President Al-Assad: Syrian-Russian High-Level Coordination Enhanced Syria’s Steadfastness in Confrontation of Terrorism

DAMASCUS, (ST)– President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that the Syrian-Russian joint action and high-level coordination in all domains, mainly militarily and politically, have been among the key factors that enhanced Syria’s steadfastness in the face of terrorism and that contributed to achieving successive victories against Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra terror organizations and other terrorist groups.

President Al-Assad was speaking during his meeting on Tuesday with Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who affirmed his country’s determination to continue the fight against terrorism alongside the Syrian Arab Army in order to complete the liberation of the Syrian territories from terrorism and to maintain Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Talks dealt with the situation in Idleb and East of the Euphrates. The two sides affirmed the need to continue joint action to reach suitable solutions that restore security and stability in these two areas. They also agreed on adopting all procedures necessary to prevent Syria’s enemies from achieving in Idleb and east of Euphrates what they failed to achieve over the past years of the war.

Some countries fight terrorism only in their officials’ statements

Some countries and forces fight terrorism only in the statements of their officials while they actually support it and keep protecting terrorists in some areas, said President Al-Assad, stressing that these policies have caused many civilian casualties and contributed to expanding terrorism to other areas.

The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, head of the National Security Bureau Ali Mamlouk, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Ayman Soussan, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin and the Russian Ambassador in Damascus.

Hamda Mustafa

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Syria Eight Years Later

https://i0.wp.com/www.granma.cu/file/img/2019/03/medium/f0132727.jpg96% of Syrian territory is under the control of the Armed Forces and the national government. One and a half million of those who had to leave the country due to the war, have now returned and begin normal life and the colossal task of reconstruction in a nation devastated by shrapnel, both from the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State and Al Nusra Front, and from the US air force that still continues bombing operations and maintains troops at illegal bases in the Arab state.

That is the situation until this March 15, the eighth anniversary of an externally imposed war.

Preliminary accounts of the injuries caused there indicate that more than 360 000 people have died and several million have been displaced or have had to emigrate. An estimated 1 106 children died in 2018 alone, according to UNICEF data.

A report from the UN agency said: “People believe that the conflict is ending, but many children remain as exposed to danger as at any time in the past eight years”.

Material losses in excess of $400 billion and a reconstruction of the country, which, according to the UN, will need $250 billion, is part of the Arab nation’s landscape today.

But the international community must be aware that there are two wars against Syria: that of the terrorists of the Islamic State and Al Nusra Front, supported by the United States with money and weapons, and the bombing of U.S. planes that continue to cause deaths of hundreds of civilians, mostly children and women, as well as major material destruction.

On the eve of the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the war, units of the Syrian Army discovered and exposed before the world the most varied armaments that have been seized and that have the label of origin of the United States and Israel.

This week also saw the deaths of 50 Syrian civilians in a new massacre by U.S. fighters in the Deir Ezzor region.

In late January, the U.S. Department of Defense admitted that some 1,190 civilians lost their lives in coalition attacks in Syria and Iraq over the past three and a half years; however, human rights bodies report a much higher number.

It is curious that, while Trump talks about the triumph of his forces against the “terrorists”, the only territories where the few remaining pockets are grouped together are located in areas protected by US military and aviation bases, which illegally entered Syrian territory.

And although Trump had recently announced that his troops would leave the Arab nation, the opposite has happened. Even John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, told ABC News that “he hoped that the British and French allies would join Washington’s efforts”.

Translation by Internationalist 360°

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Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

March 15, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

It’s that time again. Jihadist forces have pushed Damascus’ and Moscow’s patience for too long. These constant provocations have gone too far and it’s time to punish them for their insolence. Damascus and Moscow are gearing up to deal with those damned terrorists again as the Russian Air Force has been flying sorties over the Idlib province, with Ankara’s approval. The Syrian Army’s Russian trained 5th corps, the 4th armoured division and the legendary Tiger Forces have all amassed near the Idlib-Hama border this past week. Something is definitely brewing up.

The so called Demilitarized zone has failed as the terrorist forces of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) have taken over all the positions from the other “rebel groups”. As observers may already know, HTS is not included in any reconciliation or ceasefire deal as they are considered to be terrorists by both Moscow and Ankara. Now it remains to see how Washington, the main benefactor of these terrorists, will react. So far they have remained surprisingly quiet over these recent movements by Damascus and Moscow, but I am willing to bet that they will do their utmost to stop this planned offensive.

It is of absolute importance that this offensive commences this time and that nothing stops the Syrian Army and their allies, not even Washington’s threats. The Resistance Axis must show no fear in face of Washington’s threats. For how long will Moscow remain patient over the constant threat to the Hmaimeem airport? For how long will these terrorists be allowed to terrorize the Idlib province and its population?

It should be noted that this offensive will probably only be limited to the demilitarized zone where the goal will be to clear the area of HTS terrorists. It will be far from a decisive battle that destroys HTS, but it is an important step. The threat to northern Hama and Latakia must be diminished. The offensive will likely also target the crucial town of Jisr Al-Shughour where the Syrian Army in the spring of 2015 bravely fought and held out for over 60 days in the towns hospital before the few survivors managed to evacuate back to Syrian Army lines.

The tragedy at Jisr Al-Shughour’s National Hospital will surely not have been forgotten by the SAA. Ankara would do well to realize that if it wants to save the Idlib deal it must accept that HTS must be dealt with, otherwise this deal is a failure and Syria and her allies should explore the option of widening the offensive to cover all of West Aleppo and southern Idlib.

These next few weeks will tell us more on how this situation will develop.

May God be with the heroic Syrian Army.

Syrian in Last 24 Hours: Syrian, Russian Armies Launch Heaviest Attacks on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

Fri Mar 15, 2019

Syrian in Last 24 Hours: Syrian, Russian Armies Launch Heaviest Attacks on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Russian and Syrian air force units heavily pounded the militants’ positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib in response to the offensives of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the demilitarized zone.

“The Russian and Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the terrorists’ hideouts in al-Tamane’ah, al-Nayrab, Saraqib, Kafr Amim and Ma’arat Hormat in Southern and Eastern Idlib as well as their positions in Northern and Northwestern Hama,” the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday.

Meantime, the Syrian army continued its military advances in other parts of Syria over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army’s operations in several provinces across Syria.

Hama-Idlib

The Syrian and Russian air force units heavily pounded the militants’ positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib in response to the offensives of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at in the demilitarized zone.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday that the Russian and Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the terrorists’ hideouts in al-Tamane’ah, al-Nayrab, Saraqib, Kafr Amim and Ma’arat Hormat in Southern and Eastern Idlib as well as their positions in Northern and Northwestern Hama.

Field sources described the Wednesday attacks as the heaviest airstrikes by the Russian and Syrian air force units since September, saying that a large number of terrorists were killed and wounded in the offensive.

Concurrent with the airstrikes, the Syrian army forces warded off the terrorists’ attacks from Kafr Naboudeh, al-Sakhar and Murak against the military points.

They also targeted the militants’ moves from the towns of Ma’arat, Hormat al-Khowin, al-Zarzour and al-Tamane’ah towards the military points in Southeastern Idlib with heavy missile attacks, leaving heavy damage on them.

The Syrian army units in response to the terrorists’ attacks on safe regions in Aleppo and Lattakia, launched strikes against their positions in al-Khalsah, al-Hamirah in Southern Aleppo and regions near Jisr al-Shaqour and Lattakia mountains.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Russian Aerospace Force has destroyed a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at terror group in the Syrian province of Idlib.

A pinpoint airstrike was carried out on Wednesday in coordination with Turkey.

The air raid “targeted a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at terror group in the city of Idlib,” the defense ministry added.

“According to information confirmed through several channels, militants earlier brought a large number of combat unmanned aerial vehicles to the facility, which they planned to use for attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base,” the statement read.

Dara’a

The Syrian army found a large number of weapons and military equipment, including Israeli-made arms, during purging operations in regions liberated from the terrorists in the Northern parts of Dara’a province.

The engineering units of the Syrian army discovered the military equipment and ammunitions in the towns of Ankhal and al-Hareh in Northern Dara’a on Thursday.

A military source said that the Syrian army found different types of assault rifles, machine-guns, RPGs, cannons, anti-tank missiles, grenades, night-vision systems and different types of communication systems, adding that a number of them were made in Israel.

Raqqa

Several Kurdish militants were killed in the popular forces’ attacks on a convoy of the US and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported on Wednesday that the popular forces in Raqqa detonated a bomb on the way of a joint convoy of the US and SDF forces in al-Haramiyeh district in Raqqa city.

It added that the blast occurred as the US forces and the intelligence units of the SDF have planted over 600 cameras in the streets and districts of Raqqa.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Baladi website reported that during the attack, 3 Kurdish forces were killed and 8 others were wounded, adding that the SDF has put its forces on alert.

Popular protests against the deployment of occupying American forces and the US-backed SDF in Raqqa have increased recently.

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Russian Aerospace Force Destroys Terrorist Weapons Depot in Syria’s Idlib

ST

MOSCOW- The Russian Aerospace Force has destroyed a weapons depot belonging to the so-called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terror group (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra  in the Syrian province of Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, according to Itar Tass.

A pinpoint airstrike was carried out on March 13 by the Russian Aerospace Force. The airstrike “targeted a weapons depot belonging to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) terror group in the city of Idlib,” the ministry said.

“According to information confirmed through several channels, militants earlier brought a large number of combat unmanned aerial vehicles to the facility, which they planned to use for attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base,” the statement adds.

A thing to note is that Russia’s military facilities in Syria have on numerous occasions been attacked with unmanned aerial vehicles.

Tass said that on January 6, 2018, militants carried out a large-scale drone strike on the Hmeimim air base and a naval facility in Tartus. The Russian military either destroyed or took control of the UAVs used in the attack. A Defense Ministry source noted at the time that “the programming of systems to control unmanned aerial vehicles and drop GPS-guided munitions requires completing engineering studies in a developed country.”

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said, in turn, that the drones involved in the January 2018 attack on the Hmeimim base were run from a US Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft. When the drones were confronted by Russian jamming systems, they went to manual mode controlled from the US aircraft.

H.M

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Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

South Front

March 07, 2019

Trump declares “victory” over ISIS but Washington’s foul plans in Syria are far from over

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

At the eve of the 8 year anniversary of the Syrian war, the battle for one of the last ISIS strongholds in Syria is still raging. The so called “caliphate” is on its last knees as US president Trump declares that “100 percent of ISIS ‘caliphate’ has been taken back.

Trump was of course only referring to the US coalitions “efforts” and didn’t even bother to mention that it is Syria and her allies that have done most of the heavy lifting. Nevertheless, he was right about ISIS losing all of the territories they occupied in Syria, but what happens now?

The US has for long declared that their presence (occupation) in Syria is mainly to fight ISIS, while sometimes also claiming to “prevent Iran from entrenching itself” in Syria. Of course any serious observer who has the slightest interest in Middle Eastern politics understands that this is a lie.

The US’ top priority has been from the beginning to save its masters in Israel from their day of reckoning. In the long run this objective is and has always been linked to the much greater plan of destroying the Islamic Republic, the only true threat to Israel’s continued existence. For years Washington has deceived and fooled a vast majority of the world’s population and “analysts” into believing that its presence in Syria is tied to “fighting ISIS”, while hiding their intentions to overthrow the Syrian government and destroying the Resistance Axis. Now, Washington’s true objective will resurface for everyone to see.

This goal has not been linked to a specific US administration but has been a very longstanding policy for decades no matter who’s the president.

Despite Trump’s bogus declaration back in December that the US is pulling out of Syria, Washington recently backtracked and declared it won’t fully withdraw its troops from Syria but will leave “400 peacekeeping forces”, making these soldiers an official occupation force as the last ISIS stronghold is about to be destroyed. This new situation leaves the US and European allies without any cloak of legality since the pretext of “counterterrorism” is no longer plausible.

But this should not come as a surprise to anyone. Only a fool would believe that the US has spent so much time and money on training and arming Kurdish militias to grab as much land as possible east of the Euphrates, just to let the Syrian government take all the land back in a deal with the Kurdish militias.

The continued US occupation makes any kind of reconciliation between the Kurdish militias and Damascus impossible. Now that the ISIS terrorists are gone, the future of the Kurdish militias remain very much at the hands of Washington. Where will they be used next?

Turkey has for long threatened to invade north eastern Syria as Turkish president Erdogan vowed to create a “safe zone” along the Syrian-Turkish border after a phone call between him and Trump. At the same time Trump has threatened Turkey to refrain from attacking its Kurdish proxies in that region. This contradictory situation became even messier when Moscow declared that it will not accept such a “safe zone” without Damascus approval, a highly unlikely outcome as relations between Damascus and Ankara remain very hostile.

To the northwest, jihadist group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham has outmanoeuvred and taken over most of the other “rebel groups’” positions and now remains the sole powerhouse in the Idlib province. Turkey’s inability or rather lack of interest to remove these terrorists has opened up the possibility for a new Syrian Army offensive on the region. If history is to repeat itself, we should expect Washington to threaten Damascus to refrain from launching this offensive.

Meanwhile, voices are being raised in neighbouring Iraq, demanding US forces stationed near the Syrian border to leave the country. Despite the unlikelihood of US troops withdrawing from Iraq, such a scenario would give Washington even more incentive to hold on to its foothold in Syria.

Washington has recently showed a great obsession with Iran and will do its utmost to destroy the Iranian-Syrian alliance and to isolate Iran, making the Islamic Republic an easy target for Washington’s next planned “humanitarian intervention”. This is manifested through Washington’s strategic occupation of eastern Syria and the Al-Tanf region, located right next to the Iraqi border and close to the Golan Heights. This was further proven after President Assad’s surprise visit to Iran where Iranian officials revealed that Washington had offered Assad to back his presidency in exchange for him breaking ties with Tehran.

Terrorist forces in Syria may be on the verge of defeat, but their sponsors in Washington remain as dangerous as ever. The last chapter of the Syrian war is yet to be written.

Prof. Tim Anderson to ST: Britain’s move against Hezbollah appeases US, assists Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby

ST

Monday, 04 March 2019

The Australian political economist and author Prof. Tim Anderson has asserted that  Britain’s proscription of the Lebanese Hezbollah as “terrorist” is first an attempt to fabricate some domestic support for the May government, second to appease Washington and third to assist both Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby in Britain.

He made it clear that Hezbollah expelled Israel from Lebanon, and helped restore some pride in the country, so too the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashid al Shaabi), which saved Iraq from DAESH, have led the 2018-2019 agitation to expel US forces from Iraq, after 15 years of military occupation.

The professor’s remarks came during an interview with the Syria Times e-newspaper over the goal and effects of Britain’s recent move against Hezbollah besides the absence of western demand for fighting against the black-listed Al-Nusra Front terrorist in Syria’s Idlib.

Following is the full text of the interview:

ST-Why has Britain proscribed Hezbollah as a “terror” group, at this time??

Prof. Anderson: This move by the British government to proscribe Hezbollah as ‘terrorist’ does not come in response to any particular incident, nor any particular threat to Britain. Nevertheless, Britain’s traditional support for the zionist colony in Palestine has led it, from time to time, to adopt Israel’s enemies as its own. In the past Britain, recognising the influence of Hezbollah as a political party in Lebanon, had tried to distinguish between its ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings, and at times its ‘external wing’. Upgrading the aggression, by trying to brand the entire organisation as ‘terrorist’, at this time, must be seen in current political circumstances. The current British government, led by Theresa May, does not have a majority in the parliament and has been fighting for its survival by, amongst other things, trying to brand Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as ‘anti-semitic’ for his support of Palestine. The Israeli lobby in Britain has been central to this campaign. At the same time, President Trump has led a new wave of support for the apartheid state, backing the annexation of Jerusalem; and Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his own political survival, facing an Israeli election and a criminal indictment. It is most likely that the move against Hezbollah is first an attempt to fabricate some domestic support for the May government, second to appease Washington and third to assist both Netanyahu and the zionist lobby in Britain.

ST-What will be the effect of this step on Hezbollah and Lebanon taking into account that the EU refuses to brand Hezbollah as terror entity?

Prof. Anderson: The move is certainly a British slap in the face to Lebanon, as Hezbollah is more than ever a central part of the Lebanese government. Last year’s elections saw an expansion in support for Hezbollah (‘The Resistance’) mainly in Christian and Sunni Muslim communities. It already held overwhelming support in the Shi’a community. Britain’s move also supports the US economic ‘sanctions’ against Hezbollah, which threaten Lebanese banking. The position of the EU is slightly different, reflecting the somewhat more diverse positions within Europe on relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Nevertheless, the EU did upgrade its listing of Hezbollah’s ‘military wing’ in 2013, a move which Hezbollah officials described as “written with an American hand in Zionist ink” (https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/world/middleeast/european-union-adds-hezbollah-wing-to-terror-list.html). Israel lobbyists have been trying to achieve a blanket ban on the Resistance group across all western countries. They have made some gains.

ST-Who will be affected by this recognition, and who will get benefit from it?

Prof. Anderson: Looking at the bigger picture, Britain has been following the USA in virtually all forms of aggression against the West Asian region; that includes the nine current wars against the peoples of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Iran and Yemen. The economic ‘sanctions’ imposed by Washington, including economic blockades, affect almost all those same countries. Britain has been playing catch up. The aim has been to fragment and weaken the independent Arab and Muslim states, so as to more easily dominate the region and control access to its resources. Lebanon has not escaped this economic war, which will affect all parties. Hezbollah claims it is not much affected, but ordinary economic activities in the country will suffer through manipulation of and controls over finance and trade. The up side is that extreme pressures coming from Washington are driving the creation of alternative trade and finance mechanisms, the latest of which is the BRICS payments system (https://www.rt.com/business/452737-brics-own-payment-system/). There is a European version of this, in particular to maintain links with Iran, but it remains weak due to excess European commercial dependency on the USA (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/06/european-clearing-house-to-bypass-us-sanctions-against-iran).

ST- Why do Britain and its master not call for fighting against the black-listed Al-Nusra Front terrorist in Idlib?

Prof. Anderson: The wars and economic siege measures, carried out by the imperial powers, are inextricably combined. Siege and propaganda weaken what terrorist proxy armies attack. Of course, the USA and Britain have armed and funded all the terrorist groups in the region, but they only openly do this for what they call the ‘moderate’ groups and affiliates like the al Qaeda public relations front the White Helmets

Britain and France funded a range of other terrorist affiliates, including the Ghouta Media Centre and the Aleppo Media Centre (https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/), then used them to ‘verify’ their own propaganda (https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/humanitarian-war-rp-1-18/).

More than four years ago senior US officials admitted that their ‘major Arab allies’ were funding and arming the internationally proscribed terrorist groups, al Nusra and ISIS/DAESH

So, in summary, the would-be imperial power in Washington and the former colonial powers Britain and France, from the beginning, have played a double game: condemning al Nusra and ISIS while covertly supporting them, to advance their strategic objective of destroying independent political will in the region. It follows that they will try to sustain ISIS/DAESH and/or the SDF, in eastern and northern Syria, and the al Nusra linked groups in Idlib, for as long as possible. It is only the resistance of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah, with allies including Russia, that have been able to eliminate this terrorism.

ST-Would you like to add anything?

Prof. Anderson: It is important to recognize that, just as Hezbollah expelled Israel from Lebanon, and helped restore some pride in the country, so too the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashid al Shaabi), which saved Iraq from DAESH, have led the 2018-2019 agitation to expel US forces from Iraq, after 15 years of military occupation.

For example, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) called for US military withdrawal in 2017 (https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/24/539730/Iraq-Hashd-alShaabi-US), and repeated that call in 2019. He said there was no longer any justification for the presence of US forces, asserting his belief that more than half the new National Assembly “reject the presence” of US troops. “If the United States wants to impose its presence by force, and to bypass the Iraqi constitution and parliament, Iraq can treat it the same way and drive it out by force… But the first phase is political,” al-Khazali said (https://apnews.com/109a9aabe987430cbe63e4a668711833).

The colonial states smear and sanction both Hezbollah and Hashid al Shaabi, with lies that they are ‘terrorists’ or extreme sectarians who do not care about their own people. Coming from the sponsors of al Qaeda, al Nusra and DAESH, that is hard to stomach. The sectarian accusation, from western and Zionist sources, has more to do with the frustration of ‘divide and rule’ strategies, as also their dismay in seeing a revival of political will amongst their opponents. Yet the region has seen an alliance of the downtrodden (mustadafin) which, with mature leadership, has built wider alliances.

It is worth mentioning that University of Sydney Provost Stephen Garton has chosen- as a pretext- one tiny, buried image in the background of info graphic, shown during advisory analysis made by professor Tim Anderson  about the Israeli attacks on Gaza, to suspend him from his position as a senior lecturer and to ban him from entering the university at which he has worked for more than 20 years.

At the beginning of this month, lawyers lodged an application in the Fair Work Commission, contesting the professor’s dismissal by the University of Sydney.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

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