Syrian War Report – March 29, 2017: March 28, 2017

dvance On Jirah Military Airbase

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have recaptured the villages of Jubb Madi, Zakia, and Rasm al-Khamis ash-Sharqi from ISIS terrorists in the Deir Hafer plain in the northern province of Aleppo.

The important crossroad town of al-Mahdum is the next target of the government operation. Then, government forces will likely attempt to outflank the ISIS-held Jirah Military Airbase from the southern direction and to encircle it.

Heavy clashes continued in northern Hama with the joint militant forces attempting to capture the government stronghold of Hama.

The Ahrar al-Sham militant group announced that it had joined Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies in their military effort aimed at capturing the Syrian government-controlled city of Hama. Ahrar al-Sham is the most powerful “opposition” group which is involved in the Turkish Euphrates Shield Operation in northern Syria. This is yet another confirmation that Ankara has once again changed attitude towards the Syrian conflict.

Moderate forces have captured Tel Dakwa from ISIS units in northeastern Suweida. This is the most recent in a series of advances by ‘moderate’ militants against ISIS in the area. Earlier this week, ISIS defenses collapsed in northeastern Suweida. As a result, Syrian government forces and ‘opposition’ forces gained large areas from the terrorist group.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have recaptured the villages of Mazrat, Sahl al Khashab, and Ayed Kebir from ISIS terrorists in the province of Raqqah. SDF units also advanced on ISIS positions at Yemamah and the Ayd hill.

Meanwhile, fresh photos of armoured vehicles supplied by the United States to the SDF appeared online. This confirmed that the US continues massive deliveries of arms, munitions, and equipment to strengthen their proxy force on the ground. SDF units will likely use the vehicles during the upcoming advance on the ISIS self-proclaimed capital of Raqqah.

Syrian War Report – March 28, 2017: ISIS Retreats From Northeastern Sweida

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

On March 27th, Syrian government forces launched a military operation against the ISIS terrorist group in northeastern Sweida. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the National Defense Forces (NDF) captured Al Masiydah, Al Asfar, Al-Saqiyah, Al-Janinah, Shinwan, and other sites in the area.

Meanwhile, the Free Syrian Army and allied elements continued their own advance against ISIS terrorists in the same area, recapturing the villages of Shunwan, Beir Al Awra, Beir Al Qunyat, Rajm, Al Dawla. According to reports, a majority of ISIS militants had withdrawn from the Sweida province to Deir Ezzor and Raqqah.

In northern Hama, the SAA and the NDF took control of Maazraf and Kafr Amim from the joint militant forces led by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The sites had been controlled by Jaysh al-Izza and Abnaa al-Sham fighters that, in general, were less motivated than their counterparts from HTS. However, Jaysh al-Izza actively uses US-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles against the government military equipment and manpower inflicting notable damage and casualties. Intense clashes continued along the whole frontline in the area.

Rumors have been circulating that the Russian Air Force had stricken fighters of the Syrian Arab Army’s Tiger Forces near the government-held town of Qamhana in northern Hama. Allegedly, the Russian airstrikes resulted in the killing of 33 Tiger Forces members and the wounding of about 40 others. However, no photos or videos were provided from the site of the alleged airstrikes and independent local sources were not able to confirm that the incident had even taken place.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued their advance west of Raqqah, aiming to take control of the town of Tabqa. The advance on the Tabqa dam resulted in no gains because of a threat to damage this strategic facility.

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The Turkish madness is electoral one الجنون التركي انتخابي

The Turkish madness is electoral one

مارس 16, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

In the worst moments experienced by the administration of the Turkish President Recep Erdogan with Washington, and in the light of the developments of the events in the northern of Syria and the sticking of the US officials with the priority of their relation with the Kurds and the inability of Erdogan to understand that, for the second time the dilemma of the sense of greatness has been revealed as a barrier without realistic thinking in the Turkish ruling mentality. The issue according to the Americans neither related to the magnitude of the military capacity of the parties nor to the attitude toward the Turkish country and the keenness to ally with it.

Simply, Washington needs for a non-governmental Syrian party that grants it the legitimacy of deploying troops and experts and forming airports in Syria under the title of privacy that has magnitude of the realistic legitimacy and the ethnic or the national legitimacy, it needs for a party that responds to the US demands that is not loyal to any other country than America. In these two issues Turkey is like America it behaves like it toward the armed groups which affiliated to it, it wants from Washington to deal with it in order to get its legitimacy for the Turkish occupation that resembles the US occupation, even if the Turkish occupation was covered by a title of confronting the danger that threatens the security of Turkey, once under the pretext of the Kurds or the support of the armed factions that are loyal to Turkey. The pretext of the Americans remains the stronger in the war on ISIS and their coverage is more important through the relation with the Kurds.

The Turkish crisis occurs with Netherlands and Germany for the same reasons, the Turkish President and his government are waging a confrontation under what they consider a democratic right by communicating with the voters before the referendum, forgetting that he is talking about immigrants in another country, so what is presented by him is not to sign an agreement that allows the hosting country to organize electoral festivals and to receive the speakers from the two teams to identify the attitudes and to practice the choice, in favor of the resident communities, but it is an exclusive right of the representatives of the rule to mobilize their immigrants to vote for its favor. It is surprised to find the coming governments which want to hold elections and in respect of the privacy of the Turkish position toward the organizations of ISIS and Al Nusra and the issue of the refugees pave the way for Turkish governmental festivals that do not evoke campaigns of the extremist right, because Turkey does not see any law or logic but the one which helps it to be surprised for not dealing with its priorities, as the priorities of the others.

Politically, it is not possible to describe the Turkish anger along with the expressions and threats but only with the political madness for a frustrated country that lives the defeat and the isolation, and instead of absorbing what is surrounding its policies as complexities or making a review that allows drawing policies that commensurate with the variables it turns into a source of crises, that spreads anger and tension. This is the beginning of the tragic end of the countries which think that their size is protecting them. Previously, Turkey has experienced that with Russia, but the result was disastrous, and it has been forced to apologize, but the problem of the rule of Erdogan is that he wants to win in the referendum by provoking the Turkish feelings of the voters who live as their president the illusion of the sultanate and the arrogance of greatness, and whose their egos please the anger of the president and provoke them to vote for him according to the powers of the Sultan, but after the referendum he will leave the arrogance after he will send secretly to the Dutch government that “ I think that the crisis and the tension benefit both of us in the elections so we have to win together, in order to reconcile after the elections”.

Erdogan is a kind of the politicians who is aware how to deal with the game of the folk in the relation of the leader and the street’s people, its key is tickling the tribalism of the privacy and the greatness, then it is possible to fluctuate between the matter and its opposite without consideration or questioning. And thus the leader will be in an image that simulates the divinity over the change and its laws.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الجنون التركي انتخابي

مارس 13, 2017

ناصر قنديل

في لحظات سيئة تعيشها إدارة الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان مع واشنطن في ضوء مجريات أحداث شمال سورية وتمسّك المسؤولين الأميركيين بأولوية علاقتهم بالأكراد وعجز أردوغان عن استيعاب ذلك، تكشفت مرة أخرى معضلة الشعور بالعظمة كحاجز دون التفكير الواقعي في الذهنية التركية الحاكمة، فالمسألة عند الأميركيين ليست بحجم القدرة العسكرية للأطراف، ولا بالموقف من الدولة التركية والحرص على التحالف معها.

إنها ببساطة حاجة واشنطن لجهة غير حكومية سورية تمنحها شرعية نشر قوات وخبراء وإقامة مطارات في سورية، تحت عنوان خصوصية لها مقدار من الشرعية الواقعية والشرعية العرقية أو القومية، وجهة تأتمر بالأوامر الأميركية ولا تدين بالولاء لدولة غير أميركا. وفي هذين الشأنين تركيا كأميركا تفعل مثلها مع الجماعات المسلحة التابعة لها، وتريد من واشنطن أن تمرّ عبرها وأن تستمد شرعيتها من احتلال تركي يشبه الاحتلال الأميركي، ولو تغطّى الاحتلال التركي بعنوان مواجهة خطر على أمن تركيا مرة بذريعة الأكراد أو يدعم فصائل مسلّحة موالية لتركيا. تبقى ذريعة الأميركيين أقوى في الحرب على داعش، وغطاؤهم أهم بالعلاقة مع الأكراد.

تقع الأزمة التركية مع هولندا وألمانيا لأسباب مشابهة، فيخوض الرئيس التركي وحكومته مواجهة تحت ما يعتبره حقاً ديمقراطياً، بالتواصل مع الناخبين قبل الاستفتاء، ناسياً أنه يتحدّث عن مهاجرين في بلد آخر، وأن ما يعرضه ليس توقيع اتفاق تتيح بموجبه الدولة المضيفة للجاليات المقيمة تنظيم مهرجانات انتخابية واستقبال المتحدثين من الفريقين للتعرف على المواقف وممارسة الاختيار، بل حق حصري لممثلي الحكم بتعبئة مهاجريهم للتصويت لحساب خياراته. ويستغرب أن تجد الحكومات المقبلة على انتخابات في ذلك، ولخصوصية الموقف التركي من العلاقة بتنيظمَي داعش وجبهة النصرة، وقضية اللاجئين، في فتح الطريق لمهرجانات حكومية تركية ما يضرّ بها ويستثير عليها حملات من اليمين المتطرف، لأن الباب العالي لا يرى قانوناً ومنطقاً إلا الذي يساعده على الاستغراب لعدم التعامل مع أولوياته كأولويات للآخرين.

لا يمكن سياسياً توصيف الغضب التركي وما رافقه من تعابير وتهديدات إلا بالجنون السياسي لدولة محبطة، تعيش الهزيمة والعزلة وبدلاً من استيعاب ما يحيط بسياساتها من تعقيدات والانكباب على مراجعة تتيح رسم سياسات تتناسب مع المتغيرات تتحوّل مصدراً للأزمات، وتنشر حولها الغضب والتوتر. وهذه بداية نهاية مأساوية للدول التي تظن أن حجمها يحميها، فقد جرّبت تركيا سابقاً ذلك مع روسيا وكانت النتيجة كارثية واضطرت لكسر أنفها والعودة إلى الاعتذار، لكن مشكلة حكم أردوغان أنه يريد الفوز بالاستفتاء من موقع الاستثارة للمشاعر التركية لدى الناخبين الذين يعيشون مثل رئيسهم وهم السلطنة وعنجهية العظمة، ويرضي غرورهم غضب الرئيس ويستنهضهم للتصويت له بصلاحيات سلطان. وهو بعد الاستفتاء سيعود عن العنجهية بعد أن يرسل سراً للحكومة الهولندية، أظنّ أن الأزمة والتوتر يفيداننا معاً في الانتخابات وما علينا إلا الفوز معاً، لنتصالح بعد الانتخابات.

أردوغان نوع من السياسيين يدرك كيفية التعامل مع لعبة القطيع في علاقة الزعيم والشارع، ومفتاحها دغدغة عصبية الخصوصية والعظمة، وعندها يمكن التقلّب بين الشيء وضده من دون حساب ومساءلة، ويصير الزعيم في صورة تحاكي الألوهية فوق التغيير وقوانينه ويخلق الله من الشبه أربعين.

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The third Astana or the second Moscow talks? أستانة الثالث أم موسكو الثاني؟

The third Astana or the second Moscow talks?

مارس 16, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The first Moscow Meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran and the statement issued at its end after the resolution of the control of the Syrian army and its allies on Aleppo and the exit of the militants supported by Turkey formed a take off point for Astana path which was based on a bilateral to cease-fire between the Syrian army and the armed groups supported by Turkey on one hand, and the continuation of the joining of these armed groups in the choice of the war on terrorism and the exit from the war against the Syrian country, moreover considering the separation between these factions and Al Nusra front the starting point in this path on the other hand. It was clear that what was so-called by Astana path is not a dialogue between the Syrian country and the opposition as what is going on in Geneva, but it is a framework granted by Russia and Iran to Turkey to reserve a seat for its groups in the poetical process from the gate of stopping their positioning behind Al Nusra front, and stopping the positioning of Turkey on the bank of the war on Syria after its failed experience in Aleppo.

It was known that any setback in Astana path means a regression in the role of the armed groups within the equations of the negotiation in Geneva on one hand, and a regression in the special status of Turkey in the Syrian political track on the other hand, so the alternative is the return to the field which turns the tip in favor of the Syrian army and its allies where the factions are positioning beside Al Nusra front. It was clear that what has happened since the Second Astana and the Fourth Geneva along with the bombings of Homs and the battles of Al-Bab, and later the bombing of Damascus and the tension about the entry to Manbej that the rules of Astana are changing. The armed factions stand with Al Nusra in the two bombings and stand in the political solution outside the priority of the war on terrorism, and the Turkish priority is as the priority of the groups affiliated to it, it is not the success of Astana path as planned, however, using its revenues for the political negotiation in Geneva on one hand, and the seeking to reserve a seat in the battle of Raqqa at the expense of the Kurds on the other hand, and if necessary a Turkish escalation against Iran to bribe America hoping to facilitate the Turkish task in Manbej and ignoring the commitments to Astana in order to leave the serious negotiation till the US anticipated position of the new administration becomes ready toward the cooperation with Russia.

Turkey lost the round of Manbej politically and militarily, as it lost the round of Aleppo. The Turkish President went to Moscow to renew the paths of cooperation after he had got the US disappointment, while the Syrian country went at the time of the coup on Astana to revive the settlements’ paths which end with the exit of the militants from the areas in which they cause harm to their people, most importantly Al Waer district. The armed groups have linked their going to the third Astana with a different settlement that relieves them in Al Waer district. The settlement in Al Waer district in Homs has passed; this settlement which was allocated to thousands of the militants and under the direct Russian sponsorship has been boycotted by them.

After all of what has happened Astana path needs a detailed assessment from its founders as the type of the Second Moscow talks before the hold of the third Astana. The Russian-Turkish-Iranian meeting has failed due to the Turkish political attacks against Iran and the Turkish coup on Moscow understandings, so the strengthening of Astana depends on reviving the understandings in the heart of the Russian-Turkish-Iranian tripartite, and when Turkey and its groups understand that there are no cards to play with. The settlements are continuing as the form of Al Waer district, and the resolving is continuing as in Qaboun and Daraa, while the forms of the cooperation with the Kurds crystallize in Manbej, the banks of the Euphrates, Deir Al Zour, and Hasaka. If Turkey and its groups do not have what they add to the engagement in a settlement that is based on the exit from the war on the country, and the joining in the war on terrorism as a beginning for the separation from Al Nusra front, and if Turkey does not have what to grant in that respect, then let everyone go in its way and reaps its consequences.

The absence of the armed groups from the third Astana turns it into second Moscow which is desired by Iran and Syria, and it is not objected by Russia after the Russian Turkish Summit to put the Turkish speech at stake, it does not matter that the meeting starts with the meeting of the sponsors and ends with the meeting of the parties after two days.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

مارس 14, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– شكل انعقاد لقاء موسكو الأول بين روسيا وتركيا وإيران والبيان الذي صدر بنهايته إثر حسم سيطرة الجيش السوري وحلفائه على حلب وخروج المسلحين المدعومين من تركيا منها، نقطة الانطلاق لمسار أستانة الذي قام على ثنائية وقف النار بين الجيش السوري والجماعات المسلحة المدعومة من تركيا من جهة، والسير بانضمام هذه الجماعات المسلحة في خيار الحرب على الإرهاب والخروج من الحرب مع الدولة السورية، واعتبار الفصل بين هذه الفصائل وجبهة النصرة نقطة البداية في هذا المسار. وكان واضحاً أن ما سُمّي بمسار أستانة ليس حواراً بين الدولة السورية والمعارضة كالذي يجري في جنيف، بل هو إطار تمنحه روسيا وإيران لتركيا لحجز مقعد لجماعاتها في العملية السياسية من بوابة وقف تموضعهم وراء جبهة النصرة، ووقف تموضع تركيا في ضفة الحرب على سورية بعد تجربتها الفاشلة في حلب.

– كان معلوماً أن أي انتكاسة في مسار أستانة تعني تراجعاً في دور الجماعات المسلحة ضمن معادلات التفاوض في جنيف من جهة، وتراجعاً في المكانة الخاصة لتركيا في المسار السياسي السوري من جهة أخرى، وأن البديل هو العودة للميدان الذي ترجح كفته بقوة لصالح الجيش السوري وحلفائه، حيث تتموضع الفصائل إلى جانب جبهة النصرة، وكان واضحاً أن ما جرى منذ انعقاد أستانة الثاني وجنيف الرابع وما رافقهما في تفجير حمص ومعارك الباب، ولاحقاً تفجير دمشق والتجاذب حول الدخول إلى منبج، أن قواعد أستانة تتغيّر، فالفصائل المسلحة تقف مع النصرة في التفجيرين، وتقف في الحل السياسي خارج أولوية الحرب على الإرهاب، وأن الأولوية التركية كما هي للجماعات التابعة لها ليست في إنجاح مسار أستانة، كما هو مرسوم، بل باستعمال عائداته للدخول على خط التفاوض السياسي في جنيف من جهة، والسعي لحجز مقعد في حرب الرقة على حساب الأكراد من جهة مقابلة، وإن اقتضى ذلك تصعيداً تركياً بوجه إيران لرشوة أميركا أملاً بتسهيل المهمة التركية في منبج، وإدارة الظهر للالتزامات المقطوعة في أستانة لترك التفاوض الجدي لحين نضج وتبلور الموقف الأميركي المرتبك مع الإدارة الجديدة تجاه التعاون مع روسيا.

– خسرت تركيا جولة منبج، بكل ما فيها سياسياً وعسكرياً، كما خسرت جولة حلب وذهب الرئيس التركي إلى موسكو بعدها لتجديد مسارات التعاون وهو يحمل خيبته الأميركية، بينما ذهبت الدولة السورية في وقت الانقلاب على أستانة لإنعاش مسارات التسويات التي تنتهي بخروج المسلحين من المناطق التي يتسببون بالأذى لسكانها ولمحيطها، وكان حي الوعر أهمها، وربطت الجماعات المسلحة ذهابها لأستانة الثالث بتسوية من نوع مختلف تريحها في حي الوعر، ومضت التسوية في حي الوعر بحمص، وتخصّ آلاف المسلحين وفي الوسط الأهم لسورية وبرعاية روسية مباشرة، فقاطعت الجماعات المسلحة.

– يحتاج مسار أستانة بعد كل الذي جرى لتقييم تفصيلي من مؤسسيه على نمط موسكو الثاني قبل انعقاد أستانة الثالث، فاللقاء الروسي التركي الإيراني سقط بالهجمات التركية السياسية ضد إيران وبالانقلاب التركي على تفاهمات موسكو، وتدعيم مسار أستانة يتوقف على إعادة إنعاش التفاهمات في قلب المثلث الروسي التركي الإيراني، وأن تفهّم تركيا وجماعاتها أن لا أوراق بأيديهم يلعبونها، فالتسويات تستمر بصيغة حي الوعر، والحسم يستمر بطريقة القابون ودرعا، والتعاون مع الأكراد تتبلور صيغه في منبج وضفاف الفرات ودير الزور والحسكة، فإن لم يكن لدى تركيا وجماعاتها ما يضيفونه للانخراط بتسوية تقوم على الخروج من الحرب على الدولة والانضمام للحرب على الإرهاب بداية من الفصل عن جبهة النصرة، وإن لم يكن لدى تركيا ما تقدّمه على هذا الصعيد، فليذهب كل في طريقه ويحصد نتائجها.

– غياب الجماعات المسلّحة عن استانة الثالث يحوّله إلى موسكو الثاني الذي تريده إيران وسورية، ولا تمانع به روسيا بعد القمة الروسية التركية لوضع الكلام التركي على المحك العملي، ولا مانع من أن يبدأ لقاء الرعاة وينتهي بلقاء الأطراف بعد يومين.

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What did Netanyahu and Erdogan say to Putin and what did he answer them? ماذا قال نتنياهو وأردوغان لبوتين وبماذا أجابهما؟

Written by Nasser Kandil,

مارس 15, 2017

The Russian endeavor to leave the Kurdish issue in Syria to the US specialization since Washington’s regression with its fleets from the Mediterranean Sea in order to hit Syria has played a role in the US comfort for having a reliable ally which is not shared by anyone to wage by it the battle of Raqqa when it is the time, but it played an opposite role in forming the reason which drives Turkey to Russia when Ankara will reach to the same conclusions to which Washington has already reached by virtue of the impasse in front of the choice of war to overthrow Syria militarily or politically by the force of a decisive military victory.

It was enough for the battle of Aleppo to prove to Ankara what was shown by the experience of bringing the fleets of Washington to recognize the fertility of the continuation of the war and the attempt to search for a special Turkish ceiling to intervene in Syria, it is through the prevention of forming Kurdish security privacy on the borders with Turkey. The difference in time between the US positioning to prepare Kurdish force that follows practically the US armies and the Turkish attention was enough to the rootedness of the Kurdish situation and to make Ankara worried. The leadership of Turkey tries to tempt Washington by compensating it through direct Turkish intervention in the war on ISIS in exchange of having control over the Kurds. The Turks made efforts but they failed, so they turned twice to Moscow, including their last attempt to please Washington with an offer of barter after Aleppo and before Al Bab battle and after it, which ended with a failure that was translated by Manbej today, and the horizons of Kurdish cooperation with the Syrian army under common Russian US umbrella in the battle of Raqqa.

Moscow is aware that Washington will try to sweep the cooperation in the war on terrorism with costs in exchange, but it is aware that the Turks are the desired partner in the war on Al Nusra front, and that the Americans are an imperative party in the war on ISIS without a cost in exchange, so it is enough to put them in front of the inevitability of the Kurdish-Syrian cooperation in order to be on the right track, therefore, the Russians have ignored all the US-Turkish-Israeli-Saudi escalation against Iran and Hezbollah to suggest the willingness to have a cooperation deal in the war versus resizing the role of Iran and Hezbollah, till the Turkish President resorted to Moscow once again, because the most important player in the Syrian settlement and in the war on Al Nusra is Turkey.

The Turkish President knows that he cannot wait for the decision of the war on the Kurds by the Russian President Vladimir Putin or the Americans for the sake of Turkey which it betrayed its pledges to Russia repeatedly, and that he is going to Moscow to lose his bets, and to make the others lose their bets as well, like the Kurds. What is waiting for him in Moscow is a call to rationalize the influence in Syria in favor of the formation of a country without any security privacy. The sooner the Turks are in their cooperation to end the militia’s dominance which they support in Syria and in the partnership in the war on Al Nusra and in a support of a settlement which the Kurds are participating that is translated by a government under the leadership of the Syrian President and the Syrian army, the more attainable the opportunities become to end the chances of the birth of Kurdish canton which the Turks are afraid of. The more the Turks stick to the dominance areas in Syria, the more the Kurdish dominance gets rooted.

The Russians play their calculated steps in the war. While the justification of the survival of  the  troops of the American who accelerates to have a war on ISIS in Raqqa will end with the end of the war, whenever the settlement path accelerates where there will be no justification for any Kurdish canton that they hide behind, therefore the way to that is Turkish by facilitating the influence in the settlement project instead in the dominance areas which will legitimize the Kurdish privacy, in return the Israeli attempts to stick to the search for privacy in the southern of Syrian will not withstand according to what will happen in the north where the big war theatre, and where the Syrian army has drawn through its field movement strategic changes through its reaching to the Euphrates channel and has imposed its presence as an inevitable partner in any war on ISIS.

A long time ago Netanyahu went to Moscow, but he was a Russian ridiculous subject, but at present when Erdogan went to Moscow he became a sad dramatic subject. Netanyahu started his talking with the Russian President about the Persian Minister Haman in the time of the King Ahasuerus who has issued a demand of the extermination of the Jews, just in order to say to the President Putin that the Persians are here, this has happened since 2500 years ago, and today we are celebrating Purim for being saved from the extermination at their hands. So we do not accept them to threaten us once again, the answer was a cynical smile by the Russian President who was playing with his mobile phone in front of the TV cameras, this was broadcasted by the Russian channels. He answered those who lived in the fifth century BC cannot deal with the challenges of the twenty-first century; everything has changed, so you have to find solutions from that time. But well informed Russian resources say that Putin’s suggestions about the past time and the old history is double, he foretells Netanyahu that everything is changing in Syria specially through his clarifications to him and to Erdogan that the cooperation with Iran is so good and that Hezbollah is an important partner in the war on terrorism, moreover, its presence is accepted by the Syrian country. The resources say that Putin’s suggestion is not only for the fifth century BC and the current century but regarding what has changed in the northern of Syria and  the moving towards the demise of the dominance areas which some of them remove the others. The solution from the bygone time is a mockery of Netanyahu’s historic words, where the feast of Purim is the celebration of the success of Esther the niece of Moedecai the adviser of the King Ahasuerus with the support of his uncle to tempt the King to marry her in order to appeal him to abolish the decision of the extermination of her people.

The Russian media resources say that the President Putin has put the Turkish and the Israeli visitors in front of the fact of the Russian Iranian cooperation and the Russian confidence in the relation with Iran and Hezbollah, calling them to be convinced that the political solution in Syria and the return of the powerful Syrian country despite its difficulty and cruelty on the two guests is the least losses which may occur, because the alternative is a Syrian country that is prevented from being dominated on the  whole area of its national territory by the force of the foreign interventions. It has the right to grant some of its geography for others who disturb whom disturbs it. The more the time passes the changes get rooted, and their eradication becomes more difficult. As the moving toward a settlement is an adventure because the Syrian country may decide to enhance its relation with Iran and Hezbollah, as the opposite moving is a bigger adventure because the areas under the domination of the Kurds will get rooted, as there will be similar areas in which the Iranian will be present more freely, and areas where Hezbollah will be rooted more, while the formation of the country which is responsible of the security in the entire country is the least adventurous choice.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

ماذا قال نتنياهو وأردوغان لبوتين وبماذا أجابهما؟

ناصر قنديل
مارس 11, 2017

– لعب الاستثمار الروسي على ترك المسألة الكردية في سورية اختصاصاً أميركياً منذ تراجع واشنطن بأساطيلها عن البحر المتوسط بنيّة ضرب سورية دوره في استرخاء أميركي لامتلاك حليف يمكن الاعتماد عليه، ولا يشاركها به أحد لخوض معركة الرقة بواسطته عندما تدقّ الساعة، لكنه لعب دوراً عكسياً في تشكيل المهماز الذي يرمي تركيا في حضن روسيا، عندما تصل أنقرة للاستنتاجات التي وصلت إليها واشنطن لجهة انسداد الأفق أمام خيار الحرب لإسقاط سورية عسكرياً، أو سياسياً بقوة نصر عسكري حاسم.

– كان يكفي أن تقول حرب حلب لأنقرة ما قالته تجربة استقدام الأساطيل لواشنطن، للتسليم بلا جدوى مواصلة الحرب والاستدارة للبحث عن سقف تركي خاص للتدخل في سورية، وهو منع قيام خصوصية أمنية كردية على الحدود مع تركيا. وكان فارق الزمن بين التموضع الأميركي على خط الإعداد لقوة كردية تتبع عملياً للجيوش الأميركية وبين الانتباه التركي كافياً ليتجذّر الوضع الكردي الذي يسبب القلق لأنقرة، والذي تسعى قيادة تركيا لإغراء واشنطن بتعويضها عنه بتدخل تركي مباشر في الحرب على داعش للحصول على رأس الأكراد، وحاول الأتراك ما استطاعوا وباءوا بالفشل فاستداروا مرتين إلى موسكو بينهما محاولة أخيرة لاسترضاء واشنطن بعرض المقايضة، بعد حلب وقبل معركة الباب، وبعد معركة الباب، وهي التي انتهت بفشل ترجمه حال منبج اليوم، وآفاق تعاون كردي مع الجيش السوري بمظلة روسية أميركية مشتركة في معركة الرقة.

– تدرك موسكو أن واشنطن ستسعى لمقايضة التعاون في الحرب على الإرهاب بأثمان مقابلة، لكنها تدرك أن الأتراك هم الشريك المطلوب في الحرب على جبهة النصرة، وأن الأميركيين هم طرف حتمي في الحرب على داعش بلا ثمن مقابل، ويكفي وضعهم أمام حتمية التعاون الكردي السوري حتى يكونوا على المسار الصحيح، فتجاهل الروس كل التصعيد الأميركي التركي «الإسرائيلي» السعودي ضد إيران وحزب الله، للإيحاء بالاستعداد لصفقة تعاون في الحرب مقابل تحجيم دور إيران وحزب الله، حتى وقع الرئيس التركي في حضن موسكو مجدداً، لأن اللاعب الأهم في التسوية السورية وفي الحرب على النصرة وهي البعد السوري من الحرب هي تركيا.

– يعلم الرئيس التركي أنه لا يستطيع أن ينتظر من الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين قرار حرب على الأكراد ومعهم الأميركيون، كرمى لعيون تركيا التي خانت تعهداتها مع روسيا مراراً، وأنه ذاهب لموسكو ليخسر رهاناته، لكن ليجعل الآخرين يخسرون مثله رهاناتهم، وفي المقدمة الأكراد، فما ينتظره في موسكو دعوة لترصيد النفوذ في سورية لحساب قيام الدولة بمنع أي خصوصية أمنية، وكلما أسرع الأتراك في التعاون لإنهاء السيطرات الميليشياوية التي يدعمونها في سورية، وفي الشراكة بالحرب على النصرة، وبدعم تسوية يشترك فيها الأكراد تترجمها حكومة في ظل الرئيس السوري والجيش السوري، كانت الفرص حقيقية للتحرك لإنهاء فرص ولادة كانتون كردي يخشاه الأتراك، وكلما تمسك الأتراك بمناطق نفوذ في سورية تجذّرت منطقة النفوذ الكردية.

– يلعب الروس نقلاتهم المحسوبة وأمامهم رقعة الحرب، فالأميركي المسرع بحرب على داعش في الرقة، سينتهي مبرر بقاء قواته في سورية بنهاية الحرب، كلما تسارع مسار تسوية لا يبقى فيها مبرر لكانتون كردي يستظلون به، والمفتاح تركي بتسييل النفوذ في مشروع التسوية بدلاً من مناطق النفوذ التي ستشرع الخصوصية الكردية، وبالمقابل لن تصمد محاولات التمسك «الإسرائيلية» بالبحث عن خصوصية جنوب سورية، مع ما سيحدث في الشمال، حيث مسرح الحرب الكبرى، وحيث الجيش السوري رسم بحركته الميدانية تغييرات استراتيجية ببلوغه مجرى الفرات وفرض حضوره شريكاً لا مفر من شراكته في أي حرب على داعش.

– ذهب نتنياهو من زمن غابر إلى موسكو، فكان موضوع سخرية روسية، وذهب أردوغان من الزمن الحاضر فكان موضوعاً درامياً حزيناً. نتنياهو يبدأ حديثه مع الرئيس الروسي عن الوزير الفارسي هامان في زمن الملك أحشويروش الذي استصدر أمراً بإبادة اليهود، ليقول للرئيس بوتين إن الفرس صاروا هنا، وقد حدث هذا قبل 2500 عام، ونحتفل بعيد المساخر أو البوريم لنجاتنا من الإبادة على أيديهم، فلا يمكن قبولهم يهدّدوننا مرة أخرى، فكان الجواب ابتسامة ساخرة من الرئيس الروسي الذي أخذ يلاعب هاتفه الخلوي بيده أمام كاميرات التلفزة، وتنقله القنوات الروسية بهذا المشهد، ويجيب أن من يعيش في القرن الخامس قبل الميلاد لا يستطيع التعامل مع تحديات القرن الحادي والعشرين، فقد تغير كل شيء، وإلا عليك بحلول من ذاك الزمن، وتقول مصادر إعلامية روسية مطلعة أن إيحاءات بوتين عن الزمن الغابر والتاريخ السحيق مزدوجة فهو ينبئ نتنياهو أن كل شيء يتغيّر في سورية، خصوصاً مع إيضاحاته له ولأردوغان أن التعاون مع إيران على أفضل ما يكون، وأن حزب الله شريك هام في الحرب على الإرهاب ووجوده يحظى بتغطية الدولة السورية. وتقول المصادر إن إيحاء بوتين ليس مقصوداً به فقط القرن الخامس قبل الميلاد والقرن الحالي، بل أيضاً ما تغيّر في شمال سورية والسير نحو زوال مناطق النفوذ، بعضها يتكفّل بإزالة بعض، وأن الحل من الزمن الغابر هو سخرية من كلام نتنياهو التاريخي، حيث عيد البوريم هو احتفال بنجاح أستير ابنة أخ مردخاي مستشار الملك أحشويروش التي تمكّنت بمساعدة عمّها من التسلّل لإغراء الملك والزواج منه لتقوم بالتوسط لديه لإلغاء قرار إبادة قومها.

– تقول المصادر الإعلامية الروسية إن الرئيس بوتين وضع الزائرين التركي و«الإسرائيلي» أمام حقيقة التعاون الروسي الإيراني والثقة الروسية بالعلاقة مع إيران وحزب الله، داعياً إلى الاقتناع بأن الحل السياسي في سورية وعودة الدولة السورية القوية رغم مرارته وقسوته على الضيفين هو أقل الخسائر التي يمكن أن تحدث لأن البديل هو، دولة سورية ممنوعة من السيطرة على كامل ترابها الوطني، بقوة التدخّلات الخارجية، فلها حق منح بعضاً من جغرافيتها بالمقابل لآخرين يسببون الإزعاج لمن يزعجها، وكلّما مرّ الزمن تجذّرت التغييرات وصار إنهاؤها اشد صعوبة. ومثلما السير بالتسوية مخاطرة لأن الدولة السورية قد تقرّر تعزيز علاقتها بإيران وحزب الله، فالسير العكسي مخاطرة أكبر، لأن مناطق سيطرة الأكراد ستتجذّر ومثلها ستنشأ مناطق مشابهة يتواجد فيها الإيرانيون بحرية أكبر ومناطق يتجذر فيها حزب الله أكثر، ويبقى قيام الدولة المسؤولة عن الأمن في كامل بلادها الخيار الأقل مخاطرة.

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Will Saudi Arabia be saved and will Turkey fall? هل تنجو السعودية وتقع تركيا؟

مارس 14, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

It seemed that since the Turkish positioning after the battle of Aleppo and the launch of Astana path Ankara knew how to play its cards at the appropriate time, how to stop at the expected Russian US intersection, and how to arrange its cards quietly with Russia as an active regional partner, depending on being the traditional ally of America in the NATO. Because the table has one left seat from the opposite bank of Iran in the region, Turkey rushed to the Russian-Turkish-Iranian tripartite meeting and presented it as a new reference for the new Middle East, but when the new US administration stumbled through its proceeding toward Russia, as was suggested by the enthusiasm of the President Donald Trump for the resolving of ISIS. Ankara stopped its movement and positioned at the line of escalation against Iran in order to keep up with the US discourse. Through Geneva Talks it tried to pass the time waiting for the effective US movement according to timing of Washington not the timing of Moscow. As the Turkish acceleration was towards Astana path to get Saudi Arabia out of the parallel seat to Iran, as the coup was on Astana through the visit of the Turkish President to Saudi Arabia to rehabilitate it and to give it its status.

Turkey found itself in a deadlock after the battle of Al –Bab which it waged for its own account and without the knowledge of Moscow and the promised pledges, in an attempt to bypass what is supposed to be done by the Syrian army after the battle of Aleppo, in addition to its coup on Astana path, so the Turks found that the Syrian army is preceding them in Al Bab towards the lines of the deployment of the Kurdish forces and leaving them alone, making a primary barrier between them and the units that belong to the Turks as the militias of the Shield of Euphrates which descendant of Wahhabi origins as branches of Al-Qaeda organization that work under the banner of Ankara, which are not reassured neither by the Russians nor the Americans. The Syrian army blocked the way which was drawn by the Turkish President in order to enter Raqaa across Manbej in front of Turkey as a temptation for the Americans to give him the green light to enter Manbej and getting the Kurds out of it. The Kurds announced their demand of the deployment of units from the Syrian army in many demarcation villages in which the Kurds live. The events occurred quickly and Turkey became in isolation unable to move forward in the battle of Manbej, after Russia and America became on the line directly, and it is unable to participate in the war on ISIS despite its losses when it announced the war on the organization which it sponsored and thinking that it is enough credentials for the Americans to sell it the Kurds. Despite the meeting of the chiefs of staff of America, Russia and Turkey the Turkish discourse is still escalating against the Kurds. Turkey seems on the eve of the visit of its President to Moscow in a state of embarrassment and in front of difficult choices.

In coincidence with the Turkish confusion, Saudi Arabia succeeds in recapturing its status at the Americans contrary to the Presidential speech during the elections. The new administration seems that it handed over the regional policies to the tripartite; the Pentagon, CIA, and the diplomacy which the Saudis have considerations and effects on them. Saudi Arabia has surpassed through surprising indicators the escalated relationship with Iran which is still in its beginning, but it is meaningful. In conjunction with the announcement of the return of the peaceful endeavors to solve the crisis in Yemen, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Jayad Zarif visits Doha announcing a successful visit for the sake of Iranian-Gulf dialogue, and the Advisor of the Foreign Ministry Hussein Sheikh Al Islam who is closer to the decision –makers announced his optimism regarding the results of the talks of Iran’s resumption of its participation in the next pilgrimage season.

Will Turkey and Saudi Arabia exchange the seats once again?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

هل تنجو السعودية وتقع تركيا؟

مارس 10, 2017

ناصر قنديل
– منذ التموضع التركي بعد معركة حلب وانطلاق مسار أستانة بدا أن أنقرة عرفت كيف تلعب أوراقها في التوقيت المناسب، وتقف عند التقاطع الروسي الأميركي المتوقع، وترتّب أوراقها بهدوء مع روسيا كشريك إقليمي فاعل، وتنطلق من كونها في الناتو حليفاً تقليدياً لأميركا، ولأن الطاولة تنتظر مقعداً واحداً من الضفة المقابلة لإيران في المنطقة، سارعت تركيا لاجتماع موسكو الثلاثي الروسي التركي الإيراني وتقديمه كمرجعية جديدة للشرق الأوسط الجديد، وعندما تعثرت الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة في تقدمها نحو روسيا كما كانت توحي حماسة الرئيس دونالد ترامب للحسم مع داعش، فرملت أنقرة حركتها وتموضعت على خط التصعيد بوجه إيران لتتماشى مع الخطاب الأميركي وتلاقيه، وسعت في محادثات جنيف لتمرير الوقت بانتظار الحركة الأميركية الفاعلة، وفقاً لتوقيت واشنطن لا توقيت موسكو، وبمثل ما كان الإسراع التركي نحو مسار أستانة إخراجاً للسعودية من مقعد اللاعب الموازي لإيران، كان الانقلاب على أستانة من منبر زيارة الرئيس التركي للسعودية ليردّ لها الاعتبار والمكانة.

– وجدت تركيا نفسها في مأزق كبير بعد معركة الباب التي خاضتها لحسابها ومن وراء ظهر حسابات موسكو والتعهّدات المقطوعة لها، وفي محاولة تجاوز لما يفترض أن يقوم به الجيش السوري هناك بعد حلب، هذا عدا عن انقلابها على مسار أستانة، فاستفاق الأتراك على الجيش السوري يتخطاهم في الباب ويتركهم بداخلها متقدماً نحو خطوط انتشار القوى الكردية، مقيماً حاجزاً أولياً بينهم وبين الوحدات التابعة للأتراك من ميليشات درع الفرات، المتحدّرة من أصول وهابية كتفرعات لتنظيم القاعدة تعمل تحت لواء أنقرة، والتي لا يطمئن لها الروس والأميركيون، وأغلقت على تركيا الطريق عبر منبج التي رسمها الرئيس التركي لدخول الرقة كإغراء للأميركيين لمنحه الضوء الأخضر لدخول منبج وإخراج الأكراد منها، فقد أعلن الأكراد مطالبتهم بنشر وحدات للجيش السوري في عديد من قرى التماس التي يوجد فيها الأكراد، وتدحرجت الأحداث لتجد تركيا أنها في عزلة، عاجزة عن المضي قدماً في معركة منبج وقد صارت روسيا وأميركا على الخط مباشرة، وعاجزة عن المشاركة في الحرب على داعش رغم ما تكبّدته من خسائر بإعلان الحرب على التنظيم الذي رعته وفي ظنّها أنها أوراق اعتماد كافية لدى الأميركيين ليبيعوها رأس الأكراد. ورغم اجتماع رؤساء الأركان الأميركي والروسي والتركي لا يزال الخطاب التركي تصعيدياً ضد الأكراد، وتبدو تركيا عشية زيارة رئيسها إلى موسكو في وضع حرج وأمام خيارات صعبة.

– بالتزامن مع الارتباك التركي تنجح السعودية باسترداد مكانتها عند الأميركيين خلافاً للخطاب الرئاسي خلال الانتخابات. فالإدارة الجديدة تبدو قد سلمت السياسات الإقليمية لثلاثي البنتاغون والـ»سي أي أيه» والدبلوماسية، التي يحتفظ السعوديون بحسابات وتأثيرات فيها وعليها، وتخطّت السعودية بمؤشرات لافتة العلاقة التصعيدية مع إيران التي لا تزال في بداياتها، لكنها ذات معنى. فبالتزامن يعلن عن عودة المساعي السلمية لحل الأزمة في اليمن، ويزور وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف الدوحة معلناً عن زياترة ناجحة لحوار إيراني خليجي إيجابي، ويعلن مستشار وزارة الخارجية حسين شيخ الإسلام القريب من مصادر القرار عن التفاؤل بنتائج مباحثات استئناف إيران مشاركتها في موسم الحج المقبل.

– هل تتبادل تركيا والسعودية المقاعد مجدداً؟

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Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Assad: US Forces in Syria are ‘Invaders’

Video and Transcript

“Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one,” Assad said.

“And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.”

March 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –   Damascus, SANA-President Bashar al-Assad said that the solution to the crisis in Syria should be through two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria, and the second one is to make dialogue.

The president added in an interview given to Chinese PHOENIX TV that any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one.

Flowing is the full text of the interview:

Question 1:  Thank you Mr. President for having us here in Dimashq, the capital of Syria. I think this is the first interview you have with Chinese media after the national ceasefire and after so many fresh rounds of talks, both in Astana and in Geneva, and of course after US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and these days, as we have seen, your troops are making steady progress in battlefields, but peace talks do not seem just as productive. So, as far as the Geneva talks is concerned, your chief negotiator, Mr. Jaafari, was trying hard to find out who should be sitting on the other side of the negotiation table. So, according to your idea, who should be sitting there?

President Assad: This is a very crucial question. If you want those negotiations to be fruitful, we have to ask “who is going to be sitting there?” I mean, there could be a lot of good people with good intentions, but the question is: who do they represent? That’s the question. In this situation, you have different groups, you have people who are, let’s say, patriotic, but they don’t represent anyone, they represent themselves. You have others who represent the terrorists, and you have terrorists on the table, and you have others who represent the agenda of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia, like Turkey, like France, UK and maybe the United States. So, it’s not a homogeneous meeting. If you want it to be fruitful, going back to the first point that I mentioned, it should be a real Syrian-Syrian negotiations. In spite of that, we went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians, detach themselves from being terrorists or agents to other groups. That’s why I say we didn’t expect Geneva to produce anything, but it’s a step, and it’s going to be a long way, and you may have other rounds, whether in Geneva or in Astana.

Question 2: But anyway, it is an intra-Syrian talks, right? But the matter of fact is, it is proxy dialogue. I mean, main parties do not meet and have dialogue directly.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: Are you personally satisfied with the current negotiation format or mechanism?

President Assad: we didn’t forge this mechanism; it was forged by de Mistura and the UN with the influence of the countries that wanted to use those negotiations in order to make pressure on Syria, not to reach any resolution. As you just said, each one represents a different agenda, even the opposition delegations, it wasn’t one delegation; different delegations of the opposition. So, if I’m going to – as a government – if I’m going to negotiate with someone, who’s it going to be? Which one? Who represents who? That’s our question. So, you are right, this time there was no negotiations in Geneva, but this is one of the reasons, that’s why it didn’t reach anything. The only thing we discussed in Geneva was the agenda, the headlines, what are we going to discuss later, that’s it.

Question 3: But as we see, lot of time, money, energy have been put into this effort, and the clashes are still going on, people are still dying, and the refugees are still increasing.

President Assad: Exactly.

Journalist: What is the possible way of having a negotiation?

President Assad: Again, you are correct. The more delay you have, the more harm and destruction and killing and blood you’ll have within Syria, that’s why we are very eager to achieve a solution, but how and in which way? You need to have two parallel ways: the first one is to fight the terrorists, and this is our duty as government, to defend the Syrians and use any means in order to destroy the terrorists who’ve been killing and destroying in Syria. The second one is to make dialogue. This dialogue has many different aspects; you have the political one, which is related to the future of Syria; what political system do you need, what kind? It doesn’t matter which one, it depends on the Syrians, and they’re going to have referendum about what they want. The second part is to try to bring many of those people who were affiliated to the terrorists or who committed any terrorist acts to go back to their normality and lay down their armaments and to live normal life in return for amnesty that has been offered by the government, and we’ve been going in that direction for three years, and it worked very well. It worked very well. So, actually, if you want to talk about the real political solution since the beginning of the crisis, of the war on Syria, till this moment, the only solution was those reconciliations between the government and the different militants in Syria, many of them joined the government now, and they are fighting with the government. Some of them laid down their.

Question 4: But talking about the Syria war, you can never exclude the foreign factors. The Saudi-backed high negotiating committee, HNC, are saying that they are counting on the Trump administration to play a positive role instead of the mistaken policies under his predecessor Barack Obama. So, from your side, what do you expect from Trump’s Middle East policy, particularly policy on Syria?

President Assad: The first part that you mentioned about their hopes, when you pin your hopes on a foreign country, doesn’t matter which foreign country, it means you’re not patriotic, and this is proved, because they should depend on the support of the Syrian people, not any other government or administration.

Now, regarding the Trump administration, during his campaign and after the campaign, the main rhetoric of the Trump administration and the president himself was about the priority of defeating ISIS. I said since the beginning that this is a promising approach to what’s happening in Syria and in Iraq, because we live in the same area and we face the same enemy. We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric, because we’ve been seeing now certain is a local kind of raids. You cannot deal with terrorism on local basis; it should be comprehensive, it cannot be partial or temporary. It cannot be from the air, it should be in cooperation with the troops on the ground, that’s why the Russians succeeded, since they supported the Syrian Army in pushing ISIS to shrink, not to expand as it used to be before that. So, we have hopes that this taking into consideration that talking about ISIS doesn’t mean talking about the whole terrorism; ISIS is one of the products, al-Nusra is another product, you have so many groups in Syria, they are not ISIS, but they are Al Qaeda, they have the same background of the Wahabi extremist ideology.

Question 5: So, Mr. President, you and Mr. Donald Trump actually share the same priority which is counter-terrorism, and both of you hate fake news. Do you see any room for cooperation?

President Assad: Yeah, in theory, yes, but practically, not yet, because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level. Even their raids against ISIS that I just mentioned, which are only a few raids, happened without the cooperation or the consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government which is illegal as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals, but particularly, not yet.

Question 6: Do you have personal contact with the President of the United States?

President Assad: Not at all.

Journalist: Direct or indirect.

President Assad: Indirect, you have so many channels, but you cannot bet on private channels. It should be formal, this is where you can talk about a real relation with another government.

Question 7: As we speak, top generals from Turkey, Russia, and the United States are meeting somewhere in Turkey to discuss tensions in northern Syria, where mutually- suspicious forces are allied with these countries.  So, do you have a plan for a final attack on Daesh when the main players actually do need an effective coordination in order to clear Syria of all terror groups?

President Assad: Yeah, if you want to link that meeting with ISIS in particular, it won’t be objective, because at least one party, which is Turkey, has been supporting ISIS till this moment, because Erdogan, the Turkish President, is Muslim Brotherhood. He’s ideologically linked and sympathetic with ISIS and with al-Nusra, and everybody knows about this in our region, and he helped them either through armaments, logistically, through exporting oil. For the other party, which is the United States, at least during Obama’s administration, they dealt with ISIS by overlooking their smuggling the Syrian oil to Turkey, and this is how they can get money in order to recruit terrorists from around the world, and they didn’t try to do anything more than cosmetic against ISIS. The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us. So, the question is: how can they cooperate, and I think the Russians have hope that the two parties join the Russians and the Syrians in their fight against terrorism. So, we have more hopes now regarding the American party because of the new administration, while in Turkey nothing has changed in that regard. ISIS in the north have  only one route of supply, it’s through Turkey, and they’re still alive and they’re still active and they’re still resisting different kinds of waves of attacks, because of the  Turkish support.

Question 8: Now, US troops are in Manbej. Is the greenlight from your side? Did you open the door for these American troops?

President Assad: No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS?  The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions.

Question 9: Talking about Russia and China, they just vetoed a new UN sanction on Syria last week. What do these Chinese vetoes mean exactly for your country?

President Assad: Let’s be very clear about their position, which is not to support the Syrian government or the Syrian president, because in the West they try to portray it as a personal problem, and as Russia and China and other countries and Iran support that person as president. It’s not the case. China is a member of the Security Council, and it’s committed to the Charter of the United Nations. In that veto, China has defended first of all the Charter, because the United Nations was created in order to restore stability around the world. Actually, the Western countries, especially the permanent members of the Council as a tool or means in order to change regimes or governments and to  implement their agenda, not to restore stability, and actually to create more instability around the world. So the second part is that China restored stability in the world by creating some kind of political balance within the United Nations, of course in cooperation with Russia, which is very important for the whole world. Of course, Syria was the headline, the main headline, this is good for Syria, but again it’s good for the rest of the world. Third, the same countries that wanted to use the UN Charter for their own vested interested are the same countries who interfered or tried to intervene in your country in the late 90s, and they used different headlines, human rights, and so on, and you know that, and if they had the chance, they would change every government in the world, whether big country or small country, just when this government tries to be a little bit independent. So, China protected the Chinese interests, Syrian interests, and the world interests, especially the small countries or the weak countries.

Question 10: If I’m not mistaken, you said China is going to play a role in the reconstruction of Syria. So, in which areas you think China can contribute to bring Syrian people back to their normal life after so many years of hardships?

President Assad: Actually, if you talk about what the terrorists have been doing the last six years, it’s destroying everything regarding the infrastructure. In spite of that, the Syrian government is still effective, at least by providing the minimum needs for the Syrian people. But they’ve been destroying everything in every sector with no exception. Adding to that, the Western embargo in Syria has prevented Syria from having even the basic needs for the livelihood of any citizen in Syria. So, in which sector? In every sector. I mean, China can be in every sector with no exception, because we have damage in every sector. But if we talk about now, before this comprehensive reconstruction starts, China now is being involved directly in building many projects, mainly industrial projects, in Syria, and we have many Chinese experts now working in Syria in different projects in order to set up those projects. But of course, when you have more stability, the most important thing is building the destroyed suburbs. This is the most important part of the reconstruction. The second one is the infrastructure; the sanitation system, the electricity, the oil fields, everything, with no exception. The third one: the industrial projects, which could belong to the private sector or the public sector in Syria.

Question 11: Alright. And it seems no secret that there are some Chinese extremists are here, fighting alongside Daesh. I think it is a threat to both Syria and China. What concrete or effective measures do you have to control border and prevent these extremists from free movement in the region?

President Assad: When you talk about extremists or terrorists, it doesn’t matter what their nationality is, because they don’t recognize borders, and they don’t belong to a country. The only difference between nationality and nationality, is that those for example who came from your country, they know your country more than the others, so they can do more harm in your country that others, and the same for Syrians, the same for Russian terrorist, and so on. So now, the measures, every terrorist should be defeated and demolished, unless he changed his position to the normal life. Second, because you’re talking about different nationalities -more than 80 nationalities – you should have cooperation with the other governments, especially in the intelligence field, and that’s what’s happening for example with the Chinese intelligence regarding the Uyghur terrorists who are coming from China through Turkey. Unfortunately, the only means that we don’t have now and we don’t control is our borders with Turkey, because the Uyghur  in Particular, they came from Turkey, the others coming maybe from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, form the sea, maybe, and the majority from Turkey, but the Uyghur terrorists coming mainly from Turkey. Why? I don’t know why, but they have the support of the Turkish government, and they were gathered and collected in one group, and they were sent to the northern part of Syria. So, the mission now is to attack them, wherever they existed. Of course, sometimes you cannot tell which one… who is who, they mix with each other, but sometimes they work as separate groups from different nationalities. And this is very crucial kind of cooperation between the Syrian and the Chinese intelligence, and we did many good steps in that regard.

Question 12: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?

President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it. The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it. And you have many videos on the net and of course images broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as a terrorists group, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating over the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. So, that’s what the Oscar went to, to those terrorists. So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army during the liberation of Aleppo from making more pressure on the attacking and liberating the districts within the city that have been occupied by those terrorists, to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians and the innocents and the humanitarian people.

Question 13: Right. Now Palmyra. I took a one-day trip to Palmyra this time. Now, the city is under your control, so as its strategic position is concerned, because Homs is the heart of Syria, it’s right in the middle, now, when you have Palmyra, what is your next target? Are you going to expand a military operation into Raqqa and Dier Ezzor?

President Assad: We are very close to Raqqa now. Yesterday, our troops reached the Euphrates River which is very close to Raqqa city, and Raqqa is the stronghold of ISIS today, so it’s going to be a priority for us, but that doesn’t mean the other cities are not priority, in time that could be in parallel, because Palmyra is on the way to Dier Ezzor city in the eastern part of Syria which is close to the Iraqi borders, and those areas that have been used by ISIS as route for logistic support between ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in

Syria. So, whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that ISIS uses, it has the same result.

Question 14: How many days do you think this war is going to last?

President Assad: if we presume that you don’t have foreign intervention, it will take a few months. It’s not very complicated internally. The complexity of this war is the foreign intervention. This is the problem. So, in the face of that intervention, the good thing that we gained during the war is the unity of the society. At the very beginning, the vision for many Syrians wasn’t very clear about what’s happening. Many believed the propaganda of the West about the reality, about the real story, that this is against the oppression. If it’s against the oppression, why the people in Saudi Arabia didn’t revolt, for example? So, now what we gained is this, this is our strongest foundation to end that war. We always have hope that this year is going to be the last year. But at the end, this is war and you can’t expect what is going to happen precisely.

Question 15: Mr. President, you are President of the Syrian Republic, at the same time, you are a loving husband and a father of three. How can you balance the role of being a President, a father, and a husband?

President Assad: If you cannot succeed in your small duty which is your family, you cannot succeed in your bigger duty or more comprehensive duty at the level of a country. So, there is no excuse that if you have a lot of work to abandon your duties; it’s a duty. You have to be very clear about that, you have to fulfill those duties in a very good way. Of course, sometimes those circumstances do not allow you to do whatever you have to do, your duties, fully, let’s say.

Journalist: During a day, how much time you spend on work, and how much time you spend with your family members?

President Assad: Actually, it’s not about the time, because even if you are at your home, you have to work.

Journalist: Okay.

President Assad: Let’s say, in the morning and the evening, you have the chance, but in between and after those times, you have the whole day to work.

Question 16: Have you ever thought of leaving this country for the sake of your family?

President Assad: Never, after six years, I mean the most difficult times passed; it was in 2012 and 2013, those times we never thought about it, how can I think about it now?

So, no, no, this is not an option. Whenever you have any kind of reluctance, you will lose. You will lose not with your enemies; you lose with your supporters. Those supporters, I mean the people you work with, the fighters, the army, they will feel if you’re not determined to defend your country. We never had any feeling neither me nor any member of my family.

Question 17: And how is Kareem’s Chinese getting along?

President Assad: He learned the basics of Chinese language, I think two years ago. Unfortunately, the lady and the man who taught him had to leave, because they were members of the Chinese Embassy. They went back to China. Now, he stopped improve his Chinese language.

Question 18: Do you think it is a good choice to learn Chinese for him?

President Assad: Of course, of course, because China is a rising power.

Journalist: You didn’t force him to learn Chinese? It’s his own option, right?

President Assad: No, no, we never thought about it, actually. I didn’t think that he has to learn Chinese, and I didn’t expect him, if I thought about it, that he would say yes, because for many in the world the Chinese language is a difficult language to learn. He took the initiative and he said I want to learn Chinese, and actually till this moment, I didn’t ask him why. I want him to feel free, but when he’s getting older, I’m going to ask him how? How did it come through your mind to learn this language, this difficult language, but of course important language.

Journalist: You didn’t ask him before? President Assad: No, not yet. Journalist: So, you think it’s a good choice?

President Assad: Of course, of course. As I said, it’s a rising power, it’s important. I mean, most of the world has different kinds of relation with China whether in science, in politics, in economy, in business, I mean, in every filed you need it now. And our relation for the future is going to be on the rise. It was good, but it’s going to be on the rise because when a country like China proves that it’s a real friend, a friend that you can rely on, it’s very natural to have better relation on the popular level, not only on the formal level.

Journalist: Thank you Mr. President, thank you for your time.

President Assad: Thank you for coming to Syria, you’re most welcome.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Turkey’s Erdogan Wants Northern Syria and Iraq Annexed

Global Research, March 13, 2017

His aim is longstanding. In December 2015, heavily armed Turkish forces invaded Iraq, an act of aggression, occupying territory near Mosul, on the phony pretext of combating ISIS he supports.

His real aim is seizing the area’s valued oil fields, a prize he’s long coveted.

Last August, he invaded northern Syria, his aggression code-named Operation Euphrates Shield – aiding anti-government forces, combating Kurdish YPG fighters, not terrorists.

His forces seized Jarabulus in northwestern Syria straightaway, continued advancing east.

Last November, he said his goal is gaining control over “5,000 square km (1,900 square miles) including al-Bab, Manbij and Tell Rifaat, creating a national structure and army for this expanded area to provide solid control and to allow the refugees return to these areas jointly with EU, and after these, focusing on IS’s de facto capital Raqqa and” YPG Kurdish fighters.

In late November, he said he launched cross-border military operations “to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” Days later, he retracted his statement. He can’t undo what he said.

America and other rogue states support his aggression, the Pentagon saying it supports YPG fighters. Obama said Turkey is a “strong NATO ally.” He lied claiming both countries are working to defeat ISIS.

US-installed NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg “welcome(d) Turkey’s increasing efforts to fight against ISIL. Turkey has a right to defend itself,” he said, ignoring his naked aggression in two regional countries, along with his tyrannical homeland rule.

Assad calls Erdogan an “invader.” Russia expressed concern. Putin said his actions didn’t surprise. “Intelligence exists so we face few unexpected developments. We understood what was going on and where things would lead,” he explained.

Erdogan lied, calling his action an act of self-defense. “Our borders must be cleansed of Daesh,” he said – failing to explain he supports the terrorist group and others operating regionally.

Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon made similar comments, supporting aggression instead of denouncing  it.

Intervening on the territory of other nations is naked aggression, longstanding US policy, together with NATO and other rogue allies.

Senior Kurdish Democratic Union party member Ewwas Eli said Erdogan seeks control over Syrian sovereign territory. That’s what his cross-border incursion is all about.

His goals are political, using military means to achieve them. He wants a Kurdish federation in northern Syria prevented.

So he equates the PYD and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) with PKK fighters. Ankara calls them terrorists – a pretext to wage war on Kurds in three countries, besides saying he wants to “ensur(e) the safety of life and property of our citizens who live along our southern borders.”

The best way is by waging peace, not war.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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