Syria and Turkey United in Massive 7.8 Earthquake

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Steven Sahiounie


At least 780 are dead in Syria, with another 2,300 injured according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) after a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck at 4:17 am local time today.
Rescue teams look for survivors under the rubble of a collapsed building after an earthquake in the regime-controlled northern Syrian city of Aleppo on February 6, 2023. – A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria early on February 6, killing hundreds of people as they slept, levelling buildings and sending tremors that were felt as far away as the island of Cyprus, Egypt and Iraq. (Photo by AFP)

The epicenter was near Gaziantep, Turkey on the Syrian border.  After shocks began almost immediately with a powerful 6.7 quake eleven minutes after the initial 7.8 jolt.

Deaths have been reported in the Syrian regions of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia, with Tartus having been impacted by the quake, according to SANA.

An eight-story building collapsed in Syria’s Hama province, SANA reported, citing the Hama Fire Brigade. Multiple buildings were also reported to have collapsed in the port city of Latakia, and the city of Aleppo, SANA said.

The Red Crescent in both Turkey and Syria have both asked people to donate blood after the powerful quake. Churches and Mosques in Syria have opened their doors to the homeless.

In Turkey, at least 1,500 dead, with more than 8,550 injured, according to the Turkish media.  At least 10 provinces across southeastern Turkey have been impacted by the earthquake, with 3,800 buildings collapsed.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said Monday it recorded seven quakes with a magnitude above 5. The strongest aftershock so far was recorded at 1:30 pm Monday and had a magnitude of 7.5.

Strong aftershocks are likely to continue in the hours and even days to come after an earthquake as strong as this one, according to meteorologists.

The Syrian Ministry of Defense in Damascus said in a statement it is “mobilizing all its units, formations and institutions in all governorates to provide immediate aid and urgent assistance to the residents affected by the earthquake, search for people trapped under the rubble, and to treat the injured.”

Shaking from the quake could be felt up to 300 kilometers away (186 miles) from the epicenter.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the border between Turkey and Syria is tied as the strongest the country has experienced in more than 100 years of records, according to the USGS.

An equally powerful 7.8 magnitude quake that hit eastern Turkey in 1939 resulted in more than 30,000 deaths.

Turkey has experienced seven quakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater in the past 25 years, but Monday’s is the most powerful. It is also the strongest quake to hit anywhere in the world since an 8.1 magnitude quake struck a remote region in the southern Atlantic Ocean in 2021.

Karl Lang, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech University’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, told CNN, “It’s a seismogenic area. It’s a very large fault zone, but this is a larger earthquake than they’ve experienced any time in recent memory.”

“The magnitude of shaking that is felt on the surface is both a function of the amount of energy released, the size of the earthquake, but also how far that energy is released below the surface. So if it is very close to the surface, if it is a shallow earthquake, then it can be very dangerous,” said Lang.

“What’s really unusual here is that it’s a very large earthquake that is also close to the surface,” Lang said.

Residents in Latakia reported, “It felt like it would never be over.” The quake brought on a three-minute rolling movement in which high towering housing units swayed, causing residents to pour into the streets in their pajamas. The coast of Syria is experiencing a very cold rainstorm which began before the quake and has not let up.

With several inches of snow on the ground in Gaziantep, residents waited outside in the rain for about 30 minutes before he could go back inside to grab coats and boots.

Predictions

Frank Hoogerbeets, CEO and President at Solar System Geometry Survey, made a prediction of this earthquake in a YouTube video on February 2. After his prediction came true, he wrote: “As I stated earlier, sooner or later this would happen in this region, similar to the years 115 and 526. These earthquakes are always preceded by critical planetary geometry, as we had on 4-5 Feb.”

World leaders forgot the Syrian people

In times of natural disasters, it is to be expected for world leaders to extend condolences and offers of help.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tweeted, “I have been in touch with Turkish officials to relay that we stand ready to provide any & all needed assistance. We will continue to closely monitor the situation in coordination with Turkiye.” What about Syria? The Syrian people are suffering as well, but they don’t get mentioned.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted, “We stand with the people of Turkey in this difficult time.” No mention of the Syrians suffering.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “India stands in solidarity with the people of Turkey.” No mention of Syria.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sent his condolences to the people of both Turkey and Syria in a series of tweets. The Syrian people deserve mention.

Countries who have offered help to Syria are: China, Russia, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Iraq, Algeria, France, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Bahrain.

Idlib and the White Helmets

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) said its hospitals in Syria “are overwhelmed with patients filling the hallways.”  This news from CNN would lead you to believe that SAMS has hospitals serving Syrians in need all over.  The fact is, SAMS is strictly serving the medical needs of the approximately three million residents of Idlib province, which is the only area in Syria under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

SAMS’ president Dr. Amjad Rass said the organization has been receiving victims and working to guarantee the wellbeing of more than 1,700 staff in Syria and 90 in Gaziantep, Turkey, according to CNN. The fact is, the 1,700 staff he mentions are in Idlib alone, and the 90 are not in Syria at all, but in Turkey.

SAMS is a medical charity located in the US and was founded during the Obama administration’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its charities during the US-NATO attack on Syria for regime change, which failed.

The “White Helmets” group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, also said there were dozens of victims and hundreds trapped under the rubble in the Idlib region, according to CNN.  The fact is, the White Helmets are an award-winning video troupe founded by a British former secret agent, and they are not known as the Syria Civil Defense locally, as that unit is the Fire Department in Syria and is found across the country in every city and administered from Damascus, not Hollywood.


Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist.

New 5.3-magnitude earthquake hits Turkey again amid 2921 death toll


7 Feb, 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

This comes right after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit both Turkey and Syria, leaving thousands dead.

People looking for survivors on a collapsed building in Idlib, Syria on Monday (AP)

A new earthquake hit Turkey again at a magnitude of 5.3, which comes right after Monday’s earthquake left a death toll of 2,921 in Turkey with 15,834 injured, according to a Turkish news agency on Tuesday, citing the Turkish disaster and emergency management authority (AFAD).

Russia sent teams to assist Turkey and Syria, with multiple other countries such as Iran and Iraq also sending aid to the region. 

Syria requested on Monday that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres send all resources available to help the country already dealing with a harsh and unjust blockade by the US, which is prohibiting medical resources from reaching citizens.

The major 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, has killed more than 3,000 people and flattened thousands of buildings as rescuers dug with their bare hands for survivors.

Multi-story apartment buildings full of residents were among the 5,606 structures reduced to rubble in Turkey, while Syria announced dozens of collapses, as well as damage to archaeological sites in Aleppo.

The head of Syria’s National Earthquake Center, Raed Ahmad, called it “the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center.”

The initial quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude tremor that shook the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in a phone call on Monday that Russian rescuers will depart toward Syria today in order to provide all required assistance and support following the devastating earthquake that struck the West Asian country and Turkey.

“In the nearest hours, rescuers from the Russian emergency ministry will take off for Syria,” the Kremlin said.

Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. The country’s last 7.8-magnitude tremor was in 1939 when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province.

The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999 when more than 17,000 people died.

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Over 2,300 killed as 7.8-magnitude earthquake hits Turkey, Syria

Monday, 06 February 2023 5:04 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 06 February 2023 1:17 PM ]

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake has hit Turkey and Syria, killing over 2,300 people and trapping many others.

The quake struck at 04:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) and was followed by a 6.7-magnitude aftershock 15 minutes later, according to the US Geological Survey.

Turkey’s AFAD emergencies service center put the first quake’s magnitude at 7.4.

According to the head of Turkey’s disaster and emergencies management agency (AFAD) Yunus Sezer, the country’s death toll following the earthquake has risen to about 1,500 with thousands of buildings destroyed.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the earthquake as the country’s largest disaster since 1939.

People gather as rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in the Syria city of Jandaris, February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The Ankara government has requested international aid amid the widespread devastation caused by the quake.

The president of the Turkish Red Crescent also urged the nation to make blood donations.

Kerem Kinik also said on Twitter the organization sending additional shipment of blood to the affected region.

The country’s vice president Fuat Oktay announced the suspension of schools in the 10 affected cities and provinces.

He also announced that flights to and from the airport in Hatay province have been suspended, while airports in Marash and Antep are also closed to civilian flights.

The quake leveled buildings across major cities in southern Turkey, including Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, and caught most people while they were still asleep.

“I have never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived,” Erdem, a resident of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicenter, told Reuters. “We were shaken at least three times very strongly, like a baby in a crib.”

Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in militant-held town of Jandaris, Syria, on February 6,2023. (Via Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said it was concerned about areas in Turkey from which there had been no news following the overnight tremor.

“National authorities will be focusing on search and rescue at the moment,” a WHO spokesperson told Reuters in a statement, adding “Then we will expect an increased need for trauma care to treat the injured and to support the entire health system in affected areas.”

In Syria, the country’s official media as well as rescue teams working across the nation put the death toll at over 800.

The official SANA news agency, quoting the country’s health ministry, said the quake had killed at least 461 people and left at least another 1,326 injured, including the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus.

Rescue teams said over 380 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in northwestern parts of the country, which are held by pro-Turkish militants.

A man carries away an injured child following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, Syria, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Reports said the Syrian border city of Harem in Idlib province was completely ruined by the quake.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss the necessary measures, according to his office.

Raed Ahmed, who heads Syria’s National Earthquake Center, told Syrian media that this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center.”

The tremors were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.

People in the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran into the street and took to their cars to get away from their buildings in case they collapsed, Reuters cited witnesses as saying.

Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed in the worst earthquake to hit the country in decades.

Putin offers condolences, aid to Turkey, Syria after quake

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences and offered Russian aid to Turkey and Syria following the deadly earthquake, the Kremlin said.

“We share the sadness and the pain of those who lost their loved ones and we hope for a speedy recovery for all the injured, and are ready to provide the assistance needed to overcome the impact of this natural disaster,” Putin said in a message to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

In a separate message to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin asked him to “convey words of sincere sympathy and support” to the families of the victims and said Russia was “ready to provide required assistance.”

People gather near a damaged site following an earthquake, in Aleppo, Syria, in this handout released by SANA on February 6, 2023. (via Reuters)

“Bashar al-Assad gratefully accepted this offer, and in the coming hours rescuers of the Russian emergencies ministry will fly to Syria,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The Turkish president warmly thanked Vladimir Putin for such a prompt and sincere reaction and said that he was giving instructions to the competent authorities of the country to accept the help of Russian rescuers,” it said.

Russia said it had emergency rescue Ilyushin-76 planes on standby to fly to the two countries.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu separately spoke with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar by telephone, offering condolences and support.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shoigu “offered to provide all necessary assistance through the military department to his Turkish colleague in the aftermath of the earthquake, including medical assistance to the victims.”

People search through rubble following the earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

China’s Xi condole with Turkey, Syria over deadly quake

Later on Monday, China’s President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Turkish and Syrian leaders over the most powerful earthquake to have hit their countries in nearly a century.

Xi told Turkey’s Erdogan and Syria’s Assad in separate messages that he was “shocked” to learn of the disaster.

He also conveyed “deep condolences for the dead and sincere sympathy for their families as well as for the injured.”

“I am shocked to learn of the strong earthquake that took place in your countries, causing heavy casualties and loss of property,” Xi said in his messages, according to CCTV.

China’s official foreign aid agency said it was in communication with Turkish and Syrian authorities and “willing to provide emergency humanitarian aid in accordance with the needs of the affected population.”

People search for survivors under the rubble following the earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

EU mobilizes over 10 search and rescue teams to Turkey

The European Union says more than 10 search and rescue teams from the bloc have been mobilized in the wake of Turkey’s major earthquake.

“Urban Search and Rescue teams have been quickly mobilized from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania to support the first responders on the ground,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Italy, Spain and Slovakia have offered their rescue teams to Turkey as well.


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The Terrorism Pretext: US-ISIS-Kurdish Nexus Preserves Occupation of Syria

February 03 2023

It’s getting harder to ignore. The persistent ISIS presence in the Syrian desert only serves US aims to continue its military occupation and support for Kurdish separatism.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

ByThe Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

In March 2019, former US President Donald Trump startled Washington’s war establishment by announcing that the mission of “eliminating terrorism” had been accomplished in Syria.

Seven months later, Trump solidified his claims by celebrating the assassination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a US special forces operation in rural Idlib, in the north of the country.

In reality, the US president had been angling to exit Syria for some time, and the absence of terrorism provided that excuse. Trump had promised his voter base to wind down expensive foreign military adventurism, and viewed the high cost of military deployment in Syria as disproportionate to the gains realized.

But while withdrawing US forces from various locations in Syria’s north and northeast, the American president was pressured to maintain a small number of troops in the oil-rich countryside of Hasakah and Deir Ezzor, and in the Al-Tanf base, an area crucial to Israel’s strategic interests as it is located on the border with of Iraq and Jordan, and on the hypothetical road that connects Tehran to Beirut.

Trump, known for his brazen proclamations, publicly stated that “oil interests” were the reason for keeping this small contingent of US troops in the embattled Levantine state. The wholesale exit of US forces would have paved the way for Syrian and Russian troops to take back control of the northeast, and for Moscow to move forward with its peace plan through the Astana Process with Iran and Turkiye.

The facade of ‘fighting terror’

With the arrival of Democratic President Joe Biden to the White House, Washington shifted its priorities and sought to maintain a protracted presence in Syria under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” ISIS cells were magically reactivated in the Syrian desert, a development heavily circulated in US media through “intelligence sources.” This prompted accusations from Moscow that Washington is supporting terrorism from its Al-Tanf base, which Russian planes bombed last July.

Amidst escalating hostilities between the US and Russia over Ukraine, Syrian field sources have informed The Cradle of the existence of communication channels between the Al-Tanf base and ISIS cells that carry out scattered attacks in the Syrian Desert against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied, Iran-backed factions.

The sources have also noted a marked shift in both ISIS tactics and the terror group’s access to advanced weapons and modern communication equipment that have been discovered in their hideouts. Given Iraq’s stringent measures on all border crossing with Syria – digging a trench along the border, building a separation fence, and installing surveillance cameras and checkpoints – it is unlikely that ISIS could obtain these resources without support from a powerful nation.

Kurdish forces employ the ISIS threat

During every Turkish threat to attack US-backed Kurdish forces in the country’s northern provinces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) raises the specter of ISIS and its expansion, which is used to justify the continued Kurdish occupation of northern Syria to repel these attacks.

This pattern repeated itself during the 2016-2017 Turkish Euphrates Shield operation against ISIS and Kurdish targets, the 2018 Olive Branch operation when Turkish forces invaded Afrin in Aleppo’s countryside, and the 2019 Turkish offensive called the Peace Spring operation.

The trend continued last December, when Ankara threatened to attack Kurdish-held territories in Syria’s north. The SDF, which had halted operations against ISIS, quickly reversed  its decision two days later.

In addition to playing the ISIS card to justify its relevance, the SDF – which is affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which Ankara considers an extension of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) – has another lever it frequently employs.

The Kurdish group controls dozens of prisons that house thousands of ISIS leaders, fighters, and their families, the most notorious of which are Al-Hol camp near the Iraqi border, and Al-Sinaa prison in the Hasakah Governorate.

And the SDF, in coordination with US strategists, have employed this leverage to release ISIS members and their families from camps or to allow prison breaks at important junctures.

So why are ISIS attacks on the rise?

A clear correlation can be observed between the rise in ISIS attacks and US attempts to fortify its presence in Syria in order to ‘fight terror.’ After a period of relative decline during Trump’s presidency, the terrorist organization has regained strength, ironically, following Biden’s decision to expand operations against ISIS.

In early 2022, ISIS launched an attack on Al-Sinaa Prison, which holds prominent ISIS leaders and fighters. The operation came less than three weeks after several noteworthy developments: First, international coalition forces brought in large shipments of weapons, including Bradley vehicles and anti-tank weapons; Second, coalition forces returned to the Lafarge base on the strategic international M4 highway north of Aleppo; Third, western forces had just completed maintenance operations for the oil fields.

Notably, the attack also took place after US Caesar Act sanctions were lifted from areas controlled by the SDF and Turkiye.

US support for the SDF through exempting Kurdish areas from the Caesar Act demonstrates Washington’s goal of solidifying the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in SDF-controlled areas. This serves to ensure a continued US presence and foothold in resource-rich northeastern Syria in the event of a future withdrawal of troops – and ongoing obstruction of Russian peace efforts to stabilize the country.

Terrorism: a tool for US expansionism

As soon as Ankara voiced its willingness to reconcile with Damascus, the US began preparing for a new troop deployment to fortify its position in Syria, particularly since rapprochement – backed by Russia and Iran – hinges on several key agreements, the most prominent of which requires the exit of US forces from the country as a necessity for a political solution.

The new US military expansion – which is essentially a redeployment – returns troops to previous bases in former ISIS-stronghold Al-Raqqa Governorate all the way to the border with Turkiye, restructures and revitalizes the jihadist-aligned Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade (Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa), and provides them with weapons and equipment to form an SDF-like force in this predominantly Arab province.

In December 2022, ISIS launched a series of attacks in Raqqa, which served as the necessary pretext for the US and SDF to launch a large-scale security operation in and around the governorate. The US military used the attacks as an opportunity to reposition its forces, bring in heavy machinery, and rehabilitate helicopter airstrips.

Similarly, US-led coalition forces and the SDF launched the Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt security campaign in and around Al-Hasakah early this year, which resulted in the arrest of 154 ISIS members – according to an SDF statement on 7 January. However, these figures were questioned by locals, who accused the SDF and coalition forces of arresting countless innocent civilians in the Tel Hamis area.

Local sources accuse the SDF of drawing up indiscriminate lists that include personal targets, which have led to accusations against innocent people, the arrest of US occupation opponents who have nothing to do with ISIS, and a desire to increase detainee numbers as part of “the show” that accompanies all US operations.

In light of these facts, Syrian military sources in the eastern desert anticipate an increase in ISIS attacks – particularly as Syrian-Turkish reconciliation talks progress and exert negative pressure on US ambitions in Syria’s north. The sources says that the connection between the US and ISIS, which is used opportunistically and strategically to achieve political goals, is no longer a secret and will only gather further steam in the months ahead.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

In Douma Cover-up, OPCW’s New Smoking Gun Backfires

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

Aaron Maté


In a new phase of a multi-year cover-up, the OPCW has accused Syria of a chemical attack in Douma. But to make the case, the OPCW breaks its own rules and offers an argument that its own findings undermine.

In the latest chapter of an international cover-up scandal, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has directly accused Syria of committing a deadly chemical attack in the town of Douma. A new report from the chemical watchdog’s Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) alleges that Syrian forces dropped two chlorine gas cylinders and killed 43 civilians on April 7, 2018.

The report received an immediate and unequivocal endorsement from the US Department of State, the British Foreign Office and French Foreign Ministry – the diplomatic branches of the countries that rushed to bomb Syria in response to the events in Douma.

The IIT’s conclusion follows years of refusal by OPCW leaders to account for the suppression of the Douma probe’s initial findings.

The OPCW’s first report, finalized in June 2018 by a separate Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), raised doubts that a chemical attack occurred in Douma. It also left open the possibility that the incident was staged, presumably by insurgents who controlled the area at the time. Leaked documents reveal that this original report was doctored, and, along with other critical material, concealed from public view. The following month, a delegation of US officials lobbied the FFM team to conclude that chlorine gas was used as a weapon in Douma and that the Syrian government was responsible.  A follow-up report, released in March 2019, omitted the original’s key findings and endorsed the US-led narrative of a chlorine attack.

The manipulation of the Douma probe was challenged by OPCW inspectors who deployed to Syria for the mission. OPCW Director General Fernando Arias has refused to meet with them or address their concerns.

The US, UK, and France have declared that the IIT report “refutes the Russian claim” that insurgents faked the use of poison gas use in Douma to frame the Syrian government. They also touted what they called “the independent, unbiased, and expert work of the OPCW staff.”

Yet the IIT report fails to address the concerns of the dissenting OPCW staffers who originally investigated the Douma incident.  It does not resolve the identified suppression, inconsistencies, and errors across key areas of the probe, including toxicology; chemical analysis; ballistics; and witness testimony. Instead, after burying the original findings and stonewalling calls for accountability, the OPCW has doubled down on the deception in Douma.

This first installment of The Grayzone’s review of the IIT Douma report focuses on the core investigative pillar of chemical analysis, which heavily factors in the IIT’s conclusions.

In Douma, OPCW discovers a Magic Marker

The IIT claims to have confirmed the 2019 Fact Finding Mission’s (FFM) conclusion — which was challenged by the dissenting inspectors — that chlorine gas was “likely” used in Douma, and that there is no evidence of chemical staging.

In Douma, the first gas cylinder was found at an apartment building identified as “Location 2,” where 43 dead bodies were filmed. The bodies were strewn about the floors below a gas cylinder that was positioned atop a crater on the roof. The cylinder, it is alleged, caused the crater and then remained poised over the hole as it dumped its chlorine payload into the rooms beneath. A second gas cylinder was found on a bed at a different apartment building identified as “Location 4”, where no fatalities were reported.

To assert that chlorine gas most definitely struck Location 2, the IIT relies on finding what it calls a “marker” chemical, tetrachlorophenol (TeCP), in a single sample of concrete debris. The presence of TeCP in that sample, the IIT states, “specifically points to the exposure to chlorine gas.”

But to make that case, the IIT violates the OPCW’s own evidentiary protocols, and makes an argument that its own findings undermine.

– The supposedly incriminating concrete sample has appeared out of the blue. The IIT claims that the sample was received and analyzed by an OPCW Designated Laboratory in July 2018. But the OPCW FFM’s March 2019 report – released more than seven months later – makes no mention of this sample’s existence. Nearly four years later, the Douma probe’s most consequential sample is therefore being disclosed for the first time.

– The TeCP-containing sample was not collected by OPCW inspectors. It was instead collected by an unidentified third party in direct violation of the organization’s chain of custody rules.

– The third party that collected the sample is in all likelihood the White Helmets. While claiming to be a neutral rescue organization, they are anything but. The White Helmets closely cooperate with anti-government insurgents in Syria and are funded by foreign states active in Syria’s post-2011 proxy war, including the United States and the UK. The White Helmets have also been credibly accused of staging a chemical decontamination scene in a nearby hospital at the time of the alleged Douma attack.

– In violation of its own protocols, the OPCW gave full evidentiary status to this externally collected sample of uncertain origin. By contrast, a similar sample collected at the same Douma location by the organization’s own inspectors was inexplicably disregarded and not even analyzed.

– The OPCW offers no explanation for these evidentiary breaches. And even if all of them are put to the side, the IIT’s assertion that the sample reveals a chemical weapons smoking gun is contradicted by the OPCW’s own findings. The IIT somehow overlooks that TeCP was also found in a sample from a different location, where no chlorine gas is reported to have been present.

In short, to reach its conclusion that a chlorine gas attack occurred in Douma, the OPCW is relying on a newly introduced, highly dubious sample, and a scientific argument that is fatally flawed.

“Concrete” Proof

The IIT claims that its Douma probe is “based on the findings” of the OPCW’s original Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which released a final report in March 2019. That report concluded that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that a chemical weapon was used in Douma, which was “likely” chlorine gas. When it comes to the chemical analysis, the FFM based its claims “primarily on the detection of bornyl chloride and/or trichlorophenol” in wood samples, after it had excluded other possibilities like household bleach.

Although the FFM did not name the alleged perpetrator, it strongly suggested the Syrian army.

The FFM’s conclusions were challenged in a leaked letter sent to OPCW chief Fernando Arias in April 2019 by Dr. Brendan Whelan, a veteran OPCW inspector and Douma team member. Whelan was the chief author of the team’s original report and oversaw the scientific investigation that produced it. The letter criticized what Whelan called “unsubstantiated and scientifically irresponsible” findings, and “the way the facts have been misrepresented.”

Nearly four years later, in what amounts to a tacit acknowledgement of Whelan’s objections on the chemical analysis, the IIT has introduced a new line of argument.

The IIT report makes a new case for a chlorine gas attack primarily based on detecting what is described as a “marker” chemical called tetrachlorophenol, or TeCP. According to the IIT, “the presence of TeCP clearly points to chlorine gas as being the chlorinating agent present at the scene, and in very high concentrations.” The IIT additionally claims that the detection of TeCP helps determine that the chlorine gas came from the two cylinders found in Douma, and negates the possibility that the incident was staged.

These are very different justifications to those contained in the March 2019 FFM report. For example, the FFM in that report rejected any staging with bleach on the grounds that “there were no visible signs of a bleach agent or discoloration due to contact with a bleach agent.” One of the known OPCW whistleblowers has rejected this argument as “tenuous and unscientific.” By omitting it in its latest report, the IIT apparently agrees.

At Location 2, the apartment building where the 43 dead victims were filmed, the key TeCP chemical was identified in just one sample. According to the IIT, it comes from concrete debris collected on April 8 2018 “in the room under the crater and the cylinder.”

But the sample’s path from purported collection in April 2018 to purported smoking gun in January 2023 raises multiple red flags.

The sample now said to contain the incriminating TeCP is conspicuously absent in the OPCW’s March 2019 final report on Douma. A full list in that report of the “samples collected or received by the Fact-Finding Mission” makes no mention of the IIT’s newfound sample.

Yet according to the IIT, the TeCP sample was “first received and analysed by an OPCW designated laboratory on 24 July 2018.” Taking that timeline at face value, an obvious question arises: why was this critical sample not considered of interest – or even acknowledged — in the March 2019 final report? The IIT makes no effort to answer this question, or to explain how such a consequential sample was not disclosed until now.

March 2019: A full list in the Douma FFM’s final report of the “samples collected or received by the Fact-Finding Mission” makes no mention of the IIT’s newfound smoking gun sample.
January 2023: despite not being mentioned in the March 2019 FFM report, the IIT claims that the TeCP sample was “first received and analysed by an OPCW designated laboratory on 24 July 2018.”

The IIT’s supposed smoking gun becomes even more suspect when we learn how it was obtained.

The all-important TeCP sample is not only missing from the OPCW’s March 2019 final report; it was also not collected by the OPCW. The IIT states that the sample was “collected by a third party” on April 8th 2018, days before the OPCW inspectors even arrived in Syria.

The IIT claims that it was “able to reconstruct” the sample’s chain of custody “between the date it was collected and the date it was first received” in July 2018. But as The Grayzone has previously reported, the OPCW’s use of external actors to collect chemical samples in Syria violates its foundational rules, which require full control of the chain of custody from start to finish.

If a “sample was not under OPCW custody” at any point during a mission, OPCW policy states that it “will not be accepted for OPCW verification purposes.” As a spokesperson explained in 2013, the OPCW “would never get involved in testing samples that our own inspectors don’t gather in the field, because we need to maintain chain of custody of samples from the field to the lab to ensure their integrity.”

In Douma and other probes by the OPCW in Syria before it, that bedrock policy has been quietly discarded.

If a “sample was not under OPCW custody,” OPCW policy states, it “will not be accepted for OPCW verification purposes.” (QDOC/LAB/WI/OSA3)

The IIT does not name the “third party” that collected the concrete sample, but it is undoubtedly a group known as the White Helmets. In a public statement on the IIT report, the White Helmets claimed that they “collected samples” in Douma “and submitted them to the OPCW.” As The Grayzone reported last year, the OPCW has used the White Helmets to collect samples and other purported evidence in multiple Syria chemical weapons probes.

In enlisting the White Helmets, the OPCW has not only flouted its own evidentiary protocol, but partnered with a non-neutral actor. The White Helmets extensively cooperate with armed anti-government insurgents, prompting one Syrian Al Qaeda leader to describe their members as “hidden soldiers.” The group is also funded by the same foreign state belligerents, including the US, that armed the insurgency and bombed Syria over the Douma allegations. According to witness testimony and several media sources, including a BBC journalist who conducted a lengthy investigation, the White Helmets staged a chemical decontamination scene in a Douma field hospital around the time of the alleged chemical attack.

The IIT’s reliance on a previously undisclosed sample provided by a third party is additionally called into question by yet another unexplained decision. The OPCW’s Douma team collected an almost identical sample from the exact same spot at Location 2, yet did not analyze it. The IIT describes the extraordinarily useful TeCP sample as having been taken from concrete located “in the room under the crater and the cylinder.” Yet the OPCW’s March 2019 final report shows that the watchdog’s own inspectors also collected concrete located “in the room under the cylinder.” (Entry #28, p. 90).

Whereas the OPCW did not analyze the concrete sample that it collected in Douma, it inexplicably did analyze the sample collected from the same place by an external source. That this previously unknown sample happened to produce the OPCW’s newfound smoking gun is either an extraordinary coincidence, or yet another deception.

March 2019: the OPCW FFM’s final report shows that the watchdog’s own inspectors collected concrete located “in the room under the cylinder.” Yet the IIT relied on an externally collected, previously undisclosed sample from the same location instead.

The New Smoking Gun

The IIT’s inexplicable reliance on a previously undisclosed sample whose collection was outsourced to an external actor directly tied to armed insurgents is but one glaring aspect of a report shot through with flaws. Putting aside the sample’s suspicious timeline and compromised chain of custody, the significance of the analytical findings assigned to it does not pass muster.

The IIT authors report that chemicals they call “highly chlorinated phenols, namely trichlorophenol (TCP) and TeCP, were found in samples that were gathered close to the cylinder that had lodged on the roof of Location 2. Out on the street, three floors below, they found related chemicals which they describe as “low-chlorinated phenols” MCP and DCP. They did not find TeCP or TCP.

The IIT argues that these “highly chlorinated phenols”, TeCP and TCP can only be formed if samples originally containing a chemical called phenol had been exposed to a high concentration of chlorine gas. “The production of TCP, and in particular TeCP from phenolic precursors, requires the presence of a high concentration of chlorine gas,” the report states. (emphasis added)

According to the IIT’s rationale, because only the “low chlorinated phenols,” MCP and DCP, were found in samples taken from the street far from the cylinder on the roof, that means that the concentration of chlorine gas in the street just in front of Location 2 had to have been much lower. This in turn means that the gas release had to have originated on the roof, where the gas concentration would have been highest if the cylinder lodged there were the source:

The pattern of detected chlorinated phenols at the scene is consistent with the hypothesis that the cylinder on the roof was the source of the released gaseous chlorinating agent. This is indicated by the presence of highly chlorinated phenols TCP and TeCP at the sampling locations close to the cylinder (i.e. at the crater on the roof and in the room under the cylinder), as opposed to the least chlorinated phenols MCP and DCP on the street far away from the cylinder.

The finding also leads the IIT to conclude that the TeCP found in the concrete sample from the third-party allows them to “rule out the hypothesis that the incident may have been ‘staged’ using household bleach products or pesticides.” That is because, in their view, “to produce TeCP… [t]he high reactivity of chlorine gas is required.” In other words, bleach is not strong enough to make TeCP – leaving chlorine gas as the cause.

The IIT rules out pesticide as a possible source by considering a hypothesis whereby the TeCP might have originated in the sample because of contact with a pesticide called PCP, which, the IIT says, is normally contaminated with considerable amounts of TeCP. They eliminate that hypothesis, however, because “PCP was not detected in any sample from Location 2,” which they say “strongly indicates that the TeCP was produced in situ” — i.e. where it was detected in Location 2 — “due to the action of chlorine gas.”

In sum, the IIT’s findings regarding the TeCP in the concrete sample at Location 2 purport to resolve three main chemical issues: proving that chlorine gas was used; ruling out a staged event with household bleach; and even establishing that the yellow gas cylinder on the roof of Location 2 was the source of chlorine gas. TeCP, it would seem, is the veritable smoking gun needed to establish a chemical attack in Douma as fact.

All is not as it seems, however. In its attempt to rely on a “new” discovery, the IIT has overlooked what the OPCW already found.

Tunnel Vision

Upon scrutiny, it becomes clear that the Investigation and Identification Team has jumped to baseless conclusions about the TeCP’s significance. The IIT’s claim that the TeCP’s presence “clearly points to chlorine gas… and in very high concentrations” — and debunks any possibility of staging with household bleach — is scientifically unsupported. Moreover, the IIT has somehow missed that its claim to a smoking gun is explicitly contradicted by the OPCW’s own findings.

The report’s authors have also overlooked the fact that their new incriminating chemical TeCP (tetrachlorophenol), along with TCP (trichlorophenol), – what they describe as “the highly chlorinated phenols” — were also found in a Douma sample gathered far from any gas cylinder.

According to the FFM’s March 2019 report, those same chemicals, tetrachlorophenol (TeCP) and trichlorophenol (TCP) were detected in the tunnel deep underneath the field hospital in Douma, identified by the OPCW as “Location 1.” (Final Report, Annex 5, page 49, Entry #26).

When the White Helmets were not busy collecting game-changing samples on the OPCW’s behalf, they were using this same hospital to film dramatic scenes of themselves dousing civilians, including children, with water, claiming they were treating victims of a Syrian government chemical attack. (In February 2019, the BBC’s Riam Dalati claimed that he can “prove without a doubt that the Douma Hospital scene was staged.” He fell silent immediately after his astounding claim and has not released his reporting).

Sample taken from the tunnel underneath the hospital at Location 1 (FFM Report, Annex 5)

Recall that the IIT has just claimed that for TeCP and TCP to form “in situ,” it “requires the presence of a high concentration of chlorine gas.” Recall also, that the IIT dismissed the possibility that the TeCP found at Location 2 could have come from the pesticide PCP, because no PCP was found in the sample where TeCP was found. The same argument applies to the tunnel sample, where no PCP was found either.

There have been no reports of any chlorine attack or chlorine gas release in the tunnel beneath the hospital, let alone in “high concentration.” Because of the distance of the tunnel from the two gas cylinders — and contradicting the IIT’s own logic — the presence of TeCP and TCP in the tunnel sample cannot have been a result of exposure to chlorine gas, yet alone exposure to high concentrations of it, from an alleged chlorine gas attack on April 7 2018.

If the TeCP found in the tunnel did not come from pesticides, or did not result from exposure to high concentration of chlorine gas, what was its source? Chlorinated water or the natural environment are among several possibilities. TeCP clearly has other sources, and is not the unique “marker” of chlorine gas that the IIT has deemed it to be. As such, it cannot be used as a diagnostic tool for chlorine gas exposure in the Douma investigation, and the IIT’s argument collapses.

Engaging the experts

To reach its findings about the TeCP, the IIT claims that it “engaged a well-established chemist with specific expertise in the analysis of chlorine markers.” This supposed expert has only established a need for the IIT to engage in a little scientific curiosity – specifically to read the OPCW’s own lab results, which undermine the explosive conclusions that the IIT report has drawn.

The same need could be identified for an OPCW leadership that has refused to address the complaints of the original Douma team whistleblowers.

In an April 2019 letter to the OPCW Director General Arias, Dr. Brendan Whelan, the FFM team’s scientific coordinator and chief author of the original report, flagged multiple issues that take on newfound significance in light of the recent IIT report.

The March 2019 final report, Whelan wrote, “altered” the “key conclusions” of the June 2018 original report, even though “no substantive or valid new information, particularly with respect to the sampling and analysis results, has been gathered since.” Additionally, the OPCW “prioritised the analysis of samples… for which no chain of custody could be assured,” thereby downgrading “samples which had been collected by the FFM team and therefore had full chain of custody.” Finally, Whelan argued that the OPCW’s conclusions about the samples are “unsubstantiated and scientifically irresponsible given the information the team possessed.”

Nearly four years later, the OPCW has responded to the scientific and ethical violations breaches that Whelan identified by committing even more. The result is an IIT report that offers a disqualifying chain of custody, conclusions contradicted by the OPCW’s own information, and a newfound smoking gun that backfires in spectacular fashion.


Aaron Maté is a journalist and producer. He hosts Pushback with Aaron Maté on The Grayzone. In 2019, Maté was awarded the Izzy Award (named after I.F. Stone) for outstanding achievement in independent media for his coverage of Russiagate in The Nation magazine. Previously, he was a host/producer for The Real News and Democracy Now!.

Erdogan: Iran’s participation in Russia, Syria & Turkey talks possible

31 Jan, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net + Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Any tripartite talks should be preceded with prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia, according to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (Archive)

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Monday the possibility of Iran’s participation in the tripartite talks between Russia, Syria, and Turkey.

    In a televised speech, Erdogan said that “It is possible for Iran to participate in the tripartite talks between Turkey, Syria, and Russia.”

    He added, “Our relations with Russia are based on mutual respect, and although we were unable to obtain the desired result regarding northern Syria, the tripartite talks could be held, and it is possible that Iran will take part in them.”

    Earlier this month, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad said, “The meetings with the Turkish side must be based on prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia in order for them to be fruitful, and in order to reach the tangible goals and results that Syria wants from these meetings.”

    On December 28, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “trilateral talks between the defense ministers of Russia, Syria, and Turkey took place in Moscow. The meeting discussed ways to address the Syrian crisis, the issue of refugees, and joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria.” 

    At the conclusion of the meeting, the defense ministers highlighted how the dialogue was constructive, stressing the need for all three parties to hold further talks to bring more stability to Syria and the whole region, the statement added.

    Meanwhile, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), Hakan Fidan, met Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk in Moscow, along with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

    “Ways of resolving the Syrian crisis and the problem of refugees as well as joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria have been discussed,” the Russian RIA Novosti news agency said, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.

    “Syrian crisis, the refugee issue, and efforts of joint fight against all terror organizations on Syrian soil were discussed in the constructive meeting,” the Ministry’s statement added.

    Repercussions of Europe’s “Terror” Designation of the IRG

     January 24, 2023

    Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri and Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas

    Iran’s highest-ranking military commander called for plans to hold a joint war game with Syria, which he hailed for being at the forefront of supporting Palestine against the Zionist regime.

    In a meeting with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas, held in Tehran on Monday, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri lauded Syria for its resistance and supporting Palestine from the outset of occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Zionist regime.

    The senior commander stressed the need for staging a joint military exercise between Iran and Syria.

    Major General Baqeri also condemned the recurrent Israeli acts of aggression against the Arab country that has violated international law.

    He noted that Iran has provided advisory support for the Syrian Army so far, expressing the Islamic Republic’s readiness to help the Syrian military forces in restructuring, training, and supplying equipment.

    For his part, the Syrian defense minister highlighted the close interaction between Damascus and Tehran in the fight against terrorism and the common enemy.

    Praising the Islamic Republic for backing his country during the crisis and for standing against the Israeli regime, Abbas said Syria will continue to fight against the Zionist regime and stand with the nations seeking independence.

    In July 2020, Iran and Syria signed a comprehensive agreement to enhance their cooperation in the military and defense sectors.

    Iran began providing Syria with advisory military assistance after numerous countries, at the head of them the US and its Western and regional allies started funding and arming militants and terrorists with the aim of deposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in 2011.

    Despite initially losing considerable expanses of territory to Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) and other terror outfits, the country, however, rallied with the help of Iran and Russia, another ally of Damascus, and reversed the balance in favor of itself on the battleground.

    Source: Agencies

    Israel National Security Research Institute: Iran represents the most dangerous threat to “Israel”

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    Syria and US War Crimes: The Reckoning is Coming

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

    Christopher Black
    In an article published here in November 2018, I referred to the statement of the UK representative of a UN organisation named the International, Impartial, Independent Mechanism to Assist in the Investigation and Prosecution of Persons Responsible for the Most Serious Crimes under International Law Committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011.

    I will repeat that statement because it is relevant to the current situation in Syria. That person stated,

    “We must demonstrate that those who have committed the most serious crimes of international concern can have no place to hide. There must be no impunity for the horrendous acts taking place on a daily basis in Syria. There must be justice for the victims.”

    The UK representative said this without any sense of irony, without any sense of shame, for, of course, it is the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada and their gang who have committed war crimes, and crimes against humanity beyond number in Syria since they instigated the uprisings against the government of Syria, beginning in 2011, supported their allied terrorists groups to attack Syrian armed forces and civilians, and imposed their illegal sanctions on the people of Syria.

    The history of the war against Syria by the US and UK, Israel and their allies is well-known, the cruel sanctions, the aerial bombings, the missile attacks, the assassinations, the torture, the illegal occupation of the Golan Heights by Israel with US support, and, finally, the US invasion of Syria that began in 2015 with US special forces raids into its territory on a number of occasions that year and 2016 and the formal entry of US forces on March 8, 2017. Their invasion has continued to this day.

    During the summer of 2017 US forces laid waste the city of Raqqa, Their carpet bombing of the city, their heavy artillery strikes and use of white phosphorous shells, banned under international law, killed hundreds of civilians, and today Raqqa lies in ruins.  Their terrorist allies laid waste Aleppo, Damascus and numerous other cities and towns and villages with a savagery as common to US trained groups, as it is to the US forces themselves.

    The Americans gave all sorts of pretexts for this invasion, none of which were true and none of which gave them any legal basis for their aggression, for that is what their actions were; direct and brutal aggression against a sovereign nation in violation of the Nuremberg Principles established in 1946, in violation of the Kellog-Briand Pact of 1928, in which all these nations agreed not to attack any other nation, and in violation of the UN Charter, all of which the aggressor nations were subject to as part of international law and their own domestic law.

    The invasion ordered by President Obama, making him a war criminal, expanded in scope until President Trump ordered American forces to be pulled out in 2019.  But US forces still remain in occupation of the northeastern parts of Syria. Their exact number is not known but it is at least one thousand and probably higher than that as they continue to build bases controlling the important oil fields that provide much of Syria’s energy needs and cash for exports as well as areas of wheat production vital to the survival of the Syrian state and its people.  The Americans continue to provide their usual pretexts for this, such as “fighting terrorism” “containing Russian influence in the Middle East, or supporting the Kurdish forces opposing both Syria and Turkey.

    On January 10, 2023, in the magazine Defense One, William Roebuck, an American with the long title of Former Deputy Envoy for the Global Coalition against ISIS, repeated all these pretexts as justification for the American invasion but added, in calling for the invasion to continue,

    “Our presence also blocks Russian consolidation of its military mission in Syria, undercutting one of the key sources of Moscow’s surprisingly resilient prestige in the region and hence lending support to our Ukraine policy efforts,”

    thereby linking the US invasion and occupation of Syria to the US-NATO aggression against Russia in Ukraine.

    Of course Mr. Roebuck could not cite any legal reasons or justifications as to why the US should be able to continue its occupation, because there are none, but as is common with all American and NATO governments and their officials, they could not care less about the law or morality.

    The Syrian government states the situation clearly.

    Om January 12, the Syrian Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Muhammad Hassan Qatana, affirmed that the exceptional circumstances that Syria is passing through because of the terrorist war, instigated by the United States, and unilateral coercive measures have badly affected achievements of many years of sustainable development and caused large losses.

    On January 13, Syrian Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister, Bassam Tu’ma, said that the US occupation of parts of the Syrian territory, including oil resources, and the illegal sanctions imposed by Washington on Syria, cause great suffering on the Syrian People.

    These statements follow the August 22, 2022, report in Tass that,

    “According to the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, U.S.-led entities illegally export up to 66,000 barrels of oil daily, representing 80% of the daily production of hydrocarbons. The scale of Washington’s oil theft has reached a peak. Because of this the humanitarian situation in the country remains difficult, millions of Syrians face energy, food and water shortages and are in need of basic necessities.”

    “Russia and Syria strongly condemn the plundering of the natural resources. The US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces currently control most of Syria’s eastern and northeastern Al-Hasakah, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa provinces. The US military command has established nine military bases there since 2015. Damascus views the US military presence in Syria as an illegal occupation.”

    On December 14, 2022, the Syrian government in a statement to the Security Council stated,

    “Syria condemns the actions of the US occupation forces and demands an end to the illegal US military presence on its territory.

    “Syria draws the attention of the international community to the systematic plundering of the natural resources of the Syrian people by the United States and associated paramilitary units,” the statement said.

    “Damascus,” it said, “demands the return to the Syrian state of the captured oil and gas fields and the payment of compensation for the stolen resources.” The ministry’s statement provides data on the losses that Syria has suffered in recent years from the theft of its oil, gas and other minerals, as well as wheat. They are estimated by Syria at $19.8 billion. In addition, the bombing by the Air Force of the Western coalition caused the country damage worth $2.9 billion.”

    The Syrian Foreign Ministry said “further silence of the UN Security Council on the aggressive policy of the United States and the violation of the principles of international law is unacceptable.”

    “It’s impossible to ignore the suffering of Syrians as a result of the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, which have disastrous consequences for the daily lives of citizens and don’t allow them to receive the necessary services, fuel, household gas, electricity, especially in winter,” the statement said and concluded with,

    “the blockade and coercive measures of the West against Syria are tantamount to war crimes, they increase the suffering of the people and slow down the process of post-war reconstruction.”

    War crimes they are, yet, as the Syrians noted, nothing is said in the collective west in defence of Syria.  Nothing is said about the crimes of the Americans and their allies, either by their governments, or their media. How can we expect them to since they are all complicit in these crimes?

    Since the Americans will not leave unless forced to, it will take operations by the Syrian Army to drive out the invader, but that is complicated by the continuing incursions and occupation of parts of northern Syria by the Turks intent on ridding themselves of the Kurdish threat. Hopefully the on-going talks between Turkey and Syria with the participation of Russia will lead to a resolution of that issue so that Syria can, with the help of its allies, finally take action against the invading US forces.

    All the while the US and its NATO allies along with their puppets in Kiev rant on about “Russian war crimes” in Ukraine and call for international tribunals.

    Yet it is they who should face trial and punishment for the war crimes committed by them over the years, including the nuclear attacks on Japan in 1945 for which the Americans have never been brought to account, a crime which, as President Biden said on January 13, in a surreal meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister, referring to the the use of nuclear weapons, is “a crime against all humanity.”

    The world will not forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even if the Japanese government pretends to, nor the American and allied crimes and the millions of dead in Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and all the other crimes, too many to list here, that they have committed around the world to support their interests.

    Who will try them? Who will bring them to justice?  Only the future can provide the concrete answer, but the reckoning is coming, of that we can be sure.

    Putin Tells Raisi in Phone Call: Russia Ready to Upgrade Cooperation with Iran

    January 20, 2023

    By Staff, Agencies

    Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is ready to upgrade cooperation with Iran in different fields as he held talks with President Raisi for the second time in less than ten days.

    The Iranian and Russian presidents discussed bilateral ties and regional developments during a phone conversation initiated by the Kremlin on Thursday.

    During the phone conversation, Raisi stressed the need to boost bilateral cooperation and coordination in various fields.

    He also described as “positive and constructive” the agreements between the two countries for expanding cooperation in the fields of energy and transit.

    For his part, Putin said Moscow is ready to boost cooperation with Tehran in the areas of energy as well as transit.

    Iran and Russia are working to advance the North-South corridor which will facilitate transportation and greatly reduce transportation time.

    In 2002, Russia, Iran, and India signed an agreement for the International North-South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a 7,200 km multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

    The INSTC is seen a game-changer that will shorten the distance and lower the cost of transportation from South Asia to Europe through Iran and Russia and potentially serve as an alternative to the Suez Canal for East-West trade.

    The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria during the conversation. Raisi stressed that Iran supports solving the Syrian crisis through the Astana Format.

    Putin also highlighted the role of Astana talks in solving the Syrian conflict, noting that all sides are committed to the format.

     Iran and Russia, as the allies of the Syrian government, as well as Turkey, which sides with the opposition, set up the Astana peace process in January 2017 intending to put an end to the Syrian conflict through the involvement of the Syrian government and the opposition.

    The leaders of Russia and Iran also agreed “to maintain contacts at different levels,” the Kremlin’s press service said, TASS reported.

    The two leaders had discussed issues of mutual interest on January 18. Raisi had then expressed Iran’s readiness to play a positive intermediary role in ending the war between Russia and Ukraine.

    “The Islamic Republic invariably lays emphasis on the [importance of] strengthening of regional convergence and [points out] the detrimental effect of the foreign intervention [in the region],” he said then while referring to developments in the Caucasus region and Syria.

    The latest phone conversation comes a year after Raisi made a two-day visit to Moscow. After arriving in Tehran on January 21, 2022, Raisi told reporters that “fundamental agreements” on expanding all-out bilateral relations were clinched during the trip.

    «إسرائيل» من حرب الستة أيام الى حرب الست جبهات أوهن من بيت العنكبوت…

    January 17 2023

    محمد صادق الحسيني

    ذاب الثلج وبانَ المرج، كما يقول المثل الشعبي العربي. فبعد كرنڤال تسليم وتسلّم منصب رئيس أركان جيش العدو، الجنرال كوخاڤي المنتهية ولايته، وصاحب العنتريات الفارغة، التي كان آخرها أنه سيعيد لبنان خمسين سنة الى الوراء في الحرب المقبلة وحديثه عن ضرورة إعداد الجيش الصهيوني لمهاجمة إيران، ورئيس الأركان الجديد، الجنرال هيرتزي هاليڤي، الذي تسلم المنصب من سلفه المذكور أعلاه، والذي أدلى بتصريحات لا تختلف في جوهرها عن تصريحات كوخاڤي، ها هو كبيرهم الذي علمهم السحر:

    الجنرال المتقاعد اسحق بريك يدلي بتصريحات هامة جداً، صباح الثلاثاء ١٧/١/٢٠٢٣ لقناة «كان» الإسرائيلية، ركز فيها على أن:
    الجيش الإسرائيلي غير جاهز للحرب على خمس جبهات، كما قال الجنرال بريك، وهي جبهات إيران وحزب الله وسورية والعراق وقطاع غزة والضفة الغربية. وهو محق تماماً في كلامه، الذي قاله للقناة الإسرائيلية، والذي سبق ان قال أكثر منه بكثير، في تصريحات سابقة له نشرت بتاريخ ٧/٩/٢٠٢٢، أكد فيها أن رئيس الأركان الجديد، الجنرال هيرتزي هاليڤي، محكوم عليه بالفشل مسبقاً، بسبب المشاكل البنيوية المتراكمة، التي يعني منها الجيش الإسرائيلي منذ مدة طويلة.

    لكن قراءةً بين سطور تصريحات الجنرال بريك، لقناة كان التلفزيونية الإسرائيلية، تؤكد على حقائق كثيرة لم تكن مطروحة سابقاً، عندما أدلى بتصريحاته المختلفة لوسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية.

    اذ إن الجنرال بريك، عندما يقول إن الجيش الإسرائيلي غير جاهز للقتال، على خمس جبهات في الوقت نفسه، انما يؤكد بكل وضوح، على أن الجيش الإسرائيلي وسلاح الجو الإسرائيلي ليسا في وضع يسمح لهما بمهاجمة إيران، كما يدّعي رئيس وزراء العدو، نتن ياهو ورئيسا أركان الجيش السابق والحالي، وذلك لأن مدارج الطائرات، في القواعد الجوية الصهيونية، سيتم تدميرها بواسطة الصواريخ الدقيقة البعيدة المدى. وليس في كلامه هذا الكثير من الجديد.

    الا أن الجديد في كلامه اليوم هو حقيقة أن إيران سوف تتسلّم سربين، من المقاتلات الروسية، من طراز سوخوي ٣٥، خلال مدةٍ أقصاها نهاية شهر آذار المقبل، حسب ما تؤكده تقارير اجهزة الاستخبارات الغربية والتسريبات الصادرة عن بعض المسؤولين الإيرانيين.
    فما هي مقاتلات سوخوي ٣٥؟ وما الذي يجعلها تثير قلق الجنرال الصهيوني المخضرم، اسحق بريك، الذي حذر عملياً رئيس الأركان الصهيوني الجديد، من القيام بأي عمل ضد إيران (الجيش غير جاهز).

    تعتبر هذه الطائره المقاتلة، التي ستتسلمها إيران قريباً:

    ١- طائرة مقاتلة متعددة المهام. أي أنها قادرة على تنفيذ مهمات قتالية مختلفة، تقررها رئاسة أركان القوات الجوية في البلد المعني.

    ٢- كما تعتبر هذه الطائرة مقاتلة تفوق جوي او سيطرة جوية. اي انها قادرة على حماية أجواء البلد الذي يستخدمها، وحسب خطط تضعها هيئة أركان القوات الجوية في البلد المعني مسبقاً. وهذا يعني أن الاجواء الإيرانية ستصبح محميةً حمايةً محكمةً ومطلقةً، بعد تسلم هذه المقاتلات.

    ٣- وبكلمات أخرى فإن سلاح الجو الصهيوني ليس لديه اي قاذفات قنابل قادرةً على اختراق الاجواء الإيرانية وتنفيذ عمليات قصف حوي لاهداف إيرانية. بما في ذلك طائرات سلاح الجو الصهيوني، من طراز أف 35.

    ٤- يعود ذلك الى الاسباب التالية:
    ـ تتمتع المقاتلات الروسية / الإيرانية، من طراز سوخوي ٣٥، بمحركين قويين جداً، تجعلان هذه الطائرات تتمتع بقدرات عالية جداً على المناورة، خلال العمليات الاعتراضية (لطائرات العدو) وعمليات القتال الجوي.
    – تسمح لها محركاتها القوية بالوصول الى سرعة الفين وثمانمئة كيلومتر في الساعة. وهي السرعة التي تزيد عن أقصى سرعة، تستطيع الوصول اليها طائرات F 35، وهي اقل من الفي كيلومتر في الساعة.
    – كما تمكنها قوة محركاتها (السوخوي ٣٥) من حمل حمولة تصل الى ضعفي حمولة أف 35، خاصةً أن الـ أف 35 الصهيونية تعتبر طائرةً شبحيّة ما يجعل مشغليها التقليل من حمولتها للصواريخ، التي يتم تسجيل ارتدادات موجات الرادارات المعادية عليها (على الصواريخ).
    ٥ ـ (قدرتها على حمل صواريخ جو/ جو، من طراز R 77 M 1، مداها ١٧٥ كيلومتر، أي أنها قادرة على الاشتباك مع الطائرات المعادية من مسافة مئة وخمسة وسبعين كيلومتراً.

    ٦- قدرة هذه المقاتلة، التي يمكنها تنفيذ مهمات قاذفة القنابل أيضاً، على الوصول الى عمق فلسطين المحتلة وقصف أهداف صهيونية هناك، حيث ان مداها يصل الى ثلاثة آلاف وثمانمئة كيلومتر (تتسع خزانات الوقود فيها لأحد عشر الفاً وخمسمئة ليتر)، بينما تبعد فلسطين عن القاعده الأم ألفاً وخمسمئة كيلومتر، والتي ستنتشر فيها الطائرات الإيرانية، وهي قاعدة اصفهان الجوية، التي تسميها أجهزة الاستخبارات الغربية قاعدة: TAB 8، الواقعة في شمال شرق اصفهان. بالإضافة طبعاً الى إمكانية هبوط هذه المقاتلات في القواعد الجوية السورية، سواءً للتزوّد بالوقود او لإعادة التذخير.

    ٧- وعليه، وبما ان الطائرة الوحيدة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط قاطبةً، القادرة على منافسة الطائرات الإيرانية، من طراز سوخوي ٣٥++ ( اي طائرة جيل رابع متقدم جداً وقريب من طائرات الجيل الخامس)، هي طائرة F 22، المتموضعة في قاعدة الظفرة الإماراتية، فإن امتلاك سلاح الجو الإيراني لهذه الطائرات المتطورة جداً يجعله ممسكا. تماماً بزمام المبادرة الاستراتيجية، جواً وبراً، نظراً لقدرات هذه الطائرات على تنفيذ العديد من المهمات القتالية، ومن بينها تقديم الدعم الجوي لكونها قادرةً على حمل ثمانية اطنان من الصواريخ والقنابل المختلفة.
    خاصةً ان الولايات المتحدة ليست في وارد الدخول مع إيران في صراع عسكري مفتوح، نتيجة لعوامل عديدة اهمّها ان التركيز الاستراتيجي الاميركي، في المدى القريب والمتوسط، يتركز على مواجهة روسيا عسكرياً تمهيداً لما يعتقدون أنهم قادرون على تنفيذه من تحرّكات عسكريةٍ ضدّ الصين، سواءً في بحار الصين. اليابان أو في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ.

    ٨- وفي المحصلة الاستراتيجية فإنّ الدور الهام، الذي ستلعبه هذه الطائرات المقاتلة الإيرانية، وما سيكون لها من تأثير، في موازين القوى العسكرية في “الشرق الأوسط”، سوف يفضي (تغيُر موازين القوى) الى نشوء تفوق استراتيجي كبير، لصالح قوى حلف المقاومة، الامر الذي سيجعل تدفق آلاف المقاتلين الى الجليل المحتل، لا بل الى عمق فلسطين المحتلة، وصولاً الى حيفا واللد والرملة وإنهاء وجود الكيان الصهيوني المؤقت، أمراً ليس حتمياً فحسب وإنما في متناول اليد أيضاً.

    وغني عن القول طبعاً إن الجنرال بريك قد حذر من ذلك، في تصريحاته لقناة كان التلفزيونية الصهيونية، صباح أمس.
    “إسرائيل” اوهن من بيت العنكبوت.

    بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

    دمشق – أنقرة: تصلّب المواقف يؤخّر الخرق

    الإثنين 16 كانون الثاني 2023

    لا تزال العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا «خياراً» تركيّاً مطروحاً على الطاولة (أ ف ب)

    محمد نور الدين  

    تتزايد الإشارات الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري حيال مسألة التطبيع وما يعتيرها من معوّقات لا تزال تحول دون إتمامها. ويجلّي تلك المعوّقات اشتراط الجانب السوري إنهاء الاحتلال التركي كمقدّمة لأيّ مصالحة محتمَلة من جهة، وعودة الأتراك إلى العزف على نغمة التهديد بعملية عسكرية بريّة في الشمال السوري، قالوا إنها لا تزال خياراً مطروحاً، من جهة أخرى. في هذا الوقت، يَظهر الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، التواق إلى إحراز أيّ اختراق يعزِّز من شعبيته المتراجعة قبل الانتخابات، إلى الآن، كَمَن «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، أقلّه بالنسبة إلى دمشق

    صدرت، في اليومَين الماضيَين، عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري، إشارات عكست أنّ «شيئاً ما» يَعترض مسار المصالحة بينهما، وإنْ كان جليّاً أن الطريق ليس سهلاً أو مفروشاً بالورود. ففي حوار إذاعي أبرزته الصحف التركية في صدْر صفحاتها، يوم أمس، تحدّث الناطق باسم الرئاسة، إبراهيم قالين، عن أن العملية العسكرية البرية في سوريا لا تزال «خياراً» مطروحاً على الطاولة، ويمكن أن تُنفَّذ في أيّ لحظة، ووفقاً لمستوى التهديد الأمني. وأعلن قالين أن اجتماعاً لوزراء خارجية تركيا وسوريا وروسيا سيُعقد في أواسط شهر شباط المقبل، وحتى ذلك الحين بإمكان وزراء دفاع الدول الثلاث أن يجتمعوا مجدَّداً، مؤكداً، في الوقت ذاته، أن العملية السلمية ستستمرّ، وأن أنقره تدعمها، وإنْ جدّد الإشارة إلى أن «قوات حماية الشعب» الكردية، و«حزب العمّال الكردستاني» مجموعتان «إرهابيتان» يجب التخلُّص منهما لحماية أمن تركيا. وجاء حديث قالين في أعقاب تأجيل موعد اجتماع وزيرَي خارجية البلدَين، مرّتَين على التوالي: الأولى على إثر الاجتماع الأوّل لوزيرَي دفاع البلدَين في موسكو، في 28 كانون الأوّل الماضي، حين توقّع وزير الخارجية التركي، مولود تشاووش أوغلو، أن ينعقد اللقاء في منتصف كانون الثاني الجاري، ثمّ قال إنه سيجري في مطلع شباط المقبل. والثانية، لدى الإعلان أن وزيرَي الدفاع قد يجتمعان مجدّداً، وهذا يعني أن هناك قضايا لوجستية وميدانية وأمنية وعسكرية لا تزال عالقة، وتحتاج إلى المزيد من التشاور لإيجاد حلول لها. وعلى ضوء نتائج هذه الاجتماعات، يمكن أن ينعقد أو يتأخّر أو لا ينعقد لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية.

    وعلى الجانب الآخر، السوري، صدرت مواقف ربّما تكون الأكثر إشارةً إلى دقّة مسار المصالحة، وما يعتريه من تعقيدات لا تُحلّ بمجرّد لقاء أو اثنين أو صورة مشتركة. وفي هذا الإطار، قال الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، بعد لقائه المبعوث الروسي إلى سوريا، ألكسندر لافرنتييف، إن «هذه اللقاءات، حتى تكون مثمرة، يجب أن تُبنى على تنسيق وتخطيط مسبقَين بين سوريا وروسيا من أجل الوصول إلى الأهداف والنتائج الملموسة التي تريدها سوريا، انطلاقاً من الثوابت والمبادئ الوطنية للدولة والشعب المبنيّة على إنهاء الاحتلال ووقْف دعم الإرهاب». وجاءت الإشارة الثانية على لسان وزير الخارجية، فيصل المقداد، بعد لقائه نظيره الإيراني، حسين أمير عبد اللهيان، في دمشق، السبت، من أنه «لا يمكن عودة العلاقات الطبيعية بين تركيا وسوريا من دون إزالة الاحتلال التركي». من جهته، تحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن أن أيّ حوار بين دمشق وأنقرة يمثّل خطوة إيجابية تصبّ في مصلحة البلدَين والمنطقة «إذا كان جادّاً»، مؤكداً أن بلاده «تثق ثقة كاملة» بالمواقف والقرارات السورية. ولربّما يعكس ما تقدَّم تشكيكاً إيرانياً في جديّة الجانب التركي، كما أن الحديث عن «ثقة كاملة» بالموقف السوري ربّما يبدو ردّاً على شائعات تباينات الموقف بين طهران ودمشق في شأن المصالحة مع أنقرة. إلى ذلك، عكست تطوّرات ميدانية أيضاً ما يعتري عملية التطبيع من عوائق، من مثل مقتل جنود سوريين في قصف تركي في شمال البلاد، ومن ثم إعلان أنقرة أن أحد جنودها قتل في قصف على قاعدة تركية في ريف حلب، فضلاً عمّا أفيد به من مقتل أربعة جنود سوريين جرّاء اشتباكات عنيفة مع مسلّحي «هيئة تحرير الشام» في ريف اللاذقية.

    بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه إردوغان

    وفي ضوء المواقف الصادرة عن الجانبَين التركي والسوري وأيضاً الإيراني، بات مؤكداً أن اللقاء بين الرئيسَين التركي والسوري، لن يجري في الموعد الذي يرغب فيه الأول، وربّما تأتي الانتخابات التركية لتطيحه إلى ما بعدها، في حال مضيّ مسار المصالحة قُدُماً. كذلك، تطرح التصريحات المختلفة أكثر من علامة استفهام تتعلّق بأساسيات ومحدّدات التطبيع بين تركيا وسوريا، كما مواقف الأطراف الأخرى، ومنها روسيا وإيران. كما أتت التصريحات «الصارمة» للأسد والمقداد، بعدما لفت المراقبين «تأخُّر» الردّ الرسمي السوري على ما كان يَصدر من مواقف تركية منذ مطلع آب من العام الماضي. وكان كل ما يتعلّق بالمصالحة المفترَضة يأتي من الجانب التركي، وآخرها ما اعتُبر خريطة طريق رسمها إردوغان قبل حوالي شهر ونصف شهر، على أساس لقاءات تتدرّج من المستوى الاستخباري إلى وزراء الدفاع، فالخارجية والرؤساء. وجاء بيان وزارة الدفاع السورية الإيجابي بعد لقاء موسكو، في إطار العموميات، ليُحكى من بعده عن تأجيل لقاء وزيرَي الخارجية ومن ثم اشتراط الأسد، للقاء إردوغان، زوال الاحتلال أوّلاً، ليؤكد الموقف الرسمي السوري الحذر من الرغبة التركية المفاجئة في المصالحة، خصوصاً أن هذه الرغبة لم تقترن إلى الآن بأيّ خطّة عملية ومبرمجة زمنيّاً. وقد انتظرت القيادة السورية اجتماع موسكو لتبني على الشيء مقتضاه، وقد بُني هذا الشيء، أخيراً، على لسان الأسد والمقداد، وعنوانه أن الرئيس التركي «يبيع سمكاً في الماء»، ويُقدّم وعوداً غير مقنعة لدمشق.

    في المقابل، فإن العزف التركي الجديد على وتر العملية العسكرية البرّية جاء كما لو أنه ردّ على موقفَي الأسد والمقداد، وأيضاً كمؤشر من شأنه تعزيز التقديرات القائلة بأن تركيا ليست جادّة في عملية التطبيع ولا تريد منها سوى تقطيع الوقت من الآن وحتى الانتخابات الرئاسية في حزيران (وربّما في أيار) المقبل، وأن الأهمّ لإردوغان هو الظهور في صورة مشتركة مع الأسد يستثمرها في الانتخابات الرئاسية، فيما تنتظر دمشق من أنقرة أجوبة واضحة ومفصّلة عن خريطة طريقها للانسحاب من الأراضي السورية وتصفية المسلّحين المعارضين في إدلب والمناطق المحتلّة، بمن فيهم ما يسمّى «الجيش الوطني»، وعدم الاكتفاء، كما قال قالين، بتصفية قوات «قسد».

    فيديوات ذات صلة

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    Turkey and Syria Meeting in Moscow May Result in Peace Plan

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

    Steven Sahiounie

    Tomorrow, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Syria will meet in Moscow.  This is the highest level meeting between the two countries who have been on opposite sides of the US-NATO war on Syria for regime change since 2011.

    The outcome of that meeting, and the expected follow-up meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may form the basis for the recovery of Syria, circumventing the UN resolution 2254, which has failed to produce results.

    The US has lost the war, but has used armed militias to remain occupying parts of Syria, and to impose a stalemate which prevents a peaceful solution and recovery for Syria.  America is no longer the only superpower, and decisions made in the new Middle East no longer depend on orders from the US State Department.

    Erdogan is up for re-election in June and faces heavy opposition. The economy is dismal, and people blame the Syrian refugees for lost jobs and social ills.  Erdogan and the opposition promise to send the refugees packing.

    The Turkish export market to Syria in 2011 represented half of the entire global export market for Turkey.  That was lost when Damascus banned all Turkish imports because of their participation in the war on Syria. Erdogan could get the Syrian market restored by repairing the relationship.

    In order to win re-election, Erdogan proposes a rapprochement with Assad.  The US has voiced its displeasure at any attempt of any country to repair relations with Syria.  However, Erdogan will not be swayed by US opinion or threats, in light of the fact that the US supports, trains and supplies weapons to the Kurdish militia (SDF and YPG) linked to an internationally banned terrorist organization (PKK), which have killed thousands in Turkey over three decades of terrorism. The Kurds know that Turkey is a much more important ally to the US, and the US will never fight Turkey to save the Kurds.  Former US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, told the Kurds they should repair their relationship with Damascus for protection. The US never supported a “homeland” for the Kurds.

    Syria and Turkey are united in their goal to demilitarize the Kurdish northeast of Syria.  Syria and Turkey share a common enemy (the Kurds), and a common ally (Russia). This may be the basis of forming a new foreign policy between the two neighbors.

    Syria

    Syrian officials have met with Turkish officials and Arab Gulf officials.  Some Arab embassies in Damascus were re-opened, and Assad made a visit to the UAE.

    The Assad administration in Damascus controls the vast majority of the Syrian territory.  The exceptions are: Idlib province in the northwest is under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a Radical Islamic terrorist group which was the former Al Qaeda branch in Syria, and the Kurdish administration region in the northeast under the occupation of about 600 US troops and two local Kurdish militias (SDF and YPG) which follow a communist political ideology first promoted by the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

    Syria and Russia have been prevented from attacking and liberating Idlib from terrorist control. The US uses the three million civilians living under occupation as human shields to prevent attack. The US and its allies in the UN demand that the UN food and medical supplies be delivered to Idlib. The civilians are being fed and clothed, but the terrorists and their families are as well. The international community is supporting the welfare of the terrorists, who are there at the behest of the US, to prevent peace and recovery in Syria.  Despite the UN protocol which demands all UN members to fight Al Qaeda, or their affiliates, anywhere on earth, the US and Turkey have circumvented the protocol and use the terrorists as guards of the political stalemate which the US imposed on Syria.

    The US

    America has maintained an iron grip on Syria through the use of US sanctions and a brutal military occupation which has prevented the Syrian citizens from fuel for transportation and home heating, and to generate electricity.  Syrian houses, hospitals, schools and businesses have between 15 minutes to 1 hour of electricity in four intervals per day because of the US imposed sanctions, which have not affected the Syrian government, but have brought the Syrian people to desperation. Kidney dialysis machines require electricity constantly.  A gasoline powered generator can suffice when there are blackouts, but the US sanctions also prevent the importation of gasoline.  How can Syrians survive?

    Despite Richard Haass writing in 1998 that US sanctions are ineffective and immoral against civilians, the US State Department hangs on to sanctions as a tool for regime change.

    Iran

    Iran and Syria have been united in their resistance to the occupation of Palestine Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.  Iran stood firmly with Syria during the US-NATO attack on Syria because it is a key in the land route from Iran to Lebanon. Recently, there are some cracks appearing in the relationship between Damascus and Tehran.  Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s meeting in Damascus was postponed recently. Some experts feel Iran has been asking too much of Syria, and with new opportunities for improved relations with the Arab Gulf and Turkey, Syria may be taking time to evaluate its options.

    Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries want to see Iran out of Syria.  As long as Iran is in Syria the Israeli airstrikes will continue, which have been deadly and destructive.

    There were 32 Israeli raids in 2022 that destroyed and struck 91 targets, including civilian infrastructure, buildings, weapons caches and vehicles. Eighty-eight military personnel were killed and 121 wounded in the attacks.

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales customer, with more than $100 billion in active cases.  In the US there is a saying, “The customer is always right.”

    Perhaps this may explain why the US takes no action against Saudi Arabia even when there have been deadly issues, or when Biden asked the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to pump more oil, and he refused.

    MBS is making huge reforms, which includes loosening restrictions on women, and creating new tourism and international sports opportunities.

    MBS and Netanyahu are united in a common issue: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, despite Iran insisting on wanting nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, such as energy production and medical research.  Netanyahu has stated one of his main priorities in office will be to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

    The Arab League

    The upcoming Arab League Summit will take place in Saudi Arabia, traditionally scheduled yearly in March.  Depending on the outcome of meetings between now and spring, Syria could possibly be reinstated and occupy their seat at the table.  Big changes have been taking place in the region involving the relations between Arab countries and the US, China and Russia. Saudi Arabia is in the driver’s seat and will use their hosting of the summit to project their ranking as the Middle East’s power broker.

    Israel

    Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has announced that the next Abraham Accords summit will be held in Morocco in March 2023.

    The US had brokered in 2020 the Abraham Accords for the normalization of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain. Later, Sudan joined the accords.  Areas of shared interests are: defense, investment, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

    The meetings and realignments between Syria and Turkey, mediated by Russia, may produce lasting changes in the Middle East, and bring enemies together as new friends.  The Israeli occupation of Palestine will continue to be the primary cause of instability and violence in the region.  It fuels religious extremism and terrorism. If Israel values the establishment of relations with their Arab neighbors, they must first look at their closest neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank.  The Middle East and the world wait for a peace summit to begin the process of peace for Israel and Palestine, and the host country will not likely be the US.


    Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

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    President Assad Resisting Russian Pressure to Help Erdogan

     ARABI SOURI J

    Russian President Putin continues his extensive efforts to help the Turkish madman Erdogan in ruling Turkey, economically, Russia has done its uttermost to help the Turkish economy after the US and European Union pressure on it and despite the policies of Erdogan prior to the Russian special military operation in Ukraine were very harmful to Russia itself. The latest attempt by Mr. Putin to help the Turkish madman is to pressure President Bashar Assad to meet Erdogan in a photo-op summit which Erdogan will sell to his people as a sign of resolving the Syrian refugees issue in Turkey.

    Syria’s response to previous attempts to mend ties with Turkey falls very much under the principles of international law, the UN Charter, and the bases of the Adana Accords, Turkey has interfered in Syria militarily, politically, economically, and by sponsoring tens of thousands of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, Syria has not harmed Turkey in any way possible.

    After a meeting in Moscow that joined the Syrian minister of defense to his Turkish counterpart with the presence of the Russian minister of defense, Erdogan started selling his election promise that he’s on the verge of rapprochement with Syria that will see millions of refugees return to their home country.

    The Turkish regime has even set dates for a meeting between the foreign ministers of Syria and Turkey which prompted the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates to visit Damascus and ask President Assad to include his country in such a meeting.

    Syria’s response to further meetings with the Turkish side are varying from negative to suspicious regarding the Turkish commitments, after all, Turkey is a NATO member state and the leaders of this ‘defensive’ alliance are not known to keep their words, especially Erdogan. Russia knows that firsthand and now even more after the revelations of former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande that they were never serious to implement the Minsk agreements regarding the Donbas and were using them only to buy time for Ukraine to build up a strong army and threaten Russia.

    Erdogan has also not only failed to implement the Idlib agreements in which he promised to cease supporting Al Qaeda and ISIS and to dismantle these terrorist groups, but he also went on beefing up these terrorists with more imported terrorists, supplies of weapons, and by sending the Turkish army, NATO’s second-largest army to protect those terrorists turning posts which were supposed to serve as observation posts to see the dismantling and withdrawal of al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists into military bases to support those terrorists inside Syrian territories.

    All of this has not stopped Mr. Putin from adding more pressure on President Assad to help the Turkish madman in the upcoming elections to the extent of sending his special envoy, Mr. Lavrentiev, to Damascus to try to convince President Assad.

    After receiving the Russian envoy President Bashar Assad said:

    “The meetings with the Turkish side must be based on prior coordination and planning between Syria and Russia in order to be fruitful, and in order to reach the tangible goals and results that Syria wants from these meetings.”

    President Assad then added:

    “The objectives of the meetings stem from the national constants and principles of the state and the people, which are based on ending the Turkish occupation of the Syrian lands, and stopping support for terrorism.”

    Al Qaeda, ISIS (ISIL – Daesh), their affiliates, and offshoots are considered terrorist groups by Syria, and most of the world including the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Security Council, however, the regime of the Turkish madman Erdogan considers these same terrorists as moderate rebels and builds its policies toward Syria over a potential essential role for these terrorists in Syria’s future political leadership!

    Yet, seems that the Russian leadership, and especially President Putin sees the Turkish madman Erdogan as a winning card against NATO and a reliable person.

    The failed foreign policies of the Turkish madman Erdogan have stripped him of his friends in his country and abroad, the biggest failure was in Syria when he vowed to pray in the Grand Omayyad Mosque in Damascus as a conqueror after toppling the government of Bashar Assad, it was President Assad who saved the Turkish economy under Erdogan and Gul after the European Union doors were closed in its face when the Syrian gates were opened for Turkish businesses inside Syria and through it to the Arab world.

    All of Turkey’s economic gains in the past two decades are merely because of President Bashar Assad, and all of Turkey’s economic losses in the past few years are merely because the Turkish madman Erdogan failed to topple the only person who helped him and his country stand on its feet no matter how much Qatar, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and now the combined Gulfies help Turkey. With the southern gates blocked and with millions of refugees pressuring the Turkish economy, there’s no way Erdogan can win the upcoming elections.

    Erdogan’s future without the presidency is in a confined prison cell, his and his family’s corruption is beyond comprehension, even his own partners in the Turkish mafia went against him, by winning the elections, the Turkish dictator can immune himself from the prosecution he’s promised by the Turkish opposition, and can solidify more powers under him to rule without opposition, anyway, most of the Turkish opposition are either in jail or in exile.

    Sedat Peker, The Mafia and Erdogan… And Syria, Again
    Sedat Peker the mafia boss in series of YouTube videos exposes Erdogan’s links to drugs, terrorist groups, money laundering, and Israel.
    Syria News

    An adviser of the Turkish madman Erdogan exposed his boss’s real intentions toward Syria: Erdogan will not implement any agreement he strikes with President Assad before the Turkish elections, and will allow 1.5 million to 2 million Syrian refugees to return to their home country only if Aleppo is placed under the administrative control of Turkey!

    Will the Russian leadership of Mr. Putin continue to pressure Syria into helping Erdogan win re-election coming this mid-May, or understand that the likes of the Turkish madman Erdogan cannot be trusted no matter what other concessions the Russians are able to get out of him?

    It was the war criminal and former US President George W. Bush who tasked the Turkish madman Erdogan with a leading role in the region if he helps the USA implement its PNAC (Project for the New American Century) by dismantling all secular Arab countries especially Syria to protect the creation of the Jewish state of Greater Israel aka Greater Middle East Project, known in biblical terms as the kingdom of the antichrist; the Turkish madman Erdogan will become the neo-Ottoman sultan of the divided Muslim world in exchange. The whole world changed after the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood project of Erdogan failed miserably in Syria which caused a reverse domino effect in the Arab states in which it succeeded earlier: Tunisia, Sudan, Libya, Morocco, and Egypt.

    The Turkish madman Erdogan started the war on Syria turning his country into the main hub for all sorts of terrorists hired by the different ‘intelligence’ agencies of NATO and Gulfies to fight the Syrian state, and it’s in the hands of the Turkish madman to end the war on Syria and secure re-election, Russia must not ask of Syria to help Erdogan, it must pressure Erdogan to at least comply with the agreements the latter signed of which Russia and Iran were the guarantors.


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    أمير عبد اللهيان من دمشق: تدخلنا للحيلولة دون عملية عسكرية تركية في سوريا

    السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

    وزيرا خارجيتي إيران وسوريا يؤكدان أهمية تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي، ويشددان على أهمية التحالف بين دمشق وطهران على مستوى البلدين والمنطقة.

    وزيرا خارجية إيران حسين أمير عبد اللهيان وسوريا فيصل المقداد خلال مؤتمر صحافي في دمشق

    أكّد وزيرا خارجيتي سوريا وإيران، فيصل المقداد وحسين أمير عبد اللهيان، أهمية العلاقات الثنائية واستمرار التعاون المشترك في قضايا متعدّدة، أبرزها المشاكل الحدودية والخدمات والشؤون الإقليمية.

    وجاء تصريحا الوزيرين خلال مؤتمر صحافي مشترك، اليوم السبت، في العاصمة السورية دمشق.

    من جهته، أعلن أمير عبد اللهيان أنّ الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، وجّه دعوة إلى نظيره الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي من أجل زيارة دمشق.

    وأكد أنّ طهران “ستبذل كل الجهود لإجراء هذه الزيارة”.

    وأوضح وزير الخارجية الإيراني أنّ “العلاقات بين دمشق وطهران في أفضل أحوالها”، وأنّ “الرئيس الأسد أكّد أنّ قيادتي البلدين عازمتان على تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية”.

    وأضاف أنه توصّل “مع الوزير المقداد إلى الاتفاق على تجديد وثيقة التعاون الاستراتيجي بين البلدين”.

    وشدد على أن هناك “عدداً من الاتفاقيات التي وُقِّعت بين البلدين، ويتمّ تنفيذها حالياً”.

    وتطرّق الوزير الإيراني إلى التوتر الحدودي بين تركيا وسوريا، على خلفية التهديدات التركية بعمليات عسكرية في الأراضي السورية، واستمرار الاعتداءات على مناطق حدودية بين البلدين، وقال إنّه “عندما علمنا باحتمال شنّ القوات العسكرية التركية هجوماً في شمالي سوريا، تدخلنا للحيلولة دون ذلك”.

    وأعرب أمير عبد اللهيان عن “سعادة إيران بنجاح اتصالاتها بسوريا وتركيا في ترجيح الحوار بين البلدين”.

    وتحدّث الوزير الإيراني عن التعاون بين إبران وسوريا في المجال الخدماتي، وأكّد أنّ “التعاون بين طهران ودمشق مستمر في كل المجالات، ولا سيما في مجال الطاقة”.

    وكشف أمير عبد اللهيان أنه أجرى “مباحثات بشأن إنشاء محطات للكهرباء في سوريا”.

    وضع سكة جديدة للعلاقات

    بدوره، أكد وزير الخارجية السوري، فيصل المقداد، أهمية التحالف بين إيران وسوريا، متسائلاً  أمام الصحافيين “تصوروا لو لم يكن لسوريا بلد حليف كالجمهورية الإسلامية. ماذا كان سيحدث؟”.

    وقال إنّ اللقاء الذي جمعه بنظيره الإيراني يهدف إلى “وضع سكّة جديدة للعلاقة بين إيران وسوريا”.

    وتطرّق الوزير السوري إلى الأزمات الخدماتية التي يعانيها أبناء المناطق السورية في الشمال، قرب الحدود التركية والعراقية، من جرّاء ممارسات المجموعات المسلحة التي ترعاها قوات الاحتلال الأميركي.

    وتوجّه المقداد بالتحية إلى “أهلنا في الجزيرة السورية على ما يتحمّلونه من قطع للمياه”.

    وأكّد أن “سياسة الذين يقطعون المياه عن أهلنا ستصل إلى نهايتها قريباً”.

    التحرّك التركي في اتجاه إعادة العلاقات بسوريا

    وفيما يتعلق بالتحرك التركي في اتجاه استعادة العلاقات بدمشق، والذي بدأ منذ أشهر برعاية روسيا وتأييد إيراني، أكّد المقداد أنّ سوريا “في كلّ تحركاتها منذ عام 2011 حتى هذه اللحظة، تسعى لإنهاء الإرهاب الذي عكر علاقاتنا بتركيا”.

    وأكّد المقداد أنّ “اللقاء بين الرئيس الأسد والقيادة التركية يعتمد على إزالة أسباب الخلاف”.

    وشدد على أنه “يجب خلق البيئة الملائمة من أجل عقد لقاءات على مستويات أعلى مع القيادة التركية”.

    وأوضح الوزير السوري أنه “لا يمكن الحديث عن إعادة العلاقات الطبيعية بتركيا من دون إزالة الاحتلال”.

    وأضاف أنّ “التنسيق مع طهران في مختلف الإطارات الإقليمية والدولية يؤكد التزام إيران وحدة أراضي سوريا وسيادتها”.

    ولفت المقداد إلى أنّ الشأن الفلسطيني كان حاضراً في اجتماع الوزيرين، مشيراً إلى أنّ “الرئيس الأسد كرّر موقف سوريا بشأن الجرائم التي يرتكبها الاحتلال بحق الفلسطينيين” خلال اللقاء مع نظيره الإيراني.

    التنسيق مع طهران يكتسب أهمية قصوى

    وكان الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد استقبل، في وقت سابق اليوم السبت، وزير الخارجية الإيراني والوفد المرافق له. وأكّد الجانبان، خلال المحادثات، “العلاقات الوثيقة والتاريخية بين البلدين، والتعاون الثنائي القائم في مختلف المجالات”.

    وأكّد الأسد، خلال اللقاء، أنّ دمشق “حريصة على التواصل المستمر وتنسيق المواقف مع إيران بصورة دائمة، ولا سيما أنّ إيران كانت من أوائل الدول التي وقفت إلى جانب الشعب السوري في حربه ضدّ الإرهاب”.

    وشدد على أنّ “هذا التنسيق يكتسب أهمية قصوى في هذا التوقيت بالذات، الذي يشهد تطورات إقليمية ودولية متسارعة من أجل تحقيق المصالح المشتركة للبلدين”.

    وأوضح الرئيس السوري أنّ “الدولة السورية تنطلق دائماً في كل مواقفها من حرصها على مصالح الشعب السوري”.

    وبيّن أنّ دمشق “لن تسير إلى الأمام في الحوارات (مع تركيا) إلا إذا كان هدفها إنهاء الاحتلال ووقف دعم التنظيمات الإرهابية”. 

    بدوره، أكّد الوزير عبد اللهيان أنّ “سوريا بلد مهم ومؤثر، ولذلك فإن قوة وتنمية سوريا يعني قوة وتنمية المنطقة عموماً وإيران خصوصاً”.

    وأكد أنّ “البلدين يقفان في خندق واحد ويتبادلان الدعم القوي لبعضهما الآخر”.

    كما شدد عبد اللهيان، بعد لقائه الأسد، على أنّ بلاده “لديها ثقة كاملة بالمواقف والقرارات السورية، وهي ترى أنّ أيّ حوار جاد بين دمشق وأنقرة هو خطوة إيجابية لمصلحة البلدين والمنطقة”.

    وتطرق الحديث أيضاً، خلال اللقاء، إلى المحادثات التي أجراها وزير الخارجية الإيراني مع مختلف الأطراف في مؤتمر “بغداد 2″، والذي انعقد في عمّان أواخر الشهر الماضي، والمناقشات الجارية من أجل استئناف المحادثات المتعلقة بالملف النووي الإيراني.

    ونقل الوزير الإيراني إلى الرئيس الأسد تحيات المرشد الإيراني،ـ السيد علي خامنئي، والرئيس الإيراني إبراهيم رئيسي.

    وكان أمير عبد اللهيان وصل، مساء الخميس، إلى بيروت، في زيارة رسمية للبنان استمرت ثلاثة أيام، التقى خلالها نظيره عبد الله بو حبيب ورئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ورئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال نجيب ميقاتي، بالإضافة إلى عددٍ من الشخصيات السياسية وممثلي الأحزاب اللبنانية والفلسطينية. 

    كذلك التقى الوزير الإيراني الأمين العام لحزب الله، السيد حسن نصر الله، بحيث تم عرض آخر التطورات والأوضاع السياسية في لبنان وفلسطين ‏والمنطقة.

    ومن المقرر أن يتوجّه أمير عبد اللهيان بعد زيارته بيروت ودمشق إلى موسكو، الأسبوع المقبل، ليلتقي نظيره الروسي سيرغي لافروف، من أجل استئناف خطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة بشأن الاتفاق النووي الإيراني، والاتفاق على منطقة تجارة حرّة بين إيران وروسيا.

    اقرأ أيضاً: أمير عبد اللهيان من بيروت: مستعدون لتزويد لبنان بالفيول وتأهيله بمعامل للكهرباء

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    Assad demands withdrawal of Turkish forces for continuation of talks

    Lavrentiev stressed the importance of these meeting in order to resolve tensions between Damascus and Ankara

    January 12 2023

    (Photo Credit : SANA)

    ByNews Desk- 

    On 12 January, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with the special envoy of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss Moscow’s proposal to establish bilateral talks between Damascus and Ankara; however, Assad remarked that any talks between the two states would require Ankara to end its presence in northern Syria.

    The Syrian government indicated that the discussions during the meeting revolved around international and regional issues, with Assad noting that media and political battles are at their height in recent years, adding that these disputes require more stability regarding clarity on political positions, referencing Damascus’s position on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

    Russia’s envoy, Alexander Lavrentiev, clarified that Moscow appreciates Damascus’s position throughout the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and despite Washington’s efforts in placing pressure on nations on good and neutral terms with Russia, it failed to isolate Moscow and Damascus.

    Lavrentiev also reiterated that Moscow is seeking a tripartite meeting between Turkiye, Russia, and Syria, stressing the importance of following up with one another to resolve tensions between the neighboring countries.

    Earlier this month, the US Department of State spokesman, Ned Price, expressed grave concern over Turkiye’s recent rapprochement with the Syrian government, adding that the US calls on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Damascus. 

    The Turkish Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, has previously affirmed Turkiye’s respect for the sovereignty of Syria and announced their presence in the country is limited to fighting Turkish-designated terrorist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

    Turkiye has been launching indiscriminate artillery attacks across northern Syria and Iraq over recent months, targeting positions held by the People Protection Units (YPG) and the PKK.

    Despite Moscow’s stress on the importance of mending ties between Damascus and Ankara, Akar revealed last month that discussions are being held with Russia to use the airspace above northern Syria for a potential cross-border operation that targets Kurdish militant groups.

    A Moscow Meeting Shatters Fantasies of a Syrian ‘Confederation’


    January 11 2023

    Photo Credit: The Cradle
    A geopolitical writer and journalist who previously worked at leading Lebanese daily As-Safir.

    Malek al-Khoury

    Russian-brokered Syrian-Turkish rapprochement will bury prospects of a divided Syria, with the potential for opposition factions to be co-opted into the armed forces.

    The newly-initiated Syrian-Turkish rapprochement talks are headed in Damascus’ favor and the “Turkish concessions” derided by opponents are just the start, insiders tell The Cradle.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already abandoned his dream of “praying in the Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus. But sources say this will be swiftly followed by further concessions that will throw a wrench into the ambitions of Syria’s opposition factions.

    An undivided Syria

    There will be no “federalism” or “confederation” – western codewords for the break up of the Syrian state – at these talks, but rather a “Turkish-Russian” acceptance of Damascus’ conditions.

    For starters, Ankara plans to open the strategic M4 highway – which runs parallel to the Turkish border and connects all the vital Syrian cities and regions – as a prelude to opening the legal border crossings between Syria and Turkiye, which will re-establish trade routes between the two countries.

    This move, based on an understanding between Damascus and Ankara, will essentially close the door on any opposition fantasies of breaking Syria into statelets, and will undermine the “Kurdish-American divisive ambition.”

    It is not for nothing that Washington has sought to thwart communications between Ankara and Damascus. Under the guise of “fighting ISIS,” the US invested heavily in Syrian separatism, replacing the terror group with “Kurdish local forces” and reaped the rewards in barrels of stolen Syrian oil to help mitigate the global energy crisis.

    Now Turkiye has closed the door to that ‘federalization’ plan.

    A Russian-backed proposal

    The Syrian-Turkish talks in Moscow on 28 December focused mainly on opening and establishing the necessary political, security, and diplomatic channels – a process initiated by their respective defense ministers.

    While resolving the myriad thorny files between the two states is not as easy as the optimists would like, it is also nowhere as difficult as the fierce opponents of rapprochement try to suggest.

    The Moscow discussions centered on mild, incremental solutions proposed by Russia. The Kremlin understands that the minefield between Ankara and Damascus needs to be dismantled with cold minds and hands, but insists that the starting point of talks is based on the political formulas of the Astana peace process that all parties have already accepted.

    On the ground, Moscow is busy marketing satisfactory security settlements for all, though those on the battlefield appear to be the least flexible so far. The Russian plan is to “present security formulas to the military,” intended to be later translated into the integration of forces – whether Kurdish fighters or opposition militants – into the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

    This will be achieved via committees led by both Syrian and Turkish intelligence services, a Russian source involved in coordinating the talks tells The Cradle.

    Occupied areas of Syria, in 2023

    Co-opting the Kurds

    The Russian proposals, according to the source, rely on two past successful models for reconciliation on the battlefield. The first is the “Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood model in northern Aleppo,” an area once controlled by Kurdish forces who began to coordinate with the SAA after the sweeping 2016 military operation that expelled opposition militants from the eastern neighborhoods of the city.

    The Russian source says that the “Sheikh Maqsoud” model succeeded because of “security coordination,” revealing that “Syrian state security is deployed at the entrances to the neighborhood with checkpoints that coordinate with the Kurdish forces inside – in every way, big and small.” This security coordination includes “arresting criminally wanted persons, and facilitating administrative and service services” in coordination with Damascus.

    The second reconciliation model used by Russian forces in Syria succeeded in bringing together the SAA and Sheikh Maqsoud Kurdish militias in a joint military maneuver conducted near the town of Manbij in the countryside of Aleppo last August.

    While the Russian source confirms that the experience of “security coordination” between the SAA and the Kurdish forces was “successful,” he cautions that these models need “political arrangements” which can only be achieved by “an agreement in Astana on new provisions to the Syrian constitution, which give Kurds more flexibility in self-governance in their areas.”

    Opposition amnesty

    A parallel proposal revealed to The Cradle by a Turkish source, approaches ground solutions from a “confederation” angle, anathema to the Syrian authorities. According to him, “Damascus must be convinced of sharing power with the qualified factions of the (Turkish) National Army for that.”

    While the Turkish proposal tried to move a step closer to Damascus’ aims, it seems that Russian mediation contributed to producing a new paradigm: This would be based on the tried-and-tested Syrian “military reconciliation” model used for years – namely, that opposition militants hand over their arms, denounce hostility to the state, and are integrated into the SAA.

    Turkiye’s abandonment of its “demand to overthrow the regime” applies also to its affiliated military factions inside Syria, as the latter’s goals have dwindled to preserving some areas of influence in the north of the country. This is the current flavor of Turkiye’s reduced “confederation” ambitions: To maintain Turkish-backed factions within “local administrations” in northern areas where Turkiye has influence. This, in return for giving up on Ankara’s political ambition of “regime change” in Damascus and redrawing Syria’s northern map.

    The solution here will require amending the Syrian constitution, a process that began several years ago to no avail.

    From the Syrian perspective, officials are focused on eliminating all opposing separatist or terrorist elements who do not have the ability to adapt to a “unified” Syrian society.

    Therefore, Damascus rejects military reconciliation proposals for any “sectarian” separatist or factional militias. Syrian officials reiterate that “the unity of the lands and the people” is the only gateway to a solution, away from the foreign interests that promote “terrorism or secession” – a reference to the Turkish and American role in Syria’s war.

    Reconciliation on Damascus’ terms

    There is no “confederation” in the dictionary of the Syrian state, and it is determined to stick hard to the principle of Syrian unity until the end. Damascus is intent on one goal: Reconciliations based on surrendering arms in the countryside of Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, Hasakah, Qamishli, and al-Tanf, which are the areas that are still outside the control of the state.

    According to the Turkish source, Syria refused to discuss anything “outside the framework of reconciliations and handing over weapons and regions,” which he says “makes it difficult for Ankara to undertake its mission,” especially in light of the fact that the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front controls large parts of these target areas.

    A Syrian source tells The Cradle that the “Qamishli model” of military reconciliation is the closest one that applies to this case: Wherein “the SAA and national defense forces (the majority of which are pro-Damascus Kurds) coordinate fully.”

    He makes clear that Damascus has already provided ample self-governance mechanisms for Kurds in the country’s north:

    “The (Kurdish-run) Autonomous Administration in Syria already exists. It deals directly with Syria’s Ministry of Local Administration (in Damascus) and has multiple agencies that work through local representative councils to implement government plans in terms of security, tax collection, and services,” and of course it consists of the people of the region – Kurds.

    The recent statement of top Erdogan advisor Yassin Aktay may throw a wrench in those works. His insistence that Turkiye should maintain control over the city of Aleppo – Syria’s second most populous, and its industrial heart – did not come out of nowhere.

    Ankara considers that its repatriation of three million Syrian refugees should start from “local administrations run by the (Turkish-backed) Syrian National Army (a rebranded version of the opposition ‘Free Syrian Army),” says the Turkish source.

    He is referring to Idlib, Aleppo, and their countrysides, and the areas in which Turkiye launched its “Olive Branch” and “Euphrates Shield” military operations. These locales in Syria’s north include the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo, including Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab, Afrin, and its environs.

    Turkiye may consider gradually handing over these strategic zones to its allied Syrian militias, he says.

    “Call it confederation or not, these areas should be controlled by the Syrian National Army factions instead of the Al-Nusra Front – in order to ensure the safe return of the refugees.”

    Steady progress

    In short, the Russian mediation to bring Damascus and Ankara closer is moving slowly, but according to the Turkish source, “it is closer to reconciliation because the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration is beginning to take charge of regional affairs after holding new local council elections – in compliance with plans forged in the Astana process.”

    Regarding Astana, the Turkish source says, “Let the Syrians treat the Kurdish and opposition areas as one, if the Kurds agree to dismantle their factions and join the Syrian army within a certain equation, the opposition factions will also accept.”

    Regarding the complicated geopolitics of Syria’s east – currently occupied by US troops and their proxies – a high-ranking Syrian official who recently visited Saudi Arabia and Cairo, proposed “Arab intervention with the Syrian tribes to disengage tribe members in the Al-Tanf region from the US forces.” But according to the official, this would be subject to “the progress of relations between Damascus, Riyadh, Cairo, and possibly even Jordan.”

    A few days ago, a video message was sent by Nusra Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani, in which he thundered: “Where are the armies of the Muslims?” It is a topical message from Al Qaeda’s Syria boss, who is angling to maintain his sectarian “area of ​​influence” in northwest Syria – strategic Idlib on the Turkish-Syrian border. Julani’s destructive narrative may be the last barrier to break for Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow to strike a deal on the ground.

    UN Security Council Extends Al Qaeda Lifeline in Idlib, Again

    JANUARY 9, 2023

     ARABI SOURI

    United Nations Security Council extended its Resolution 2642, the Al Qaeda lifeline supplies through Turkey breaching Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity officially for an additional six months.

    The resolution which was supposed to be met with at least Russia’s veto provides thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists in the province of Idlib enough material and a direct internationally-secured supply route from NATO member state Turkey to occupied Idlib province through the Bab Al Hawa border crossing currently manned by Al Qaeda terrorists.

    The NATO-controlled United Nations Security Council with Russia and China despite being permanent members of it and despite being opposed to NATO proxy armies of terrorists have condemned up to 4 million Syrians to continue living under the mercy of the Al Qaeda terrorists for an additional six months as if the past decade is not already more than enough for them.

    United Nations Security Council lists Al Qaeda Levant, aka Nusra Front – HTS (Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham) and its affiliated groups as terrorist organizations, yet this particular resolution seems to acknowledge the control of these terrorists over Syrian territories against the will of the Syrian people and the Syrian state, a founding member of the United Nations and one of the victims of the biased acts of the United Nations and its different entities.

    UNSC Resolution 2642 is a continuation of a series of resolutions regarding Syria starting with resolution 2042 in 2012 adopted by the international body entrusted to preserve peace and security around the world, none of these resolutions favor the Syrian people despite its wordings unless some still believe that NATO is a defensive alliance responsible for spreading democracy and freedoms in the world and ignoring this ‘defensive’ alliance’s role, collectively sometimes, and unilaterally in others in the illegal invasions of a number of countries with Libya and Iraq as horrible examples with millions of people killed, maimed, raped, displaced, their countries ruined, and their riches plundered by the ‘defensive’ alliance.

    UNSC 2642 Extending lifeline supplies for Al Qaeda in Idlib - Syria
    https://tass.com/politics/1462691

    The Syrian people continue to suffer with this same Security Council that refused to convene to discuss and condemn the repeated Israeli bombings against Syria the latest of which the bombing of Damascus International Airport, or the continuous illegal occupation of parts of Syria including not coincidentally the main oil fields and food basket farmlands by the US Army.

    Meanwhile, 90% of the Syrians, especially those in the areas under the control of the Syrian government are living under the poverty line and watching the US Army stealing their oil, and wheat, and occupying their main gas field depriving them of their basics while the USA and its European Union cronies impose a complete blockade preventing them from importing these basic needs from other countries.

    We have no clue yet why Russia did not veto the extension of Resolution 2642 this time, its officials signaled on earlier occasions that their previous approvals to extend the same resolution would be the last yet they still allow the resolution to be extended.

    Those concerned about the well-being of the Syrians trapped in regions occupied by Al Qaeda and the army of NATO member state Turkey could rely on the humanitarian corridors into Idlib under the control of the Syrian authorities, bypassing these corridors implies that the intention of extending the 2642 resolution in its shape is meant to allow the continuous supplies of weapons to the terrorists in Idlib from their sponsors in Turkey and other NATO member states and to hold the Syrian people hostages to the conceits and control of Al Qaeda fanatics in Idlib.

    Syria News is a collaborative effort by two authors only, we end up most of the months paying from our pockets to maintain the site’s presence online, if you like our work and want us to remain online you can help by chipping in a couple of Euros/ Dollars or any other currency so we can meet our site’s costs.

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    A Moscow meeting shatters fantasies of a Syrian ‘confederation’

    January 11 2023

    Source

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    Malek al-Khoury

    The newly-initiated Syrian-Turkish rapprochement talks are headed in Damascus’ favor and the “Turkish concessions” derided by opponents are just the start, insiders tell The Cradle.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already abandoned his dream of “praying in the Umayyad Mosque” in Damascus. But sources say this will be swiftly followed by further concessions that will throw a wrench into the ambitions of Syria’s opposition factions.

    An undivided Syria

    There will be no “federalism” or “confederation” – western codewords for the break up of the Syrian state – at these talks, but rather a “Turkish-Russian” acceptance of Damascus’ conditions.

    For starters, Ankara plans to open the strategic M4 highway – which runs parallel to the Turkish border and connects all the vital Syrian cities and regions – as a prelude to opening the legal border crossings between Syria and Turkiye, which will re-establish trade routes between the two countries.

    This move, based on an understanding between Damascus and Ankara, will essentially close the door on any opposition fantasies of breaking Syria into statelets, and will undermine the “Kurdish-American divisive ambition.”

    It is not for nothing that Washington has sought to thwart communications between Ankara and Damascus. Under the guise of “fighting ISIS,” the US invested heavily in Syrian separatism, replacing the terror group with “Kurdish local forces” and reaped the rewards in barrels of stolen Syrian oil to help mitigate the global energy crisis.

    Now Turkiye has closed the door to that ‘federalization’ plan.

    A Russian-backed proposal

    The Syrian-Turkish talks in Moscow on 28 December focused mainly on opening and establishing the necessary political, security, and diplomatic channels – a process initiated by their respective defense ministers.

    While resolving the myriad thorny files between the two states is not as easy as the optimists would like, it is also nowhere as difficult as the fierce opponents of rapprochement try to suggest.

    The Moscow discussions centered on mild, incremental solutions proposed by Russia. The Kremlin understands that the minefield between Ankara and Damascus needs to be dismantled with cold minds and hands, but insists that the starting point of talks is based on the political formulas of the Astana peace process that all parties have already accepted.

    On the ground, Moscow is busy marketing satisfactory security settlements for all, though those on the battlefield appear to be the least flexible so far. The Russian plan is to “present security formulas to the military,” intended to be later translated into the integration of forces – whether Kurdish fighters or opposition militants – into the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA).

    This will be achieved via committees led by both Syrian and Turkish intelligence services, a Russian source involved in coordinating the talks tells The Cradle.

    Occupied areas of Syria, in 2023

    Co-opting the Kurds

    The Russian proposals, according to the source, rely on two past successful models for reconciliation on the battlefield. The first is the “Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood model in northern Aleppo,” an area once controlled by Kurdish forces who began to coordinate with the SAA after the sweeping 2016 military operation that expelled opposition militants from the eastern neighborhoods of the city.

    The Russian source says that the “Sheikh Maqsoud” model succeeded because of “security coordination,” revealing that “Syrian state security is deployed at the entrances to the neighborhood with checkpoints that coordinate with the Kurdish forces inside – in every way, big and small.” This security coordination includes “arresting criminally wanted persons, and facilitating administrative and service services” in coordination with Damascus.

    The second reconciliation model used by Russian forces in Syria succeeded in bringing together the SAA and Sheikh Maqsoud Kurdish militias in a joint military maneuver conducted near the town of Manbij in the countryside of Aleppo last August.

    While the Russian source confirms that the experience of “security coordination” between the SAA and the Kurdish forces was “successful,” he cautions that these models need “political arrangements” which can only be achieved by “an agreement in Astana on new provisions to the Syrian constitution, which give Kurds more flexibility in self-governance in their areas.”

    Opposition amnesty

    A parallel proposal revealed to The Cradle by a Turkish source, approaches ground solutions from a “confederation” angle, anathema to the Syrian authorities. According to him, “Damascus must be convinced of sharing power with the qualified factions of the (Turkish) National Army for that.”

    While the Turkish proposal tried to move a step closer to Damascus’ aims, it seems that Russian mediation contributed to producing a new paradigm: This would be based on the tried-and-tested Syrian “military reconciliation” model used for years – namely, that opposition militants hand over their arms, denounce hostility to the state, and are integrated into the SAA.

    Turkiye’s abandonment of its “demand to overthrow the regime” applies also to its affiliated military factions inside Syria, as the latter’s goals have dwindled to preserving some areas of influence in the north of the country. This is the current flavor of Turkiye’s reduced “confederation” ambitions: To maintain Turkish-backed factions within “local administrations” in northern areas where Turkiye has influence. This, in return for giving up on Ankara’s political ambition of “regime change” in Damascus and redrawing Syria’s northern map.

    The solution here will require amending the Syrian constitution, a process that began several years ago to no avail.

    From the Syrian perspective, officials are focused on eliminating all opposing separatist or terrorist elements who do not have the ability to adapt to a “unified” Syrian society.

    Therefore, Damascus rejects military reconciliation proposals for any “sectarian” separatist or factional militias. Syrian officials reiterate that “the unity of the lands and the people” is the only gateway to a solution, away from the foreign interests that promote “terrorism or secession” – a reference to the Turkish and American role in Syria’s war.

    Reconciliation on Damascus’ terms

    There is no “confederation” in the dictionary of the Syrian state, and it is determined to stick hard to the principle of Syrian unity until the end. Damascus is intent on one goal: Reconciliations based on surrendering arms in the countryside of Latakia, Idlib, Aleppo, Raqqa, Hasakah, Qamishli, and al-Tanf, which are the areas that are still outside the control of the state.

    According to the Turkish source, Syria refused to discuss anything “outside the framework of reconciliations and handing over weapons and regions,” which he says “makes it difficult for Ankara to undertake its mission,” especially in light of the fact that the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front controls large parts of these target areas.

    A Syrian source tells The Cradle that the “Qamishli model” of military reconciliation is the closest one that applies to this case: Wherein “the SAA and national defense forces (the majority of which are pro-Damascus Kurds) coordinate fully.”

    He makes clear that Damascus has already provided ample self-governance mechanisms for Kurds in the country’s north:

    “The (Kurdish-run) Autonomous Administration in Syria already exists. It deals directly with Syria’s Ministry of Local Administration (in Damascus) and has multiple agencies that work through local representative councils to implement government plans in terms of security, tax collection, and services,” and of course it consists of the people of the region – Kurds.

    The recent statement of top Erdogan advisor Yassin Aktay may throw a wrench in those works. His insistence that Turkiye should maintain control over the city of Aleppo – Syria’s second most populous, and its industrial heart – did not come out of nowhere.

    Ankara considers that its repatriation of three million Syrian refugees should start from “local administrations run by the (Turkish-backed) Syrian National Army (a rebranded version of the opposition ‘Free Syrian Army),” says the Turkish source.

    He is referring to Idlib, Aleppo, and their countrysides, and the areas in which Turkiye launched its “Olive Branch” and “Euphrates Shield” military operations. These locales in Syria’s north include the northern and eastern countryside of Aleppo, including Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab, Afrin, and its environs.

    Turkiye may consider gradually handing over these strategic zones to its allied Syrian militias, he says.

    “Call it confederation or not, these areas should be controlled by the Syrian National Army factions instead of the Al-Nusra Front – in order to ensure the safe return of the refugees.”

    Steady progress

    In short, the Russian mediation to bring Damascus and Ankara closer is moving slowly, but according to the Turkish source, “it is closer to reconciliation because the Syrian Ministry of Local Administration is beginning to take charge of regional affairs after holding new local council elections – in compliance with plans forged in the Astana process.”

    Regarding Astana, the Turkish source says, “Let the Syrians treat the Kurdish and opposition areas as one, if the Kurds agree to dismantle their factions and join the Syrian army within a certain equation, the opposition factions will also accept.”

    Regarding the complicated geopolitics of Syria’s east – currently occupied by US troops and their proxies – a high-ranking Syrian official who recently visited Saudi Arabia and Cairo, proposed “Arab intervention with the Syrian tribes to disengage tribe members in the Al-Tanf region from the US forces.” But according to the official, this would be subject to “the progress of relations between Damascus, Riyadh, Cairo, and possibly even Jordan.”

    A few days ago, a video message was sent by Nusra Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Julani, in which he thundered: “Where are the armies of the Muslims?” It is a topical message from Al Qaeda’s Syria boss, who is angling to maintain his sectarian “area of ​​influence” in northwest Syria – strategic Idlib on the Turkish-Syrian border. Julani’s destructive narrative may be the last barrier to break for Damascus, Ankara, and Moscow to strike a deal on the ground.

    US on alert as UAE seeks to join Turkish-Syrian reconciliation talks

    As the UAE tries to join Russia in mediating between Ankara and Damascus, the US is looking to establish a middle ground between Turkiye and the SDF in hopes of preventing normalization with Syria

    January 08 2023

    (Photo Credit: Emirates News Agency)

    ByNews Desk- 

    During a speech in Ankara on 5 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted that a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad may soon take place, “as part of efforts for peace.” He added that a tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkiye, Russia and Syria is scheduled to be held in the near future for the first time since 2011.

    The upcoming meeting aims to enhance communication after Russian-sponsored talks between the Turkish and Syrian defense ministers were held in Moscow on 28 December. The meeting was the highest-level of official meetings between Ankara and Damascus since the start of the Syrian war.

    In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 5 January, Erdogan called on the Syrian government to “take the steps to achieve a tangible solution concerning the case of Syria.”

    The US seeks to establish a middle ground between Ankara and the SDF in order to prevent Turkish-Syrian reconciliation

    The Syrian-Turkish rapprochement via declared Russian mediation was paralleled by Emirati-Syrian rapprochement – the latest of which was a “brotherly” meeting aimed at strengthening cooperation and restoring historical relations between Assad and Foreign Minister of the UAE Abdallah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, according to SANA.

    Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported that the UAE seeks “to join Russia in sponsoring Syrian-Turkish relations at a high level,” noting that the Emirati foreign minister’s visit to Damascus sought to arrange Turkiye’s participation in the tripartite meeting of Syrian-Turkish-Russian foreign ministers, making it a quadripartite meeting.

    The meeting is meant to pave the way for a presidential meeting between Erdogan and Assad in the presence of Putin. Reportedly, the UAE has offered to host this summit, with a possibility of a high-level UAE official being present at the meeting if it will be held in Moscow.

    Asharq Al-Awsat added that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu plans to visit Washington on 16-17 January to brief US officials on the developments of Turkish-Syrian normalization, his meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad, and the “roadmap” sponsored by Moscow in the context of security, military, political and economic fields – as agreed upon by the defense ministers as well as the intelligence chiefs in Syria, Turkiye and Russia over the past weeks.

    As Turkiye has been launching successive operations against Kurdish groups both on the Turkish-Syrian border as well as within Syria itself under ‘Operation Claw Sword,’ a Western official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that a high-ranking US official will be visiting Ankara in the coming hours as part of efforts to mediate between Turkiye and the SDF in northeastern Syria.

    Ankara has demanded that Moscow and Washington commit to the implementation of the bilateral military agreements signed at the end of 2019. The agreements stipulate the withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to beyond 30 kilometers from the Turkish border, and from the areas of Manbij and Tal Rifaat, in addition to the withdrawal of all heavy weaponry.

    The SDF says that it has fulfilled its obligations, and will not withdraw its police force – known as the Asayish – nor dismantle its local councils, despite Turkiye’s insistence on dissolving all Kurdish military and civil institutions in the area.

    Meanwhile, Cavusoglu told media on 29 December that Ankara is willing to withdraw from the territory it occupies in northern Syria and hand it over to Damascus in the event that “political stability” is reached – after cooperation in “neutralizing ISIS members, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the YPG.”

    The Saudi newspaper’s report stated that US mediation seeks to reach a “compromise” between the Kurdish groups and Ankara without a new Turkish incursion taking place ahead of the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-2023. This mediation seems to be an attempt at circumventing the imminent Syrian-Turkish reconciliation.

    Another official source disclosed that Ankara was “uncomfortable with the leaks following the meeting of the Syrian, Turkish and Russian defense ministers in Moscow, and that it had agreed to a full withdrawal.” However, the source confirmed that, “it is true that Ankara and Damascus consider the PKK a common threat, and will work against any separatist agenda, because it is an existential threat to both countries,” adding that the two countries will “work to open the Aleppo-Latakia Highway.”

    Following the UAE’s visit to Damascus, which came after the US called on its allies and international partners to refrain from normalizing ties with Syria, Asharq Al-Awsat quoted an official as saying that the US has been the only western country to issue a statement against normalization, and is working alongside Paris, Berlin, and London to assume a united stance against normalization with Syria.

    Communication is currently underway for a meeting between the representatives of Paris, Berlin, London, and Washington and UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pederson in Geneva on 23 January. This meeting will take place before Pedersen’s visit to Damascus to meet with the Syrian foreign minister to “confirm the position against normalization, and support the provision of funding for electricity projects within the timeline of early recovery,” stipulated by a resolution for international aid that will be extended before 10 January.

    Asharq Al-Awsat said that the UAE has proposed to contribute to the funding of economic and electrical projects in Syria – within the confines of the Caesar Act.

    Simultaneously, Jordan, who was the first to open high-level channels of communication with Damascus, is leading efforts alongside other Arab countries to reach a “united Arab position that defines Arab demands in order to make normalization possible.”

    The newspaper quoted another western official as saying that Jordan is calling for coordination to put pressure on Damascus to provide political and geopolitical steps for the coming phase in southern Syria, as Amman confirmed that there has been an increase in the smuggling of Captagon, weapons and ammunition across the Syrian border following the start of the normalization process. Additionally, Amman has said that the Iranian presence in southern Syria near the Jordanian border has not diminished, and that there has been an expansion of ISIS activity in the area, according to the official.

    Syria’s Arab League membership was suspended in November of 2011 following the start of the Syrian war, and it has been excluded ever since.

    Al Qaeda Terrorists Protesting Turkey’s Rapprochement with Syria

    JANUARY 7, 2023

     ARABI SOURI

    NATO-sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib took to the streets in angry protests against the latest rapprochement steps by the Turkish madman Erdogan toward Syria.

    Euronews, a strong propaganda state-controlled arm of NATO and its financial arm, the European Union, shared a video clip showing a few dozen of all males protesting somewhere in the Al Qaeda stronghold in the Turkish-occupied and controlled Idlib province.

    In the accompanying news, the EU propaganda outlet claimed that similar protests took place in a number of towns in the countryside of Idlib.

    The video is also available on Rumble, and BitChute,

    The protest shared by the EU propaganda arm Euronews showed protests spewing slogans with improper language reminiscent of the 2011 NATO-promoted protests in most remote villages and towns across Syria calling for NATO bombing of Syria to spread freedoms and democracy. These protests also witnessed the killings of dozens of Syrian policemen and civilians by 5th column instigators planted by foreign powers and funded by the US-led coalition which included Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the most retard political regimes in the whole world.

    Without naming him, the al Qaeda fighters shown in the above video clip with their sons were expressing their anger toward their main sponsor, the Turkish madman Erdogan, after the recent steps taken by him to mend the ties with Syria and their fear he would drop his role in the regime change in Damascus which he played the central part in ever since he was assigned that task by George W. Bush years before the NATO-sponsored Arab Spring was initiated.

    The Turkish madman Erdogan is in desperate need to speed up his rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar Assad before the upcoming elections in Turkey, all his policies during his very long reign in Turkey have brought draconian measures against freedoms in his own country, the jailing of tens of thousands of public workers and journalists under the pretext of supporting an opposition movement to him and the failed coup of 2016, in addition to the countless debacles in foreign interventions earning him zero friends in contrast to the policy of zero troubles with neighboring countries which he fooled his people with to vote for him.

    Any meeting and agreement with President Assad would help Erdogan in his bid to be reelected, again, as it would give the Turkish people the impression of solving the refugee crises in their country, the crisis they blame for their deteriorating economy.

    The main losers of such rapprochement with Damascus are the al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in northern Syria, the Turkish madman Erdogan considers them, like his NATO colleagues, as moderate opposition; Syria and the normal world consider them as terrorists. The other losers of a Turkish rapprochement with Syria are the US-sponsored Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists. Both these terrorist entities share the same goals of creating cantons carving them out of Syria and placing a foothold of NATO and Israel where Syria’s main food basket farmlands and oil fields are.

    It’s no surprise that al Qaeda terrorists would express their anger toward any rapprochement between Turkey and Syria, however insincere their main sponsor Erdogan is, they fear they will be abandoned like all cheap cards are in the bigger strategic political game.

    Syria’s main condition for any rapprochement with Turkey is exactly that, Turkey must drop its support to Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists in their numerous groups and return to the Adana Accords of 1998 which only Turkey under Erdogan has breached every article of it.

    It’s also no surprise that the NATO propaganda arms would return to promoting those same terrorists who wreaked havoc across Syria and all the countries that were infested with the Arab Spring, and even the countries that sponsored the Arab Spring and had their terrorists return home and carry out terrorist attacks, mainly in western European countries.

    There are somewhere between 60,000 and 120,000 terrorists of al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates controlling a Syrian population of around 4 million Syrians across the regions under the Turkish occupation in northern Syria including Idlib province, parts of Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, and Hasakah provinces, a large number of those terrorists are foreign terrorists brought into Syria from across the world all the way from the Chinese Uighur and their families through Central Asia to western Europe, literally wherever the anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism doctrines have influence, the first is the twisted version of Islam followed by the Turkish AKP ruling party with Erdogan as its supreme leader, a number of radical parties empowered across the Arab world, and the latter is the main twisted version of Islam followed by the Saudi and Qatari rulers.


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