where each time we have waged these wars, [it] has resulted in the strengthening of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or the creation of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL], and it has resulted in a tremendous amount of suffering and death for the people of these countries,” said Gabbard at a press conference, answering a question from RT.

Gabbard’s remarks come as the Hawaiian representative, who is a former Iraq war veteran herself, tries to build support for the Stop Arming Terrorists Act that she introduced in Congress in January of this year. The bill would prohibit the US from backing armed factions linked to terrorist groups such as IS, Al-Qaeda, and the Al-Nusra Front. It is based on legislation from the 1980s that aimed to stop the CIA from illegally arming the Contra rebels during Nicaragua’s civil war.

“We must stop this madness,” Gabbard said speaking before Congress back in December, stressing, “We must stop arming terrorists.”

The bill has only been supported by 14 other lawmakers so far, however – six Democrats and eight Republicans. A companion bill has also been put forward in the Senate by Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky.

In January, Gabbard set out on a fact-finding mission in Syria, where she visited Damascus and Aleppo. While there, she met with Syrian students, entrepreneurs, academics, aid workers, religious leaders and members of the opposition. She said some of them told her they felt that the originally peaceful anti-government protests in 2011 were hijacked by jihadists “funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the United States.”

“Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same,” Gabbard wrote in a blog post, describing the essence of the Syrian conflict as “a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda and the Syrian government.”

Read more :

Rep. Gabbard calls on US govt to stop ‘supporting terrorists’ after meeting Syria civilians & Assad

US weapons sold to Saudis contribute to ‘astounding’ Yemen humanitarian crisis – Rand Paul

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

The US takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda off Terror Watch-lists

By Nauman Sadiq | OffGuardian | June 12, 2017

According to a recent report [1] by CBC Canada, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, which was formerly known as al-Nusra Front and then Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) since July 2016, has been removed from the terror watch-lists of the US and Canada after it merged with fighters from Zenki Brigade and hardline jihadists from Ahrar al-Sham and rebranded itself as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in January this year.

The US State Department is hesitant to label Tahrir al-Sham a terror group, despite the group’s link to al-Qaeda, as the US government has directly funded and armed the Zenki Brigade, one of the constituents of Tahrir al-Sham, with sophisticated weaponry including the US-made antitank TOW missiles.

The overall military commander of Tahrir al-Sham continues to be Abu Mohammad al-Julani, whom the US has branded a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million bounty. But for the US to designate Tahrir al-Sham as a terrorist organization now would mean acknowledging that it supplied sophisticated weapons to terrorists, and draw attention to the fact that the US continues to arm Islamic jihadists in Syria.

In order to understand the bloody history of al-Nusra Front during the Syrian civil war, bear in mind that since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in August 2011 to April 2013, the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front were a single organization that chose the banner of “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Although al-Nusra Front has been led by Abu Mohammad al-Julani but he was appointed [2] as the emir of al-Nusra Front by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, in January 2012.

Thus, al-Julani’s al-Nusra Front is only a splinter group of the Islamic State, which split from its parent organization in April 2013 over a leadership dispute between the two organizations.

In March 2011, protests began in Syria against the government of Bashar al-Assad. In the following months, violence between demonstrators and security forces led to a gradual militarization of the conflict. In August 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was based in Iraq, began sending Syrian and Iraqi jihadists experienced in guerilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish an organization inside the country.

Led by a Syrian known as Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the group began to recruit fighters and establish cells throughout the country. On 23 January 2012, the group announced its formation as Jabhat al-Nusra.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that al-Nusra Front had been established, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Al-Baghdadi declared that the two groups were merging under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” The leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in al-Nusra’s leadership had been consulted about it.

Al-Qaeda Central’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, tried to mediate the dispute between al-Baghdadi and al-Julani but eventually, in October 2013, he endorsed al-Nusra Front as the official franchise of al-Qaeda Central in Syria. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, however, defied the nominal authority of al-Qaeda Central and declared himself as the caliph of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Keeping this background in mind, it becomes amply clear that a single militant organization operated in Syria and Iraq under the leadership of al-Baghdadi until April 2013, which chose the banner of al-Nusra Front, and that the current emir of the subsequent breakaway faction of al-Nusra Front, al-Julani, was actually al-Baghdadi’s deputy in Syria.

Thus, the Islamic State operated in Syria since August 2011 under the designation of al-Nusra Front and it subsequently changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in April 2013, after which, it overran Raqqa in the summer of 2013, then it seized parts of Deir al-Zor and fought battles against the alliance of Kurds and the Syrian regime in al-Hasakah. And in January 2014 it overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in Iraq and reached the zenith of its power when it captured Mosul in June 2014.

Regarding the rebranding of al-Julani’s Nusra Front to “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham” in July 2016 and purported severing of ties with al-Qaeda Central, it was only a nominal difference because al-Nusra Front never had any organizational and operational ties with al-Qaeda Central and even their ideologies are poles apart.

Al-Qaeda Central is basically a transnational terrorist organization, while al-Nusra Front mainly has regional ambitions that are limited only to fighting the Assad regime in Syria and its ideology is anti-Shi’a and sectarian. In fact, al-Nusra Front has not only received medical aid and material support from Israel, but some of its operations against the Shi’a-dominated Assad regime in southern Syria were fully coordinated with Israel’s air force.

The purpose behind the rebranding of al-Nusra Front to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and purported severing of ties with al-Qaeda Central was to legitimize itself and to make it easier for its patrons to send money and arms. The US blacklisted al-Nusra Front in December 2012 and pressurized Saudi Arabia and Turkey to ban it too. Although al-Nusra Front’s name has been in the list of proscribed organizations of Saudi Arabia and Turkey since 2014, but it has kept receiving money and arms from the Gulf Arab States.

It should be remembered that in a May 2015 interview [3] with al-Jazeera, Abu Mohammad al-Julani took a public pledge on the behest of his Gulf-based patrons that his organization only has local ambitions limited to fighting the Assad regime in Syria and that it does not intends to strike targets in the Western countries.

Thus, this rebranding exercise has been going on for quite some time. Al-Julani announced the split from al-Qaeda in a video statement last year. But the persistent efforts of al-Julani’s Gulf-based patrons have only borne fruit in January this year, when al-Nusra Front once again rebranded itself from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which also includes “moderate” jihadists from Zenki Brigade, Ahrar al-Sham and several other militant groups, and thus, the US State Department has finally given a clean chit to the jihadist conglomerate that goes by the name of Tahrir al-Sham to pursue its ambitions of toppling the Assad regime in Syria.

Sources and links:

[1] Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate escapes from terror list:
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/terror-list-omission-1.4114621

[2] Al-Julani was appointed as the emir of al-Nusra Front by al-Baghdadi:
http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/16689

[3] Al-Julani’s interview to Al-Jazeera: “Our mission is to defeat the Syrian regime”:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/05/nusra-front-golani-assad-syria-hezbollah-isil-150528044857528.html

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘White Helmets helping rebrand terror groups to create Syrian no-fly zones’ – Vanessa Beeley

RT | February 27, 2017

Increased terrorist attacks during the peace talks put pressure on the US to divide the militant factions inside Syria to determine who are terrorists and who are not. A terrorist rebranding process comes into play at that point, says researcher Vanessa Beeley.

A spokesman for the terror group which claimed responsibility for Saturday’s deadly attack on military facilities in the Syrian city of Homs has appeared on the Al Jazeera TV channel.

The attacks happened at the same time as Syria peace talks were underway in Geneva. During the broadcast, the terrorist claimed the attack was planned well in advance and wasn’t aimed at disrupting the talks.

Tahrir al-Sham is an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group, formed in January. The majority of its members were part of a group widely known as al-Nusra.

RT: What do you think about Al Jazeera giving a platform to a terrorist?

Vanessa Beeley: This is not that unusual for Al Jazeera in the sense that although they have not overtly given a platform to terrorists throughout their reporting on the NATO and Gulf State war that is being waged against a sovereign nation, Syria, we’ve seen them consistently produce reports from terrorist affiliates, particularly during the time of the Al-Nusra Front-led occupation of East Aleppo.

We saw them allegedly broadcast from East Aleppo via citizen journalists and activists that we’ve later discovered have clear affiliations to extremist groups, like Nour al-Din al-Zenki, like Nusra Front themselves, for example, Lina al-Shami and other such affiliates who were embedded inside East Aleppo and were producing the NATO-aligned narrative and propaganda to ensure the continued incarceration of the civilians in East Aleppo.

So, this is not unusual for Al Jazeera to be giving a platform so to speak to terrorist organizations, to terrorist operatives. And again, this renaming of Tahrir al-Sham is another rebranding process that is becoming very familiar now.

RT: The militants are rebranding themselves quite often. What’s the purpose of this?

VB: I think they have two aspects to this. I think you have the aspect that we have now gangs and counter-gangs throughout Syria – we see splinter groups upon splinter groups particularly in Idlib, we are seeing them fighting among themselves, the various extremist and militant factions. But as regards Nusra Front – we had it already – the last name was Fateh al-Sham, it is a little hard to keep up with it and in fact, I think, the US administration, both under Obama and under Trump, is struggling to keep up with their own rebranding process of Al-Qaeda in Syria.

And what I think we are really seeing is an intensification of that during peace talks when, of course, there is going to be pressure upon the US administration to basically segregate the militant factions inside Syria and to determine those that are terrorists and those that are not. And we always see this rebranding process coming into play at that point.

RT: The group denies the attack on the Syrian military facilities in Homs was designed to disrupt the Geneva peace talks. Do you believe the timing is just a coincidence?

VB: I think the timing is far from a coincidence. I don’t think any of these attacks are ever coincidental, particularly when they come in parallel with the various peace talks that have been held over the last few years. But this one in particular, what is very important to know that for the last four days to a week there has been an intensification of the Syrian Arab Army campaigns against the terrorist factions in Homs and in the surrounding countryside.

What I did notice, which was very interesting, is in the corporate media reporting of this incident, we saw the appearance of actually the White Helmets and their video footage was used by the majority of corporate media. This is interesting because it is one of the few times that I have seen them actually inside Homs and filming a terrorist operation, so to me this demonstrates the fact that the White Helmets will be used alongside with the rebranding of this terrorist group to basically protect the terrorist group by calling in for the ‘no-fly zone’ and in an attempt to derail the Syrian Arab Army activity that is effectively to cleanse the area of the terrorist factions.

RT: What are your thoughts about the documentary on the White Helmets having been nominated for an Oscar?

VB: I think it will be a victory for propaganda, basically. They should be congratulated maybe on their acting skills rather than their humanitarian skills. Myself, and actually Lizzie Phelan of RT were actually in East Aleppo at pretty much the same time during its liberation from Nusra Front-led occupation. And afterward for the many celebrations of liberation leading up to Christmas. And both of us independently in different districts of East Aleppo, as they were being liberated, were speaking to civilians as they were emerging from four and a half years of imprisonment, we were both asking these civilians what they knew of the White Helmets. Now the first point to make was, when I used the term the White Helmets, which is the label that is given to them by their marketing campaign managers and by the corporate media in the West, most of the civilians didn’t have a clue who we were talking about. When we then expanded on the theme, we mentioned that they were civil defense, then almost immediately, the response was: “Oh, you mean Nusra Front civil defense.” And that was entirely unprompted by these Syrian civilians, literally as they were leaving the liberated districts. We also accrued a number of testimonies that basically attested to the fact that they worked alongside the terrorist organizations inside East Aleppo, they worked in facilitating and sometimes even participating in the various terrorist atrocities that were carried out both at East Aleppo and in the Aleppo countryside and then in Idlib…

Read more:

‘Oscar-nominated film on Syrian White Helmets deserves best propaganda award instead’

February 27, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Going Beyond Propaganda. Nuclear Conflict: Deception or Real Threat?

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By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.10.2016

The events in the Middle East, Syria and Aleppo are the focus of global attention. Rarely has a battle been so decisive to the outcome of a war and the fate of hundreds of millions of people around the world

Hillary Clinton in the last presidential debate repeatedly called for the establishment of a no-fly zone (NFZ) in Syria. The concept, reiterated several times, clashes with the revelation contained in her private emails admitting that the implementation of a NFZ would entail the increased deaths of Syrian civilians. In a recent hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Philip Breedlove was asked what kind of effort would be required for the US armed forces to impose a NFZ over Syrian skies. With obvious embarrassment, the General was forced to admit that such a request would involve hitting Russian and Syrian aircraft and vehicles, opening the door to a direct confrontation between Moscow and Washington, a decision the General was simply not willing to take. The military leadership has always shown a readiness to implement the military option; so this time they must have sniffed the danger of a direct conflict with Moscow.

The Kremlin has publicly admitted to deploying in Syria the S-400 and S-300V4 advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems respectively. The presence of the defense complex was intentionally announced as a factor of deterrence and is a logical strategy. The message to Washington is clear: any unidentified object in Syrian skies will be shot down. The United States bases much of its military strength on the constant need to project power, making its opponents believe that it possesses capabilities that others do not hold. Therefore it is very unlikely that the Pentagon would want to reveal to the world the worth of their stealth systems and their ‘legendary‘ American cruise missiles when faced with the S-300V4 or S-400. The Kosovo War serves to remind us of the F-117 that was shot down by Soviet systems (S-125) dating from the 1960s.

Hillary Clinton’s threats against Moscow were not the only ones. The present policy makers in Washington continue to make aggressive statements demonstrating their total loss of touch with reality. In recent weeks, hysterical reactions were recorded by the Pentagon, the State Department, top military generals, and even representatives of American diplomacy. To emphasize the unhappiness prevalent in some Washington circles, several articles appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times calling for the imposition of a US no-fly zone in Syria, ignoring the consequences highlighted by Dunford. There are two hypotheses under consideration: hitting the Syrian army air bases with cruise missiles, or the use of stealth planes to bomb Damascus’s A2/AD installations.

Behind Washington’s frantic reactions and vehement protests is the probability of military defeat. The US does not have any ability to prevent the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russian Federation. In the last fifteen days, the SAA and Russia have achieved significant progress, and it is this that has led to an escalation of tensions. Some of the most significant episodes reflecting this over the last few days include: jets of the international coalition hitting the SAA, causing 90 deaths; US government officials threatening Russia with the downing of her planes and the bombings of her cities, resulting in Russian civilian deaths; and the blaming of Moscow for an attack on a humanitarian convoy. The climax seemed to have been reached at the United Nations where the US representatives prevented a Russian resolution condemning the terrorist attacks on the Russian embassy in Damascus. It is interesting to note that fifteen years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Washington finds itself defending Al Nusra Front (AKA Al Qaeda) in an official United Nations meeting; something to ponder. But apparently there is no limit to provocations, and a few days after this incredible denouement, the Pentagon was keen to point out that the possibility of a preventive nuclear strike against Russia is still valid.

It therefore seems almost simplistic to emphasize that because of the success of the SAA, Washington, Ankara, Riyadh, Doha and Tel Aviv are showing unprecedented signs of weakness and nervousness. Their commitment to overthrowing the legitimate government of Assad has failed. The combined action of the Syrian and Russian ground, air and sea forces pushed Washington and the corporate media to move from words of condemnation to increasingly open threats.

Last month the situation against the terrorists quickly changed in the north of Syria thanks to the Syrian Arab Army and its allies supported by the West. In Aleppo, the SAA continues to work every day with great success toward the city’s liberation. Neighborhoods and large areas are back under government control. The relentless advances of the troops loyal to Assad are altering the course of the war in Syria in favor of Damascus, eliminating the US attempts to remove the legitimate Syrian government. A victory in Aleppo would mean the near certainty of defeat for the terrorists in the remaining areas of the country. The closing of the border with Turkey would cut the supply lines, with consequences and repercussions throughout Syria. What would still remain open are a few crossing areas in the south of the country near the border with Jordan that have always been a supply source for terrorists. However, it would be very difficult for this supply line alone to sustain the conflict or adequately replace the one closed north of Aleppo. Especially in the north through Turkey, and to the west through the uncontrolled border with Iraq, the terrorists receive continuous supplies. The liberation of Mosul by the Iraqi army, Aleppo by the SAA, and Der Al-Zur in the near future, will pave the way for the strategic recapture of Raqqa, the last bastion of Daesh, thereby defeating even the Plan B to partition the country.

With the failure of the northern front, the terrorists will be faced with the probable prospect of the complete collapse of their operations nationwide. Some will continue to fight, but most will throw down their weapons knowing that they have lost the war. Once this is achieved, the liberation of the rest of Syria should be a matter of a few months. It should be remembered that the recapture of Aleppo would guarantee a crushing defeat for the regional sponsors of international terrorism (Qatar and Saudi Arabia).

Still, it is not only the advance of Aleppo that is cause for concern for enemies of Syria. Obama and his administration are now irrelevant, also because of one of the most controversial presidential elections in recent history. The uncertain future of Washington’s foreign policy has prompted partners such as Riyadh, Doha, Ankara and Tel Aviv not to hesitate in further adding fuel to the Syrian conflagration, worried about any future inactivity from Washington and eager to advance their own military solution to the conflict.

In the case of Ankara, the invasion of Iraq and Syria is a serious danger that risks plunging the region into further chaos and destruction, with the Iraqi prime minister not hesitating to label the Turkish move reckless and warning of the conflict expanding into a regional conflict. Saudi Arabia’s problems are even greater, as it does not have the ability, in terms of men and means, to intervene directly in Syria because of its disastrous involvement in the war in Yemen. The speed with which confidence in Riyadh is crumbling is unprecedented. Her large currency reserves are dwindling, and it seems it is because tens of billions of dollars have been squandered in financing the military action against Yemen. Another example of independent military action concerns Israel. Four years into the Syrian conflict, Israel continues its secret war against Hezbollah and Iranian troops, who are engaged in areas bordering Israel in fighting al-Nusra Front and Daesh. For Tel Aviv, there are still two options desirable to the Syrian crisis, both in line with their strategy, namely, the continuation of chaos and disorder, or a balkanization of Syria. In both cases, the objective is to expand Israel’s sphere of influence far beyond the Golan Heights, which were occupied illegally years ago.

The unsuccessful attempts of Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia to change events in Syria have highlighted the growing strategic misunderstandings between the United States and regional partners, misunderstandings that often oblige Ankara, Riyadh and Tel Aviv to turn to the Russian Federation for confidential dialogue, since Moscow is the only player able to adjust the delicate Middle East equilibrium.

In the near future, it remains evident to Moscow and Damascus that some risks still exist, despite a well-considered overall strategy. The acceleration in the liberation of Aleppo also has an ancillary purpose that aims to minimize maneuverability for the next American administration. In a certain way, it is a race against time: Aleppo must be liberated in order to chart the way towards the end of the conflict before the next US president comes into office in January 2017. It is yet to be seen whether Clinton or Trump plan to go beyond Obama’s empty threats, but understandably Damascus and Moscow have no intention of being caught off guard, especially with a probable Clinton presidency.

After years of negotiations with the schizophrenic diplomacy of the US, Moscow and Damascus have decided to protect themselves against any sudden decisions that may come from the American «deep state». Deploying the most advanced systems existing in air defense, Moscow has called Washington’s bluff as no one has done in years. The red line for Moscow was crossed by the tragic events of September 17 in Der al-zur. The creation by the Russians of a no-fly zone over Syrian skies has been repeatedly suggested. But incredibly, in the hours immediately after the cowardly attack against Syrian troops, the US Department of Defense and the State Department proposed the creation of a no-fly-zone that would serve to ground Russian and Syrian planes. It was a brazen and provocative proposal for Damascus and Moscow if there ever was one.

Sensing the danger in these words, Moscow acted immediately, deploying cutting-edge systems to protect Syrians skies with equipment that can shoot down cruise missiles, stealth aircraft, and even ballistic missiles (S-300 and S-400). To make sure Washington fully understood the message, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) reiterated what was already publicly announced, namely that any unidentified object would be shot down immediately, as there would not be any sufficient time for Russian operators to verify the original launch, trajectory and final target of any objects detected. It is a clear warning to the US and its long-standing strategy that requires the use of large amounts of cruise missiles to destroy anti-aircraft systems in order to pave the way for a no-fly zone as was seen in Libya. The Russian MoD has even specified that American fifth-generation stealth aircraft could be easily targeted, alluding to a radius of operation of the S-200 systems, S-300 and S-400 (and all variants) that would surprise many international observers. This statement also seems to indirectly confirm another theory that remains pure speculation, which is that during the September 17 attack by the US on the SAA in Der Al-Zur seem, some jets from the international coalition were targeted by Russian or Syrian air-defense systems (perhaps S-200s or S-400s), forcing the airplanes to retreat before facing the prospect of being shot down.

Whatever the intentions that are hidden behind Washington’s hysterical threats, Moscow has suggested several asymmetrical scenarios in response to a direct attack on its personnel in Syria. In addition to the S-300 and S-400 systems, the MoD has openly declared its knowledge of the exact locations of US special forces in Syria, a clear reference to the Syrian and Russian ability to strike US soldiers operating alongside terrorists or ‘moderate’ rebels.

All of Major-General Igor Konashenkov’s recent press conferences have clearly shown new systems deployed in Syria for air defense, a more than intentional advertisement. Aside from deterrence continuing to be one preferred instrument adopted by Moscow, the unusually strong, direct and unambiguous words of the Russian MoD easily show how the patience of Moscow and Damascus has been exhausted, especially following the recent sequence of events as well as repeated threats.

In such a scenario, the US can only rely on one weapon: complaints, threats and hysterical crying amplified by the mainstream media, generals and the official spokespeople of dozens of agencies in Washington. Nothing that can actually stop the liberating action of the SAA and its allies.

The United States has no alternatives available to prevent an outcome to the conflict that is undesirable for it. Whichever route it chooses, there is no way to change the events in Syria. Even American generals had to admit that a no-fly zone in Syria is out of the question. It is easy for US State Department spokesperson Admiral Kirby to launch empty threats, but it is more difficult for the military to act on these threats while avoiding a nuclear apocalypse. Whatever the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections, the war in Syria for the United States and its regional partners is irretrievably lost, and the hysteria and provocations of recent weeks is symptomatic of the frustration and nervousness that has not been common for Americans in recent years.

October 16, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US not arming Nusra, but our allies might – State Dept

RT | September 26, 2016

Al-Nusra Front is a terrorist group and the US will never provide it with any aid, said the State Department, reacting to revelations in a German newspaper – while admitting that unnamed US allies might be backing the jihadist militants in Syria.

On Monday, the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger published an interview with an Al-Nusra commander in Syria, identified only as “Abu Al-Ezz.” In the interview, conducted 10 days ago outside of Aleppo, Al-Ezz said that US allies were providing Al-Nusra with tanks and artillery.

“The Americans are on our side,” Al-Ezz reportedly said.

The US government has categorically denied providing any aid to Al-Nusra, while admitting awareness that its allies in the region may be arming the militants.

“That’s complete poppycock,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at the press briefing Monday. “Whatever he’s saying, no.”

“We would never provide Nusra with any kind of assistance at all,” Toner continued, explaining that the group is a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Asked why the US has been unable to persuade the “moderate opposition” in Syria from separating itself from Al-Nusra, Toner replied it was the rebels’ responsibility, and that they would need a seven-day ceasefire to do so.

He blamed the Syrian government offensive against East Aleppo, which he said would drive “some of those forces, not all of them” into the arms of Al-Nusra. If the Syrian government continues to insist on the military solution, “there are those – not the US – who back various opposition groups in Syria, who might also seek to arm them,” and that would lead to escalation, Toner said.

Asked to clarify if that meant that US allies might be arming Al-Nusra, Toner replied that “countries that support the opposition may want to supply them with assistance.”

Al-Nusra has been receiving funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, and has obtained tanks and artillery from Libya via Turkey, according to what the commander, Al-Ezz, told the German newspaper. The group especially appreciated the US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.

“The missiles were given directly to us,” he said. “They were delivered to a certain group.”

The issue of Al-Nusra receiving outside aid was brought up by Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, at the special session of the Security Council on Sunday.

“They are armed by tanks, APCs, field artillery, multiple rocket launchers… All of this has been received by them and is still being shipped to them by generous Western backers, with the US, presumably, turning a blind eye,” Churkin said.

“We have to see proof that there is a genuine desire to separate US-allied rebel groups from the Al-Nusra Front, then destroy the Al-Nusra Front and bring the opposition into a political process. Otherwise our suspicions that this was only meant to shield the Al-Nusra Front would only grow stronger,” the Russian envoy added, referring to the ceasefire agreed between Moscow and Washington that collapsed last week.

On Monday, however, the State Department talked about expecting “significant gestures” from Russia or the Syrian government to “restore their credibility” so the talks might continue, suggesting that the Syrian government should stand down its air force and cease the offensive on East Aleppo.

“The ball is somewhat in Russia’s court right now,” said Toner. However, he said the US was not ready to walk away from the talks. “If you’re asking about the legendary Plan B, we’re not there yet.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shrugged off the US rhetoric about Aleppo, however, pointing out that it was the US airstrike against the Syrian Army position besieged by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) that ended the ceasefire.

“I would like to emphasize that the Americans and their Western allies, for one thing, want to distract public attention from what had happened in Deir ez-Zor,” Lavrov told NTV on Monday.

Read more:

West still arming Al-Nusra in Syria, peace almost impossible – Russia’s UN envoy

September 26, 2016 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trucks Carrying Weapons For al-Nusra Front Arrive From Turkey Daily

Sputnik – 27.05.2016

Head of the Russian General Staff told journalists that trucks carrying weapons for the al-Nusra Front cross from Turkey into Syria daily. This allows the terrorist group to continue attacking local targets.

Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said in his press briefing on Friday that weapons and ammunition are continuously being delivered to the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, allowing them to engage Syrian government forces and hindering the fight against Daesh in the country.

“The never-ending flow of large trucks from Turkey carrying weapons and ammunition crosses the Turkish-Syrian border. This constant feed of live forces and weapons allows terrorists from the Nusra Front to continue their provocative shelling and make advances on Syrian government forces, which diminishes [government military] activity against Islamic State terrorists in other areas,” Rudskoy said during a briefing.

Rudskoy also added that the US has acknowledged that the heaviest fighting is centered around areas where the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front is most active.

“Everyone knows, and our US partners admit that the biggest hot spots of active military operations are those parts of the Syrian Republic where the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists from the al-Nusra Front run rampant.”

So far, according to Rudskoy, the US has refused to conduct joint operations against terrorist groups in Syria, which has led to an escalation of the conflict.

The al-Nusra Front terrorist group hampers the ceasefire efforts in northern areas of Syria, the Russian General Staff said Friday.

“It is very clear that the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, active in the regions of Aleppo and Idlib, is the main obstacle to expanding the ceasefire regime to northern areas of Syria,” Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, said.

Moreover, the Al-Nusra Front has used the ‘period of silence’ to partly restore its combat capability. Rudskoy told reporters.

Earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu offered to conduct joint air strikes against terrorist groups in Syria, but the Pentagon declined the offer. However, The Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry says Moscow hasn’t ruled out a possible joint operation in the future.

May 27, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey exercises ‘decisive influence’ on Syrian ‘HNC’: Lavrov

Press TV – April 25, 2016

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Turkey exercises a “decisive influence” on the so-called opposition group High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which is in peace talks with the Damascus government.

Lavrov made the remarks on Monday while commenting on the progress of the latest round of negotiations between the Syrian government and HNC, which began in Geneva on April 13.

Syria peace talks are going on despite the absence of the Saudi-backed opposition as the group’s leaders left the talks on April 19 to protest at what they called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria.

A ceasefire, brokered by Russia and the US, went into effect on February 27 across Syria. Fighting, however, picked up and left the truce in tatters. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council has agreed on a six-month deadline for drafting a new constitution for the Arab country in line with the proposal of the International Syria Support Group.

“In order to come to terms over six months it is necessary not to slam the door and dig in heels, as several delegates of the so-called Riyadh group have done, Lavrov said, adding that “it’s no secret” that Turkey has a “decisive influence” on them.

“So one should not come for talks with ultimatums but should sit down at the negotiating table and reach an agreement,” Lavrov added, noting that the situation at the UN-brokered talks could have been better if HNC had not left Geneva.

The top Russian diplomat also said that Moscow was preparing a report for the UN Security Council to extend the list of terrorist groups in Syria.

“We are currently collecting information that Jebhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) subjugates groups that seemed to have declared truce and readiness to join ceasefire,” Lavrov said, adding, “We will summarize facts and present them to [the] UN Security Council to adjust terrorist lists.”

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Damascus says Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are the main supporters of the militants fighting the government forces.

According to UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, some 400,000 people have lost their lives as a result of over five years of conflict in Syria.

April 25, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

US failed to persuade moderate opposition to withdraw from Al-Nusra-controlled areas – Lavrov

RT | April 18, 2016

Syrian moderate opposition has failed to withdraw from areas controlled by Al-Nusra Front terrorists, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, blaming the US for failing to exert influence on the opposition and questioned its claims of being moderate.

Washington has itself earlier raised the issue of moderate opposition forces, who are part of the ceasefire agreement in Syria, being present in Al-Nusra-controlled areas, Lavrov told reporters on Monday.

Washington officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, agreed with Moscow’s stance “that if these groups want to fulfill the conditions of the ceasefire and don’t want to look like terrorist supporters, they must do a simple thing – change their dislocation area and physically separate themselves from the terrorists,” the minister elaborated.

According to Lavrov, the US has repeatedly promised Russia to exert their influence on moderate opposition, but the minister said that “those promises are still not fulfilled.”

“If this moderate opposition doesn’t want to leave the areas occupied by Al-Nusra, maybe it is not moderate? Maybe they are just those, who cooperate with Al-Nusra despite the UN Security Council resolution?” he asked.

The FM assured that the Syrian government forces “aren’t carrying out military action against that part of the opposition, which accepted the terms of the truce.”

“The Syrian army, backed by the Russian Air-Space Forces, is fighting against the terrorists,” he stressed.

The top Russian diplomat said that “around the city of Aleppo, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has very strong positions and there’s quite a large area occupied by Al-Nusra Front.”

“Both terrorist groups are trying to improve their positions in the Aleppo area. They are, I stress once again, a legitimate target for those, fighting against terrorism in Syria,” he added.
‘Washington must bring Ankara to its senses’

Lavrov again urged the Syrian Kurds, who were very effective in fighting Islamic State, to be granted a seat at the intra-Syrian talks in currently underway in Geneva.

He stressed that the opposition delegation at the negotiations in the Swiss capital must of a “truly representative character.”

“This would require out US partners to just bring to senses their Turkish allies, who are blocking the Democratic Union Party of Syrian Kurds (PYD) from joining the talks,” the FM said.

Turkey is also among the nations, who are pushing for the military solution in Syria counter to the international peace effort, Lavrov stressed.

“Despite the denial from Washington, there are many people, who wish to think about certain ‘Plan B’, if not in the heart of the Pentagon, then certainly in the [Middle Eastern, Western Asian] region,” he explained.

“In particular, I can mention Turkey, which doesn’t leave the attempts to intervene [into Syria] by force” and topple the country’s government of President Bashar Assad, the minister added.

Those, behind the ‘Plan B,’ are “counting on the collapse of the Syrian peace talks, which would allow pumping more arms into Syria for the inappeasable opposition so that it could solve the task of removing the government militarily,” he said.

The Russia-US brokered ceasefire kicked off in Syria on February 27 and was supported by various armed opposition groups, but excluded terrorists from Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front.
Lavrov also refuted rumors of secret talks on the fate of President Assad, calling them another attempt to derail the peace process in Syria.

“The claims that there is some sort of a secret negotiation channel and that, moreover, in the framework of this secret channel someone promised to decide the fate of Assad outside the framework of the intra-Syrian talks … are not true,” he said.

“It’s an attempt to disrupt the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, in which… it’s directly stated that only the Syrian people will determine the fate of Syria,” the FM added.

The minister also criticized the European Union for not trying to suppress what he called Turkey’s aggressive ambitions towards Syria.

He noted that Ankara repeatedly proposed various ideas of handling the Syrian crisis, such as introducing no-fly zones or security zones, which were nothing but “attempts to cover up possible Turkish aggression.”

According to Lavrov, it is “very disturbing that the EU… doesn’t suppress such ambitions by Ankara and even tries to indulge it in a certain way.”

April 19, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US-Turkey-Saudi Arabia Arm Terrorists With Surface-to-Air Missiles in Syria

Sputnik – April 7, 2016

On Tuesday, Islamist rebels shot down a Syrian plane, the second such incident in less than a month, and captured the pilots. Inquiries are being made at the highest level as to how the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, has come into possession of advanced Western surface-to-air missiles.

Loud & Clear’s Brian Becker sat down with Institute of Islamic Thought director Zafar Bangash on Thursday to discuss the developing situation in Syria and whether access to this weaponry will undermine Syrian air superiority.

Where are al-Qaeda affiliates getting these advanced weapons?

“According to the information that has emerged, it was al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria,” explained Bangash. He speculated that the missiles were sold to the extremist group by Turkey and paid for by Saudi Arabia, in a continuing effort to overthrow the Assad regime. He suggested that the Americans have a hand in it as well, saying, “the United States has always been involved in providing these weapons, even if not directly.”

The plane shot down on Tuesday was over Aleppo, an al-Nusra and Daesh stronghold. Why is that significant?

“Aleppo is the only major city that has been under the control of al-Nusra or Daesh,” explained Bangash. “The Syrian Army was making progress along with Hezbollah fighters and Iran’s revolutionary guards backed by the Russian Air Force and have been inching towards Aleppo.”

Bangash elaborated that the capture of Aleppo by rebel forces is significant, due to it being the largest city in Syria, and formerly the country’s financial hub. “It is even larger than Damascus, so obviously the terrorist groups and their backers will put up a tough fight not to lose it,” said Bangash.

Does terrorist access to anti-aircraft technology deprive the Syrian army of air supremacy?

“Not completely. I don’t think it will prove a game-changer because Russia is still there,” said Bangash. “These terrorists can cause some damage and some threat to the Syrian air force, and I am sure that the Syrian air force will change their tactics.”

Nonetheless, Russia’s continued presence in the fight against extremist militants will continue to keep rebel groups on their heels as allied forces march towards Aleppo. “Russian air force planes carried out a number of operations last week,” said Bangash. “Further, per the ceasefire agreement between Russia and the US, the terrorist groups were specifically excluded from the ceasefire, so Russia has no obligation whatsoever to avoid attacking these groups.”

Has the US presence in Syria benefitted the extremist organizations?

“Yes,” said Bangash who explained that, since 2005, the Americans along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey have had their eyes on ousting Assad from controlling Syria. “If the Syrian people don’t want Assad, that is for the Syrian people to decide, it isn’t for the United States or any other country to decide.”

He said that he “thinks it is very clear that the US wants to bring down the government of Bashar al-Assad, and that is why the Americans are talking about increasing their special forces in Syria.” Bangash said that the US presence has never been welcomed by the Syrian government. “They have not been given permission by the Syrian government and that is in violation of international law and the UN Charter.”

In contrast, Bangash says that the Russian government came in to maintain the stability of the current Syrian regime, and prevent the country from becoming a failed state, similar to Libya following the ouster of Muammar Gadhafi. “Russia went there with permission of the legitimate government, but the US is there illegally,” he stressed.

April 8, 2016 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , , | 2 Comments