SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 13, 2017: GOVT FORCES PUT PRESSURE ON US-BACKED MILITANTS IN SOUTHERN DESERT

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The Syrian Army and its allies have been attempting to capture the Abu Khashbah area in the eastern Damascus desert.

On Wednesday, government troops advanced in the area south of Ar-Ruhba in order to close and encircle the area controlled by US-backed militants south of the al-Seen military airbase.

If government troops liberate the Abu Khashbah area and clear the militant pocket west of it, they will significantly shorten the frontline in southeastern Syria and make another important step in the isolation of US-held garrisons at the border with Iraq.

There is no evidence that ISIS Top Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, according to US Army Lt.  Gen.  Stephen Townsend who currently commands the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.  However, Townsend said that he cannot confirm that the top ISIS member is dead.  Since June, reports have been circulating that al-Baghadi was killed in a Russian air strike on an ISIS command post in the province of Raqqah in May.  Earlier this week, the Al Sumaria TV channel reported, citing its own source in Iraq, that ISIS had released an internal statement confirming the death of al-Baghdadi.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have repelled ISIS counter-attacks in the eastern and western parts of the city of Raqqah.

The SDF found 3 tunnels and 4 VBIEDs abandoned by ISIS members and destroyed at least 3 vehicles.

Intense fighting continued in Old Raqqah as the SDF attempted to develop momentum in the area.  However, US-backed fighters have not been able to break ISIS defense lines.

The SDF faces especially fierce resistance by ISIS in the Diriyah area.

US-led coalition airpower destroyed a part of the Abbasi Historic Wall in the Old Raqqa area, according to local sources.  The site was a part of the ISIS defense.

The US-backed Jaysh Maghawir Al-Thawra militant group operating in southeastern Syria has refused to work alongside another US-backed faction – the SDF, according to pro-militant sources.  Jaysh Maghawir Al-Thawra has allegedly denied that it intends to redeploy to the Shadadi area in the northern Syrian province of Hasaka and to participate alongside the SDF in the expected US-backed advance on Deir Ezzor.

Earlier this month, reports appeared that the US is going to build a military garrison at Shadadi with the aim to use it as a foothold for the anti-ISIS operation in the province of Deir Ezzor.

Related Videos

Related Articles

The (In)significance of Baghdadi Being “Dead”

Hopeful onlookers should recall how Bin Laden’s death was followed by the expansion of terrorism, not its defeat.



July 11, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Reports have once again emerged that the supposed leader of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed – possibly in a recent Russian airstrike in Syria.

News confirming the death of Baghdadi, would appear to have significant implications regarding the terrorist organization and its now global-spanning operations stretching from North Africa, across the Middle East and Central Asia, and even reaching into Southeast Asia as ISIS-linked militants continue to occupy a city in the south of the Philippines.

However, beyond the possibility of undermining the US rationale for maintaining a significant and growing military presence across regions of the planet inflicted with ISIS operations, Baghdadi’s death would have little to no impact at all on these actual operations.

ISIS is a State-Sponsored Militant Proxy – Not an Independent Organization 

ISIS is first and foremost a proxy military organization, created by and for the state sponsors that fuel it politically, financially, and militarily. As revealed in a 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document (PDF), these include the United States itself, its European partners, NATO-member Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan, as well as Israel.

The summation of ISIS’ fighting capacity stems from a torrent of cash, weapons, supplies, and military protection provided to the group, particularly in the establishment of safe havens within Turkey, Jordan, and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights where Syria and its allies are unable to strike.

Image: US presence in Syria is large and growing. It will only “pull the plug” on ISIS if it plans on replacing it with something more permanent. ISIS itself has many other “safe houses” worldwide to preserve itself in, courtesy of US foreign policy.

Within Syria itself, virtual safe havens have been likewise established by US and Turkish occupations, preventing Syria and its allies – including Russia and Iran – from fully rooting the organization from within Syria’s borders. On numerous occasions, Syrian forces have even come under direct US military attack while engaging ISIS militants.

Furthermore, as the US footprint in Syria expands, its need for ISIS as a pretext to build the necessary infrastructure to encircle and pressure Damascus with wanes. Replacing ISIS with something more permanent – such as US occupied “safe zones” Syrian forces and its allies cannot attack – appears to already be underway. “Pulling the plug” on ISIS in Syria would be of paramount political convenience, allowing ISIS fighters to redeploy to other “safe houses” US foreign policy has afforded them – particularly Libya and Afghanistan.

The death of a single figurehead – under these geopolitical conditions – would have virtually no impact on the organization. Only identifying, exposing, and disrupting the state-sponsorship of ISIS would impact its activities on the ground in any of the now numerous countries it is operating.

Bin Laden’s “Death” Followed by Al Qaeda’s Renascence

In many ways, the death of Al Qaeda’s supposed leader – Osama Bin Laden – was nothing more than America’s way of closing the book of “Al Qaeda the villain” and opening another where the villainous nature of Al Qaeda could be portrayed as somewhat more ambiguous – with its activities, agenda, and motives running parallel to that of Washington and its allies – and at times – cooperating with the West.

While many believed the death of Bin Laden would be followed by the fall of Al Qaeda, today the terrorist organization has standing armies in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, with the entire northern Syrian city of Idlib under its control and sections of Libya ruled by warlords tied to the terrorist organization, thrust into power by NATO’s 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.

There is also Al Qaeda’s lingering presence even in Afghanistan itself where the US is preparing to enter its seventeenth year of occupation allegedly aimed at preventing the Central Asian state from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorism – despite clearly being one at the moment.

ISIS Will Effortlessly Survive Baghdadi’s “Death”  

The elimination of these figureheads – whether it is Baghdadi or his predecessor Bin Laden – serves only to manipulate the narratives behind which geopolitical agendas unfold. The agendas themselves, along with the wealth and power driving them, require a much more robust and practical approach to challenge, obstruct, or defeat altogether.

The process of identifying the sources of wealth and power, as well as practical alternatives that can challenge and eventually replace them upon the geopolitical gameboard are the only means of truly defeating the sort of proxy terrorism Al Qaeda and ISIS represent. Before this takes place, more immediate, but costly and uncertain military operations like those currently underway by various nations around the globe including in Syria seek to isolate and eliminate proxy terrorism within their specific borders.

Such military campaigns are not only costly, but ultimately unsustainable if the root cause of proxy terrorism and the state sponsors perpetuating and exploiting it are not ultimately dealt with. As long as the true source of ISIS’ power remains intact in Washington, London, Brussels, Ankara, Riyadh, and Doha, ISIS itself will effortlessly survive Baghdadi’s otherwise insignificant passing.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Confirms Daesh Chief Baghdadi is Dead

June 30, 2017

Sputnik International reports:

The elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard verified the death of Daesh mastermind Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi “through multiple channels,” a representative said Thursday.

Ali Shirazi, a top Iranian cleric, told Asr-e Iran News Agency there is “no doubt” Baghdadi is deceased. Irib, Iranian media outlet, has posted photos of Baghdadi’s dead body. The man’s face resembles Baghdadi extremely closely.
Sputnik has learned that the photo is from 2015 and is actually a fake.
Reports have circulated for weeks that a Russian sortie may have eliminated al-Baghdadi during an airstrike on a suburb south of Raqqa, Syria.

“It is highly likely that Daesh leader al-Baghdadi was eliminated as a result of a Russian Aerospace Forces strike on the terrorists’ command post in the southern suburb of the city of Raqqa in late May this year,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik last week.Counterterrorism sources have noticed increased conflict within the ranks of Daesh over its top leadership spot, which analysts interpret as a signal that al-Baghdadi has been killed, Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov told Sputnik on June 29. “If he were alive, then as a demonstration of power and as a means of increasing war morale, a refutation would have already been announced,” Pushkov added.

On June 11, US officials told Voice of America they could not confirm that al-Baghdadi was killed in the strike. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation on June 29.
According to Islamabad-based analyst Nauman Sadiq,
“It is not in Washington’s interests right now to confirm the deaths of the Islamic State’s top leaders even if it has received credible reports of their deaths because the US troops and affiliated local militias have mounted offensives against the Islamic State’s strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa which have caused colossal loss of human lives.”
Al-Baghdadi gained worldwide notoriety for declaring a new caliphate in the Middle East in 2014. The al-Nuri mosque in Mosul, Iraq, where he proclaimed the caliphate, was liberated by Iraqi security forces on June 29, according to the Independent.”It’s now undeniable that reduced external support for the ‘rebels‘ was a critical turning point for really crushing ISIS,” said Max Abrahms, a political science professor at Northeastern University and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Report: ISIL Chief Forcing Foreign Militants to Choose Suicide Attacks in Mosul or Returning Home

Report: ISIL Chief Forcing Foreign Militants to Choose Suicide Attacks in Mosul or Returning Home
TEHRAN (FNA)- The ISIL chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has set an ultimatum on foreign militants in the Iraqi city of Mosul to either carry out suicide attacks against Iraqi security forces or return to their home countries, a source told local media on Monday.

The source told Al-Sumaria News that the ISIL leader also gave the militants the promise of going to heaven and being rewarded with 72 virgins, however the ISIL leader seems desperate to talk them into conducting suicide attacks, as they are, otherwise, destined to be executed with the ISIL group being known to harshly kill militants who try to leave the terrorist outfit.

However, it can also be assumed that convincing the terrorists to return to their home countries is for conducting terror attacks or initiating their own insurgencies, he said.

The take-it-or-leave-it offer to ISIL’s foreign militants comes as other reports said earlier that the terror outfit ringleader has demoted the group’s commanders in Eastern Mosul due to dramatic losses to Iraqi government forces over the past two weeks.

A source said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi withdrew the “emir” designation from all leaders of the militant group in the Eastern part of the city due to “delinquency and escaping” at battlefields in face of advancing Iraqi government troops.

“Baghdad has proscribed the occupation of any leading position by emirs in the Eastern section, and to instead deploy them to the frontlines as regular fighters as a sort of punishment,” said the source, who asked not to be identified.

Iraqi government forces, backed by a aircraft and advisers from a US-led military coalition, launched two weeks ago the second phase of a major campaign that started in October to retake Mosul from ISIL militants. Since then, reports have been recurrent about divisions, infighting and accusations of treason among the group’s leaderships.

Iraqi military and police commanders have said recently they became in control over 90 percent of the eastern region of Mosul, and hope to move onwards to the West, where ISIL still maintains outstanding strongholds, and where Baghdadi is widely believed to shelter.

Earlier this week, Iraqi troops have retaken the Mosul University campus, the most remarkable ISIL stronghold in Eastern Mosul.

Related Videos

ISIL Leader Baghdadi Losing Control of His Troops

November 3, 2016

ISIL Leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

ISIL group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is losing the ability to keep control of his troops as the battle for Mosul rages on, a US military official said Thursday.

ISIL earlier released an audio message purportedly of Baghdadi, in which he urged his ‘jihadi’ followers not retreat as Iraqi security forces continue their push toward Mosul.

Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led coalition attacking ISIL in Iraq and Syria, said the military had not officially verified the authenticity of the recording but noted it was “clearly” an effort for ISIL to communicate with fighters.

“One of the interesting things that we have seen in the English translation of this is that Baghdadi is saying, ‘Don’t fight amongst yourselves,’” Dorrian told reporters.

“This is the type of thing that a leader who is losing command and control and ability to keep everybody on the same page says. We don’t believe it is going to work.”

Rumors have abounded about the Iraqi ‘jihadist’ leader’s health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.

Source: AFP

ISIL’s Baghdadi Urges Mosul Militants to ‘Fight to the End’, Attack Saudi, Turkey

The leader of the Takfiri ISIL group broke a nearly year-long silence as Iraqi forces closed in on Mosul Thursday, urging his militants to hold their ground.

It was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s first statement since Iraqi forces launched a massive operation on October 17 to retake Mosul, where the ISIL chief declared the group’s “caliphate” two years ago.

“Do not retreat,” Baghdadi said in a purported message released by an ISIL-affiliated outlet. “Holding your ground with honor is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame.”

The “caliphate” has been shrinking steadily since last year and Iraqi forces earlier this week reached the outskirts of Mosul, the terrorists’ last major stronghold in Iraq.

If authentic, the recording entitled “This is what God and his messenger has promised us”, would be Baghdadi’s first since December 2015 and a rare sign of life.

Rumors have swirled about the Takfiri leader’s health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.

In his latest message, which is undated but makes reference to events that are at most a few weeks old, Baghdadi also calls for attacks against Saudi Arabia — a favorite target — and Turkey.

Ankara has troops stationed at a base just outside Mosul and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s escalating rhetoric has raised fears of a unilateral Turkish intervention in Iraq.

Baghdadi also said that his followers who could not travel to Syria or Iraq should aim for Libya and urged all ISIL insurgents to remain ‘united in adversity’.

Source: AFP

Related Video

 

 

The ‘Great Battle of Mosul’: How Hillary Clinton may be denied her ‘October Surprise’

Alexander Mercouris

Reports of a purge in Mosul suggest ISIS intends to defend the city in which Hillary Clinton may be denied her ‘October Surprise’.

Whilst the ‘Great Battle of Aleppo’ in Syria grinds towards the inevitable government victory, attention is shifting the ‘Great Battle of Mosul’ in Iraq, which is about to begin.

As Joe Lauria has previously written for The Duran, the time of the attack on Mosul seems to have been largely dictated by the US electoral calendar, with the liberation of Mosul timed to help Hillary Clinton’s prospects of winning the election in November.

This begs the question of whether there will be a battle of Mosul at all.  When Joe Lauria wrote his piece for The Duran on 1st October 2016 all the indications were that there wouldn’t be, and that ISIS was preparing to leave the city.

That may still be what is going on to happen.  However there are reports of infighting within ISIS, with what appear to be well-sourced reports of the brutal execution of 58 ISIS leaders who were preparing to surrender the city.

If there are some within the ISIS leadership who are resisting proposals to surrender Mosul, it is not difficult to see why.

Mosul with its 2 million people is not only by far the biggest city under ISIS control.  It is also one of the great historic cities of the Arab and Muslim world.  It was its capture in 2014 that made it possible for ISIS to declare its Caliphate. Loss of Mosul would be a tremendous psychological blow, and would call into question not just the viability of the Caliphate but ISIS’s right to declare it in the first place.

One ISIS leader who would almost certainly oppose the surrender of the city is ISIS’s titular leader, the man known internationally as Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but who now claims to be “the Caliph Ibrahim”. 

Given the pretensions of this title and the way it is bound up with the seizure of Mosul, it is difficult to see how Al-Baghdadi’s prestige or his authority could survive if the city were lost.  Quite possibly his very life would be at risk as he faced the anger and disillusion of his followers.

It would not therefore be surprising if Al-Baghdadi not only opposes the surrender of Mosul, but has acted ruthlessly against those who have suggested it. That would explain the reports of the purge.

The fact that there has been a purge in Mosul suggests that for the moment it is Al-Baghdadi’s views which are prevailing.  It also shows that despite ISIS’s multiplying defeats and problems, and Al-Baghdadi’s reported absence in far away Raqqah, his authority is still accepted in Mosul by the ISIS fighters there.

If this is correct then the plan for the unopposed recapture of Mosul has at least for the moment gone awry.  However in such a complex situation nothing is ever certain, and it cannot be definitely said that it will not happen.  The fact that a purge has taken place in Mosul shows that the idea of surrendering Mosul is in the air, forcing Al-Baghdadi to take violent measures in order to scotch it.  It is not impossible that as ISIS’s position in the city becomes hopeless the idea may be revived again.

Assuming Al-Baghdadi’s authority continues to prevail and the city is defended, what are the prospects for its liberation?

There is uncertainty about the precise number of ISIS fighters in the city, with most guesses putting the number between 4,000 to 10,000.  Regardless they are clearly heavily outnumbered by the 40,000 or so Iraqi and allied troops assembling to retake the city. 

The ISIS fighters do not seem to have the heavy weapons and the unending stream of supplies the Jihadis in Aleppo were getting before they got trapped.  Though no more than an impression, the ISIS fighters also do not seem to have the discipline and toughness of the Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters who have been fighting the Syrian army in Aleppo and western Syria continuously for the last 5 years.

Against that the military force being assembled to retake Mosul has a ramshackle look. 

The Iraqi army lacks the battle experience of the Syrian Arab Army, having been hurriedly cobbled together since its ignominious collapse in 2014.   Reports say it remains beset with problems of indiscipline, corruption and low morale.  There must be a question mark over its fitness to take on ISIS following the debacle it suffered in the same area just two years ago.

As is the case with the Syrian army in Aleppo, the Iraqi army is backed by a variety of militias including various Shia militias, a locally recruited Sunni militia (whose reliability is open to doubt) and the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga. 

Probably the most effective of these militias is the Kurdish militia, which because of factional differences has however been ordered by the Iraqi government to play no part in the fighting inside the city.

Of the other militias, some of the Shia militias have a reputation as tough and determined fighters.  However none of these militias can compare with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia fighting alongside the Syrian army in Aleppo, which fought the Israeli army to a standstill in Lebanon in 2006.

Lastly, there are said to be some French Special Forces with the Iraqi troops near Mosul, just as there are Russian Special Forces with the Syrian troops in Aleppo.  These French troops are of course the best trained and equipped troops in the whole theatre.  However as with the Russian Special Forces in Aleppo their numbers must be few.

If the quality of the forces on either side in the battle for Mosul probably does not match that of the forces fighting in Aleppo, the geography of the two battles is also completely different.

The Jihadi fighters never succeeded in capturing the greater part of Aleppo, which always remained under the control of the Syrian government.  By contrast ISIS has managed to capture the whole of Mosul, and it controls it still. 

Not only is the area and the number of people that ISIS controls in Mosul far greater than that controlled by the Jihadis in Aleppo, but Mosul is not encircled as eastern Aleppo is, and unlike the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo, ISIS is not trapped.

Taken together all this suggests that if the ISIS fighters in Mosul put up a determined fight, then though the eventual liberation of Mosul is hardly in doubt, it may take longer than the 3 weeks left between now and the US election. 

In that case Hillary Clinton will be denied her ‘October Surprise’. 

Related Videos

Israel Lobby: Don’t kill Caliph al-Baghdadi

File:John McCain and Simon Elliot (aka Al-Baghdadi).jpg

File:John McCain and Simon Elliot (aka Al-Baghdadi).jpg

Rehmat

On October 11, 2016, Michael Rubin, penned a Op-Ed at the Israel lobby,American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI), official website, entitled, Don’t Kill Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Rubin is a former senior military instructor at the Pentagon and currently a ‘resident scholar’ at AEI. He also pens propaganda lies for AJC mouthpiece The Commentary.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared caliph of the Islamic State, has become the chief symbol of the Islamic State. While US drone strikes regularly target Islamic State commanders and murderers like Jihadi John, the Kuwaiti-born British citizen who starred in numerous execution videos of journalists and foreign aid workers, Baghdadi would be the biggest prize for any US drone operator or Special Force soldier. For President Obama to be able to announce the death of Baghdadi in his last weeks in office would change the political landscape and salvage a foreign policy legacy undercut by the rise of the Islamic state,” wrote Rubin.

In January 2015, British press ‘unmasked’ Kuwait-born British citizen Mohammad Emwazi aka ‘jihadi John’; a 24-year-old computer programmer from West London who was recruited by British intelligence agency MI5 in 2009 while vacationing in Kenya.

Iraqi-born Mossad mole Rita Katz produces all fake ISIS beheading videos in Pentagon studio (here).

Rubin also compared al-Baghdadi with Ernesto “Che” Guevara, and Saddam Hussein. Some Jewish sources claim that Guevara was Jewish and cousin of Butcher of Lebanon Gen. Ariel Sharon. Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, according to Robert Fisk, was an American agent.

American news website Veterans Today reported on April 27, 2015 that al-Baghdadi died in a Israeli hospital. On June 14, 2016, UK’s Daily Mail and other pro-Israel Jewish mainstream media had claimed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in ar-Raqqa city (Syria). It seems, like Osama bin Laden, al-Baghdadi too has nine-lives.

In case some readers might wonder why al-Baghdadi so important to Israel lobby. ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was born as Simon Elliot to a French Jewish couple. He was recruited by Israeli Mossad and trained as a double agent. In order to boost his so-called “jihadist” credentials, Elliot was locked-in Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison to recruit Iraqi Sunni followers. More proof here.

Michael Rubin reminds me the 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl Nayirah who claimed she witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing babies in hospital. Later it’s revealed she was daughter of a member of Kuwaiti ‘royals’, and had been coached by the Jewish public relations firm Hill and Knowlton to give persuasive false testimony (here).

Recent Article

%d bloggers like this: