Resistance report: Shameless Washington keeps occupying Syrian oilfields, while the Syrian Army enters several new areas to fend off Turkish aggression

Resistance report: Shameless Washington keeps occupying Syrian oilfields, while the Syrian Army enters several new areas to fend off Turkish aggression

November 02, 2019

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

In my previous article on Syria, I expressed scepticism towards Washington’s so called “withdrawal” of troops from Syria. I doubted that Washington would fully withdraw from Syria, as Washington has a history of long occupations across the world, and the only way to get rid of US troops is to throw them out with force. It seems that I was correct in that assessment as Washington has since declared its continued occupation of Syrian oilfields.

Officially, Washington is justifying its continued occupation by claiming that it maintains troops in eastern Syria to “secure the oilfields” from “remaining ISIS terrorists”. The sad part of this isn’t that Washington’s entire narrative is a poorly written story with many holes in the plot, but it’s the fact that most people in the West will probably buy this pathetic narrative that Washington has presented to the world, one that the media are continuously echoing.

Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry published satellite intelligence images proving that oil from Syria was sent abroad under the guard of US servicemen Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said. The ministry spokesman said that “the space intelligence images showed that oil was actively extracted and massively exported for processing outside Syria, under the reliable protection of US troops, before and after the defeat of the Daesh terrorists.”

Commenting on the satellite intelligence, Maj. Gen. Konashenkov said US operations in eastern Syria and its actions regarding Syrian oil could only be described as “international state banditism.”

According to Russian intelligence, the illegal US-supervised extraction of Syrian oil was being carried out by “leading American corporations” and private military contractors, with US special forces and air power used for protection. Konashenkov estimated that the monthly revenue of this “private enterprise” was over $30 million dollars. Banditism, that’s a great word to describe Washington’s actions. This is pure banditism, committed blatantly by a terrorist state with no shame whatsoever. Some of us have always known Washington’s true criminal nature, but I am shocked and amazed at how some people could watch these events unfold and still believe Washington’s intentions are, and ever were good. It is amazing how Washington has managed to gain support from the European left wing, the same leftists that claim to be against imperialism, the same leftists that condemned the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now cheer for Washington’s continued occupation and condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northeastern Syria.

While the let’s say, partial withdrawal of US forces is most welcomed, Washington will still remain a threat to peace in Syria. Only a few days ago Secretary of Defense Mark Esper threatened Russia and Syria when he said that Washington will “respond with overwhelming military force against any group who threatens the safety of our forces there.” When asked whether the US would potentially respond with force against Russian or Syrian forces, Esper simply responded “yes.”

Moscow and Damascus better beware and prepare a response to whatever Washington has planned to do with the oilfields. There is no doubt that this is bad news, especially for the ongoing fuel crisis in the country, which is a result of the US-led embargo on Syria.

Meanwhile, amid Washington’s highly dubious claim of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s alleged elimination, at their hands, Syrian Army forces have over the past few weeks entered many areas in northern Syria, which were previously lost many years ago. The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), having been betrayed by Washington, were forced to make a deal with Moscow and Damascus. The agreement allowed Syrian Army troops to enter strategically chosen cities and towns in order to deny Turkey and its proxies any further advance. In relation to these events, Moscow managed to negotiate a ceasefire with Ankara, to give the Kurdish militias time to withdraw from a safe zone agreed upon in the new Sochi agreement.

Despite the agreement, Erdogan has warned that Turkey may resume the offensive at any time if Ankara remains unsatisfied by the outcome of the YPG withdrawal. These warnings and threats from Ankara prompted Sheikhs from two of Syria’s biggest clans in eastern Syria to call on President Bashar Al-Assad to grant all personnel who served in the SDF general amnesty. The purpose of this statement was to allow those SDF fighters to join the Syrian Army ranks and avoid any imprisonment for fighting for a non-government force. Several other tribal chiefs also signed the letter, which was reportedly delivered to the Syrian government. Only hours later, the Syrian Ministry of Defense issued a statement calling on the SDF to join the Syrian Army and fight against the Turkish aggression in northern Syria, an offer which was rejected by the poor leadership of the SDF.

Not only did they reject the deal, but they also pleaded with Pentagon for help, again, despite the previous betrayals, despite Trump’s mockery of the Kurds on Twitter, where he argued that “Kurds didn’t help in WWII” and that “Kurds are no angels”. This how quickly Washington does a 360 and turns on its vassals. This is exactly what me and many others warned them about all these years. Self respect has almost always been an unfamiliar concept for the multitude of Kurdish leaderships and parties across Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. They have been used time and time again by imperial powers who promise them land and self-rule and always end up abandoning them when their purpose has been served.

Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

Syrian War Report – November 4, 2019: ‘Withdrawing’ US Troops Setting Up New Military Bases

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The Syrian Army and Turkish-led forces are strengthening their positions on a contact line in northeastern Syria. A large convoy of Syrian Army reinforcements deployed in the towns of Abu Rasin and Umm Harmalah south of Ras al-Ayn. The convoy included T-72 battle tanks, BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, Gvozdika self-propelled 122 mm howitzer and BM-21 Grad 122 mm rocket launchers. At the same time, the Turkish Army sent additional troops and equipment to the countryside of Ras al-Ayn.

On November 1, 2 and 3, clashes between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish-backed militants were ongoing in a number of gray area villages, including Azizah, al-Jamilyah and Faysaliyah, in northwestern al-Hasakah. Pro-SDF sources claim that Kurdish fighters re-captured over 10 villages from Turkish-led forces. Pro-Turkish sources claim that SDF members are on retreat. In fact, a large part of the territory south of Ras al-Ayn remains a no-man land.

On November 3, the Russian military and the SDF reportedly established a coordination center the town of Ain Issa. The center will be tasked with coordination of efforts to implement the northeastern Syria ‘safe zone’ agreement and improving coordination between the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance and the SDF, in general.

The Russian Aerospace Forces have carried out airstrikes on positions of al-Qaeda-linked groups near the towns of Kafar Sijnah, Jbala, Rakaya Sijneh, Hass, Ma`arat al-Nu`man and Kbani in the southern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The strikes were conducted in response to recent attempts by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and its Turkish-backed allies to advance on Syrian Army positions south of Kbani. At least 7 Syrian Army troops were killed and several pieces of military equipment were destroyed in that clashes, according to pro-militant sources.

The US military is consolidating its control over oil areas on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. According to pro-militant sources, additional US troops were deployed at the Heemo military garrison near Qamishly and a former base of the Syrian Air Defense Forces’ 113th Brigade in Deir Ezzor may soon be turned into a US military base.

On October 31, it became known that members of the North Carolina-based 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment and the South Carolina-based 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade started deployment in oil-rich areas in eastern Syria. They are accompanied with M2A2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

Russian Defense Ministry publishes evidence of US oil smuggling from Syria

October 27, 2019

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images, showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that “Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river, under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria.”

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. “There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks,” the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov: “Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab, established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

“For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical ‘hidden IS cells’ endlessly,” he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

The reason for this activity, he believes, “lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism.”

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

Igor Konashenkov: “Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people,” the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon’s head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future “to ensure the safety of oil fields.”

 

U.S. To Send Troops, Battle Tanks To “Secure” Syrian Oil Fields – Report

U.S. To Send Troops, Battle Tanks To “Secure” Syrian Oil Fields – Report

US Army M1 Abrams tank with Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) and improved protection for machinegun operator.

The U.S. is planning to deploy fresh troops and battle tanks to Syria’s northeastern oil fileds, Newsweek reported on October 23, citing an official in the Pentagon.

The unnamed official told the magazine that the U.S is seeking to deploy half of an Army armored brigade combat team battalion that includes as many as 30 Abrams tanks alongside personnel to key oil fields in northeastern Syria. According to the official, the plan is pending White House approval.

Northeastern Syria oil fields, including al-Rmelan and al-Omar, are controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The official said that these forces will continue to be involved in securing these oil fields, the official said.

President Donald Trump had announced that the U.S. is going on with its plan to withdraw troops from northeast Syria. However, he said that oil fields in the region and the area of al-Tanaf in the southeastern part of the country will be kept under control as for now.

When asked by Newsweek about the oil situation, one senior administration official said that the final fate of these resources was yet to be determined.

“The President has stated that we are going to have a residual force in the region to protect areas that hold the oil fields, as well as the base down at al-Tanaf, in southern Syria. Those are important areas to allow us to constrain the resurgence of ISIS. And there is some artillery benefit, of course, to Kurds and other Democratic Forces being in control of the oil,” the official said. “As far as how the oil will be sold and that sort of thing, that’s something that we’ll certainly look into and we’ll monitor going forward. And we’ll keep a close eye on that.”

The Pentagon has not commented on Newsweek’s report, so far. If approved, the deployment of such a large force would contradict the withdrawal process.

By keeping oil fields under control, Washington is clearly working to prevent the Damascus government, which is engaged in a deal with the SDF, from recapturing vital resources.

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Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

October 13, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei

Washington abandons its Kurdish proxies as Ankara and Damascus step in

Even though I have my doubts over whether Washington will actually withdraw from Syria fully, it seems as if their Kurdish proxies in northern Syria have been left to defend for themselves against the ongoing Turkish offensive. I can’t say I’m surprised since Washington has done this to their Kurdish “partners” many times before, yet the Kurdish leadership across Iraq and Syria have failed to learn from history yet again.

Once more, the Kurdish leadership have been proven to have put their faith in the wrong allies. When Moscow stepped into the Syrian war four years ago, Moscow gave the YPG the same offer that Assad had given before: reconcile with Damascus and join forces against terrorism. They refused. Moscow tried again by offering them to set up a consulate in Moscow, inviting them to peace talks in Astana and offering them safety from Turkish attacks, if they agreed to a deal with Damascus, one that respects Syria’s territorial integrity. Moscow even offered talks on a guarantee for future Kurdish participation in Syrian politics. They refused once again, with a spokesperson for the YPG explaining that Washington does not allow them to talk to Moscow. Such was the nature of the US-Kurdish “alliance”.

When the so called “Islamic State” terrorist group was about to collapse in 2017, the US backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”, of which YPG is part of, was quick to grab as much land as possible. Then came the threats against Damascus and the Syrian Army, to back off from entering the eastern shores of the Euphrates. Fortunately, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus saw Washington’s moves early on as they managed to capture the imperative city of Albukamal, located exactly at the Syrian-Iraqi border, before Washington could. In capturing this city, Damascus and Baghdad have been able to re-open the Tehran-Damascus highway stretching from Iran, through Iraq and into Syria, connecting the three countries and enabling the transportation of supplies from Iran to Syria.

The SDF managed to secure many of Syria’s oil fields in their push to capture the eastern parts of the Deir Ezzor province. Having grabbed such a large part of Syria, the Kurdish leadership felt safe with US forces backing them against Damascus.

This stance didn’t seem to change when Turkish forces together with their proxy jihadists launched the Afrin offensive. US forces did nothing to protect their Kurdish vassals from harm as Turkish forces easily captured the entire Afrin Canton within weeks. The Kurdish leadership was offered a deal with Damascus in which control over the Afrin area would be handed over to the Syrian Army before Turkish forces could capture it. Alas this suggestion was refused by the stubborn Kurdish leadership who would rather let Ankara and the Jihadists capture that area.

So 18 months later, the US has seemingly withdrawn and abandoned the Kurdish-led militias to fend for themselves against Ankara and a hostile Damascus. Not so surprising considering Washington’s track record. The Turkish Army and its proxies launched their offensive on Wednesday and quickly announced gains that same day. Since then, several towns along with the border city of Tal Abyad have fallen into Turkish hands as reports have emerged that imprisoned ISIS militants have escaped from their prisons as a result of Turkish bombardments of several prisons in the Hasakah province.

The offensive has caught an enormous amount of media attention, as the Kurds have for long been the Western Media darlings, capturing many people’s hearts with footage of young armed women battling the perverted terrorist forces of the “Islamic State”.

Washington and the European vassals have all howled and voiced their “concerns” over Turkey’s offensive. Some have called for resolutions and embargoes on Turkey for “violating international law” and “endangering the region”. What a joke! Look at the people expressing their “concern”: Hillary Clinton, Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley. These are some of the people that are concerned that Turkey is “endangering the region”.

Now when Twitter is being filled with videos of executed Kurdish fighters, these people recognize the same “FSA” militants that they used to cheer for to execute Syrian soldiers, for what they are, barbarian scum.

Just a few days after the commencement of the offensive, Kurdish officials began contemplating the idea of turning to Moscow and Damascus for help, but not before asking Washington one last time to confirm their betrayal. SDF General Mazloum Kobani openly indicated in an interview with CNN that dealing with Moscow and Damascus is an option if the US fails to protect the Kurds from Turkey. “I need to know if you are capable of protecting my people, of stopping these bombs falling on us or not. I need to know, because if you’re not, I need to make a deal with Russia and the regime now and invite their planes to protect this region”, Kobani said.

What a sad statement. He needs a receipt of Washington’s betrayal, as if it was a surprise when he and his colleagues have been warned for years about Washington’s treacherous nature. Reports have previously suggested the amassing of Syrian Army forces near Manbij in the Aleppo province, with the aim of entering and taking over the area. The same has been said about Hasakah and Qamishli in the northeastern parts of the country. If true, then this would create a situation similar to the one two years ago when the Islamic State was collapsing. As mentioned before, back in 2017, as the Islamic State was collapsing, the SAA and the US-backed SDF were racing to capture as much territory as possible. This resulted in the Euphrates turning into a demarcation line between SAA and SDF controlled territory, a line that has been in place since 2017. Now, it seems as if a new race is on, as the Syrian Army is racing against time, with the jihadists rapidly advancing and are inching closer to Raqqa city.

If the Kurdish militias are willing to cooperate, then Damascus must be harsh in its demands. The Kurdish militias must hand over their weapons and the territory they’re occupying if they want to have any chance of surviving the Turkish-led onslaught. But they need to act quickly, time is running out for the Kurdish militiamen.

Will the Kurds choose poorly again?

الانسحاب الأميركي من سورية استحقاق مؤجّل… ولكن!

أكتوبر 8, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لا نريد هنا مناقشة اسباب الانسحاب الأميركي من سورية سواء الجزئي أو المتدرج أو الشامل، فهو استحقاق مؤجل منذ معركة تحرير حلب، وسقوط أي فرصة لتعديل موازين القوى العسكرية بوجه الدولة السورية. والتأجيل مر بثلاث مراحل. في الأولى كان بالرهان على النجاح في إدارة الحرب على داعش بما يضمن تدحرجها في الجغرافيتين السورية والعراقية، وقد افشله محور المقاومة بانتصاره في معارك الموصل ودير الزور والبادية وتدمر. والثانية بالرهان على مقايضة الوجود الأميركي بالوجود الإيراني والمقاوم في سورية ضماناً لأمن إسرائيل، كشرط من شروط التسوية التي تقبل بها واشنطن في سورية، وقد سقط رهان المقايضة نهائياً، واقتنع الروس بأن لا إمكانية لبحث وجود إيران وقوى المقاومة ما دام الجولان السوري محتلاً، ويعلن كيان الاحتلال ضمه وتؤيده واشنطن في ذلك، أما المرحلة الثالثة فكانت الرهان على عقدة إدلب بوجه تقدّم مشروع الدولة السورية لفتح استحقاق الخروج الأميركي، على قاعدة أن إدلب كآخر معقل للمسلحين والوافدين من الإرهابيين وللأتراك ستشكل تغييراً في وجهة الحرب التي كتبتها معارك حلب وما بعدها وصولاً إلى درعا، حتى قالت معركة خان شيخون العكس، فصار قرار الانسحاب على الطاولة راهناً.

– لا نريد هنا أيضاً مناقشة تبعات الانسحاب، الذي باعه الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب للرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، وكل منهما يعلم أن ترامب وجد الذريعة لخروج مما أسماه الحروب اللانهائية السخيفة، لأن جوهر القرار هزيمة المشروع الأميركي في سورية، ولن يغير من ذلك ما سيقوله كثيرون عن مؤامرة تفجير الشمال السوري، وتقسيم سورية، لأنه كيفما دارت البدايات بعد القرار الأميركي، فإن النهايات ستكون انتشار الجيش السوري حتى الحدود الدولية، وعودة تركيا إلى اتفاقية أضنة، وسقوط مشروع الكانتون الكردي، وانضمام الأكراد إلى مسار الحل السياسي كمكوّن من مكونات المجتمع السوري، والرابح سيكون حكماً هو مشروع الدولة السورية، سواء أدركت القيادات الكردية مبكراً حجم ترددها بالتسليم بالأحقية السيادية على الجغرافية السورية للدولة السورية، واستبقت بفعل ما يلزم الخطوة التركية الأولى، او واصلت التردد وسبقتها الخطوة التركية الأولى، ففي الحالين سيكون الجيش السوري هو الجهة القادرة على فرض عودة الأمن إلى المنطقة، التي لن يكون إمساك أي طرف بأمنها، غير الدولة السورية، نزهة كما يعتقد، لا الجيش التركي سينجح بالاستقرار، ولا الجماعات الكردية ستستطيع الصمود.

– ما نريد مناقشته هي العبر التي يقدّمها ما يجري شمال سورية، فما هو حال جماعات المعارضة السورية التي تقاتل تحت راية العلم التركي، بعدما كانت تتشدق بشعارات الاستقلال والسيادة، وهي لا تشبه اليوم إلا جماعة أنطوان لحد في جنوب لبنان، تحت راية المحتل الإسرائيلي، ويعلم منافقو المعارضة أن تركيا وما تضمره لسورية لا يختلف بنظر السوريين على اختلافهم عما يضمره كيان الاحتلال للبنان وفلسطين وسورية؟ وما هو حال الجماعات الكردية التي تعاملت مع الاحتلال الأميركي كضامن لسلخ جزء من الوطن وتحويله كياناً تفتيتياً لوحدته، وها هي اليوم تندب حظها وتتحدث عن الطعن في الظهر، بعدما جربت طعن وطنها السوري ودولتها في الظهر، ورفضت تقديم وطنيتها على المال والنفط والوعود التي تسقط بفخاخها اليوم؟ وماذا عن العرب حكاماً وبعض النخب الملتحقة بهم، الذين لا زالوا يظنون أن أمامهم مزيد من الوقت ليراقبوا ما يجري في سورية قبل الاعتذار وطلب الصفح لما فعلت أيديهم، أو الذين راهنوا على أميركا مرة لتحمي دول الخليج من إيران، فباعت أمنهم لأنصار الله اليمنيين، أو راهنوا عليها لتشفي غليل أحقادهم ضد سورية وإيران وحزب الله وقوى المقاومة، وها هي تتركهم، وستتركهم أكثر يواجهون مصيرهم الأسود كأحقادهم، بينما تكلفة الاعتراف بنصر محور المقاومة لن ترتب عليهم سوى صفاء النيات، لتلاقيهم الأيدي الممدودة التي لا تعرف للثأر والانتقام مكاناً.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – OCTOBER 9, 2019: SDF SEEKS COOPERATION WITH ‘BLOODY ASSAD’ AGAINST TURKEY

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The withdrawal of US troops from the Turkish border has caused a kind of panic among the leadership of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which mostly consist of Kurdish militias.

On October 7, the group already speculated that the Syrian Army is preparing to capture the town of Manbij taking an upper hand of the US troops’ withdrawal. The Syrian military in fact deployed reinforcements near the area. Pro-government sources say the army is preparing to act in response to a possible Turkish military operation.

On October 8, the Turkish Armed Forces announced that they had carried out strikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border in order to prevent Kurdish groups from using the route to reinforce their positions in northeastern Syria. Ankara expects that units of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which it recognizes as a terrorist group, could be re-deployed from northern Iraq to the Syrian-Turkish border.

Almost immediately after first Turkish strikes, the SDF leadership announced that it is ready to consider resuming talks with Damascus, and therefore Russia. Earlier, the group sabotaged all Damascus attempts to settle the existing differences through political measures by demanding the Syrian government to de-facto recognize and fund a de-facto independent state with own military within Syria. Now, when the SDF’s key ally has once again appeared to be not ready to sacrifice its geo-strategic interests to create a Kurdish state in Syria, the SDF is once again seeking negotiations with the ‘bloody Assad regime.’

At the same time, the Turkish military and Turkish proxies continue their preparations for a possible military action against Kurdish militias. Recently, a Turkish military convoy was spotted near the town of Jarabulus. In the event of a military operation, the town will become an important logistical point.

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