Israel Enjoys Last Weeks Of Love With Trump. Azerbaijan Controls Kalbajar District In Karabkah

On November 25, Azerbaijani troops entered the district of Kalbajar in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The district was handed over to Baku under the ceasefire deal reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan to put an end to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War earlier in November.

In total, Armenian forces were set to hand over the following districts: Agdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin, excluding the Lachin corridor. Agdam and Kalbajar are already in the hands of Azerbaijani forces. Lachin will be handed over on December 1. Withdrawing Armenians are destroying their properties and even evacuating graves of their relatives. Just a day ago, on November 24, Armenians troops blew up their barracks in Kalbajar.

In these conditions, the presence of the Russian peacekeepers remains the only guarantee of the security of the local Armenian population. And Russian forces already suffered first casualties as a part of this mission. On November 23, a Russian peacekeeper, four employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were wounded, and an Azerbaijani officer was killed in a mine explosion near the village of Magadiz. A joint group, that also included representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, was searching bodies of those killed in the war.

A large number of IEDs, not exploded ammunition and projectiles are an important security factor that prevents the potential return of displaced civilians to Nagorno-Karabkah. A group of Russian sappers has been already working on demining key roads and areas in the Russian zone of responsibility. Baku also vowed to demine territories that its forces captured and already started building a new road linking the town of Shusha and Ahmedbeyli.

In the coming months, the security and humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabkah will likely improve, but there are almost zero chances the Armenian population that fled the Azerbaijani advance would return. Therefore, the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabakh is in fact empty and the Azerbaijani leadership would have to launch some settlement program if it wants re-populate the region.

Pro-Kurdish sources, waging a propaganda campaign against the traditional Azerbaijani ally, Turkey, already claimed that Ankara is planning to settle families of fighters of Turkish-backed Syrian militant groups in Karabakh. According to reports, Turkish authorities opened 2 offices in the Turkish-occupied Syrian town of Afrin for this purpose. If such plans even exist, it is unlikely that Azerbaijan would be happy to support them. The one thing is to use a cheap cannon fodder recruited by the Big Turkish Brother and the very different thing is to allow multiple Syrian radicals to become the permanent factor of your internal security. The implementation of such a plan would inevitably turn the Azerbaijani-controlled part of Nagorno-Karabkah into the hotbed of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Israel has been desperately exploiting the last months of the current Trump presidency term. Early on November 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out a series of airstrikes on targets in the southern countryside of Damascus and the province of Quneitra. According to Syrian state media, missiles were launched from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights. As of now, the Syrian side denies any casualties and claims that the strike caused a material damage only. Pro-Israeli sources insist that the strike led to multiple casualties among Iranian-backed forces and Iranian personnel.

This became the second Israeli strike on Syria in the last 7 days. The previous one took place on November 18 and hit the very same areas, including Damascus International Airport. The activation of the Israeli military activity in the region indicates that Tel Aviv expects a particular decrease of unconditional support that it was receiving from the United States under the Trump administration. Therefore, it seeks to use the last days of this 4-year-long honeymoon as effective as possible. Even more Israeli and potentially US actions against Iranian interests in the region and Iran itself could be expected in the coming weeks.

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IRGC RELEASES ALLEGED PHOTO OF AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT IN SNIPER’S SIGHTS, IRAN SAYS PRESENCE OF MILITANTS IN KARABAKH UNACCEPTABLE

South Front

IRGC Releases Alleged Photo of Azerbaijani President In Sniper's Sights, Iran Says Presence Of Militants In Karabakh Unacceptable

In a reminder that Iran opposes any further Azerbaijani ambitions in Nagorno-Karabakh and beyond, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) released an interesting photograph.

It shows Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in the sights of an Iranian sniper, while he was visiting the Khodaafarin bridge at the Karabakh-Iran border.

Earlier, on November 16th, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that no changes have occurred in Iran’s northwestern borderlines.

This happened in reference to the peace deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia after several weeks of conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region near the Iranian borders.

Stating that no change has occurred at the borderlines, he stressed that Iran will never accept anything other than what has been announced by the two sides.

Khatibzadeh added that the corridor that has become controversial these days is simply a transit route, the case of which is closely monitored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

He further said that Iran welcomes any peaceful settlement of the case as it did over the past three decades.

He reiterated that no change has occurred at the Iranian borders and will never occur in the future.

According to Iranian Foreign Ministry knowledge, the Syrian militants must have already left the region, the spokesman said that a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia will benefit the entire region.

The spokesman, however, said Iran will not tolerate presence of any foreign elements in the region.

About killing of Iranian border guards in northwest of the country, Khatibzadeh said Iran’s response to such measures is strong.

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says there is no place for Syrian militants close to Iran’s northern borders.

“There is no place for Wahhabi and Takfiri terrorists among people of Azerbaijan who are known for their love for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s progeny, and track records of such groups are very bleak,” Ali Akbar Velayati said in an address to a webinar held to discuss Ayatollah Khamenei’s views on the Karabakh region. “The people of Azerbaijan are capable of liberating their land and the presence of Wahhabi terrorists in north of Iran’s borders [with Azerbaijan] will be fruitless.”

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عندما تعود أذربيجان «سوفياتيّة» وأرمينيا إلى بيت الطاعة

محمد صادق الحسيني

بعيداً عن كلام الإعلام واستعراض الشاشات…

اتفاق قره باغ الثلاثيّ بين موسكو وباكو ويريفان،

ليس هو الإنجاز الذي كانت ترمي اليه أذربيجان تماماً، لكنه الهزيمة المرّة الأكيدة لتركيا العثمانية الأطلسية المتغطرسة وارتياحاً واسعاً لإيران، ونجاحاً باهراً لروسيا…

فوقف القتال في القوقاز الجنوبي سيفضي عملياً حسب مصادر وثيقة الصلة بالنزاع الى ما يلي:

هذه هي خلاصة ما حصل من توافق بين قادة روسيا وأرمينيا وأذربيجان في الساعات الماضية حول قره باغ.

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استرجاع الأذربيجانيّين أراضيهم المحتلة منذ نحو 30 عاماً.

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عودة نحو مليون مهجّر أذربيجاني الى بيوتهم وأوطانهم.

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استعادة قره باغ موقعها كإقليم خاص داخل أذربيجان كما كان منذ عهد ستالين.

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عودة أرمينيا الى بيت الطاعة الروسيّ بعد أن حاولت عبر نفوذ غربي أميركي أن تخرج من الفضاء الروسي هلى الطريقة الجورجيّة.

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خروج أردوغان الأطلسي من الفضاء الروسي القوقازي بخفي حنين.

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تحصين الروس لسلطات نفوذهم العميقة أصلاً في أذربيجان سواء في أركان القيادة العسكرية الأذربيجانية او من خلال السيدة مهربان زوجة علييف ونائبة الرئيس المعروفة بميلها الروسيّ المعتق.

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تحصين النفوذ الروسي في عالم الطاقة القوقازي من خلال مشروع ربط الغاز التركماني الذي اشترته موسكو بخط الغاز الأذربيجاني الذي يمرّ من جورجيا وعلى تخوم حدود أرمينيا الشماليّة.

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استعادة روسيا موقعها المركزي في مجموعة بلدان حوض الخزر (بحر الخزر أو بحر قزوين) كطرف أساسي ومؤثر بالشراكة مع إيران.

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إعادة الزخم لعلاقاتها الاستراتيجية مع إيران بعد أن ساهمت في إطفاء نار الغدر واحتمالات العدوان على الأمن القومي الإيراني من بوابة اللعب بالصراع العرقي على حدودها الشمالية.

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تأديب تركيا وتقليم أظافرها في أذربيجان من خلال العمل الفعلي والجادّ على جدولة خروج مستشاريها وقواتها من باكو ومعها المستشارون الإسرائيليون وكلّ ما استقدم من رجال عصابات إرهابيّة الى منطقة النزاع.

كل ذلك سيحصل من خلال وجود عسكريّ روسيّ سيبدأ بآلاف المراقبين الروس ومئات المدرّعات ولا يعلم مدى حجمه المستقبليّ إلا الله والراسخون في علم الفضاء السوفياتي.

لقد صبرت موسكو كثيراً على قيادة يريفان التي حاولت التمرّد على الفضاء الروسي.

وصبرت أكثر على قيادة باكو وحليفها التركيّ المستجدّ والدخيل على الفضاء الروسيّ في القوقاز منذ ان حسمت معارك الحرب العالمية الثانية طبيعة هذا الفضاء الاستراتيجيّ.

كما استطاعت موسكو أن تعمل بتؤدة وبخبرة عالية أمنية وعسكرية وسياسية وديبلوماسية اكتسبتها من الميدان السوريّ، أن تؤمن ظهرها بالحليف الإيراني وتمنحه جائزة ترضية في حدوده الشمالية من دون أن يخوض حرباً مكلفة لأجل ذلك في القوقاز.

ومسك الختام كان عملها الدؤوب والحثيث لتحضير كلّ ذلك بعيداً عن الواجهة المحتدمة للصراع من أجل اقتناص اللحظة الاستراتيجية العالمية لفرض التسوية الإقليمية لهذا الصراع الناريّ والعدو الأميركي في لحظة انشغال وانهماك في استحقاقاته الانتخابيّة وتداعياتها التي جعلته يتخبط في مستنقع اللامعقول والشلل الاستراتيجيّ.

درس لكل مَن يريد أن يعتبر كيف يتم حسم معركة كبرى مفروضة عليه، من دون إطلاق رصاصة واحدة، اللهم عدا الطوافة العسكرية التي سقطت قرباناً للإعلان عن الصفقة…!

هي السنن الكونية والأقدار يحصد نتائجها مَن يتقن السباحة في بحرها.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

International Reaction to Turkey’s Aggressive Foreign Policy Approach

05.11.2020 Author: Valery Kulikov

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According to numerous observers, the “aggressive approach” the Turkish leader R. Erdogan implies in Turkey’s foreign policy every day evokes more and more hostility and opposition across the world.

It is through the fault of Ankara that many of the faded conflicts have flared up with renewed vigor lately. Thus, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey is striving for shelf hydrocarbons, causing a wave of indignation not only from Greece, but also from the European Union. And although the clash of interests here has not yet reached outright bloodshed, nevertheless, Turkey is no longer shy about ramming opponents with their ships and vessels. This, in turn, causes an increase in the degree of tensions both within the EU and between NATO member states, the outcome of which so far few can predict. The drift towards divisions is on in spite of Washington’s calls to all NATO member states urging them to “keep Turkey in the West.”

After the terrorist attack on October 16 in the Paris suburbs of Conflans-Saint-Honorine, when an 18-year-old Islamist, motivated by religious enmity, killed a school history and geography teacher, a new diplomatic scandal erupted between Turkey and France, which significantly increased tensions between these countries in Libya, where they support opposing sides of the conflict.

Numerous media voices are increasingly citing factual evidence of Ankara’s intervention in the Libyan conflict, and not only in the form of supplying weapons there in violation of the imposed international embargo, but also sending numerous mercenaries from the war zone in Syria.

Recently, the growing criticism of Turkey on sending mercenaries not only to Syria and Libya, but also to the Karabakh conflict zone, has been confirmed by the intelligence services of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries. As a result, today no one, including Turkey itself, can claim that in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it acts as an impartial or neutral party, since it views this conflict as an opportunity to expand its influence in another neighboring region, the Southern Caucasus.

The summit of the EU states, which ended in late October, condemned the aggressive rhetoric and actions of Turkey aimed at the EU states, and the head of the European Council Charles Michel indicated that the EU leaders would discuss further actions with regard to Turkey at the planned summit in December. “We have expressed our determination to make Ankara respect us. Turkey has not yet chosen a positive path in relations with the EU. We condemn the recent unilateral actions of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, provocations and aggressive rhetoric against the EU countries, which is absolutely unacceptable,” Charles Michel said on October 29 following the EU summit held in the video conference format.

NATO also declares its “bewilderment” by Turkey’s actions, openly hinting to Erdogan about “unpleasant moments” and readiness to take a tougher position with regard to Ankara.

Today Turkey has strained its relations with many countries. In addition to the deepening conflict with the United States (after the acquisition and testing of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system), France, Greece and the EU as a whole, the list of Turkey’s “opponents” includes Israel (due to the conflict over the Palestinian problem), Syria (where Erdogan introduced Turkish troops), Iran (with which Ankara has intensified contradictions because of Erdogan’s actions in Syria), Saudi Arabia (relations with which have especially worsened because of the “Khashoggi case”). Even with the United Arab Emirates Erdogan’s conflict has become so widespread that this struggle unfolds from Morocco to Syria, most fiercely manifesting itself in the field of “soft power”, with mutual accusations of seeking to destabilize the Arab world. The Arab monarchies are particularly concerned about Ankara’s policy in the Persian Gulf, where Turkish troops are now stationed in Qatar, another Turkish base is located in Somalia, and Erdogan himself actively supports and finances the Muslim Brotherhood religious and political movement (banned in Russia – ed.) , to which the monarchies of the Gulf are more than wary.

As a result, as noted not only by the Western, but other regional media, Erdogan risks isolating his country from both the West and Arabs with Persians. “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that he has no desire to be a bridge between Europe and the Arab world. Instead, he decided to reshape Turkey in line with its imperial past and make it a competitor to the two regions,” UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash is being cited.

In response to the aggressiveness of Erdogan’s policy, France has already called off its ambassador from Turkey “for consultations”. The Canadian government, after the Bombardier Recreational Products company “unexpectedly” learned that its engines were being installed on the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 (“Flag Bearer”) operational tactical attack drones (these has been actively used in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh), took the decision to stop supplying them, as well as other weapons to Turkey. Canada stressed that “the use of attack drones by Turkey often goes beyond the framework of agreements within the NATO format.”

For its part, Turkey has no choice but to launch its own production of engines for Turkish drones, or to intensify military-technical cooperation with Ukraine in this regard, which was indirectly confirmed in the speeches of representatives of the industrial and business circles of Turkey, in particular, Turkish Aerospace Industries.

Against the backdrop of these events, the fall of the Turkish lira became uncontrollable, and Ankara no longer has the resources to keep the situation under control. Since the beginning of the year, the lira has fallen by 39% against the US dollar, which has become the worst indicator dynamics among all currencies in Eurasia, despite the fact that the dollar this year is clearly not up to par. The savings of the Turkish state itself continue to fall: according to the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Turkey has spent about $130 billion from its reserves over the past year and a half. At the same time, the reserves do not cease to decline, and if in the summer their volume reached $90 billion, now they have dropped below $80 billion. The situation is complicated by the need to fight the current economic crisis. In addition, unemployment in the country approached 14%, and among young people it reached 25%.

According to the forecasts of the former IMF Managing Director Desmond Lachman, in the event of a liquidity crisis in the world, Turkey will become one of the first countries to declare a default. Under these conditions, in order to mitigate the consequences of the recession, the state again has to borrow a lot from foreign creditors, but because of Erdogan’s aggressive policy, reliable friends (except, perhaps, Ukraine, whose situation is even worse), to whom you can turn for loans, today are getting more and more scarce…

Valery Kulikov, a political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

TURKISH RISK INVESTMENTS IN LOCAL CONFLICTS AND PROSPECTS OF ARMENIAN COUNTER-OFFENSIVE IN KARABAKH

South Front

In early November, the Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in the directions of the Lachin corridor and the town of Shusha in the Nagorno-Karabakh region slowed down.

The main factors are the fierce resistance of Armenian forces, the complicated terrain, deteriorating weather conditions and overextended communications that run through recently captured territories, where Armenian sabotage units are still able to deliver regular attacks. 9 villages, the capturing of which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced recently, are in fact located inside the territory captured by Azerbaijani forces earlier. This showcases the lack of progress of Baku’s forces in the recent battles.

Commenting on this situation, Armenian sources argue that right now Yerevan has been preparing a powerful counter-attack to push the Azerbaijanis out of the south of Karabakh. The only factor that allegedly stops Armenia from such a move right now is the commitment of the Armenians to the reached ceasefire agreements that Baku blatantly violates.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side continues to regularly release updates about the losses of Azerbaijan in the conflict. The Azerbaijani military allegedly lost 10 UAVs, 21 armoured vehicles, and 103 soldiers in recent clashes. While the high casualties of the sides are not a secret and widely confirmed by visual evidence regularly appearing from the ground, the claims that the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc somehow lost the strategic initiative in the war are at least overestimated. Azerbaijani artillery, combat drones and even warplanes still regularly pound fortified positions, manpower and military equipment of the defending forces. The Armenians do not have enough means and measures to protect its supply columns and manpower from regular and intense airstrikes.

As of November 3, Azerbaijani forces supported by the Turks and Turkish-backed Syrian militants are still deployed within striking distance of Lachin and Shusha. The loss of any of these points may mark the collapse of the entire Armenian defense in the area. Any large Armenian counter-attack, if it does not deliver a rapid and devastating blow to the Turkish-Azerbaijani forces, will likely not allow to achieve a strategic success. Instead, it will uncover the existing Armenian units and increase the number of casualties from air and artillery strikes. The dominance in the air also means an advantage in reconnaissance and target accusation. In these conditions, small regular counter-attacks mostly aimed at disturbing the advancing Azerbaijani-Turkish units, and undermining their efforts to secure the newly captured positions, look more likely. Despite the lack of notable Azerbaijani gains in recent days, the Armenian defense is still in crisis and, if Ankara and Baku succeed in securing communications and regrouping their forces, the new push towards the Lachin-Shusha-Stepanakert triangle seems to be inevitable.

The diplomatic attempts to de-escalate the conflict have so far led to little progress as Turkey and Azerbaijan feel themselves too close to the desired military victory. President Aliyev wants to write his name down in history as the leader that returned Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan, while his Turkish counterpart Erdogan sees himself as the sultan of the New Ottoman Empire, pretending be the leader of the entire Turkic world and even wider – of all the muslims in the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia.

The entire Turkish foreign policy of previous years was a policy of aggressive advances, confrontations and raising bets. This led to particular diplomatic and economic problems on the international scene and undermined the Turkish national economy. However, it looks like the Turkish leadership believes that the potential revenue of turning the Neo-Ottoman and pan-Turkic declarations into a hard reality will generate revenue of such a scale that it would allow to compensate for existing tactical difficulties. Therefore, the Turkish-Azerbaijani stance towards the further confrontation in Karabakh is not something surprising.

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Large Iranian Armored Unit Spotted Moving Towards Nagorno-Karabakh Border (Photos, Video)

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Armenia releases new video of captured Syrian mercenary

By News Desk -2020-11-01

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – On Sunday, the Armenian Ministry of Defense published a video clip documenting the interrogation of a person who was said to be a Syrian militant who was captured in the Karabakh region after he participated in the hostilities on the side of Azerbaijan.

The captured man who appears in the tape said that he is called, Yousef Al-Abed Al-Hajji, who is from the village of Al-Ziyadiyah, located in the countryside of Jisr Al-Shughour of the Idlib Governorate, adding that he was born in 1988 and married with five children.

The man stated that he had arrived in Karabakh to fight the “infidels”. He was supposed to receive a salary of $2,000 month, in addition to a reward of $100 for the beheading of an “infidel.”

The Armenian Ministry of Defense previously published recorded confessions of another person who also claimed to be a Syrian militant who had been recruited to take part in the fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani sides have previously exchanged accusations of using foreign militants in Karabakh during the current round of military escalation in the disputed Karabakh region.

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الصراع بين موسكو وأنقرة يشتدّ.. ماذا بقي من تفاهمات؟

المصدر: الميادين

31 تشرين اول 23:07

بوتين لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا ونفذ صبره من ممارسات تركيا

تبدو العلاقة الروسية التركية وكأنها تتجه إلى التوتر في ظل صراع يشتد حول الأزمات المختلف عليها، بما في ذلك الأزمتان السورية والليبية. فهل ستطغى الخلافات على التفاهمات، وتتعمق الفجوة بين الجانبين؟

لروسيا وتركيا مصلحة في إقامة علاقة جيدة بينهما، وفي تجنب صدامٍ مباشر. لكنّ المصالح تتقاطع، فكلٌ يسعى إلى مزيد من النفوذ إقليمياً، وللدولتين موطئ قدم في سوريا وليبيا، أبرز بؤر التوتر، حيث الخلاف بينهما حول الأزمتين منذ سنوات.

في الأولى، يبدو الخلاف في تصاعد، حيث أن موسكو تضرب “فيلق الشام” المدعوم من أنقرة، فترسل بذلك رسالة مفادها أن الروس مستاؤون من تحركات تركيا إقليمياً. كأنما تريد روسيا بذلك أن تقول: “إن نقل المسلحين إلى القوقاز خط أحمر”. وفي ذلك أيضاً، تكثيف للضغوط على تركيا، لتقوم بسحب ثلاث نقاط مراقبة في جوار إدلب.

تركيا من جهتها، تعرب عن سخطها العميق، من تلك الغارة الروسية في إدلب، ورئيسها رجب طيب إردوغان يتهم موسكو في خطاب له، “بعدم الرغبة في السعي لتحقيق السلام في سوريا”.

الرئيس التركي من جهته لا يُبدي استعداداً لانسحاب قواته من إدلب وشمال سوريا، إلا بعد حلّ نهائي للأزمة. وثمّة شرط آخر هو طلب الشعب السوري ذلك، على حد تعبيره. فهل يتجه البلدان إلى وضع متأزم بينهما، كذاك الذي شهداه بعد إسقاط الأتراك مقاتلة روسية، أو ربما حتى أكثر تأزماً؟

قد يكون لنفاد صبر بوتين واندفاع إردوغان، ما يدفع في هذا الاتجاه. وللرئيس التركي ورقةٌ أخرى، هي النفوذ في ليبيا التي تمثل وجهاً آخر للصراع.

وفي سياق توتر العلاقات الروسية التركية، يأتي تراجع رئيس حكومة الوفاق الوطني الليبية فايز السراج عن استقالته من رئاسة الحكومة، ما قد يعيد الأزمة الليبية إلى الوراء، ويهدد بنسف جهود إيجاد حل سياسي.

كذلك، تتسع الفجوة بين الروس والأتراك، رغم حاجة الواحد منهما إلى الآخر، فكلاهما يبحث عن مكاسب تعزز مصالحه، وكلاهما يخشى على نفسه من تقزيم نفوذه.

محلي للميادين: صبر بوتين نفذ من ممارسات تركيا في سوريا

وعن توتر العلاقة الروسية التركية، رأى الخبير في الشؤون التركية حسني محلي في حديث للميادين، أن الرئيس الروسي لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا. ولفت إلى أن هناك قلق روسي جدي من الدور التركي المحتمل في القوقاز.

وفيما أشار إلى أن صبر بوتين نفد من ممارسات تركيا، إلا أن محلي أعرب عن اعتقاده بأن إردوغان لن يتراجع في سوريا، على الرغم من التفاهمات التي عقدها مع بوتين.

كذلك تساءل محلي: “ماذا فعلت موسكو أمام سيطرة أذربيجان على مساحات مهمة في ناغورنو كاراباخ بدعم تركي؟”. 

واعتبر أنه لا يمكن لتركيا أن تتخلى عن الولايات المتحدة خصوصاً في ظل الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تمر بها.

كما أشار محلي إلى أن واشنطن وبرلين ساهمتا في نجاح التفاهمات الليبية-الليبية.

أوغلو للميادين: القوقاز جبهة صراع بين موسكو وأنقرة

بدوره، رأى الكاتب والباحث في الشؤون السياسية التركية فراس أوغلو، في حديث للميادين أن هناك فرق واضح في القدرات العسكرية والاستراتيجية بين روسيا وتركيا.

وقال أوغلو، إن القوقاز هي جبهة صراع واضحة بين روسيا وتركيا لاعتبارات عديدة. واعتبر أنه بإمكان تركيا المناورة بين الجانبين الأميركي والروسي “وتبقى فائزة”، على حدّ تعبيره.

كما تناول أوغلو ما يجري بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، ورأى أن الجو الاستراتيجي الآن يناسب أذربيجان لاستعادة أراضيها.

كما رأى أن أرمينيا تتحول إلى نقطة متقدمة لفرنسا وأميركا، “وهذا الأمر ترفضه روسيا وتركيا”، وفق أوغلو.

Russia and Turkey, Has Putin Lost Patience?

October 31, 2020 Arabi Souri

Putin and Erdogan: Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Ukraine, Crimea

Putin and Assad have lost patience with Erdogan and the Turkish position in Syria that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The American campaigns and harassment targeting Russia through Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and the war in Nagorno-Karabakh continue, which has a negative impact on Moscow’s internal security and its national economy. In this context, Vladimir Putin found himself compelled to be more firm and decisive in his dialogue with “friend and ally” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was evident in the contents of the phone call between them last Tuesday evening, as Putin expressed “his grave concern about the continued increasing involvement of terrorists” from the Middle East in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, “according to the Kremlin statement.

And the ‘Middle East’ here is a comprehensive term that Putin may have intended without specifically talking about Syria, after the information that began to talk about the transfer of Syrian and non-Syrian mercenaries from Libya and other places to Azerbaijan, which Tehran also expressed its concern about, with the talk of some Turkish national officials circles said that the Azeris should be incited inside Iran, on the pretext that they are of Turkish origin.

Putin’s warnings related to Syria’s developments acquire additional importance, given their timeliness, which came after a series of Turkish positions that bothered Moscow recently, as the information talked about pressure from President Erdogan on Fayez al-Sarraj and the armed factions that support him, to reject the US-German initiatives to stop the fighting and reach final reconciliation, which will mean the removal of the Turkish forces, experts and Syrian mercenaries loyal to Ankara from Libya.

This information also talked about Turkish pressure on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev not to accept any truce brokered by Russia, America, or Iran, unless Armenia and these countries agree to Turkey’s participation in the future course of the Karabakh crisis, as is the case in Syria and Libya.

Media circles in Moscow view Putin’s style as indicating “important indicators that prove his impatience, after he was finally convinced that Erdogan will not abide by any of his promises and pledges to him in Sochi on September 17, 2018, and in the Moscow agreement on March 5 about Idlib, “the latter has over the past period confronted all Russian pressure, strengthened his military presence in Idlib, prevented the Syrian army from approaching it, and increased his massive military aid to all armed factions in the region.

He also exploited his military presence, supported by tens of thousands of Syrian and foreign militants in Idlib and the western Euphrates in general, and he succeeded in convincing Putin to allow him to enter the east of the Euphrates as well. In more than one speech, Erdogan stressed that he would not withdraw from Idlib, and from northern Syria in general, except after the final solution to the Syrian crisis, on condition that the Syrian people ask him to do so.

In his speech to members of the parliamentary bloc of his party (Wednesday), Erdogan did not forget to condemn the Russian raids that targeted the training center of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham), saying, “Russia’s attack on a training center for the Syrian National Army in the Idlib region is a clear indication that it does not want lasting peace and stability in Syria.”

According to the preliminary data, the next few days suggest exciting developments in Russian-Turkish relations, which seem to have entered a new path after the air operation that targeted a training center for the militants of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham) loyal to Erdogan near the borders with Turkey, which adopts this faction and all the factions in the region. Turkey has mobilized additional forces with all heavy weapons to meet all possibilities, while Russian pressure continues to withdraw three Turkish observation points besieged by the Syrian army in the vicinity of Idlib “as soon as possible.”

180 Faylaq Al-Sham Terrorists Killed and Injured by a Russian Airstrike in Idlib

https://www.syrianews.cc/180-faylaq-al-sham-terrorists-killed-and-injured-by-a-russian-airstrike-in-idlib/embed/#?secret=3y0nAKnx57

It seems clear that Erdogan rejects such pressure after he was subjected to violent criticism from some armed factions, who accused him of “betrayal and abandoning their cause” after the withdrawal from Morek, which led to the fighting between the pro-Turkish factions.

He will also not accept such a situation, which some will consider the beginning of his defeat in Syria, with continued Russian pressure on him to resolve the Idlib issue and ensure the future of Russian-Turkish relations with all its important elements, which began with Erdogan’s apology from Putin on 27 June 2016 regarding the shooting down of the Russian plane on November 24, 2015, two months after the entry of Russian forces into Syria.

Some military circles do not hide the possibility of a new heated confrontation between the two parties in Syria after it has become clear that Putin will not rest anymore with Erdogan’s policies in the Caucasus, which are much more dangerous for Russia, which borders the Islamic autonomous republics and which borders Azerbaijan. And Putin said in his recent phone call about this region, “Turkey is transferring militants from the Middle East to it,” they may include Chechens and Uighurs, and they are many in Syria.

Here, the bet begins on President Putin’s practical possible position in the event that Erdogan continues in his current position rejecting his demands in Libya and Syria, and most importantly in the Caucasus, with the approaching date of the American elections with all the surprises awaiting the Turkish president, who will then think about a new formula in his regional and international moves, to help him in facing Russian and European pressures, after his crisis with President Macron, supported by European countries, especially Germany, which does not hide its annoyance over Erdogan’s efforts to obstruct its initiative with Washington and the United Nations in Libya, which may require the latter to return to the American embrace, to confront all these harassments, which he seems indifferent to because he believes that he has more bargaining chips in his challenges with everyone, especially Russia, the historical and traditional enemy of the Ottoman and the Republic Turkey, a day after speaking to Putin, he affirmed his country’s determination to move forward with steady steps according to its own vision and agenda, regardless of what the other parties say and do.

This explains the pro-Erdogan media attack on Russia and Iran together, accusing them of supporting the Armenians against Turkey and Azerbaijan, which is what Erdogan talks about from time to time, in a traditional attempt to provoke the Turkish nationalism, Ottoman and religious feelings of the Turkish people.

He also seeks to mobilize the solidarity of all Islamists in the world with him, after he took a violent stand against the French President Macron regarding his hostility to Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Erdogan achieved such solidarity in the early years of the “Arab Spring”, as he declared himself the defender of Muslims against “Shiite” Iran and “infidel” Russia, and the Christian West, which was with him at that time and is now a sworn enemy of him.

Erdogan and Macron, Wait for more Escalation and Surprises

https://www.syrianews.cc/erdogan-and-macron-wait-for-more-escalation-and-surprises/embed/#?secret=joFH9NK4LM

European circles do not hide now their concern about Erdogan’s approach, and they see it as incitement to all Islamists, especially the extremists who live in Europe, which affects all Islamists in the world, including Russia, which has about 25 million Muslims of Turkish origin. They enjoy Ankara’s attention, covertly and overtly, as is the case with Erdogan’s support for the Muslim minority in the Crimean peninsula that was retaken by Russia, his repeated rejection of this, and his efforts to develop strategic military relations with Ukraine.

There is no doubt that this position disturbs Moscow, which has become clear that it is preparing for a new phase in its relations with Ankara, in the event that it continues its tactics that have become embarrassing to Putin in his relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has also lost his patience with the Turkish position that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

Circles close to the Kremlin expect that Putin will wait for the appropriate opportunity to do an “important practical something” against all Turkish moves, interests, and calculations in Syria, as it is the arena of Russian-Turkish convergence since 2016, which President Erdogan has exploited so that this square will be a starting point for all his political, historical, strategical, and ideological projects, which had it not been for President Putin and the green light granted by him, he would not have been lucky in achieving any of his goals.

The bet remains on the red light that Putin may illuminate at any moment for Erdogan after his last yellow light (80 members of the Levant Legion were killed). And it has become clear that it will repeat itself more than once during the coming period, before Putin’s patience is completely exhausted, and he is convinced that Erdogan is in a position that does not help him with more maneuvers to obstruct the final solution to the Syrian crisis, a possibility that many are betting on as the Turkish president continues to challenge all of them, as long as he believes that he is stronger than everyone else, otherwise, he would not have ruled Turkey for 18 years, despite all his enemies abroad, as he got rid of all his enemies at home, after he succeeded in changing the political system (after the failed coup attempt in July 2016), he controlled all state facilities and apparatus and became the absolute ruler of the country, and his media says that the world fears him!

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Azerbaijani Troops Are At Gates Of Capital Of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

South Front

The Nagorno-Karabakh war has apparently been developing in the favor of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc. On the evening of October 29, the Armenian side confirmed that Azerbaijani troops have almost reached the second largest town in Nagorno-Karabakh – Shusha, which is located just a few km from the capital of the self-proclaimed republic – Stepanakert. Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of the republic, called on Armenians to take arms to defend their homeland.

“Shusha is not just a town, it is the symbol of the determination of the Armenian people to live in their own cradle, a symbol of the victories of the Armenian people. Shusha is the beating heart of all Armenians. As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Artsakh, I once again call on each and every one of you to unite and defend our Shusha, our Artsakh, our national dignity,” he said.

Azerbaijani infantry reportedly outflanked defense positions of the Armenians near Hadrut and deployed about 5km from Shusha. The presence of forward units of Azerbaijani forces in such an area is another signal of the hard situation on the frontline for Armenian forces. While the Armenians have likely been able to repel the first Azerbaijani push towards the Lachin corridor, near the border with Armenia, the advancing Azerbaijani troops are still a major problem for the defenders of Karabakh on other parts of the frontline.

The Defense Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh confirmed clashes south of Shusha saying that Armenian units have been working to eliminate enemy sabotage groups. This official version of events sounds at least concerning for the defenders of the city. Independent Armenian sources report intense fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces south of the town. If the Armenians lose Shusha, this will mean that Azerbaijani forces are at the gates of the Nagorno-Karabakh capital.

Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry released its own map of the situation on the frontline. According to it, the Azerbaijani military is still far away from Shusha. Furthermore, it shows that Hadrut still mysteriously remains in the hands of Armenians forces. At the same time, the Armenian conter-attack on Qubdali that forced the Azerbaijani military to withdraw from the town turning it into a gray zone was underreported. The Armenians also denied the shooting down of two of its Su-25 warplanes claimed by the Azerbaijani military. According to Azerbaijan these warplanes “attempted to inflict airstrikes on the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the Qubadli direction of the front” and were shot down. No visual evidence to confirm the shooting down of the Su-25s has been provided so far.

On the other hand, the Azerbaijani side released a series of videos showing successful strikes on Armenian forces in the contested region. The strikes seen in the videos targeted more than 27 posts and gatherings of Armenian troops as well as the following equipment: 5 D-20 howitzers, a D-30 howitzer, 2 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, a BM-21 multiple rocket launcher, 2 trucks, a SUV, a P-18 Radar and a Communication center. Most of the strikes seen in the videos were carried out with Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drones. The rest were apparently carried out with precision-guided rockets, like the Israeli-made ACCULAR and EXTRA, which are known to be in service with the Azerbaijani military.

By the end of October, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc has surely seized the strategic initiative in the conflict and overcome Armenian attempts to recapture it. Now, Baku with help from its Turkish allies are planning to deliver the devastating blow to the Armenian defenders of Karabakh. At the same time, the leadership of Armenia is still playing diplomatic games and not hurrying up to send its regular troops to assist the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Related Vdeos

Azerbaijani forces use white phosphorus over Karabakh: video
Azerbaijani forces destroy Russian-made missile system in Karabakh: video
Moment Armenian troops ambush Azerbaijani special forces: video

Related News

ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI WAR – ONE MONTH AFTER

South Front

Video: Armenian-Azerbaijani War - One Month After - Global Research
Video Here

After a month of war, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc continues to keep the initiative in the conflict, exploiting its advantage in air power, artillery, military equipment and manpower. The coming days are likely to show whether Ankara and Baku are able to deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces in Karabakh in the nearest future or not. If Armenian forces repel the attack on Lachin, a vital supply route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, they will win the opportunity to survive till the moment when the ‘international community’ finally takes some real steps to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan enough to force them to stop the ongoing advance. If this does not happen, the outcome of the war seems to be predetermined.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces continue their advance in the region amid the failed US-sponsored ceasefire regime. Their main goal is Lachin. In fact, they have been already shelling the supply route with rocket launchers and artillery. The distance of 12-14km at which they were located a few days ago already allowed this. Now, reports appear that various Azerbaijani units are at a distance of about 5-8 km from the corridor. Armenian forces are trying to push Azerbaijani troops back, but with little success so far.

The advance is accompanied by numerous Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces are regularly shelling civilian targets and that the ongoing advance is the way to deter them. Baku reported on the evening of October 27 that at least four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded in Armenian strikes on Goranboy, Tartar and Barda. On the morning of October 28, the Armenians allegedly shelled civilian targets in Tovuz, Gadabay, Dashkesan, and Gubadl.

On the morning of October 28, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that in response to these Armenian violations its forces had eliminated a large number of enemy forces, an “OSA” air-defense system, 3 BM-21 «Grad» rocket launchers, 6 D-30, 5 D-20, and 1 D-44 howitzers, 2 2A36 «Giatsint-B» artillery guns, a 120 mm mortar, a “Konkurs” anti-tank missile and 6 auto vehicles.

On October 27, Azerbaijani sources also released a video allegedly showing the assassination of Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan by a drone strike. Azerbaijani sources claim that he was killed. These reports were denied by the Armenian side, which insisted that the prominent commander was only injured. Nonetheless, the Karabakh leadership appointed Mikael Arzumanyan as the new defense minister of the self-proclaimed republic.

On the evening of October 27 , the Armenian Defense Ministry released a map showing their version of the situation in the contested region. Even according to this map, Armenian forces have lost almost the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces are close to the Lachin corridor. An interesting fact is that the Armenians still claim that the town of Hadrut is in their hands. According to them, small ‘enemy units’ reach the town, take photos and then run away.

Al-Hadath TV also released a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militants captured during the clashes. Now, there is not only visual evidence confirming the presence of members of Turkish-backed militant groups in the conflict zone, but also actual Syrian militants in the hands of Armenian forces.

Experts who monitor the internal political situation in Armenia say that in recent days the Soros-grown team of Pashinyan has changed its rhetoric towards a pro-Russian agenda. Many prominent members of the current Pashinyan government and the Prime Minister himself spent the last 10 years pushing a pro-Western agenda. After seizing power as a result of the coup in 2018, they then put much effort into damaging relations with Russia and turned Armenia into a de-facto anti-Russian state. This undermined Armenian regional security and created the conditions needed for an Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in Karabakh. Now, the Pashinyan government tries to rescue itself by employing some ‘pro-Russian rhetoric’. It even reportedly asked second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to participate in negotiations with Russia as a member of the Armenian delegation. It should be noted that the persecution of Kocharyan that led to his arrest in June 2019 was among the first steps taken by Pashinyan after he seized power. Kocharyan was only released from prison in late June 2020. Despite these moves in the face of a full military defeat in Karabakh, the core ideology of the Pashinyan government remains the same (anti-Russian, pro-Western and NATO-oriented). Therefore, even if Moscow rescues Armenia in Karabkah, the current Armenian leadership will continue supporting the same anti-Russian policy.

Related

AZERBAIJAN IS IN ANGER. ARMENIANS OPEN FIRE AT ITS TROOPS PEACEFULLY ADVANCING IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH

South Front

Azerbaijan Is In Anger. Armenians Open Fire At Its Troops Peacefully  Advancing In Nagorno-Karabakh: izwest — LiveJournal
Video Here

The US-brokered humanitarian ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh collapsed immediately after its start on the morning of October 26. Clashes between the sides did not stop even for a minute and Yerevan and Baku immediately accused each other of sabotaging the peace efforts.

As of the evening of October 26, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan officially stated that the US-brokered ceasefire failed, while Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that “the mediators must either achieve the withdrawal of occupying forces, or move away from the path of Baku”. It seems that the estimation of the Karabakh conflict as an ‘easy case’ by US President Donald Trump did not stand the test of reality.

In a separate statement, the Azerbaijani President said that Turkish F-16 jets, which are deployed in Azerbaijan (just a few days ago the top leadership of Turkey and Azerbaijan was denying this) will be employed to protect his country in response to any act of ‘foreign aggression’. It is interesting to look how the official narrative of Azerbaijan and Turkey has been shifting from claims about Turkish non-involvement in the war to admitting the direct military participation of Ankara in the military escalation. The town of Qubadli and nearby villages were also captured by Azerbaijan as its media and diplomats were blaming Armenians for ceasefire violations.

Apparently, the coward Armenian forces violate the ceasefire regime by attacking the peacefully advancing Azerbaijani troops. The setbacks in the south of Karabakh was confirmed by the Armenian Defense Ministry, but insisted that the situation is still under full control. If this is under full control, it’s hard to imagine how the Armenian side sees the variant of the situation when all is not under control.

During the past days, the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc continued its advance towards the Lachin corridor, a strategic area where the shortest route between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is located. According to reports, after the recent gains Azerbaijani troops are now about 10-12km from the area. Azerbaijani forces are now working to secure their recent gains and establish strong points there. After this, they will likely establish fire control over the route thus undermining the Armenian ability to send supplies to Karabakh. Then, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc will likely push towards Stepanakert.

Armenian sources ease the retreats with regular statements about the losses of Azerbaijan accompanied by videos and photos from the ground. For example, on October 26, the Armenian Defense Ministry released a new report claiming that Azerbaijan lost 6,674 troops, 600 armoured vehicles, 6 rocket launchers, 24 planes, 16 helicopters and 220 UAVs since the start of the conflict. While the numbers provided by both sides are expectedly overestimated, the evidence demonstrates that Azerbaijani forces in fact suffered notable casualties in their advance on Karabakh. The problem for Yerevan is that Armenian forces experienced losses of similar or even higher scale.

Members of Turkish-backed militant groups that remain in Syria and are yet to move to some conflict zone to die for Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman dream also suffer hard times. At least 78 Turkish-backed militants were killed and over 100 others were injured in a recent series of Russian airstrikes on their training camps and HQs in the Syrian region of Idlib. The main strikes targeted a former air defense base of the Syrian Army near Al-Duvayla. This area is controlled by Turkish-backed militants and the former military base itself is currently a training camp for members of Faylaq ash-Sham. Syrian sources link the increased number of Russian strikes on Turkish proxies in Syria with their deployment to the Nagorno-Karabakh combat zone to support Azerbaijan.

Russia sees the increase of the presence of radical militant groups there as an unacceptable scenario. It is likely that this lies behind the recent decrease of reports and evidence on the deployment of Turkish proxies from Syria to Karabakh. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc estimate the risks and prefers to avoid the situation of the involvement of some third power in the conflict on the side of the Armenians.

Related

Turkey to Send Troops to Combat Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 23, 2020

Like the US, Turkey’s Erdogan pursues interests at the expense of peace and stability.

He favors war for extending Turkey’s borders to further his neo-Ottoman aims.

He, his family members and regime profited earlier from stolen Syrian oil.

He gave ISIS and other terrorists safe haven in Turkish territory, providing them with weapons, other material support, and a launching pad for attacks on Syrian soldiers and civilians.

Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state — speech, media and academic freedoms they way they should be banned.

So is dissent. Anyone publicly criticizing or insulting him risks prosecution for terrorism, espionage or treason, including children.

As long as he doesn’t act against US interests, as a NATO member and in other ways, his tyrannical rule and regional destabilizing actions are tolerated — if only barely.

On Wednesday, his Vice President Fuat Oktay said Ankara is ready to send troops to back Azerbaijan’s war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below).

In response to Turkey’s deployment of armed and directed jihadists to combat Armenian forces in NK, the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on regional countries to unite against them and their Turkish paymaster.

“Regretably (they) have not responded to this reality seriously enough yet,” Pashinyan added.

“It is beyond doubt that the presence of foreign terrorists will pose a threat to the region in the future.”

“The region’s countries must deal with this issue more seriously.”

The Erdogan regime is also involved militarily in NK by providing Baku with command and control services, training of its military forces, and heavy weapons for warmaking.

He and hardliners surrounding him support war, not resolution in NK.

Pashinyan stressed it, saying “the Karabakh question…cannot have a diplomatic solution.”

“Everything that is diplomatically acceptable to the Armenian side…is not acceptable to Azerbaijan…”

Baku’s ruling authorities intend endless war until Armenian forces are driven from NK — no matter the human toll, according to comments from its leadership.Turkey’s Involvement in Nagorno-Karabakh

As Azeri forces advance, civilians in harm’s way are caught in the crossfire.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that they’ve taken control of areas bordering Iran and Armenia’s international border — increasing the risk of conflict spilling into both countries.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan accused Azerbaijan of sending “small…subversive groups…into villages and towns, film(ing) themselves there, spread(ing) those images…to feed their society. But, unfortunately, this also affects us.”

While conflict continues, foreign ministers of both warring sides will meet with Trump regime’s Pompeo for talks in Washington on Friday.

Yet on Tuesday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said the following:

“We are fighting on our own land, giving martyrs and restoring our territorial integrity. These steps will continue to be taken.”

“Armenia must declare before it is too late that it is withdrawing from the occupied territories. After that the fighting may stop.”

From the above remarks and two failed Russian/Minsk Group arranged ceasefire, Aliyev is unwilling to compromise on his aims in NK.

With support from Turkey, including Erdogan’s willingness to send troops if asked, Aliyev rejects diplomacy while sending his foreign minister to discuss ceasefire with his Russian, French and US counterparts.

According to the Asia Times, Erdogan’s support for Azerbaijan is driven by energy interests in competition with Russia.

An unnamed Erdogan advisor said “Russia is neither an ally, nor an enemy, but we can’t negotiate if we are too dependent on them, especially when it comes to energy.”

“We have vital interests to protect,” including two pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe, one for oil, the other for gas.

One runs close to NK, the other near northern Armenia, the unnamed advisor close to Erdogan adding:

“We can’t afford losing our sight on what’s going on around our pipelines in the Caucasus, especially in the Tavush region, where there have been several clashes (with Armenia) over the last years.”

The so-called BTC oil pipeline is owned by Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Britain’s BP.

The South Caucasus Pipeline runs from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea field to Turkey, and Georgia — soon as well to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Earlier in October, Erdogan accused Armenia of endangering supplies of energy to Turkey and other European countries.

Oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe are only endangered by its preemptive war on Armenia in NK.

No danger would exist if conflict resolution ended weeks of fighting.

Russia also supplies gas to Turkey through Turkstream 1.

Turkstream 2 is under construction, completion expected around yearend.

Azerbaijan will compete with Russia for the European natural gas market.

Moscow prioritizes cooperation with other nations, confrontation with none.

Turkey’s Erdogan prioritizes the advancement of his neo-Ottoman interests.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

AZERBAIJANI FORCES RUSH TO CAPTURE LACHIN CORORIDOR FROM RETREATING ARMENIANS

South Front

The Armenian defense in the southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region seems to be collapsing as the advancing Azerbaijani forces are about to reach the strategic Lachin corridor.

On October 23, Azerbaijani troops were filmed near the village of Muradxanlı, which is located in about 15 km from this strategic area. Even if this Azerbaijani unit was just a field recognizance patrol and the main forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still have to overcome Armenian resistance to reach the area, the fact of the Azerbaijani presence there marks the hard situation on the frontline for the Armenians.

The Lachin corridor is a mountain pass within the de jure borders of Azerbaijan, forming the shortest route between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh). The cutting off of Lachin will destroy the remaining hopes of the Armenian side to achieve a military victory in the ongoing war. Meanwhile, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces took full control of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border after capturing the village of Aghband. The Azerbaijani leader also declared that the Armenians lost 21 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli and Jabrayil.

The Armenian military denies the collapse of its defense lines in the south and claims that Azerbaijani units appearing on video are just sabotage parties. According to the Armenian side, various Azerbaijan troops tried to advance in the western, northern and northwestern directions, but all of these offensive attempts were repelled. The Azerbaijani military allegedly suffered heavy losses.

The Armenian side insists that the towns of Hadrut and Fuzuli are in fact not in the hands of Azerbaijan. It insists that various units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan penetrate into different settlements in the front-line zone trying to create panic and make selfies there. These groups, according to Armenian media, are very small and often run away from Armenian troops. The optimism of Armenian officials is at least surprising.

According to reports, Armenian troops left the town of Aghband with almost no resistance to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces supported by Turkish specialists and Syrian militants. This move was likely a result of the need to save personnel and keep at least some reserves needed on other parts of the frontline. The defending of the almost surrounded town makes no sense. Nonetheless, videos and photos appearing online indicate that Armenian sabotage groups are also active in the rear of the advancing Azerbaijani forces. In that area, if they have enough supplies and weapons, they would be able to deliver painful blows to the logistical convoys of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc. It is likely that his activity is a formal pretext behind the statements of the Armenian Ministry of Defense that Azerbaijan has not gained full control of the border with Iran.

Forces of Azerbaijan continue to take control of settlements and villages in the south of Karabakh. Most of them are empty as the locals (ethnic Armenians) know well what fate they could face. It seems that the south of Karabakh is already lost for Armenia.

The Azerbaijani advance along the border with Iran through the relatively flat ground (if one compares it with the rest of Karabakh) appears to be a success. Now the Azerbaijani military and its allies are working to fully secure the border with Iran and set conditions for an operation to capture the Lachin corridor. The ability or inability of Azerbaijan to capture Lachin could become another turning point in the war.

Under the current conditions, it seems that a relatively positive outcome of the conflict for Karabakh forces would be possible in the event of the involvement some third power that would provide them with direct military assistance. Nonetheless, this scenario remains unlikely as long as even Armenia, which for years has been using Karabakh as its own protectorate, is not hurrying up to do so. Some Armenian sources even claim that the Pashinyan government oriented towards the West and NATO has just opted to sell the contested region to Azerbaijan under some formal pretext to remove the unresolved territorial disputes factor and open a way towards the further ‘democratic’ transformation of Armenia that it desires so much.

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Intermediate Results And Prospects Of Armenian-Azerbaijani War

South Front

The Armenian-Azerbaijani war, which started on September 27, continues in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region despite international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict. Offensive operations of Azerbaijani forces continue at the same time as the Azerbaijani government claims that it is committed to the ceasefire regime. The first humanitarian ceasefire entered force in Karabakh on October 10 and collapsed on the next day, while the second one started on October 18 with the same result. The Armenian side also insists that it is committed to the ceasefire while simultaneously conducting counter-attacks against the advancing Azerbaijani forces.

For the Armenian side, the situation is further complicated by the fact that the current Armenian leadership is not ready to (or does not want to) employ all of its means and forces to fight back the Azerbaijani advance. Instead of this, Armenian forces involved in the conflict are limited to those of the Nagorno-Karakbah Republic.

The government of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has so far limited its support to Karabakh to supplying weapons, sending volunteers (instead of regular forces), complaining in the media and calling on other countries to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state, while Armenia itself has made no steps in this direction.

As of October 19, the situation on the frontline demonstrates that the Azerbaijani-Turkish side has been slowly but steadily taking an upper hand in the war. Azerbaijani forces have achieved a series of tactical successes in the northern and southern part of the region, capturing two dozen small towns and villages. The most important of them are Fuzuli, Jabrayl, Hadrut, Madaghis and Talish. Azerbaijani forces also advanced in the direction of the Khudaferin Reservoir.

Over the past few days, especially heavy clashes were taking place near the town of Hadrut, from which Armenian forces withdrew after Azerbaijan took control of the surrounding heights. Fuzuli experienced a similar fate as the Hadrut heights in fact overlook its countryside as well. The Azerbaijani military extensively uses its advantage in air, artillery and manpower. The advance is also supported by militant groups deployed by Turkey from the northwest of Syria, Turkish special forces and specialists (especially in the field of EW operations, intelligence and air domain warfare).

These factors, especially the air dominance, allowed Azerbaijan to deliver notable damage to Armenian forces destroying multiple pieces of their military equipment, destroying fortified positions and manpower. The outdated air defense forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic appeared to be unable to deal with the threat from Azerbaijani military aircraft, while Armenia also seems to be unable to or has no political to will to employ its air defense. Just recently, on October 17, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry released a video of strikes on a S-300 system in Armenia.

At the same time, the Azerbaijani military conducts intense strikes on civilian infrastructure in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Despite the public claims of the Azerbaijani leadership that the conflict has no ethnic grounds and that there is no threat to the Armenian population, in fact, Baku seeks to not only dismantle the self-proclaimed Armenian state, but also to remove Armenians from this territory. The Armenian side responds in a similar manner regularly shelling settlements and towns in Azerbaijan. While some of these strikes may be considered as accidental, as Armenian sources claim, the recent strikes on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja with ballistic missiles are for sure not an accident. According to Azerbaijani authorities, 13 civilians were killed and more than 40 others were injured in the attack on the city. The strike was likely conducted with the Soviet R-17 Elbrus tactical ballistic missile complex, which is in service with Karabakh forces.

It is likely that the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc will develop its advance further along the Iranian border aiming for the towns of Qobadli and Zengilan. For Azerbaijan, it will be profitable to extend the frontline because it will allow it to use its advantage in air power and manpower. Meanwhile, the terrain in this part of the region is less complex than that in the center or the north. In the event of success, such an advance will allow Azerbaijan to undermine the entire southern flank of Armenian forces deployed in Stepankert and Shusha. This will also create a threat of cutting off the so-called Lachin corridor, a mountain pass within the de jure borders of Azerbaijan, forming the shortest route between Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. Another direction of the possible advance is Martakert and Agdam. Nonetheless, in this case, even if Azerbaijani forces achieve a success there, a further advance will be more complicated due to the more complex terrain.

The humanitarian ceasefire announced on October 17 seems like another attempt of the Minsk group, led by France, Russia and the United States, to de-escalate the conflict. Nonetheless, the position of the current Armenian government, which was for years undermining its relations with Russia, and the hardcore posture of Azerbaijan and Turkey that have already felt the flavour of potential military victory will likely not allow the parties involved to find a ‘constructive’ solution of the situation. Thus, Ankara and Baku will continue demanding a full surrender of Armenia over the Karabakh question, which the Armenian government (even if it wants to do so) cannot accept because this will lead to the immediate collapse of the Pashinyan regime and instability inside Armenia itself.

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Damascus and Moscow Facing the Siege… Economy First! دمشق وموسكو بمواجهة الحصار.. الاقتصاد أولاً!

October 16, 2020 Arabi Souri

Russian Military Presence in Syria - Hmeimim Airbase - Moscow - Damascus

Moscow and Damascus realize after five years of the Russian presence in Syria that if Russia leaves its political and military position in Syria, the consequences will be very dangerous for the region.

Dima Nassif, director of Al-Mayadeen office in Damascus, wrote (source in Arabic) the following piece for the Lebanese news channel about the latest developments in the Russian – Syrian relations in light of the latest visit of the Russian top delegation to Damascus followed by a Syrian delegation visit to Moscow:

The visit of the Syrian Minister of Presidential Affairs to Moscow at the head of an economic delegation, a few days ago, may have slipped from media circulation, despite its close connection with the completion of the Russian-Syrian talks or agreements that were reached during the recent visit of the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Borisov and the Russian delegation. It is possible to build on it to launch a Russian-Syrian partnership paper to confront sanctions, including the US ‘Caesar Act‘.

The crowding of readings and interpretations of the visit of the Russian delegation and the presence of Sergey Lavrov after eight years to Damascus can be interpreted as just a temporary Russian economic bargaining – to cross the psychological barrier left by the American pressure on Moscow, to prevent the return of the political process to Geneva, and to exert Russian internal pressure by a current opposing the policy of Putin in Syria – that final understandings must be reached on the Constitutional Committee before the Syrian presidential elections in June 2021.

This visit, as the results confirm, is no further than full support for the Syrian state politically and economically, as it does not come under the heading of Russian initiatives to barter or compromise Damascus’s positions on the political process, the liberation of Idlib, or even eastern Syria. Lavrov’s presence in Damascus was against the backdrop of the “Caesar Act”, not Astana or any other address.

Among the deficiencies of some in Moscow against Damascus are its rigid positions in the face of Russian proposals, which calls for flexibility in negotiations on the part of the Syrian side, and the easing of some formalities that may be interpreted in the way that the Syrian leadership does not wish to cooperate or make any progress in the political process before the elections, repeating the phrase that there is no agreement without agreeing on everything.

On the other hand, Damascus believes that the political process should be based on a long-term strategy, to avoid the traps that Turkey might place through its groups within the opposition delegation, as President Al-Assad spoke in his recent meetings to Russian media.

Columns of cars crowded in front of petrol stations in Syrian cities two months ago did not allow to feel Russian support to alleviate the consequences of the “Caesar Act” and its impact. Then came the huge losses in forest fires and agricultural lands in the countrysides of Lattakia, Homs, Tartous, and Hama, this was quickly seized by the American embassy in Damascus, calling on the Syrian government to protect its citizens, in a naive attempt and unprofessional rhetoric, to test its ability to incite the incubating environment (of the Syrian state), as Caesar (Act) promised in the folds of its goals, without an American understanding of the peculiarity of this environment, which has stood its positions throughout the war, despite all the living and security pressures on its lives.

Moscow, and with it Damascus, after five years of the Russian presence in Syria, are aware that the consequences of Russia leaving its political and military position in Syria will be very dangerous for the region, as the Russian presence aims to ensure security and make the world order more just and balanced, as President Al-Assad said. Ankara’s transfer of the militants from the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda groups to the Azerbaijan front, and before it to Libya, is only the first sign of the expansion of the Turkish project in the region after its failure in Syria, and it is the basis of Moscow’s involvement in the Syrian war, and will not allow its transfer to its own walls.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 2: The Counterattack

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://www.syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=F3H13Q3E96

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ديمة ناصيف 

المصدر: الميادين نت

13 تشرين اول 14:02

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة.

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة
تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة

قد تكون زيارة وزير شؤون الرئاسة السورية إلى موسكو على رأس وفد اقتصادي، قبل أيام، قد مرَّت بعيداً من التداول الإعلامي، رغم ارتباطها الوثيق باستكمال المحادثات أو الاتفاقيات الروسية السورية، التي تمّ التوصل إليها خلال زيارة نائب رئيس الحكومة الروسية بوريسوف الأخيرة والوفد الروسي، وبات من الممكن البناء عليها لإطلاق ورقة شراكة روسية سورية لمواجهة العقوبات، بما فيها قانون “قيصر” الأميركي.

ازدحام القراءات والتأويلات لزيارة الوفد الروسي وحضور سيرغي لافروف بعد 8 سنوات إلى دمشق، يمكن تفسيره بأنه مجرد مساومة اقتصادية روسية مؤقتة – لعبور الحاجز النفسي الذي خلّفه الضغط الأميركي على موسكو، ومنع إعادة العملية السياسية إلى جنيف، وممارسة ضغط داخلي روسي من قبل تيار يعارض سياسة بوتين في سوريا – بوجوب التوصل إلى تفاهمات نهائية حول اللجنة الدستورية قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية السورية في حزيران/يونيو 2021.

هذه الزيارة، كما تؤكد النتائج، ليست أبعد من دعم كامل للدولة السورية سياسياً واقتصادياً، فهي لا تندرج تحت عنوان مبادرات روسية تقايض أو تساوم مواقف دمشق حول العملية السياسية أو تحرير إدلب أو حتى الشرق السوري. كان حضور لافروف في دمشق على خلفية قانون “قيصر”، وليس أستانة أو أي عنوان آخر.

ومن مآخذ البعض في موسكو على دمشق، مواقفها المتصلّبة في وجه الطروحات الروسية، ما يستدعي إبداء مرونة في التفاوض من جانب الطرف السوري، والتخفف من بعض الشكليات التي قد تُفسَّر على نحو أن القيادة السورية لا ترغب في التعاون أو إنجاز أي تقدم على صعيد العملية السياسية قبل الانتخابات، وترديد عبارة أن لا اتفاق من دون الاتفاق على كل شيء.

في المقابل، ترى دمشق أن العملية السياسية يجب أن تكون مبنية على استراتيجية مرحلية طويلة الأمد، لتجنب أفخاخ قد تضعها تركيا من خلال مجموعاتها داخل وفد المعارضة، كما تحدث الرئيس الأسد في لقاءاته الأخيرة إلى وسائل إعلام روسية.

ولم تسمح أرتال السيارات المزدحمة أمام محطات الوقود في المدن السورية منذ شهرين بتلمّس الدعم الروسي للتخفيف من تبعات “قيصر” ووطأته، ثم جاءت الخسائر الهائلة في حرائق الأحراج والأراضي الزراعية في أرياف اللاذقية وحمص وطرطوس وحماة، الأمر الذي تلقفته السفارة الأميركية في دمشق سريعاً، لتدعو الحكومة السورية إلى حماية مواطنيها، في محاولة ساذجة وخطاب غير محترف، لاختبار قدرتها على تأليب البيئة الحاضنة، كما وعد “قيصر” في طيات أهدافه، من دون فهم أميركيّ لخصوصية هذه البيئة التي ثبتت على مواقفها طيلة الحرب، رغم كل الضغوطات المعيشية والأمنية على حياتها. 

تدرك موسكو، ومعها دمشق، بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، أن تبعات مغادرة روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا ستكون خطيرة جداً على المنطقة، فالتواجد الروسي يهدف إلى ضمان الأمن، وجعل النظام العالمي أكثر عدلاً وتوازناً، كما قال الرئيس الأسد. إنّ نقل أنقرة للمسلحين من المجموعات الإخوانية والقاعدية إلى جبهة أذربيجان، وقبلها ليبيا، ليس إلا أولى ملامح توسع المشروع التركي في الإقليم بعد فشله في سوريا، وهو أساس انخراط موسكو في الحرب السورية، ولن تسمح بانتقاله إلى أسوارها.

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan’s Revenge for Syria

Why Conflict in Caucasus Is Erdogan's Revenge for Syria - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

October 17, 2020

Turkey’s outsize role in fueling the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is becoming more apparent. That’s why a peace deal will be hard to cut and indeed the conflict may blow up further into a protracted regional war. A war that could drag Russia into battling in the Caucasus on its southern periphery against NATO proxies.

In a phone call this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly backed Moscow’s efforts at mediating a ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Notwithstanding, Erdogan appeared to deliver an ultimatum to his Russian counterpart. He said that there must be a “permanent solution” to the decades-long territorial dispute.

Erdogan and his Azerbaijan ally have already made it clear that the only solution acceptable to them is for Armenian separatists to relinquish their claim to Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey and Azerbaijan – bound by common Turkic culture – have long-called the Armenian-held enclave an illegal occupation of Azerbaijani territory since a border war ended in 1994.

When hostilities flared again last month on September 27 initial reports suggested the clashes were of a haphazard nature with both sides trading blame for starting the violence. However, it has since become clear that the actions taken on the Azeri side seem to have been a planned aggression with Turkey’s full support.

Following a previous deadly clash on July 12-13 involving about a dozen casualties among Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, there then proceeded massive military exercises in Azerbaijan involving 11,000 Turkish troops beginning on July 29. For nearly two weeks into August, the maneuvers deployed artillery, warplanes and air-defense units in what was evidently a major drive by Ankara and Baku to coordinate the armies from both countries to fulfill joint operations. Furthermore, reports indicated that Turkish forces, including F-16 fighter jets, remained in Azerbaijan following the unprecedented military drills.

Alongside the drills, there was also a dramatic increase in military arms sales from Turkey to Azerbaijan. According to Turkish export figures, there was a six-fold increase in weapons deals compared with the previous year, with most of the supply being delivered in the third quarter of 2020 between July and September. The armaments included drones and rocket launchers which have featured with such devastating impact since hostilities erupted on September 27.

A third factor suggesting planned aggression was the reported transport of mercenary fighters from Syria and Libya by Turkey to fight on the Azerbaijani side. Thousands of such militants belonging to jihadist brigades under the control of Turkey had arrived in the Azeri capital Baku before hostilities broke out on September 27. The logistics involved in organizing such a large-scale deployment can only mean long-term planning.

Armenian sources also claim that Azeri authorities had begun impounding civilian vehicles weeks before the shooting war opened. They also claim that when the fire-fights erupted on September 27, Turkish media were present on the ground to give live coverage of events.

It seems indisputable therefore that Turkey and Azerbaijan had made a strategic decision to implement a “final solution” to the protracted dispute with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

That’s what makes Russian efforts at mediating a cessation to hostilities all the more fraught. After marathon talks mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a ceasefire was introduced on October 10. However, within hours the truce unravelled with reports of resumed exchange of fire and shelling of cities on both sides. The main violations have been committed by the Azerbaijani side using advanced Turkish weaponry. Armenian leaders have complained that the Azeri side does not seem interested in pursuing peace talks.

More perplexing is the widening of the conflict. Azerbaijan air strikes since the weekend ceasefire broke down have hit sites within Armenia, extending the conflict beyond the contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has also claimed that Armenian missiles have hit cities within its territory. Armenia flatly denies carrying out such strikes, which begs the question: is a third party covertly staging provocations and fomenting escalation of conflict?

What is challenging for Russia is that it has a legal obligation to defend Armenia as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (1992). With Armenia coming under fire, the pressure will be on Moscow to intervene militarily.

This would see Russia being embroiled in another proxy war with NATO-member Turkey. But this is not in Syria. It is the Caucasus region on Russia’s southern border. There are concerns among senior Russian military figures that such a scenario is exactly what Turkey’s Recep Erdogan is aiming for. Turkey was outplayed by Russia in the proxy war in Syria. Erdogan and NATO’s plans for regime change in Damascus were dealt a bloody nose by Russia. It seems though that conflict in the Caucasus may now be Erdogan’s revenge.

Moscow may need to seriously revise its relations with Ankara, and let Erdogan know he is treading on red lines.

War In Karabakh: Turkish Proxies Are Allegedly Too Scared To Fight Armenians

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October 15, 2020

About 1,000 members of Syrian militant groups deployed by Turkey to support the Azerbaijani advance in the Nagorno-Karabakh region have laid down their arms and refused to participate in hostilities, Armenian media outlets and military-affiliated sources claimed. They insist that Syrian militants were just used as cannon fodder and did not receive their promised money. According to sources loyal to the Syrian opposition, the number of Turkish proxies that died in the war with Armenia has exceeded 110.

Earlier, reports appeared from Syrian sources, claiming that about 400 members of Turkish-backed militant groups deployed in Syria’s northwest had refused to go to Azerbaijan. At least 16 of them were arrested by the so-called Hamza Division for complaining too much and for leaking information to the public.

Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry released an updated claim on alleged Azerbaijani casualties since the start of the war on September 27. According to this, Azerbaijani forces have lost 5,489 personnel, 541 armoured vehicles, 4 TOS multiple rocket launchers, 19 military planes, 16 helicopters and 176 UAVs. During the last few days, the Armenian military specified, Azerbaijan has lost 3 UAVs, 20 armored vehicles, a plane and has suffered 350 casualties.

Nonetheless, the aforementioned claims did not allow the Armenian military to regain the initiative from the advancing Azerbaijani forces and even the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in his recent national address, admitted that the situation on the frontline is complicated and that the Armenians had retreated from positions in the south and north.

“For 18 days of the war, our heroic troops retreated to the south and north,” Pashinyan said. According to him, Azerbaijani troops also changed their tactics “trying to create confusion in the rear with sabotage groups.” Pashinyan also claimed that “A number of countries with the possibility of strategic deterrence did not properly assess the danger, continuing to consider the issue in the context of the Karabakh conflict and believing that territories in exchange for peace is a solution that can save the situation.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that in 2018, Azerbaijan had in the course of negotiations demanded that Armenia give up the seven regions of Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for peace. According to him, Baku refused to consider the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as not being part of Azerbaijan.

“In the negotiation process, Azerbaijan has reached the point when it has put a demand for the Armenian people to give up their rights, return five of the seven regions, present specific deadlines for the surrender of the remaining two regions, any status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be determined within Azerbaijan. In addition, the clarification of the status should not have been linked to the process of handing over the territories. The territories were to be surrendered in exchange for peace,” Pashinyan said.

In their turn, the Azerbaijani side remains determined that all of the contested region should be immediately returned to its control and the Armenian Republic of Arstakh there dismantled de-facto employing a military option to achieve this goal.

As of October 15, the Azerbaijani military continued delivering intense artillery and air strikes on Armenian positions across the entire contact line and advancing in the areas of Hadrat and Fuzuli. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured the villages of Garadaghli, Khatunbulag, Garakollu in the Fuzuli district, and Bulutan, Melikjanli, Kemertuk, Teke and Tagaser in the Khojavend district.

Azerbaijani forces have also been trying to fully isolate the town of Hadrut in order to finally turn into reality their earlier claim that it’s under their full control. They also tried to advance on the town of Fuzuli and even reached it, but the attack was repelled by the Armenians. On the other hand, Baku regularly accuses Armenia of ceasefire violations and claims that all its actions are just a response to Armenian aggression.

The humanitarian ceasefire reached by the sides earlier in October helped to stop offensive operations only on distinct parts of the frontline and the war is raging at almost full force in the northern part of Karabakh.

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War in Nagorno-Karabakh Is a Gamechanger in Russian-Turkish Relations

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, October 17, 2020

After Turkey downed a Russian jet operating in Syria in late 2015, there was a major risk that the Syrian War could explode into a greater conflict between the two Eurasian countries. The Turkish attack resulted in the death of two Russian servicemen and relations between Moscow and Ankara were again tested in December 2016 when Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the explanation from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the assassination was not ordered by the state, Nordic Monitor has published compelling evidence that Altıntaş had strong connections to the so-called Turkish deep state. Despite these major setbacks in Russian-Turkish relations, by the end of 2017 the two countries signed a $2.5 billion agreement for Turkey to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defence system, considered the most sophisticated of its kind in the world.

As is well-known, this deal resulted in tense relations between Turkey and its NATO allies, and many speculated that with Russian encouragement Ankara would eventually leave the Atlantic Alliance. It is highly unlikely that Turkey will ever leave NATO willingly or be ejected from the organization. Turkey, as a key country connecting East and West and controlling Straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, knows that it is one of the most important geostrategic countries in the world and can afford to leverage both NATO and Russia to advance its own ambitions.

The Russian-Turkish partnership has seen Ankara acquire the S-400 system, Russia has a critical part in the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and cooperation on significantly reducing conflict in Syria. However, it now appears that Moscow is becoming increasingly frustrated and antagonized by Ankara’s constant escalation of hostilities across Russia’s southern flank and/or areas of interest. Despite Russia and Turkey cooperating in Syria, they support opposing sides in Libya, but this is not considered a major issue between them, or at least not enough to change the course of their bilateral relations. However, the war in Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, has exposed the fragility of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Artsakh, despite being an integral part of the Armenian homeland for over 2,500 years and always maintaining an overwhelmingly Armenian majority population, was assigned to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920’s. However, in 1989 Armenians in Artsakh demanded unification with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. This demand was ultimately rejected by Moscow. However, the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 sparked a war in Artsakh. The Armenians achieved a decisive victory in 1994 and the Republic of Artsakh emerged, although it is still internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan.Turkey and Syria Are at War Without a Declaration of War

The OSCE Minsk Group, comprising of France, Russia and the U.S., is the foremost international body attempting to end the decades-long conflict between the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although minor wars and skirmishes have been commonplace since 1994, the current war is the most serious escalation, especially when considering the internationalization of the conflict because of Turkey’s transfer of special forces, military advisers, and more importantly, Syrian jihadist mercenaries.

Many within the Syrian government and military have expressed frustration that Russia effectively prevented a Syrian Army offensive at the beginning of the year to liberate more areas of Idlib from Turkish-backed jihadist rule. It is likely that Moscow’s push for a ceasefire in Idlib was to appease Turkey in the hope that it would slowly de-escalate and eventually withdraw from Syria. However, Erdoğan used the lull in the fighting in Idlib to transfer Syrian jihadist mercenaries to fight in Libya. These militants fight on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords based in Tripoli. They are in opposition to the Libyan National Army, which is based in Tobruk and has ties to Russia.

The transfer of Syrian militants to Libya certainly concerned Moscow, but Libya is not as geopolitically crucial for Russia. However, the transfer of Syrian militants to Azerbaijan brings various terrorists and mujahideen forces right to the very doorstep of Russia in the South Caucasus. Whereas Syrian militants in Idlib and Libya were no real threat to Russia directly, bringing such forces can now easily put them in direct contact with Islamist terrorists based in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia in Russia’s Caucasus region.

This will likely be a gamechanger in Russian-Turkish relations.

Moscow’s reaction to Turkey transferring Syrian terrorists to Azerbaijan is beginning to reveal itself. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow “has never considered Turkey as a strategic ally” and emphasized that Russian military observers should be placed on the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly calls for Turkey to be involved in the Minsk Group or in negotiations, Russia has continually blocked Ankara from being involved in any negotiations.

Russia’s frustration with Turkey can even be felt in the East Mediterranean now. As recently as September 5, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova angered many Greeks when she urged states to be “guided by common sense and take into consideration the geographical peculiarities of a region” when discussing Turkey’s illegal claims against Greece in the East Mediterranean. Zakharova effectively adopted Turkey’s arguments that if Athens enacts its international legal right to extend its territorial waters from six nautical miles to 12, then the Aegean will effectively become a “Greek lake,” and therefore the Turks believe “common sense” has to prevail over this “geographical peculiarity.”

However, only yesterday, it appeared that Moscow now indirectly supports Greece’s position in the East Mediterranean, with the Russian Embassy in Athens tweeting that “Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is the starting point. We consider the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the ‘cornerstone’ of international maritime agreements. The Convention explicitly provides for the sovereign right of all States to have territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles and sets out the principles and methods for delimiting the [Exclusive Economic Zone]. This also applies to the Mediterranean.”

It was also announced yesterday that Lavrov will be making a working visit to Greece on October 28. Russia’s repositioning on the East Mediterranean issue by firmly supporting a states’ right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as permitted by international law, something that Turkey has said would be a “reason for war” if Greece enacts its legal right, is likely part of its retaliation against Erdoğan’s transfer of Syrian terrorists to the doorstep of Dagestan. Although Moscow tolerated Erdoğan’s aggression in Syria, Iraq and Libya, by threatening war on Armenia, a Collective Security Treaty Organization member state, and transferring militants to the border of Dagestan, Turkey has overstepped Russia’s patience and this can be considered a gamechanger in their bilateral relations.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

TURKEY THREATENS ARMENIA WITH DIRECT MILITARY INTERVENTION IN KARABAKH WAR

As of October 13, clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continue in the southern part of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, while on the other parts of the frontline Baku and Yerevan limited their military activity to exchange of artillery and aerial strikes. The humanitarian ceasefire signed by the sides in Moscow formally remains in force, but the terms of the ceasefire are not fulfilled by both sides.

The main point of instability is the town of Hadrut, which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced to have been ‘liberated’ from ‘Armenian occupants’. However, Armenian forces apparently forgot to read his tweet and withdraw from the area. So, now, the Azerbaijani leader is forced to explain what’s going on.

On October 12, he sated that a large group of Armenian special forces attacked the town to make a few selfies for Armenian propaganda, but the attack was repelled. “Although from a strategic point of view, it does not matter so much for Armenia. They just take such a step to go there and take a selfie or report to their population. The Azerbaijani Army neutralized this large group,” Aliyev stressed.

The Armenian military says that the town is still in the hands of its forces and that it has successfully repelled another Azerbaijani attack there.

Turkey has been openly threatening Armenia with a joint Turkish-Azerbaijani advance if it does not surrender the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region to Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that “Baku cannot wait for justice for another 30 years” claiming that “Turkey is ready to support the fair position of the Azerbaijani side.” According to Akar, if the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is not resolved in the near future, then the next step will be “the Azerbaijani-Turkish movement aimed at returning their land.”

Sources affiliated with Turkish-backed militant groups in Syria say that Ankara has been preparing a new deployment of militant groups’ members to Azerbaijan to support its war with Armenia. If the numbers of 1,500-2,000 fresh militants that are set to come to Azerbaijan are confirmed, this will not only make the estimated number of Turkish proxies deployed there from 4,000-6,000, but also confirm that Ankara is set to use its influence to motivate Azerbaijan to opt for the scenario of a further escalation.

Likely, the Turkish leadership seems the war in Karabakh as an important turning point, which, in the event of military success, will turn into the leading power in the Southern Caucasus and give additional momentum to its geopolitical expansion. It will also boost the popularity of Recep Tayyip Erdogan that positions himself as the leader of the Turkic world and a de-facto Sultan of his own Neo-Ottoman Empire.

According to the Armenian side, the Turkish military is already directly involved in the war. In particular, the presence of Turkish F-16s, Turkish special forces, military advisers and Turkish-backed Syrian militants in Azerbaijan are hardly deniable facts.

It is interesting to observe how for example the main version from Turkish and Azerbaijani sources about the Turkish F-16 jets switched from public denial of their presence to claims that they are not involved directly in the conflict and are just needed to deter Armenian aggression. Reports from the ground and the diplomatic posture of the sides indicate that Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, is preparing a new military push against Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to consolidate and expand its initial gains before the winter.

Related News

President Assad Interview with Sputnik TV and the Full Interview Transcript

President Bashar Assad interview with Russian Sputnik

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts:https://videopress.com/embed/PQWtLurT?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available on BitChute.

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to have this interview at these days when we remember that five years ago the Russian assistance came to Syria. So, after five years of the Russian military operation, nowadays can you say that the war in Syria now is over?

President Assad: No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.

Question 2: And what moments of the heroism of the Russians do you recall and keep in your heart? Which of them do you consider worth telling to your grandchildren, let’s say?

President Assad: There are so many, and I remember some of them, of course. After five years of this cooperation between the Syrian and the Russian army in a vicious war, I think heroism is becoming a collective act; it’s not individual, it’s not only a few cases of heroism that you remember. For example, if you think about military aircraft pilots – the air force, Russian pilots kept flying over the terrorists on a daily basis, risking their lives, and you had a few aircrafts that had been shot down by the terrorists. If you talk about the other officers, they are supporting the Syrian army not in the rear lines, but in the front lines and as a consequence you had martyrs. What I’m going to tell my grandchildren someday is not only about this heroism, but I’m also going to talk about these common values that we have in both our armies that made us brothers during this war; these noble values, faithful to their causes, defending civilians, defending the innocent. Many things to talk about in this war.

Question 3: And what moment does symbolize for you a turning point during this conflict, during this war?

President Assad: It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one. The first is in 2013 when we started liberating many areas, especially the middle of Syria, from al-Nusra. Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria. Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point. It was important because of the importance of Aleppo, and because it was the beginning of the liberation – the large-scale liberation, that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently, and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part. So, these are the main turning points. If you put them together, all of them are strategic and all of them changed the course of this war.

Question 4: I now will turn to some actual news, and we in Russia follow what now is happening in the region of the Armenian and Azerbaijanian conflict, and definitely Turkey plays a role there. Is it negative or positive, that is not for me to judge, but I would like to ask you about Turkey’s and Erdogan’s policies. So, in recent years, Turkey has been trying to maximize its international influence. We all see its presence in Libya, its intervention into Syria, territorial disputes with Greece, and the now open support to Azerbaijan. What do you think about that kind of behavior of Ankara and Erdogan personally, and should the international community pay more attention to this sort of neo-Othmanism.

President Assad: Let’s be blunt and clear; Erdogan has supported terrorists in Syria, and he’s been supporting terrorists in Libya, and he was the main instigator and initiator of the recent conflict that has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, I would sum his behavior as dangerous, for different reasons. First of all, because it reflects the Muslim Brotherhood behavior; the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist extremist group. Second, because he’s creating war in different areas to distract his own public opinion in Turkey from focusing on his behavior inside Turkey, especially after his scandalous relations with ISIS in Syria; everybody knows that ISIS used to sell Syrian oil through Turkey under the umbrella of the American air forces and of course the involvement of the Turks in selling this oil. So, this is his goal, and this is dangerous. So, whether the international community should be aware or not, the word “international community” in reality is only a few countries: the great powers and rich countries, and let’s call them the influencers on the political arena. The majority of this international community is complicit with Turkey in supporting the terrorists. So, they know what Turkey is doing, they are happy about what Turkey is doing, and Turkey is an arm for those countries in fulfilling their policies and dreams in this region. So, no, we cannot bet on the international community at all. You can bet on international law, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no institution to implement international law. So, we have to depend on ourselves in Syria and on the support of our friends.

Question 5: So, more about this conflict. There were reports that some terrorists from the groups that were fighting previously in Syria are now being transferred to this conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Can you confirm that? Do you have any information about fighters going from Syria to…?

President Assad: We definitely can confirm it, not because we have evidence, but sometimes if you don’t have evidence you have indicators. Turkey used terrorists coming from different countries in Syria. They used the same method in Libya; they used Syrian terrorists in Libya, maybe with other nationalities. So, it’s self-evident and very probable that they are using that method in Nagorno-Karabakh because as I said earlier, they are the ones who started this problem, this conflict; they encouraged this conflict. They want to achieve something and they’re going to use the same method. So, we can say for sure that they’ve been using Syrian and other nationalities of terrorists in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Question 6: Let’s turn now to the relations between our countries, Russia and Syria. Are there any plans for your contacts or meetings with President Putin?

President Assad: We have regular contact, mainly over the phone, whenever something new happens or whenever there is a need for these conversations. Of course, we’re going to talk in the future, we’re going to meet in the future, but that depends on the political situation regarding Syria. And as you know now because of the Coronavirus the whole world is paralyzed, so in the near future I think the conversation will be on the phone.

Question 7: And will you raise the question of the new credits for Syria? For new loans?

President Assad: In our economic situation, it’s very important to seek loans, but at the same time, you shouldn’t take this step without being able to pay back the loan. Otherwise, it’s going to be a burden, and it’s going to be a debt. So, it has two aspects. Talking about loans is in our minds, and we discussed it with our Russian counterparts, but we have to prepare for such a step before taking it seriously, or practically, let’s say.

Question 8: Recently, the delegation from Russia came, and Vice Prime Minister Borisov was here. Is now Syria interested in buying anti-aircraft systems like S-400 or demanding for additional S-300?

President Assad: Actually, we started a plan for upgrading our army two years ago, and it’s self-evident that we’re going to do this upgrade in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Defense, because for decades now, our army depends fully on Russian armaments. But there are priorities, it’s not necessarily the missiles, maybe you have other priorities now regarding the conflict on the ground. So, there’s a full-scale plan, but we have to move according to these priorities. Usually, we don’t talk about the details of our military plans, but in general, as I said, it’s upgrading the army in every aspect of the military field.

Question 9: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?

President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement it. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –

Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.

President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.

Question 10: Who are this board? Who are these people?

President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.

Question 11: So, Trump pledged to withdraw American troops from Syria but he failed to do that. Now he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you think if he manages to bring American troops home, is he going to be awarded that Nobel Peace Prize?

President Assad: He’s nominated?

Journalist: He is nominated.

President Assad: I didn’t know about this. If you want to talk about the nomination for peace, peace is not only about withdrawing your troops; it’s a step, it’s a good step, and it’s a necessary step. But peace is about your policy, it’s about your behavior. It means to stop occupying land, to stop toppling governments just because they are not with you, to stop creating chaos in different areas of the world. Peace is to follow international law and to support the United Nations Charter, etc. This is peace, this is when you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama had this prize; he had just been elected and he hadn’t done anything. The only achievement he had at that time maybe, was that he moved from his house to the White House, and he was given a Nobel Prize. So, they would give it to Trump for something similar. I don’t know what is it, but definitely not peace.

Question 12: So, Trump acknowledged recently that he intended to eliminate you personally, and that the Pentagon Chief Mattis persuaded him not to do so. Did you know about that at that time, and were some measures undertaken to prevent it?

President Assad: Assassination is American modus operandi, that’s what they do all the time, for decades, everywhere, in different areas in this world, this is not something new. So, you have to keep it in your mind that this kind of plan has always existed for different reasons. We have to expect this in our situation in Syria, with this conflict, with the Americans, they occupy our land, and they are supporting the terrorists. It’s expected; even if you don’t have any information, it should be self-evident. How do you prevent it? It’s not about the incident per se – it’s not about this plan regarding this person or this president, it’s about the behavior. Nothing will deter the United States from committing these kinds of vicious actions or acts unless there’s an international balance where the United States cannot get away with its crimes. Otherwise, it’s going to continue these kinds of acts in different areas, and nothing would stop it.

Question 13: And were there any other attempts on you during your presidency?

President Assad: I didn’t hear of any attempt, but as I said, it’s self-evident that you have many attempts, or maybe, plans to be more precise. I mean, let’s say, were they active or on hold? Nobody knows.

Question 14: Now I turn back to the situation in Syria, and will you run for presidency in the year 2021?

President Assad: It’s still early to talk about it because we still have a few months. I can take this decision at the beginning of next year.

Question 15: Interesting. And have you congratulated Mr. Alexander Lukashenko with his inauguration in Belarus, and do you probably see similarities between political technologies that were used by the UK and the US to support Belarusian opposition, and those methods that were used against Syria and against the Syrian state in information war?

President Assad: I did send a congratulation letter to President Lukashenko and that’s normal. With regards to what’s happening in Belarus: regardless of the similarities between the two countries – Syria and Belarus – or the differences, regardless of whether you have a real conflict or an artificial one in a country, the West – as long as it hasn’t changed its hegemonic policy around the world – is going to interfere anywhere in the world. If you have a real problem in your country, whether it’s small or big, it’s going to interfere. And if it’s domestic, they’re going to make it international just to interfere and meddle in your affairs. If you don’t have problems, they’re going to do their best to create problems and to make them international again in order to meddle in your affairs. This is their policy.

So, it’s not about what’s happening in Belarus. Like any other country, Syria, Belarus, your country, every country has their own problems. Does the West have the right to interfere or not? That’s what we have to oppose. So, going back to your question, yes, it’s the same behavior, it’s the same strategy, it’s the same tactics. The only difference is the branding of the products, different headlines. They use certain headlines for Russia, others for Venezuela, another one for Syria, and so on. So, it’s not about Belarus; it’s about the behavior of the West and it’s about their strategy for the future, because they think with the rise of Russia, with the rise of China, with the rise of other powers around the world, this is an existential threat for them, so the only way to oppose or to face this threat is by creating chaos around the world.

Question 16: So, you have already mentioned the Coronavirus and it affected all humankind. Was someone from the government infected, or maybe you personally?

President Assad: Thank God, no. And I don’t think anyone from our government has been infected.

Question 17: That’s good news. And would you personally like to take the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Of course, in these circumstances, anyone would love to be vaccinated against this dangerous virus. But I think it’s not available for the international market yet, but we’re going to discuss it with the Russian authority when it’s available internationally to have vaccines for the Syrian market. It’s very important.

Journalist: Yes, and Russians have already suggested that it can be available for our international partners…

President Assad: They said in November it could be available.

Question 18: So, you will be asking for the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Yes, definitely, it’s a necessity at these times.

Question 19: And in what amount?

President Assad: That depends on how much is available and we have to discuss the amount that we need with the health authority in Syria.

Question 20: So, you are going to have negotiations in detail with the Russian authorities.

President Assad: Definitely, of course. Everybody in Syria is asking about the Russian vaccine and when it’s going to be available.

Question 21: Now, on the backdrop of the pandemic outbreak, does the public demand to change the constitution still exist? Because Coronavirus created a new paradigm in the world, and certainly in politics. So, the problems and the Geneva talks cast doubts on the question of whether the need to change the constitution still exists. What do you think about that?

President Assad: No, there’s no relation between the Coronavirus and the constitution. We changed the constitution in 2012 and now we are discussing the constitution in the Geneva talks. We had a round of negotiations nearly one month ago. So, the Coronavirus delayed those rounds, but it didn’t stop them.

Ultimately, the Geneva negotiations are a political game, it’s not what the public – the Syrians, are focused on. The Syrian people are not thinking about the constitution, nobody is talking about it. Their concerns are regarding the reforms we need to enact and the policies we need to change to ensure their needs are met. This is what we are discussing at the moment and where our concerns are, and where the government is focusing its efforts.

Question 22: So, you say that the Geneva talks should continue, and the constitution on the agenda, and still there should be more discussions?

President Assad: Yes, of course. We started and we’re going to continue in the next few weeks.

Question 23: Will Syria decide to conduct a trial against the White Helmets, and do you think that there should be a sort of international investigation on their activities, probably under the UN umbrella?

President Assad: When there is a crime, you don’t take the knife or the weapon to trial, you send the criminal to trial. In this case, the White Helmets are just the tools or the means – the weapon that’s been used for terrorism. They were created by the United Kingdom, supported by the United States and of course France and other Western countries, and used directly by Turkey. All these regimes are the real father and mother of the White Helmets, so they have to be held accountable even before the White Helmets themselves. Now, the question is do we have international laws to pursue such procedures? No, we don’t. Otherwise, the United States wouldn’t get away with its crimes in Iraq for example, in Yemen, or in different areas. Not only the United States, but also France, the UK and different countries, and the US in Syria. But you don’t have these institutions that could implement such laws, as I mentioned earlier. So, no, we have to focus more on the perpetrators, the real perpetrators, the real supervisors. They are the Western countries and their puppets in the region.

Question 24: But should probably any step be undertaken concretely toward the White Helmets? Because they are still active?

President Assad: Yes, of course, they are criminals. I’m not saying anything different. Before they were the White Helmets, they were al-Nusra; there are videos and images of all those criminals, so they have to be tried in Syria. But when you talk about the White Helmets as an institution, it’s made by the West. So, they are criminals as individuals, but the White Helmets is a Western institution – an extremist terrorist organization – based on the al-Nusra organization.

Question 25: You say that the presence of the US and Turkish army in Syria is illegal. What will you do to stop it?

President Assad: It is an occupation and, in this situation, we have to do two things: the first is to eliminate the excuse that they’ve been using for this occupation, which is the terrorists – in this case ISIS. Most of the world now know that ISIS was created by the Americans and is supported by them; they give them their missions, like any American troops. You have to eliminate the excuse, so, eliminating the terrorists in Syria is priority number one for us. After that, if they, the Americans and the Turks, don’t leave, the natural thing that will happen is popular resistance. This is the only way; they won’t leave through discussion or through international law since it doesn’t exist. So, you don’t have any other means but resistance and this is what happened in Iraq. What made the Americans withdraw in 2007? It was because of the popular resistance in Iraq.

ISIS, the Bombshell Interview to Impeach Obama

https://www.syrianews.cc/isis-the-bombshell-interview-to-impeach-obama/embed/#?secret=Fa36QPsTx4

Question 26: So, what do you think about the agreement between the US and the Syrian Kurds in terms of extracting oil? And will you undertake any measures against it?

President Assad: This is robbery, and the only way to stop this robbery is to liberate your land. If you don’t liberate it, no measure will stop them from doing this because they are thieves, and you cannot stop a thief unless you put him in prison or you deter him somehow by isolating him from the area where he can commit his robbery. So, the same thing has to be done with those thieves. They have to be expelled from this region; this is the only way. And the Syrian government should control every part of Syria, so the situation will return to normal.

Question 27: How do you assess the situation in Idlib? How is Syria going to resolve the problem of expelling terrorists from there, and how many of them fight now there, how many terrorists, to your assessment?

President Assad: Since 2013, we adopted a certain, let’s say, methodology in dealing with these areas where the terrorists control mainly the civilians or the cities. We give them the chance to give up their armaments and in return, they are granted amnesty from the government; that has succeeded in many areas in Syria. But if they don’t seek reconciliation, we have to attack militarily, and that’s what happened in every area we have liberated since 2013. This methodology applies to the areas where there were national reconciliations and the fighters were Syrian. However, Idlib is a different case; most of the foreigners in Syria are concentrated in Idlib, so they either go to Turkey – this is where they came from or came through, or they go back to their countries or they die in Syria.

Question 28: In Europe?

President Assad: Mainly in Europe. Some of them came from Russia, from Arab countries, from so many countries around the world. All those Jihadist extremists wanted to come and fight in Syria.

Question 29: So, now this area is under the, let’s say, the supervision and the common operations by Russians, by Turks, sometimes by Americans. Do you see that this cooperation is efficient, and how this experience can be used in the future?

President Assad: No, I don’t think it’s efficient for a simple reason: if it was efficient, we wouldn’t have gone to war recently in many areas in Aleppo and Idlib. Because the Turkish regime was supposed to convince the terrorists in that area to withdraw and pave the way for the Syrian Army and the Syrian government and institutions to take control, but they didn’t. Every time they give the same commitment; they haven’t fulfilled any of their promises or commitments. So, no, I wouldn’t say this cooperation was effective, but let’s see. They still have another chance to withdraw the terrorists north of the M4 in Idlib. This is their latest commitment in agreement with the Russian side, but they haven’t fulfilled it yet. So, let’s wait and see.

Question 30: Do you consider the possibility of negotiations with Israel in terms of, you know, stopping the hostile activities? And is it possible that in the future Syria will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, as several Arab countries did recently?

President Assad: Our position is very clear since the beginning of peace talks in the nineties, so nearly three decades ago, when we said peace for Syria is about rights. Our right is our land. We can only have normal relations with Israel when we have our land back. It’s very simple. So, it is possible when Israel is ready and Israel is not ready. It has never been ready; we’ve never seen any official in the Israeli regime who is ready to move one step towards peace. So, theoretically yes, but practically, so far, the answer is no.

Question 31: So, this news from other Arab countries who have established recently, I thought probably can be an impetus for Syria and Israel to start negotiations, but as I understand there are no negotiations between your countries underway at the time.

President Assad: No, there is none, nothing at all.

Question 32: You have already mentioned the enforcement of your armed forces. What are the obstacles for it? Do you see any obstacles for enforcing your armed forces?

President Assad: When you talk about big projects, you always have obstacles, but you can overcome these obstacles; nothing is impossible. Sometimes it could be financial, sometimes it could be about priorities, sometimes it could be about the situation on the ground. This is the only obstacle. Otherwise, no, we don’t have any obstacles. We are moving forward in that regard, but it takes time. It’s a matter of time, nothing more.

Question 33: Some international players say that Iranian withdrawal from Syria is a precondition for the economic restoration of the country and cooperation with the Syrian government, of the Western governments and probably the businesses. Will Syria agree with this condition, and will it ask Iran to withdraw, if ever?

President Assad: First of all, we don’t have Iranian troops and that’s very clear. They support Syria, they send their military experts, they work with our troops on the ground, they exist with the Syrian Army. But let’s take one practical example: nearly a year ago, the Americans told the Russians to ” convince the Iranians that they should be 80 kilometers away from the border with the Golan Heights” that is occupied by the Israelis. Although there were no Iranian troops, the Iranians were very flexible, they said “ok, no Iranian personnel will be south of that line” and the Americans said that if we can agree upon this, we are going to withdraw from the occupied eastern part of Syria on the borders with Iraq called al-Tanf. Nothing happened, they didn’t withdraw. So, the Iranian issue is a pretext for occupying Syrian land and supporting terrorists. It’s used as a mask to cover their real intentions. The only way for them to implement what they are saying is when Syria becomes a puppet state to the United States. That’s what they want, nothing else. Everything else they talk about is just lies, false flag allegations. So, I don’t think there’s any real solution with the Americans as long as they don’t want to change their behavior.

Question 34: And the last question: is there anything that you are proud of, and anything that you are sorry for doing or not doing?

President Assad: During the war?

Journalist: During your presidency.

President Assad: You have to differentiate between the policies and between the implementation. In terms of policies, from the very beginning, we have said we’re going to listen to the Syrian people and that’s why we reformed the constitution in 2012. We have said we’re going to fight the terrorists and we are still doing that after ten years. We have said that we have to preserve our independence – national independence and that’s what we are fighting for, and we have to make alliances with our friends. So, regarding these policies, I think we were right. Not trusting the West? We were right on many fronts. In terms of implementation, it’s about the tactics, it’s about many things that you may say were wrong. For example: were the reconciliations wrong? Because in some areas those people who had amnesty, didn’t go back to the rule of law. So, you can say this is wrong, but in reality, those reconciliations were very important steps. I don’t think that in the policies we were wrong. You have many mistakes regarding the implementation anywhere and sometimes on a daily basis.

Journalist: Ok, Mr. President, our time is running out, so again, thanks a lot for this frank and lengthy interview.

President Assad: Thank you. Thank you for coming to Syria.

Journalist: Thank you very much

End of the interview transcript in English.Related Videos

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