The Death of White Helmets Founder is a Loss for the Syrian People!

White Helmets founder and his wife

 

James Le Mesurier is dead, his body was found near his home in Istanbul, he was the founder of the White Helmets, the group that is involved in ‘humanitarian’ efforts in Syria. That’s the main story.

But why would I say in the title his death is a loss to the Syrian people? His ‘White Helmets‘ group is accused by every Syrian official of atrocities and being the PR arm of al-Qaeda. I’ll throw a few names and hope you’ll find the pattern:

  • Osama Bin Laden, we were told he was the greatest threat to humanity leading al-Qaeda terrorist organization and that his death is the best thing achieved by Obama during his presidency. Did his group end or mushroom in numbers and affiliations after his weird death and dumping his body at sea as per Obama’s special Sharia law?
  • Abu Bakr Baghdadi, we were told he was the greatest threat to humanity leading ISIS, the worse yet terrorist organization during our times, and his killing is the best thing achieved by Trump thus far. Would his group end or mushroom after his death?
  • Jeffrey Epstein, a US billionaire who was heading a child-raping network serving some of the top figures in the world. He died mysteriously in his heavily guarded 24 hours monitored prison cell in the USA. Does his death serve justice for his victims? Maybe as an instant relief that such a criminal was killed, but what about the others involved with him.
Jeffrey Epstein hanged in his prison cell

Did you start seeing the pattern? Can you figure out a certain name connected directly to all these three figures: Bin Laden, Baghdadi, Epstein? What about a certain group of evildoers? And now add the sudden death of Le Mesurier.

Throughout history, when crimes start winding down the major culprits clean their tracks. The small players are ‘deleted’, the major players and main criminals breathe a window of relief, the victims are served a tiny shred of justice but the real criminals are loose.

Both main players and middle players and even small players think the killing of this latest black box will spare them the punishment they deserve for the massive humanitarian suffering they caused upon the Syrian people, maybe in this life although they shouldn’t keep their bets high, their other partners are still loose, but certainly in the life hereafter they will be lined up one by one before their victims, one by one, and then they will be dumped in the deepest dungeons of hell, but as a group.

Remaining criminals should really be worried now seeing how Baghdadi and White Helmets founder are eliminated. My personal advice to them: come clean, if you know something that implicates your enablers record it and present the evidence you know, surrender yourselves to the Syrian authorities, they’re the only party with sincere interest to uncover the real criminals, anybody else might be implicated, if not at the highest level, at any level in between them and you.

Le Mesurier for his ‘humanitarian’ received an ‘OBE’ by no other than the head of the regime of Elizabeth the Second, the regime behind every misery in human history at least a century before I was born. Not starting with the Indian colonization and famine, going through WWI, Sykes-Picot and the ensuing colonization of large parts of the Arab world and planting the most cancerous disease between the Levant and African parts of the Arab World.

 

Chief of Al-Qaeda Levant aka Nusra Front praising the White Helmets in Idlib!

His organization received hundreds of millions of US-taxpayers’ hard-earned money. He had good relations with the regime of Barack Hussein Obama, another major contributor to the ‘humanitarian‘ efforts. Obama, for the records, inherited the US ‘humanitarian’ efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo, Somalia… to name a few, the sufferings there intensified during his two terms presidency and added the ‘humanitarian’ efforts in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, to name a few.

vanessa beeley@VanessaBeeley

James Le Mesurier wife “barred from leaving Turkey”. Co-founder of Incostrat, alleged UK FCO PR agency for , extremist gang occupying . Previous UKFCO connections. Skoll Foundation. Mayday Rescue funding stream. Interesting background.

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The Syrian people would have got some justice had this ex-British Army officer been arrested and tried publicly where he would expose all his hidden (known to Syrians) secrets and many of the players involved in the real crimes against humanity in Syria would have been exposed, and at least shamed not celebrated as Nobel Peace Award laureates or promoted as feminist defenders. One of the worst players, however, remain in our region and is being supported by two of Syria’s main allies while he swings on all ropes.

There’s a process of cleaning tracks been initiated and more small players heads will roll and the middle and big players trial might be postponed, but Divine justice will never forgive their mischief deeds on Earth, their punishment is prepared for them sooner or later, during their lifetimes or after:

“He reprieves but does not neglect.”

Listen to Morales at the UN and see why he was overthrown by the Empire

Source

November 15, 2019

This is Evo Morales’ UNSC speech of this Spring:

Karma: British “White Helmets” Co-Founder Dead in Turkey

By Tony Cartalucci

Source

white-helmets-syria-400x225.jpg

Former British military officer James Le Mesurier suspected of ties to MI6 and the co-founder of the so-called “White Helmets” front was found dead this month in Turkey from an apparent fall from his residence.

The Western media wasted no time linking it to claims Russia had recently made that he was an intelligence asset involved in sowing instability worldwide – attempting to portray Russia as somehow likely responsible for Le Mesurier’s death.

Not a Rescue Org 

In actuality, the “White Helmets” were an extension of Western armed and funded terrorist organizations operating in Syria with the “White Helmets” specifically serving the purpose of war propagandists thinly disguised as “rescue workers” or local “civil defense.”

They found themselves repeatedly at the center of alleged chemical attacks the US accused the Syrian government of – indicating their likely involvement in carrying out false flag operations – many of which may have actually killed real people.

The deceptive manner in which the “White Helmets” operated has already been extensively exposed and their credibility rendered moot – not least because the terrorist organizations they augment are nearing extinction – surrounded in Syria’s northern governorate of Idlib.

Cui Bono? 

Le Mesurier’s continued existence as the co-founder of a now irrelevant propaganda arm to a defeated proxy army makes no difference to Syria and its Russian allies.

Le Mesurier’s continued existence – however – did pose the perpetual threat of the knowledge he had of covert US operations in Syria including the use of the “White Helmets” in staging chemical attacks and other atrocities and their role in manipulating international organizations like the OPCW eventually becoming public.

It is obvious that his death – whatever the cause – benefited the US and UK which backed him and his faux humanitarian relief organization – meaning that whatever secrets he harbored are now taken to the grave with him.

Work for Horrible People, Meet a Horrible End

Finally, let Le Mesurier’s end serve as a warning for those serving the agenda of global aggressors particularly in the targeting and destruction of a sovereign nation like Syria.

Even upon death, the establishment that bank rolled him and propped him up used his corpse as a prop in their public relations campaigns. The truth of his death may never emerge. With the possibility that he was terminated by his own employers – pause for thought will hopefully reverberate across the peripheral operations created to prop up and promote the “White Helmets.”

Anyone who finds themselves in possession of facts and willfully distorts them for profit in the employ of nations willing to lie to promote death and destruction on a global scale cannot possibly believe they are ever safe or will perpetually be more useful alive than dead.

Regardless of the actual cause of Le Mesurier’s death, he was  certainly useful to the system that created him and whom he served. We must also acknowledge that he had accumulated 8 years of top secrets which were liable to spill out.

ISIS Captives Offer a Convenient Pawn in Turkey’s Syria Chess Game

By Vanessa Beeley

Source

Turkey recently threatened to send 1,200 ISIS terrorists back to their countries of origin in the EU, the U.S., and the UK. Turkey’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Solyu, claimed that extradition would begin on Monday, November 11, ironically on Armistice Day. Ankara claimed it would even send back those whose citizenships have been revoked. How Turkey plans to follow through with this threat is another matter. Turkey’s history of both incubating terrorist groups and blackmailing the European Union is well known.

Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, had this to say about the Turkish ISIS deadline:

Turkey has manipulated the ISIS phenomenon from its very beginning, just as Pakistani military intelligence facilitated and manipulated the Taliban and Al Qaida. Just as Bin Laden was found under the noses of Pakistani security forces in Pakistan, so Al Baghdadi was found a couple of miles from the Turkish border in an area (Idlib) crawling with Turkish and pro-Turkish militias.”

Given the complexity of the situation, it is important to examine the reasons behind Ankara’s posturing and Turkey’s support for ISIS fighters when they serve Turkish economic and military interests at home and in Syria. Turkey’s interests may or may not overlap with those of the United States at any given moment, but there is a  synergy concerning oil interests and Syrian territory-annexation or occupation. Coincidentally, U.S. President Donald Trump also threatened to “drop jihadists” at Europe’s borders if the UK, France, and Germany refused to repatriate ISIS nationals. As Peter Ford told me:

Turkey’s threat to send ISIS prisoners to Europe is simple blackmail: stop whinging about Turkey’s behavior in Syria or we open the floodgates. In reality, Turkey has better uses planned for its ISIS foot soldiers and camp followers.”

No other country neighboring Syria has been so heavily invested in harboring terrorist groups on their territory and providing the porous borders required for the passage of these groups, arms, and equipment into externally-created conflict zones inside of Syria since the war against that country began in earnest in 2011. As Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said recently, in an interview with Syrian TV and the al-Ikhbarya channel:

…we are in one arena, the whole Syrian arena is one – a single theatre of operations.  From the furthest point in the south to the furthest point in the north Turkey is the American proxy in this war, and everywhere we have fought we have been fighting this proxy.”

On November 11, President Assad was interviewed by RT Going Underground, during the interview he pointed out:

Since ISIS started smuggling Syrian oil and looting Syrian Oil in 2014, they had two partners: Erdogan and his coterie, and the Americans, whether the CIA or others. ”

A prison break opportunity for ISIS fighters

October 9, 2019. Turkey launches “Operation Peace Spring,” ostensibly to push Kurdish separatist forces back from its borders with Syria. The move effectively allowed Turkey to take control of two cities, Ras Al Ain and Tel Abyad, where clashes are ongoing between Turkish proxy forces, made up of an assortment of extremist fighters that had previously occupied Idlib and other areas of Syria, and the Syrian Arab Army supported partially by the SDF Kurdish forces previously allied with the U.S. and supported by Israel.

A major beneficiary of this unlawful push into Syrian territory has been ISIS brides along with that followers and fighters that were imprisoned in the notorious Al Hol camp and other ISIS holding camps in the region. These dangerous ideologues see the Turkish incursion as an opportunity to escape their Kurdish captors and for the so-called ISIS brides to reunite with their husbands who are already in Turkey, according to their own testimony. One Russian ISIS bride told Kurdistan 24, a Kurdish media outlet:

We want Turkey to attack here. If the Turkish army comes to this area, I will be able to flee and meet my husband, who I know well is in Turkey.”

Turkey Syria ISIS

In the same interview, a French ISIS bride expressed hope that Ankara would invade the camp and enable their flight to Turkey. Under cover of one particular Turkish airstrike, an alleged 800 ISIS-affiliated individuals managed to escape the Ain Al Issa camp according to the same Kurdish media report.

Perhaps in an effort to justify his perceived abandonment of the Kurds, President Trump tweeted that the Kurds were deliberately releasing ISIS prisoners to draw the U.S. back into the conflict, a claim echoed by Turkish officials who claimed that the Kurds were taking money for releasing ISIS fighters or their families.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Brian Kilmeade over at @foxandfriends got it all wrong. We are not going into another war between people who have been fighting with each other for 200 years. Europe had a chance to get their ISIS prisoners, but didn’t want the cost. “Let the USA pay,” they said…

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

….Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved. Easily recaptured by Turkey or European Nations from where many came, but they should move quickly. Big sanctions on Turkey coming! Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey? Never ending wars will end!

When Trump previously floated the idea of withdrawal from Syria in December 2018, the Kurdish contras threatened to release 3,200 ISIS fighters. While Kurdish leaders denied that this had ever been considered, the threat was enough to cause Trump to reel back from withdrawing from Syria.

A recent report from the New York Times claims that Al Hol camp contains some of the most violent and steadfast ISIS supporters, 10,000 women and children from 50 countries, two-thirds of the children under the age of 12. In the report, a woman interviewed in the piece stated that she was committed to bringing back the “caliphate” and that her children were on “God’s path” towards violent extremism.

report in the Spanish language El Pais, describes a “radical matriarchy” set up to facilitate escape for ISIS followers and overseen by a tyrannical female Emir. According to the report, these female extremists pay upwards of $ 9,000 to “ISIS traffickers” to bribe their SDF guards. El Pais describes the camp as a radicalization and indoctrination center where women and minors are being converted into extremist military cadres willing to persecute those who do not comply with the religious extremism being forced upon the camp’s inhabitants.

Shortly after Ankara’s military operation began, a senior Iraqi security expert, Hafez Al-Basharah, claimed that Washington was attempting to transfer 3,000 ISIS terrorists from Syria to Iraq where they would be transferred to a “safe area.” The U.S. would use the Turkish occupied zones inside Syria as a holding base for the ISIS fighters until their transfer to the three chosen bases inside Iraq.

Various Arabic language media outlets have reported that the United States is planning to produce a Super ISIS – an even more radical, violent version of the group’s previous incarnation. Hessam Sho’aib, a Syrian military expert on terrorist organizations, announced to Sputnik Arabic that various reports from U.S. “think tanks” indicate the heralding in of an ISIS renaissance in Syria and Iraq. The reports, according to Sho’aib, also allude to U.S. intelligence involvement in the birth of ISIS, its apparent demise, as well as its rebirth. A rebirth that would ensure the sustained recycling of terrorism and the perpetual destabilization of the region.

Certainly the U.S. faux withdrawal, the invasion of Turkish extremist proxies, the retreat of SDF prison guards as well as the apparent corruption of the remaining SDF factions in charge of the camps, have all contributed to the latter-day ISIS “Operation Breaking the Walls” which appears to be allowing followers and fighters to regroup, expand and reinforce their military capability on the borders with Syria. At the same time, the ISIS prison break gives Turkey the opportunity to blackmail other NATO member states into ignoring the atrocities and war crimes being committed by the assortment of extremist groups under Ankara’s command inside Syria.

Turkey plays both ends against the middle

The Turkish repatriation of foreign ISIS fighters has already begun, according to a report in Middle East Monitor. One American fighter has already been deported and travel plans are in place for seven German nationals affiliated with the terrorist group. It appears that Turkey’s threat was not idle and that the U.S.-led alliance in Syria may be about to reap what it has sown for the past nine years.

Turkey Syria ISIS

Waseem Ramli, a short-lived Syrian honorary consul representative in Montreal before the multiple neoconservative interests in Trudeau’s government campaigned to have him removed on the pretext of being loyal to the elected and internationally recognized Syrian government, referred to Ankara’s betrayal of their own NATO allies thusly:

For the past years we have been warning the western governments of what may happen if they continue supporting the continuation of the war in Syria but they never expected to be backstabbed by one of their own NATO allies!

Guess we will be seeing these governments scrambling to figure out how to deal with this situation  while they continue to refuse to acknowledge that their best option is opening a line of communication with the Syrian government.”

President Assad alluded to Ankara’s strategy in his interview with RT Going Underground:

Actually, the relation between Erdogan and the EU is two ways: they hate him but they want him. They hate him, they know that he is fanatic Islamist, they know this, and they know that he’s going to send them those extremists or maybe terrorists.”

Turkey is essentially playing both ends against the middle. ISIS was first allowed into Syria from Turkey. The Caliphate’s economy was able to flourish, enriched by millions of dollars of oil smuggled into Turkey and sold to Israel. ISIS was the perfect invention to fulfill Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman aspirations of toppling the Syrian government, annexing more Syrian territory, plundering resources, pillaging industry and finally eliminating the PKK Kurdish factions. Former Ambassador Ford asserts that U.S. Coalition policy makers were effectively acting in accordance with Turkey’s Syria policy:

The U.S. knew all this and turned a blind eye. As long as ISIS was advancing towards Damascus, what was not to like? Turkey got a free pass to support a terror group which curiously never mounted a significant attack against the U.S. beyond a few provocative beheadings but which gave the U.S. Coalition a pretext to put forces in Syria.”

Ford also pointed out that ISIS periodically commits atrocities on Turkish soil, conveniently, Ford says, “whenever Turkish assistance and subsidies were reduced for some reason. It appears, as Ford concluded, that “ ISIS was in the mafia protection business after all.”

Indeed, Turkey apparently used the thousands of conveniently collected ISIS prisoners held in Syria as additional manpower to reinforce the ranks of the swiftly rebranded “Syrian National Army,” a cynical attempt to portray former extremists and terrorist groups as a pseudo-nationalist “legitimate liberating force” under Ankara’s command. Ford says that many of the captured ISIS fighters were caught on their way to bolster the ranks of the pro-Turkish FSA and other extremist groups occupying Idlib.

It is no accident that many of the fighters who were caught in the end of days for the Caliphate were on their way to Idlib, to be recycled as pro-Turkish FSA. Or HTS (Hayat Tahrir Ash Sham), the Al Qaeda affiliate, tolerated when not actively assisted by Turkey. So Turkish help in freeing ISIS prisoners is no fanciful conspiracy theory.” (emphasis added)

The move would not be without precedent either, as Turkey allegedly recruited and retrained ISIS fighters to participate in Ankara’s Afrin land grab in February of 2018.

The latest bogeyman in the global terror portfolio

The U.S. Coalition has effectively given Turkey free rein to maneuver and recycle terrorist and extremist factions with impunity in order to achieve its political ambitions in Syria. That campaign has failed miserably, western journalists fleeing the north-east of Syria during the start of the Turkish operation came face to face with the monsters unleashed upon the Syrian people for nine years, by their governments in the West and their allies in the Gulf States and Israel.

Having described these extremist, sectarian gangs as “moderate rebels” for nearly a decade, the media was suddenly confronted by their bloodcurdling brutality and were tripping over their own narratives in their haste to condemn the Turkish proxies for their unbridled aggression against the U.S. and Israeli-backed Kurdish contras, media darlings for the anti-anti-war left in the West and Israel’s partitioning instrument to secure Syrian territory east of the Euphrates.

Israel Kurds Syria

The irony of the situation is not lost on Waseem Ramli, or indeed upon Peter Ford, who concluded:

Whatever the case, the irony is that Western governments would rather tie themselves in knots than accept the obvious solution which would be adopted automatically if these countries were serious about the ‘international rules-based system’ they preach at others: hand over the jihadis to face Syrian justice. Their crimes were committed on Syrian soil, overwhelmingly against Syrian victims. If a Syrian jihadi committed a crime on British soil, would we not absolutely demand they faced British justice? Instead, we behave like a tinpot dictatorship ourselves, autocratically stripping British citizens of their nationality.”

ISIS is the latest bogeyman in the global terror brand portfolio, serving a neoconservative agenda in the Middle East. Turkey has been the midwife and the curator of this and other terrorist groups on behalf of its NATO allies who are intent upon ushering in a new government in Syria and fomenting regional unrest. In 2017, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, the political and media advisor to President Assad, predicted that Erdogan would turn on his former allies. Two years later that prophecy is being fulfilled.

I hope that Europeans will discover who he is before it becomes too late. I mean it. Because two years ago when Merkel came to him to discuss the issue of refugees I said she is coming to the source of the problem. He is the origin of the problem.”

Al-Baghdadi Killing: Knocking off the Odd Man Out

By David Macilwain

Source

WH sit room Baghdadi strike f83a6

Following the alleged US raid and destruction of a house in NW Syria on 28th October where the notional leader of Da’esh was allegedly living, I spent some time analyzing photographs and satellite images of the site. While the main focus of commentary and skepticism was over whether Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had really died, in the way so graphically and poetically described by Donald Trump, inconsistencies and peculiarities surrounding the existence and destruction of the house went largely unnoticed.

And there were many! The first report from Al Jazeera, who had a local correspondent walking over the bombed site the following morning, conveniently identified its location near the village of Barisha in a “zoom-in” from Google’s satellite map, and the map displayed in their report was the same as the one that came up when I found it in a search on the 30th October. Inexplicably at the time, the house appeared to have already been destroyed!

Perhaps this also confused Al Jazeera, as they had identified one of the neighboring houses as the “suspected compound” hit in the strike, despite this house being clearly visible in the video report from Alaa Eddine Youssef which followed. This was before the Pentagon released drone footage of the operation and video of the subsequent airstrike, and before local scavengers and militants had removed material and altered the site’s appearance.

There were two possibilities to explain the aberrant Google satellite image, which showed a partly built or partly destroyed building as well as what appeared to be a large crater. The image accredited to Maxar Technologies 2019 could have predated the construction of the house, or post-dated its destruction, with the latter option obviously giving the lie to the US claims they had just launched the operation and that Al Baghdadi had only recently arrived there.

Given the appearance of the bombed site and the unconvincing and changing story from the White House, I chose to investigate this “conspiracy” option, postulating that the house shown in other satellite images in the media and in the Pentagon videos had been targeted months earlier, and the site then covered with loads of broken concrete and stone. Examining details in other areas of Syria demonstrated that the current Google satellite photo was taken later than mid-2017, and I assumed that the house must have been older than that.

Wrong assumption! On the verge of submitting this contentious claim, I noticed that one of the satellite images used in the media showing Abu Mohammed Al Halabi’s house also showed foundations of a new house nearby that didn’t appear in the currently available image on Google maps. Reports from different media sources had variously claimed that Al Halabi – a commander with the Hurras al-Din terrorist group – had bought the house two years ago, or sold it, or that the house had been built only two years ago.

Only at that point did I discover that “historic” satellite images can be viewed on Google Earth – but only on the downloaded desktop version and not on Google Chrome. Below is a composite of images from 2016, when none of the current buildings was present, up to the latest available there dating from September last year, when Al Halabi’s house was newly completed. The current satellite image on Google dates to January 2018, when excavations and preparations were being made. At the bottom right is an image from the Independent’s article of 28th October, supplied by Maxar but curiously printed upside down, in common with images displayed in other mainstream media reports. The foundations of a new house not visible in the image from September 2018, of which the walls now appear completed in current photographs, suggest the Independent’s image is from mid-2019.

Barisha house site changes 2016 19 1df5f

*(Satellite images 2016 to 2019, W Barisha. Open the image in new tab to enlarge.)

In the Al Jazeera report, Youssef states that the house was owned by Abu Mohammed al Halabi (“the Aleppan”), but that “he was not the target”. This implies that he might well have been the target – and for good reason; Al Halabi had a long dubious record of association with Hurras Al-Din, an extreme Salafist group closely allied to Da’esh, and one which the US claims to have been targeting. In recent months the US has launched a number of such strikes in Western Syria targeting members of Hurras Al-Din, including a recent one in a town not far from Barisha.

Abu Mohammed al Halabi, the nom de guerre of Mohammed Salama, who was notorious in Aleppo as a “trader and smuggler”, was also well known as a fighter and commander from back in 2014, when Liz Sly of the Washington Post wrote about his activities around the Turkish border crossing of Azaz, and his allegiance to Al Qaeda. At that time rival armed groups fought for control of this important point, which was a main supply route for “rebel-occupied” Aleppo. Bel Trew writing in the Independent also provides much detail on the circumstances and nature of Mohammed al Halabi’s relationship with Baghdadi, which sounds feasible but cannot be easily verified.

More to the point is the degree of cooperation between Turkish intelligence and these extremist groups, indicated by the evident freedom with which fighters could pass over the border crossing at Azaz, but also the crossing at Bab al Hawa – which coincidentally lies very close to where Al Halabi built his house last year. On one particularly notable occasion in late 2016, Turkey facilitated the transport of bus-loads of Al Qaeda fighters out of Syria at Bab al Hawa and back in through the Azaz crossing, where they went to provide support to the besieged insurgents in East Aleppo.

Halabi house pre strike Pentagon 47bb7

*(Halabi house pre-strike by Pentagon.)

Turkey’s support for various militant groups in NW Syria is hardly a secret, nor its early cooperation with the US in acting as a staging post for fighters and weapons from North Africa and elsewhere. Not to mention the long covert cooperation with IS in the oil-smuggling trade out of Eastern Syria. So we might greet with some skepticism Erdogan’s announcement that several members of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s family have just been detained in Azaz. One wonders if they may have been living there since the newly formed ISIL took over that section of the Turkish border in late 2013!

While this historic collaboration between Turkey and the US/CIA in assisting terrorist groups in Syria including Al Qaeda and Da’esh may appear to be currently faltering over the Kurdish question, their collaboration must go deeper than this, and a joint operation to “kill Baghdadi” must be considered feasible. But as with Bin Laden, the object of killing the terrorist group leader was not because he personally presented any further danger; confecting his death would achieve the same objectives.

Those objectives must be seen as the opposite of what they appear; rather than sealing the end of Baghdadi’s caliphate they allow it to be reborn under a different leader and with a different form. Just as Al Qaeda needed to die so that ISIS could be born from its ashes, so Baghdadi’s ISIS now needed to die so that its replacement – even under the same name – can provide the necessary Trojan Horse for the renewed war – on Iran. Mention of the “Khorasan” group in this context is worrying, as Khorasan is a region northeast of Tehran from where its leaders are presumed to come.

Having thus provided a rationale for the staging of a strike to kill Baghdadi, whose timing and actual target were not of primary importance, we may view the images of Al Halabi’s destroyed house without prejudice. Immediately it can be seen that the site does NOT look like that of a house that was bombed only the previous night. In fact, it doesn’t look much like the site of a bombed house at all!

Bombed houses Idlib comparison 0515b

*(Two bombed houses in Idlib.)

One of the things which sticks in the mind from the innumerable images of bombed buildings in Syria we have seen for the last eight years is the persistence of reinforced concrete slabs, such as would have formed the roof of Al Halabi’s house. The absence of any such slabs or visible fragments of that roof is remarkable by itself. Instead, in the area where the house stood is what appears to be a pile of pulverized and flattened material, surrounded by piles of rubble.

A close study and comparison of images of the remains of Mohammed Al Halabi’s house published in various different media on the 29th and 30th October reveals some strikingly aberrant features that make it impossible to believe the Pentagon’s – and the White House’s claim that the strike was carried out on the previous night. In the images below I have circled two piles of stone and concrete rubble which do not appear to have come from the house as a result of the explosion following the US airstrike. While the blast appears to have knocked over the perimeter wall quite cleanly on the south and west sides, there is simply no explanation for the presence of a large mound of rubble in that south-west corner of the compound, marked ‘1’.  If its origin was Al Halabi’s house, then it was pushed there with heavy machinery.

Halabi house site East and West views annotated 20f99

*(Halabi house east and west view, annotated.)

The second marked pile of rubble might have come from the garage beside the gates into the compound, whose angled broken roof slabs can be seen there, but it lies on the house side of where the building stood, and beside a small but living olive tree. By contrast, there are charred remains of two smaller buildings on the east side which look recent, as well as a large area of blackened olive trees extending from the north side of the compound towards a neighboring house. In initial reports of the bombing, shaky video of a fire and some small explosions taken from Barisha village were shown, and we might assume this was the result.

The exact position of these rubble heaps in relation to the house can be seen in the composite image below, where I have aligned and superimposed the walls of the compound visible in the Pentagon’s drone image with the line of the walls still clearly visible in a drone image of the site taken following the announcement of the bombing. The Pentagon image immediately preceded the bombing of the building, which was hit first at the point indicated by a purple cross, towards the southwest corner of the roof.

Drone view with house outline annotated 16e34

*(Drone view w/house superimposed, annotated.)

Other features visible more clearly in this view are the small truck – which appears to have been pushed over to the wall, and behind rubble heap ‘1’, and the outlines of the basement or “tunnel” entrance, which lay beneath the building’s tower section and the circular pad in front of it.

As is so often the case where false claims are made, it only takes one clearly observable fault to demolish the whole case; if one tip-truck load of rubble is where it shouldn’t be, why not the whole site? And why not the whole story?

The word “cover-up” springs to mind, and it will take more than a few truck-loads of concrete rubble to cover up the crimes committed by the Western allies and their proxies in Syria.

President al-Assad: The American presence in Syria will generate military resistance which will exact losses among the Americans and force them to leave

Friday, 15 November 2019 09:34

DAMASCUS-  President Bashar al-Assad has stressed that nobody believes that Turkey will repatriate 3 million Syrian refugees to the northeast of the country and this is a deceptive humanitarian slogan raised by Turkish regime to create an ethnic conflict in this area and to bring the terrorists and their families into this region in order to create a new extremist community in line with the vision sought by President of the Turkish regime, Erdogan.

In an interview given to RUSSIA 24 and ROSSIYA SEVODNYA, President al-Assad clarified that  most of the Kurds are patriots who support their state and the Syrian people, but there are groups, some of these groups are Kurds, some are Arabs, working under American command and there is currently a dialogue with them, since the return of the Syrian Army to north, to convince them that stability is achieved when all of us are committed to the Syrian constitution.

He said: “ After nine years of war, I think that most people understand the importance of embracing the state regardless of political differences.”

President al-Assad emphasized that every war will result in a lot of changes in society but it doesn’t mean dividing the country, moving towards separation; throwing out the constitution or weakening the state, confirming that the war should be an experience from which we come out with a stronger, not weaker homeland.

He pointed out that the American presence in Syria will generate a military resistance which will exact losses among the Americans, and consequently force them to leave.  “However, America cannot believe that it will live comfortably in any area it occupies.  We remind them of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Syria will not be an exception.”

President al-Assad indicated that the immediate and most effective solution is to unite as Syrians and as patriots and this would cause the Americans to leave the Syrian territory.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, first of all I’m grateful to you for finding the time to answer our questions despite the difficult circumstances.

The world’s attention is now focused on the situation in the northeast of the Syrian Arab Republic.  What is your personal assessment of the Russian-Turkish agreement on Syria?

President Assad:  Our assessment is certainly positive, not because we trust Turkey, which hasn’t been honest in meeting all the commitments it made previously, whether in Astana or elsewhere.  Our assessment is positive becasue there is no doubt that Russia’s involvement has positive aspects, because otherwise we would have been faced with three options.  The first was the Turkish plan or agenda, with its Muslim Brotherhood and Ottoman dimensions.  The second option was the American plan, which is connected with the Turkish one, and was meant for the Turkish incursion to complicate the situation in Syria, and consequently push us away from the solution we all felt we were approaching.  The third option was the German proposal, i.e. internationalizing the region, and consequently imposing international protection.  All these plans are ultimately designed by the American leadership.  Here is the significance of the positive Russian role, which outmaneuvered these plans and neutralized the Kurdish pretext, in order to prepare the ground for Turkey’s withdrawal.

Question 2: Why is Russia helping Syria, in general?

President Assad: We cannot answer this question without talking about the Russian role; Russia is a superpower and has international duties and responsibilities.  These responsibilities serve the world and also, Russia and the Russian people.  Russia has the choice of either playing the role of a superpower, or withdrawing into itself and becoming a very ordinary state, which would not be good for the world.  In this context, the military presence in Syria is part of the framework of the global balance of power, because the world today is not governed by legal criteria, but rather by the criteria of power.  Therefore, the Russian power, from a military perspective, is necessary for balance in the world.

A second aspect is fighting terrorism which has two sides: the first is moral and the second is legal, i.e. international law, because terrorism is supported by well-known states.  There is a third aspect, which is protecting Russian interests.  This terrorism has no borders, no political borders. Today, it might be in Syria, but also in the farthest point in Asia. It might also exist in Europe, like the terrorist operations which happened in the past years; and it might also be in Russia, and you recall what happened over ten years ago, when terrorists kidnapped and killed innocent people in schools and theatres.  You have known and lived through terrorism in the Chechen Republic and other places, and you still do.  You cannot fight terrorism only where it exists.  It must be fought all over the world.

Moreover, Russia, through the role it’s playing, has the exact opposite vision of the West, which believes that international law is at odds with its interests; Russia believes that international law serves its own interests and also its joint interests with other countries.  For all these reasons, Russia is helping Syria.

Question 3:  Going back to Turkey, what do you think of Ankara’s intention of repatriating the Syrian refugees to the areas under the control of the Turkish army and the militants which support it in the northeast of the country, taking into account that these refugees might number about 3 million people?

President Assad:  Nobody believes that Turkey will repatriate 3 million Syrian refugees to this area; this is a deceptive humanitarian slogan.  Even if they wanted to, this is not possible because it would create a conflict between the owners of the land, the cities, the villages, the homes, the farms, and the fields on the one hand, and these newcomers, on the other; those who own these places will never renounce their rights in these areas, so this would create an ethnic conflict.

However, the real reason behind Turkey bringing the militants and terrorists who fought and were defeated in Syria, is to move them and their families into this region in order to create a new extremist community in line with the vision sought by the President of the Turkish regime, Erdogan.  This is the real goal.  In either case, both are dangerous and aim at destabilizing Syria.  Therefore, we certainly reject it.

Question 4:  The Sochi agreement contributed to normalizing the situation in northeastern Syria and prepared the ground for the return of the legitimate control of the Syrian government east of Euphrates and some areas in the northeast of the country.  But the population in those areas has been cut off from the state’s central authority as a result of ISIS’s behavior.  What are the steps you intend to take in order to engage the local authorities of the Kurdish autonomous administration?  This is because fighting ISIS was carried out by both the government forces in that area and by the YPG.

President Assad:  I want to separate the two cases, because ISIS was created by American will and carried out its activities under an American cover.  We are convinced, and we have information, that America has used ISIS as a military tool to strike at the Syrian Army and to distract the military forces fighting terrorism, at the forefront of which is Syria.

With regards to the Kurdish forces, we need to correct certain concepts.  The term is being misused and it is being promoted by the West to give the impression that the forces operating there are Kurdish and that the region is Kurdish.  First, I would like to make it clear that this region in the north and northeast of Syria is an Arab-majority region; over 70% of its population are Arabs, not the other way around.  The groups fighting there are a mixture of Kurds and others; the Americans support the Kurdish groups and installed them in a leadership role in order to give the impression that it is a Kurdish region and to create a conflict between the Kurds and the other groups in Syria.  We remained in contact throughout the war with these groups, despite our knowledge that some were being used and directed by the Americans; they were armed and funded by the Americans and their public statements were dictated by them.  This does not mean that the Kurds are not patriots; I stress that most of the Kurds are patriots who support their state and the Syrian people like any other segment of Syrian society, but some of these groups are Kurds, some are Arabs, and there might be others working under American command.  These are the groups we have continued to engage.

Since the return of the Syrian Army to these areas, there is currently a dialogue to convince them that stability is achieved when all of us are committed to the Syrian constitution, because this constitution reflects the will of the people.  And when the Syrian Arab Army returns, it does so together with other state institutions, which are also an expression of the Syrian constitution and people.

Some progress has been achieved recently after the Turkish invasion in this area.  Russia plays an important role in this issue based on the same principles that I just mentioned.  Sometimes we move forward, other times we move backward partly because of the American pressure on the armed groups in Syria not to respond to the Syrian state; this is expected.  Now we are more optimistic that things are moving in right direction, because after nine years of war, I think that most people understand the importance of embracing the state regardless of political differences, or differences with the government or the ruling party.  The state in every part of the world embraces everybody; I believe that we are moving in this direction.

Question 5: Have I understood you correctly, that the status quo in the northeast of the country is as it is because of outside interference? I mean, the views that there are problems with the Kurds that can never be solved.

President Assad:  The problems are with some of the Kurds; I stress once again that most of the Kurds have been in Syria for decades and there are no problems with them.  There are however, extremist groups, extremist in the political sense, which are making propositions closer to separation.  Some of these propositions are related to federalism and Kurdish self-rule.  As I mentioned earlier, this is an Arab region, and if anyone is to talk about federalism, it shall be the Arabs, because they are the majority; this is self-evident.  Unlike, the situation in northern Iraq and southeast Turkey, there is no Kurdish majority in this region of Syria.

As to cultural and other rights, I always give the example of the Armenians because they are the latest comers to Syria – about a hundred years ago.  They have their schools, churches, and full cultural rights.  Why would we give cultural rights to one segment of Syrian society and not to others?   Simply, this group has made separatist propositions which we shall never accept, not today, not tomorrow, not as a state, not as a people.  This is the problem.  Today, all these American-supported groups claim that the situation has changed after the war – of course the situation has changed.  It is normal that every war will result in a lot of changes in society.  However, war doesn’t mean dividing the country, or moving towards separation; it doesn’t mean throwing out the constitution or weakening the state.  The war should be an experience from which we come out with a stronger, not weaker homeland.  We shall never accept any separatist propositions under any circumstances.

Question 6:  Mr. President, despite all this, how do you evaluate the role played by the YPG in the fight against ISIS?  Because according to their figures, thousands of their fighters were killed defending their towns and villages inside Syria.

President Assad:  A large number of Syrians have been killed defending their villages in all regions, not only in that region.  It is not fair to talk about one segment of Syrians, because all Syrians defended their homeland, and all of them have defended their towns and villages. When people sense an existential threat, they must defend themselves, this is self-evident. But I wouldn’t put this defense in a political framework because that would mean giving America a certificate of good conduct and implying that all American-supported forces have been fighting ISIS, and consequently America has been fighting terrorism.  We all know and we have all stated – in Syria, Russia, and other countries, that America has supported ISIS.

We must distinguish between the citizens who achieved real results defending their villages and killing or eliminating a large number of terrorists, on the one hand, and the political agenda which is linked to America, on the other; we need to be accurate.

Question 7:  In October, the deadline for the withdrawal of YPG 30 kilometers from the Turkish borders expired, and Ankara claimed that YPG has not withdrawn.  Where are the YPG units now?  Where are they located?  The equally important question is: how would these units be integrated with the Syrian Armed Forces, particularly since there was an announcement and a proposal in this regard?

President Assad:  The Russian-Turkish agreement regarding the withdrawal of these armed groups must be implemented.  As I said previously, they are a mixture of Kurds and Arabs, but their leadership is Kurdish.  They need to withdraw because they provided the Turks with the pretext to implement their plan, which they have been dreaming of since the beginning of the war; they need to withdraw 30 kilometers.

As to implementation, they announced that they would implement and this has happened in some areas, but it hasn’t been implemented fully and this is to be expected.  These types of measures do not happen overnight or quickly; there isn’t necessarily a central control over all the groups fighting in a particular area.  Militias often fight and take their decisions in a chaotic manner and that’s why things are implemented in a particular place and not in another.  We are cooperating with Russia in order to fully implement this agreement, after which we should tell the Turks to start withdrawing.

As for integrating these groups into the Syrian Army, we have followed a principle since the beginning of reconciliations in 2013 that all those who hand in their weapons get full amnesty and return to normal civilian life like any other citizen, and they may join the Syrian Arab Army.  This has happened in many places; some of those who had fought with the terrorists later joined the Syrian Arab Army and fought within its ranks and were even martyred.

After the Russian-Turkish agreement, the Syrian Ministry of Defense announced that it was prepared to integrate all those fighters into the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army using various means appropriate to that region.  The official response we received was that they were not prepared to join the Syrian Arab Army and that they insist on keeping their weapons in those areas.  Also, within the framework of Syrian-Russian cooperation, we are trying to convince these fighters to join the Syrian Arab Army and fight against the Turkish invaders, which is the correct and proper way to restore the lands whose loss they have caused in northern Syria. We have to keep trying and we’ll see how things progress in the next few weeks.

Question 8:  Mr. President, in fact, the war has ended in the largest part of Syria.  People are returning to their homes in their villages. What is the Syrian leadership doing in order to provide the necessary requirements for their life there? Are there statistics about the number of restored houses or schools in those areas? And what are the main difficulties faced in preparing for the restoration of normal lives for these citizens?

President Assad:  In Syria, the biggest concerns facing any citizen on a daily basis are the economic conditions and the ability to meet basic needs, as well as providing education to their children and healthcare.  In every area we enter, we immediately start to restore the schools and provide the necessary requirements, including teachers and other resources; we also ensure that hospitals are functioning.  Similarly, we pay attention to the living conditions. However, living conditions in Syria are subject, in one way or another, to a number of external factors, particularly the Western sanctions against Syria which affect the provision of heating oil, fuel, and consequently electricity.  The embargo imposed on Syria prevents foreign investment into the country, in addition to other forms of embargo.  We are able to provide the basic needs, albeit at a minimum; sometimes we are unable to provide them in a sufficient manner.  All of this is a result of the embargo.  We are looking for other methods; and our friends, Russia, Iran, and sometimes China, are providing some humanitarian assistance. These are the priorities and the needs of our citizens that we are trying to meet, albeit at a bare minimum.

Question 9:  The more important question is: in order to ensure the return of normal life to the country, and the return of refugees, it is necessary to provide job opportunities.  Is there a process of rebuilding destroyed facilities?  And is the process of rebuilding them difficult under these tough sanctions?

President Assad:  Yes, it is difficult, but not impossible.  Away from any delusional or imaginary scenarios, practically speaking, there are a number of industries – the pharmaceutical industry for example, where the number of factories has risen significantly since the beginning of the war, this is also the case in other sectors.  Of course, the pace is not as it should be, or as we want it to be, in order to provide for the return of refugees who are also looking for job opportunities.  However, the mere fact that we are able to create new industries, a few of which are heavy industries, is at odds with the existing economic conditions for a country in a state of war, which usually can only create small or perhaps medium-sized industries.  We need to now look for better ways to encourage investment because of the sanctions.  We are currently studying our old investment law – which has been amended several times, to encourage the inflow of capital or at least the investment of capital already within the country which is not subject to foreign sanctions.  Despite all this and despite the Western and American embargo, there are a few limited foreign investments.

Question 10:  Going back to the question of the political solution, militants continue to hand in their weapons; and we know that the Syrian government, and you personally, are doing a lot in order to reintegrate these people in society.  What are your next plans in terms of providing assistance to the militants and their families whose legal status have been settled?

President Assad:  This is an important point, and a critical challenge.  There are various aspects that need to be addressed.  First, we have children, because you correctly referred to families and not just militants in the abstract case.  These militants have a family and they are part of a community, albeit small, but an extremist community.  Their children have lived for a long period, sometimes their formative years, outside of the law and away from national curricula, as such they have learned wrong concepts.  We announced a few weeks ago that schools would integrate these pupils within their programs and according to their age, so that they could adjust into the national curriculum within a few years and assimilate to patriotic concepts.

A second aspect is the religious extremism which has been promoted for years, and has become entrenched in the minds of entire communities in the areas governed by Al Qaeda and Wahabi ideology under the names of ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Tahrir al-Cham, Jaish al-Islam, and others, it doesn’t matter who, because they all belong to one ideology and one doctrine. In Syria, the religious establishment plays a very important role in this regard; you cannot talk to those extremists in the beginning about national and humanitarian issues.  They must first understand that the religious concepts they have learned are wrong and distorted, and in contradiction with religion.  We are working extensively in order to flush out these wrong concepts.

The third aspect is that these communities have lived outside the law; they don’t know the meaning of the state, of laws, courts of law, traffic police, and other instruments used by society to organize itself.  This is the more difficult aspect.  The challenge here is how to reintroduce the state in the best possible way to these towns and villages, in order to restore concepts of law and order.  These are the areas we are constantly working on, through various institutions, in order to reintegrate this community into Syrian society and ensuring they have a strong sense of patriotism.

Question 11: Mr. President, I have an important question also about the humanitarian situation, which has to do with the Kurdish population.  During the war, Kurdish children used the Kurdish language in their education and have not received official certificates or government documents proving the educational stage they reached.  This is a big problem now, because they cannot continue studying and learning, and they cannot work in an official and a professional manner.  Is there a plan to solve this problem?  Is such a plan ready, or is it still under preparation?

President Assad:  This issue is linked to the previous question; the implementation of this point was announced by the Ministry of Education immediately after the Turkish invasion, two or three weeks ago.  The Ministry stated it welcomes the integration of students who studied the Kurdish curriculum into our national education system in the post-primary stage.  This is a practical solution and the normal course of action; otherwise how can we ask these students or young people to reintegrate into our homeland if they are isolated or unaccepted in the national education system.

Intervention: But there are children and young people who have completed their education, but they don’t have official government documents to certify that.  How can this problem be solved?

President Assad:  There is no other option but to accept these certificates.  Young people are not only integrated through school, but also through higher institutes, universities, and other educational institutions.  If we want them to properly integrate into society and become productive individuals who contribute to building their country, we must find the appropriate procedural solutions in order to integrate them into the educational system.  The first solution I referred to, was announced two weeks ago because it was the easiest and the quickest; other solutions are in the pipeline and will also be announced in the coming weeks.

Question 12:  Mr. President, according to the media, Trump announced an expansion of American presence in Syria, particularly in the northeast of the country, under the pretext of protecting the oil fields.  Is there a military solution to this problem?  And when would such a military operation start?

President Assad:  I have always said that an occupier cannot occupy a piece of land without having agents in that country, because it would be difficult for them to live in a completely hostile environment.  Therefore, the immediate and most effective solution is for us to unite as Syrians and as patriots.  This would cause the Americans to leave, and they would not be able to stay, neither for oil nor for anything else.

However, with time, when the occupier remains – the Iraq experience is still fresh in the minds of Americans and the result, for them, was unexpected; for us however, it was clear and I did say in one of my interviews after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that occupation will generate military resistance.  Similarly, the American presence in Syria will generate a military resistance which will exact losses among the Americans, and consequently force them to leave.  Of course, we are not contemplating a Russian-American confrontation, this is self-evident, and it doesn’t serve neither our interests, nor the Russians nor international stability; it is dangerous.  However, America cannot believe that it will live comfortably in any area it occupies.  We remind them of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Syria will not be an exception.

Question 13:  Concerning the American behavior here, particularly in relation to Syrian oil, don’t you believe that this behavior is that of a government gang?  And what are the losses to Syria as a result of Washington’s behavior?

President Assad:  You are absolutely correct, not only because they are looting oil, but because America is structured as a political system of gangs.  The American president does not represent a state – he is the company CEO, and behind this CEO there is a board of directors which represent the big companies in America – the real owners of the state – oil and arms companies, banks, and other lobbies.  So, in reference to Syrian oil, this is the expected result of the American regime, which is led by companies acting for their own interests.

Having said this, I would like to remind you of something more significant than merely describing them as a gang.  One of the most important factors, which led to Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, was oil; some even say that it was the only factor and there was no other reason for him to invade.  Today, America is doing the same thing; it is imitating the Nazis.  So, we can very simply liken American policy today with Nazi policy: expansion, invasion, undermining the interests of other nations, trampling on international law, international conventions, human principles, and others – all for the sake of oil.  What’s the difference between this policy and Nazi policy?  Can anybody from the American regime give us an answer to this question? I don’t think so.

Question 14:  Would Syria lodge a complaint at the United Nations about the United States looting Syrian oil?  And does Damascus have specific plans to demand compensation for the looted oil from Washington?

President Assad:  Of course, this is to be expected.  However, you and I, and many others in the world know that there is no United Nations because there is no international law; and so, all complaints lodged at the United Nations remain in drawers.  As I mentioned earlier, there is a quasi-state, governed by gangs and based on the principle of power.  These gangs are thieves and the conflict between them is over profits, gains, and losses.  It is not a conflict over ideologies or political parties; the conflicts between Trump and others in America are conflicts over spoils and gains.

That’s why today we live in a world similar to a jungle, closer to the period before World War II, rather than after it.  We will send a complaint, but it will remain in the drawers.

Question 15:  In Istanbul, one of the founders of the White Helmets died a few days ago, the organization whose involvement in producing fake videos on the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria was uncovered several times.  And now there are hypotheses that this founder of the White Helmets in Syria did not die, but was rather killed.  What do you think of that? What happened in Istanbul?

President Assad:  In order not to look at this as an isolated case, we must look at it in the broader context of similar incidents.  The American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was killed weeks ago; they said that he had committed suicide in prison.  He was killed because he had many important details and secrets about prominent figures in the American and British regimes, and possibly other countries as well.

One of the leading members of the White Helmets was killed in a German prison; they also claimed he committed suicide.  Now the main founder of the White Helmets is killed.  He was actually an officer and worked throughout his career with NATO, in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, and Lebanon, and later he founded the White Helmets in Syria. What is the link between the history of this individual and humanitarian work, which is supposedly the domain of the White Helmets, but you and I both know, that they are part of Al Qaeda.  If we take into account the killing of Bin Laden and recently al-Baghdadi, I believe these individuals were killed because they had important secrets and thus had become a burden; and since their role had expired, it was necessary to get rid of them.  Therefore, if we look at all these stories as parts of one panoramic picture, we cannot believe that they committed suicide or died a natural death.  All these names, and maybe others, were killed because their role had ended and it was necessary to bury their secrets with them.  Why were al-Baghdadi and Bin Laden killed?  Because were they to remain alive, there may have come a time or circumstance where they would have revealed the truth.  Maybe the founder of the White Helmets was writing his memoir and this is not acceptable.  These are all probabilities, but they are very likely probabilities, because the alternative is not convincing for me.

Intervention: So, you believe that Western intelligence agencies are behind the death of the former MI6 agent?

President Assad:  Of course, these are the acts of intelligence agencies, the question is which ones?  In general, when we refer to Western intelligence agencies, including the Turkish and some other intelligence agencies in our region, we know that they are not run by independent states.  Rather, they are branches of the main intelligence agency, the CIA; this is the reality.  They all work under the orders of one master in coordination and in harmony with one another.  So, there is a high probability that the Turkish intelligence carried out the hit under instructions from foreign intelligence agencies.  Once again, these are probabilities, but this is the nature of relations among Western intelligence agencies or those working with them.

Question 16:  Mr. President, the constitutional committee has started its work in Geneva. Do you think that its work will be useful? And does Damascus have red lines if crossed by proposals of this committee that would be unacceptable?

President Assad:  There is an attempt to portray that the solution to the war in Syria will come about as a result of the constitutional committee.  The war did not start because of a disagreement or a division over the constitution.  The war in Syria started because there were acts of terrorism which killed members of the military, the police, and civilians and also destroyed public and other properties.  So, the war ends when terrorism ends.  There was a parallel political track through which America wanted to propose the idea of a transitional body.  This idea was rejected by us in Syria and by all countries that believe in international law.  Consequently, the Sochi talks began and created the constitutional committee.  The constitutional committee discusses the constitution; and for us, the constitution, like any other text, should be revised and amended in accordance with new developments in Syria; it is not a holy text.  We had no problem with this, and so, we continued along with this track.

However, in order not to be over optimistic and make unrealistic propositions, we must explain the structure of this constitutional committee.  It has three parties; one representing the viewpoint of the Syrian government, one representing civil society – which has different viewpoints, and the third party is appointed by Turkey.  So, imagine that you, as Russians, want to amend the Russian constitution, and you’re told that one of the parties in the committee mandated with this task is appointed by foreign countries.  You would not only reject that proposition, but you would also deem it as reckless and at odds with logic and reality.  This is what happened in the constitutional committee. We are negotiating with a party appointed by the Turkish government, which of course means America; the front is Turkey, but this is a de facto position.

In order to expect results from this committee, every one of its members should have their allegiance to the Syrian people, they cannot belong to a foreign state and publicly declare their allegiance to it.  Will they be allowed to be genuine Syrians?  Can anyone who belongs to another state come back and belong to his homeland?  I don’t want to give an answer, but I think these are logical questions that everyone watching this interview will have logical answers to.

Question 17: Mr. President, during the war, and a result of the sanctions, the Syrian economy has been greatly affected. And now there is a lot of talk about corruption. What are the reforms and changes to the economy which you intend to make in the near future? And are there mechanisms in place to support the national currency?

President Assad:  Strengthening the economy first needs modern and developed investment laws. I referred to this aspect earlier and mentioned that we are in the process of upgrading these laws.  You touched on fighting corruption in your question and this is an important aspect, whether it is to strengthen the economy, to enforce the law or to support the Syrian Pound; these are all interrelated.  We started fighting corruption many years ago and this is ongoing and at an accelerated pace, especially with the discovery of a number of corruption cases.  This is expected, because war creates chaos, and chaos is a very good environment for terrorism, on the one hand, and corruption, on the other.  We are moving forward in enforcing the law.

However, fighting corruption and strengthening the economy also need new laws.  The gaps that are related to the weakness of the economy, on the one hand, and to widespread corruption, on the other, are due to the weakness inherent in our laws.  Almost a year ago, we created a committee of legal experts tasked with developing the laws in order to close the gaps which allow for corruption.  This in itself supports the Syrian Pound while at the same time encouraging investment, because they are both interrelated.  Our policy is not one of speculation; it is a policy which aims to create a strong economy, which in itself would support the national currency.

Question 18: Mr. President, in the countries neighboring Syria, there are demonstrations against governments, mainly in Lebanon and Iraq, and last August there were demonstrations in the Jordanian capital of Amman.  Doesn’t that remind you of the start of the unrest in Syria in 2011? What is your take on that?  Who has an interest in what is happening?  And what are the initial objectives of this?

President Assad:  No, they are not similar to what happened in Syria.  What happened in Syria in the beginning was that money was paid – and this is documented – to groups of people to come out and demonstrate.  There were a few that demonstrated because they wanted changes in particular areas, but this was not the general situation.  The killing started from the early days.  There were shootings, which means that the demonstrations were not spontaneous.  The money was available, and the weapons ready, so, we cannot liken this situation with those in other countries.

Certainly, if these demonstrations in a number of neighboring countries are spontaneous and genuinely express a national desire to improve political, economic, and other conditions, then to do so, they must remain patriotic.  Countries which interfere with everything throughout the world, like America and the West, and particularly Britain and France and others, will certainly take advantage of this situation in order to play a role and push things in a direction that serves their interests.  The most important thing is that they [the demonstrations] remain within a national framework.  If they do, the results will surely be positive, because they express the will of the people in these countries.  But if there is foreign interference, it will certainly be against the interests of the homeland.  This is what we have known and experienced clearly in Syria.  That’s why I hope that these movements are a genuine driver towards improvement within all sectors and at all levels.

Question 19:  Mr. President, the last question, which might be a little personal. We know very well that you like driving cars; and every citizen in your country knows that you prefer to drive your car by yourself.  Now, the largest part of Syria has become free from war, and that’s why the roads have become safer.  Does your security detail have less work during your movements now?  And have you seen, by yourself, the positive changes in the country while driving your car, particularly that not every head of state drives their own car?

President Assad:  I have been doing this since my first day in office, I haven’t changed my nature.  I would like to stress an important point, which is that my security detail hasn’t changed before or during the war.  It has remained the same. We haven’t introduced any additional measures, neither in relation to driving a car nor with regards to the security motorcade.  They remain the same, because one of the objectives of the terrorists and those who support them, and the psychological pressure as a consequence, was to create a state of terror in Syria.  So, when officials feel afraid, citizens must feel afraid too; this is one aspect.

The other is not related to the war.  I drive my car because I don’t like the trappings of the position; this is my nature.  I’m self-dependent, I have always driven my car and that hasn’t changed.  I prefer to let my personality dictate the position rather than allow the trappings of power to dictate who I am.  This has always been my principle: before and during the war, and it will not change.  Neither terrorism nor anything else will succeed in changing my nature and my relationship with people.

As to its impact on people, I believe that every citizen in any country in the world likes their officials to be natural and not superficial, to be spontaneous without show and spectacle.  I believe that this is one of the strengths of any official who cares about his relationship with people, and who likes to be as close to them as possible.  An official cannot exaggerate and claim to live a completely normal life, but at the same time they should not separate themselves from people, otherwise they would lose this relationship.  This is one of the many aspects which connect me to the Syrian people.

Journalist: Mr. President, thank you for your candid answers.  We wish you all the best.  Thank you.

President Assad:  Thank you, I am very happy to meet you.  I would like, through you, to convey my warm regards to the friendly and brotherly Russian people.  Today, we don’t just have shared familial ties, as was the case in previous decades, we have also shed blood in our joint confrontation with terrorism.  Thanks again.

Journalist: Thank you

Adapted by the Syrian News Agency (SANA)

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Palestinian resistance groups rained down retaliatory rockets on the occupied territories after the ‘Israeli’ enemy’s assassination of senior Palestinian resistance commander Bahaa Abu al-Atta and scores of civilians.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance movements continue retaliation by launching missiles towards towns in the occupied territories.

At least 10 Palestinian people were martyred as a result of the continued ‘Israeli’ aggression against Gaza, after 3 others were martyred in an ‘Israeli’ airstrike that targeted the al-Atatera region in Bait Lahya, north of Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Health Ministry announced earlier on Tuesday evening that two Palestinians were martyred in an ‘Israeli’ airstrike that targeted an agricultural land in Bait Hanoun north of the Strip.

The military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement, al-Quds Brigade, announced four of its fighters martyred.

The occupation warplanes, meanwhile, continue bombing sites belonging to the Palestinian resistance factions and different agricultural areas in Gaza.

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“Israel” has assassinated a senior commander for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement in an airstrike in the besieged Gaza Strip, sparking a barrage of retaliatory rocket fire from the besieged enclave into the occupied territories.

In a statement, the Islamic Jihad’s military wing, al-Quds Brigades, confirmed the martyrdom of its commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, 42, in an “Israeli” aerial assault on his Gaza home early on Tuesday, adding that the group was on “maximum alert.”

It further said Ata’s wife had also been martyred during the “Israeli” air raid.

Additionally, the resistance group stressed that its commander was heroically defending the Palestinian land against conspiracies prior to his martyrdom.

It also vowed to continue in the footsteps of its assassinated commander in order to “complete the process of liberation of the entire beloved Palestine. Our response will inevitably shock the Zionist entity.”

Meanwhile, the “Israeli” army confirmed in a statement its strike against a building where Ata was present in Gaza’s Shejaiya area.

The operation, it added, had been recommended by the “Israeli” Chief of Staff and Shin Bet domestic security service, and approved by the entity’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

It also blamed Ata for recent rocket, drone and sniper attacks against “Israel”, as well as attempted infiltration into the occupied territories, claiming that he was planning “imminent” attacks.

“Abu al-Ata was responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activity in the Gaza Strip and was a ticking bomb,” the “Israeli” army said.

Separately, the Hamas resistance movement said the “Israeli” entity “bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation” and pledged that al-Ata’s death “will not go unpunished.”

Shortly after the “Israeli” strike, Palestinians launched a salvo of rockets into the occupied territories, setting off sirens as far as Ashdod.

The “Israeli” army said Gaza-based Palestinian resistance fighters had pounded the occupied-territories with “substantial” rocket fire Tuesday.

“There is substantial fire,” army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists in a conference call. “We are preparing for a number of days of fighting.”

The assassination is likely to fuel tensions between Tel Aviv and Gaza, which has been under a crippling siege by the “Israeli” entity since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.

Gaza has also witnessed deadly tensions since March 30, 2018 which marked the start of the Great March of Return protests, with participants demanding the right to return for the Palestinians driven out of their homeland.

«Israeli» Attack Hits Home of Islamic Jihad Official in Damascus, Kills Two

«Israeli» Attack Hits Home of Islamic Jihad Official in Damascus, Kills Two

By Staff, Agencies

A strike on a Damascus home belonging to the Islamic Jihad official has martyred the man’s son, in what appears to be part of an “Israeli” attack to assassinate leaders of the Palestinian resistance group in Gaza and Syria.

The Islamic Jihad issued a statement on Tuesday confirming the attack, identifying the official as Akram al-Ajouri.

Two civilians were martyred and ten others were injured due to the hostile targeting of a residential building near the Lebanese Embassy in Mezza area in Damascus that is home to Damascus University and several diplomatic missions, Syrian state media SANA reported.

Syrian authorities said a building in the capital of Damascus was bombed early Tuesday in a deadly attack, as its air defenses fired at a “hostile target.”

According to the SANA state news network, Syrian air defenses were fired at a “hostile target” over Daraya, a suburb south of Damascus.

The Islamic Jihad did not immediately accuse anyone of carrying out the strike, although the incident came less than an hour after the “Israeli” entity announced it had assassinated a top commander of the resistance group in besieged Gaza Strip.

It was not immediately known if there was any link between the incidents.

Relatedly, Syrian Interior Minister, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Khalid Al-Rahmoun, during his visit to the targeted site, said that the residential building was targeted by several missiles, claiming the lives of a number of civilians and wounding others.

The SANA report added that the building was badly damaged and the windows of nearby buildings and a number of cars were shattered.

It further mentioned that the Syrian Arab Army at dawn on Tuesday intercepted a hostile target over Darayya in Damascus.

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