Canada Ends Funding for Terror Linked ‘White Helmets’ -Tied to False Flag Gas Attacks in Syria

By VT Editors -April 22, 2021

From the Globe and Mail:

Canada has ended all funding to Syria’s famed White Helmets rescue group, with the final cut being the severance of $70 a month in stipends to 43 people who were left behind in a Jordanian refugee camp following a Canadian-led evacuation in the summer of 2018.

Canada has long been seen as one of the staunchest backers of the White Helmets, a group of civilians who earned global prominence by racing towards the front lines of Syria’s horrific civil war to try and rescue as many people as possible. The White Helmets have been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives, and the Canadian government has repeatedly boasted of the millions of dollars in annual aid it had provided to the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group.

But Farouq Habib, deputy general manager of the White Helmets, told The Globe and Mail that Canadian funding of the organization – including specific funding for clearing mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as money targeted at bringing more women into the organization – stopped at the end of 2019. Documents obtained by The Globe through an Access To Information request show Canadian support to the White Helmets was worth about $4-million per year, with final payments of just under $900,000 being made in March, 2020.

And now the real truth…

VT: We might also add that any NGO, and that means “non-governmental organization” that is paid by governments is 100% fake.  The White Helmets went past 100% as we will prove below.

FORGET OSCAR: GIVE THE WHITE HELMETS THE LENI RIEFENSTAHL AWARD FOR BEST WAR PROPAGANDA FILM

21st Century Wire

by Patrick HenningsonThis has to be historic low for Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In your average lifetime, everyone will get their share of war propaganda films. In America, it’s a kind of sacred tradition, where Hollywood does the job of revisionism, paving over an otherwise uncomfortable history with a new coat of stain. It’s necessary – not just to make us feel better about ourselves, but also to cover-up any inconvenient truths and high crimes of the state.

To be honest, when I first heard about this film being promoted by Netflix, I wasn’t surprised at all because ever since the Syria conflict began in 2011, the establishment media has gone out of its way to falsely promote it as a “civil war”, and have used the NGO known as the White Helmets which calls itself the ‘Syria Civil Defense’, as its primary media protagonist in furthering that narrative.

The fact that a documentary about The White Helmets received an Oscar Award simply confirms what a glorious bubble the entertainment industry resides in, and how easy it is these days for a documentary film to used for the purposes of propaganda and made to reinforce a mainly US-UK foreign policy project.

To Hollywood, it’s a feel good documentary, designed to make us feel good about a dirty war in Syria. But this is a level of distortion and spin that would make even Joseph Goebbels’ head spin.

In his essay published at Global Research, Dr. T.P. Wilkinson explains the liberal obsession with cosmetic revisionism:

“The “wrong war” thesis is elemental to what Carroll Quigley called “liberal imperialism” in his history of the Anglo-American establishment.[2] Liberal imperialists, to which the faux gauche (the descendants of Fabianism) also belong, do not oppose empire. They simply want it to be more aesthetically appealing, and lost wars are most un-aesthetic. So what is the liberal imperialist’s answer to unappetizing military defeats? It is cosmetic surgery.”

Expensive war propaganda in Hollywood is nothing new. High profile films like Zero Dark ThirtyAmerican Sniper and Argo were all released to much fanfare. Each of them fulfilled a role in forming a more perfect American narrative, and in some cases completely rewrote history altogether. But these were meant to be theatrical releases so naturally there’s a generous dose of artistic license taken by the director. Nothing unusual there. It’s what Hollywood does. These films also had some distance between the present day and wars which had already lapsed.

A veneer of integrity is always important. Hollywood still purports to put a lot of currency in the truth. During this year’s Oscars, The New York Times ran a TV ad (above) for the first time since 2010 entitled, “The truth is. . .”

This campaign is meant to decry fake news and its ugly cousin ‘alternative facts’ to show what high standards the mainstream media has – which demonstrates the delusional world the in which the establishment exists.  Earlier this month, I wrote an exposé showing exactly how the New York Times has been America’s perennial leader in running fake news for the purposes of advancing a war agenda. It’s ironic that this advertisement would run on a night when an Oscar would be given to one of the most egregious propaganda films of all time.Last Sunday night, The White Helmets, directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara, took home an Academy Award for best documentary short. Unlike Argo, or American Sniper, this was a film about a war which is happening now, but this was not a conventional documentary film. The footage was provided by a terrorist-affiliated NGO based in Turkey, operating in Syria, and who is primarily funded by the US State Dept, the British Foreign Office, the Netherlands, and other NATO member and Gulf states to the tune of over $150 million and whose chief remit is producing US-led Coalition propaganda images for mass media consumption. The film, funded and distributed by Netflix, seems to be an extension of that remit.

Watch the film’s trailer here.

Normally we think of documentaries as films that are supposed to speak truth to power, but this film does the opposite. It reinforces an Anglo-American establishment power structure responsible for one of the most violent, dirty wars in modern history. It reinforces a collection of lies placed on heavy rotation by the political and media establishments since the conflict began.

In every way, Syria is the wrong war. For the US and the UK, there’s much at stake – the legacies of two paradigmatic political figures, Barack Obama and David Cameron, along with the reputations of other architects of the west’s dirty war on Syria, like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and British Foreign Minister William Hague. Back when the war was getting started, both Clinton and Hague were busy front-running their “Friends of Syria” whistle stop tour around the Middle East and Europe, securing Gulf cash commitments while grooming their hand-picked ‘opposition’ government in exile, holding court in various 5 star hotels in Paris, London and Istanbul. The US had tried this only a year earlier with Libya, and at the time in 2011-2012, they had every reason to believe that the Libyan formula could be repeated in Syria. Those hopes were dashed by early 2013, when it became apparent that Libya was officially a failed state. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of extremist foreign fighters and jihadi soldiers of fortune began pouring into Syria. It was an invasion. This was the West’s proxy army, ready to decapitate the government, dismember the state and destabilize the region – with the full blessing of Washington DC and its partners.

The Troika of Washington-London-Paris then doubled down by pouring billions of dollars in lethal weapons to various fighting groups laying in waiting in Turkey and Jordan, as well as those already active in Syria. There were a number of well-documented arrangements, but one of the most successful working models was for the CIA and its European NATO partners illegally supplying the weapons funnelled through Jordan and Turkey – and all paid for by Saudi, Qatari cash. All the while, the public were told by the US-led Coalition all of this was for the “moderate rebels” in Syria. These were meant to be the “freedom fighters” that Ronald Reagan referred to back in the 1980’s. As it turned out, these freedom fighters in Syria were a chip of the old block from the violent, psychopathic US-backed and CIA-trained paramilitary death squads which would wreak havoc and terrorise El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras. In Syria, they are much worse in fact, as they employed  a potent brand of warped, radical Salafi and Wahabist religious fervour as the central axis of their self-styled, Medieval nihilistic raison d’etre. Yes, these are the moderates, backed by the US, UK, France, Turkey, Germany, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, every other NATO member state, and of course, Israel, who has skill fully stayed out of the media firing line. It’s a collective project. Their mission: ‘regime change’ in Syria – to overthrow by force – the government in Damascus.

As dirty wars go, none is more filthy than this one. As the US and the UK are running point on public relations for this criminal enterprise, their big challenge has been selling it to their electorates. In order to justify the dirty war, a narrative has to be constructed and maintained. This requires a relentless negative public relations campaign demonizating the Syrian government and all of its agencies. The following talking points are therefore reinforced:

  1. Syria’s peaceful ‘Arab Spring’ uprising happened in 2011, and was violently squashed by the government.
  2. Assad is a brutal dictator, and is illegitimate.
  3. The Syrian government and its armed forces are deliberately killing their own people.
  4. The US-NATO and Gulf-backed armed ‘rebel’ opposition is legitimate.
  5. Syrian and Russian Airforce are only killing civilians, and not militant and terrorists.
  6. Terrorists do not exist in Syria, only “moderate rebels” and Syrians ‘fighting for freedom’.
  7. Therefore, Assad must be removed from power and replaced with a US-approved government.

Add to this, the entrance of Russia in the fall of 2015 at the lawful invitation of Damascus, and Russia can now be added to the demonization campaign.

These talking points are then repeated and recycled, over and over, and held up as justification for US-led, crippling economic and diplomatic sanction against the Syrian state, and the destructive policy of flooding the region with arms. In the summer of 2014, an added bonus for the US was inserted into the mix – the emergence of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham). The appearance of ISIS allowed the US to fly air sorties over Syria, allegedly to fight ISIS, although after 3 years the US has produced little if any verifiable progress in ‘defeating’ ISIS. In truth, the US had hoped that ISIS, along with the other al Qaeda affiliates, would somehow do the job of destabilizing Syria and overthrowing the government of President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, on-script western media operatives and politicians alike still referred to them as “rebels” and “armed opposition” – violent radical terrorist groups like Jabbat al Nusra (Nusra Front), Arar al Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki, Jaish al-Fatah (The Army of Conquest), along with some radical remnants of John McCain’s ‘Free Syrian Army’. This was all part of the public relations con.

But that wasn’t enough. Washington and London needed a face for the evening news. They needed to personalize the conflict in order to help maintain the illusion of a “civil war” in Syria. This is where the White Helmets come in. A merry band of men, comprised of “ordinary citizens, from bakers to teachers to painters,” all donning the White Helmets to save humanity in this moment of turmoil. Raed Saleh, the group’s spokesman says his organization is guided by a verse in the Qu’ran: “To save one life is to save all of humanity.” No doubt a beautiful line, but like so many aspects of the White Helmets – it’s been applied cosmetically. Who would dare be so insensitive as to challenge such a perfect story? For war planners in Washington and London, the White Helmets provided the PR cushion they needed to help sell a filthy proxy war to western audiences. By creating and managing their own ‘first responder’ NGO, the US, UK and its stakeholder partners have been able to leverage public sympathies – enough to keep the project going, until the war was either won or lost, or until someone caught on to the scam.


In his article in Counterpunch back in April 2015, Rick Sterling summarized the White Helmet roll-out and basic agenda:

“In reality the White Helmets is a project created by the UK and USA. Training of civilians in Turkey has been overseen by former British military officer and current contractor, James Le Mesurier. Promotion of the program is done by “The Syria Campaign” supported by the foundation of billionaire Ayman Asfari. The White Helmets is clearly a public relations project which has received glowing publicity from HuffPo to Nicholas Kristof at the NYT. White Helmets have been heavily promoted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (U.S.IP) whose leader began the press conference by declaring “U.S.IP has been working for the Syrian Revolution from the beginning.”

For the last 3 years, the White Helmets have existed for the singular purpose of producing thousands of propaganda segments – videos and images which reinforce the US-led foreign policy narrative for Syria. The brutal dictator Assad using his airforce against his own people, along with his evil Russian partners. Both are callously snuffing-out the fledging and therefore, the White Helmets’ primary financiers – the US State Dept (via USAID), the British Foreign Office, The Netherlands, along with other EU member states and Qatar. Since at least 2011, each of these nation stakeholders has had a vested interest in overthrowing the Syrian government and destabilizing Syria. In 2014, a number of independent researchers in the west began to catch the White Helmets’ unmistakable stench of dupery. Cory Morningstar’s article, “SYRIA: AVAAZ, PURPOSE & THE ART OF SELLING HATE FOR EMPIRE” (April 2014), and Rick Sterling’s piece for Counterpunch, “About Those Chlorine Gas Attacks in Syria,” and also the work of researcher Petri Krohn’s notable wiki site ‘A Closer Look at Syria‘ – first cracked the facade. They were followed by extensive investigations by Vanessa Beeley who has since produced a formidable volume of research and analysis on the White Helmets and other similar NGO projects, all of which are readily available on 21st Century Wire.

Any researcher working on a White Helmets documentary would have had access to all of this information, through a simple key word search.

Interestingly, mainstream media defenders of the White Helmets such as Michael Weiss, a senior fellow at NATO’s own propaganda think tank the Atlantic Council, as well as editor at the dubious Daily Beast, claim that criticism of the White Helmets is a Russian plot organized by Putin himself. Weiss’ conspiracy theory is expected considering his employer’s affiliation, but such typical hyperbolic accusations belie the fact that the first individuals to expose this pseudo NGO are not Russian, but rather independent writers and researchers from the US, Canada and Great Britain and why not – because it’s their tax dollars that is funding the White Helmets. It’s also worth noting that in December 2016 when the Nusra terrorist hold over East Aleppo was collapsing, it was Michael Weiss who is responsible for circulating bogus reports, including that women in East Aleppo were committing ‘mass suicide’ to avoid ‘mass rape’ by Assad’s soldiers. “Seventy-nine of them were executed at the barricades. The rest — everyone under 40 — were taken to warehouses that look more like internment camps. They face an unknown fate,” he said. “This morning 20 women committed suicide in order not to be raped.”

Weiss’ source for these sensational reports: terrorists in East Aleppo. This was just one of many fake news stories disseminated in the mainstream media. Weiss then went on to repeat the fabricated story to a global mainstream audience on CNN’s Don Lemon Show.

In reality, and according to countless first-hand on the ground eye witness testimonies collected by 21WIRE and other media outlets, as the Syrian Army began liberating East Aleppo, the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ promoted by Weiss and other western media operatives were using residents as human shields, and in some cases shooting residents who attempted to flee terrorist enclaves prior to government forces liberating the eastern half of the city.

With direct funding to the White Helmets from US-led Coalition countries already well in excess $150 million – international stakeholders expect a return on their investment. That return comes in the form of dramatic ‘search and rescue’ videos, some of which may have even been produced in Turkey, and which were then sent in  a highly coordinated fashion to the editorial desks of CNN, NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and others. At no time have any of these western or GCC-based ‘journalists’ ever queried the authenticity of the staged video and photographic productions supplied by the White Helmets. Mainly, their videos have been produced to promote a No Fly Zone, or ‘Safe Zones’ in Syria by creating the false impression that somehow Syrian and Russian air forces are targeting civilians in a Blitzkrieg fashion, using crude “barrel bombs”. Outside of the White Helmets propaganda, there is scant evidence of these ‘barrel bombs’ supposedly dropped by the ‘Assad Regime’ every day according to the White Helmets.

In the run-up to the White Helmets’ failed Nobel Peace Prize bid in October, CNN even went so far as to plant a fake story about a barrel bomb hitting a “White Helmets Center” in Damascus. Increasing attention has also meant that some people are beginning to question the group’s incredible claim at the time that it had somehow saved 60,000 lives since it started in late 2013. In one letter first published at Canadian Dimension, retired academic John Ryan, PhD, a retired professor of geography and senior scholar at the University of Winnipeg, challenged this narrative, saying:

“It is the White Helmets themselves who have claimed that they have rescued 60,000 civilians; this has not been verified by any other source. Despite such a classic conflict of interest, searching for independent evidence and disqualifying self-serving claims from belligerent parties in Syria has been ignored in much of the western media. As such, this claim by the White Helmets without any verification is next to meaningless.”

Despite the questions, the group continued to raise this figure by about 10,000 every two months. They now claim to have “Saved over 82,000 lives” since they were formed in 2013. Where are the list of names, dates, times, locations and medical reports – so as to corroborate and cross-reference the casualties with the alleged Syrian and Russian airstrikes? What’s the problem – can’t $150 million buy a little bit of administration for the White Helmets? At no point have they ever been able to produce any data to back up there outlandish numbers claims – so we can only conclude that this claim, like so many other claims by the group, are fraudulent. But when has Hollywood ever let facts and data get in the way of a good war propaganda story?

In addition, the White Helmets claim that they have trained some 3,000 ‘volunteers’ throughout Syria, and yet their training facility is actually located in neighboring NATO member state Turkey, on the outskirts of the city of Gaziantep. This is the same Gaziantep that’s been described in reports as “the home to ISIS killers, sex traders…”

‘CIVIL DEFENSE’ FRAUD

Vanessa Beeley’s investigation eventually took her to Syria, where she was able to track down the REAL Syria Civil Defense organization. The US and UK creation of the “White Helmets” required that they steal the name “Syria Civil Defense” from a real existing civil defense group based in Syria. Unlike the fraudulent western construct, the REAL Syria Civil Defense was founded 63 years ago and is a registered member of the International Civil Defense Organization (ICDO) based in Geneva. For the REAL Syria Civil Defence you dial “113” inside Syria. The White Helmets have no such number because they are not a real ‘search and rescue’ organization. Their whole existence is a fraudulent construct. Beeley spoke at length to the REAL Syria Civil Defense and what the crew told her was shocking. During the ‘rebel’ (terrorist) invasion in 2012 of East Aleppo, future members of the White Helmets arrived accompanied by armed terrorists to attack the real Syria Civil Defense headquarters. They stole equipment, killed and kidnapped real civil defense volunteers as part of their operation to loot and destroy the existing institution.

Real civil defense workers also detailed how terrorist ‘Hell Cannon‘ attacks had besieged the Old City of Aleppo, which lies right on the border with the Al Nusra front lines and was a regular target for the ‘rebels’ continuous indiscriminate attacks against residents. Resident testimonies have echoed the same story: while Hell Cannons terrorized the civilians of Aleppo, the White Helmets did nothing – probably because they were with the terrorists who were launching these attacks. Terrorist Hell Cannons use an assortment of containers – gas canisters, water heater tanks packed full of explosives, glass, metal and any other limb-shredding materials – these were fired indiscriminately into civilian neighborhoods throughout Aleppo. These crude artillery guns also just happen to have the exact destructive footprint as the alleged “barrel bombs” which the White Helmets and western media are repeatedly saying are being fired by the “The Regime” (Assad) against civilians.  If the White Helmets are to be believed, Assad’s Barrel Bombs have an impact the equivalent of 7.6 on the Richter scale. This outrageous claim was actually made by White Helmets founder James Le Mesurier on CNN. In fact, 7.6 on the Richter scale is the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb, we begin to get a picture of the scale of the lies which the western narrative has spinning and which they have come to reply on in order to prosecute this dirty war. Preserving this and other key pieces of fiction is central to the US, UK and George Soros funded public relations management of the White Helmets – and essential to their entire Syria narrative which has been described by American writer Rick Sterling as something akin to a “Feel Good Hoax.”

Forget about actual ‘search and rescue’. That’s not the primary function of this ‘NGO’. If you need to know one thing about the White Helmets it’s this: marketing. A central part of the marketing campaign is images of men with beards looking up at the sky – presumably waiting for the next barrel bomb, or the media’s favorite term – the “double tap” (apparently, this is when a sinister Assad or Putin pilot returns immediately after an airstrike just to have another crack at the White Helmets).

ALWAYS LOOKING UP: ‘Waiting for the next barrel bomb.’

In most of their videos, you will also see a large number of bearded men in jeans and T-shirts just standing around on the sidelines, always watching the camera, or looking busy – as if they are cognisant that filming is taking place. When we showed some of these videos to real first responders we were normally met with shoulder shrugs and cynical laughs. People who actually work in this trade will tell you that filming on a first responder call is a luxury no worker really has – aside from maybe a GoPro helmet cam. It’s just not something anyone in their right mind would think about very much if there were really people in need of assistance – and yet, this is all the White Helmets do, all day, every day. They film and produce well-edited emotive videos. Another aspect real first responders will point out to us is that most of the time, the White Helmets often look like they don’t know what they are doing – indicating either a lack of training or experience – which seems to at least contradict their lofty claims of rescuing 82,000 people  in three and half years – certainly that would provide more experience for 2,900 ‘volunteers’ than any other search and rescue worker on the planet. In other words, the White Helmets mythology and pantomime is not very credible to any serious observer. But it seems to be good enough for a Netflix audience, and sadly, good enough for the Academy, too.


AWARD-WINNER: “We got the shot! No need for any first aid spinal procedure here.”


STAGED: Many of the White Helmets’ child ‘rescue’ images are simply ridiculous. 

The other mandatory feature in the White Helmets marketing imagery where men with beards are running to or from a scene, they’re always carrying children over their shoulder. Again, when we showed many of these images to actual rescue workers, we were met with puzzled looks. Firstly, why does 99% of the White Helmets marketing imagery only feature small children? Are there not any adults out of the “82,000 saved” to be rescued from the rubble? The White Helmets claim they were only operational in early 2014, so that’s an average of 75 persons per day, everyday. Considering the amount of people they claim to have trained, spread out over Syria, and where actual air sorties have been flown – it seems like a near mathematical impossibility. As the White Helmets provide no incident data for the alleged 82,00 persons saved, there is no way to validate there sensational narrative. Also, you will rarely, if ever see the $150 million British-trained rescue crew ever use a spinal injury backboard – opting instead to just yank the children by the arm and throw them over the shoulder. When we showed these images to real first-responder workers, they were deemed not credible. So it’s safe to conclude that the White Helmets only care about one thing: pictures and videos – wired via satellite to CNN, the New York Times, or the BBC’s news desk.

SMART POWER & THE NGO COMPLEX

Still, despite the group’s obvious links to the US and UK governments, and to known extremists and terrorists – the western media continues to entertain this NGO as if it were a legitimate ‘Civil Defense’ organization. The pseudo NGO strategy is part of an over-arching western strategy which is related to the term Smart Power (following on from Soft Power) where western governments create shadow state organizations designed to co-opt and ultimately usurp actual state agencies – in effect weakening the real civil body by replacing it with a fake version of the original.


DECEPTION: Early on, the White Helmets used images of women in order to market crowdfunding campaigns to gullible western audiences. 

In the calculus of war planners in the US, UK and France, even if they were unsuccessful in toppling the Assad government in Damascus, these fake NGOs would still be operation in “rebel” areas in the hopes that they might be viewed as legitimate civil organizations and would then replace the real ones.

After 5 years, the US or European authorities could then cite these organizations as legitimate deliverers of public service, thus giving western governments a much-needed foothold in governerates inside the target nation, in this case, Syria. Similar projects have been undertaken to replace municipal police forces with the “Free Syrian Police“, as well as western and GCC-sponsored projects in terrorist-held Idlib to create uniformed civil cleaning staff, and so on. Why doesn’t Netflix make a documentary exposing that? If they did, that would be real filmmaking; instead what we get is more public relations promotion for a failed Western foreign policy.


LA LA LAND: White Helmet filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel basking in the glory of a job well done. 

By now, it should be obvious how this propaganda cycle has been functioning, although apparently, not obvious enough for Netflix’s award-winning filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. The fact that their beloved White Helmets stole their name from an existing, legitimate and internationally recognized first-responder agency show be cause for alarm. For any journalist researching the White Helmets, you would think the first port of call would be to speak to the official certified civil defense body. This is what 21WIRE and Beeley did. Why didn’t Natasegara and Von Einsiedel bother to check this obvious line of inquiry? The fact they didn’t might be proof that the intention on their film was not to make a legitimate documentary, but rather to glorify to US-led narrative of the ‘moderate opposition’. By definition, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s work cannot rightly be called journalistic but propagandist. By promoting a pseudo ‘NGO’ funded by western government, and by giving succor to extremists, their film is directed against the Syrian people – which exactly characterizes the US and UK foreign policy in Syria since 2011.

If Natasegara and Von Einsiedel deserve any reward today it should really be the Leni Riefenstahl Award for Best Propaganda Film.

But even Nazi war propaganda filmmaker Riefenstahl could hardly image propaganda on this scale – a third sector NGO and integrated media arm,  attached to dozens of governments, paramilitary military units, intelligence agencies, hundreds of corporate media outlets, and with a multi-million dollar crowd-funding facility. If nothing else, the White Helmets operation is impressive in its scope. It’s the west’s template for building a Shadow State in target nations. If it’s successful in Syria, this formula will be recreated in other marginal hot zones around the globe. That’s why the White Helmets are being guarded so closely by the western establishment.

DOUBTS OVER AUTHENTICITY

Boston Globe columnist Stephen Kizner was one of many journalists who expressed disappointment over the Academy’s selection:

There is also the problem of obvious staging in many of the White Helmets’ supposed video rescues. The following is perhaps one of the most ridiculous. As with so many of their videos, the editing is highly misleading. In the following “Rag Doll” clip, we first see two separate views of the three men working on the rescue site – and then the edit suddenly cuts to the miraculous rescue of charming little 4 year old girl – supposedly emerging from under tons of concrete and rubble from a collapsed building. Miraculously, she is not crying and looks immaculate, while holding an equally clean rag doll. Then the edit cut jumps, and a little 3 year old boy suddenly appears from the exact same spot. Both children appear to have sustained no injuries, nor any visible cuts or bruises, and no dust. Not bad for being buried under tons of concrete, gravel and dust. Incredible, but par for the course in the completely improbable “first-responder” reality show that is the White Helmets.Watch:

After reviewing this video, it’s difficult to deny that it has all the hallmarks of a staged production piece, designed to tug at the hearts of a western public – conditioned to accept this ‘first responder’ narrative as sacrosanct, for fear of appearing callous in the face of this media-driven, multi-million dollar No Fly Zone’ public relations campaign. This is not the only fraudulent video released by the White Helmets, but even the existence of one fraudulent rescue video should be grounds to question all the group’s material.

Again, the whole purpose of these video and photos is to influence public opinion against the Syrian and Russian governments. Therefore the core mission of the White Helmets media campaign is influence western and Gulf audiences. Its objectives are as follows:

  1. To create public disfavour against the Syrian government.
  2. Maintain crippling western sanctions against Syria.
  3. Gain sympathy for jihad, recruit new fighters from Europe, GCC, Asia and other regions.
  4. Fabricate ‘evidence’ used to implicate the Syrian government and its allies in war crimes.
  5. Reinforce the narrative that Syrian and Russian Forces are deliberately targeting civilians,hospital and schools – and not terrorists.
  6. Blame Syria and Russia for war crimes (when in actuality, these crimes are committed by rebel-terrorists, White Helmets). 

SYRIAN CURVE BALLS

Back in 2003, one man was responsible for delivering the WMD lies that helped to fabricate the US and UK case for invading Iraq. His name was “Curveball”. His motives weren’t exactly straight forward: “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Iraq because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Iraqi people will suffer from this regime’s oppression.”

In Syria, the west have been constantly farming a series of curve balls – on call and ready to deliver whatever the US State Dept or the British Foreign Office need in order to grandstand in front of the UN Security Council or on the floor of Parliament.

The New York Times reported that during March and April on 2015, the White Helmets claimed that at least 20 ‘barrel bombs’ containing chlorine were dropped in six towns in northwestern Syria. It almost sounded as if the the US and UK were so desperate to establish Assad as crossing the Red Line, that they would go so far as to fabricate a case that chlorine bombs were used by “the regime”:

“Frustrated with the Security Council’s impasse over the issue, rescue workers and doctors are now working to bring evidence of chlorine gas attacks directly to the French, British and American governments for testing. The aim is to give states a solid basis for action against the attacks, in the Security Council or through quieter diplomatic pressure, said James Le Mesurier, the British director of a nonprofit group, Mayday Rescue, that trains and equips the White Helmets, Syrian volunteers supported by the British, Danish and Dutch governments.”

At the time, White Helmet founder Le Messerier was heavily involved in trying to fashion together a chemical weapons case against the Syrian government. In 2015. The NYT stated:

“Going directly to governments that have pushed for Mr. Assad’s ouster creates its own challenges. His allies may dismiss their evidence as politically tainted and can point to recent chlorine attacks in Iraq for which the government there blamed insurgents, not to mention the discredited American claims of an Iraqi chemical weapons program that were used to justify invading Iraq. To deter allegations of tampering or falsification, Mr. Le Mesurier and three Syrian doctors involved said they systematically documented the chain of custody from collection to handover. They have plenty of cases to work with. Since March 16, in Idlib alone, the White Helmets have documented 14 attacks with 26 suspected chlorine barrels that sickened scores of people.”

In the end, none of  this stuck, most likely because the White Helmets’ ‘evidence’ was either fabricated, or the ‘rebels’ (terrorists) themselves were the actual perpetrators of chlorinemustard or sarin attacks – a fact which was born out through multiple investigations already. Once again – more fraud perpetrated by the White Helmets on behalf of the US and UK governments.

In September 2016, the White Helmets were also instrumental in trying to assign blame for an incident where a UN Aid Convoy was attacked outside of the town of Urm al-Kubra, west of Aleppo. The west were quick to blame it on the Russian and Syria militaries – despite the fact there was no evidence to implicate them.

As if by magic, the White Helmets were the first on the scene videoing among the flames. A Syrian Arab Red Crescent warehouse was also said to have been hit. 21WIRE later reported that indeed, the White Helmets had helped to stage the said ‘Russian Bombing’ scene outside of Aleppo – which was automatically accepted by the western mainstream media, John Kerry, Samantha Power and others, as ‘proof’ of Russian and Syrian guilt.

HOLLYWOOD ‘CHANGE AGENTS’

One of the White Helmets documentary’s biggest advocates is none other than Hollywood actor George Clooney (image, left). In the run-up to the Oscars, Clooney, along with his wife – celebrity human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, personally campaigned on behalf of the film. It turns out, Clooney’s interest is more than just that of an liberal activist. AP reported that Clooney is in the process of producing a feature-film version of the “White Helmets.” He stated:

“The White Helmets are the heroes. So if I can help them out at all, and people can know about it, in any way possible, that’s a good use of celebrity, I think.”

As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Clooney seems to relish in his role of celebrity humanitarian. Unfortunately, fellow members of the Council include an impressive line-up of war criminals and other dignitaries, like Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger, as well as a chief architect of the collapse of Libya and the dirty war in Syria, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, judging by Clooney’s devotion to the White Helmets, it’s pretty clear that he is either ignorant of what he is supporting, or worse – he is using his public profile to push a Deep State agenda. In September 2016, Clooney managed to get an audience with John Kerry and the US State Department in order to promote his new “anti-corruption” NGO called, The Sentry. Not surprisingly, the establishment’s globalist information outlet the Daily Beast was on hand (along with a prime segment which aired on CNN) to get the word out. Editor John Avlon writes:

“Getting Americans to care about human-rights atrocities half-a-world away is hard. Getting them fired up about confronting the corruption that fuels those slaughters is an order of magnitude harder. But that’s what actor George Clooney and human-rights activist John Prendergast are aiming to do with their new project,The Sentry.”

The Sentry, is supposed to help the poor people of South Sudan by ‘taking aim at government corruption.’ Clooney goes on to demonize the South Sudan government as utterly corrupt and redeemable only by way of the international community’ – presumably through the International Criminal Court in the Hague. What Clooney will not tell his fawning public is the CIA’s role in fomenting unrest in Sudan prior to its rather convenient partition in 2010. We say convenient because splitting the country effectively cut-off port access and therefore oil pipeline access for South Sudan of which China has been a major partner on the exploration of energy. This was followed by a dirty war in South Sudan with much of the evidence pointing to the CIA. TeleSur English reports:

“The CIA is using a mercenary warlord named Riek Machar, who has a long history of ethnic massacres and mass murder to his credit, to try and overthrow the internationally recognized government of President Salva Kiir for the crime of doing business with rivals of Pax Americana, the Chinese.”

Again, we hear the familiar tropes about ‘child soldiers’ and ‘mass rape’, and how, “we must act now” – all part and parcel of the neocolonial “helpless Africa” narrative. Clooney’s partner John Prendergast delivers emotive plea:

“The war erupted, it was a fire that just raged across the land…They’ll use attack helicopters. They’ll use rape as a tool of war. They’ll recruit child soldiers and go in and send them as cannon fodder into villages to kill people. The worst human-rights abuses being committed in the world. And this is what South Sudan has dealt with because of this fallout between these thieves over the last 2½ years.”

Watch global policeman Clooney, flanked by his celebrity friend Don Cheadle, unveiling his “forensic investigation” implicating the government of South Sudan:

Interestingly, Clooney’s Sentry Project is nested under the globalist think tank, the Center for Advanced Defense Studies and bankrolled by John Podesta’s Center for American Progress – a Washington DC-based think tank with ties to the military industrial complex. Peace activist and author David Swanson outlined Sentry’s precarious connections to America’s defense industry here.Here, we can point out that the policy of ‘evicting Chinese influence’ from Africa was included in the military directives outlined in US AFRICOM immediately after its official launch in 2007-2008. Similarly, billions in direct Chinese investment in Libya was thwarted by NATO’s illegal abuse of UN Resolution 1973 which led to the complete collapse of the Libyan state. Very quickly, we can see that Clooney’s celebrated “crusade against corruption” is very likely part of a public relations smoke screen to conceal US clandestine efforts to isolate Chinese interests in the Sudans, while nudging forward US and transnational corporate policy in South Sudan, with the ultimate goal of regime change in that country. 

You can’t help but be reminded here of another similar Deep State public relations ploy centered around the exact same location back in 2012. There’s no better example of how Hollywood’s do-gooder war is waged than Kony 2012, described in Atlantic Magazine as a viral video campaign which “reinforces a dangerous, centuries-old idea that Africans are helpless and that idealistic Westerners must save them.” Like with Clooney’s Sentry Project, KONY 2012 leveraged the power of media and celebrity to manufacture public consent through an emotive public appeal, and collected millions in public donations in the process. In this case, the antagonist was the illusive warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lords Resistance Army. The only problem was, at the time in 2012 no one had actually seen Kony in 6 years. Still, the campaign lobbied president Obama to deploy US forces to Uganda “find Kony” in order to “saving the children”. Despite the collapse of the project following a very public meltdown by the charity’s founder, Jason Russell, the US still went and deployed US military assets to Uganda under an expansion of US AFRICOM operations in Africa. Mission accomplished. The genius of this was that it concealed the genocide and crimes against humanity carried out by President Obama’s good friend and Uganda’s ‘President for Life’ Yoweri Museveni, whose crimes have since been well-documented in powerful independent non-CIA film production called a Brilliant Genocide. It turns out that Museveni is guilty of all the things and more – which the west had laid on the ghost of Kony. A brilliant deception. Of course, the irony of this is mostly lost on Hollywood’s humanitarian jet-set, all of whom thought KONY 2012 was such a great idea when it was first launched.

What Kony 2012 achieved on a ‘activist’ and public relations level is exactly what The White Helmets documentary is doing – an expensive smokescreen to hide the real horrors of a conflict, namely, the destructive policies of western governments and their local ‘partners’ which foment trouble and strife. In the case of Syria, it’s the US, UK, Turkey, France, and GCC support of violent, armed extremists – who the White Helmets are exclusively embedded with. The cynical use of the classic American gospel hymn, “When the Saints Go Marching In” as the documentary’s theme song by filmmakers Natasegara and Von Einsiedel speaks to level of manipulation of the narrative (see the bottom of this article, with numerous photographs of White Helmet ‘saints’).

Regarding the White Helmets project, Clooney revealed something else in his rhetoric when he remarked:

Clooney said that as a celebrity, “I can’t change policy … but I can make things louder.”

This is an example of the power-activist political set in Hollywood.

We find similar language in an interview with White Helmets director Joanna Natasegara in 2016, at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Malaysia while promoting her Oscar nominated film Virunga and its new foundation. Natasegara refers to herself as an “Impact Producer” (aka Change Agent) using documentaries to make a big impact by reinforcing or pushing a narrative. In many ways, this is antithetical to the whole process of filmmaking, especially in the research and discovery stages, and in the investigative aspects of historical documentary filmmaking – which is about documenting events but also about looking below popular political narratives to gain deeper insights, and not pushing political or policy outcomes. Power-activism is personified by numerous online marketing campaigns calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria. At the Oscar ceremony, both Natasegara and Von Einsiedel called for ‘an end to the war in Syria’ which everyone can agree on, but it rings hollow next to the words of persons like US Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard and Tima Kurdi, the aunt of 3 yr old Alan Kurdi who washed-up on a beach to become the face of the tragic face of the migrant crisis. Both Gabbard and Kurdi appeared on global media this week calling for the US and its Coalition allies to STOP sending arms, cash and support to extremists and terrorist ‘rebels’ in Syria. Only this can bring an end to the war and allow refugees to to return to Syria said both Gabbard and Kurdi. This plea is real and reflects the facts on the ground, as opposed to the fake narrative constructed by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel, which carefully whitewashes all clandestine involvement by US, UK and its partners (who created and are funding the White Helmets) which has aided in the systematic destruction of Syria over the last 6 years, not to mention the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands. It is no coincidence that many members  of the White Helmets have extremist ties, and the fact that this is being covered-up by Natasegara and Von Einsiedel who are literally portraying the group as “saints” – speaks to the level of deception involved in this story. Now we can see Natasegara’s modus operandi with making the White Helmets film; it’s not so much about documenting history in the conventional sense, so much as it is about ‘making an impact’ politically – on behalf of the governments who created the White Helmets, which veers into the area of propaganda again.

Watch Joanna Natasegara in an interview here from the 2016 IACC Conference:

On the surface, Natasegara appears to be waging the classic international liberal crusade by fighting against mining, oil, and poaching, in the poor, permanently ‘developing’ countries like the Congo. No one will argue that the level of corruption in African countries can be extreme in some cases, but what are the real causes of institutional corruption in those lands? Indeed, “Stopping” them (corrupt officials) in Africa, but doing little to stop them at the actual corporate level in London, Belgium, New York or Washington DC. In fact, many of the biggest corporate donors to these ‘good causes’ projects are connected to the very same corporate behemoth that activists purport to be fighting against. This cycle of power activism feeds into the cycle of neocolonialism – in what researcher Cory Morningstar so rightly refers to as “the wrong kind of green.” As it turns out, the IACC is funded by none other than Transparency International (T.I.), one of the main players in the globalist “anti-corruption” syndicate, which is very much linked to the work of Hollywood activists like Clooney. In the past, T.I. has been accused of cooking its own books in its anti-corruption investigations, including an incident in 2008 where the organization used falsified data to try and frame the Chavez government in Venezuela during one of its anti-corruption investigations. This is a good example of NGO smart power being used to undermine a target nation. Clooney and Natasegara are just two of the many public faces who represent this network.Back in 2016, when the Panama Papers story broke, seemingly out of nowhere, the mainstream media utterly failed in analysing what they were really looking at. Yes, there’s plenty of corruption and shady shell companies in Panama (but no word of the giant offshore corporate maze located in Delaware), but was the endgame of that supposedly independent ‘investigation’? Amid all the mainstream media hype and ‘anti-corruption’ grandstanding, researcher James Corbett was one of the only people who asked the right question: “So why does this new mega-leak seemingly only expose those in the State Department crosshairs or expendable others and not a single prominent American politician or businessman? And what does this have to do with the OECD’s plan for a global taxation grid?” (LISTEN to my full interview last year with James Corbett here)

Nazi propaganda filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl.

Natasegara also goes on about using “activists” and “citizen journalists” to achieve the desired ‘impact.’ Here she is alluding to the scores of Syrian “activists” and the White Helmets, who have supplied western media outlets with the images our governments want in order to reinforce the official narrative. Natasegara is promoting the exact tool she utilized in the deceptive Netflix project where all of the alleged stock ‘rescue’ footage was supplied to producers by the White Helmets themselves. Natasegara claims to have trained 21 year old White Helmet ‘activist’ Khaled Khatib in Turkey before sending him into Syria to shoot much of the footage. NPR claims that he ‘risked his life’ to shoot the film for Netflix. Khatib was later blocked from entering the US to attend the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles. So the Netflix producers had no way of independently verifying what they’ve been given – effectively relying on al Qaeda affiliated individuals to supply them with made-to-order ‘rescue’ footage.

How can they call this a documentary?

In this case, it didn’t seem to matter to Joanna Natasegara and her co-producer Orlando Von Einsiedel whether its real or staged, so long as the White Helmets narrative was achieved.

Despite the claims by Netflix producers, Natasegara and Von Einsiedel – purpose was to reinforce the US-led Coalition fake narrative on Syria which has never resembled the facts on the ground. The US-UK establishment could not have hand-picked better tools for this job than Natasegara and Von Einsiedel. If they were real filmmakers interested in the truth, they would have paused to question why this group was founded by a senior British Military intelligence officer, James Le Mesurier, why it is based in Turkey and not Syria, and why the group only operated exclusively in Al Nusra (al Qaeda in Syria), Arar al Sham (al Qaeda affiliate) and ISIS-held areas in Syria, why are White Helmets members routinely pictured with weapons, and with terrorists. The answer is simple to anyone with half a brain and who is being honest: the White Helmets are composed of mainly partisan extremists. That’s a fact.

Still, all of this is noticeably missing from Natasegara and Von Einsiedel’s storybook version of the White Helmets, which is inexcusable considering how there’s no shortage of readily available evidence pointing directly to White Helmets’ ties to terrorists. One has to assume that the filmmakers knew about the extremist links and the US-NATO funding of the group but chose to ignore this in favor of producing their expensive piece of propaganda, and as we saw this week, both were all too happy to lap up the awards – even though the fiction they created has aided in giving political cover to illegal weapons transfers by the west and GCC states and has also been instrumental in wrongly demonizing the Syrian government while further legitimizing US-led Coalition-backed terrorism in Syria.

Concealing the White Helmet fraud under the seemingly innocuous guise of “Free Speech”, “Free Press” or “Citizen Journalism” is the absolute dereliction of any journalistic inquiry or responsibility in vetting the footage supplied by the White Helmets.

“Freedom for journalists has to be absolute. There is no such thing as restrictions on media that work,” said Natasegara.

Apparently, Oscar winner Natasegara was not too keen on free speech after Youtube artist Tyranny Unmasked posted a video critical of the Netflix White Helmets trailer. It appears that Natasegara used YouTube’s communitarian censorship system to take down the video critical of her film. Watch:

Being British, one might hope that Natasegara could apply these lofty polemics to the UK – and ask why the government still controls journalists and press through the archaic practice of issuing D-Notices, or the government’s aggressive stance towards whistleblowers with UK authorities threatening imprisonment for simply handling leaked material, or perhaps even the Leveson Inquiry’s attempt at allowing state control over what’s left of the UK’s free press. Similarly, the anti-corruption crowd might consider challenging Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowing which saw freedoms roll back at a record clip over the last 8 years. Certainly, that’s no shining city on the hill, or a role model for the seemingly lowly, poor and hopelessly “corrupt” developing world nations that the globe-trotting Natasegara is after. Only last year, we learned how the Pentagon hired elite UK public relations firm Bell Pottingerpaying them $540 million to produce, among other items, fake al Qaeda propaganda videos – to further prop-up a failed US and UK foreign policy facade. Perhaps Natasegara, or Clooney could do an “anti-corruption” film explaining how many starving children could be fed for a month or how many schools could be built, or how many water wells could be drilled – with $540 million dollars of US taxpayer money.

That’s only one example to demonstrate how the NGO operatives ignore the mountains of institutional corruption in the US and Europe, and the destructive murderous military industrial juggernaut – in favor of trying to yank the rug out from under a government located in some poor African, Asian, or Middle Eastern country which the US and its partners have their eye on for regime change.

CROWD-FUNDING TERROR

One of the saddest parts of this whole story is also that the power of marketing and propaganda means that tens of thousands of unwitting members of the public have been duped into donating their hard-earned money for this dubious NGO. If the wider public knew what Aleppo residents already know – that the White Helmets function as a support group alongside known terrorists groups like Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zinki & ISIS and others (all known extremist groups operating inside of Syria),  the White Helmets would not be celebrated as humanitarian, but rather, they’d be condemned as a multimillion fraud, customized by the West in order to give cover to the illicit practice of arming and supporting ‘rebel’ terrorists by the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.

By all accounts, White Helmets video and photo propaganda has been instrumental in aiding in the recruitment of new terrorists – new fighters from the West, Middle East and Asia – who see the contrived news reports in their countries of origin and believe the false narrative being portrayed by mainstream media news agencies. In this way, you could say that because the media are not vetting any of this material and are defaulting into a Western foreign policy bias by spinning all of their stories into emotive productions that reinforce a NATO and GCC-led ‘regime change’ and completely contrived “moderate rebel” narrative – the media are complicit in helping to drive the recruitment of terrorists internationally. By anyone’s definition, they are providing material support and comfort to known violent, religious extremists terrorists. When you break it right down, that’s exactly what is happening here. Undoubtedly, Hollywood is guilty of this.

Lastly, to see the White Helmets fundamental terrorist connection, one need look no further than to its ‘President’ Raed Saleh.

TERRORIST CENTRAL: Raed Saleh photographed with his close associate Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of White Helmet Centre in terrorist-held Idlib province (Photo: al-Haj Yussef Facebook page)

Last month, 21WIRE investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley reported on White Helmet leader Raed Saleh’s close partner, Mustafa al-Haj Yussefleader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders. On the 1st June 2014, White Helmet deputy Yussef called for the shelling of civilians during elections in Damascus.  He declares that this murderous act would be the “greatest declaration of revolution” .  

Is this the words of a “neutral, impartial, humanitarian”? Here we can see the White Helmets calling for direct violence against civilians who are doing nothing more than exercising their right to vote – in their own country. See the full story here.

So to even suggest that the White Helmets are “unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers” is tantamount to fraud. The fact that filmmakers Natasegara, Von Einsiedel and Netflix are using this false statement in their film and public relations material demonstrates outright deception on their part. 

It crucial to reiterate that the White Helmets are not a Syrian creation, but rather a product of US, British and NATO intelligence special project to use western conceived and western-funded NGO organizations to assist in the stated US-led Coalition foreign policy of ‘regime change’ for Syria by producing western and GCC-oriented propaganda designed to undermine the Syrian government and state. Founded by British military intelligence officer James Le Mesurier, a graduate of Sandhurst Military Academy. It is believed that all totalled including undisclosed funding and solicited donations, that the group has received well in excess of over $250 million dollars since coming online in late 2013. 

The following is list of known funding sources for the White Helmets as of October 2016:

To anyone who bothers to look, the White Helmets extremist links are undeniable. Watch as Al Nusra and jihadi spokesman acknowledges the White Helmets as “Mujahadeen”:

Based on the evidence presented, and the images inserted below, one can safely conclude that at the very least, filmmakers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel and Netflix did zero due diligence when researching this multimillion dollar film production. Of course, that’s being generous. It seems more likely that they were fully aware that the White Helmets are attached to the multitude of extremist and terrorist groups – and conveniently ignored this fact in favour of constructing their propaganda narrative. Hence, a case could be made that these filmmakers and their distributor have knowingly provided promotion and political support to known terrorists – which is in direct violation of numerous US, European and International laws.


White Helmet operative, seen here at a “moderate” extremist, Free Sryian Army, meeting in Idlib, clearly demonstrating political affiliation to a widely proclaimed non “moderate” militant group, unable to function without support from better armed & funded terrorist factions such as Nusra Front.  (Photo: Screenshot from video

Not only are the White Helmets embedded exclusively with extremists – they ARE extremists. Certainly, it is the choice of White Helmets members to also join extremist terrorist fighting groups, but by doing so, the White Helmets cannot rightly claim that their members are either neutral, nonpartisan, or ‘unarmed’. To claim otherwise constitutes cunning and deception on the part of the White Helmets and their promotional agents, including Netflix corporate marketing, and the film’s producers Joanna Natasegara and Orlando Von Einsiedel. If Netflix were to take this issue seriously, after reviewing readily available evidence they would remove this film from their distribution chain, and Natasegara and Von Einsiedel should return their award to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

The following are a series of over 50 visual exhibits which clearly indicate that the White Helmets are not neutral, and whose ranks are in fact filled with extremists, including those with memberships in US-Coalition-backed internationally recognized terrorist fighting groups operating throughout Syria… 

White Helmet members are clearly pictured together with violent terrorists, and also taking part in heinous terrorists acts, as well as war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

Photos below were censored by Google

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist fighting group dual membership:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

As shown previously, a White Helmet speaking on behalf of the Western-backed ‘Opposition” pseudo state, in front of the “moderate” militant, Free Syrian Army, French colonial, “Syrian” flag:

White Helmets with armed opposition acting in the role of ‘victim’ in the notorious staged “Mannequin Challenge” video:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet are armed:

White Helmet with Terrorist disposing of mutilated bodies of Syrian National Army soldiers:

White Helmet are armed and embedded with “rebel” (terrorist) fighters:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

White Helmet with TerroristAl Nusra Front flying the terrorist flag:

White Helmet-Terrorist group dual membership:

US-UK funded White Helmets operatives gloating while taking part in kidnapping, torture and execution of Syrian National Army soldiers, a violation of Geneva Convention on war crimes:

White Helmets pictured here working alongside with Nusra-ISIS terrorists:

“Hand in Hand with Al Nusra” (al Qaeda in Syria):

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Possible White Helmets involvement of the Terrorist (by Nour al-Din al-Zinki) execution and beheading of 12 year-old Abdulla Issa:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets embedded exclusively in ISIS and Terrorist-held areas:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

White Helmets ARE militants:

White Helmets -Terrorist dual membership:

Rebel media operative demonstrates support for ISIS in Syria:

By Gordon Duff and New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

It’s late July, 2018. In the Middle East, 800 men and their families are heading for Western Europe, Canada and the US, to be resettled as refugees. The true story behind their evacuation by Israel and their proposed “resettlement” as heroes is one of the most devious and frightening tales of our time.

Sources also tell us that among the 800 are top ISIS commanders who will soon be living in Germany, Britain, Canada and the United States, doing what terrorist commanders do, organizing cells and murdering innocent civilians, just like they did in Syria and Iraq and just like the White Helmets had done all along.

The White Helmets are an enigmatic group, lauded as volunteers and life savers, servant of mankind, they were organized by Britain’s MI6 as a black propaganda and anti-Assad organization funded by the governments of Britain, the US, Germany and others. They are not an NGO. There is nothing “non-governmental” about them.

Essentially, they are terrorist mercenaries.

With up to 30,000 opposition fighters inside Syria giving up arms and either rejoining Syrian society under the Damascus government in the last 12 months, or for some being resettled and perhaps continuing the fight, the 800-man force known as the White Helmets is unique.

Perhaps this is why they had to be “disemboweled” from Syria though an illegal military incursion that to the trained observer also demonstrates the curious close relationships between ISIS, al Qaeda and the Israeli Defense Forces, almost as if they were one in the same and the White Helmets were simply just another ISIS or al Qaeda organization.

It was the White Helmet’s fabricated stories of gas attacks and “barrel bombings” that drove Donald Trump to calling the elected Syrian leader “animal Assad” and launching multiple strikes on Syrian territory without UN authorization or NATO consensus.

It was the same Trump advisors and the same Donald Trump who now says he believes President Putin that, not so long ago, took the word of perhaps the sleaziest of all CIA terror operations, the White Helmets, a CIA he now says has always misled him, has always been useless, as justification for attacking Syria.

Why then did Trump attack Syria when the information he based his decision on was, by his own admission, “fake news” from his political enemies. Taking it one step further, not just fake but crazy as well, with Syria triumphant on the battle field. Syria had warned the world that the White Helmets were preparing a provocation in order to justify an American defense of ISIS against a Syria more united than ever under President Assad.

That news was everywhere, certainly across the international and alternative media that Trump is known to monitor nearly 20 hours a day on his smart phone. How did he miss it?

Trump and Putin

One thing the world now knows beyond a doubt is that Donald Trump believes Vladimir Putin. But if this is true, which we know it to be, then Trump’s actions regarding the White Helmets are bizarre and even criminal. Let us take a closer look.

On July 18, 2018, President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They asked that Israel send IDF units well into ISIS and al Qaeda held territory, into Syria, in violation of the 1974 cease fire agreement.

There, the IDF was to, in less than 4 hours, screen 800 adult males claiming to be “White Helmets,” along with their families, load same onto busses and drive them to CIA controlled training camps in Jordan about 50 miles south of the recently liberated Syria city of Daraa.

The planning and execution of this effort, in less than 24 hours, was both incredible and heroic. Israeli forces met absolutely no resistance from ISIS or al Qaeda but were, rather, greeted with full cooperation and open arms.

Let us remember that, only a week ago, American President Donald Trump met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Trump was effusive in his praise of Vladimir Putin, particularly in his trust of Putin and Trump’s belief that Vladimir Putin is an honest man.

This being the case, one can’t help but wonder why President Trump would ask Israel to rescue the White Helmets from the Syrian Arab Army. Moscow has stated for many months that the White Helmets are, in fact, a terrorist organization and has offered proof at both the United Nations and at The Hague backing its assertions.

In fact, the White Helmets, supposedly a civil defense NGO made up of Syrian volunteers, has long been exposed by journalists like Vanessa Beeley, Nahed al Husaini and Carla Ortiz as guilty of the murder of thousands of Syrian civilians through staged gas attacks and bombings.

The White Helmets, lauded by American leftist and Hollywood actor, George Clooney, have been cited in the media, particularly in Russia, Iran and Syria, but other nations as well, as among the most dangerous terrorists in the world.

Why then, as Trump has stated he values Putin’s opinion so much, and this is a case where Putin’s opinion is backed up by significant and irrefutable evidence, has Trump done something so stupid?

You see, it isn’t just that Trump and Trudeau asked Israel to send troops into Syria in violation of UN agreements and Syria’s sovereignty, a war crime in itself, but Trump and to a lesser extent for Trudeau, knowingly asked Israel to aid terrorists who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

It gets worse.

According to the German newspaper, Bild, the White Helmets, 800 so far, will be sent to Germany, Britain, Canada and the US. There is considerable evidence that this is an army of “800 little bin Ladens,” with many trained bomb makers, nearly all jihadists and most minimally need to be adjudicated as to their crimes against the Syrian people.

Additionally, one might well note that no screening process was employed whatsoever. We are certain that Israel simply loaded anyone who showed up onto a bus.

Let’s take a second and picture this. We have 800 families who traveled to an embarkation point deep inside the ISIS enclave in Southern Syria, an enclave shrinking by the minute.

ISIS fighters are all around, flags and guns, many carrying their head chopping swords, others with cameras and phones, recording and uploading events to their YouTube channels and Facebook accounts that are never cancelled no matter what kind of material they post.

Along side them are IDF units, in uniform, armed, standing side by side with ISIS fighters while dozens of busses are driven in from Jordan.

Does anyone find anything wrong about this picture? Do I have something wrong here?

How was this going to be sold to the public when these ISIS terrorists show up at the Toronto or Indianapolis airports and are rushed through customs and into their new lives, paid housing, free medical care for life, government checks in the mail, their children not seized, no danger of deportation and detention.

Does anyone find anything wrong with this picture as well?

Refugees are beginning to return to Syria as the Damascus government clears out the last of the terrorists from all but Idlib Province. There, al Qaeda and the White Helmets are still active, holding a civilian population in terror, rounding up political prisoners, executing hundreds and planning more chemical attacks so that President Trump will protect their reign of terror.

This is the simple truth of it.

Why America Uses Terror

Few are aware to what extent the American military, the highest paid in the world, was decimated during the contrived War on Terror. Hundreds of thousands were maimed, more wasted away in endless “deployments” while tens of thousands killed themselves.

Pentagon funds are better spent on missiles, aircraft carriers, and mercenaries while Washington political insiders rake off billions in graft.

War had to change, false flag terror, fake aid and refugee groups, fake news and standoff missile attacks while sanctions, blockades and assassinations took their toll. Key to America’s war, or perhaps more appropriately, the war America is fighting on behalf of globalist interests, is a group known as the “White Helmets.”

A Syrian child, living under ISIS terror, is dragged off the street. Bleach is poured on his head by, of all things, a fake first responder wearing a strange white bicycle helmet. His parents are terrified, other children kidnapped in a similar war are found dead, mutilated after being hacked and bashed, then dragged around repeatedly before video teams from Reuters and Aljazeera, fake atrocity victims to justify American military action against Syria.

The child is then dragged into a local hospital where a doctor, held at gunpoint, pretends to examine the terrified child while filming goes on.

Sometimes the filmed victims are paid, even filmed coming back to life, other times real Sarin gas is used, smuggled into Syria from Georgia and Ukraine, according to Serena Shim of Press TV, by mercenaries working for Google Idea Groups, a US State Department contractor.

Serena Shim was murdered on October 19, 2014.

Ensuing chemical weapons investigators find themselves followed, their families threatened and risk financial ruin and smears of any imaginable kind, in particular, being arrested with child pornography placed on their computers.

Protecting the White Helmets, a terror organization now spreading around the world, the story we will be telling here, is what President Trump calls the “fake media.” Behind it all, of course, is Donald Trump himself and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Background

For weeks now, counter-terrorism organizations around the world have been engaged in efforts to identify members of an organization celebrated by Hollywood as among the most honored and revered of our time. We are, of course, speaking of the White Helmets, accused by Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkey, and independent investigators and journalists as a terrorist organization, the “Propaganda Ministry” for both ISIS and al Qaeda.

The White Helmets, a fake NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), totally funded by spy agencies from the US, Britain, Germany, Israel and Saudi Arabia, has, for years, staged chemical attacks killing thousands, staged fake bombing attacks and produced propaganda videos promoted by the mainstream media.

Time and time again, slam dunk proof has been submitted to the UN, the ICC at The Hague and to world media that this organization has committed unspeakable atrocities and its membership is a revolving door of terrorist leaders, crisis actors and Western paid propagandists.

Evacuated by Israel for Reassignment as “Terror Cells”

On July 22, 2018, the Associated Press published the following story about the alleged rescue of a very controversial organization known as the White Helmets. The story itself is beyond understanding, a travesty of falsehood, fakery and fabrication, a narrative that defies imagination.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Israeli military in coordination with its U.S. and European allies evacuated hundreds of Syrian rescue workers known as the White Helmets from near its volatile frontier with Syria, in a complex and first-of-a-kind operation.

The evacuees, who were hemmed in from one side by advancing hostile Syrian troops and from another by militants affiliated with the Islamic State group, were transported to Jordan, from where they are expected to be resettled in Europe and Canada in the coming weeks.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Sunday that 422 White Helmets volunteers were evacuated, instead of the initial 800 cleared for the operation.

Israel’s military said the overnight operation was “an exceptional humanitarian gesture” at the request of the United States and European allies due to an “immediate threat to the (Syrians) lives.” It posted a video online showing its soldiers handing out water bottles to the evacuees.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a separate video statement, said U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others had asked him to help evacuate the group’s members.

“These are people who saved lives and whose lives are now in danger. I authorized bringing them through Israel to other countries as an important humanitarian gesture,” Netanyahu said.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the rescue of “these brave volunteers” and cited the United Nations, Israel, and Jordan for helping with the operation.

The statement from spokeswoman Heather Nauert also called on Syria’s government and its ally Russia “to abide by their commitments, end the violence, and protect all Syrian civilians, including humanitarians such as the White Helmets, in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria.”

The “evacuation” of the White Helmets is part of a larger program of building and organizing a blend of terror groups like the Gulanites that threaten Turkey, the newly deployed ISIS sent to Afghanistan by the CIA or the MEK, a bizarre terror cult the US has deployed against the people of Iran.

Decades ago it was the “contras” and the death squads that killed tens of thousands in El Salvador and up to 300,000 in Guatemala.

Coming to Your Neighborhood

Not all terrorists will continue their Saudi paid and American supported wars in the Middle East and South Asia. In order to foster compliance on the part of NATO and other governments, domestic false-flag terror attacks, even in the United States such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001, must continue.

The targets, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy will be foremost on the list with Iran blamed, of course. Such attacks are under planning right now, and the perpetrators who used to be smuggled through Kosovo into Italy and north, are now being flown into Europe and North America as “heroes.”

Normally heroes receive medals, awards, and parades but these heroes, the White Helmets, arrive by the dark of night with fake identities and fat checks from spy agencies. Their “heroic” efforts aren’t over, there are more children to kill, more chemical attacks to stage, more death, more deceit, more false flag terror and a war on Iran to bring to fruition.

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Syria: The complicated scene

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.

RELATED NEWS

Erdogan’s Long-Coming Reality Check:

February 14, 2020

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

It is hard to say if Erdogan is running out of choices, friends, time, or all of the above; and his stands on various issues and the contradictions he ploughs through are making his situation increasingly untenable.

For the benefit of readers who haven’t heard this before; Erdogan is juggling being a Turkish Muslim reformer who parades under the photos of Turkish secular anti-Muslim nation-builder Mustafa Kemal; an EU-aspiring member and also an aspiring global Sunni leader; an ally of Israel as well as Hamas; an Islamist who is also at odds with the Wahhabi Islamists; a nationalist Turk who wants to curb Kurdish aspirations not only in Syria and Iraq but also in Turkey; a Sunni leader who wants to restore the Sultanate and Caliphate and the fundamentalist Sunni version of anti-Shiite Islam but is also a friend of Shiite Iran; a NATO member with a special relationship with America, and a special friend and ally of Russia.

Ironically, despite all the contradictions and conflicts of interest, he has thus far managed to get away with wearing not only all those hats, but also turbans and fezzes in between. Clearly however, this maneuvering cannot last forever and, sooner or later, he is going to end up painted into a tight corner. I certainly would like to believe that he is already in this space.

Erdogan however believes that he has a mandate from God. Following his November 2015 election win, in an article titled “Erdogan the Trojan Horse of Terror” (https://thesaker.is/erdogan-the-trojan-horse-of-terror/), I wrote: “With this win, Erdogan felt invincible. For an Islamist, and this is what Erdogan is, feeling invincible takes on a whole new meaning.

This is a simplistic translation of a Quranic verse: “If God is by your side, no one can defeat you” (Quran 3:160).

Erdogan believes he is invincible because he believes that he is on a mission and that God is by his side. If he had any reason to doubt this divine role he believes he has, the November election results put that doubt to rest.”

Ironically, Erdogan is able to comprehend the contradictions of others. Whilst America for example does not give two hoots about the Syrian Kurds and is only using some vulnerable leaders to dig a wedge between the Syrian Government and the Syrian Kurdish population, Erdogan has most vehemently stated to both the Obama and Trump administrations that America cannot be an ally of Turkey and the Kurds at the same time.

Yet, this same Erdogan justifies for himself the supplying of Idlib terrorists with state-of-the-art weaponry to attack not only Syrian Army units with, but also the Russian Hmeimim Air Base. The Russians have thus far thwarted countless attempted drone attacks on the base, and if Turkey did not directly supply the weapons, it definitely facilitated their transport.

Remember that the Idlib area that is controlled by Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as Al-Nusra) lies between the Syrian-Army controlled area and the Turkish border. It has an open highway to Turkey where all arms and fighters move freely from Turkey into Syria.

And even though Erdogan has signed an agreement with Russia to end the terrorist presence in Idlib, according to veteran Palestinian journalist Abdul Bari Atwan, he does not want to understand why Russia is fed up with him and his antics and why President Putin is refusing to meet with him. In his article written in Raialyoum https://www.raialyoum.com/index.php/لماذا-يرفض-بوتين-لقاء-قمة-مع-اردوغان-لح/, Atwan argues that the Russians refuse Erdogan’s call for a new disengagement negotiation meeting and that Turkey must adhere to the existing Sochi agreement; which it has broken on several occasions by Erdogan.

Atwan adds that:

Firstly: “the Turkish gamble and reliance on Syrian opposition and the Free Syria Army in particular have failed because those forces abandoned their positions and the Syrian Army entered the towns of Khan Sheikhoun and Maarra Al-Numan unopposed without suffering a single casualty

Secondly: The 12 Turkish surveillance posts that were established in the Idlib district have turned into a liability because seven of them are under siege by the Syrian Army with a hundred Turkish soldiers trapped in each and can easily be destroyed by the Syrian Army in case Turkey launches a major offensive against Syria.

Thirdly: Russian support to the Syrian Army has reached an unprecedented level after the Russians shot down two drones launched by Tahrir Al-Sham yesterday” (ie the 10th of February 2020).

In addition, according to Atwan, “Erdogan missed a golden opportunity when he refused the (recent) Iranian initiative proposed to him by Iranian FM, Zarif, to find a political resolution for the impasse with Syria, and this was perhaps the last opportunity to reach a diplomatic resolution before a direct open confrontation with Syria”

In a Financial Times article titled “Testing Times for Erdogan and Putin” https://www.ft.com/content/cbe31640-4726-11ea-aeb3-955839e06441, the author is a tad short of saying that the relationship between Erdogan and Putin is irreconcilable. According to him, “If Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan was looking for a way to convey his anger at Russia over the death of eight of his country’s troops in Syria, a visit to Ukraine provided the perfect opportunity.

At a guard of honour at the presidential palace in Kyiv on Monday, Mr Erdogan shouted “Glory to Ukraine”, a nationalist slogan deeply associated with anti-Russia sentiment and the country’s fight for independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

His carefully chosen words — to an army battling Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine — were a clear rebuke to President Vladimir Putin”.

In all of this, what Erdogan needs more than anything, is a long-coming reality check, and it seems more forthcoming than ever.

He may believe that he is a president for life who deserves the purportedly one thousand room palace he built for himself. He may hope to rebuild the Ottoman Empire and resurrect the Caliphate. He may imagine that, having been able to build up the Turkish economy to a level that has earnt a position in the G20, he has become the leader of a super power; but he has not. Turkey is at best a regional power, but it is only powerful if it has more powerful friends and allies to back it up. For as long as Turkey has to literally beg the Russians and/or the Americans to buy state-of-the-art weapons to defend itself with, then it is not in a position that allows it to stand on its own feet; not in the manner that Erdogan wishes it to stand. He should take heed and look at history. Mehmet Al-Fatih built his own guns to breakdown the defence walls of Constantinople. Even though the engineer who built them was from the Balkans, but they were Mehmet’s guns and they were the biggest in the world at the time.

I am not advocating that Erdogan should build his own nuclear arsenal, fighter jets and defence and attack missiles. In the ideal world, no one should. But to add to his list of contradictions, if Erdogan wants to wear the Turban of the Sultan, huff and puff at Russia, he cannot be riding Don Quixote’s donkey at the same time.

And if he thinks that he can now make a U-turn and be the loyal NATO leader and dump Russia, he will find himself again facing the same impasse he had with the Americans over the Kurdish issue. Furthermore, what will this do to his trade deals with Russia and his gas supplies?

And if Erdogan also thinks that America would come forward to save him in Idlib, one would have to remember that the illegal American presence in North East Syria is hundreds of kilometres away from Idlib and separated by the Russian-backed Syrian Army. Why would America, even Trump’s America, risk a confrontation with Russia to save his hide?

Erdogan has thus far evaded Karma because he has been hedging his bets in all directions, working up his enemies and allies against each other. But unless one is powerful enough to stand on his own feet when he needs to, then such a strategy in the long run can only leave one with no friends, a long list of enemies and a hoard of untrusting onlookers.

Above all, what do Turkish people want from the Turkish presence in Syria? Turkey hasn’t been at war for a whole century. The leader that once promised “zero problems” with neighbours is digging in his heels and seems determined to engage in an all-out war with Syria. The average Turkish citizen may ask why and to what end?

Erdogan has hopefully finally wedged himself into a corner that he cannot weasel his way out of without losing face. He will either have to bolster his military presence in Syria and fight the Syrian Army and Russia, or back off. If he takes the former option, he will not find any international supporters, and possibly the support of his own people will become questionable. But if the psychopathic, megalomaniac feels that he has to retreat, he will be scrambling for a face-saving exit, and the options are running out.

Russia was prepared to put the deliberate Turkish downing of the Su-24 in November 2015 behind and move forward. A lifeline was given to Erdogan back then, based on the promises he made and the later agreements he signed. But time proved that he was only looking for buying time, and that window with Russia is up.

Body bags have already been sent to Turkey and there are unconfirmed figures of how many Turkish soldiers have been killed defending Al-Nusra fighters. What is pertinent here is that, in the event of an all-out war with Syria, Syrians will be fighting an existential battle, aided by Russia and regional allies. Turkey however, will be fighting a different type of existential battle; one for Erdogan, not for Turkey itself.

Turkey has no reason for having a military presence and fight in Syria. It is only Erdogan’s ego and dreams that do.

BATTLE OF IDLIB AND PROSPECTS OF TURKISH-SYRIAN WAR

South Front

In February 2020, the Syrian Army reached the vicinity of the main stronghold of anti-government forces in Syria, the city of Idlib. This development plunged into shock supporters and the leadership of Idlib armed groups and became a visual confirmation of something that Western powers and their media structures do not want to admit. The government of President Bashar al-Assad not only survived the 9 years of the bloody war but also appeared on the winning side.

Idlib city is the capital of Idlib Governotare. It is located 59km southwest of Aleppo, and about 22km from the Turkish border. The city is divided into six main districts: Ashrafiyeh, Hittin, Hejaz, Downtown, Hurriya, and al-Qusur. Before the war, Idlib city was a rapidly growing urban center. From 2004 to 2010, its population grew from approximately 99,000 to 165,000. The majority of inhabitants was Sunni Muslims. Additionally, there was a significant Christian minority that almost completely disappeared by 2020, for obvious reasons.

In 2011, Idlib and its countryside became one of the main the centers of violence. Anti-government armed groups seized the city for the first time in the same year.

The key role was played by members of Ahrar al-Sham, a radical Islamist militant group declaring the aim of creating an Islamic state ruled under Sharia law. Ahrar al-Sham gained a wide prominence as the key ally of Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria. Their fruitful cooperation continued until 2017, when the relations between the groups became colder. Their funding base started crumbling after militants had suffered a devastating defeat in Aleppo city. This caused a series of contradictions between the formal allies that even turned in some local clashes. In 2020, the coalition of Ahrar al-Sham and several other groups armed and funded by Turkey are known as the National Front of Liberation. It still maintains a significant relationship with Jabhat al-Nusra that changed the brand to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in an attempt to hide its al-Qaeda backbone from the international audience.

In February 2012, anti-government groups lost the city to the Syrian Army, which launched a large-scale military operation in the area. Idlib once again fell into the hands of militants in April 2015 after the united forces of Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and several other al-Qaeda-linked groups had assaulted the city from 3 directions. After this, militants captured another important urban center in Idlib province – Jisr al-Shughur, the prewar population – about 44,000 people.

Since then, Idlib and Jisra al-Shughur have consistently evolved into the two key centres of attraction of radicals in the region. These include both members of various militant groups defeated by the Syrian Army across Syria, and multiple foreign nationals seeking to join some powerful Middle Eastern terrorist group. This impacted the balance of power within militant groups operating in the region. Ahrar al-Sham lost a large part of its previous influence. As a part of the National Front for Liberation (NFL), it receives additional funding and supplies from Turkey, but the entire alliance is no more a competitor to Jabhat al-Nusra. The NFL played the role of auxiliary forces in most of the recent battles involving Jabhat al-Nsura. Its main strong side is the access to a constant flow of Turkish military supplies, including anti-tank guided missiles. Through the NFL, Turkish-supplied weapons regularly appear in the hands of Jabhat al-Nusra. The NFL claims that it has up to 70,000 members. Nonetheless, local sources say that the real number of active fighters can be estimated at no more than 25,000.

Despite the setbacks suffered in Aleppo city, northern Hama and southern Idlib, Jabhat al-Nusra remains the most powerful force in Greater Idlib. Its main political and military HQs are located in Idlib city. The group also created several weapon depots and equipment maintenance facilities inside the city. It intentionally puts own infrastructure in a close proximity to civilian targets using locals as human shields from air and artillery strikes. Large known al-Nusra weapon depots are also located in Khan and Sarmada. The Khan weapon depot is set up right near the camp for displaced civilians. On November 20, 2019, several civilians from the camp were killed, when a Syrian Army missile hit the weapon depot area. A number of smaller weapon depots were moved to the Turkish border area following the militants’ withdrawal from Maarat al-Numan and Khan Shaykhun. The number of militants fighting under the current brand of Jabhat al-Nusra – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – is estimated at over 30,000.

Jisr al-Sughur and its countryside turned into the nest of the Turkistan Islamic Party, another al-Qaeda-linked militant group. It mostly consists of ethnic Uyghurs and other foreigners. The group’s ideology declares an aim to create a Caliphate in China’s Xinjiang region, and eventually in the entire Central Asia. Meanwhile, they are using Syria’s Idlib as a foothold to gain combat experience and resources for attacks in China and the Central Asia. Ankara, which uses various radical forms of pan-Turkism as a tool to expand own influence, turned a blind eye to the influx of foreign terrorists to the Idlib de-escalation zone. The number of fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party with their families is estimated between 10,000 and 20,000.

The total manpower of groups operating in Greater Idlib is estimated around 110,000. Nonetheless, a majority of small groups are polarized and demoralized even more than their big brothers.

The Syrian Army operation in Idlib, which started in December 2019, allowed the Damascus government to retake over 1,200km2 from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies, and the advance is ongoing. Pro-government forces captured the largest subdistrict of the Idlib district of the province – Saraqib Nahiyah (population about 88,000), and took control of the crossroad of the M4 and M5 highways. Thus, Idlib groups lost a key logistical hub, which they had used to supply its forces and move reinforcements between northern Lattakia, southern Idlib and northern Aleppo. The loss of Saraqib also exposed the southwestern flank of Al-Eis, the main Hayat Tahrir al-Sham strongpoint in southwestern Aleppo. The army diversionary attack in the area immediately turned into a real offensive. Government troops took control of a number of settlements, including the militant stronghold of al-Eis.

The Syrian Army currently has two main priorities:

  • To secure the entire M5 highway, which links the cities of Hama and Aleppo. This will allow government forces to freely redeploy troops and equipment just along the current frontline. Thus, they will have an additional advantage in maneuverability;
  • To increase pressure on the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham hive, Idlib city, which is now located in about 8km from the active frontline. This is an unprecedented situation, which had not happened since 2015. All the previous year the city remained in a permanent safety from any ground offensive by government forces. So, its current rulers did not bother itself with creating strong fortifications. The same approach explains why the speed of the Syrian Army’s offensive increased after it had passed the main defense line of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its allies near Khan Shaykhun.

The rapid advances by the Syrian Army caused a strong negative reaction among the powers not interested in removing the Idlib point of instability, including Turkey. Ankara is an official participant of the Astana format and a state guarantor of the Idlib de-escalation deal. The issue is that Ankara did not comply with the key point of the Astana agreements – it did not separate Turkish-backed “moderate rebels” from the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists that are excluded from the ceasefire regime. Any such attempt will inevitably reveal that terrorists control over 80% of the opposition-held part of Greater Idlib. Ankara will have to confirm officially that the Syrian Army operation against them goes in the framework of the Astana agreements. This is unacceptable for the Turkish leadership, which has been for a long time using a variety of military and diplomatic measures to prevent the Assad government from retaking the northwest of Syria and consolidate own influence in the areas where Turkish forces are present. Under the demilitarization agreement (September 2018), the Turkish Army also established 12 observation supposedly intended to monitor the ceasefire. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan likely thought that by this move he claimed the entire Idlib for own geopolitical games.

In the course of the Idlib operations (2019-2020), Syrian forces besieged 5 Turkish observation posts and even several shelled the Turkish military several times. In response, the Turkish leadership announced that its forces had delivered strong blows to the ‘Assad regime’. However, the strikes did not stop the Syrian Army advance. This is why the Turkish military has been steadily increasing its military presence across the militant-held part of the Greater Idlib region, including the countryside of Idlib city. According to some reports, up to 1,000 pieces of Turkish military equipment have been deployed in this part of Syria.

On February 5, President Erdogan presented an ultimatum to Syria. He demanded the Syrians to halt military operations against Idlib militant groups and withdraw from Turkish observation posts abandoning the area liberated from terrorists in the recent months. The Turkish leader gave the Damascus government time until the end of February. If Syria rejects the ultimatum, Erdogan vowed to launch a full-scale military action against the Syrian Army. This was not first such threat by the Turkish leadership and all the previous ones appeared to be empty words. Nonetheless, this time the situation could develop under another scenario. Many will depend on the state of relations among Turkey, the United States, Israel and Russia.

Erdogan will not risk with a direct military confrontation with Russia. This will cost too much for Turkey. Nevertheless, if the Turkish leadership is sure that Russia provides no real answer to a full-scale attack on the Syria Army, there will be a strong chance that Turkey will carry out such an attack. The Erdogan government already has an experience of carrying out a direct aggression against Russia. In November 2015, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian S-24 fighter-bomber in the Syrian province of Lattakia. The Kremlin left this action unanswered in the military sphere.

After all, the fully-fledged Turkish war with Syria is unlikely because Ankara does not have enough resources for such a move. The more possible scenario is a large military operation by the Turkish Armed Forces. Even this move would require means and forces that would be many folds larger than those involved in Operations Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch and Peace Spring. If Erdogan decided to approve this military operation in Syria, it will undermine the already weakened economy of Turkey, undermine positions of Turkey in the region and significantly complicate its relations with the European Union. Therefore, the Turkish military action will likely take a form of the quasi-military PR action (like the US strikes on Syria in 2017 and 2018).

The Turkish plans could be undermined by the further collapse of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s defense in Idlib. Militants appeared to be unable to the Syrian Army breakthrough into the operational depth of their defense, where they have no needed defense infrastructure. So, pro-government forces have a chance to deliver a devastating blow to militants and at least reach the suburbs of the city of Idlib until the end of the month.

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Syrian War Report – December 26, 2019: Russian Airstrikes Wipe Out Convoy Of Turkish-backed Militant Group

Russian Airstrikes Wipe Out Turkish-backed Militants’ Convoy

South Front

By the evening of December 25, government forces have repelled a counter-attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its Turkish-backed allies on the town of Jarjnaz in southern Idlib and have resumed their advance on the town of Maarat al-Numan.

The militant counter-attack started on December 24 evening with at least two suicide bombing attacks on positions of the Syrian Army. Despite this, the terrorists were not able to break the army defense line. Pro-militant sources claim that they destroyed at least 5 units of military equipment belonging to the army and killed over 12 soldiers. Despite this, Idlib militants appear to be unable to stop the army advance in an open battle.

On December 25, the Russian Aerospace Forces bombed a military convoy of Ahrar al-Sham moving near the town of Kafr Nubl in southern Idlib, according to reports by Arab media. The terrorist group’s General Commander Abu Jaber al-Sheikh was reportedly injured in the strike. Several other influential Ahrar al-Sham commanders and members were killed.

Ahrar al-Sham is the radical Turkish-backed militant group. It is the core of the pro-Turkish militant alliance known as the National Front for Liberation.

Leader of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham Abu Muhammed al-Jolani released an official video statement on the recent developments in southern Idlib. The terrorist blamed Iran and Russia for the recent setbacks of the “revolution” in Greater Idlib and threatened the region with consequences.

He also claimed that his forces achieved many of their goas against the “regime” (mostly destroying Syrian economy and killing civilians) and is about to achieve the victory. However, Russia and Iran stand on their way. The Russian motivation, according to al-Jolani, is to restore “the glory of the USSR”. It is interesting to note that this remark reflects the mainstream propaganda that often paints the current situation around the world as the Second Cold War and Russia as the USSR 2.0.

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الجيش السوري يتقدم نحو مدينة سراقب بريف إدلب

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Jaish al-Islam Militants Start Evacuating From Douma Area In Eastern Ghouta – State-Run Media

On April 1, Jaish al-Islam militants started evacuating from the Douma area in Eastern Ghouta under a deal with the Syrian government, according to the country’s state-run news agency SANA.
“SANA’s correspondent at al-Wafidin Camp at the outskirts of Douma said that a number of buses and vehicles belonging to the Red Crescent are gathering near the safe corridor leading to al-Wafidin Camp in preparation to enter Douma and begin transporting Failaq al-Rahman terrorists to Idleb.
This comes less than 24 hours after the Syrian Arab Army declared the towns of Zamalka, Erbin, Ein Tarma, and Jobar clear of terrorism after the exit of all terrorists and their families from them to Idleb. More than 41,000 terrorists and their family members exited Eastern Ghouta during the past 8 days.
The correspondent said that an agreement was reached to have Jaish al-Islam leave Douma and go to Jarablos, while those who remain will have their legal status settled and the state establishments will return in full to Douma city.
The agreement also stipulates for the terrorists to turn over all civilian and military abductees and the bodies of martyrs, along with handing over their heavy and medium weapons to the state, the correspondent added,” SANA reported.
Jaish al-Islam Militants Start Evacuating From Douma Area In Eastern Ghouta - State-Run Media
Click to see the full-size map
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Update: Free Syrian Army fighters stranded in Damascus’ Douma city evacuated to north Syria

Picture source: Aleppo Media Center (AMC)
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:47 P.M.) – Despite the fact that Faylaq al-Rahman (Free Syrian Army affiliate) rebels operated far away from Douma city in Damascus’ East Ghouta region, it has become apparent that some group’s fighters nonetheless got stranded in the Jaysh al-Islam stronghold.
In any case, as of Sunday, all Faylaq al-Rahman that found themselves besieged in Douma alongside Jaysh al-Islam militants have since been evacuated to Syria’s northern province of Idlib; hundreds of civilians have departed with them.
It is unclear exactly how many Faylaq al-Rahman rebels (dozens or hundreds) left Douma, information on this may emerge later.
As for Jaysh al-Islam, evacuation of its fighters (i.e. those who have chosen not to reconcile with the Syrian government) to areas of Aleppo province under Turkish-backed rebel forces control so far only includes those who are injured; standing militants are yet to depart.
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What is after Al Ghouta? تدحرجت الغوطة فماذا بعدها؟

What is after Al Ghouta?

مارس 25, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Those who ask questions about the victories of the Syrian army and its future should remember the questions they posed with every similar victory before the decisive battle of Aleppo, and questions as will the Russians support the Syrian army till the end? And will Turkey stand doing nothing? What about the Russian- Iranian relationship with Turkey? And what can Israel and America do, since they will not leave the Syrian army emerge victorious?. Despite the facts in the battle of Aleppo, and then in Deir Al Zour, Boukamal , and today in Al Ghouta the same questions emerge without benefitting from the answers provided by a year and a half of the battles and the consecutive victories.

The answer to the questions starts from saying that Aleppo is more important than Al Ghouta to Turkey, and Boukamal is more important than Al Ghouta to America, Al Quneitra and the south-west line of Syria is more important than Al Ghouta to Israel. The bargaining of the allies with the Syrian state may be possible in everywhere other than Al Ghouta. What was proven by the battles of Aleppo, Deir Al Zour, Boukamal, and Al Ghouta together as the stability of the allies, the power of the Syrian army, and the inability of the enemies dominate the future of what remains of the war on Syria.

Al Ghouta which many were wondering despite the victories and the liberation of more than of its half a week ago about how to end the rest which is described by the most difficult, is providing the answer through the rolling stones of domino from Harsta, Ain Tarma, Irbin, and Zamalka and the withdrawal of the militias of Ahrar Al Sham and the readiness of the militants of Al Rahman legion to do the same, in addition to the confusion that affected the leadership and the militants of the army of Islam who were ready to withdraw but their problem was the rejection of the armed groups to receive them in Idlib and the refusal of the Syrian army to allow their withdrawal to Idlib.

After Al Ghouta as every time the analysts wonder what is the next destination of the Syrian army, usually it is surprise. Is it Idlib, countryside of Aleppo, Daraa, or Quneitra? But for sure the results will be in favor of the Syrian army and will be added to the cohesion of its allies and the limitedness available options and the weakness of the ability of its enemies to form serious challenge capable of stopping that progress.

Despite the Turkish and the American occupation of the north and their hiding behind the Kurdish title, the Syrian country and its allies have options and margins that are not used yet to repeat the liberation politically and militarily as happened in the other areas. The former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford talked about a bilateral that; there is no US war to protect the Kurdish entity and there is no hope in the long staying for the Americans in Syria when Syria and its allies decide to resolve the progress northwards, he said in the end they know that they will soon pack their bags for departure.

Israel which supports that war, links its destiny, presence, and strategy with the future of this war. When Israel asked the United Nations to redeploy the UNDOF units on the separation line in Golan after it violated it itself and made it under the domination of the armed groups hoping of a security belt once, and betting on the desecration of the Syrian geography many times, then this means that Israel has found that hiding behind the United Nations is the best bad available options and what is coming is worse through betting on variables that weaken the Syrian state and stop its path towards victory and liberation.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

تدحرجت الغوطة فماذا بعدها؟

مارس 23, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– من الواجب على الذين يطرحون الأسئلة حول انتصارات الجيش السوري ومستقبلها أن يتذكّروا الأسئلة التي كانوا يطرحونها مع كل انتصار مشابه منذ ما قبل الحسم في معركة حلب، وهي هل سيقف الروس حتى النهاية مع الجيش السوري؟ وهل ستقف تركيا مكتوفة الأيدي؟ وماذا عن العلاقة الروسية الإيرانية بتركيا؟ وماذا يمكن أن تفعل إسرائيل وأميركا وهما لن تتركا للجيش السوري أن يخرج منتصراً وهما تتفرّجان؟ ورغم ما جاءت به الوقائع في معركة حلب وبعدها في دير الزور والبوكمال واليوم في الغوطة تعود الأسئلة نفسها دون الاستفادة من الأجوبة التي قدّمتها سنة ونصف من المعارك والانتصارات المتلاحقة.

– الجواب الطبيعي على الأسئلة يبدأ من القول إن حلب أهم لتركيا من الغوطة وإن البوكمال أهم لأميركا من الغوطة، وإنّ القنيطرة وخط جنوب غرب سورية اهم لـ «إسرائيل» من الغوطة، وإنّ المساومة من الحلفاء مع الدولة السورية قد يكون وارداً في كلّ مكان أكثر من الغوطة، وإنّ ما أثبتته معارك حلب ودير الزور والبوكمال والغوطة معاً، من ثبات الحلفاء وقوة الجيش السوري وعجز الأعداء صار قانوناً حاكماً لمستقبل ما بقي من الحرب في سورية.

– ها هي الغوطة التي كان الكثيرون يتساءلون رغم الانتصارات وتحرير أكثر من نصفها قبل أسبوع عن كيفية إنهاء الباقي منها، ويصفونه بالأصعب، تقدّم الجواب بتدحرج حجارة دومينو سيطرة الجماعات المسلحة من حرستا إلى عين ترما وعبرين وزملكا، وانسحاب ميليشيات أحرار الشام واستعداد مسلّحي فيلق الرحمن لفعل الشيء نفسه، والارتباك الذي يصيب قيادة ومسلحي جيش الإسلام، الذين سبقوا زملاءهم بالاستعداد للانسحاب، لكن مشكلتهم كانت برفض الجماعات المسلحة لهم في إدلب ورفض الجيش السوري السماح لهم بالانسحاب إلى إدلب.

– بعد الغوطة، كما في كلّ مرة يتساءل المحللون أين هي الوجهة التالية للجيش السوري، وغالباً ما تكون مفاجئة، فهل هي إدلب أم ريف حلب، أم درعا، أم خط القنيطرة على حدود الجولان، لكن الأكيد أن أياً كانت الوجهة التي تسلكها وحدات الجيش السوري فإن النتائج التي كرّستها المعارك السابقة ستزداد تأكيداً، لجهة قدرة الجيش السوري على الإنجاز والتحرير، وجدية وتماسك حلفائه من خلفه، وضعف قدرة أعدائه على تشكيل تحدٍّ جدي قادر على إعاقة تقدّمه، ومحدودية الخيارات المتاحة أمامهم.

بالرغم من خصوصية الشمال في مناطق الاحتلالين التركي والأميركي، واختبائهما وراء العنوان الكردي فإن الدولة السورية وحلفاءها يملكون أوراقاً وخيارات وهوامش لم يتم تظهيرها بعد تتيح تكرار فعل التحرير سياسياً وعسكرياً، كما جرت الأمور في المناطق الأخرى، وما قاله السفير الأميركي السابق في سورية روبرت فورد عن ثنائية لا حرب أميركية لحماية كيان كردي، ولا أمل ببقاء مديد للأميركيين في سورية عندما تحسم سورية وحلفاؤها التقدم شمالاً، قائلاً في النهاية يعرفون في واشنطن أنهم في ساعة غير بعيدة يجب أن يحزموا حقائب الرحيل.

– تبقى «إسرائيل» الجهة الوحيدة التي وقفت بالأساس وراء الحرب، وترتبط مصيرياً ووجودياً واستراتيجياً بمستقبل هذه الحرب، وعندما تتوجّه «إسرائيل» بالطلب من الأمم المتحدة لنشر وحدات الأندوف على خط فصل القوات في الجولان، بعدما قامت هي بانتهاكه وتسليمه للجماعات المسلحة أملاً بحزام أمني مرّة، ورهاناً على استباحة الجغرافيا السورية مرات، فإن ذلك يعني أن «إسرائيل» باتت تجد في الانكفاء خلف خطوط الأمم المتحدة والاحتماء خلفها أفضل الخيارات السيئة المتاحة لها، وتعلن أن مقبل الأيام أسوأ من ماضيها من زاوية النظر الإسرائيلية لجهة الرهان على متغيرات تضعف الدولة السورية وتحدّ من اندفاعتها نحو النصر والتحرير.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – MARCH 22, 2018: SYRIAN ARMY GETS CONTROL OF HARASTA, MILITANTS WITHDRAW

South Front

About 1,500 Ahrar al-Sham militants and 6,000 civilians, mostly families of the militants, are set to leave the Harasta area of Eastern Ghouta under an evacuation agreement with the Syrian government on March 22.

Under the agreement militants surrender all of their heavy weapons and get an open corridor towards the militant-held part of the province of Idlib.

Late on March 21, a source in the 4th Armoured Division of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) told SouthFront that militants had started burning their HQs and weapon depots.

If the agreement is successfully implemented, the SAA will get a full control over the urban area of Harasta further isolating the southern part of Eastern Ghouta from the militant-held area of Douma.

Meanwhile, the SAA, the Republican Guard and the Tiger Forces captured a large part of the Ein Tarma farms and entered the town of Hazzah. According to pro-government sources, a major part of Hazzah is now under the government forces control. However, this still has to be confirmed.

The mass evacuation of civilians and humanitarian aid delivers allow the Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance to decrease a factor of civilian casualties and human shields usage in the ongoing operation, implementing an Aleppo-like scenario when every evacuated family undermine the militants’ defensive capabilities.

Over 40 tonnes of toxic agents have been found in the areas liberated from militants, Major General Igor Kirillov, said on March 21.

“Damascus has officially confirmed its readiness to assist in any investigation into a chemical attack in Syria. However, international organizations have refused to cooperate with the Syrian government, practically conniving with terrorist organizations in their illegal activity. The Syrian Foreign Ministry pointed out that more than 40 tonnes of chemical warfare agents have been discovered on the territories liberated from terrorists,” Kirillov said recalling frequent accusations of an alleged chemical weapons use against the Damascus government. “At the same time, the international community prefers turning a blind eye to the real facts in which chemical weapons are used in Syria against the government troops and civilians,” he added.

ISIS have captured the whole neighborhood of al-Asali and 90% of al-Madaniyah neighborhood in the al-Qadam district in southern Damascus, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed. According to Amaq, ISIS has killed 173 SAA soldiers and has destroyed 2 battle tanks, a rocket launcher, a bulldozer and a BMP-1 armored vehicle in clashes for the area.

The Turkish Army and its proxies captured the town of Barad and the village of Kimar south of the city of Afrin following clashes with members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and some government-linked militia there.

After the fall of Afrin, Turkey has slowed down its military operation in the area. However, its forces are still willing and are able to capture some settlements in a de-facto buffer zone between them and the SAA.

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Crucial moments in Al Ghouta’s battles لحظات حاسمة في معارك الغوطة

ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل ……الحلقة ال 19.

Crucial moments in Al Ghouta’s battles

مارس 14, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

There are four stories that summarize the scene in the eastern Ghouta of the Syrian capital. First, the accelerated progress of the Syrian army in the areas which all have equal military and strategic importance, after the division of Al Ghouta into three parts under siege and the liberation of the rest parts of it. Second, the collapse of the armed groups after dismantling them in every area, they exchange the detainees with the exit of their wounded, and their civil councils announce the search for the evacuation of the civilians. Third, the threats issued by the International Security Council for the unilateral military action quoted by the representatives of France and America. One is depending on the assumption of the use of the chemical weapons, and the second is depending on the failure of the Security Council in adopting one month truce without preconditions. Fourth, the urgent US call for a meeting of Jordanian-US- Russian Joint Committee of de-escalation zone which sponsor the calm in the south of Syria after the raids of the Syrian army on Al Nusra fronts’ sites in the south-west of Syria.

It is clear that the Western and Arab efforts to encourage the armed groups whether by speeches or diplomatic pressures to urge them to stand still more, have lost their influence in the light of the military change on the ground, moreover, the information of the west leaders and their allies clarifies the magnitude of the military and political dramatic collapses unless a great thing occurs and changes the course of events. It is obvious as well that Russia’s steadfastness behind Syria and its allies in the military option has not been affected by the American and the French threats neither in this session of the Security Council nor in what preceded it. The scenarios which have been circulated have become under the practical test, or the matter has been resolved in favor of Syria, Russia, and their allies, in addition to the implications on the balances which surpass Ghouta and maybe Syria, after the show of the mutual force between Moscow and Washington reached to its peak after the speech of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The urgent session for which Washington called the Joint Committee seems to be the final one to stop the Syrian progress in  parallel with a ground scenario that is considered by Moscow and Damascus the last French-American attempt, entitled  the usage of the chemical weapons by the armed groups to justify the western military intervention in the light of a Russian- Syrian decision that includes all the allies to repel any western military action under this pretext, whether as the way of bombing Shuairat Airbase a year ago, or a similar circulated scenario of attacking dozens of the Syrian military and strategic goals by ballistic missiles. Putin in his recent speech warned that this will summon harsh Russian response.

The difficult questions are facing the US decision at these crucial hours, between the recognition of Russia’s control over the region and the regression of every action that is included in the American and French threats and thus the recognition of Syria’s rolling victories from Ghouta towards northward and southward, or the involvement in a risk that may start with a limited action as Washington and Paris said, but it can turn into uncontrolled confrontation and may transcend the ongoing conflict in Syria and the region,  and thus it becomes  an international confrontation. It is clear that the American call for Amman’s meeting does not aim only at searching for solutions that face-saving, but also to see the Russian reaction in case of any limited military action and the seeking to promote it as Washington tried to do after the events of Khan Sheikhoun, and the blow of Al Shuairat Airbase, or as happened in the reign of the former President Barack Obama when the US fleets came to the Mediterranean for war after fabricating the chemical file in Al Ghouta in 2013, but all the American options are seen with Russian warning of consequences and repercussions.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

لحظات حاسمة في معارك الغوطة

مارس 13, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– أربعة أخبار تختصر المشهد في الغوطة الشرقية للعاصمة السورية، تقدّم متسارع للجيش السوري في الأماكن التي صارت كلها متساوية الأهمية عسكرياً واستراتيجياً، بعدما قسم الغوطة لثلاثة أجزاء تحت الحصار، وحرّر الباقي. والخبر الثاني حال الانهيار التي تعيشها الجماعات المسلحة بعدما تمّ فصلها عن بعضها كلّ في منطقة، فتبادل الأسرى لديها بخروج جرحاها، وتعلن مجالسها المدنية البحث بإخلاء المدنيين. أما الخبر الثالث فهو ما شهده مجلس الأمن الدولي من تهديدات بالتحرّك العسكري من طرف واحد، على لسان كل من مندوبي فرنسا وأميركا، الأول معطوف على فرضية استخدام السلاح الكيميائي، والثاني معطوف على فشل مجلس الأمن بإقرار هدنة لشهر كامل بلا شروط. أما الخبر الرابع فهو الدعوة الأميركية العاجلة لاجتماع لجنة الارتباط الروسية الأميركية الأردنية لمناطق خفض التصعيد التي ترعى التهدئة جنوب سورية، بعد غارات للجيش السوري على مواقع لجبهة النصرة في جنوب غرب سورية.

– الواضح أن المساعي الغربية والعربية لشدّ عصب الجماعات المسلحة بالخطابات والضغوط الدبلوماسية لحثها على المزيد من الصمود، فقد قدرته على التأثير في ضوء حجم التغيير العسكري الحاصل ميدانياً، وأن المعطيات لدى قادة الغرب وحلفائهم تقول بانهيارات دراماتيكية عسكرية وسياسية في وضع هذه الجماعات بات في الأفق ما لم يحدث شيء كبير يغيّر مجرى الأحداث. والواضح ثالثاً أن ثبات روسيا وراء سورية وحلفائها في الخيار العسكري لم تضعفه التهديدات الأميركية والفرنسية، لا في هذه الجلسة لمجلس الأمن ولا في ما سبقها، وأن السيناريوات التي سبق وتم تداولها صارت أمام الاختبار العملي أو حسم الأمر لصالح سورية وروسيا وحلفائهما، وما لذلك من تداعيات على توازنات تتخطّى الغوطة وربما سورية، بعدما وصل عرض القوة المتبادل بين موسكو وواشنطن ذروته مع الخطاب النووي للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين.

– تبدو الجلسة العاجلة التي دعت إليها واشنطن للجنة الارتباط محاولة أخيرة لوقف التقدم السوري بالتوازي مع سيناريو ميداني تعتبره موسكو ودمشق آخر خرطوشة أميركية فرنسية، وعنوانها استخدام سلاح كيميائي من الجماعات المسلحة لتبرير تدخل عسكري غربي سبق الحديث عنه، في ظل قرار روسي سوري يضم الحلفاء جميعاً بالتصدّي لأي عمل عسكري غربي بهذه الذريعة، سواء جاء على طريقة قصف مطار الشعيرات قبل عام، أو على نمط سيناريو متداول لقصف صاروخي بالستي لعشرات الأهداف السورية العسكرية والاستراتيجية، كان حذّر بوتين في خطابه قبل عشرة أيام من أنه سيستدرج رداً روسياً من العيار الثقيل.

– الأسئلة الصعبة تواجه القرار الأميركي في ساعات حاسمة، بين تسليم باليد العليا لروسيا في المنطقة والتراجع عن أي عمل تضمنته التهديدات الأميركية والفرنسية، وبالتالي تسليم بانتصارات سورية متدحرجة من الغوطة إلى ما بعدها جنوباً وشمالاً، وإلا فدخول الميدان بمخاطرة قد تبدأ بعمل تقول واشنطن وباريس أنه محدود، معرّض للتحوّل إلى مواجهة تخرج عن السيطرة، وتتجاوز بمفاعيلها الصراع الدائر في سورية والمنطقة، لتصير مواجهة عالمية. والواضح أن الدعوة الأميركية لاجتماع عمان، لا يهدف فقط لبحث حلول تحفظ ماء الوجه وتجد مخارج لا تبدو سهلة، بل أيضاً لجس النبض الروسي حول حجم الرد في حال القيام بعمل عسكري محدود، والسعي لتسويقه كما حاولت واشنطن بعد أحداث خان شيخون وضربة الشعيرات، أو كما حدث في عهد الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما يوم جاءت الأساطيل الأميركية إلى البحر المتوسط بنيّة الحرب، بعد تصنيع ملف كيميائي في الغوطة عام 2013، وما بين المستويين في الخيارات الأميركية، التي تبدو جميعها موضع تحذير روسي من التبعات والتداعيات.

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Syria UN Envoy: US Uses Chemical Attack Claims to Protect Terrorists

Local Editor

10-03-2018 | 12:02

Syria's UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari

Damascus said the accusations leveled by the US and its allies against the Syrian government regarding the use of chemical weapons in the Eastern Ghouta region are meant to protect the terrorist groups and block the army’s advance against foreign-backed militants.

In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency released on Friday, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari said the parties supporting terrorism in Syria have “consistently” used the “false” allegations of chemical weapons use as a pretext to increase political pressure on the Syrian government.

In over 140 letters addressed to the UN Security Council and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Damascus has documented information on the possession of chemical materials by the countries that support terrorists, but the data was deliberately ignored, he pointed out.

Recently, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed a suspected chlorine attack had taken place in the militant-occupied al-Shifuniyah village of Eastern Ghouta on February 25.

Prior to the report, the Russian Defense Ministry had warned that militant groups in Eastern Ghouta were preparing a false flag attack in a bid to blame the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against civilians.

Russia rejected the allegations against the Syrian government as “unfounded,” stressing that only an international body can rule on the issue based on an “impartial” probe.

On March 5, The Washington Post quoted US officials as saying that the government was considering new military action against the Syrian government in response to reports of suspected chemical weapons use.

Britain and France have also said they would attack Syria if such claims are proven.

This is while Syria turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the US back in 2013.

Elsewhere in his interview, Jaafari accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar as well as a number of Gulf regimes of having worked to finance terrorist organizations in Syria and fuel the crisis in the Arab country.

He also said that the Turkish government has facilitated the entry of tens of thousands of terrorists via its border to Syria and armed and financed them.

Turkey also set up training camps on its territory for terrorists and facilitated their access to toxic chemicals, he added.

Referring to Turkey’s military campaign on the Syrian district of Afrin, Jaafari said, “Syria will not hesitate in defending every inch of its territory, whether against armed terrorist groups or the invading Turkish, US or Israeli forces.”

Ankara launched the Afrin operation on January 20 to eliminate Kurdish militants. Syria condemned the Turkish campaign as an act of aggression, which is meant to support terror outfits operating inside the conflict-plagued country.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Terrorists in Syria’s Gouta Besieged in Three Separate Pockets

Map Update: Military Situation In Eastern Ghouta On March 12, 2018

Syrian government forces have divided the militant-held area in Eastern Ghouta into three separate parts and are developing momentum further. The US has reacted threatening to strike government troops if they continue their advance. MORE DETAILS

Terrorists in Syria’s Gouta Besieged in Three Separate Pockets

Syrian army in Eastern Gouta

The terrorists in Syria’s Eastern Gouta are now besieged in three separate pockets: Doma, Harasta and Arbin as well as the surrounding villages of each area.

Units of the Syrian Arab army on Monday regained full control over the village of Aftris after the eradication of the last hotbeds of al-Nusra Front terrorists and the affiliated groups, SANA reporter said.

The army units managed to secure the exit of a number of families, who were detained by the terrorist organizations on Madyra direction in eastern Gouta.

Source: Al-Manar Website and SANA

 

Syrian Army Scores New Achievements: Eastern Ghouta Split into two

Local Editor

In a new Syrian achievement and in a major setback to terrorists, the Syria Army divided the Eastern Ghouta enclave outside Damascus into two.

Syrian Army Liberates 52% of East Ghouta Areas


Hezbollah’s War Media Center said pro-government forces broke through militants’ lines to establish a corridor through the besieged Eastern Ghouta region after capturing the town of Mudeira.

The advance cuts off the towns of Douma and Harasta from the rest of the enclave, according to the outlet.

Douma is Eastern Ghouta’s largest settlement.

Residents and local authorities in Douma are now considering evacuating the town, local council member Iyad Abdel-Aziz said.

Syrian state media also reported army advances near Jisreen and Aftaris in the southeastern part of the terrorist-held territory.

The Syrian military announced the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave Eastern Ghouta.

Now split in two, one side of the enclave measures 27 square kilometers and the other 22. Russia’s military said 52 civilians were able to flee the enclave for safety in government-held territory outside.

Maj. Gen. Vladimir Zolotukhin of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Syria’s warring parties said the evacuees would receive “all necessary assistance” within two days, according to Russian news agencies.

There were 26 children among the evacuees, according to their reports.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team 

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – MARCH 10, 2018: MILITANTS’ DEFENSE COLLAPSED IN EASTERN GHOUTA

South Front

12.03.2018

Last weekend a defense of militant groups operating in Eastern Ghouta collapsed under pressure of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies and the militant-held pocket was cut off into two separate parts.

Government forces liberated the town of Madiera, almost isolated the neighborhood of Harasta, captured farms near Jisrin and attacked Atfris.

The area of Douma is controlled by Jaish al-Islam with help of some units of Ahrar al-Sham, while the southern pocket is jointly controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Faylaq al-Rahman and Ahrar al-Sham.

On the same day, some pro-militant sources and mainstream media outlets released reports about a new chemical attack allegedly conducted by the Syrian government. The chlorine gas attack allegedly hit people in the neighborhood of Irbin. No evidence confirming these claims were provided.

It’s interesting to note these media reports came just few hours following the collapse of the militants’ defense in Madiera.

On March 12, the SAA continued its advance aiming to isolate Harasta from Douma. According to pro-government sources, SAA units already achieved this goal. However, they still have to secure the recent gains.

Reports are circulating that US and Israeli-backed militant groups are preparing for an attack against the SAA in the city of Daraa in southern Syria. The alleged attack would exploit the SAA involvement in Eastern Ghouta operation and aimed at indirectly assisting militants there.

Over the last 3 days, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have captured more villages from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northwestern Syria. Despite YPG counter-attacks, the TAF and the FSA have reached the vicinity of the YPG-held stronghold of Afrin from the northeastern direction and have almost done this from the southwestern direction. Should Turkish forces isolate Afrin, main clashes will be moved to this urban area.

On March 11, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the TAF and the FSA had seized 950km2 since the start of the operation in Afrin.

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MEDIA ACCUSES SYRIAN ARMY OF USING CHEMICAL WEAPONS AFTER MILITANTS’ DEFENSE COLLAPSES IN EASTERN GHOUTA (MAP, VIDEO)

11.03.2018

South Front

Media Accuses Syrian Army Of Using Chemical Weapons After Militants' Defense Collapses In Eastern Ghouta (Map, Video)

On March 11, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Tiger Forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces split the East Ghouta pocket into two parts and fully isolated the Duma district after they had captured the strategic district of Mudayrah, according to the Hezbollah media wing in Syria. Following the liberation of Mudayrah, SAA and Tiger Forces units reached the SAA positions around the Armored Vehicles Base.

Currently, the Jaysh al-Islam militant group is besieged in the Duma district, while Faylaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) are besieged in the rest of the East Ghouta pocket.

According to Syrian pro-government sources, this major breakthrough will allow the SAA to negotiate with Jaysh al-Islam face to face. This means that a peaceful solution in Douma is more possible now as Faylaq al-Rahman and its allies have sabotaged all the previous peaceful efforts.

Only minutes after the SAA advance, the Qatari al-Jazeera TV claimed that the SAA had attacked civilians in the Irbin district in the western East Ghouta pocket with “chlorine gas”. As usual, the Qatari channel didn’t provide any evidence what so ever to support its claims. Moreover, several Syrian opposition sources didn’t release any reports about the supposed “chemical attack”.

عاجل | مصادر طبية: النظام السوري يستهدف مدينة عربين في الغوطة الشرقية بغاز الكلور السام

 Over the last three months, militants in the East Ghouta and the mainstream media have claimed that the SAA have used chemical weapons against civilians dozens of times. However, they have never presented any real evidence. Even the US acknowledged on one occasion that it got no evidence to support these claims.

The recent Al-Jazeera report is likely nothing more than a propaganda stunt aimed at providing a media cover for militants. Some opposition figures believe that only a US military action could save the besieged the militants in East Ghouta.

Breaking map: Syrian Army slices apart militant pocket in east Damascus

East Ghouta pocket after Syrian Army seizes Mudayrah town (Credit: Islamic World News).

BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:14 P.M.) – Hours ago, the Syrian Army’s elite Tiger Forces Division seized the militant-controlled district town of Mudayrah in Damascus’ East Ghouta region.

The battle to capture the rebel stronghold lasted several hours and saw elite Syrian troops combat insurgents of Jaysh al-Islam and Al-Qaeda affiliate militia Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name, Jabhat al-Nusra).

By taking Mudayrah, assault units of the Tiger Forces Division linked up with the Syrian troops holding out in the now famous Vehicle Management Base in Arbeen district and officially split the East Ghouta pocket into two.

Now it stands that the militant stronghold city of Douma and jihadist-controlled town of Harasta have been isolated from all other rebel-held areas of East Ghouta further south.

It appears that the Syrian Army’s job of slicing up the East Ghouta pocket is not yet over. To this end, all military developments indicate that the jihadist stronghold of Harasta is yet to be physically separated from Douma city.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – MARCH 7, 2018: EASTERN GHOUTA BATTLE AND “CHEMICAL ATTACKS”

South Front

The administration of US President Donald Trump is once again considering new “military action” against the Syrian government, the Washington Post reported on March 5 citing unnamed officials.

According to the newspaper, President Trump, Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met last week to discuss new strikes in response to what they call chemical weapons attacks by government forces in Eastern Ghouta.

On February 25, activists and media linked to militant groups operating in Eastern Ghouta claimed that Damascus had used chlorine gas in the militant-held area. These reports allegedly triggered the White House to consider new military action in Syria. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the Pentagon denied that such a meeting had taken place.

On March 6, the White Helments, a notorious organization operating in areas controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants, reported that government forces had conducted a new chlorine gas attack in Eastern Ghouta allegedly injuring 30 people.

It’s interesting to note that reports about alleged chemical attacks started appearing during a rapid advance by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman.

By March 7, SAA troops had liberated a large area, including farms near the towns of Misraba and Beit Sawa. The town of Hammouriyah had reportedly surrendered to the SAA and government troops had started entering it. The town of Rayhan, which had been a key militant stronghold in the northeastern part of the pocket, had also been liberated by the SAA.

The militants’ defense is rapidly collapsing. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its counterparts can only be be rescued by some stroke of luck. For example, US missile strikes on Damascus triggered by alleged chemical attacks by the SAA. HTS-linked media are doing all they can to achieve this goal.

On March 6, the Russian Ministry of Defense offered militants a safe passage out of the besieged area via an open corridor.

“The Russian Reconciliation Center guarantees the immunity of all rebel fighters who take the decision to leave Eastern Ghouta with personal weapons and together with their families,” the ministry said adding that vehicles would “be provided, and the entire route will be guarded.”

However, a spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman publicly rejected the proposal saying that Aleppo will not be repeated. Militants still prevent locals from using the safe corridor to leave the besieged area.

According to Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko, Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, by March 6 only 17 people had managed to leave Eastern Ghouta via the Al-Wafideen humanitarian corridor.

On the same day, an An-26 military transport plane crashed near the Russian Hmeimim airbase. According to the defense ministry, 39 people died in the crash. Six crew members and 33 people were on board, all of them military personnel. The incident could have been caused by a technical malfunction.

In the area of Afrin, the Turkish Army and the Free Syrian Army captured 7 villages, including Tall Hamu, Shirkan, Metinli and Qatma, from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Considering the recent advances, Turkish forces are now attempting to isolate the YPG-held city of Afrin from the northeastern and western directions.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – MARCH 6, 2018: MILITANTS RETREAT UNDER SYRIAN ARMY PRESSURE IN EASTERN GHOUTA

South Front

The Syrian Arab Army, the Tiger Forces and their allies have advanced on positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and other militant groups in the areas of Harasta, Hawsh Ashari, Bayt Siwwa in the Eastern Ghouta region. Government forces have also entered the area of Rayhan, but have not been able to secure it yet.

Meanwhile, the US-led block, the mainstream media and pro-militant sources are developing their propaganda campaign in an attempt to save militants operating in Eastern Ghouta from defeat accusing government forces of civilian casualties and chemical attacks.

On March 5, the Pentagon announced that Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the area of Afrin had led to an “operational pause” in US-led efforts against ISIS in eastern Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning added that the operational pause had not affected US strikes on ISIS and the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces still control territory it had seized.

Another Pentagon spokesman, Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, said that “Some fighters operating within the SDF have decided to leave operations in the middle Euphrates river valley to fight elsewhere, possibly in Afrin.”

Thus, Washington at least admitted that the YPG was the main if not only ground striking force of the SDF. Various US officials had repeatedly claimed that the SDF consisted of some mysterious Arab-dominated forces with some YPG presence.

On the other hand, the US will be able to justify their further military presence in eastern Syria with “we are fighting ISIS” mantra now as long as its operation is on “pause”.

On March 5 and March 6, the Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army advanced further in Afrin and captured the villages of Qurayriyah, Qatirah, Karakih and entered the Sharan district center. Clashes are ongoing.

Syrian Army readies for urban warfare operation after seizing all rebel-held farmland areas in east Damascus

 Syrian Army progress in East Ghouta since start of ground offensive (Credit: Syrian Digital Media).

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – Just two weeks since kicking off its ground offensive against armed rebel groups in Damascus’ East Ghouta region, the Syrian Army has seized virtually all of the farmland areas that once made up the insurgent pocket.

By this advance, the Syrian Army has cornered militant groups within a number of district towns and cities on Damascus’ eastern periphery as several suburbs belonging to the easternmost parts of the capital itself (i.e. Jobar).

 Hitherto, the Syrian Army has mostly only engaged Jaysh al-Islam militants due to the main focus of the operations being in the eastern half of the rebel bastion where the insurgent groups predominates.

In taking the main urban regions of East Ghouta itself, the Syrian Army will now encounter a multitude of other rebel factions simultaneously including Al-Qaeda affiliate Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (better known by its former name Jabhat al-Nusra), Syrian Muslim Brotherhood affiliate Ahrar al-Sham and Free Syrian Army affiliate Faylaq al-Rahman.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – FEBRUARY 26, 2018: TIGER FORCES START GROUND OPERATION IN EASTERN GHOUTA

South Front

On February 25, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies started a ground phase of their operation against militants in the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus. Since the start of the operation, government forces had liberated the locations of Nashabiyah, Hazrama, Tal Farzat and Salehiya and repelled an attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) in the northern part of the pocket.

Militants destroyed at least one armored bulldozer and claimed that they had killed 25 pro-government fighters in the recent clashes. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Rahman and Jaish al-Islam will be the main opponents of the SAA if it seeks to capture entire Eastern Ghouta.

On February 24, the UN Security Council passed a resolution seeking to establish a comprehensive ceasefire throughout Syria. However, the ceasefire excludes ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other terrorist groups. Despite this, the mainstream media has already started pushing an idea that the SAA’s operations against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Eastern Ghouta violate the resolution.

ISIS attacked positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the western part of the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus. The terrorist group will likely make an attempt to use the violence in the Damascus countryside to expand own influence in the area.

Meanwhile, in northern Syria, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured over 8 locations expanding their control north and northwest of the city of Afrin.

According to pro-Turkish sources, the TAF and the FSA have recently neutralized over 50 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). In turn, pro-Kurdish sources claimed that over 35 TAF soldiers and FSA members had been killed by the YPG.

A limited deployment of government forces in the Afrin area has not been able to stop the Turkish operation against the YPG. If Damascus and the YPG really want to limit the Turkish expansion in the area, they will have to reach a broad deal over Afrin.

On the other hand, Ankara describes the YPG as a terrorist group and claims that any side assisting it will become a target of the TAF.

TIGER FORCES DEVELOPING MOMENTUM IN EASTERN GHOUTA (MAP, VIDEO)

The Tiger Forces, the Republican Guard and the Syrian Arab Army are developing momentum against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham and their allies.

The main clashes are taking place in the southeastern and northwestern parts of Eastern Ghotua. Government forces are pressuring militants in the areas of Harasta, Hawsh ad Dawahirah.

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Syrian Army resumes offensive in large East Ghouta suburb

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:55 A.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) resumed their offensive in the East Ghouta suburb of Harasta this morning after a successful start on Sunday.

Led by their 4th Mechanized Division, the Syrian Arab Army stormed the defenses of Faylaq Al-Rahman and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in Harasta, attacking the last buildings under their control in the Al-Ajami District.

According to a report from Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army is currently on the move in the Al-Ajami District, while they receive close air support from the SyAAF.

If the Syrian Army can take control of the Al-Ajami District from the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman, they will be in control of Harasta’s western sector.

SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES OPEN FRONT AGAINST MILITANTS IN HARASTA AREA IN EASTERN GHOUTA (MAP)

On February 26, Syrian government forces, led by the Republican Guard, opened a new front against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham and their allies in the Harasta area in the Eastern Ghouta region, near Damascus, according to pro-government sources.

Governemnt troops advanced on the militants’ positions in the district of Ajami where fighting erupted. The advance is reportedly supported by warplanes of the Syrian Arab Air Force.

On February 25, the Syrian Army and its allies started a ground phase of their counter-terrorism operation in Eastern Ghouta and already achieved first gains in the eastern part of the pocket.

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The Battle for Eastern Ghouta

24-02-2018 | 11:08

Last month, militant groups operating in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta refused an invitation to the Russian-sponsored peace conference in the resort town of Sochi.

Syria map

That decision demonstrated their unwillingness to engage in any form of dialogue with the government in Damascus, and rendered the de-escalation zone in the area, which ensures a temporary cessation of hostilities, fairly futile.

Of course, the decision to skip Sochi, much like their now entirely ineffectual – although still bloody – war against the Syrian army, is not the result of autonomous decision-making within militant ranks. It is the product of western and Arab foreign policy agendas that appear determined to prolong the Syrian conflict and the suffering of its people.

In line with those foreign objectives, armed groups abandoned talks with Damascus, opting instead to pursue a fantasy about a military victory in Syria.

The result has been a spike in militant attacks across Syria’s four de-escalation zones situated in Idlib province, in the Rastan and Talbiseh enclave, in northern Homs province, in parts of Deraa and Quneitra provinces, and in Eastern Ghouta in the northern Damascus countryside.

From the shooting-down of a Russian fighter jet in Idlib, to clashes along the fringes of the zones in Homs, Deraa and, of course, Ghouta, the upsurge in violence has led to scores of civilian casualties.

In Damascus alone, over 30 people have been killed and hundreds injured as a result of mortar fire coming from Eastern Ghouta in the last two weeks.

And earlier this week, a total of 114 projectiles fired on the Syrian capital in a single day killed 13 people and wounded 77 others.

These developments point to a renewed and concerted effort to undermine the Syrian government and its allies, at a time when its military formations have successfully eliminated the Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL’] terror group and its affiliates.

But more importantly, the campaign is designed to destroy the Russian-Iranian-Turkish co-sponsored peace negotiations, which aim to lay the groundwork for serious political dialogue in the war-torn country.

The dangerous escalations have prompted Damascus to launch a renewed anti-terrorist operation in Eastern Ghouta, in hope of clearing it from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front), Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham and Failaq al-Rahman.

According to a researcher with the International Crisis Group, Sam Heller, the campaign is aimed at “resolving the issue of Eastern Ghouta permanently, either through a purely military victory or through a negotiated solution under enormous military pressure.”

Aleppo 2.0

There are many parallels that can be drawn between the present-day battle for Eastern Ghouta and operations conducted by the Syrian military and its allies to recapture Eastern Aleppo a little over a year ago.

In both cases, the densely populated urban areas were occupied by terrorist factions that used the civilian population as virtual hostages and human shields. And also in both cases, the Syrians and their allies acted with a great deal of restraint in the hope of minimizing casualties.

In spite of the facts on the ground, Damascus was bombarded by calls for an immediate ceasefire, allegations of ‘war crimes’, and reports of chemical weapons being used.

But the liberation of Aleppo unveiled a completely different reality. There were no atrocities or reprisals carried out against the local population by the Syrian forces, and the liberated civilians are not exactly yearning for the return of the ‘rebels’ that the west holds in such high regard.

Tens of thousands quickly returned to their homes, where the state provides security, as well as essential communal and social services.

Of course, none of this will ever be circulated in the mainstream media. There will be no images or stories about residents in Aleppo returning to normal life, resurrecting schools, markets, mosques and churches.

In much the same way, there is no global attention directed at the thousands of well-trained and heavily armed militants in Eastern Ghouta, who perpetrate near-daily atrocities against both the civilians in the areas under their control and beyond.

Instead, the spotlight is placed squarely on Damascus and its allies, whose officials are made to look like they enjoy bombing hospitals for the fun of it.

“I am afraid that a lot of this human cry coming from the western media is really designed to save those terrorist forces,” said former US diplomat Jim Jatras.

“We know there are civilians suffering there. Efforts should be made to try to alleviate that just like we saw in Aleppo when Syrian and Russian forces liberated that city. But the same suffering happens when US forces push Daesh out of Mosul or out of Raqqa and we don’t hear about it so much in the mainstream media,” Jatras added.

In sharp contrast to the coverage of Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo, condemnation of America’s scorched earth policy in both Iraq and Syria, which has reduced countless cities to ghost towns, is virtually nonexistent.

That’s because civilian casualties are only relevant when they can be used as pawns for western geostrategic objectives. And in the case of Eastern Ghouta, the west is hoping to not only prolong the Syrian conflict by shielding the militants, but also extract concessions from the Damascus government.

Source: Al-Ahed News

EASTERN GHOUTA: BRIEF LOOK AT UPCOMING OPERATION DAMASCUS STEEL

 South Front

24.02.2018

Eastern Ghouta: Brief Look At Upcoming Operation Damascus Steel

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Submited by 24 Resistance Axis

The Syrian Arab Army is preparing to launch its long-awaited Operation Damascus Steel in the Eastern Ghouta. The operation’s goal is to capture entire militant-held pocket (+100 km²) and to secure the Syrian capital and the Damascus-Homs highway (M5).

Right now, Damascus is under a constrant threat of shelling by Tahrir Al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham, the Free Syrian Army and other militant groups.

A success in Eastern Ghouta will also allow to free a large number of SAA troops for further operations against Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in the province of Idlib.

Forces

The advance in Eastern Ghouta will be spearheaded by the SAA’s Tiger Forces, the Republican Guard, the 14th Division (SF) and the 4th Armoured Division (Ghiath Forces – 42nd Brigade).

These  units will be backed by the National Defense Forces, Tribal Forces and Galilee Forces. According to reports these factions will be mainly involved in defensive operations and fortification tasks. The 1st Armored Division, the 7th Mechanized Division and the 9th Armoured Division have also sent reinforcements to the area.

In total, the operation will involve 10,000 – 15,000 pro-government fighters, backed by the Syrian Air Force and the Russian Aeroosapce Forces.

On the other hand, Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar Al-Sham, Tahrir Al-Sham and Faylaq Al-Rahman have been involved in a series of internal tensions since the middle of 2017. The new SAA operation in Eastern Ghouta will likely force them to unite efforts against the Syrian government and its allies.

Possible scenario

There are a high urban density, a large number of underground tunnels and many fortified sites of militants in the western part of Eastern Ghouta. On the other hand, the eastern part of the pocket is mostly a farm land.

Most likely, the SAA and its allies will make an attempt to isolate the urban area from Jobar to Duma. If government forces seek to do this, they will have to capture the farm lands controlled by Jash al-Islam.

However, this does not exclude possible attacks on the western front, especially if militants send reinforcements to the eastern part of the pocket. The SAA may use its advantage in manpower and firepower to open a new front against militants and to use their lack of the coordination.

According to reports, government forces will attempt to divide the militant-held area into few spearated parts and to force local groups of militants to reconcile with the government one by one. The similar strategy was used during the Battle of Qaboun in 2017.

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SYRIAN WAR REPORT – FEBRUARY 19, 2018: SYRIAN ARMY AND YPG WORKING TO REACH DEAL OVER AFRIN

SOUTH FRONT

The Syrian military has deployed a large force, including the Tiger Forces, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Republican Guard and other pro-government factions, near the militant-held pocket in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta. The force is led by the Tiger Forces’ commander, Gen. Suheil al-Hassan.

Late on February 18, artillery pieces and rocket launchers of the SAA started shelling positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra), Ahrar al-Sham and other militant groups in the neighborhoods of Nashabiyah, Tel Ferzat, Mesraba, Hawsh Ashari, Autaya, Eyen Tarma, Irbin, Harasta and Jobar. Warplanes of the Syrian Air Force also carried out airstrikes on identified ammo depots and HQs belonging to the militant groups.

Early on February 19, sporadic clashes were reported in few areas of the pocket. However, a large-scale SAA advance has not yet started.

On February 18, Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki released an official statement announcing that they had merged and formed a new militant group entitled “the Syrian Liberation Front”. The declared goal of the new militant group is to fight the SAA, its allies as well as other enemies of the so-called “Syrian revolution”.

According to reports, the group will be led by Jaber Ali Basha, a senior commander of Ahrar al-Sham. Syrian experts believe that the groups are trying to use the merger to hide a trace of beheadings and terrorist attacks associated with the brands of Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki as well as to use it as a card in competition for the power in Idlib with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Considering that the both groups have some ties with Ankara, the merger may be conducted within the wider Turkish plan aimed at expanding its influence in the area.

The story with Damascus-YPG negotiations over a possible SAA deployment in the Afrin area is still developing as Kurdish sources provide conflicting reports and statements on the issue.

While the Kurdish political leadership are bargaining, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army continued their advance and captured the villages of Hecika Fuqani, Hecika Tahtani and Dervish Ubashi.

Meanwhile, the YPG media claimed that YPG members had conducted an attack on a TAF HQ in the village of Qiri Xane in the southern Turkish province of Hatay and killed 7 TAF service members there. The reports are not confirmed by the Turkish side.

On February 18, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria released a video threatening to strike Israeli offshore oil and gas operations in case of Israeli aggression.

The video quotes remarks of the movement’s leader Hassan Nasrallah over the recent Israeli-Lebanese oil dispute issue over the Block 9 the Block 9 oil and gas field.

“If you prevent us, we prevent you; if you open fire at us, we will open fire; if you hit us, we will hit you;”

The video shows the facilities of Karish, Tamar and Lavthan as targets of possible missile attacks.

In December, Lebanon approved a bid from a consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek for two of the five blocks put up for tender in Lebanon’s first oil and gas offshore licensing round. However, Israel pretends that Block 9 is at least partly located in its waters. On January 31, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman even threatened the companies that will develop the oil field and said that they are “making a grave error.”

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