Syrian Army secures major advance in jihadist stronghold

28/06/2017

BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:10 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed their offensive operations in the jihadist stronghold of ‘Ayn Tarma, Wednesday, following the rejection of reconciliation terms from the Faylaq Al-Rahman militants in east Damascus.

Led by their elite 105th Brigade of the Republican Guard, the Syrian Arab Army scored a major advance in ‘Ayn Tarma, today, when they captured at least 18 points near the Sunbul Fuel Station.

According to an Al-Masdar field correspondent, the Syrian Arab Army seized the points around the Sunbul Fuel Station, while also advancing near the ‘Ayn Tarma Garage.

Currently, the Syrian Arab Army is attempting to cutoff the most important supply route to ‘Ayn Tarma from the Jobar District; this path is located at southern part of the town.

Meanwhile, in the Jobar District, the Syrian Arab Army captured several points in the Taybah District near the Great Mosque, inflicting heavy damage on the jihadist defenses in the process.

A source told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday that the Syrian Arab Army will not halt their field operations in Jobar until the entire district is cleared.

 

Drone footage of the Syrian Army’s offensive in east Damascus

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:15 P.M.) – Drone footage showed smoke billowing over the Ain Tarma area in east Damascus as Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops carried out strikes against al-Qaeda-linked Liberation of the Levant Committee [Hayat Tahrir al-Sham] and allied militants, Tuesday.

 Recently, the Syrian Arab Army has intensified their attacks in the key town of Ain Tarma, following failed negotiations with the militants in the area.

The Syrian Arab Army has once again issued a warning to the jihadist rebels in Ain Tarma, advising them to surrender in exchange for possible amnesty or safe passage from the town.

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Venezuela Resists U.S. Sabotage

Berta Joubert-Ceci, workers.org

Monday, Jun 12, 2017

Never before has the Venezuelan Bolivarian process faced such a dangerous threat as it does today. This is true even though U.S. imperialism and its collaborators in Venezuela have imposed a continuous siege on the country ever since Hugo Chávez became president in 1999. Their hostile actions included a coup d’état, which was quickly defeated, and sabotage of Venezuela’s nationalized oil company.

Now that campaign has intensified and includes the possibility of direct military intervention to achieve their goal of “regime change.” For the last two months those opposing the revolutionary process, led mainly by the so-called Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), have committed violent actions daily. Fascist acts of terror These criminal acts have been directed with surgical accuracy against people identified as pro-Chavista. The reactionaries have targeted state establishments, too. The criminals have burned or destroyed everything — from entire fleets of public buses and offices of the government party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), to maternity and children’s hospitals.

They recently burned down Chávez’s childhood home. These terrorists have already killed about 60 people. Their cruelty is unimaginable, as is their terrible racist character. After identifying a young Afro-Venezuelan as a Chavista, the criminals set him on fire, chased him and then stabbed him. When some women from the wealthy sector of Altamira in Caracas saw an Indigenous woman, a well-known artist, they shouted at her, insulted her, and kicked and hit her with flag poles. Paid criminal gangs and Colombian paramilitaries are also involved in these terrorist acts. The Venezuelan government denounced the use of children in these attacks to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).(Diario Octubre, May 25) It is important to emphasize that although the corporate media present these terrorist acts as chaos at the national level, they are generally limited to the areas where the mayor’s or governor’s office is in the reactionary opposition’s hands. In the neighborhoods where poor people live, they are not joining in these acts of terror.

The attacks against the Bolivarian revolution have taken place not just inside Venezuela, but the country’s embassies and consulates have been targeted as well, including the consulate in New York City. Physical attacks or insults have been leveled against Venezuelans and other people who are seen as being in solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela, such as filmmaker Oliver Stone. Washington’s hostile plans Through the Organization of American States and its president, Luis Almagro, the U.S. has mounted an international campaign to impose the so-called “OAS Democratic Charter” on Venezuela and to involve other countries in its hostile plans. This is particularly true regarding Colombia.

A few days after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with U.S. President Donald Trump on May 18, Santos ordered the army to deploy its armored tanks to the Venezuelan border. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez immediately denounced this provocation by the neighboring country. Trump’s meetings with key Venezuelan opposition figures have also exposed U.S. assistance to these forces. He met with Julio Borges, opposition president in Venezuela’s National Assembly, and with Lilian Tintori, spouse of Leopoldo López, currently imprisoned for inciting violent protests in 2014 that caused 43 deaths. Violence inside Venezuela increased significantly after the meetings with Trump. Corporate news reports, especially by CNN’s Spanish network, blame President Nicolás Maduro for the violence, calling it “state repression.” Faced with this false news, Workers World/Mundo Obrero interviewed a leader of the famous Neighborhood 23 de Enero (January 23), to gain a view of how working-class communities are assessing the situation and acting. The people’s voice Juan Contreras is a member of the Simón Bolívar Coordinadora, a grass-roots social organization that has supported the Bolivarian process for 18 years. He was a deputy in the National Assembly.

The January 23 Neighborhood is of vital importance in the revolutionary historical process. The Cuartel de la Montaña, where Commander Chávez is buried, is located there. To put the current situation in context, Contreras told Workers World: “What happens today in Venezuela involves a counteroffensive that the Yankee empire has been promoting.” He listed the right-wing coups that overthrew progressive governments in Paraguay and Honduras and the ouster of Brazil’s former President Dilma Rousseff. “And what is still missing?” he asked. “The crown jewel, Venezuela. For more than two decades, since Hugo Chávez became the ‘bad example.’ Thanks to the Bolivarian Process, these processes have spread to the Caribbean and Latin America and been established in Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador. The Sandinistas returned in Nicaragua. Cuba remains the moral and ethical beacon for our peoples. “The Bolivarian Process spread to our Latin America and Caribbean, and today the U.S. empire wants to end all these processes.” Contreras emphatically declares the hostile forces in Venezuela to be counterrevolutionaries, not just opponents.

He compares the current situation with “what happened in Nicaragua with the counterrevolution sponsored by the U.S. empire, which armed the ‘contras’ at the border, and sabotaged the work in the factories and the planting of the fields [agriculture] from within the ministries.” Resistance to the attacks “[This] is financed by the empire. They just approved more than $500 million for the counterrevolution,” Contreras continued. “Even though there is scarcely half a year left until the general elections, they are determined to demand elections now. What is now underway in Venezuela is a massive subversive process, trying to wear people down, and aimed at the overthrow of the Bolivarian process. But the people here are resisting the empire’s attacks.” Contreras explained, “[The contras] are using economic warfare, hiding food and medicine.” He also mentioned the media war that attempts to portray Venezuela as a failed state, a “narco-state,” with an alleged “humanitarian crisis” meant to justify foreign intervention. “The empire believes this is the moment for the final thrust because there is no Commander Chávez.

But President Maduro cannot be Commander Chávez. He must carry on with his own leadership style.” Former U.S. President Barack Obama declared Venezuela a “threat to the U.S.,” noted Contreras. “But it’s such nonsense to say that Venezuela is a threat to the principal imperialist power of the world. “But the people here are still betting on this revolution, which has helped the 80 percent excluded during the Fourth Republic [pre-1999] to have access to health care and education,” he stressed. Maduro calls for a Constituent Assembly “President Maduro, aiming for peace, has called for a Constituent Assembly in the framework of the failure of dialogue between the opposition and the government.” Contreras believes that during the dialogue “the possibility of reaching any agreement was zero because only the government and the counterrevolutionaries were present.

There was no direct participation of the people, our workers, Indigenous people, peasants, students, people of the neighborhoods. The shirtless, the toothless, the ones the bourgeoisie does not want. They are the ones who were missing at the discussion table. That’s why it was condemned to fail. “The Constituent Assembly is a great meeting of a national character where people’s representatives dictate the guidelines that should mark the coexistence between governed and governor. The popular sectors have the hope of achieving peace through this Constituent Assembly. “But,” Contreras warned, “if that Constituent Assembly does not have the presence of the people, it will be a complete failure. There can be no favoritism; you cannot impose the individuals you want. The people who go there must be those who have maintained this process for 18 years. Because they are the ones who know what are the problems affecting the Bolivarian process. Legality is one thing, but our people have the political knowledge. That is why there should be a people-based Constituent Assembly.

It has to be the people [the poor] who design the path to follow.” Contreras also suggested that members of the Constituent Assembly must not have held public office for at least two years. The Constituent Assembly, Contreras pointed out, in seeking to include measures not now in the Constitution, such as appropriate punishment of perpetrators of terrorism, must also include punishment for those who commit acts of corruption. He gives an example of those who — after stealing from the people, using the cheapest dollars granted by the government to import essential products — did not fulfill that obligation. They only brought part of the products into the country and kept the rest of the money. They went abroad to live and then returned to Venezuela without being punished. How can the people be included in the Constituent Assembly? “This is a class struggle and my class is one of those at the bottom,” stressed Contreras. “We must now allow the people to express themselves. From below, we want a Constitution that protects the Revolution and allows building on the theme of peace, not to where those fascist sectors want us to go.”

To include the people in the Constituent Assembly, Contreras explained, “We are holding assemblies across the country where the people discuss the issues. Here in the 23rd de Enero we have already held two. The 23rd is divided into organized sectors. In one sector we held a forum with a constitutional lawyer to which 325 people came. This was under the difficult conditions in which the country finds itself. There are 13 sectors in the neighborhood (parish), and we will visit it sector by sector to hold debates on the Constituent Assembly. Then we will hold a larger assembly where all the sectors and all the organizations that are part of the 23rd come. “The life of the [revolutionary] process itself is at stake in this Constituent Assembly. The possibility that an alternative model can be developed in Latin America and the Caribbean is at stake. “These debates are taking place in the factories, in the fields, in the universities. They are responding to President Maduro’s call for a discussion. “In contrast with neoliberal models, where they bet on the individual, here we bet on the construction of an alternative model with new values within society, values of solidarity, and for moving forward to build a different economic, social and political model. “I believe that this is the path that Comandante Chávez told us to build — the communal state as a transitional process for advancing Bolivarian socialism.”
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The US Gov’t Killed More Civilians This Month Than All Terrorist Attacks in Europe Over the Last 12 Years

The US Gov’t Killed More Civilians This Month Than All Terrorist Attacks in Europe Over the Last 12 Years

In the last 12 years, terrorist attacks in Europe have killed 459 civilians. The U.S. killed at least 472 civilians in Syria, just in the last month.

Every time a terrorist attack occurs in Europe, it is met with an abundance of media coverage, and each victim is mourned by the public on a grand scale. However, the concern for the loss of innocent life appears to be almost nonexistent when the United States kills more civilians in one month than terrorist attacks in Europe have killed in the last 12 years.

A group monitoring the Syrian conflict reported on Friday that airstrikes launched by the United States-led coalition in Syria have killed 472 civilians from May 23 to June 23.

In the last 30 days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the provinces with the largest death tolls were Deir Ezzor with 222 civilian deaths, including 84 children, and Raqqa with 250 civilian deaths, including 53 children. The Observatory also noted that the latest figure is more than double the previous month, which was around 225 civilian deaths.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, the U.S.-led coalition entered the city of Raqqa for the first time on June 6, in the name of driving out the Islamic State. However, the first few days of the offensive resulted in reports of the coalition using a cluster of airstrikes including illegal chemicals such as white phosphorus on a city with a population of around 200,000 people.

While the U.S. claims its purpose is to defeat ISIS, its actions have been questionable. As Americans celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday, the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane that was targeting the militants. In response, Russia announced that it is halting cooperation with the U.S. and its allies.

Just before the dramatic increase in airstrikes, a terrorist attack killed 22 people in Manchester, England, on May 22. Not surprisingly, the Islamic State was eager to take responsibility for the attack

Secretary of Defense James Mattis used the attack to justify the increase on May 28, claiming that the U.S. had “accelerated” the tactics it was using in Iraq and Syria and is now using a policy of “annihilation.”

“Manchester’s tragic loss underscores the purpose of your years of study and training at this elite school. We must never permit murderers to define our time or warp our sense of normal. This is not normal … Our strategy right now is to accelerate the campaign against Isis. It is a threat to all civilized nations. And the bottom line is we are going to move in an accelerated and reinforced manner, throw them on their back foot. We have already shifted from attrition tactics, where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them. Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate.”

The Manchester Attack is just one example of a loss of innocent life that has been exploited by western media and used for political gain. The loss of 22 innocent lives in England was used by the U.S. to justify going on to take nearly 500 innocent lives that have been blatantly ignored by the media.

Following the Manchester Attack, an attack near London Bridge in June killed eight civilians, bringing the total up to 30 deaths so far in 2017.

In 2016, terrorist attacks in Germany, France and Belgium killed 130 civilians.

In 2015, terrorist attacks in France and Macedonia killed 155 civilians.

In 2011, terrorist attacks in Norway and Belarus killed 92 civilians.

In 2005, a terrorist attack in England killed 52 civilians.

When looking at the last 12 years in Europe, terrorist attacks have taken the lives of 459 civilians. That is still less than the at least 472 civilians that were killed by the U.S. in Syria, just in the last month.

Despite the fact that Americans’ tax dollars are funding the war that has created the sharp increase in civilian deaths, the overwhelming concern that exists among the media and U.S. politicians when it comes to the loss of innocent life in Europe, has been virtually nonexistent when it comes to the loss of innocent life in Syria

Time for Another False Flag Chemical Weapons Attack in Syria

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By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | June 27, 2017

The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.

— Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, June 26, 2017

Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.

— George  Bush, Sept. 17, 2002

The White House statement raises a number of questions. Who has identified the “potential preparations”? No reference is given, not even a source agency.  Does the information come from intelligence sources? Apparently the Pentagon had not even been informed. What is “potential information” and how does it compare with real information?

Of course, the White House has its own direct sources.  The Syrian opposition groups who met with John Kerry, Michael Ratney and Jon Finer at the UN in September, 2016 are tight with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, and would be happy to provide a pretext for another US strike on Syria. No real evidence is required, but they would be happy to fabricate it nonetheless.

Can anyone cite a case of the use, or even the alleged use, of chemical weapons in Syria that has been to the strategic advantage of the Syrian government or its forces? The fact is that every incident has been to their disadvantage, and invariably a pretext for US intervention.  Why then, would they use it, especially when they hadn’t done so before Obama drew his famous “red line”?

To the contrary, when British intelligence analyzed traces of the gas, they found it to be inconsistent with samples of Syrian government stocks. Furthermore, Turkish sources have reported the delivery of chemical weapons to opposition fighters. Distinguished MIT researchers Lloyd and Postol demonstrated definitively that the 2013 CW attack in Ghouta could not have come from Syrian government forces.

Similarly, Postol demonstrated multiple inconsistencies in the reports of the April 4, 2017 Khan Sheikhoun attack.  More recently, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh uncovered the inside story on that attack, to the effect that US Defense Department sources knew that there were no chemical weapons used in the Syrian Air Force bombing attack on Khan Sheikhoun, and that to the extent that toxic gases caused casualties in that attack, it was the result of what the al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham fighters had stored at the site or had deployed as a false flag event, for the purpose of precipitating US intervention.

Postol warned at the time that without proper corroboration of Syrian government culpability, a US attack would motivate the terrorist constructors of the false flag to replicate more such incidents.  In this context, the White House statement, based solely on vague allegations, can be interpreted as the start to a manipulation of public perception, so that an upcoming false flag event can appear to be a corroboration of the initial suspicions.

Such are the workings of what military and security forces call “securocratic wars” and specifically “security-based framing”.  This is jargon for what used to be called propaganda, but which is now an integrated part of military and security planning for the control of public perception.1

There is plenty of reason for the White House to welcome such a pretext to attack Syria again.  The approval ratings for the Trump Administration have never been higher, nor the press more approving, than when US warships fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shu’ayrat Air Field two days after the Khan Sheikhoun attack.  Given the unpopularity and failure of Trump’s domestic initiatives, it is easy to see how he might be tempted to employ similar death and destruction to boost his image again.

Of course, such actions risk a dangerous confrontation with Russia on the Syrian battlefield.  Russia has already threatened to target US aircraft and has suspended coordination of flights over the shooting down of a Syrian jet fighter. But Trump is not averse to risk.  We should therefore not be surprised to see another false flag killing of innocents blamed on the Syrian military in order to embroil the US further in an illegal war where we don’t belong.

  1. Halper, War Against the People, chapter 3. []

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement. Read other articles by Paul.

US fighting Israel’s proxy war against Iran

US fighting Israel’s proxy war against Iran

In September 2015, former US vice-president Joe Biden told his Jewish audience at Ahavath Achim synagogue in Atlanta: “The only thing that would satisfy (US-Iran nuclear) deal opponents including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is “a regime change” that could only come with US power.”

On July 7, 2015, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former White House adviser under Nixon administration, in a post on his blog wrote that the nuclear weapons fabrication has always been a cloak for Washington’s real intention, which is to bring a (pro-USrael) regime change to Iran, whether from outside or inside, and return Iran to its previous status of a vassal state of the West. The Western imperialists never forgive those who escape or throw off their clutches.

In April, 2015, defense ministers of both Iran and Syria had claimed that ISIS is running a proxy war for the US and Israel in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen which is directed against Iran.

In March 2017, during his visit to Baghdad, Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the US and Israel are planning a war with Iran and Hizbullah (watch below).

On June 10, 2017, professor James Petras (St. Mary University, Halifax, Canada) wrote that the US-led regime change in Iran will facilitate Israel’s final seizer of Palestine including Jerusalem, and establish Tel Aviv as the dominant regional power in the Middle East (Read [PDF]).

Every government is engaged in selling a product, which is its own self-justifying view of what it does and how it does it. But the largely clandestine Israeli effort to influence American opinion is unique in that it comes from a country which receives more than $3 billion annually from the US taxpayer. We Americans are therefore paying to be propagandized by people working for a foreign government who often pretend to be our fellow citizens but are not. What is occurring is essentially an intelligence operation directed against the United States, something that the CIA would have run back in the 1970s and 1980s. That Israel can continue to reap huge amounts of aid and political cover from Washington while it is actively working to make sure that Americans are poorly informed about the Middle East reveals more than anything the corruption of our political class and media, both of which appear to be ready to sell out for thirty shekels to anyone with the cash in hand. Time to drain the swamp, indeed,” says Philip Giraldi, June 27, 2017

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT: We have never used chemical weapons (unlike the USA)

SOURCE

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | June 27, 2017

Syria responds to false allegations from the United States that American actors cite as the pretext for an attack on Syria.

Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar has confirmed what much of the world already knows to be true, that Syria has never used chemical weapons.

He stated,

“Damascus has never used and will never use such weapons”.

He described the most recent US threats against Syria which imply that Syria is readying a chemical attack as part of a “diplomatic battle” against Syria at the United Nations.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed as recently as 2016 that the Syrian Arab Republic does not possess any chemical weapons

Al-Qaeda forces in the Golan Heights in retreat despite help from israel

Israeli airstrikes fail to propel Al-Qaeda forces in the Golan Heights

The Al-Qaeda lined rebels received a big boost from the Israeli Air Force these last 72 hours, as the latter has carried out at least three different attacks against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Golan Heights region of Al-Quneitra.With the Syrian Air Force grounded, the jihadist rebels attempted to bully their way through several different fronts in the Golan Heights; however, every attack has ended with their forces sustaining heavy casualties and significant damage to their military equipment.

The latest attack by the jihadist rebels targeted the strategic hilltop of Tal Ahmar, which is located near the U.N. ceasefire zone in the Golan Heights.

Despite repeated attempts to fight their way uphill, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham were forced to retreat from Tal Ahmar and abandon their military equipment that was later seized by the Syrian Arab Army.

All-in-all, the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham offensives in the Golan Heights have produced little gains and a great loss of life to their military ranks, opening the possibility for a government counter-offensive near Al-Hamadiyah and Al-Samdaniyah Al-Gharbiyah.

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