Syrian War Report – January 17, 2017: ISIS Developing Advance In Deir Ezzor

January 17, 2017

On January 16, ISIS terrorists split the government-held pocket in Deir Ezzor into two separate parts, capturing Wadi An Nishan, Jiraiya, the al-Maqabis production area and the workers area. This move allowed ISIS units to encircle the strategic Deir Ezzor Airport controlled by Syrian army troops.

Early on January 17, ISIS units advanced on the cemetery and captured a bus station north of it. The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) launched a counter-attack in the area of the cemetery but without notable results. Intense fighting is still ongoing there.

The close deployment of ISIS tactical units and vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft guns reportedly does not allow aircraft to operate from the Deir Ezzor Airbase, cutting off air movement of supplies there.

Local sources report a high number of Russian and Syrian airstrikes against ISIS targets – over 100 only on January 17. However, the situation is very complicated for pro-government forces.

The so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces”, an YPG-led force backed up by the US-led coalition, said in a statement on January 16 that the second phase of the Operation Warth of Euphrateus successfully finished. According to the statement, YPG forces seized from ISIS 2480 square kilometers, including 197 villages, and killed some 260 ISIS terrorists in the province of Raqqah. The SDF statement added that 42 SDF fighters were killed and claimed that the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah was isolated from the western and northern axis.

The provided number of ISIS casualties per one liberated village clearly showed that the terrorist group had not been attempting to defend its areas in the Raqqah countryside and had been preparing for a long defense in the area close to its stronghold. The same strategy was implemented by the terrorists in Mosul.

Meanwhile, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham units attacked government forces at the Mallah Farms north of the city of Aleppo, engaging army troops in a series of firefights. While no gains were made by the terrorists, this move was described as indication of the fact that the so-called “moderate opposition” could attempt to use a tense situation near Palmyra and Deir Ezzor to launch an advance against government forces at other fronts.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Saudi King Sanctioned Chemical Weapons Use in Syria

BY Steven Sahiounie

UK Blocks EU Support For israel-Palestine Peace Talks

UK Blocks EU Support For Israel-Palestine Peace Talks

UK Blocks EU Support For Israel-Palestine Peace Talks

US Secretary of State John Kerry shares a laugh with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, right, as they take part with other foreign ministers and representatives in a family picture during a Mideast peace conference in Paris, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AP)

(REPORT) — The UK has moved to block an EU decision to support the closing statement of the Israel-Palestine peace conference in Paris, a day after it refused to sign the conference’s closing statement backing the two-state solution.

The move at the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, described as “highly irregular” by Haaretz, comes a day after the country refused to sign the closing statement, which was designed to relaunch stalled negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis over a two-state solution.

Britain said that the statement risked “hardening positions”, particularly as neither of the parties affected was present at the conference.

“We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them – indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis – and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American president when the US will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

“There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace.”

Neither the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson or the UK ambassador to France took part in the conference, instead sending a low-ranking diplomat.

According to Haaretz, the concluding statement of the Paris conference called on Palestinians and Israelis to “officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution, thus disassociating themselves from voices that reject this solution,” and to “independently demonstrate, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution,” while refraining from “unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final status issues, including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees.”

The statement was watered down from the original statement presented by the French on Saturday and made no reference of using the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations, nor did it call all the participants to consistently distinguish between Israel and the settlements, reported Haaretz.

It also originally called on the Israelis and Palestinians to “disavow official voices on their side” who opposed a two-state solution.

Around 70 countries attending Sunday’s talks in Paris agreed on the joint statement which contained no enforcement mechanisms should either side break the agreement.



Saeb Erekat, an ally of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the conference as creating “momentum” towards ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, which has been ongoing since 1967.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denounced the Paris conference as another useless attempt at an international “diktat”, arguing that only direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations can lead to peace.

For the Netanyahu government, eight years of frosty relations with the Obama administration culminated with the 23 December United Nations Security Council resolution condemning settlements as a roadblock to peace. The US abstained on the vote, allowing it to pass.

Netanyahu said on Sunday he was waiting for President-elect Donald Trump, who has said there is no politician as pro-Israeli as him, to enter the Oval Office.

The Paris conference was one of the “last spasms of yesterday’s world”, according to the Israeli premier. “Tomorrow will look different and tomorrow is very close.”

Hamas also rejected the outcome of the conference, branding it “absurd”

“The Paris conference is a return to the absurd negotiation approach, which lost the rights of the Palestinian people and gave legitimacy to the Zionist entity on Palestinian land,” Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, said in a statement on Monday.

Hamas rules the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinian Authority led by president Abbas controls the West Bank and is the recognised partner for peace negotiations with Israel.

Barhoum called for the various Palestinian factions to unite on a “national strategy” around the “resistance in defence of our people.”

Genocide In Yemen: Media Complicit In USA-Saudi War Crimes

Genocide In Yemen: Media Complicit In US-Saudi War Crimes


Writer and political analyst Catherine Shakdam shines a light on the routinely under-reported crisis in Yemen, telling Mnar Muhawesh on ‘Behind the Headline’ what’s really motivating the Saudi-led, US-backed war on the most impoverished country on the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemen has been devastated by asymmetrical aerial bombardment by a Saudi-led coalition, and the war on Yemen, along with a Saudi-imposed blockade, is having disastrous impacts on food and water security.

The United Nations reported in October that more than half of Yemen’s 28 million people are short of food. At least 1.5 million children are going hungry in the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, including 370,000 who are suffering from malnutrition so severe that it’s weakening their immune systems.

And the Saudi-led attacks continue, striking Yemen’s hospitals, which are running out of medicine. All the while, these attacks have continued to receive backing from the United States and the United Kingdom since they began on March 26, 2015.

Even The New York Times admits that the deadly Saudi project in Yemen couldn’t go on without U.S. support.

But the Obama administration has said that while they may start halting some arms sales to Saudi Arabia, they’ll push ahead with training the Gulf kingdom’s air force to improve targeting.

The people of Yemen are without food, water, medicine, and fuel. The death toll in Yemen is so high that the Red Cross has started donating morgues to hospitals. And if that weren’t enough, the military campaign has not only empowered al-Qaida to step into a vulnerable situation, it’s actually made the group richer, according to Reuters.

Still, the Saudi government continues to block any kind of diplomatic resolution in Yemen. Riyadh even threatened to cut funding to the U.N. over its inclusion on a list of children’s rights offenders, effectively weaponizing humanitarian aid.

Yet the crisis unfolding in Yemen goes routinely under-reported in mainstream media. Hard-hitting coverage is kept to a minimum by those controlling the narrative — namely, outlets loyal to the U.S. and its allies which are enabling these atrocities.

Here to discuss the crisis in Yemen and what this war is really about is Catherine Shakdam, a political analyst, author, and director of programs with the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies. She is also an expert on Yemen. “A Tale Of Grand Resistance: Yemen, The Wahhabi And The House Of Saud,” is her latest book, and in it she explores that real story of resistance against Saudi Arabia’s influence on the impoverished state.

Learn more about fake news and about the forgotten genocide in Yemen on the full episode of the Behind the Headline:

Be Sociable, Share!

Thanks to Trump, Germany, and hopefully EU, may finally declare independence from the USA’s warmongering & refugee creating policies

Stung by Trump Germans Grow Teeth, Blame US for Refugee Crisis

Trump is the perfect villain who may finally spark a German declaration of independence from the Empire

Trump might just turn out to be the cure to Germans’ spinelessnes. Speaking to a German daily earlier this week the man to be sworn in as POTUS this Friday wondered if US’ NATO alliance with Western Europeans was not outdated, explained he has no great love of the European Union, and characterized Merkel’s immigration policy as a catasthrophic mistake for Germany.

The German leadership must have been quite stung by Trump’s unflattering comments seeing how they’ve reacted in a most uncharacteristic manner — by growing some teeth themselves.

Their foreign minister went on a counter-offensive dismissing American cars as trash and telling Trump to shut up because it was his nation which caused the damn refugee crisis in the first place:

“There is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the refugee crisis, that’s why my advice would be that we shouldn’t tell each other what we have done right or wrong, but that we look into establishing peace in that region and do everything to make sure people can find a home there again.”

So I guess we’re no longer hilariously blaming Russia for that one?

In any case it’s nice to see US’ biggest European satrapy showing signs of growing a backbone.

Not to be outdone by her Social-Democrat foreign minister the Christian-Democrat Merkel oulied an ambitious vision of the future where she fights Trump for principles of liberalism and trade:

“We can’t let anyone divide us,” she said.

“We’ve got to fight this battle, if for no other reason than principle,” Merkel said, referring to Germany’s commitment to the free trade, and asking German business to “join her in defending liberal democracy and trade”, saying “in every generation one has to fight for one’s ideals.”

“I’m ready for that,” 

In other words, with an eye to this year’s elections, German politicians are suddenly competing over who will stand up to Washington more, and even laying out ideological generational struggles they want to fight against Trump’s DC.

Trump then might be the perfect villain and catalyst to turn these toadies into statesmen worth their salt.


PS.: Of course it was US which created the migrant crisis with its intervention in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq. To their credit the Germans, even under the very pro-Washington Merkel, sat out NATO’s Libya war (but were very active in Afghanistan for a time).

Also to be fair to the Germans, after promoting unrest in Kiev that eventually snowballed into a civil war, they — unlike the US whose role was limited solely to pouring gasoline on fire — also helped negotiate the Minsk peace deals for Ukraine (but then failed to insist Kiev actually implements it).

Russia looking to clear Libya of terrorists groups just as they did in Syria



TUNIS A visit to a Russian aircraft carrier by Libya’s Khalifa Haftar has given the eastern–based commander a symbolic boost while also signaling Moscow’s interest in a greater role in the region following its intervention in Syria.

Haftar is a figurehead for east Libyan factions who harbors national ambitions, and his renewed engagement with Russia comes at a time when the U.N.-supported government in Tripoli that he has shunned is once more in crisis.

Russian support could embolden Haftar in making a play for power in Tripoli, a move likely to fuel conflict and represent a major setback for genuine unity government in Libya.

Western states say the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) provides the best chance of reversing Libya’s slide into anarchy and warfare.

But as splits and resistance have weakened the GNA in the capital, Haftar has gained momentum in the east, with support from foreign allies who back his fight against Islamist groups.

He enjoys close ties to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and has cultivated his friendship with Russia, visiting Moscow twice last year to ask for help in his anti-Islamist campaign.

His tour of the Admiral Kuznetsov in the Mediterranean on Wednesday was Russia’s most overt show of support to date.

In a video-conference call from the ship reported by Russian media, Haftar and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the fight against “terrorist groups”, also one of Moscow’s stated targets in its Syria campaign.

Haftar’s advisers declined to comment on the aircraft carrier visit and what it might mean for relations with Russia.

But following its intervention in Syria, Russia sees Libya as a way to anchor its return to the Middle East, said Alexei Malashenko, the chief researcher at Dialogue of Civilizations Institute, a think-tank with close ties to the Russian leadership.

“One single Syria is not enough. That’s why we need one more state for the Russian presence not only in Syria but generally in the Middle East. Libya is a convenient territory for it. It’s complete chaos and you can always say that Russia helps to fight terrorism.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin may also take an interest in restoring his country’s influence in Libya, analysts say. Before he was overthrown, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had been a long-standing Russian ally and Putin opposed the NATO campaign that helped to topple him.

Russia did not use its U.N. Security Council veto to block the resolution authorizing military action, and Putin, who was out of presidential office at the time, took the risk of demonstrating a split in Russian leadership by publicly criticizing it.


Russia has outwardly backed U.N. mediation in Libya, and says it will abide by an arms embargo on the country. But it could eventually stand to recover billions of dollars worth of weapons and energy deals lost when Gaddafi lost power in 2011.

A parliament and government in eastern Libya that are allied to Haftar have no direct control over oil revenues. But they have maintained rival branches of the central bank, which has had Libyan dinars printed in Russia, and the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which has tried unsuccessfully to circumvent U.N. resolutions and sell oil independently of Tripoli.

“We hope for a return of the Russian state to its role as a support of Libya’s armed forces, which have been abandoned by most countries in their war against terrorism,” said Abdallah Bilhaq, a spokesman for the eastern parliament, citing some $4 billion in pre-2011 arms contracts.

Naji al-Maghrabi, appointed to head the NOC by the eastern government, told Reuters his office had signed 29 contracts, including recent ones with major states such as Russia and China. He did not give details.

So far, Russia’s support for Haftar appears to be mainly symbolic, said Karim Mezran, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, though that could change if Haftar tries to take Tripoli, as his opponents in western Libya fear he is actively preparing to do.

“If he is getting signs of possible tribes or groups or militias who are really ready to switch to his side he might take the Russian encouragement and move,” he said.

The GNA has been hamstrung by its failure to win endorsement from Haftar’s allies, and its leaders have appeared increasingly isolated and dependent on Western backing since arriving in Tripoli in March.

At the start of January, one of its deputy prime ministers resigned, citing a failure to unite rival factions and tackle a collapse in living standards.

On Thursday, the head of a self-declared government sidelined by the GNA claimed he had regained control over several ministry buildings.

A general electricity blackout in western and southern Libya, on top of chronic security and economic problems, has pushed public frustration to new highs.

Haftar, a one-time ally of Gaddafi who returned from exile to join the uprising that toppled him, has largely shunned attempts to shore up the U.N.-mediated deal that created the GNA just over a year ago, accusing the government of aligning itself with some of the Islamist-leaning forces that took control of Tripoli in 2014.

In the east, his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has been tightening its grip, ousting Islamist-led opponents from most of Benghazi, appointing military governors, and extending its control over oil facilities.

As the LNA’s profile has risen, Western envoys have begun to recognize its gains, while publicly insisting that the U.N. agreement is the only way to bring stability to Libya.

Hoping for more support for his anti-Islamist stance from incoming U.S. President Donald Trump, Haftar is positioning himself to talk to the new U.S. administration from a position of strength, said Mezran.

“He expects this political agreement to fail and in his mind he thinks the only solution will be a military takeover, and in the end he thinks the West will side with him,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Maria Tsvetkova in Moscow and Ayman al-Warfalli in Benghazi; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Russians will arm Libyan general Haftar in challenge to West, according to his aides – The Times & The Sunday Times

Libyan army commander Haftar signs $2 billion arms deal with Russia despite UN sanctions, according to Libya Express –

RAI TV reports that Haftar signed an agreement whereby Russia would build two military bases near Tobruk and Benghazi – Al Jazeera

Key NATO Commander: NATO Is Obsolete


Gen. Mercier Says NATO Too Focused on Deploying Troops Abroad

With most of the political leadership in other NATO member nations lash US President-elect Donald Trump for calling the alliance “obsolete,” he doesn’t appear to be alone, with top NATO commander Gen. Denis Mercier saying he agrees that there are parts of NATO which are absolutely obsolete.

Gen. Mercier is France’s Air Force Chief of Staff as well as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation, and says he believes NATO is far too focused on deploying troops abroad, and sending expeditionary forces into various countries, singling out Afghanistan in particular.

Mercier argued that NATO should revamp its anti-terror efforts to focus on helping countries develop their own long-term plans for counter-terrorism operations instead of just deploying NATO troops around the world.

The Supreme Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is meant to focus on future threats, and its express purpose is to modernize parts of NATO that are approaching obsolescence. It is not wholly surprising, then, that the commander would see significant parts of NATO that are obsolete, though the fact that he was willing to public affirm as much right now reflects a major break with the political leadership, which is desperate to present NATO as both relevant and irreplaceable

%d bloggers like this: