Turkish Drones Falling In Idlib. ‘Moderate Rebels’ Gas Themselves By Mistake

South Front

Early on March 5, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the Syrian provinces of Homs and Quneitra. According to the Syrian military, the attack was conducted from Lebanese airspace at 00:30 local time. Israeli warplanes used two civilian flights of Qatar Airways as a cover for their strikes. The Syrian side claimed that it had intercepted all the hostile missiles. However, ground explosions were reported in Quneitra. Therefore, at least some of them in fact did hit their targets.

The previous Israeli strikes on Syria took place on March 2 and February 23. On March 2, an Israeli attack helicopter destroyed a vehicle in the province of Quneitra after Israeli troops in the Golan Heights had reportedly come under sniper fire. On February 23 Israeli warplanes targeted positions of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group in Damascus.

‘Entirely by chance’ the increase of Israeli military actions in Syria came amid the escalation of the Syrian-Turkish conflict in Idlib.

On March 4, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and other al-Qaeda-linked groups supported by the Turkish Army made another attempt to recapture the town of Saraqib, located on the M4-M5 highways crossroad, from the Syrian Army. Despite the intense artillery and air support from Turkey, al-Qaeda members failed to achieve their goal.

Supporters of the 25th Special Forces Division and Hezbollah deployed there claim that Turkish-led forces suffered notable losses in the clashes but provide no particular numbers. Video evidence from the ground confirms that pro-government forces recaptured a T-90 battle tank that they had lost earlier in the same area.

Syrian troops also entered the village of Afis north of Saraqib but failed to fully secure it. The village remains contested. If Turkish-led forces keep control over it, they will be able to carry out attacks on vehicles moving via the M5 highway from Saraqib to Aleppo.

Earlier on the same day, 2 Turkish soldiers were killed and 6 others were injured in Syrian Army artillery fire in eastern Idlib. In response, the Turkish military tried to shoot down a Syrian Su-22 warplane bombing al-Qaeda positions west of Saraqib. Turkish supporters claim that an anti-air missile was launched by an F-16 fighter jet. However, most likely this was a MANPAD launched from one of Turkey’s so-called ‘observation posts’ in the area. During the past weeks, Turkish soldiers were repeatedly spotted launching MANPADs at Syrian and Russian aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry officially says that Turkish observation posts have merged with terrorist bases and have been used to carry out attacks on government-controlled areas. Nonetheless, Turkish soldiers surrounded by the Syrian Army continue enjoying safety and receiving supplies. This is another demonstration of the fact that modern conflicts often take strange forms.

Setbacks in southern and eastern Idlib forced Turkey and its proxies to shift the focus of their military efforts. Late on March 4, Turkish-backed al-Qaeda forces attacked positions of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo. By the morning of March 5, they had captured the village of al-Sheikh ‘Aqil and al-Rraqim Hilltop. The control over these positions will allow them to shell the western suburb of Aleppo city more effectively.

Since the start of Turkish military actions in Idlib in February, the Syrian military had shot down 13 Turkish military UAVs, pro-government sources claim. According to them, this number includes 7 Bayraktar TB2 and TAI Anka combat drones. It should be noted that only a part of these claims has been confirmed  by visual evidence.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants tried to stage a chemical provocation in eastern Idlib, but poisoned themselves, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on March 4. According to the report, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham members were planning to stage the incident on March 2nd during the Syrian Army advance in the western part of Saraqib by blowing up canisters with a chemical substance, but a canister leak caused casualties among the militants themselves.

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Erdogan Regime the Dumbest in the World; Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister

February 17, 2020 

Arabi Souri

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad, Syria’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the usually most shy top Syrian diplomat with all his carefully chosen words couldn’t find a better description of the current Turkish regime of Erdogan than ‘the dumbest regime in the world’.

In an interview with the Lebanese-based Al-Mayadeen news channel aired on 14th February, Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad expressed the Syrian state’s position on a number of issues including the ongoing military operation by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in northwest Syria, the threats of the Turkish madman Erdogan, the Kurdish issue, the country’s relations with the Arab world, with the USA and the latest developments.

Side note: This interview took more time by the author to translate and caption because of the repetitive interruptions of the interviewer to the answers of Dr. Al-Meqdad. Maybe this is a style the Westerns are used to, but it breaks the chain of thoughts in the answers of the interviewees, at least in my point of view, and made it difficult at times to find suitable coherent answers. Other than that, this is one of the usual highly important interviews for those who want to understand the situation in Syria, and what is the country’s position on all related topics.

Below the video is the full transcript of the English translation of the interview:

The video is also available on BitChute

Transcript of the English translation of the interview:

Idlib the battle of all battles – The Syrian state takes the initiative and controls the battlefield

Objection heard in Ankara and threats escalated by Erdogan

Russia strengthens the Syrian decision – Iran supports – Israel bombs – a biased ‘international community’ – Syria 2020 does not look like Syria 2012 – yesterday’s opponents of the Arabs extending the hand today – a political path waiting for battlefield and balances – what solution and victory do Damascus want? When and how?

In Al-Mashhadiya (program) tonight we ask The Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad

Good evening, viewers of Al-Mashhadiya, directly from the Syrian capital Damascus, these days Syria is full of developments that we will review and detail extensively with Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad. Good evening, Dr. Al-Meqdad.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Good evening and welcome to Damascus.

Q: Thank you and Sham. We arrived in Damascus on the impact of many developments in fact, yesterday there was Israeli targeting and today a Syrian Army helicopter was shot down, let’s start with the issue of the helicopter because it is the closest event, do you have information? Details? What happened? Who shot down this helicopter? What decision shot down this helicopter?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Thank you for hosting, and welcome to Damascus. Please allow me at the beginning to light up some points, on this day the Syrian people are celebrating the opening of the Aleppo-Damascus road, which has been closed for several years, and this is a sign of the victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army as a result of the sacrifices of its sons and martyrs who fell in order to defend Syria and to preserve its sovereignty and Independence.

Secondly, today marks the 38th anniversary of the uprising of our people in the occupied Syrian Golan, and despite all the frost that we have observed this very day, we have seen that our people in the Golan have gathered on both sides and reaffirmed that they are Syrians and that they are committed to their land, their homeland and to liberate every grain of soil of this country.

We say to Israel once again that no matter how much Israel takes decisions such as annexation or the decision of the United States of America to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Arab Golan, these resolutions do not work, and that a people that rejects these resolutions and makes these sacrifices will return these land, sooner or later, and will struggle to bring down the deal of the century and to bring down all the conspiracies that are being hatched against our Arab nation.

The third point I would like to point out is that these plots, which are falling everywhere on Syrian soil despite all forms of siege and despite everything the United States is doing to stifle Syria and sometimes to prevent the air from Syria, if it can, we are moving towards victory thanks to Our leadership and thanks to the sacrifices of our army.

The last point I would like to point out is that I pay tribute to Al-Mayadeen and to all its employees for their professionalism and their objectivity in dealing with today’s world and with the media of this world today, much of which has become propaganda and sometimes cheap propaganda does not reflect the concerns of the citizens who are waiting from them to in all countries of the world to give them the truth, but many of the media agencies have become a tool for marketing immorality and marketing occupation and marketing everything that contradicts international legitimacy and all that is a lie on the part of some leaders who have professionalized lying, including in the United States of America and in the region and in many parts of the world you know.

First, we’re at war…

Q: We are now on the subject of Idlib.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Yes, we are at war, this war was imposed by the Western countries that supported armed terrorist groups and facilitated these terrorist groups to enter Syria. I would like to mention something that is not very much said: when we confronted the terrorist groups and the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we did not face this problem that we face today, especially with the Turkish regime, so what has changed?

In that period and in the same places the Muslim Brotherhood made a lot of moves to achieve the goals of their masters and operators, but they did not succeed in doing so, and the reason frankly I say in many of its elements relates to the Turkish role, at that stage, there were Turkish governments that maintain the independence and sovereignty of their country and deal with neighboring countries as being neighboring countries and that good relations should be established with it, these governments were not acting ideologically with the support of terrorist elements, either from Jabhat al-Nusra, from elements related to ISIS or by parties which wanted through the current Turkish government wanted to influence the political system in the Syrian Arab Republic.

In other words, the Erdogan regime has been allied since then, and we know that, and they have officially told us that if we do not deal with the Muslim Brotherhood and with them, they will line up alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, and they will fight us.

They opened the Turkish border, unlike what happened in the 1980s, tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of terrorists and murderers, in order to destroy Syria and the achievements achieved by Syria, and to divert it from the main goal of liberating the occupied Arab territories.

Q: Dr. Al-Meqdad, your position on this is clear, i.e.you expressed the Turkish role at more than one occasion, but today we are at an important stage, especially in regard to Idlib and Aleppo countryside, Erdogan said days ago that he will not allow the Syrian air force to operate freely in Syrian airspace in Idlib, is the shooting down of the helicopter a start of a new phase of confrontation between Turkey and the Syrian state?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I would say that Erdogan even shot down two years ago a Russian plane…

Q: You mean that he shot down the helicopter?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Of course, he shot it down…

Q: Because they declared that it was the so-called Opposition Syrian National Army that shot down the helicopter?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: These are lies because these imaginary armies are armed terrorist groups to which the Turkish state provides all the weapons and equipment it needs, but we have noticed, which is dangerous, bringing in hundreds of Turkish armored vehicle and tanks into Syrian territory recently, and this shows the Erdogan’s direct involvement in the war on Syria, so we are at war with this bloody Erdogan regime, which has not only gone to war on Syrian territory but has also gone away to fight in Libya for the same goals that he is fighting to achieve on the Syrian territory, which is his submission to the Global Zionism, his submission to the USA, and his operators and who serve his extremist takfiri intransigent policies in the region and outside the region.

Q: At some point, there was (the de-escalation agreements) of Sochi and Astana, maybe an atmosphere that changes with Turkey, there was also a meeting between (Head of Syrian National Security) Mr. Ali Mamluk and Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, there was also the coming of President Putin to Damascus as if there was a message he carried to Erdogan, it was an atmosphere of a political solution, why today the sound of the cannon and the military confrontation are above the voice of diplomacy?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Because the regime in Turkey does not respect (the agreement) of Sochi, does not respect its commitments and does not respect what was reached in the presence of Russian friends in a recent meeting held publicly in Moscow between the head of the National Security Bureau in Syria and the officials of security in Turkey with a Russian presence, and in that meeting the head of the National Security Bureau in Syria announced that they’re coming to this meeting, and in front of Fidan Hakan to demand an end to the Turkish occupation of Syrian territory and the departure of Turkish forces from Syria, and that Syria is ready to liberate every speck of soil of its territory whether Erdogan accepted or not, and that Syria will not abandon its people, and the resistance to armed terrorist groups is the constitutional right of the Syrian State, resistance to The Turkish occupation and other occupations, including the American occupation in the north-east and in southern Syria in al-Rukban camp, is a sovereign right of the Syrian Arab Republic, so the Turkish regime is acting…

Q: But Turkey’s sovereign right to protect its borders, Erdogan says that if he does not do so in Idlib he will have to do so at the border?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Of course, Erdogan lies like air, he lies as he breathes, he lies to us, he lies to others as well…

Q: To the Russians, too?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I think he is lying in all directions, who lies to anyone who lies to everyone, the liar is a liar…

Q: No Russian confidence in Erdogan? There is no Syrian confidence for sure?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I will not talk about friends or others; I am talking about our own experience with him. We have tried and worked in the Syrian leadership to radically change relations with Turkey, and to end what engraved in our thoughts on five centuries of Turkish occupation of Arab lands…

Q: This is before the crisis?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Of course, all this before the crisis, and we said that we must coexist as neighbors, and that all international conventions always demand a policy of good neighborliness, but the Turkish regime was lying about it and following its own ideas and its extremist takfiri policies and its support for armed terrorist groups, and this led to this escalation between the two countries due to the direct Turkish aggression on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

I believe that there is no system in this world that is dumber than this Turkish regime…

Q: Dumber?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: … dumber than the Turkish regime…

Q: Why? He is gaining politically, at least continuity within Turkey?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Because it meets the demands of its operators when…

Q: Who are its operators?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Its operators in the West and its operators in suspicious circles and its allies. Should we forget that Turkey is still a NATO country? Turkey and the United States may differ on some details, but this does not mean that Turkey has become outside NATO, but it is also a key country of this alliance and everyone talks about the fact that the Turkish army of NATO is an army supported by Western countries, and on this basis when the Turkish regime must have thought when Launching this war on Syria that any weakening of the central Syrian state, that any weakening of the Syrian Arab Army will open the way  to forces that also target Turkey in particular, and these groups and forces were disciplined because Syria was responsible, and this is a response to the question, to protect these borders and not to allow any groups outside the law to cross the border towards Syria or to cross the border towards Turkey…

Q: This is what you are saying is very important Dr. Meqdad, the central state force in Syria protecting the border with Turkey, not the other way around, not the weakness of the Syrian state?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: So, I’m talking about Erdogan’s stupidity at a time when he should have kept and supported the central state and supported the Syrian Arab Army, instead he sacrificed that, why so? Because I expect you to ask a question, but I will answer it in advance: He thought that this war on Syria will take few days, and before any force inside Syria or outside Syria wakes up to what happened in Syria, Erdogan will be through his Muslim Brotherhood groups has finished and resolved the battle, before any other party would wake up and target Turkey as a result the weakness of the Syrian central state and this is Erdogan’s stupidity and the crime he committed against the Turkish people and Syria.

Q: When you talk about the awakening of some other forces in Syria, we know that there are a lot of forces that have interests in Syria that have participated in the crisis to some extent that armed, financed, in support of some armed groups other than Turkey, there are forces that are fighting even among themselves, even if they want the goal is to confront the Syrian state, there was also a contradiction of interests even among them. Allow me, today there was information reported by the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper, I want to know how true it is and this is an opportunity to ask you about it: This information says that the UAE has entered the crisis line or what is happening now and there is an Emirati promise to change the subject of the American Caesar Act, change the American mood or modify it, also activate the important international roads that connect the north with Jordan, we are talking about M5 and M4 with Iraq, and in return the withdrawal of Turkey from the political solution, the constitutional committee, the path of the Kurds, is there really a change under the table?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: You are following, and I do not doubt, the complex political developments and movements in the region, of course we were and still hope that all Arabs will stand by each other, not to sacrifice Palestine as part of the deal of the century, not to allow this country or that country to have relations with Israel, at least until some of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian Arab people, that some Arabs do not conspire against each other, that the Arabs do not weaken each other, why do we say that? We say this not only in the political dimension, but in the moral and operational dimensions, because weakening any Arab country would be a weakness for other countries.

Secondly, targeting Syria will open the door wide to these forces that targeted Syria to target others, meaning that if they targeted Syria and God forbid the Westerners and Zionists got what they wanted in Syria, is the situation in Syria worse than others until change takes place in Syria and then they say that the Arab region has become ideal in the dimensions of what they call democracy and Arabs enmity to Israel, and the exploitation of their wealth by the Arabs?

Q: This is your point of view, is this the view of the rest of the Arab countries, specifically the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: No, of course not, I am not talking about an Arab country per se by name…

Q: It is clear who you mean to facilitate the deal of the century, normalize relations with Israel?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I don’t want to touch on these aspects because we are facing a main battle with other powers and we want the Arabs to understand after the 9-year war in Syria that this war has not succeeded in changing Syria’s positions not in a tiny bit.

Q: Did they understand?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: They must understand, otherwise we will use another language to describe them, but now I will not use any language because we are still saying that we are against any outside interference in our Arab affairs, but for our part we say that we should not conspire against each other, we should not pay the terrorists $137 billion and this of course what the leadership of one country said, a figure that now seems to be not only 137 billion, it seems that it exceeded $200 billion only to conspire against Syria, if you spend this money for the good and well-being the peoples of all our Arab countries we would have liberated Palestine and we have also reached levels of development as many world countries have reached.

Q: Is there an Emirati entry on the crisis line right now, exactly what is happening in Idlib and Aleppo?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: In fact, I am not familiar with such information, so as not to give information that is not accurate.

Q: There have been recent movements on the Saudi and UAE lines as well, such as the opening of the embassy?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I would like to say that every time some Arabs wake up to a certain situation the American slaps come to them, for example not only some Arabs, look at what happened, for example, with the Turkish regime: despite the Sochi agreement and despite the Turkish commitments, it is Turkey that has violated the Sochi agreement we heard statements from Russian friends, which are public, that who did not implement the Sochi Agreement is the Turkish side.

Thirdly, we as a Syrian Arab army are not fighting on Turkish soil, we are fighting on our soil and fourthly we are fighting against terrorist groups that have been described by Security Council resolutions as terrorist groups, so why are all these people lining up against the role the Syrian Arab Republic plays?

Q: Because of American pressure? Is there U.S. pressure on Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: When the Syrian Arab Army achieved all these achievements, the world was closed, blinded and closed to these people about any other problem, because the basic plan for this region was to remove the Syrian Arab Republic from the list of basic accounts in the face of the development and liberation challenges of our people. In the region, when Syria falls as they imagined, I tell them and assure them that Syria will never fall, they thought the region would be over and there would be no leader in the Arab region who would say God bless the Palestinian people and their cause.

Q: If we want to talk now about options for you, extend a hand or trust stronger in the Arab countries that participated in the crisis or Turkey? You have tried the Turks and have no confidence in them.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad? The Turks are not Arabs, we are adopting a theory, thinking and ideology in Syria, our basic relations as we always want it with our Arab extension, which we believe that a fundamental extension, we may be let down now and we may be let down in the future by some regimes in these countries, but are our main popular dimension and our basic dimension is the Arab dimension..

Q: You don’t have a problem today that there is an Emirati or Saudi role in a solution?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: When did we close the door for any Arab country that wants to play a positive role in supporting Syria’s efforts in its fight against terrorism? When were we against any Arab effort to unite all our efforts to achieve Arab development and achieve the achievements that every Arab citizen aspires to? There are some forces, by the way, that are trying to disbelieve Arabism, belonging to Arabism, but we in Syria say that loyalty to Arabism and loyalty to our causes is a fundamental issue that is in the conscience of every Arab citizen and when we win other non-Arab countries in favor of these options, this is a real gain to support our struggle, but the Turkish state, as I mentioned at the beginning of my talk, tried to establish the best relations with it, but it went back to 5 or 6 centuries to the Turanian and the hateful Ottoman and its tendencies to achieve the interests of Western countries at the expense of our national and national issues.

Q: Doctor, I want quick answers, now we’ve entered a new phase in Idlib with the helicopter targeting? No going back?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: This is true, frankly, I say we have entered a new phase in all its dimensions, we have entered a new phase because the Syrian Army has achieved basic achievements and I spoke at the beginning about the great achievement achieved by the Syrian Arab Army by opening the Aleppo – Damascus road, I do not know frankly why Erdogan is angry that the Syrian Arab Army achieved this great achievement and liberated vast areas up to half of Idlib from armed terrorist groups if it were not for his commitments and obeying the orders of his operators not to be on the side of such victories, and he is an enemy now, you talk to me about Turkey, Turkey now with its current regime is an enemy of the Syrian Arab Republic, who illegally occupies Syrian Arab territory, who illegally brings his forces into Syria, who brings our planes down is an enemy of Syria and we will deal with it only as an occupation of Syrian Arab territory.

Q: Doctor, there is no retreat on the issue of military resolution in Idlib, the whole province? Aleppo countryside and Idlib?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: This is what we announced.

Q: Can’t diplomacy return? Perhaps a Russian involvement in a diplomatic path that will change or return of this diplomatic language? I think this is a question for every Syrian now and every observer of the Syrian affairs?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I confirm as we have always confirmed, and President Bashar al-Assad has also confirmed in many interviews: we will not rest until the last atom of Syrian territory is liberated, whether in Idlib, in the north-east or in Al-Rukban camp, this is Syrian territory and will return and there will be no retreat at all.

Q: Doctor, your words are very clear that when any Arab country wants to open up to Syria, it is clear who you mean by the Arab countries comes the American hand.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I mean all Arab countries.

Q: All Arab countries have American pressure on them?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: These countries should also take into account the interests of each other and the strategic objectives that the Arabs had agreed upon, at their summits, in their initiatives and in their vision to find solutions to the situation in the Arab region, and that western and American dictates should not lead each other through narrow interests to be active and not active in achieving our nation’s goals for liberation and progress.

Q: James Jeffrey, U.S. State Department Special Envoy on Syria, says when he visited Turkey that the U.S. is considering ways to support Turkey in Idlib, this support within nato, the priority to provide the Turkish military with intelligence and military equipment, but this is important, about supporting Ankara is sending U.S. troops to the conflict zone, which has not yet been decided. Do you see U.S. military support for the Turks in Idlib?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: As I mentioned, U.S. military bases are in Turkey, whether the Incirlik base near the Syrian border or other bases, and some say that there are nuclear weapons for the United States of America in Turkey, therefore, Erdogan has no credibility in everything he boasts about, but on a single issue…

Q: What does the American want?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: The American wants to achieve the goals for which he came to this region and mainly to protect his interests in oil and strategic position in the region, but mainly to protect the Israeli occupation of our Arab land…

Q: Is he using Turkey to achieve his goals?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: He uses Turkey and Turkey is used simply, easily and stupidly as I mentioned.

Q: Israel by bombing and targeting Syria also serves Turkey? Is there a correlation between the air targeting of Damascus and what is happening in the north?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Of course, absolutely, I would say that for the past nine years, when we were not at war with Israel or at war with Turkey? When? What Israel is doing or what it did last night, a week ago, months and years ago, it’s doing so since the start of this terrorist war on Syria to support armed terrorist groups, is it undeniable that Israel has provided all possible support to armed terrorist groups? Can we say that Israel, which I would like to focus on, was not in the details of this declared war against the Syrian Arab Republic in all its details? What happened in Deir ez-Zor and what happened in Daraa, Suwayda, Hasaka, Latakia and all the Syrian governorates is planned and directed by Israel…

Q: Not only in the South?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Not only in the south, all over Syria, but when Israel’s agents and their operatives against the Syrian state reach a state of despair as is the case now that the Syrian Army forces have achieved this tremendous progress in Idlib, northern Aleppo, northern Hama and southern Aleppo, northern Hama and southern Aleppo, they have not found through the direct coordination between the Turkish and Israeli governments except to resort to direct attacks as a message by Israel to the Turkish government on the one hand that we are with you because Erdogan started screaming and started hysterically every day to make five or six statements about what he thinks he is entitled to do in Syria and outside Syria, and a message to the state For Syria…

Q: And a message to Russia?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I don’t think that the Russian friends need such messages or the Syrian state needs because we all understand the dimensions of these positions and movements, and everything is taken into account, and I will not talk now personally about the Russian understanding, but the Russian position on the side of the Syrian Arab Republic throughout these years from 2015 to this moment is an honorable position, calls for pride, and the people of the Syrian Arab Republic will not forget this generous assistance and pure blood the Russian Federation provided, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezb Allah and the axis of resistance to Syria to strengthen our steadfastness on the one hand, and to achieve our victories on the other hand.

Q: We talked most of the time and Turkey in fact and what is happening in northern Syria you said an important issue that we are facing a new stage military and diplomatic and all that also, but on the subject of the Security Council, Dr. Faisal, always holds these meetings or are invited to them at sensitive times when the progress of the Syrian Army, today also there is a request for a meeting of the Security Council: France, Germany, Estonia and Belgium, on the developments of Idlib and Aleppo, there is a call for the Syrian state to stop its operations and talk about the humanitarian situation, what is your position on these sessions?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: As you mentioned, every time the Syrian Arab Army accomplishes achievements, whether it is when the battle for the liberation of Aleppo, the battle of Ghouta around Damascus, or the battle for the liberation of Daraa and Quneitra, every time the Syrian Arab Army accomplishes an achievement, these countries were calling to hold sessions to occupy the world and to distort the real picture and keep the achievements of the Syrian Arab Army away from the picture. This time the same process is repeated, only this month 7 meetings dedicated to Syria on the list of the Security Council and the Belgian government that now chairs the Security Council is implementing this Western plan on behalf of the United States of America and Britain, France, Estonia and others, therefore, we are not surprised, we are going to the Security Council and express our positions, also supported by our friends, i.e. the Security Council is no longer dominated by other countries, and we tell them as long as you talk about your support for terrorists and armed under humanitarian pretexts and on the pretext of delivering humanitarian aid, we are keen on the Syrian people, we want to liberate Our people in Idlib from the terrorists, we are fighting on Syrian soil, we are not fighting in Turkey, we are not fighting in Belgium or France, we are fighting terrorism, if you are loyal to the cause of fighting terrorism, we must provide all support to the Syrian Arab Army in its fight against terrorism.

Q: Another topic is the recognition that came from the People’s Assembly of the Armenian genocide and the other massacres committed by (Ottoman), of course important, is a very important step, but some voices say that it is delayed as if it also comes in the context of this hostility with Turkey, in a political context no more, how do you respond to this Is it the exact point?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: We say that crimes must be condemned anywhere and at any time, we cannot demand condemnation of the massacres committed by Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS against civilians in Syria, and we do not condemn these massacres committed by other countries.

The American aggression against the city of Raqqa erased this city, but no one talks about this crime committed by the American forces in the Province of Raqqa, of course we suffered from the massacre of our Armenian brothers, and the Armenians are Syrian citizens like me, and also the Assyrians and Syriacs and others suffered alongside them, therefore, it is only natural that the representatives of the Syrian people in their Parliament discuss this issue and make appropriate decisions.

I think that a few countries have taken these positions and Syria is part of these countries.

Q: Do you agree that it was late in Syria?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I believe that everything must come at a time and time, especially since we are also suffering from these criminal interventions of the Erdogan regime on Syrian territory. When Erdogan defends Jabhat al-Nusra and the criminal Muslim Brotherhood, it must be a natural and timely reaction in order to say that we are with our Armenian people on the one hand and the Assyrians and the Syriacs with them and in order to defend just causes all over the world.

Q: We move on to another topic: the Kurdish issue, where has the dialogue with Kurdish groups reached, mediated by Russia?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I am saying frankly that dialogue with our citizens is a matter that we follow in all its details, and we the Syrian state must have dialogue with its citizens and it is conducting this dialogue everywhere we need such dialogue…

Q: Did it progress? There was a big difference on the issue of recognizing the self-governing administration, of course the Syrian state does not want to recognize.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Who is this who dreams of self-administration? This is a prohibited subject.

Q: It means that there is no dialogue because the Kurds insist on this point?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: We insist that Syria be a unified sovereign state and all its children and cannot give an advantage to the people of Hasaka at the expense of its privileges to the people of Daraa, Damascus, Latakia, Tartus or Deir ez-Zor, we are in one country governed by the law of local administration and we believe that within the framework of the law of local administration This can develop some ideas that offer more possibilities…

Q: Some kind of independence?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: This independence is categorically rejected, there is no independence. We are a small country, allow me to reiterate once again that the Kurdish component of the Syrian people is an integral part of the Syrian people, so why are some trying to separate them in northern Syria from their motherland?

These are American Zionist attempts led by some people who are tempted by money and are tempted by relations with the United States of America, but in the end they will be at the expense of the unity of the land and the people of Syria, and this is a red line that cannot be allowed, and they must know that they cannot exploit the tolerance of the Syrian state to build relations with suspicious forces or in order for the United States of America for the interest of Israel in achieving this demand as a tool in the hands of these forces in order to undermine the unity of the land and independence of Syria, this cannot be allowed, but there are dialogues that are actually taking place, and we hope that our people and citizens in that region will return to and their rhetoric and their conscience and not to bet either on the United States or on any separatist tendencies. Syria is one and will remain the same and we look forward to the unification of the Arab world, as you know…

Q: Do you still hope so?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: We are still more determined, and we hope that others will respond to us.

Q: It’s strange that after all these years of bad Arab role as you call it.

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: This is the role of regimes and the role of governments, but if you ask any Arab citizen, he will say to you that his heart and conscience are with Syria.

Q: There is also an important topic I want you to answer quickly because time is running out, what happened in the Syrian east the confrontation of the American column, the American moves on the ground, do you consider that popular resistance has already begun in the Syrian east? Or are we exaggerating?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I am honored by this resistance. The resistance to the American trends is in the conscience of every Syrian citizen, when can the Syrian person highlight this resistance, this needs a lot of elements, but I assure America and some Turks and every force trying to undermine the sovereignty of Syria will not succeed in that, this martyr who fell two days ago in Hasaka near Qamishli is a symbol of the heroism of our people and their attachment to their land. A group of 10 returned an American column and the Americans had to kill a citizen, this will create a new situation, this may be the beginning of popular resistance, but I trust that any American delay and American occupation of Syrian territory will be met with such resistance.

Q: There is also the subject of the Constitutional Committee, which will meet in March, there was an obstruction of its work, is there any intention to activate the work of the Constitutional Committee? Who is obstructing the work of the Committee?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Who is obstructing? This question is clear who obstructs the work of the Constitutional Committee, the agents of Turkey, the team Turkey created.

Q: So Turkey must now get out of this file in order for the work of the Constitutional Committee to proceed, and Turkey’s exit from this file by playing a greater role for the Arabs?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I believe that the United Nations and those who are interested in the political process should work in this direction to remove Turkey as an obstacle to the constitutional process, because the constitutional process as stipulated in the UN resolutions must be independent and Syrian-Syrian purely without any outside interference. If I can say that we as a Syrian State have not intervened in this process, there are those who have been named from the national team who are following this issue and we will examine any outcome that the Constitutional Committee will conclude.

Q: You are answering in a bit of diplomatic language, not with all the files, but on this particular subject if Turkey is removed from the political solution file in Syria, will the political solution become easier?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I say that Turkey should get out of everything related to Syria, Turkey has nothing to do with Syria, and they lie when they put the Charter of the United Nations, especially Article 51 as a pretext for that, I mentioned that at the end of the 1970s when Turkey did not intervene, Turkey wasn’t harmed Turkey and these citizens did not resort to Turkey.

I say we must remember that the refugee camps were ready before the start of the recent crisis on the Turkish side, because they expected it to be ten days or 15 days, even a month, and then these refugees would end and return to their places of residence. Now we see the settlement of apartheid-style practiced by Turkey in order to drive away the inhabitants of that region and replace them with others loyal to Turkey in areas and I call on the United Nations and UNHCR and in all sense to wake up to this dangerous Turkish factor because if that is established, that means the beginning crises begin so that they don’t end all over the world.

Q: Turkey is actually a lot of ramifications, but I understand that you don’t want to talk on behalf of the Russian side, but we see there is tension in the Russian-Turkish relationship, is Russia willing to sacrifice its important relations with Turkey, especially for example, James Jeffrey says that we are happy to see that Turkey will not buy the S 400 from the Russians, there are many military, economic and other interests, is Russia taking a different path with Turkey?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I believe that Russia is taking an independent approach and is prioritizing its concerns to respect international humanitarian law, now the Europeans are talking a lot about a world of law, but Europeans because of their loyalty to the United States of America and their weakness in the face of its plans they forget all the principles established since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the framework of international relations, they are destroying the world of today and the world they created to become a world of chaos and a world of war and fighting, this needs a new examining by these forces.

I believe that Russia is seeking to maintain international order and to maintain a stable situation in today’s world and this is contrary to the interests of western countries.

Q: In the last two minutes I want to relive an interview with the BBC in 2012, I ask colleagues to prepare this interview, in which you talk about conviction and confidence in what will happen in Syria even though in 2012 all the aspects were different, Let’s watch and listen to what you said.

You were sure in 2012 that the Syrian state and the Syrian army would win, and all the data was clear to you, today in 2020 you what are you sure?

(From 2012 BBC Interview with Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad):

These things have been going on for about 20 months but Syria has survived, and I’m certain that Bashar Al-Asasd will remain in power, there’s no more safe places in Syria with the presence of terrorist groups affiliated to al-Qaeda and I’m certain that the Syrian Arab Army will succeed in foiling the continuation of the attacks by these terrorist armed groups.

Q: You were certain in 2012 that the Syrian state will win, and that the Syrian Army will be victorious, and all the aspects were clear for you. Today, in 2020, what are you certain of?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: I am sure that we will win and that the Syrian Arab Army will achieve all its objectives under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad…

Q: Will President Bashar al-Assad remain?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: He will remain because the people of Syria believe in him and his leadership and because he defended Syria with all his heroism, honor, honesty and sincerity to the issues of the Syrian people, and it has been proven that what Mr. President said at the beginning of this war is what will happen now and what will happen tomorrow and President Bashar al-Assad believes in this victory.

Q: Between 2012 and 2020, give me a description of Syria?

Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad: Syria the steadfast and Syria the victorious.

Thank you very much Dr. Faisal Al-Meqdad, Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria, for this meeting.

End of the transcript of the English translation.

Highly recommended previous interview with Dr. Al-Meqdad addressing the scandal of the OPCW and how Syria decided to boycott the work of its teams after the international organization altered its own mission on Syria:

Syria will NOT Cooperate with the OPCW new Investigation Team

Caesar Act, Oil and Gas, Chemical Weapons, and the Syrian Response

The Last White Helmet Of Idlib

ٍSouth Front

05.02.2020 

Israeli media are celebrating.

Asghar Bashpour, a top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its assassinated leader, Qassem Soleimani, has reportedly died in battle in Syria. Bashpour, who was overseeing Iranian operations in Aleppo, was killed at the forefront of clashes against “opposition forces” on February 3, reports said.

Israel has long been on the side of ISIS and al-Qaeda freedom fighters battling the oppressive Assad regime and Iran. At the end of the day, Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said that Iranian entrenchment inside Syria is ultimately aimed at harming Israeli security and interests, while, it must be noted, the ISIS offshoot, that has for years existed just meters away from the Israeli-controlled Golan Height, hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israeli troops. Now that ISIS is defeated, the sole democracy of the Middle East is in danger.

However, there are even more clouds hanging over the region.

Late on February 4, Assad forces broke through the defenses of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and their colleagues southeast of Saraqib and captured over 110km2, including the villages of Sheikh Edris, Balisah and Kafr Amim. Nearby Turkish observation posts observed this with tears in their eyes. Ankara just declared that its military had delivered a devastating blow to the regime with dozens of strikes. Turkish troops just did not expect such a cowardly attack from the defeated pro-government forces.

Fortunately, Mr. Recep Erdogan promised that his country would not allow the regime to gain more territory in Idlib. He is probably planning to flood the Saraqib-Tal Toqan road, Afs, Resafa and Sarmin with Turkish troops who will thus gain the opportunity to sacrifice their health and even their lives protecting innocent al-Qaeda members hiding in Saraqib from Assad’s aggression. A minor flaw in this approach is that the Syrian Army, supported by the Russians, can advance from more than one direction, and the danger may come from the north. What a cunning plan!

So, forces of law and order should unite to protect Idlib rebels and their leaders, and they are doing so. The United States, France and the United Kingdom called for a United Nations Security Council session to condemn the unreasonable aggression perpetrated against the al-Qaeda book club in Idlib. On top of that, the United States employed its most powerful weapon. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, which incidentally is located outside of Syria, changed its cover photo to demonstrate a strong determination to oppose “the continued, unjustifiable, and ruthless assaults on the people of Idlib by the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hizballah”.

But that’s not going far enough. To demonstrate solidarity with the Idlib peace activists, US diplomats, including Mike Pompeo and Kelly Craft, should wear white helmets and carry little black flags during all briefings and events related to the conflict in Syria. Mr. Pompeo himself could visit the city of freedom, Idlib, where he could take the opportunity to drink a cup of tea with leaders of all these groups and organizations which the State Department supports so fiercely. For sure, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will be glad to hear Pompeo’s explanations for the nebulosity of the US approach towards them. It is a bit unclear why the US officially recognizes them as terrorists, when its diplomacy is aimed at supporting them.

Last but not least, the US, France and the UK can accept as refugees all these Idlib freedom fighters whom they support so that they will no longer be oppressed by the Assad regime but can enjoy real democracy.

Iran is in the face of confrontation: Al-Assad and Putin are reaping the positive outcome إيران في المواجهة: الأسد وبوتين على ضفاف الحصاد الإيجابي

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Since the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance was translated in the positioning of the Russian forces in Syria in 2015 and the start of the path of supporting the Syrian army to liberate the lands controlled by the terrorist groups starting from Aleppo, Badia, Deir Al Zour, Ghouta, Daraa, and ending in Idlib, it seems for everyone that the Russian-Syrian-Iranian coordination is present in every step. The Iranian escalation against the American presence in the region as a response to the assassination of the two leaders Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis along with considering Iraq as the most important political and military arena have been accompanied by a clear Russian movement on the Syrian and Libyan paths to resolve the inclusion of Turkey to a complete coalition with Russia. This movement is based on the projects of transferring gas to Europe and what it meant economically to Turkey in the light of the open conflict where Washington is sponsoring the Israeli oil pipeline and the inclusion of Greece and Cyprus to it, and the conflict on the position of Egypt between these two projects in the light of a Lebanese-Israeli conflict on demarcating the borders of gas fields and a prominent Syrian-Israeli conflict in addition to an Italian alliance with Turkey and Russia. Therefore, the cease-fire has been announced in Libya where each of the Russians and the Turks have relationships with the two parties of the conflict, Ankara is paying the bill of its role in Libya by preparing to leave Syria.

The American withdrawal from Iraq has become an inevitable fact according to the Russian-Turkish reading, this means the withdrawal from Syria too whether this requires an escalation or not by the resistance forces. Therefore, the understanding on the recognition of the central role of the Syrian state and its control on all the Syrian land is no longer a subject that bears maneuvering or postponing. On the basis of this Turkish recognition a high-level official meeting has been hold publically for the first time between Syria and Turkey represented by the head of the Syrian National Security Council, Major General Ali Mamlouk and the head of Turkish intelligence the General Haqan Fidan and under Russian sponsorship, the center of the meeting was the future of Idlib, and the Syrian demand of a Turkish withdrawal from all the Syrian territories within temporal timetable under coordination between Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow in a way that dispels all the fear of establishing cantons that have ethnic and national factions and represent a Syrian-Turkish threat as the Kurdish separatist project.

On the Israeli bank which represents the most important part of the American concerns. The approval of demand of the Syrian President of the unconditional release of the detainee Sidqi Al-Maqt and his return to his hometown in the occupied Golan under clear Russian pressures was only a sense by the occupation entity and its leaders that the issue of Golan will be opened soon after the departure of the Turkish and American troops and after the decisions of annexations affected by Al-Maqt’s return to Golan have become nothing but ink on paper, because the time of the Israeli choice between opening the issue of Golan politically with Moscow and confronting the threat of a resistance that could turn into a war is no longer far, after the bet on demanding from the Americans what is impossible and after they reached to the dilemma of the inevitable withdrawal due to their obedience to the Israeli advices of escalation in order to reach to negotiating paths.

The Iranians along with the resistance forces master the game of exchanging outcomes with Russia since their alliance with Syria. It seems clear that the Russian-Iranian understanding which achieved a cumulative success in containing Turkey is succeeding in doing the same thing according to the Iranian-Russian alliance with many countries at different proportions. The unified strong Syria has the main priority in the objectives of this strategic alliance.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

إيران في المواجهة: الأسد وبوتين على ضفاف الحصاد الإيجابي

ناصر قنديل

– منذ ترجم التحالف الروسي السوري الإيراني في تموضع القوات الروسية في سورية عام 2015 وانطلاق مسار دعم خطة الجيش السوري لتحرير الأراضي التي تسيطر عليها الجماعات الإرهابية، انطلاقاً من حلب وصولاً إلى البادية ودير الزور والغوطة ودرعا وانتهاءً بإدلب. ويبدو لكل مَن يتابع ما هو أبعد من ظواهر الأمور أن التنسيق الروسي السوري الإيراني قائم في كل خطوة. فالتصعيد الإيراني بوجه الوجود الأميركي في المنطقة كردّ على اغتيال القائدين قاسم سليماني وأبومهدي المهندس، واعتبار العراق ساحة المواجهة الأهم سياسياً وعسكرياً، رافقته حركة روسية واضحة على المسارين السوري والليبي لحسم ضمّ تركيا إلى تحالف كامل مع روسيا، تتأسس على مشاريع نقل الغاز إلى أوروبا وما يعنيه اقتصادياً لتركيا في ظل الصراع المفتوح مع رعاية واشنطن للأنبوب الإسرائيلي، وانضمام اليونان وقبرص إليه، والنزاع على موقع مصر بين المشروعين، في ظل صراع لبناني إسرائيلي على ترسيم حدود حقول الغاز، وصراع سوري إسرائيلي على كل شيء، وتموضع إيطالي مع تركيا وروسيا. فجاء الإعلان عن وقف إطلاق النار في ليبيا، حيث يتقاسم الروس والأتراك العلاقات بطرفي النزاع، وفي سورية حيث على أنقرة أن تدفع فاتورة دورها في ليبيا بالاستعداد للخروج من سورية.

– الانسحاب الأميركي من العراق بات حقيقة قادمة وفقاً للقراءة الروسية التركية. وهذا يعني الانسحاب الموازي من سورية حكماً، سواء استدعى ذلك من قوى المقاومة تصعيد العمليات أم لم يستدعِ، ولذلك فإن التفاهم على التسليم بمركزية دور الدولة السورية، وسيطرتها على كامل التراب الوطني السوري لم يعُد موضوعاً يحتمل المناورة والتأجيل، وعلى خلفية هذا الإقرار التركي نضجت الظروف لأول لقاء رسمي عالي المستوى علناً بين الدولتين السورية والتركية، برعاية روسية تمثل بلقاء رئيس مجلس الأمن الوطني السوري اللواء علي مملوك بالجنرال حقان فيدان رئيس المخابرات التركية، والمحور هو مستقبل إدلب، وترجمة المطالبة السورية بانسحاب تركي من كامل التراب السوري، ضمن جدول زمني يتم تنسيقه بين دمشق وأنقرة وموسكو، وبسط سلطة الدولة السورية وحدها على أراضيها بما يبدّد كل المخاوف من قيام كانتونات تحمل ألواناً عرقية وقومية، وتمثل مصدراً للقلق السوري والتركي كحال مشروع انفصالي كردي.

– على الضفة الإسرائيلية التي تمثل الوجه الأهم للهموم الأميركية، لم يكن القبول بطلب الرئيس السوري بالإفراج غير المشروط عن عميد الأسرى صدقي المقت وعودته إلى مسقط رأسه في الجولان المحتل، بضغوط روسية واضحة، إلا استشعاراً من كيان الاحتلال وقادته بأن ملف الجولان سيفتح قريباً بعد رحيل القوات التركية والأميركية، وأن قرارات الضمّ التي كسرتها عودة المقت إلى الجولان، باتت مجرد حبر على ورق، وأن زمن الاختيار الإسرائيلي بين فتح ملف الجولان سياسياً مع موسكو وبين مواجهة خطر مقاومة يمكن أن تتحوّل حرباً لم يعد بعيداً، بعدما صار الرهان على مطالبة الأميركيين بالأكثر مستحيلاً، وقد وصلوا بسبب إطاعتهم للنصائح الإسرائيلية بمفاعيل التصعيد لإنضاج مسارات تفاوضية، إلى المأزق الذي لا مفر منه إلا بالانسحاب.

– يجيد الإيرانيون ومعهم قوى المقاومة لعبة رمي الهدايا في حضن الروس منذ تحالفهم في سورية، ويبدو واضحاً، أن التفاهم الروسي الإيراني الذي حقق نجاحاً تراكمياً في احتواء تركيا، ينجح في فعل الشيء نفسه وفق معادلة المطرقة الإيرانية والسندان الروسي مع آخرين كثر ولو بنسب واتجاهات مختلفة، وتبقى لسورية الموحّدة والسيدة والقوية الأولوية في أهداف هذا التحالف الاستراتيجي.

Syrian Air Defenses Repel Israeli Aggression over Damascus

SAA air defenses confront incoming israeli missiles

February 6, 2020

Syrian air defenses confronted to Israeli missile attack that targeted the vicinity of Damascus and the southern region late after midnight on Wednesday.

SANA news agency reported that Israeli enemy aircraft launched several missiles from over the occupied Syrian Golan and southern Lebanon targeting al-Kiswa area, Marj al-Sultan, Baghdad Bridge and South of Izraa.

It added that the air defenses managed to shoot down most of the hostile missiles before reaching their targets.

Photos released by the Syrian agency showed the moment when the air defenses repelled the Israeli missiles in the air.

The video below was also released by SANA:

Source: Agencies

Israel Bombs the Outskirts of Damascus Shortly after Midnight

February 6, 2020 Arabi Souri

New Israeli bombing against Syria shortly after midnight 06 February 2020 local time as the Syrian people are preparing to celebrate the liberating of the city of Saraqib from al-Qaeda terrorists. The Israeli bombing targeted a number of sites in the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus and over the southern province of Daraa.

The Israeli / US-made and supplied fighter jets carried out a series of attacks firing US taxpayers-paid for missiles from over the Syrian Golan and from south of Lebanon, the missiles targeted Kisweh town, Marj Sultan, in southern Damascus countryside, Jisr Baghdad and south of Izraa in the Daraa province.

Syrian Arab Army within its capabilities managed to intercept a number of the missiles and destroyed it mid-air as seen in the video clips shared with the Syrian News Agency SANA by local residents.

The video is also available on BitChute

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1lBCNO6kjEtYnkm6Pp8dANnQWgVDfzDvM

It’s becoming a constant habit that the embattled Israeli PM Netanyahu carries out such attacks after visiting Russian President Putin to show his gratitude in his way by embarrassing Mr. Putin, the Russian leadership, the Russian Army who are assisting the Syrian people in fighting NATO-sponsored al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria.

Mr. Putin’s endless generosity to the war criminal is paying back opposite to what’s intended, but that’s again to prove a common Arabic proverb: Be generous to a generous person and you’d win him, be generous to a mean person and he’d bite your hand. During the latest Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow, Mr. Putin forgave an Israeli drug dealer from prison. Naturally, Netanyahu wouldn’t request to release an honorable person, he will only help his ilk.

The latest bombing comes also at a time to assist in giving a hand and maybe some fingers to the Turkish pariah Erdogan who yesterday issued an ultimatum to the Syrian Arab Army to withdraw from Syrian territories in the Syrian province of Idlib by end of this month or face NATO’s largest army, in Syria!

These Israeli bombings in the south and the Trump forces presence and provocations in the northeast embolden Erdogan, and ironically the separatist Kurdish militias as well, to carry on further crimes against Syria implying these criminals will have the backing of their close allies when needed, history proves otherwise.

The Israeli bombings almost always come at a time when the Syrian Arab Army is about to achieve a strategic victory over al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates, this time when the city of Saraqib in Idlib province is about to be liberated.

The western taxpayers can easily draw the correct picture of who their governments are sponsoring in Syria and for what purpose, in other words: who is controlling their countries while giving them the illusion of ‘democratically and freely electing their politicians’ while the real decision-makers control the outcome.

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The Steal of the Century: A Last-Ditch Effort to Cement an Illegal Occupation

By Julia Kassem

Source

Trump Middle East Peace Plan 92ab3

Trump unveiled his and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” categorically rejecting the sovereignty and will of the Palestinian people, in fulfillment of ‘Israel’s’ full-scale occupation and colonization scheme to finish off the West Bank and extinguish any prospect of Palestinian territorial, governmental, or military sovereignty.

The proposal, a Trump-style business deal meant to save face while cutting losses following US failures in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, comes at the helm of Netanyahu’s push to annex all of the West Bank and close off a complete occupation of Palestine. As ‘Israel’ underwent years of failures with respect to its plans for external colonization, such as in south Lebanon and Syria in the occupied Golan’s Quneitra and Daara, it buckled down with its moves in total internal annexation and expropriation. Israel did this in the vein of Oslo, picking up where Yitzhak Rabin had left off with signing off the carved-out administrative and security zones in the West Bank to be set aside for a gradual and further procession of ethnic and territorial cleansing of Palestine actualized in the current “Deal of the Century.”

Though the political portion of the deal just unveiled following last June’s announcement of the economic portion, the parts that have been revealed before Tuesday, involving the multi-billion dollar development plans allocated to both Occupied Palestine and the Arab states around it, speaks for itself and exemplifies the material interest underlying any possible political proposal. The plan was brokered last June in Bahrain, a tiny oil-rich island hosting US naval 5th fleet and the US’s first military base established one year before ‘Israel’ in 1947, where years of a relentless uprising against oppression have been hopelessly stifled by the Gulf regime and its neocolonial order.

The plans build upon these age-old schemes and initiatives by enabling ‘Israel’ to annex all of Jerusalem, and over a third of the post-Oslo Area C subdivision in the West Bank, which, under the 1993 agreement had placed it under total ‘Israeli’ security and military domain.

In the largest illegal land-grab since the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, ‘Israel’ would also be allowed to claim nearly every illegal settlement built in the West Bank. Included in this is the Jordan Valley, with, along with Jerusalem, carved out to extend and overreach the Zionist entity’s claims over Palestine’s eastern boundary and isolate Palestinians from their regional neighbors.

The plan claims to offer Palestinians some concessions in proposing a halt to all new settlements and sparing 15 locations in the West Bank from further settlement. However, the plan as it exists does not guarantee or ensure a complete moratorium on settlement-building; an irrelevant concession either way given the Deal’s nefarious demand of ensuring US recognition of all current and exiting illegal settlements and annexation of Jerusalem, all illegal under international law but with most recent settlements officially greenlit by the US in November 2019. Before the deal, an uptick of massive illegal settlement construction, daily violations and instructions of the Al-Aqsa mosque, a higher and more aggressive than usual uptick of forced removals and demolishment, and self-declared annexations by the Occupying entity were so endemic to US policy towards Palestine under the Trump administration where violence, occupation, and expropriation had operated more incrementally before. 2018 saw the US’s attempts at slashing UNRWA, a service that not only provides aid to displaced Palestinians but also recognizes their right to return under international law, the opening of a US Embassy in Jerusalem, the shutting-down of PLO offices in DC, and more aid cut to Palestinian programs, services, and institutions, including the Palestinian Authority in February 2019. This helped seal the deal for the upcoming deal, laying the groundwork that would ultimately position any concession a net gain in ‘Israel’s’ favor.

From the December 2017 declaration to declare Jerusalem as capital of the Occupying Entity rather than Palestine, to the mobilization to build an additional 10,000 illegal settlements in the last year alone, any lip service given to an unguaranteed halt to settlements has already been surmounted by the largest and most violent cases of land expropriation and forced removal Palestinians had to face since 1967. Just last month, a disabled man in East Jerusalem witnessed his home demolished for the first time in 20 years. West Bank Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, are continuing to be forced out of their homes in droves, with demolitions and forced removals especially high in the last two years. Palestinian residents and families in East Jerusalem have even been forced to demolish their own homes as Israel remains committed towards its relentless pursuit to seize Jerusalem–a practice commonplace before Israel’s anticipation of the Deal, but unprecedented in frequency since then.

These propositions, a means of continuing an age-old project with added characteristics of a renewed, neoliberal development deal, is meant to cement economically what is becoming unsalvageable politically. The deal calls for Palestinians to completely rescind the infrastructure for self-defense and resistance alike, adding to their already feeble military capabilities diminutive in land and absent in air and sea. Though this predictably calls upon resistance groups in Gaza to disarm, it will also force the Palestinian Authority, who post Oslo served as the useful Palestinian containment apparatus of the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF), to also demilitarize.

Though the deal is meant to salvage some semblance of a pre-determined destiny imposed upon the will of the Palestinian people, it rather signals a grave level of defeat on the part of the American empire and its ‘Israeli’ and Gulf allies in the Middle East. The US-‘Israel’-Gulf axis is losing militarily in the Middle East and the Deal of the Century has been the US’s attempts at saving face in the region and consolidating its neocolonial hold on West Asia. Predictably, the shared political interests of Saudi Arabia, the UAE,

Nonetheless, the effects of the Steal-of-the-Century have already proven to backfire. As the “two-state solution” framework long upholding the discourse of the liberal peace shatters to pieces, Palestinians and their Arab neighbors in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria’s Golan under similar situations of military occupation and aggression will further actualize their right to resist, having long exhausted all diplomatic and legal avenues for peace and sovereignty.

The Deal comes as huge swaths of territory in Yemen, east of Sana’a and Idlib and Aleppo. in Syria are being liberated. Palestinians have rallied in Gaza, Ramallah, and elsewhere to mobilize a mass resistance and rejection of ‘Israel’s’ impunity with theft. And this solidarity extends and will expand past Palestinian boundaries into other Arab struggles; Sayyed Abdelmalik Al-Houthi, leader of the Ansarallah movement in Yemen that has resisted Saudi Arabian aggression for years,  just called upon “all people of the region” to act in counter to the “Deal of the Century,” which he called a “US initiative to prop up Israeli occupation with Saudi and UAE money.” Hezbollah, honoring these efforts in popular resistance, regarded “resistance” as the “only option to liberate the land and restore the sanctities” in a recent statement condemning the American administration’s decision and the complicitness of its Arab allies, vowing that the Palestinian people will resist overturning the deal before it can act on its depraved vision.

The $50 billion Trump is proposing to Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Occupied Palestine is not an investment or a package to the Arabs. It’s a bribe, and a package serving only ‘Israel’ and its allies. The Trump administration mistakenly expects complicities of the Arabs of the region with this money, similar to that of its Gulf allies when given such transactions for development and arms deals alike. Yet, the mounting resistance against the Deal–and the reaffirmations from Palestinians that have long declared that Palestine is not for sale, have taken root to uproot occupation and colonization. For better or for worse, the two-state solution is dead–so it’s past time for the US, ‘Israel’, and the Gulf to face up to phasing out of its overstayed un-welcome in the region; lest all regional forces of progress, resistance, and anti-colonialism appropriately take it upon themselves to do so.

Why Trump Can’t Save Israel

By Tim Anderson

Source

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Despite Trump’s apparent show of strength in the cynical ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan, he is actually helping Netanyahu destroy Israel, the European colony in Palestine.

Palestinian envoy to Britain Husam Zomlot said the announcement was a “piece of political theatre” and will push the situation “over the cliff and into apartheid”. Hamas rejected the plan as “nonsense” (RT 2020). Netanyahu, who has always been focussed on the expansion of ‘Greater Israel’, said that the Zionist state owes both Kushner and Trump “an eternal debt of gratitude”.

Trump’s ‘Peace to Prosperity’ plan (“A vision to improve the lives of the Palestinian and Israeli people”) is a revised version of the 2019 Kushner plan (the so-called “deal of the century”), which offered an illusory promise of long term money (mostly Gulf Arab money) in exchange for political surrender. The new version speaks of a “realistic two state solution” – because “Israel has now agreed to terms for a future Palestinian State” – with a tiny Palestinian statelet cramming the majority Arab population of historic Palestine into 15% of the land. Israel would control the vast majority of the West Bank (White House 2020). With no sovereign powers for the statelet, this deliberately enhances the status quo of a single state.

Trump’s latest plan follows a series of initiatives hostile to Palestinian and Syrian interests: breaching international law to recognize Jerusalem as a Zionist possession, breaching international law to annex the Syrian Golan, trying to legitimize the multiple Israeli colonies on the West Bank, demanding (in the Kushner plan) an effective Palestinian surrender on statehood and adopting the IHRA claim that any anti-Israel criticism is ‘racist’ and so illegitimate (IHRA 2016).

At this stage in the history of the colony, the 72 year old illusion of a ‘two state solution’ remains the main obstacle to a democratic Palestine. Trump’s plan seems an ‘advance’ on the Kushner Plan, in trying to keep that illusion alive. A majority of liberal Jews in the USA, in for example, still hold to the two state illusion. But Netanyahu and his colleagues have always wanted it all.

The problem for the more ambitious Zionists is two-fold: (1) Palestinians have resisted, by guerrilla warfare and by not going away, and now slightly outnumber Jewish Israelis in historic Palestine; (2) destruction of the two state myth, and widespread recognition that there is only a single apartheid state, will bring a dramatic collapse in Israeli legitimacy across the world.

The more astute Zionist leaders know this. Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert recognized that “if the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights … the State of Israel is finished” (Olmert 2007).

Historically, Israel as a sectarian European colony, has always relied on substantial ethnic cleansing. On 3 December 1947, as the campaign intensified, Zionist leader David Ben Gurion told his party faithful that the “40% non-Jews in the areas allocated to the Jewish state” was “not a solid basis for a Jewish state .. only a state with at least 80% Jews is a solid and viable state” (Pappe 2006: 76).

For that reason, Ben Gurion’s ‘Plan Dalet’ of March 1948 called for operations “destroying villages (by setting fire to them, by blowing them up, and by planting mines in their debris) and especially of those population centers which are difficult to control … [the operations required are] encirclement of the villages, conducting a search inside them. In case of resistance, the armed forces must be wiped out and the population expelled outside the borders of the state” (Pappe 2006: 68; Vidal 1997).

That plan was carried out and featured the Deir Yassin massacre of 9 April, where 107 villagers were killed, and a series of expulsions in which 531 villages and eleven urban neighborhoods were destroyed and 800,000 became refugees (Pappe 2006: xiii; Vidal 1997).

Yet despite this ethnic cleansing, military domination and annexations, Israeli agencies confirm that the current Arab population of historic Palestine (Arab Israelis plus those on the West Bank and in Gaza) is roughly equal to the population of Jewish Israelis.

A report from Jerusalem in 2011 showed that the Palestinian population of that city had risen from 25.5% in 1967 to 38% in 2009 (AIC 2011: 10, 12). The Jewish Virtual Library shows that the Jews of Israel / 1948 Palestine have declined from a peak of 88.9% in 1960 to 74.7% in 2017 (JVL 2017). In parallel, officials from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and the military run civil administration of the Occupied Territories (COGAT) say that the Arab population of Gaza, the West Bank and Arab [second class] citizens of Israel, along with residents of the annexed East Jerusalem municipality, add up to 6.5 million, about the same number as “Jews living between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean” (Heller 2018).

For all the apparent advances of Israeli power, Palestinian resistance has enhanced both the ‘demographic threat’ to Israel and the colony’s illegitimacy, in the international sphere.

In that context, Trump and Netanyahu are building an even more extreme illegitimacy, by consolidating a more openly apartheid state. In a report commissioned for the UN several years back, legal scholars Richard Falk and Virginia Tilley (2017), made it clear that Israel had already become an ‘apartheid state’, which is a crime against humanity. The international community had a responsibility to dismantle such a regime, they said.

Richard Falk, who had been a Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine for the UN, said that Palestine was wining the legitimacy battle: “Palestine is winning what in the end is the more important war, the struggle for legitimacy, which is most likely to determine the political outcome”. In the context of anti-colonial struggles, he continues, citing Vietnam, Algeria and Iraq, “the side with the greater perseverance and resilience, not the side that controlled the battlefield, won in the end” (Falk 2014).

Ironically it is the Palestinian Authority (PA), paid and contracted by the US and the Israeli regime, that helps keeps alive the illusion of two states. The PA blocks a clear and unified Palestinian strategy to dismantle apartheid Israel in favor of a single democratic state.

But where the PA has failed, Netanyahu and Trump are succeeding. While Israeli expansion has been blocked by the Lebanese resistance in the north and the resistance of Gaza in the south, Netanyahu has persisted with a steady colonization of the West Bank, undermining any viable Palestinian state.

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Now Trump has added to this drive, offering only the fig leaf of a powerless ghetto on a small part of the West Bank and in Gaza. Israel’s contempt for the people of Gaza is plain. This is reminiscent of the failed Bantustan Homelands solution offered by apartheid South Africa, just before that regime collapsed (SAHO 2020). More open apartheid in Palestine will mean the death of Israel. Thank you Trump and  Netanyahu.

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