“معهد واشنطن”: بوتين أرسل رسالة إلى بايدن باغتيال قياديي “هيئة تحرير الشام”The Washington Institute: Putin sent a message to Biden on assassination the leaders of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

**Please scroll down for the adjusted English Machine translation**

“معهد واشنطن”: بوتين أرسل رسالة إلى بايدن باغتيال قياديي “هيئة تحرير الشام”

12/06/2021

الكاتب: الميادين نت

المصدر: معهد واشنطن لسياسة الشرق الأدنى

باحث في “معهد واشنطن” يربط بين اغتيال المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” والمفاوضات بين روسيا والولايات المتحدة حول الحفاظ على المساعدات في المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الحكومة السورية.

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المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” قتل بغارة جوية سورية

كتب الباحث في “معهد واشنطن” أرون زيلين مقالاً تحليلياً اعتبر فيه أن واشنطن ليست حليفاً لـ”هيئة تحرير الشام”، لكن “عليها أن تدرك أن الضربات الروسية ضد الجماعة تهدف بشكل مباشر إلى إحباط الأهداف الأميركية في جنيف، بما في ذلك الجهود المبذولة للحفاظ على المساعدات عبر الحدود”.

وأشار زيلين إلى قتل المتحدث العسكري باسم “هيئة تحرير الشام” أبو خالد الشامي في قرية عبلين السورية، بالإضافة إلى مسؤولين آخرين من التنظيم البارز في محافظة إدلب، داعياً إلى “النظر إلى الحادث في سياق مفاوضات الأمم المتحدة بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا حول الحفاظ على المساعدات الإنسانية عبر الحدود في المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة (الرئيس السوري) بشار الأسد”.

وأضاف: “بقتل قادة هيئة تحرير الشام، يبدو أن فلاديمير بوتين يرسل إلى الرئيس جو بايدن رسالتين قبل اجتماعهما المقرر في 16 حزيران/ يونيو في جنيف“، وهما:

 1- أن إدلب “لا تزال تديرها جماعة إرهابية مصنّفة من قبل الولايات المتحدة، لذا فإن تقديم المساعدات الإنسانية لتلك المنطقة غير ضروري”.

2- “لا شيء تفعله واشنطن سيغيّر من حقيقة أن روسيا تمتلك كل النفوذ العسكري في سوريا وتواصل اتّباع سياساتها من موقع قوّة”.

وخلص الكاتب إلى أن على واشنطن “أن تدرك أن الضربات الروسية ضد التنظيم هي طريقة أخرى لبوتين لتأكيد أنه الشخص الأقوى على الساحة السورية”.

وتابع: “استمرار النهج الضعيف الذي ميّز السياسة الأميركية في سوريا منذ تدخّل روسيا عام 2015، لن يؤدي إلا إلى المزيد من استعراض العضلات، سواء في إدلب أو خلال اجتماعات جنيف أو قبل اتخاذ قرارات دبلوماسية رئيسية أخرى”.


Putin sent a message to Biden on assassination the leaders of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham

12/06/2021

Author: Al-Mayadeen Net

Source: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

A researcher at the Washington Institute links the assassination of the military spokesman of the Liberation Of Sham to negotiations between Russia and the United States on maintaining aid in areas beyond the control of the Syrian government.

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The military spokesman for “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” was killed in a Syrian air strike

Washington Institute researcher Aaron Zelin wrote an analytical article in which he argued that Washington is not an ally  of the Levant Liberation Authority, but “must realize that Russian strikes against the group are directly aimed at thwarting U.S. targets in Geneva, including efforts to maintain cross-border aid.”

Zelin referred to the killing of the military spokesman of the “Liberation of the Levant” Abu Khalid al-Shami in the Syrian village of Ablain, as well as other officials of the prominent organization in Idlib province, calling for “looking at the incident in the context of the UN negotiations between the United States and Russia on maintaining humanitarian assistance across the border in areas beyond the control of (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad.”

“By killing the leaders of the Levant Liberation Commission, Vladimir Putin appears to be sending President Joe Biden two letters before their June 16 meeting in Geneva:

1. Idlib “is still run by a terrorist group designated by the United States, so humanitarian assistance to that region is unnecessary.”

“Nothing Washington is doing will change the fact that Russia has all themilitary influence in Syria and continues to pursue its policies from a position of strength,”hesaid.

The author concluded that Washington “should realize that Russian strikes against ISIS are another way for Putin to assert that he is the most powerful person on the Syrian scene.”

“The continued weak approach that has characterized U.S. policy in Syria since Russia’s intervention in 2015 will only lead to further muscle flexing, whether in Idlib, during the Geneva meetings or before other major diplomatic decisions are taken.”

The suggestion Turkey was smuggling weapons to Al-Qaeda in Syria shows why Russia’s desire to halt ‘aid’ was a good idea

moi

June 4, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

New allegations that aid trucks to Syria from Turkey carried weapons for terrorists have surfaced. But it’s unlikely to convince those in the West to change their tune that Russia was wrong to want border crossings closed. 

In July 2020, there were those who self-righteously railed at Russia for allegedly denying humanitarian aid to Syrians. They screamed that in calling for crossings to be closed, Russia was attempting to starve and choke civilians in need of assistance. 

The Russian mission to the UN, however, maintains that ample aid is delivered from within Syria, via various agencies, including the UN. It argues that delivering aid from outside of Syria is no longer necessary, since most of the country has returned to peace and security. I haven’t come across a Russian representative who has stated so, but wonder if another reason Russia wanted cross-border ‘aid’ from Turkey halted was because it knew weapons were being smuggled to terrorists in Syria? 

On May 30, Sedat Peker, a Turkish mobster and former ally to Turkish President Recep Erdogan, published a new video in a series he has been releasing on criminal activities among Erdogan’s inner circle. In this latest video, Peker spoke of the weapons and vehicles sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, and that the contractor behind these shipments was a company called SADAT, run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor.

Turkish mobster Sedat Peker, former ally to President #Erdogan, revealed he shipped arms, military supplies, drones, vehicles to al-Nusra front in #Syria at the request of #Sadat, Turkish contractor run by Erdogan’s former chief military advisor Adnan Tanriverdi. pic.twitter.com/AdqUxSyVVO— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) May 30, 2021

Our trucks went under the name of Sedat Peker Aid Convoy. We knew other trucks that went on my behalf carried weapons. This was organized by a team within SADAT. No registration, no paperwork applied to these shipments that crossed directly [to Syria],” said Peker.

The revelations should not come as a surprise. In January 2013, the late journalist Serena Shim, as I wrote, exposed how terrorists and arms were smuggled into Syria from Turkey, noting World Food Organization trucks were being used. In October 2014, Shim was killed in a car accident, shortly after telling Press TV she feared for her life and that Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy. Her family, and inquiring journalists, believed it was down to Turkish foul play, noting the official story of Shim’s death changing. The US government didn’t investigate the suspicious death of one of its citizens in Turkey. 

As Shim reported, if WFO trucks were at one point used to smuggle arms into Syria, can you blame Russia or Syria if they are indeed sceptical of supposed ‘aid’ entering from Turkey?

But whenever the issue of aid crossing into Syria is brought up at the UN Security Council, the narrative is usually to ‘blame Russia’. Hysterical headlines aside, is it really likely that Russia, with the world’s eyes on its every move, is actually trying to starve civilians in Syria? It is Russia, remember, that has demined vast areas of Syria formerly occupied by terrorist factions in order for local people to be able to return to their areas. It is also Russia that delivered aid to Raqqa, the city completely flattened by the US and allies in the pretext of fighting terrorism. 

Syria’s cross-border mechanism (CBM) began in 2014, when – due to the presence of terrorist groups – aid couldn’t be delivered from within the country. The Security Council established the CBM, with four crossings into Syria: two from Turkey, one from Iraq, the last from Jordan. In December 2019, all except the Bab al-Hawa crossing from Turkey were closed down, with aid being coordinated via Damascus. 

But as Russian representatives at the UN pointed out in a statement in July 2020, by then the situation had changed, with most of Syria back under the control of the government. Sending aid to those who need it can be done from within the country. Western media suggested that Syria would use the closure of crossings to starve its civilians, but the reality is that Damascus has consistently cooperated in sending aid, while the US has in the past stymied aid delivery. 

Russia’s statement also noted, “The UN still has no presence in Idlib de-escalation zone which is controlled by international terrorists and fighters. It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the] civil population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

But amid a round of finger pointing, the West and allies continued to criticise Russia for wanting to end the CBM. In response, the Russian Federation’s representative to the UN Security Council wondered whether the UN’s OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) could go to Idlib to see if terrorists occupying that region were respecting the Declaration of Commitment some had signed regarding aid deliveries. 

This was a valid point, given that in areas previously occupied by terrorists, most civilians never saw the ample aid sent in by Syria and agencies. Terrorist groups controlled and hoarded the aid, from east Aleppo to Madaya to al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta. So it was by no means a stretch of the imagination to assume the same might play out in Idlib, particularly since the terrorists included factions from the aforementioned regions, who were bussed to Idlib as the cities and towns finally returned to peace. 

The Russian statement also addressed frenzied Western claims that the other closed crossings were the only means to send aid to civilians in the north-east of Syria. It read“In total, since the beginning of 2020 when ‘Al Yarubiyah’ was closed, more humanitarian aid has been delivered to the north-east of Syria than in previous years.” 

Still the narrative continued, though, and in March 2021, the dictator of Human Rights Watch, Ken Roth, tweeted about “Putin starving Syria”, resurrecting the cries over the unnecessary, and closed, crossings. But his claim prompted an angry response from some.

🇷🇺

So who is actually starving civilians in Syria? Aside from terrorists hoarding food and denying it to the local people, there are more significant reasons for their preventable suffering. And these are the West’s sanctions against them, particularly the June 2020 Caesar Act. 

Last year, James Jeffrey, the then US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, was quoted as saying the latest sanctions would contribute to the fall of the Syrian pound. What a wonderful way to “protect” Syrians. In US parlance, “protect” means “starve.”

As I walk around Damascus, I ask about the cost of food, and whether people can afford to feed their families. Most say their salaries aren’t sufficient: food prices have skyrocketed, salaries have not. Most describe adopting a more vegetarian diet – chicken and meats are too expensive to have more than once a month, or at all. 

Furthermore, there is the US occupation forces’ thieving or destroying of Syrian resources. On that, Dr. Bashar Ja’afari, in his former post as Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, in June 2020, said“When the United States daily steals 200,000 barrels of oil from the Syrian oil fields, 400,000 tons of cotton, 5,000,000 sheep and sets fire to thousands of hectares of wheat fields, and deliberately weakens the value of the Syrian pound, and when it imposes coercive economic measures aiming to choke the Syrian people and occupying parts of the Syrian lands, and when the US representative expresses her concern over the deteriorating situation of the Syrian citizen’s living conditions the logical question will be are not these acts the symptoms of political schizophrenia?”

But as usual the US and its allies blame Russia and Syria for the suffering in Syria, whitewashing their own very long litany of crimes there. 

Although the smuggling of weapons and terrorists via Turkey has been openly known for years, it’s rather amusing that it takes a petty mobster, and not Western media or leadership, to draw new attention to it. No, as terrorists use those weapons to fight the Syrian government (and rival terrorist factions, and civilians), the West is only concerned about blaming Russia and Syria. Ten years of lies and war against the people of Syria just aren’t enough for America and its allies.

Previous Articles:

Syrians filled the polling stations to defend their sovereignty and now fill the streets to celebrate the result

Today I saw Syrians dancing and celebrating life, and a return to peace – but, of course, the Western media won’t report that

Western nations want ‘democracy’ in Syria so badly they close embassies and prevent Syrians from voting in presidential elections

Douma: Three Years On, How independent media shot down the false “chemical attack” narrative.

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

American Journalist Killed in Turkey for Revealing the Truth Regarding ISIS-Daesh: No Investigation Two Years After Suspicious Death of American Journalist Serena Shim

Gaza Fails to Get UNSC Humanitarian Corridors Reserved for al Qaeda in Idlib

 MIRI WOOD 

Israel Jewish terrorist settlers lynch Palestinians in Palestine

Gaza was at the center of the special United Nations Security Council VTC meeting on Sunday, 16 May, to debate the “senseless cycle of bloodshed” [in a vacuum] and other forms of “destruction between Israel, Palestinians in Gaza.” The NATO junta controlling that bastion of peace and security engaged in collective shedding of its infamous crocodile tears, expectedly reaffirmed support for Israel’s ‘right to self defense,’ and made a few sotto voce sounds about humanitarian access. This junta has again shown that its double standards are part of its imperial geopolitical goals, as the klan has never been reserved in its demands for al Qaeda to have such corridors in Idlib.

The arrogant false equivalency of a country with a full army, air force, and navy, and an occupied peoples struggling against what Professor Francis Boyle once described as “slow genocide,” was not unexpected; nor was the mealy-mouthed humanitarian concerns voiced at the UN Forum on the Question of Palestine, two days later.

UNSC held special meeting on false equivalency of Israel and Palestinians.

As is the tendency of the NATO junta to use asymmetrical language to cover obvious bias, virtually all members of the debate team called for an immediate ceasefire, in lieu of the accurate cessation of hostilities.

His Excellency, UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres addressed the “open debate” quite somberly, found the both sides “senseless cycle of bloodshed, destruction between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza” “utterly appalling,” and demanded — with somber face –they immediately stop, lest there be a humanitarian crisis and destabilization of the region, and an end to the [non-existent] negotiation for a two-state solution.

Tor Wennesland is the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He stated that: Unnamed “military operations” (IDF bombing of civilian areas) had caused the “humanitarian and security situation in the densely populated Gaza Strip” to become increasingly dire every day; that 34,000 have been internally displaced; that forty UNRWA supported schools have been turned into shelters for the displaced (who have been bombed out of their homes); that “As a result of the [Israeli] military [bombing] operations, seven factories40 schools, and at least four hospitals sustained complete or partial damage;” that “At least 18 buildings including 4 high rise towers [apartment homes?] including one housing international media outlets, have been destroyed, and over 350 buildings damaged [by Israeli bombings] [emphases added].” As part of the NATO junta, Wennesland dutifully reported that “[a]ccording to the IDF, these buildings contained Hamas military installations.”

He did not mention that forced displacement, including bombing people’s homes, that destroying schools, and that destroying hospitals are war crimes. Wennesland’s blase census of bombed schools, forced displacement, and the obliteration of actual hospitals in Gaza, might be compared to the countless, war criminally lying, anti-Syria NATO klan-led meetings before the Security Council, particularly those involving fake hospitals, unhospitals, staged hospitals where kidnapped Syrian children have been painted by moulage trauma artists, alleged hospitals where the unlicensed Mengele’s brag about performing surgeries without anesthesia.

Truly utterly appalling was SG Gutteres’ ongoing false equivalency as he shed his hypocritical and crocodile tears over the phony “both sides” narrative, utilizing his western supremacy to ignore Israel’s blatant war crimes, and also his acute amnesia over his obsessive demand for various borders to be opened against Syria’s will, in order to ensure humanitarian corridors for al Qaeda in Idlib, a convenient amnesia that caused him to negligently state that such corridors be opened for the suffering, newly homeless, internally displaced, and hospital-less civilians of Gaza.

Only al Qaeda counts, not homeless and hungry and displaced people of Gaza.

Border crossings for al Qaeda in Idlib a frequent demand by Gutteres — via UNSCR 2165 (2014) — who did not mention humanitarian corridors should be opened for people in Gaza.

Utterly appalled, but not enough to demand humanitarian corridors be opened for Gaza, as the SG has many times demanded they be opened for al Qaeda in Idlib.
“Utterly appalling” “[F]ighting must stop.”
Though he did not use the words, SG Guterres appeared ‘utterly appalled’ when he arrived at the impoverished Caribbean island to lecture St. Lucians about cyclical sargassum and climate.
His Excellency SG Guterres has never mentioned being ‘utterly appalled’ that Tony Blair has never been indicted for war crimes.
Appalment likely assuaged when ‘former’ Portuguese colony with Portuguese name, East Timor, separated from Indonesia.
Bat Yam, not Gaza, but Guterres didn't speak of being utterly appalled by the rabid mob
SG Guterres did not voice being utterly appalled by the brutalization by rabid mob of Palestinian man in Bat Yam.

Syria News will also take a short look at other NATO klan members and their various House Servants, but given that the ridiculous collective script that the new round of war crimes perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians, with special focus on death, forced displacement, destruction of schools and hospitals in Gaza, and that — somehow — deadly hostilities magically erupted, from a vacuum, possibly related to an emotion called hate, we shall first share a few videos to demonstrate actual causation.

On 2 May, Eastern Orthodox Palestinian Christians attempting to celebrate Easter at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, were not only turned away by IDF, mishtara, and assorted other Israeli police, but were brutally beaten, knocked to the ground, hit with batons.

Such an immoral and brutal attack — missed by the NATO junta at the UN — was followed by a series of home evictions with phony religious, true psychopaths in blasphemous breach of the mitzvot of Torah seen throwing Palestinians out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah (with the help of Israeli police, in many cases), and bragging about stealing these homes, then followed by Netanyahu unleashing rabid savages to invade more homes, beat and murder the people living there, mobs of psychotics beating a Palestinian man nearly to death — all of which Antonio Gutteres and his gang completely missed.

Then there was the inconsequential incident of the attempt to torch Al Aqsa Mosque, while Israeli men watched and danced and cheered in the nearby Kotel. Israeli media actually claimed that it was a tree that somehow caught fire, and that the degenerates looking in the direction of the flames did so by pure coincidence, as they were actually there honestly celebrating Shavuot.

Let us not omit the following video — that SG Gutteres should have found “utterly appalling,” were he not part of the NATO klan of the UN. It contains the Israeli killer wannabe who sped up his car to run over Palestinians, jumping the concrete Jersey barrier to hit them, and who was then protected by the IDF or militarized police; the zaftig gentleman with the NYC accent who graciously explains to the Palestinian woman why he has the right to have stolen her home; a Palestinian George Floyd dragged from his home; a group of women being battered by the Israeli cops who learned the wrong things from the Nazis (slight paraphrase from a comment in a petition of Jews to the then Mayor of Jerusalem, condemning the massive demolition of Palestinian homes. One signatory commented he was a child of the shoa, then added: “Natzi schmatzi! You learned the wrong thing!”); IDF’ers shooting tear gas, shock grenades, and other deadly projectiles into al Aqsa mosque, filled with worshippers.

Civilized human beings are horrified at the brutality, the home invasions and thefts, the military storming of a house of worship, and the firing of weapons by an armed military inside such a sacred place (who, in his or her right mind would consider sending the military to fire shock grenades and other weapons into St. Peter’s Basilica because of large numbers of worshippers on Christmas Eve?)

Along with the other NATO junta members who have taken over the United Nations, Wennesland ignored all of the above videos of various forms of atrocity, ethnic cleansing, indecency, and prattled on about phony equivalency. He gave perfunctory lip service regarding the deaths of generic “Palestinian families stuck inside their homes,” while bringing us emotionally closer to “a five-year-old Israeli boy in Sderot, and a father and daughter in Lod.” He normalized IDF wounding and murdering of flag-waving demonstrators in Lebanon as somehow a legitimate response to rockets allegedly fired from Lebanon into the sea.

UN NATO klansman normalized atrocities as “clashes,” normalized Israeli military storming a house of worship because of Ramadan.
Spec. UN NATO klansman Wennesland normalized IDF wounding and killing flag wavers in Lebanon.
Not Gaza, nor the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Imagine a military firing weapons into St. Peter’s Basilica because of extra worshippers revering Christmas Eve services.

One after the other, the ruling tripartite aggressors of the P3 ruling junta of the United Nations, feigned concern over Gaza again being bombed to rubble, ignored all of the evidence seen in the above videos, and demonstrated their double-standards which condemn Syria for defending its citizenry, laud Israel’s right to self-defense (which every country inherently and per Geneva Agreement of 1949, has), and inferred that persons living under brutal occupation have the same military ability as the occupier.

In addition to France’s overflowing crocodile tears, French media subsequently made an absurd claim that the US ”vetoed” its draft resolution, kept hidden from all, despite the fact that UNSC resolutions must be submitted to the Security Council, and afforded a vote, before any resolution can be vetoed (this author has no idea what kind of geopolitical shade France may attempt to throw).

None demanded that a humanitarian corridor be opened by Israel, to bring in medical supplies, and foodstuffs to the besieged people of Gaza, though the unsubstantiated claim was made that Israel was ‘forced’ to close such a corridor because of ‘sniper fire.’

The US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield — who practically brought in MGM casts of thousands to lie about fraudulent hospitals in Syria and wail about humanitarian corridors to feed al Qaeda in Idlib, while ignoring America’s criminal sanctions, including the phony Caesar Psyop Act, finally passed by stuffing it into the renewal of the fascist NDAA, in March and in April — showed her concern over bombed hospitals and hungry people in Gaza, via her singular tweet on the UN “debate.”

The UN NATO klansmen “open debate” was followed two days later by the imperialist-named UN Forum on the Question of Palestine, led by former US ambassador to the UN, Rosemary DiCarlo, and the diplomat notorious for “hearing voices” and being caught in outright lies at anti-Syria meetings, Mark Lowcock (those interested in knowing exactly what Lowcock said may follow the hyperlink, below. Those interested in his war propaganda history against Syria can follow the tag in the Syria News search engine.).

DiCarlo has addressed the UN during previous anti-Syria meetings, and has always been forceful in her demands for foreign entities to forcefully open humanitarian corridors for al Qaeda in Idlib, forceful in her support of hospitals that do not exist in terrorist-controlled areas of the SAR, forceful in her demands for the imposition of a new Constitution on Syria. In her imperial address on 18 May, she burped up some useless words such as “regrettably,” “both sides,” “tragic reminder,” “unprecedented,” and barely found the energy to cluck that “humanitarian needs are bound to rise considerably, particularly in Gaza, where the situation was already desperate…”.

Not surprisingly, she did not mention the cause of the desperation, nor did she demand Israel open ”humanitarian corridors,” nor did she demand a constitution (despite the creation of Israel being contingent upon a constitution — among other trivialities — 70 years later, it still does not have one).

Macron’s unsuccessful attempt to censor protesters against the attacks on Gaza , the theft of homes in Sheikh Jarrah, and criminal invasion of al Aqsa.
Thomas-Greenfield tweets undisturbed by Israel’s bombing of Gaza.
Rosemary DeCarlo’s 18 May statement of concern was a bit rote.
Touching symbol of UN hypocrisy

After intentionally failing Gaza, will the UNSC klan dare again to demand humanitarian corridors to al Qaeda, in Idlib?

— Miri Wood

APPENDIX

The tripartite aggressors ruling the UN — France, US, UK, the world’s leaders in war crimes and genocide — along with their House Servants, have a very long history of ignoring the crimes of their welfare queen whose job is to destabilize the Levant, and surrounding areas of the African continent. They have ignored every atrocity perpetrated by their apartheid regime.

Baseem Abu Rahme was a pro two-state Palestinian living in the other open air prison, Bilin. He was at every weekly demonstration against the encroaching apartheid wall. On 17 April 2009, the IDF shot him in the chest with a tear gas cannister used as a projectile, and he died immediately from the physiological shock.

Chava Keller lost all of her family to the Nazi camps. At the age of 14, she spent a night in frigid water, hiding from the Nazis, before making her way to then-Palestine, where she subsequently lost her “Zionist dream.” At the age of 77, the IDF shot her in the arm while she attended a demonstration against the occupation. The photograph taken in June 2006 was outside the Defense Ministry, in Tel Aviv, where hundreds gathered to condemn the massive bombing campaign against the people of Gaza.

Roni Bornat had attended a demonstration in Ramallah, where the IDF shot him in the neck with a live bullet, which made him a permanent quadriplegic. He also attended the weekly Bilin demonstrations, joined by various Israeli activists. In the third photo, Israelis Michaela and Limor Goldstein walk with him to fence ‘protected’ by the IDF and mishtara.

These two Israelis assisted this writer who was protected from physical injury of a shock grenade, by the huge boulder seen in the fifth photograph; assistance was mostly in helping to reorient temporarily scrambled brains from the shock.

Less than two months later, the IDF entered deep into Bilin, threatening both Palestinians and their Israeli supporters, and shooting into the crowd of unarmed demonstrators. The IDF shot Limor in the head with a rubber ball, on 8 August 2006. Video included, here. Michaela is seen pouring water on Limor’s head, and is heard screaming for an ambulance.

The UN klan also ignore various rabbis opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestinians, and to the very apartheid wall.

Baseem Abu Rahme was killed when IDF used a tear gas cannister as projectile and fired it into his chest, Friday 17 April 2009, Bilin.
Chava Keller at a hundreds-strong demonstration at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, June 2006.
Israelis joined Palestinians in Bilin against the apartheid wall.
Rani Bornat.
IDF occupiers fire tear gas at unarmed demonstrators. Bilin, June 2006
Israeli apartheid inflicted on Palestinians of Gaza and the ‘West Bank.’

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A HARD LIFE FOR TURKEY AND ITS PROXIES IN NORTHERN SYRIA

 09.04.2021 

South Front

In the North of Syria, the Turkish armed forces and the factions backed by Ankara are attempting to move and are being punished.

This is the case in Greater Idlib, where a Turkish army convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED) as it was passing on a road between the towns of al-Bara and Ehsim in the southern part of Idlib.

Saryat Ansar Abu Baker As-Siddiq, a newly-founded al-Qaeda-linked group with unknown origins, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The IED attack was in response to insults to Muslim women in Afrin and Aleppo.

Meanwhile in Afrin, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced that two of its soldiers were killed.
The Afrin Liberation Forces (ALF) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group also released a video showing the two Turkish soldiers being targeted with an anti-tank guided missile during a well-planned ambush in the village of Gobele.

In response, the Turkish Army shelled positions held by Kurdish forces in the town of Tell Rifaat and its outskirts.

Three Kurdish fighters were killed.

In Aleppo, the Turkish proxies are not without success. the Syrian National Army (SNA) shot down an armed drone that was flying over the Turkish-occupied northern part of the countryside.

The drone was a locally-modified copy of the commercially-available X-UAV mini-Talon, used by Kurdish groups.

While the Kurdish forces lose their drones, the Ansar Allah are putting theirs to good use in Yemen.

Early on April 8, the group announced that it had launched a Qasef-2K suicide drone at the Saudi King Khalid Air Base in the southern province of ‘Asir.

The Houthis (as Ansar Allah are more commonly known) said that the drone had struck its target successfully.

On the other hand, the Saudi-led coalition claimed that it had shot down the drone over the city of Khamis Mushait, near King Khalid Air Base.

In the late hours of April 8th, the Houthis targeted the Jizan airport in the southwest of the Kingdom with a Qasef-2K drone.

The airport contains hangars for Saudi warplanes used to carry out airstrikes throughout Yemen.

Additionally, a commander of the Seventh Military District of the Saudi-led coalition was killed in west of the city of Marib.

The Houthis are keeping up their pressure towards the city, despite constant airstrikes by Riyadh’s warplanes.

The Saudi-led coalition’s airstrikes appear to be of little effectiveness.

The volatility in the Middle East continues, with rather small movements taking place in most locations.

Related Videos

Full spectrum aggression: 10 years of war on Syria
Turkish occupation gangs in north Syria under pressure

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RUSSIA AND DAMASCUS AGAINST “TERRORIST DEMOCRACY” IN GREATER IDLIB

07.04.2021 

South Front

In Syria’s Greater Idlib, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham continues its attempts at rebranding, all the while keeping up its usual militant activity.

As per the Russian Reconciliation Center, militants in Greater Idlib shelled the surrounding areas 32 times on April 6th.

Another al-Qaeda affiliated militant group in Greater Idlib, Ansar al-Islam, posted photographs of its activities in Idlib province. The footage showed the work of terrorist snipers targeting the Syrian Arab Army. This is more than likely a tool to show that the Damascus government cannot impede their activities, and serves as a recruitment method.

The Russian Aerospace Forces continue responding to all violations by striking militant positions. On April 6th, an air raid was carried out near the settlement of Basankul in Idlib.

In spite of the Damascus Government and Russia’s attempt to deter the militants, the United Nations sent 88 trucks of humanitarian aid to Syria’s Idlib. The aid is supposed to be distributed among the needy people in Idlib and its surrounding areas. It is more likely that it is being used by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and other militant groups to consolidate their grip on the region.

In addition to countering the activities of the Greater Idlib factions, the Syrian Arab Army, with its Russian support is containing ISIS in the central region.

In the 72 hours leading into April 6th, the Russian Aerospace Forces killed at least 29 ISIS terrorists in their strikes. A large number were heavily wounded. These attacks were centered on the Hama province, and stretched all the way to the border of the Deir Ezzor province.

Still, limited ISIS operations continue. On April 6th, one civilian was killed, several were injured and a large number of citizens were abducted in the town of al-Sa’an in the eastern countryside of the Al-Salamiyah region in Hama.

The terrorists ambushed government forces who were protecting the civilians. In total 19 were abducted, out of them 11 were civilians.

ISIS minefields also remain, and need to be cleared sometime in the future. On April 5th, a civilian was killed and another injured in a blast, at the Bowera site on the Jabal Abu Rajmein road, north of Palmyra.

The United States profits from chaos, wasting no time in smuggling resources away from the local population.

On April 5th, according to Syrian media, US forces smuggled out a convoy of trucks loaded with wheat stolen from the silos of Tal Alou in Yarubiyah in the northeastern countryside of Hasaka.

Additionally, on the very next day, Washington’s troops smuggled out a further convoy of 34 tanks and trucks carrying stolen quantities of oil and wheat also from the Syrian al-Jazeera region into northern Iraq.

Every party involved in Syria is fighting tooth and nail for their own interests  and any small opportunity is being exploited, as is clear to see.

RUSSIAN SU-24 BOMBERS DESTROYED HTS CAMP, VEHICLES IN GREATER IDLIB

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Ukraine redux: war, Russophobia and Pipelineistan

Ukraine redux: war, Russophobia and Pipelineistan

April 07, 2021

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war – with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let’s cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war.

On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021.

The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev’s official policy. That’s exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of “Russian aggression.” Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation.

It was this (italics mine) de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76th  Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours.

It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise “unwavering US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” That ties in with Moscow’s interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.

Controlling the narrative

Sevastopol, already when I visited in December 2018, is one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, impervious even to a NATO attack. In his decree, Zelensky specifically identifies Sevastopol as a prime target.

Once again, we’re back to 2014 post-Maidan unfinished business.

To contain Russia, the US deep state/NATO combo needs to control the Black Sea – which, for all practical purposes, is now a Russian lake. And to control the Black Sea, they need to “neutralize” Crimea.

If any extra proof was necessary, it was provided by Zelensky himself on Tuesday this week in a phone call with NATO secretary-general and docile puppet Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelensky uttered the key phrase: “NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass” – which means, in practice, NATO expanding its “presence” in the Black Sea. “Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping.”

All of these crucial developments are and will continue to be invisible to global public opinion when it comes to the predominant, hegemon-controlled narrative.

The deep state/NATO combo is imprinting 24/7 that whatever happens next is due to “Russian aggression.” Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) launch a blitzkrieg against the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. (To do so against Sevastopol in Crimea would be certified mass suicide).

In the United States, Ron Paul has been one of the very few voices to state the obvious:  “According to the media branch of the US military-industrial-congressional-media complex, Russian troop movements are not a response to clear threats from a neighbor, but instead are just more ‘Russian aggression.’”

What’s implied is that Washington/Brussels don’t have a clear tactical, much less strategic game plan: only total narrative control.

And that is fueled by rabid Russophobia – masterfully deconstructed by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, one of the world’s top military analysts.

A possibly hopeful sign is that on March 31, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, talked on the phone about the proverbial “issues of mutual interest.”

Days later, a Franco-German statement came out, calling on “all parties” to de-escalate. Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg.

The problem is Merkel and Macron don’t control NATO. Yet Merkel and Macron at least are fully aware that if the US/NATO combo attacks Russian forces or Russian passport holders who live in Donbass, the devastating response will target the command centers that coordinated the attacks.

What does the hegemon want?

As part of his current Energizer bunny act, Zelensky made an extra eyebrow-raising move. This past Monday, he visited Qatar with a lofty delegation and clinched a raft of deals, not circumscribed to LNG but also including direct Kiev-Doha flights; Doha leasing or buying a Black Sea port; and strong “defense/military ties” – which could be a lovely euphemism for a possible transfer of jihadis from Libya and Syria to fight Russian infidels in Donbass.

Right on cue, Zelensly meets Turkey’s Erdogan next Monday. Erdogan’s intel services run the jihadi proxies in Idlib, and dodgy Qatari funds are still part of the picture. Arguably, the Turks are already transferring those “moderate rebels” to Ukraine. Russian intel is meticulously monitoring all this activity.

A series of informed discussions – see, for instance, here and here – is converging on what may be the top three targets for the hegemon amid all this mess, short of war: to provoke an irreparable fissure between Russia and the EU, under NATO auspices; to crash the Nord Steam 2 pipeline; and to boost profits in the weapons business for the military-industrial complex.

So the key question then is whether Moscow would be able to apply a Sun Tzu move short of being lured into a hot war in the Donbass.

On the ground, the outlook is grim. Denis Pushilin, one of the top leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics, has stated that the chances of avoiding war are “extremely small.” Serbian sniper Dejan Beric – whom I met in Donetsk in 2015 and who is a certified expert on the ground – expects a Kiev attack in early May.

The extremely controversial Igor Strelkov, who may be termed an exponent of “orthodox socialism,” a sharp critic of the Kremlin’s policies who is one of the very few warlords who survived after 2014, has unequivocally stated that the only chance for peace is for the Russian army to control Ukrainian territory at least up to the Dnieper river. He stresses that a war in April is “very likely”; for Russia war “now” is better than war later; and there’s a 99% possibility that Washington will not fight for Ukraine.

On this last item at least Strelkov has a point; Washington and NATO want a war fought to the last Ukrainian.

Rostislav Ischenko, the top Russian analyst of Ukraine whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Moscow in late 2018, persuasively argues that, “the overall diplomatic, military, political, financial and economic situation powerfully requires the Kiev authorities to intensify combat operations in Donbass.

“By the way,” Ischenko added, “the Americans do not give a damn whether Ukraine will hold out for any time or whether it will be blown to pieces in an instant. They believe they stand to gain from either outcome.”

Gotta defend Europe

Let’s assume the worst in Donbass. Kiev launches its blitzkrieg. Russian intel documents everything. Moscow instantly announces it is using the full authority conferred by the UNSC to enforce the Minsk 2 ceasefire.

In what would be a matter of 8 hours or a maximum 48 hours, Russian forces smash the whole blitzkrieg apparatus to smithereens and send the Ukrainians back to their sandbox, which is approximately 75km north of the established contact zone.

In the Black Sea, incidentally, there’s no contact zone. This means Russia may send out all its advanced subs plus the surface fleet anywhere around the “Russian lake”: They are already deployed anyway.

Once again Martyanov lays down the law when he predicts, referring to a group of Russian missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau: “Crushing Ukies’ command and control system is a matter of few hours, be that near border or in the operational and strategic Uki depth. Basically speaking, the whole of the Ukrainian ‘navy’ is worth less than the salvo of 3M54 or 3M14 which will be required to sink it. I think couple of Tarantuls will be enough to finish it off in or near Odessa and then give Kiev, especially its government district, a taste of modern stand-off weapons.”

The absolutely key issue, which cannot be emphasized enough, is that Russia will not (italics mine) “invade” Ukraine. It doesn’t need to, and it doesn’t want to. What Moscow will do for sure is to support the Novorossiya people’s republics with equipment, intel, electronic warfare, control of airspace and special forces. Even a no-fly zone will not be necessary; the “message” will be clear that were a NATO fighter jet to show up near the frontline, it would be summarily shot down.

And that brings us to the open “secret” whispered only in informal dinners in Brussels, and chancelleries across Eurasia: NATO puppets do not have the balls to get into an open conflict with Russia.

One thing is to have yapping dogs like Poland, Romania, the Baltic gang and Ukraine amplified by corporate media on their “Russian aggression” script. Factually, NATO had its collective behind unceremoniously kicked in Afghanistan. It shivered when it had to fight the Serbs in the late 1990s. And in the 2010s, it did not dare fight the Damascus and Axis of Resistance forces.

When all fails, myth prevails. Enter the US Army occupying parts of Europe to “defend” it against – who else? – those pesky Russians.

That’s the rationale behind the annual US Army DEFENDER-Europe 21, now on till the end of June, mobilizing 28,000 soldiers from the US and 25 NATO allies and “partners.”

This month, men and heavy equipment pre-positioned in three US Army depots in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will be transferred to multiple “training areas” in 12 countries. Oh, the joys of travel, no lockdown in an open air exercise since everyone has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Pipelineistan uber alles

Nord Stream 2 is not a big deal for Moscow; it’s a Pipelineistan inconvenience at best. After all the Russian economy did not make a single ruble out of the not yet existent pipeline during the 2010s – and still it did fine. If NS2 is canceled, there are plans on the table to redirect the bulk of Russian gas shipments towards Eurasia, especially China.

In parallel, Berlin knows very well that canceling NS2 will be an extremely serious breach of contract – involving hundreds of billions of euros; it was Germany that requested the pipeline to be built in the first place.

Germany’s energiewende (“energy transition” policy) has been a disaster. German industrialists know very well that natural gas is the only alternative to nuclear energy. They are not exactly fond of Berlin becoming a mere hostage, condemned to buy ridiculously expensive shale gas from the hegemon – even assuming the hegemon will be able to deliver, as its fracking industry is in shambles. Merkel explaining to German public opinion why they must revert to using coal or buy shale from the US will be a sight to see.

As it stands, NATO provocations against NS2 proceed unabated – via warships and helicopters. NS2 needed a permit to work in Danish waters, and it was granted only a month ago. Even as Russian ships are not as fast in laying pipes as the previous ships from Swiss-based Allseas, which backed down, intimidated by US sanctions, the Russian Fortuna is making steady progress, as noted by analyst Petri Krohn: one kilometer a day on its best days, at least 800 meters a day. With 35 km left, that should not take more than 50 days.

Conversations with German analysts reveal a fascinating shadowplay on the energy front between Berlin and Moscow – not to mention Beijing. Compare it with Washington: EU diplomats complain there’s absolutely no one to negotiate with regarding NS2. And even assuming there would be some sort of deal, Berlin is inclined to admit Putin’s judgment is correct: the Americans are “not agreement-capable.” One just needs to look at the record.

Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.

At the same time, the situation is evolving towards a possible new alignment in the heart of the “West”: US/UK pitted against Germany/France. Some Anglosphere exceptionals are certainly more Russophobic than others.

The toxic encounter between Russophobia and Pipelineistan will not be over even if NS2 is completed. There will be more sanctions. There will be an attempt to exclude Russia from SWIFT. The proxy war in Syria will intensify. The hegemon will go no holds barred to keep creating all sorts of geopolitical harassment against Russia.

What a nice wag-the-dog op to distract domestic public opinion from massive money printing masking a looming economic collapse. As the empire crumbles, the narrative is set in stone: it’s all the fault of “Russian aggression.”

BURNING U.S. CONVOYS FIESTA IN IRAQ

South Front

MARCH 30, 2021

One of the most common occurrences in Iraq in 2021 is a US supply convoy being blown up by an IED.

On March 29th, three separate supply consignments were targeted. The first one took place in the Al Diwaniyah province in central Iraq.

The two other attacks were reported in the provinces of Dhi-Qar and Babil.

No casualties were reported however, only damage. No loss of human life is an important fact, due to the fact that the convoys are largely carried out by Iraqi contractors, since US forces no longer take part in logistics.  The aim of the pro-Iranian groups that target the supplies is to force the US out of Iraq.

It is unlikely that these convoys will stop being targeted anytime soon, but strikes on US positions appear to have subsided in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, in northern Syria and Greater Idlib the chaos is here to stay.

Trying to improve the situation, Russia proposed to Turkey to reopen 3 humanitarian crossings into Greater Idlib, but that failed. Ankara, similarly to how it carries out its ceasefire commitments, put no effort towards attempting to contain any of the factions that it backs.

In northern Syria clashes between the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the factions backed by Turkey continue.

On March 29th, a large explosion was reported in the town of Ras al-Ain, which is under the control of Turkish-backed forces.

Nearby, clashes between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish-backed militants were reported in the Sher district of Afrin.

According to the reports by the Syrian Observation for Human Rights, on March 28th, SDF forces carried out a successful operation in the Ras al-Ain countryside, killing 5 Turkish-backed militants and wounding 3 others.

It is a back and forth struggle, especially since the SDF stopped giving oil to the Turkish-backed factions to smuggle for Ankara.

In Greater Idlib, the Russian Air Force carried out an airstrike on a militant headquarters.  The attack reportedly took place near the town of Martin in the Western Idlib countryside.

These strikes, as well as shelling from the Syrian Arab Army will continue as long as Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and the other militant groups in Greater Idlib continue to regularly violate the ceasefire agreement.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, in Yemen, Ansar Allah (the Houthis) continue their largely successful operations against the Saudi-led coalition.

In the southern Taiz province, Ansar Allah repelled an attack of Saudi proxies. Reportedly, the Houthis destroyed 3 vehicles and the enemy lost a large number of fighters.

A missile was launched at a Saudi-led forces position in Marib, however no casualties or damage was reported.

At least two drones were used to attack the Khamis Mushait Airport.

Saudi Arabia, on its part, continues its heavy airstrike activity, but it seems to be achieving close to nothing.

U.S. A FRIEND WITH WHEAT IS A FRIEND INDEED

South Front

29.03.2021 

The current state of affairs in northeastern Syria is bordering on the absurd.

In an unexpected twist, US-backed militants seized a shipment of US-made missiles that were en route to other militants also supported by America. The shipment included 2 TOW anti-tank guided missiles, 24 AK-type assault rifles, a designated marksman’s rifle, two gun tubes and ammo.

On March 28th, the Syrian Task Force, a joint force of the Turkish Police, Counterterrorism Unit and the National Syrian Army (SNA) took the weapons shipment.

Most SNA factions were once backed by the US, which supplied them with TOW ATGMs until late 2017. They are also currently and continually supported by Turkey.

Turkey said that the weapons consignment was seized because it was heading towards the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).  The SDF is the most important US ally in Syria, but it is comprised of the PKK and YPG, whom Ankara deems as terrorist organizations.

US forces in Syria need all the support they can get, and as such they are delivering supplies to its presumed allies.

On March 27th, in addition to smuggling oil, a large US convoy smuggled 38 trucks of Syrian wheat from the Hasaka governorate into northern Iraq. Just days earlier, on March 25th, 18 more trucks with wheat were taken out of Syria.

In Hasaka, the SDF is carrying out its expansionist work, displacing home-owners in the vicinity of a helipad. The positions are to be used to counter the attacks and movements of Turkish-backed militants coming from Ras al-Ayn and Afrin.

And sure enough, Turkish forces, as well as militants backed by Ankara, renewed shelling on the Hasaka countryside. They shelled the two villages of al-Khashma and al-Dardara to the north of the town Tal Tamer on March 27th.

In response to Turkey’s shelling and attacks, the SDF carried out an operation towards Raqqa. As a result, eight Turkish-backed militants were either killed or wounded. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SDF fighters blew up a militant position near the town of Umm al-Manajir in the northern outskirts of the town of Ain Issa.

Still, even without the SDF attacking any positions, in Afrin the Turkish-backed militants continue fighting even amongst themselves. On March 27th, militants of the Hamza Division clashed with a group which recently defected from the division and joined the al-Sham Corps. At least 11 were either killed or injured.

Northern Syria appears to be in a perpetual state of chaos, with several sides attempting to steal away resources to forward their own interests. Turkey, the US, and the militants that they back are taking the chance to do so, since the Damascus government and Russian support are more focused on Greater Idlib, and the ISIS-infested central region.

Related

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent

 Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.

*Dec 2013: FSA & Al-Qaeda bomb and completely destroy Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.

moi

March 24, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

As legacy media again bleat the unsubstantiated “Syria is bombing hospitals” chorus of its war propaganda songbook, let’s pause to review the relatively unknown (but verifiable) reality of terrorists bombing hospitals in Syria.

Following recent allegations of a hospital being targeted Al Atarib, western Aleppo, the US State Department repeated the claim, in spite of any clear evidence to back it up.

Instead, reports rely on highly questionable sources like the White Helmets, the USAID-funded Syrian American Medical Society and the usual unnamed “witnesses” and (clearly impartial!) “rebel sources,” as per a Reuters’ report on the recent claims.

In fact, Reuters even acknowledges being unable to verify the authenticity of videos purporting to show “a ward damaged and civil defence rescuers carrying bloodstained patients outside.”

Let’s recall that Idlib is occupied by Al-Qaeda in Syria – a fact emphasized (as I wrote) by the US’ own former special envoy, Brett McGurk, who deemed the northwestern Syrian province the “largest Al-Qaeda safe-haven since 9/11.

The presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups makes it impossible for independent, neutral bodies to assess what is going on.

Facts matter, they say. But really, not so much when it comes to war propaganda.

In Sarmada, Idlib countryside, one of the targets was a Tahrir al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) fuel market, the smuggled fuel tankers obliterated.

A White Helmets video supposedly filmed in Al-Atarib alleges a hospital was bombed there. It indeed shows what looks like a medical facility covered in dust, and a lot of bulky men of fighting age. Glaringly absent are women or normal looking civilians.

Given the White Helmets’ penchant for working only in areas controlled by terrorist factions, working with them and even numbering among them, dabbling in organ trade, and having lied many times in the past, the video proves nothing.

There is, on the other hand, a precedent for “hospitals” or medical centres being weaponized by terrorists. And not just once or twice, but repeatedly in terrorist-occupied areas throughout Syria.

I’ve seen them in Aleppo and eastern Ghouta.

The Eye and Childrens’ Hospitals, a large complex in eastern Aleppo, was militarized and occupied by terrorists including the Tawhid Brigade, Al-Qaeda and even IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS). Prisoners were held, and tortured, in nightmarish prisons and solitary confinement cells deep below. 

As journalist Vanessa Beeley noted, in eastern Ghouta, medical centres, “provided treatment almost exclusively to extremist armed factions.” They were also built underground, “linked by a vast maze of tunnels that snaked below most of the districts controlled by the armed groups, providing cover for the fighters during SAA [Syrian Arab Army] military campaigns.” (An aside, see one of these massive tunnels in Douma, at the location of the underground “hospital.”)

In Idlib, a “hospital” that the New York Times claimed Russian warplanes bombed in May 2019 was a cave used as a terrorist headquarters. Another fortified cave in Khan Sheikhoun was well-stocked with weapons, medical supplies and gas masks, and a prison with solitary confinement cells.

In areas liberated from terrorists, the Syrian Army routinely finds such caves, with tunnels connecting terrorist bases so they can avoid moving above ground.

In the past, Russia has provided satellite imagery when the question of a building allegedly being bombed arose. Until we have conclusive evidence either way, it is a question of he said, she said, although common sense (and the history of such lies) points to more media fabrications.

Hospitals bombed, media yawns

Since the media and pundits clearly care so much about Syrian hospitals being bombed, and even destroyed, it’s worth reviewing some of the major hospitals damaged or destroyed by terrorist factions.

However, unsurprisingly, not a lot of information is available. The following is a partial list, with me filling in details from attacked hospitals that I have gone to.

  • The September 2012 Free Syrian Army (FSA) bombing of and complete destruction of Al-Watani Hospital in Qusayr, Homs province. 
  • The September 2012 FSA bombing and complete destruction of two hospitals in Aleppo.
  • The December 2013 FSA & Al-Qaeda bombing and complete destruction of Aleppo’s Al-Kindi hospital, one of the largest and best cancer hospitals in the Middle East.
  • The April 2015 FSA bombing and siege of the National Hospital in Jisr al-Shughour, Idlib.
  • The May 2016 IS horrific multiple suicide bombings in Jableh (and also in Tartous the same day), including inside Jableh’s National Hospital.
  • The May 2016 attack outside Aleppo’s Dabeet maternity hospital, a missile hit a car parked outside, which then exploded, killing three women at the hospital and injuring many more. 

I went to Aleppo in July 2016 and spoke with the director, who confirmed his hospital was gutted in the blast, and noted that a week later terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.

In May 2018, before Daraa was fully liberated, I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists (including the day I went), and took a perilous high speed ride in the taxi I had hired in Damascus to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.

The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards (dialysis and laboratory), and off-limits areas due to high risk of sniping (gynecology, operations, blood bank, nursing school, children’s hospital).

When I returned to Daraa in September, after the region was liberated, the hospital was full of patients, since it was finally possible to access without risk.

Behind the hospital, roughly 50 metres away, I saw a building when I was told had been occupied by terrorists. Hence the extreme risk of being sniped while inside the hospital.

I never saw any Western outlet speak of this hospital, although it serviced civilians and was quite visibly partially destroyed.

In November 2016, I met Dr. Ibrahim Hadid, former Director of Kindi Hospital, who said that he wanted medical colleagues and institutions to exert some of the concern they have for “hospitals” allegedly bombed in terrorist areas.

They, and Western corporate media, have done the opposite, of course.

Another chemical song and dance routine?

Meanwhile, Russia is warning of a possible new staged chemical provocation by Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib.

The Russian Center for Reconciliation says, “militants are plotting to stage a fake chemical attack near the settlement of Qitian,” to again accuse the Syrian government of using chemicals on the people.

As anyone following the war on Syria knows, although the West desperately wants to prove Syria committed one or more chemical attacks, it has failed, to the point where even OPCW experts spoke out, contradicting the claims.

As I wrote last week, in spite of incessantly lying about Syria for ten years, Western (and Gulf) media, pundits and politicians steam ahead with more lies – recycled accusations and war propaganda.

So, it is likely the “hospitals bombed” theme will surge anew, and then the “chemical attacks” theme. And then maybe we’ll have another new Bana al-Abed to ask Biden to bomb Syria or “holocaust” Idlib…

On and on it goes, ceaseless war propaganda.

The irony is of course, as I feel the need to make clear nearly every time I write, those script-readers claiming that Syria (and Russia) are bombing hospitals, or using chemicals, or whatever lie is next recycled, don’t actually care about the lives of Syrians. 

If they did, they would stop whitewashing terrorism in Syria, aid the country and its allies in liberating Idlib and the Aleppo countryside, stop pillaging its oil, leave Syria, and lift the sanctions.

RELATED:

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague

Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

In the Western Media Narrative, SAA-Targeted Underground Bunkers and Terrorist-Run Prisons Become “Hospitals”

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Israel violates international law anew, again bombing Syria…to further indifference of Western media

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

ABOUT ME

Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, she has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/about-me/ Her social media sites: https://linktr.ee/evakarenebartlett

سورية … روسيا تعلن التوصل إلى اتفاق مع تركيا حول إدلب وحلب

دام برس : دام برس | روسيا تعلن التوصل إلى اتفاق مع تركيا حول إدلب وحلب

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الأربعاء 24/3/2021 م …

أعلنت وزارة الدفاع الروسية عن توصلها إلى اتفاق مع الجانب التركي لإعادة فتح 3 معابر في منطقتي إدلب وحلب شمال سورية لتخفيف صعوبة الأوضاع الإنسانية في الأراضي الخاضعة لسيطرة تركيا.

وقال نائب مدير مركز حميميم لمصالحة الأطراف المتناحرة في سوريا والتابع لوزارة الدفاع الروسية، اللواء البحري ألكسندر كاربوف، خلال مؤتمر صحفي عقده الأربعاء، إنه “بهدف رفع حالة العزل وعمليا إزالة الحصار الداخلي للمدنيين، تم اتخاذ قرار لفتح” معبري سراقب وميزناز في منطقة إدلب لخفض التصعيد ومعبر أبو زيدين في منطقة مدينة حلب.

وأضاف كاربوف: “نعتقد أن هذا الإجراء يمثل عرضا مباشرا لالتزامنا بالتسوية السلمية للأزمة السورية على المجتمعين المحلي والدولي”.

وأوضح نائب مدير مركز حميميم أن هذه الخطوة ستسهم “في تحسين الأوضاع الاجتماعية وإزالة التوتر في المجتمع بسبب انقطاع الاتصالات العائلية وصعوبة الأحوال المعيشية”.

وتخضع مناطق واسعة شمال سوريا تطال محافظات إدلب وحلب والرقة والحسكة لسيطرة القوات التركية والتشكيلات المتحالفة معها نتيجة عمليات عسكرية شنتها تركيا منذ عام 2016، قالت إنها ضد تنظيم “داعش” و”وحدات حماية الشعب” الكردية وكذلك في إطار اتفاقات مع روسيا حول نظام وقف إطلاق النار.

وشهدت هذه الأراضي خلال الأسابيع الأخيرة احتجاجات للسكان المحلية على خلفية تدهور الأوضاع الإنسانية تم فضها من قبل التشكيلات الخاضعة لتركيا.

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THE U.S. CONTINUES TO SMUGGLE OIL WHILE TURKEY COMPLAINS TO RUSSIA IT CAN’T

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

The intensity of the conflict in Syria’s northeast refuses to die down, as more and more strikes are carried out targeting each involved party’s  interests.

For its part, MSM reports on all of these, but many of them are presented in a light, much different from reality.

On March 23rd, a video emerged showing the Damascus government forces conduct a strike on Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The shelling targeted the terrorist fortifications and depots. MSM, in conjunction with various Western-backed organizations such as the “International Rescue Committee”, shifted the story and claimed that a civilian hospital had been struck.

As such, the narrative is this – the “Bloody Assad Regime” is back at it, targeting civilians and killing its own people.

As might be expected this media campaign is part of the attempts by the US to rebrand HTS as a “former terrorist” and now reformed organization, in order to have another ally, in a different part of Syria.

The Damascus government’s recent punishment of HTS and the Turkish-backed militants in northeastern Syria is happening with Russian support and is part of a wider push to liberate more areas of Syria.

Ankara is dissatisfied with this, even summoning the Russian Ambassador to complain about the severe strikes that Moscow had carried out on terrorist targets.

The Turkish side insists that artillery and air strikes on positions and infrastructure of Turkish-funded terrorists in Greater Idlib violated the ‘de-escalation agreement’. No mentions were made of the violations that are frequently carried out by these same terrorists.

Turkey would like to continue to enjoy the smuggled oil it used to receive from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The United States, still benefits from that smuggled oil. On March 23rd, a convoy of more than 300 tankers left Syria’s Hasaka region and entered Iraq.

Washington’s oil repatriation is not proceeding without a hitch either. On March 23rd, several rockets hit a US military base near the Conico oil field in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV reported that the US suffered casualties. Little else is known.

Being subject to rocket strikes, and having convoys hit by IEDs was commonplace in Iraq, but it appears that it has now also come to plague Washington’s forces in Syria.

The profits from that smuggled oil could potentially be used to cover a recent loss by the US – an MQ-9 Reaper was downed in Yemen, by Ansar Allah.

Despite officially not supporting the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the Biden Administration appears to still be up to Washington’s old activities.

The Houthis, as Ansar Allah is commonly known, are riding high due to their recent successes and continue their regular drone strikes on various Saudi positions and infrastructure behind enemy lines.

The Abha Airport, alongside other locations in the south of the Kingdom, is subject to frequent attacks.

Riyadh is providing ample opposition, carrying out approximately 30 or more airstrikes each day. Still, it would seem that the Saudi-led coalition is being steadily pushed back.

THE DAY IMPUNITY WAS PUNISHED IN IDLIB

South Front

The Turkish-backed militants in Greater Idlib, and in northeastern Syria in general are being given no quarter.

On March 21st, the Russian troops enforcing the ceasefire regime in Idlib carried out a rare strike – they launched what seemed to be a 9K720 Iskander missile and hit an unspecified target near the village of Salwah. The ballistic missile reportedly targeted the headquarters of the al-Sham Corps, one of the largest Turkish-backed factions.

Shortly thereafter, Su-35 and Su-34 warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on the town of Saramada in northern Idlib that is located near the border with Turkey. They targeted a gas factory owned by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). A shipping office, owned by the terrorist group, was also targeted by Russian airstrikes. Dozens of trucks were damaged or destroyed. The town of Bsanqul in southern Idlib was also subject to an air raid.

The Russian strikes were almost certainly in response to a violation of the ceasefire agreement – a rocket attack was launched from Idlib and struck Aleppo city. Two civilians were killed and many others were injured. Property damage was also reported.

The Russian operation was one of the most severe since the ceasefire agreement was implemented. It is likely an attempt to deter the Turkish-backed factions, as well as HTS from carrying out any more expansive operations.

Still, Turkey is unlikely to give up on its interests, and on remaining in northeastern Syria. It has occupied parts of the Aleppo countryside, and almost the entirety of Afrin for more than three years.

The Turkish-backed factions are there to smuggle oil and gas, which is being provided by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Since, under Damascus’ pressure and as a result the Syrian Arab Army’s attacks that tap was shut off, Turkey and the factions it backs are left to fend for their own interests. As a result, on March 21st, the SDF clashed with militants near Hasaka, and several of its members were injured. One civilian was killed in the fire exchange between the two factions.

The Turkish factions also need their ranks refilled, and are now carrying out “mandatory recruitment” in Ras al-Ayn and its outskirts.

This is a clear signal that despite the significant efforts by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian support, Ankara is nowhere near giving up on pursuing its goals, and is willing to go to great lengths to achieve them.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

HTS terrorists plan yet another false flag chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib

RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKES WIPE OUT MILITANT COMMUNICATION CENTER IN GREATER IDLIB

In Video: Russian Airstrikes Wipe Out Militant Communication Center In Greater Idlib
An Su-24 taking off from Hmeimim air base in 2015. IMAGE: Russian Ministry of Defense

South Front

A communication center operated by militants and foreign intelligence was destroyed in the recent Russian airstrikes on the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, RusVesna.SU claimed on March 20.

Warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) targeted the militants’ communication center, which was located in the town of Benin in southern Idlib, with FAB-500 free-fall bombs in the morning of March 20.

The communication center was completely wiped out as a result of the Russian airstrikes, as seen in a video released by RusVesna. A number of militants who were guarding the facility were allegedly killed.

On March 20, Russian warplanes also struck the outskirts of the town of Bkafla in western Idlib. The target has not been revealed yet.

In the last few months, VKS warplanes destroyed many headquarters, ammunition depots and communication center in Greater Idlib. Most of the targeted positions belonged to al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the de-facto ruler of the region.

The recent Russian airstrikes on Greater Idlib were a response to the militants’ repeated violations of the ceasefire in the region. The ceasefire was brokered by Russia and Turkey on March 5 of 2020.

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THE SYRIAN ARAB ARMY IN THE WORLD’S MOST VOLATILE GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

It is as if the Syrian Arab Army were involved in a giant game of whack-a-mole.  Each time it carries out a successful operation on one of its numerous battlefields, it gets punished elsewhere.

On March 16th, a convoy of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) elite 4th Division was ambushed in the countryside of Daraa. Despite heavy fire from the SAA, the gunmen were able to escape after killing 22 service members and injuring at least five others.

The situation in Daraa is quite complicated. In February, the SAA was preparing to launch a large-scale operation to arrest a group of wanted militants in western Daraa.  However former rebel leaders expelled the group from the area and accepted a new reconciliation agreement. The operation was thus avoided, but there has been no cessation of hostilities.

The time may have come for another operation in Daraa, keeping in mind the recent progress in actions in the northeast against Turkish proxies, who had been smuggling oil.

Sure enough, Russian Military Police also completed their deployment to the vicinity of the ancient city of Busra in the southern Syrian governorate. Wherever a Syrian operation is about to happen, Russian support is always nearby.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) resumed oil and wheat shipments to areas held by the Damascus government. This is an expected result of continuous pressure from Damascus and its Russian support. The Russians even regained control of an oil field and a gas field in nearby Raqqah.

This, of course, comes in addition to the heavy punishment meted out by the SAA to the Turkish proxies in the northeast, who have been exploiting the situation and trafficking resources for Ankara.

More than likely the SDF took the decision to resume shipments 35 days after halting them after considering the developments of the last several days and weeks.

In central Syria, a testament to the progress made in pushing back ISIS is likely the 140 km long trench being dug by the Iraqi Armed Forces. Being pounded by both the SAA and the Russian Armed Forces, ISIS cells are attempting to move into Iraq and carry out their activities there. The Iraqi Army is attempting to pincer them and to both stop their movement in that direction and entrap the terrorists.

The SAA is making progress on many fronts throughout Syria, and large-scale operations are expected in the northeast. Time will tell which issue is more pressing – the Turkish proxies in the northeast, the terrorists in the central region, the “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib or the insurgency in Daraa.

بعد أستانة وسوتشي.. لماذا الدوحة؟

حسني محلي

حسني محلي

المصدر: الميادين نت

13 آذار 19:27

السؤال يتمحور حول السبب الذي دفع موسكو إلى أن تسلك هذا الطريق وتتفق مع الدوحة وأنقرة على آلية جديدة قد تتناقض مستقبلاً مع مساري أستانة وسوتشي، فيما تستبعد الآلية الجديدة طهران، اللاعب الأهم في سوريا.

التقى سيرغي لافروف في الدوحة نظيريه القطري محمد عبدالرحمن آل ثاني، والتركي مولود جاويش أوغلو.
التقى سيرغي لافروف في الدوحة نظيريه القطري محمد عبدالرحمن آل ثاني، والتركي مولود جاويش أوغلو.

بعد أربع سنوات من مباحثات أستانة التي انطلقت في كانون الثاني/يناير 2017 وبعد مضي ثلاثين شهراً على اتفاق سوتشي في أيلول/سبتمبر وجدت موسكو نفسها مضطرة للبحث عن آلية جديدة تساعدها على معالجة ما فشلت في تحقيقه خلال السنوات الماضية. 

خلال جولة وزير الخارجية الروسي الخليجية الأخيرة، والتي شملت أبو ظبي والرياض اللتين أطلقتا تصريحات “إيجابية” حول سوريا، التقى سيرغي لافروف في الدوحة نظيريه القطري محمد عبدالرحمن آل ثاني، والتركي مولود جاويش أوغلو. الوزيران أكدا في مؤتمر صحافي مشترك “على ضرورة الحل السياسي في سوريا”، الأمر الذي سمعناه من كل الأطراف أكثر من مرة خلال السنوات العشر الماضية من تاريخ هذه الأزمة، وكانت قطر وتركيا لاعبان أساسيان فيها. هذا ما اعترف به رئيس الوزراء القطري السابق حمد بن جاسم في 27 تشرين الأول/أكتوبر عام 2017 عندما تحدث إلى التلفزيون القطري قائلاً إن الدوحة “أمسكت بملف الأزمة السورية بتفويض رسمي من السعودية وإن الدعم العسكري الذي قدمته بلاده للجماعات المسلحة كان يذهب إلى تركيا بالتنسيق مع الولايات المتحدة وإن كل شيء أُرسل إلى سوريا كان يتم توزيعه عن طريق القوات الأميركية إضافة إلى الأتراك والسعوديين”.

كما كان حمد بن جاسم اللاعب الأساسي في القرار الذي اتخذته الجامعة العربية في 12 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر عام 2011 والمتعلق بتعليق عضوية سوريا في الجامعة، وحضر الاجتماع آنذاك وزير الخارجية التركي أحمد دَاوُد أوغلو.

الوزير القطري عبدالرحمن آل ثاني لم ينس الخميس الماضي التذكير بهذا الموضوع حينما قال “إن أسباب تعليق عضوية سوريا في الجامعة العربية ما زالت قائمة”، في إشارة منه إلى استمرار التنسيق والتعاون مع تركيا في سوريا كما كان عليه الأمر منذ البداية. وكان الأمير القطري حمد آل ثاني الزعيم العربي الوحيد الذي شارك في حفل إعلان دمشق عاصمة الثقافة العربية في 19 كانون الثاني/يناير 2008 وجلس إلى جانبه الرئيس التركي آنذاك عبدالله غول، الزعيم الأوروبي الوحيد الذي حضر الحفل متجاهلاً تهديدات الرئيس الأميركي السابق جورج بوش.

بعد استلام حزب العدالة والتنمية السلطة في تركيا نهاية 2002، انتهجت تركيا وقطر منذ بداية العلاقات التركية مع دمشق نهجاً مشتركاً، بل واحداً، في ما يتعلق بكل الأمور الخاصة بسوريا قبل الأزمة السورية وبعدها، ولولا هاتان الدولتان لما وصلت الأزمة السورية إلى ما وصلت إليه الآن بكل تعقيداتها. 

يفسر ذلك القمة الرباعية التي شارك فيها رجب طيب إردوغان وأمير قطر حمد آل ثاني والرئيس الفرنسي السابق نيكولا ساركوزي في دمشق مع الرئيس بشار الأسد في أيلول/سبتمبر 2009، حيث اقترحت الدول الثلاث على الرئيس الأسد نقل الغاز القطري والخليجي إلى تركيا عبر الأراضي السورية لكسر الاحتكار الروسي والإيراني، وهو ما رفضه الأسد آنذاك. واعتبر البعض هذا الرفض من أهم الأسباب التي كانت وراء الحماس التركي- القطري- الفرنسي في الأزمة السورية منذ بدايتها. 

ولم يمنع انقلاب عبدالفتاح السيسي في تموز/يونيو 2013 ضد جماعة الإخوان المسلمين في مصر الرئيس إردوغان وحليفه القطري الشاب الأمير تميم (استلم السلطة قبل انقلاب السيسي بأسبوع واحد فقط!) من الاستمرار في سياساتهما المعروفة في سوريا وتقديم الدعم المطلق والشامل لكل الفصائل الإسلامية، وهو ما اعترف به حمد بن جاسم. 

ويفسر ذلك أيضاً الدور الذي لعبته قطر مع تركيا خلال القمة العربية التي انعقدت في الدوحة في 27 آذار/مارس 2013 حيث جلس أحمد معاذ الخطيب الرئيس المستقيل لما يسمى بـ”الائتلاف السوري لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” في المقعد المخصص للرئيس الأسد. 

وسبق ذلك، الدور الذي لعبته قطر وتركيا معاً خلال اجتماع الدوحة بتاريخ 11 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2012، في إقناع الفصائل المسلحة وأطرافها السياسية لتوحيد صفوفها في كيان جديد سمي بـ”الائتلاف الوطني لقوى الثورة والمعارضة السورية” وترأسه أحمد معاذ الخطيب المقرب من إردوغان. كما لعبت أنقرة والدوحة دوراً أساسياً في إقناع خالد مشعل بإغلاق مكاتب ومخيمات حماس في سوريا والقتال ضد الدولة السورية التي لولاها لما كانت حماس موجودة أساساً.  

هذا عن ذكريات الماضي التي على ما يبدو لم تنساها أنقرة والدوحة، وهو ما أكد عليه الوزيران جاويش أوغلو وآل ثاني عندما تحدثا عن استمرار موقفهما المعروف في ما يتعلق بالوضع الراهن للأزمة السورية وآفاق الحل المحتمل لهده الأزمة، وهما السبب في تأخر هذا الحل. هذا ما أكدت عليه موسكو أكثر من مرة وعلى لسان الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين ووزير خارجيته وكلاهما فشل في إقناع إردوغان بضرورة وقف الدعم للفصائل السورية المختلفة بما فيها جبهة النصرة في إدلب. 

وقد رفض إردوغان، وما زال يرفض، أي تدخل سوري وروسي في إدلب على الرغم من تعهداته للرئيس بوتين في اتفاق سوتشي وبعد ذلك في اتفاق موسكو بتاريخ 5 آذار/مارس العام الماضي بالتخلص من جبهة النصرة. وكان هذا الرفض التركي المدعوم من الدوحة سبباً كافياً لتأزم الوضع في الشمال السوري، غرب الفرات وشرقه، وهو ما دفع أنقرة إلى إرسال ما لا يقل عن 10 آلاف مقاتل من قواتها إلى الشمال السوري بكامل معداتهم القتالية براً وجواً. ترافق ذلك مع استمرار تمويل أنقرة ودعمها مع الدوحة لما يسمى بـ”الجيش الوطني السوري” المعارض الذي يقاتل ضد الدولة السورية، رغم تأكيد لقاء الدوحة الأخير “على سيادتها المطلقة على كامل ترابها”. 

ويعرف الجميع بِما فيهم الرئيس بوتين أن هذا التأكيد كان وسيبقى حبراً على ورق مع استمرار الموقف التركي والقطري الذي كان مبرراً للوجود العسكري الأميركي في شرق الفرات. وهذا الوجود يمثل الخطر الأكبر الذي يهدد استقلال وسيادة ووحدة سوريا أرضاً وشعباً ودولة، ومن دون أن تفكر أنقرة في تحقيق أي خطوة عملية من أجل مواجهة هذا الخطر الذي يهددها ربما أكثر من سوريا، باعتبار أن وحدات حماية الشعب الكردية السورية تشكل امتداداً لحزب العمال الكردستاني التركي.

أما عن الواقع الحالي فالسؤال يتمحور حول السبب الذي دفع موسكو إلى أن تسلك هذا الطريق وتتفق مع الدوحة وأنقرة على آلية جديدة قد تتناقض مستقبلاً مع مساري أستانة وسوتشي، فيما تستبعد الآلية الجديدة  طهران (اللاعب الأهم في سوريا) على الرغم من تضامنها مع الدوحة خلال أزمتها مع دول الخليج في حزيران/يوليو 2017.

والسؤال الآخر هو: لماذا تجاهلت موسكو إيران؟ حتى لو كان ذلك بناء على طلب من تركيا وقطر وهي تعرف جيداً أن هاتين الدولتين لا ولن تساهما في الحل النهائي للأزمة السورية إلا وفق حسابات إردوغان العقائدية، حتى لو تخلى عن ورقة الإخوان المسلمين تكتيكياً خلال مصالحته مع عدوه اللدود الرئيس عبدالفتاح السيسي. ويبدو أن الأخير ليس متحمساً حتى الآن لمثل هذه المصالحة التي قال عنها بيان الخارجية المصرية إنها “يجب أن تراعي الأطر القانونية والدبلوماسية التي تحكم العلاقات بين الدول على أساس احترام مبدأ السيادة ومقتضيات الأمن القومي العربي، كما على أنقرة أن تلتزم بقواعد القانون الدولي ومبادئ حسن الجوار وأن تكف عن محاولات التدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لدول المنطقة”.

والسؤال الثالث: ماذا ستفعل الرياض وأبو ظبي حيال هذا التحرك التركي- القطري التقليدي مع استمرار التواجد العسكري التركي  في قطر جنباً إلى جنب مع القواعد الأميركية الاستراتيجية؟ يبقى السؤال مطروحاً حتى بعد المصالحة السعودية- القطرية- الإماراتية “والتضامن” التركي مع الرياض ضد جماعة “أنصار الله” الحوثية.

وأياً كانت حسابات إردوغان، وشريكه الصغير الأمير تميم، عربياً وإقليمياً ودولياً، يبدو واضحاً أن هذه الحسابات وفق المعطيات السابقة قد تكون لمواجهة “الدور الإيراني المحتمل في المنطقة” بعد الاتفاق النووي مع واشنطن والعواصم الغربية.

وليس واضحاً إن كانت موسكو التي سمحت للجيش التركي بدخول سوريا في آب/أغسطس 2016 ستواجه مثل هذا الاحتمال إن وجد وكيف؟ وهل هي مستعدة لإغلاق ملفي أستانة وسوتشي على حساب إيران وسوريا؟ أم أن كل ما نراه الآن لا يندرج إلا في إطار التحرك الروسي المصلحي لمواجهة الحملة أو الحملات الأميركية المتوقعة في المنطقة؟ هذا إذا تجاهلنا احتمالات التنسيق الروسي- الأميركي في كل هذه السيناريوهات. 

ويعرف الجميع أن الرئيس إردوغان ما زال ينتظر مكالمة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن من دون أن يفكر بالمبادرة إلى أي خطوة عملية على طريق المصالحة مع الرئيس الأسد، على غرار ما سيفعله مع الرئيس السيسي، ليطوي بذلك راية الخلافة التي عاد بها السلطان سليم من القاهرة في 11 كانون الثاني/يناير 1517. كما سيجد نفسه مضطراً إلى نسيان كل ما قاله خلال الفترة الماضية بحق العاهل السعودي ونجله ولي العهد ورئيس الإمارات، بل وحتى رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو. 

فالمصالحة مع الأسد ستعني بالنسبة لإردوغان العودة إلى ما قبل عام 2011 والقبول بالهزيمة وطي صفحة الخلافة والسلطنة العثمانية إقليمياً ودولياً، وهو ما يعني التخلي عن النهج العقائدي الإخواني المدعوم من دون أي مبرر منطقي من “الدولة الصغيرة” قطر.

خلاصة الكلام أن مصالحة إردوغان مع كل هذه الأطراف سيحتاج إلى أكثر من معجزة لأن ذلك سيعني أن يعود إردوغان “ديمقراطياً وعلمانياً” ويتخلى عن كل المكاسب الشخصية التي حققها بعد أن سيطر على جميع مؤسسات ومرافق وأجهزة الدولة التركية، ليساعده ذلك في تحقيق هدفه الأكبر وهو أسلمة الدولة والأمة التركيين مع ضمان حكمه إلى الأبد.

ويرى الكثيرون ممن يعرفون شخصية إردوغان أن مثل هذا الاحتمال من المستحيلات السبعة، هذا بالطبع إن لم يكن كل ما رأيناه كابوساً دفع ثمنه الشعب السوري غالياً بدمائه ودمار بلاده إشباعاً لغرائز الآخرين من الإخوة والأشقاء والأصدقاء، والرئيس بوتين يعرفهم جميعاً أكثر من الآخرين!

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U.S. AIRCRAFT CARRIER DEPLOYS IN MEDITERRANEAN AS DAMASCUS PREPARES TO PUSH ON THE NORTHWEST

South Front

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its Carrier Strike Group have entered the Mediterranean Sea.

This makes it, currently, the closest aircraft carrier to the Middle East. It has been quite a while since the US hasn’t had one of its super warships deployed in or near the Persian Gulf.

Starting in the spring of 2019, the U.S. Navy has been publicly ordered to keep a near-constant presence in the region, as if this were something new.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that a global posture review is taking place, and it would be reconsidered whether a carrier was even needed in the region. Still, the Mediterranean Sea is quite nearby, and the removal of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from the Persian Gulf was a political move.

It’s Lloyd Austin’s dream to have a CSG in every hotspot in the world, but resources don’t allow for that.

Still, the US has the amphibious warship USS Makin Island (LHD-8) in the Persian Gulf with a detachment of F-35B fighter jets, so it still has a hefty presence. Further, it is without a doubt possible for the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and its CSG to operate without issue in the Middle East, be it Syria, Iraq or elsewhere, from its current place of deployment.

In Syria itself, as the primary US competitor, alongside Iran, Russian forces are preparing to set up a permanent military base near the city of Palmyra in the Badia Desert. This is not yet confirmed, but according to satellite photos it has a helipad as a runway.

This base is likely planned to support the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) further in their push against both ISIS and Turkish proxies.

On March 9th, the SAA carried out heavy shelling on the positions of Turkish proxies in the village of Jabal Al-Zawiya, in southern Idlib.

Separately, Pro-Turkey opposition factions reportedly thwarted an attempt by the SAA to advance on the Qalaat front in the northern countryside of Latakia. Attacks are frequently repelled in Twitter posts, but nowhere else, demonstrating that the propaganda wing of the Turkish proxies is quite active.

In the days leading up to this, the SAA has been preparing for a large push in the province of Aleppo.

This is likely an attempt to form a uniform front, which can exert equal pressure along the frontline and thin the enemy’s forces to provide opportunity for a breach.

Turkey and its proxies are sure to offer heavy resistance to any advance by the SAA, but so far it appears that this may not be enough.

Russia Showcases Operations Of Its Combat Drones In Syria. Time To Push Idlib?

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Russia released a video showing its Orion combat drone carrying out strikes on targets in Syria. This marked the very first time such footage was being released. It shows the drone’s operation, lock-on and launching of a payload on a militant target. The Orion is a long-flight duration attack-reconnaissance UAV, that can also carry out airstrikes. According to the report, this type of UAV has carried out 38 sorties, including 17 strike missions.

Meanwhile, a new electronic surveillance system has been spotted at the Russian-operated Hmeimim Air Base. The Avtobaza-M can determine the parameters of signals and types of radars, track air and seaborne objects by their electronic signature and support higher air defense command and control posts with data.

Despite the ISIS threat in central Syria, the focus of the key players is evidently shifting towards Idlib. The US and its ally-to-be Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) will begin active movements soon.

Russia reported that HTS is preparing to stage a chemical attack, similar to those that led to US missile strikes back in 2018 and earlier. More than once, the US-led coalition carried out strikes on Syrian government forces, in punishment of alleged chemical weapons usage.

This sense of urgency is also felt in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The government forces are opening a civilian corridor to evacuate civilians from Greater Idlib.

This is likely because an offensive is on the way, the SAA is preparing, likely together with Russia and some Iranian support to push on the biggest militant stronghold left in Syria. To prime the location, the SAA carried out heavy shelling, killing or injuring at least 5 militants in the process.

This is likely an ideal moment to push for Idlib, because Turkey is focused in Northeastern Syria, and so is the US. The SAA has deployed large amounts of forces in that region, which is out of the way.

It also moved its short-range defense systems to Iraq, which makes it an even more opportune moment for the SAA and Russia to push to push in another direction, and namely Idlib. The following days will show whether this evacuation of civilians is, indeed, a preparation for an offensive.

The ceasefire regime and the demilitarized zone are largely non-functional, despite Russia’s efforts to implement them. Turkey, the other co-signatory, is focused on fighting the Kurdish in the north. Even without that distraction, it seldom paid any attention to adhering to the rules set out in the deal.

The Syrian Arab Army, and its allies, likely need to push before HTS are completely rebranded as “moderate opposition” and their ties to al-Qaeda are forgotten. Additionally, this needs to be happen before ISIS pushes further out from central Syria.

ARRANGING THE MIDDLE EAST NARRATIVE TO PUSH THE AGENDA FORWARD

South Front

The United States is returning to a level of activity in the Middle East unseen in nearly 4 years. This development has become obvious over the weeks since Joe Biden became US President, firstly with a large deployment into Syria, and subsequently with smaller ones.

On February 9th, the Pentagon said that it was no longer in Syria to protect and exploit oil fields.

It is now back to hunting ISIS. Back to the square one of 2014 and the Obama era. ISIS somehow obliged by ramping up their activities throughout Syria.

It is a mystery that they were able to make such a sharp and sudden resurgence. It should also be noted that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces allegedly have about 10,000 ISIS terrorists imprisoned.

This statement of intent denotes a massive shift in posture for the US.  When defending the oil fields the US troops were mostly static, when hunting ISIS they can, once again, roam around and carry out various operations.

It appears likely that Idlib is now also in focus – US combat drones were observed surveying Greater Idlib. Idlib is a mixed bag – it has Turkish troops, Russians, the Syrian Arab Army along with terrorists and the moderate opposition, although confusing these two groups can be forgiven. The newest, future, US ally is there – the soon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.

An indication of expected escalations and attacks are the Russian and Syrian military drills being carried out near Aleppo during effective wartime. Russia, separately, carried out a naval drill near Tartus.

And, as if by design, long-range missiles attempted to strike Russia’s forces at the Hmeimim Air Base. Drones occasionally attempt to infiltrate its airspace, but missiles are a rare sight.

Meanwhile in Western Daraa, the rebel leaders submitted to Damascus, likely fearing the upcoming chaos and wanting to choose a side.

Finally, the Biden administration is also working to secure Israeli support. The State Department said it doesn’t endorse Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, but doesn’t oppose it. It also provided a $9bn weapon sale as consolation. Tel Aviv is likely to use these weapons to counter its nemesis – Iran. It does so by targeting alleged Iranian interests in Syria.

Syria remains the lynchpin of US Middle East policy but the US posture in Iraq and Afghanistan has also changed. Withdrawing from the region is now out of the question – ISIS is making a resurgence, and there are other groups targeting American forces and convoys.

In Afghanistan, specifically, if the withdrawal does not move forward, the Taliban are also likely to begin targeting the US again.

The democrats are back in control and back to spreading democracy in the Middle East.

TURKISH PROXIES LAUNCH MISSILES AT JOINT RUSSIAN-SYRIAN HQ IN SOUTHERN IDLIB

South Fronts

In Syria’s Idlib, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham seems to be consolidating control, with neither the Syrian Arab Army nor its Russian support making any significant progress in recent days. This lack of progress comes down to the fact that they still support the existing ceasefire regime while Turkey has refused to honor its responsibility and clear out radical elements from the region.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is operating with increasing impunity, even as the Biden Administration’s think tanks strive to rebrand them as non-terrorists and cooperate with them in future endeavors. At the same time, the Russian-Turkish patrols in along the separation line in Idlib are taking place, largely without issue, with militants that enjoy Turkish protection that carry out small-scale but regular attacks on the Syrian Army and even on Russian targets.

On February 7th, in Southern Idlib in Kafr Nabi, Al-Qaeda-affiliate Ansar al-Tawhid, a HTS ally, targeted a Syrian and Russian position, claiming to kill 11 as a result. The militants in Idlib appear to be moving outward, with attacks popping up far from their initial positions.

The contact line and the demilitarized zone have been allegedly imposed for a while now, but it is plain to see that it is ineffective to remove the terrorist threat. Moscow continues to put effort toward enforcing the ceasefire agreement, documenting every violation, and responding to most of them.

Again, on February 7th, the Russian forces were also targeted, with two UAVs being downed within 24 hours. One was downed by HTS-affiliated militants in the skies near Idlib, while the other was downed by the SDF, likely following a US order.

The other area that is becoming increasingly volatile is northeastern Syria, with the SDF becoming more and more assertive in their operations.

The SDF continues its activities against ISIS. It launched a revenge operation against the terrorists in Deir Ezzor, over the killing of two officials. At the same time, SDF fights the Turkish forces and the Turkish-backed militants in the area. With the downing of the Russian drone, they appear to be signaling that there will be no cooperation with anybody but the Americans, who have undertaken no movements in recent days.

Terrorists are organizing attacks, and carrying out provocations throughout Syria, and mostly in the southern regions. They pop out of either Idlib, or from the US-controlled areas in northeastern Syria.

Israel has remained static over the last several days, following a large airstrike on reported Iranian positions. The US allies in the face of SDF, however, are causing more than enough trouble for the SAA and Russia.

The HTS is likely also to start more assertive operations against the SAA and Russia. In recent days, the Biden Administration has begun its efforts to rebrand them as a reformed group with no remaining terrorists.

Furthermore, ISIS activity is at a long-time high, and it is likely no coincidence that it began happening as soon as Joe Biden and the Democrats returned to power in Washington.

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