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Syria says Israeli missile strikes result in fatalities

Samizdat | May 20, 2022

At least three people were killed at Damascus International Airport on Friday, in what the Syrian government said was a missile attack from Israel. Two flights were delayed as a result of a fire at the facility. Israeli media reported that the strikes were aimed at Syrian and Iranian military targets.

Syrian air defenses intercepted multiple “hostile targets” in the skies over Damascus late on Friday, but some missiles got through to cause casualties and start a fire at the airport, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry.

Explosions could also be heard along the coast and in the Syrian city of Tartus, which hosts a Russian naval base.

Friday’s strike targeted pro-Iranian militias operating in Syria, according to the Israeli outlet Ynet. The Israeli government has not officially commented on the reports so far.

On the rare occasions Israel has admitted carrying out attacks inside Syria, the Israeli government says it has the right to preemptive self-defense against Iran. Tehran has acknowledged sending military aid to Damascus to aid the fight against Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

Last month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel that if such strikes continue, Iran might “attack Israel directly,” citing a missile strike in March against a suspected Israeli operations base in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil.

May 21, 2022 Posted by | War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Damascus Says Areas of Syria Occupied by US Troops Will Soon Return to Government Control

Samizdat – 19.05.2022

The United States and its Syrian Kurdish militia allies control wide swathes of territory in eastern Syria, including areas producing the vast majority of the Arab Republic’s oil, gas and food. Damascus has accused Washington of stealing these resources, and demanded repeatedly that the US withdraw its forces.
The US occupation of eastern Syria will soon be brought to an end, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has said.

“The illegal US presence in the Jazira region of northern Syria is reaching its end, and the regions occupied by American forces will soon come under the Damascus government’s authority,” Mekdad said, speaking to Syria’s al-Ikhbariyah TV.

Mekdad called on the majority Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces militias to realize that America would eventually withdraw and abandon them.

The foreign minister said Damascus’s principled support for the Palestinian cause, and its efforts to liberate Israeli-occupied territories in the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon were among the key causes behind the foreign-backed conflict which has rocked Syria since 2011.

“Given Syria’s strong commitment to such positions, as well as its strategic location and great regional influence, hostile nations have been trying to affect the Damascus government’s policies. Having failed in their attempts, they resorted to terrorism and sponsored this menace with billions of dollars,” Mekdad said.

This foreign-backed effort to break up the country has failed, Mekdad stressed.

US forces have occupied oil and food-rich areas of Syria since 2017, entering the country under the pretext of fighting Daesh (ISIS). The Islamist militia rampaged through northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria from 2013-2017 before being pushed back and defeated by an unlikely coalition including the Syrian and Iraqi governments, Iraqi Shia militias, Russia, Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, and, at least formally, the United States.

The Biden administration has expressed no intention of withdrawing US forces from Syria, with at least 900 troops and an unknown number of defence contractors operating across ten or more bases dotting the country’s northeast.

Syrian officials and media have accused these forces of guarding oil and gas production facilities, and of escorting convoys of oil tankers and food-laden trucks out of the country into Iraq, while bringing weaponry and supplies for bases in. Unlike his predecessor Donald Trump, who openly bragged about being in Syria to “take” and “keep the oil,” Joe Biden has insisted that the US’s illegal presence in the country is about “preventing a resurgence” of Daesh.

The Syrian army and ordinary residents regularly confront US occupation forces using non-lethal means, including by blocking off local roads and setting up checkpoints to try to stop American armoured vehicles from using them.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Washington moves to annex north-east Syria by proxy

By Vanessa Beeley | May 14, 2022

Under cover of media focus on the NATO proxy war in Ukraine and the Zionist assassination of Al Jazeera senior correspondent Shireen AbuAkleh, Washington is making moves to annex Syrian territory.

On May 11th during the meeting of the “global coalition against Islamic State” in Marrakech, Morocco the U.S acting assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, made an extraordinary move that has largely gone under the radar of even independent media. Everyone is distracted by events in Ukraine and the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Nuland who famously exclaimed “Fuck the EU” during recorded conversations that exposed the US State Department involvement in the 2014 coup in Ukraine and the subsequent massacre in Odessa by the Washington’s Nazi Contras is now turning her attention to Syria’s north-eastern territory.

Nuland has announced that the US will allow foreign investment in north-east Syria under the control of the Kurdish Separatists, another US Coaliton proxy in Syria. These investments will not be affected by the unprecedented sanctions that are effectively blockading Syria.

The most savage of these economic measures were introduced under the Trump administration – the Caesar sanctions that are designed to inhibit any external assistance for Syria from within the Syrian alliance, including Russia and Iran.

The Caesar Syrian Civilian Protection Act is also fraudulent by claiming to “protect civilians”. In reality, it is punishes and hurts the vast majority of 17 million persons living in Syria. It will result in thousands of civilians suffering and dying needlessly. – Rick Sterling

Needless to say that the de-facto unilateral sanctions being applied as a collective punishment for the entire Syrian population living in areas protected by the Syrian government are illegal. To extend those sanctions to sovereign nations providing assistance to rebuild Syrian infrastructure is barbaric and a deliberate attempt by the US to ensure that Syria cannot recover from the eleven year war waged against it.

The correlation between economic and military coercion in Syria was made clear by previous Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s point-man on Syria, Ambassador James Jeffrey, who not only described Al Qaeda as a “US asset” in Syria but also bragged openly about the misery that sanctions had brought to the Syrian people:

And of course, we’ve ratcheted up the isolation and sanctions pressure on Assad, we’ve held the line on no reconstruction assistance, and the country’s desperate for it. You see what’s happened to the Syrian pound, you see what’s happened to the entire economy. So, it’s been a very effective strategy….

Journalist Rick Sterling also pointed out the illegality and brutality of the Caesar sanctions:

The US has multiple goals. One goal is to prevent Syria from recovering. Another goal is to prolong the conflict and damage those countries who have assisted Syria. With consummate cynicism and amorality, the US Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey described his task: “My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.”

Nuland said Washington would issue a general licence, which frees companies from U.S. sanctions restrictions in north-east Syria.

“The United States intends in the next few days to issue a general license to facilitate private economic investment activity in non-regime held areas liberated from ISIS in Syria.”

The irony here of course is that ISIS is in reality another proxy of the US Coalition that had benefitted from the oil resource revenue prior to the occupation of the oil fields by the Kurdish Contras. There is also a degree of collaboration mired in corruption between the Kurdish Separatists and ISIS both focused on the ethnic cleansing of the north-east to make way for an “autonomous region” effectively controlled by Washington, London and Israel. As Syrian researcher, Ibrahim Wahdi, wrote back in February 2022:

We can clearly see that the largest organized smuggling and mass transfer of ISIS militants towards the Syrian Badia connected with the Iraqi border north of Al-Tanf region, which coincided with the Ukraine crisis and the negotiations of the Iranian nuclear deal, aims to trigger chaos by CIA and Israeli intelligence through reviving ISIS to keep it as a pretext for the US occupation of Syrian lands.

Nuland’s claims that investment in areas “previously held” by ISIS are “needed to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State by allowing it to recruit and exploit local grievances” is hypocrisy of the highest order. Washington and London are recruiting, arming and equipping ISIS terrorists and embedding their fighters in areas of the Badia desert (East of Homs) where they can do the most damage to Syrian Arab Army installations and convoys – this includes the disruption of the meagre oil supply to Damascus from the north-east. As Wahdi pointed out:

The danger of the ISIS card lies in the large numbers distributed among 9 prisons in the US-backed SDF-controlled areas, which are potential targets for similar attacks [to release ISIS terrorists], especially the “Kamba Al-Bulgar” prison, east of Al-Shaddadi city in the southern countryside of Hasaka, which includes 5,000 ISIS militants.

In addition to Al-Sina’a prisons, Al-Shaddadiyah, Derek/ Al-Malikiyah, Al-Kasra, Al-Raqqa Central Prison, Rmelan and Nafker in the Qamishli city, from which 60 ISIS militants were transferred to a prison in Al-Hasakah last September.

Both ISIS and the Kurdish Contras are responsible for the theft of oil from Syria. Al Qaeda has the monopoly of the processing of the stolen oil via its WATAD organisation. The US Coalition has a vested interest in bringing the Syrian population to its knees and to stir up dissent against the Syrian government that has trashed the Coalition military plans for regime change.

The war against Russia in Ukraine is also revenge for Russia’s role in genuinely fighting ISIS in Syria and forcing the terrorist entity to withdraw to the north-east and Iraq where it is equally responsible for the destruction of civilian infrastructure in particular electrical installations to further punish any Iraqi resistance to US occupation.

Nuland and Washington are deliberately enflaming local grievances and enabling ISIS recruitment and expansion.

Not only will these sanction-free licences apply to the Kurdish Contras but the Turkish backed militia occupying the northern border zones of Syria will also be included in the deal. This means that Syrian territory will be de-facto annexed by these NATO-member-state proxies including Al Qaeda (Turkey) and affiliates.

According to a diplomat who has discussed the issue extensively with U.S officials, the licence will apply to agriculture and reconstruction work but not to oil. I guess there is no need to include oil as that is already considered a U.S benefit of the war they started in 2011. After all Trump said very clearly “we’re keeping the oil – I’ve always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month. Keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.”

If the licence will apply to reconstruction and agriculture, this will legitimise the building of settlements and the continued theft (by the Kurds) of Syrian agricultural produce in the region, the occupation of the wheat storage centers and the reduction in supply to Damascus of these essential resources. Essentially doubling down on the siege of the Syrian people who are already suffering severe food insecurity, poverty, fuel and energy deprivation on a terrible scale.

The act of withholding means of sustaining life to innocent civilians in order to coerce an entire nation into submission to foreign agendas in the region must surely qualify as economic terrorism. The destruction of essential civilian infrastructure is a war crime, the withholding of essential resources or occupation of those resources is also a war crime. One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.

When Washington talks about “stabilisation” activities in the areas its “allies” took from Islamic State they are lying. Its “allies” are being led to believe they will benefit from cooperation with the U.S. In reality they are useful tools to facilitate the U.S and Israeli agenda in the region – to balkanise Syria and above all to secure the illegal US Al Tanf military base in the south-east (bordering Jordan) to prevent the linking of the Resistance Axis from Iran to Lebanon and ultimately Palestine. To protect “Israeli security” in the region.

The organised smuggling and transfer of ISIS terrorists towards the Syrian Badia connected with the Iraqi border north of Al Tanf is to maintain the CIA/MI6/Israeli chaos strategy in Syria and to justify US occupation of Syrian territory under the faux ISIS pretext.

What Nuland is proposing is a step forward for Washington in the annexation of Syria’s most resource rich territory. It is annexation by proxy. Turkey will also benefit from these licence schemes and will further embed its Al Qaeda-led militia in the northern border areas thus ensuring permanent insecurity for Syria to the north.

Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians will necessarily be ethnically cleansed from these zones to make way for these US-sanctioned settlements and it is common knowledge that the Kurdish Contras have been preparing for this for some time – banning the Syrian curriculum in schools and razing Arab houses in the area while forcing conscription onto local communities, running campaigns of kidnapping and detention.

Nuland informed coalition members in Marrakech that “Washington wanted to raise $350 million for these alleged “stabilisation” activities in north-east Syria during 2022. Iraq is also the target of the same “stabilisation” campaign. What Nuland really means is that Washington under cover of Ukraine will move to secure permanent violation of Syria’s territorial integrity while feigning outrage that Russia is violating the sovereignty of Ukraine already occupied by NATO and little more than Washington’s satellite vassal state on the border with its arch enemy Russia.

May 14, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 6 Comments

Assad renews Syria’s bonds with Iran

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 9, 2022 

The unannounced arrival of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran on Sunday makes yet another wrinkle to the geopolitics of West Asia. In a short trip of a few hours, Assad had meetings with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raeisi and returned to Damascus. 

This is only the second trip by Assad to Iran in the past 11 years since the conflict erupted in Syria. The last occasion was in 2019, when he came accompanied by the charismatic commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force late Qassem Soleimani to mark Syria’s “victory” in the conflict. Much water has flowed down down the Euphrates and the Tigris since then. 

There is some speculation that Russia may redeploy its forces in Syria. The Israeli intelligence website DebkaFile reported cryptically on Friday that “Russian units deployed to Syria are assembling at the air bases of  Hmeimim, Qamishli, Deir e-Zor and T4, ready for some to transfer to the Ukraine warfront. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russians are handing over key bases to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah.” 

Prima facie, this is kite-flying, so to speak. There is no independent word from Moscow. Iran will be certainly in the loop on any big Russian troop withdrawal from Syria. The Turkish air space is closed to Russian [military] planes since April and on February 28 Ankara had restricted the passage of Russian warships through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits (unless they are returning to their bases in the Black Sea.) 

Analysts have interpreted the Turkish decisions as “anti-Russian” but they come under the ambit of Montreux Convention (1936) and on closer look, may even work to Moscow’s advantage since the door is also closed to any NATO naval build-up in the Black Sea. Russian papers have pointed out that Moscow has been using the air corridor via Iran and Iraq to supply its troops in Syria. 

Indeed, Turkey is doing a delicate trapeze act vis-a-vis Russia and Ukraine, being a Black Sea power with overlapping security concerns, while also a NATO power. Turkey has deftly created space to manoeuvre since NATO is technically not at war with Russia, and since Turkey is not a EU member country, it isn’t obliged to sanction Russia, either. 

Turkish leadership has actively nurtured contacts with the Kremlin, and the economic partnership continues, including over the construction of the massive $20 billion Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant (comprising four 1,200 MW VVER units), which is expected to meet ten percent of Turkey’s electricity demand when it is completed in 2025. 

Again, Russian carrier Aeroflot has just resumed flights to Turkey in anticipation of the tourist season. Believe it or not, Turkey has found an ingenuous formula to allow Russian tourists to travel to Turkey bypassing the suspension of Visa and Mastercard by making it possible to access their funds through Russia’s homegrown payments system called Mir! Some 4.7 million Russian tourists visited Turkey last year, accounting for 19% of the total tourist arrivals, fetching an annual income exceeding $10 billion. 

When it comes to Russian-Iranian relations too, the picture is broadly similar to India’s — neither supporting Russia nor opposing it while refusing to censure Russian intervention and counselling ceasefire and dialogue as the only solution. 

According to Iranian media reports, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak is due to visit Iran shortly in connection with the session of the Iran-Russia Joint Economic Committee. The discussions are expected to focus on “strengthening financial cooperation and resolving transit problems” between the two countries as well as cooperating in the fields of oil and gas and promoting trade and tourism. Tehran knows that such camaraderie with Moscow is contrary to the spirit of Western sanctions.   

Moscow has every intention to remain actively involved in Syria. Special Russian Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov disclosed to Tass last week that Russia is working on scheduling the next international meeting on Syria in the Astana format for the end of May in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Does that look like Russia washing its hands off Syria? To quote Bogdanov, “We already discussed this with partners Iran and Turkey as the guarantors of the Astana process plus with the Syrian government and opposition delegations.” 

The official Syrian news agency Sana described Assad’s trip to Tehran as a “working visit.” It quoted Assad as stressing to Khamenei about “the importance of continuing cooperation in order not to allow America to rebuild the international terrorist system that it used to harm the countries of the world,” adding that the US “is weaker than ever.”

There are four main takeaways from Assad’s talks with the Iranian leadership. First, Assad made it clear in no uncertain terms that no matter Syria’s normalisation with the UAE (or other Arab countries involved in the conflict), he continues to attribute the highest importance to Syria’s alliance with Iran. Assad underscored that Syria is ready for broader coordination with Iran in security, political and economic fields.

Second, Damascus needs Tehran’s help for finally freeing Syria from foreign occupation. Raisi told Assad, “The whole of the Syrian land must be liberated from foreign occupiers. This occupation should not be subject to the passage of time, and the occupying forces and their mercenaries should be expelled.” Sana cited Khamenei as stressing that Iran will “continue to support Syria to complete its victory over terrorism and liberate the rest of the country’s lands.” 

Third, the two countries have a consensus on the effectiveness and vibrancy of the resistance front. Assad acknowledged that the weakening of the US’ influence in West Asia and the end of Israel’s military supremacy regionally is a direct outcome of the strategic relations between Iran and Syria, “which must continue with strength.” 

Interestingly, Khamenei recalled that Soleimani had “a special liking towards Syria and literally sacrificed his life” for that country and viewed the issue of Syria as a “sacred duty and obligation”. Khamenei reminded Assad poignantly, “This bond is vital for both countries and we should not let it weaken. On the contrary, we should strengthen it as much as possible.” Raisi called Assad “one of the figures of the Resistance Front” like his father Hafez al-Assad.

Fourth, Assad sought and obtained assurances from the highest level of Iranian leadership that Iran will help Syria overcome its difficulties. This is particularly crucial at a juncture when regional politics is in flux and Russia is preoccupied in Ukraine. 

A resuscitation of the US-led regime change project in Syria is not to be expected and Washington no longer wields commanding influence over its Persian Gulf allies or Turkey to get them to act as its surrogates. But Assad’s challenge is that Syria is getting relegated to the back burner as new hotspots and topical issues draw the region’s attention — such as JCPOA, Yemen, Iran-Saudi normalisation, OPEC+, etc. 

Although the conflict has ended, Syria still remains under foreign occupation and its economy is in ruins. A frozen conflict may legitimise the status quo. Meanwhile, Israel is waiting in the wings. Assad’s visit to Tehran signals that Iran remains the mainstay of Syria’s future strategy to avoid such a dismal fate. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian affirmed on Monday that Assad’s visit was held in an atmosphere of “fraternity and friendship,” and it opens a new chapter in the strategic ties.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syria grants amnesty for terrorist crimes

Samizdat | April 30, 2022

Syrian President Bashar Assad issued a decree on Saturday granting amnesty to Syrians for terrorist crimes up to the end of April, except those leading to death. Assad has extended similar olive branches to deserters, criminals and opposition fighters before, often to the displeasure of the US.

Assad’s decree, first reported by Syrian state media on Saturday, “grants a general amnesty for terrorist crimes committed by Syrians before [Saturday], except for those that led to the death of a person.”

While the pardon frees terrorists from criminal prosecution, it does not exempt them from civil lawsuits brought by those they may have harmed.

Those pardoned would have been prosecuted under a 2012 anti-terrorism law and a 1949 provision of Syria’s legal code, and as such will affect the various terrorist groups fighting in Syria’s civil war, which began in 2011. Assad, with the help of Russian forces, has broadly succeeded in maintaining control of Syria against a collection of opposition militias and terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front.

Throughout more than a decade of war, Assad has periodically offered pardons to his opponents. Military deserters who didn’t take up arms with terrorists were given amnesty in 2018 and allowed to return to Syria, while a general amnesty for misdemeanors and juvenile crimes was granted in 2021.

However, at the outset of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Assad attempted to offer opposition fighters amnesty in exchange for surrender. This offer was rejected by the United States, with State Department official Victoria Nuland advising the opposition to ignore Assad’s offer and continue fighting.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry at the time accused Washington of “inciting sedition” with this advice and “supporting acts of killing and terrorism.” The war would continue, and Nuland would go on to oversee the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014, and is currently shaping US policy on Ukraine as President Biden’s under secretary of state for political affairs.

April 30, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Iran: Politicization of Syria’s chemical-weapons file harms OPCW credibility

Press TV – April 30, 2022

Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the UN has decried the politicization of the Syrian chemical-weapons file by certain countries, stressing that the move will endanger the credibility and authority of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the global chemical watchdog.

Zahra Ershadi made the remarks in an address to the UN Security Council session titled “The situation in the Middle East: (Syria – Chemical)” on Friday, during which she strongly condemned the use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, and under any circumstances.

Ershadi stressed the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and said the treaty aims to protect humanity from the devastating repercussions and scourge of the use of chemical weapons.

“We reiterate our call for the full, effective, non-political, and non-discriminatory implementation of the CWC, and preserving the OPCW’s authority as well. We believe that politicizing the implementation of the Convention and exploiting the OPCW for politically motivated agendas endangers the Convention’s credibility and also the Organization’s authority,” the Iranian envoy to the UN said.

“We also emphasize that any investigation into the use of chemical weapons must be impartial, professional, credible, and objective in order to establish the facts and reach evidence-based conclusions, and in doing so it must strictly adhere to the provisions and procedures within the framework of the Convention; no deviation from the Convention shall be permitted,” she added.

Underlining Syria’s strenuous efforts to meet its CWC obligations, she said the country has shown its willingness to collaborate with the OPCW.

“However, it is disappointing that certain States Parties have politicized the Syrian chemical weapons file, preventing the OPCW from confirming Syria’s compliance with its obligations, which could have resulted in constructive dialogue and cooperation with Syria,” Ershadi said.

“We recognize the critical importance of the Syrian government’s efforts to fulfill its obligations under the Convention,” she further added.

Ershadi also expressed Iran’s support for the approach taken by OPCW and Syria to hold a high-level dialogue and hoped that the initiative would yield positive results.

OPCW, CWC ‘politically biased’

Ershadi’s remarks came after the US accused Syria of flouting the CWC and obstructing the OPCW’s inspectors on Friday, which marked the 25th anniversary of the implementation of the landmark treaty.

Responding to the US accusations, Syrian ambassador Bassam Sabbagh said the inspectors had been denied access because of a “lack of objectivity and professionalism.”

Sabbagh also accused the OPCW and the CWC of political bias.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the convention had become a “punitive” instrument wielded in the interests of a “narrow group of countries” against Syria.

“At its 25th anniversary, the OPCW has very serious systemic problems and a tarnished reputation,” Nebenzya noted. “Russia unconditionally supports the CWC and is committed to its letter and spirit. What gives rise to question to us is how its provisions are being implemented by the OPCW.”

Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.

The group, which claims to be a humanitarian NGO, has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.

On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain, and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometres northeast of the capital Damascus.

Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, a charge the Syrian government rejected.

According to concealed OPCW documents that were revealed later, the investigators of the Douma incident had found “no evidence” of a chemical weapons attack.

However, the organization censored the findings under pressure from the US and its allies to conceal evidence undermining the pretext of the ensuing US-led bombing of Syria.

Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.

The Arab country has consistently denied the use of chemical weapons despite Western rhetoric.

April 30, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

China calls out US war crimes

Samizdat | April 26, 2022

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has lashed out at the EU and US for criticizing its domestic and foreign policies. Wang singled out the US, accusing Washington of war crimes in the Middle East, economic coercion, betraying its allies and spreading disinformation.

“The US purports to maintain the centrality of the UN Charter, but it is clear to anyone that the US is doing quite the opposite,” Wang told reporters at a press conference on Monday. Citing the US’ military interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, Wang stated that Washington “brushed the UN aside and waged wars on sovereign states in wanton interference.”

“The US claims to respect human rights, but the wars of aggression launched by the US and its allies … killed over 300,000 civilians and made over 26 million people refugees,” he continued. “Yet, no one is held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US even announced sanctions on the International Criminal Court who would investigate the war crimes of the US military.”

In addition to sanctioning a number of top International Criminal Court officials in 2020, the US maintains the ‘Hague Invasion Act’, giving its military permission to invade the Netherlands to free any American held at the court.

Wang then accused the US of using its economic might to coerce countries “whether they are big or small, faraway or nearby, friend or foe,” citing five decades of US sanctions on Cuba and four decades of such measures on Iran.

“When it comes to stabbing its allies such as the EU and Japan in the back, the US has never hesitated, as we have seen repeatedly,” he added, likely referring foremost to the US’ recent decision to undermine a nuclear submarine deal between France and Australia to further its ‘AUKUS’ alliance with the UK and Australia. China has repeatedly condemned this alliance as an American effort to build an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO.”

“Facts have proven that the US is the biggest spreader of disinformation, culprit of coercive diplomacy and saboteur of world peace and stability,” Wang declared. “From the US-EU dialogue to the AUKUS trilateral security partnership, the Quad and the Five Eyes Alliance, the US is using democracy, human rights, rules and order as a pretext to cover up its shady activities of creating division [and] stoking confrontation.”

Wang’s accusations, while incendiary, were not made out of the blue. Last week, US and EU officials held their third ‘Dialogue on China’, after which they issued a joint press release accusing Beijing of “repeated information manipulation” regarding the conflict in Ukraine, “recent incidents of economic coercion,” and alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur people in Xinjiang, all of which China denies.

The statement also called on China to peacefully resolve its disputes with Taiwan in accordance with the UN charter, and not to circumvent the US and EU sanctions on Russia. That’s despite the fact that those restrictions were imposed by the West unilaterally and have nothing to do with UN mechanisms put in place for such measures, leading Moscow to brand the move “illegal.”

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 8 Comments

Russia warns about threats of Israeli settlement plans in Syrian Golan

Press TV – April 26, 2022

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya has once again denounced Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, stating that the regime’s plans for the expansion of its illegal settlements in the strategic region undermine regional stability.

He made the remarks during a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question in New York on Monday.

“Israel’s settlement plans in the occupied Syrian Golan threaten to undermine regional stability,” Nebenzya said.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large area of the Golan and annexed it fourteen years later – a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out, and a year later, a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights. However, Israel has over the past several decades built dozens of illegal settlements in the Golan in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities there.

In a unilateral move rejected by the international community in 2019, former US president Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over the Golan.

Nevertheless, Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has also time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

Earlier this year, Deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy said Russia is concerned over Tel Aviv’s announced plans for expanding settlement activity in the occupied Golan Heights.

He said the move directly contradicts the provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention.

“We stress Russia’s unchanging position, according to which we do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that are an inalienable part of Syria,” Polyanskiy said on February 23.

Last December, Israel announced that it intends to double the number of its illegal settlements in the Golan, despite an earlier resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly demanding the regime’s full withdrawal from the occupied territory.

Israeli-Russian relations have soured since the beginning of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. Observers had already predicted that the Russia-Ukraine crisis could put Israel in a difficult position, as the Tel Aviv regime has good relations with both Moscow and Kiev.

Earlier this month, the Israeli regime voted in favor of a United Nations General Assembly resolution suspending the Russian Federation’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council.

Reacting to the vote, the Russian foreign ministry called the resolution “unlawful and politically motivated.”

It also called the Israeli regime’s support for it “a thinly veiled attempt to take advantage of the situation around Ukraine in order to divert the attention of the international community from one of the oldest unresolved conflicts — the Palestinian-Israeli one.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, following Moscow’s recognition of self-declared Lugansk and Donetsk republics, collectively known as the Donbass. The two breakaway regions, located in eastern Ukraine, are largely populated by ethnic Russians.

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Syria seeks probe into US destruction of Raqqah, war crimes in letter to UN

A militant from the US-sponsored and Kurdish-led SDF stands amid the ruins of buildings near Clock Square in Raqqah, Syria. (Reuters)
Press TV – April 19, 2022

Syria has censured the US-led military coalition’s atrocities committed on the pretext of fighting the Daesh (ISIS) Takfiri terrorist group in the northern city of Raqqah, stating that the international community has never known about the full scale of the tragedy.

“The time has come to shed light on the humanitarian, political, and legal aspects of the matter,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry wrote in two identical messages addressed to UN Secretary General António Guterres and the rotating president of the UN Security Council, Barbara Woodward.

The ministry added that the US-led coalition’s aerial attacks in Raqqah took place between June and October 2017 and resulted in the full destruction of the city and the death of thousands of civilians, whose corpses were buried under debris.

It added that similar war crimes were perpetrated by the US-led coalition and the US-sponsored and Kurdish-led militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) between 2018 and 2019 in the northeastern Syrian town of Baghuz as the area was utterly destroyed.

The ministry also invoked a March 18, 2019 airstrike in which US fighter jets killed at least 70 civilians, including women and children, as they were trying to flee Baghuz to save their lives.

It stressed that the enormous volume of damages inflicted upon public and private properties as well as critical infrastructure and the number of casualties in Raqqah, Ayn al-Arab, and Baghuz prove that the US and its allies have committed numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity across Syria.

The Syrian foreign ministry emphasized it will continue to raise at international organizations the destruction and deliberate targeting of civilians by the US-led coalition.

The United States and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh terrorists. The terrorists had emerged as Washington was running out of excuses to extend its regional meddling or enlarge it in scale.

The military interference was surprisingly slow in confronting the terrorists, despite the sheer size of the coalition that had enlisted scores of Washington’s allied countries.

Numerous reports and regional officials would, meanwhile, point to the US’s role in transferring Daesh elements throughout the region and even airlifting supplies to the terror outfit.

In 2017 and in the height of the coalition’s military campaign in Syria, Russia drew a parallel between the destruction that was being caused by the US-led forces and the wholesale bombing campaign on the German city of Dresden during World War II.

April 19, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

US troops injured after base was sabotaged with planted explosives

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos | Responsible Statecraft | April 16, 2022

Why do we still have American troops in Syria and Iraq? That is the million dollar question that the Biden Administration has yet to answer — at least with any satisfaction — for the American people. Meanwhile, our service members continue to be targets of hostile forces for a Washington strategy no one can quite articulate.

On April 7 there were reports of “two rounds of indirect fire” on the Green Village Base in eastern Syria, which is housing U.S. troops as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. U.S. Central Command said four American service members were being evaluated for traumatic brain injury as a result.

On Thursday, however, U.S. Central Command quietly announced that there were no rockets, but “but rather the deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.”

The release was brief and with no accompanying details, but the words echoed of the kind of Green-on-Blue attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan during the height of the war there. As of 2017, according to counts, there had been more than 95 such attacks since 2012, killing 152 coalition service members and injuring 200.

There have been numerous rocket attacks against bases on which foreign soldiers, mostly Americans, are serving in Syria and Northern Iraq over the last two years. “Iranian backed militias” have been fingered in the attacks and they don’t seem to be abating, though the administration never uses the incidents to explain or even justify why our presence continues to be useful there. Is it to stave off ISIS? Bashar Assad? Iranian militias?

“The United States has no compelling national security interest in Syria to justify an open-ended ground deployment of forces,” wrote Defense Priorities’ Natalie Armbruster in March, taking on each of the existing arguments for keeping forces in the region. Now that our troops can’t even feel safe taking showers on base, isn’t it time to get a straight answer from Washington?

April 16, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , | 3 Comments

UN Human Rights Council adopts resolutions against Israel’s human rights violations in Syria’s Golan

Press TV – April 2, 2022

The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution denouncing Israel’s human rights violations against the people in Syria’s occupied Golan Heights, calling on the Tel Aviv regime to stop its repressive measures.

The Geneva-based council endorsed the resolution at its 49th regular session on Friday,urging Israel to comply with the relevant UN resolutions.

In a separate resolution, the council renewed its condemnation of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East al-Quds, and Syria’s Golan Heights.

The UN body also called for an immediate end to Israel’s continued occupation and illegal settlement activities in the occupied Arab territories.

In another resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, the council “reaffirmed the Palestinian people’s right to live in freedom, justice, and dignity and the right to their independent State of Palestine.”

During the session, Hussam Edin Aala, Syria’s permanent envoy to the UN in Geneva, said Israel continues its violations of international law and human rights with the full support of the United States.

He further called on the Human Rights Council to hold Israel responsible for these violations.

In 1967, Israel waged a full-scale war against Arab territories, during which it occupied a large swathe of Golan and annexed it four years later – a move never recognized by the international community.

In 1973, another war broke out; and a year later a UN-brokered ceasefire came into force, according to which Tel Aviv and Damascus agreed to separate their troops and create a buffer zone in the Heights. However, Israel has over the past several decades built dozens of illegal settlements in Golan in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

In a unilateral move rejected by the international community in 2019, former US president Donald Trump signed a decree recognizing Israeli “sovereignty” over Golan.

Last December, Israel announced that it intends to double the number of its illegal settlements in the Golan, despite an earlier resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly demanding the regime’s full withdrawal from the occupied territory.

Nevertheless, Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over Golan, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

The United Nations has also time and again emphasized Syria’s sovereignty over the territory.

Israel also occupied East al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War in 1967. It later had to withdraw from Gaza.

Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All the settlements are illegal under international law. The United Nations Security Council has condemned the settlement activities in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

April 2, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Red Alert: What seeing the war in Syria taught me about US/Western government and media propaganda

By Janice Kortkamp | Ron Paul Institute | March 29, 2022

The Syrian war was the first fully observed conflict on social-media and the ability to connect directly with Syrians real time as they were experiencing the crisis was unprecedented. This created a unique opportunity to get unfiltered information directly from all sides of the conflict to gain insights and understanding. The results have helped shake off the control by conventional news media over foreign events reporting and analysis. While this has created some chaos, valuable lessons have been (or should have been) learned.

I began researching Syria and the war there in late 2012, and have made seven extended journeys traveling around during the war from 2016 through 2019, meeting with hundreds of Syrians from different backgrounds, walks of life, and opinions as a 100 percent non-affiliated, unpaid, and self/crowd-funded, independent citizen-journalist.

It became clear that what’s been happening in Syria was not a spontaneous, organic, popular uprising against a tyrant, but a proxy regime-change attempt war in the works since the mid 2000’s against the quite popular Assad. This effort was spearheaded by the US, UK, France, and Israel, using Sunni violent fundamentalists and extremists (unpopular with the majority of Syria’s Sunni population as well as minority groups) armed and funded by the West and regional allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar to start the violence and do the dirty work. The basic character of the rebel groups was apparent from the beginning: Syrian and non-Syrian fighters most Westerners would call terrorists and be screaming for their government to crush if the same heavily armed groups had taken over their cities, towns, and suburbs by massacring, beheading, torturing, kidnapping, and raping.

Syrians often remarked to me that before the war their country was “almost a paradise.” The middle class was the largest economic sector and growing. Religious harmony was the norm and Christians there were doing well. International investment was increasing as were the tourists. Women were equal or outnumbering men in the universities and present in leadership roles in nearly all aspects of society. Syria had made the “Top 5” list of the world’s most personally safe countries. President Assad had brought the Internet into the country and kept it open throughout the war and the people there knew all that was being said in the West about the crisis.

This doesn’t mean Syria was perfect and Assad beloved by all Syrians. There were and are many problems there which are directly attributed to the government with corruption always being number one on the list of grievances. These internal issues have been exacerbated by the war.

Now, after 11 years of war, 90 percent of Syrians are poor, many are starving; the economy is shattered. Between the fighting, US/Western sanctions, loss of production capability (though an impressive number of factories have been rebuilt), shortages of electricity and fuel, the black market and smuggling, dearth of employment opportunities, Covid-19, and the economic meltdown in Lebanon, the situation seems destined to remain desperate for the foreseeable future. The pressure by the US and most allies continues including increased sanctions, and three on-going illegal occupations: US has seized control over 1/3 of the country (the part with the richest oil fields); Turkey holds much of the north; and Israel is still occupying the Golan while making routine air strikes in Syria with no condemnation. There are numerous terrorist groups including ISIS cells and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate) to get rid of in the northeast and Idlib.

As for Russia’s role in Syria, I’ve watched it closely – including observing some Russian military operations personally in Deir Ezzor, Homs, and Palmyra. Russia and Iran are in Syria legally, asked to join in the fight against ISIS and al Nusra by the Syrian government.

From 2011 through 2015 the situation was dire. In 2012 the US resolution at the UN called for President Assad to step down and both Russia and China vetoed it. The US and UK responded with “fury” according to The Guardian, while Syrians were out in the streets cheering. When Russian troops came in September of 2015, the priority was to put a stop to ISIS operations in the northeast. Massive ISIS oil convoys were taking the stolen oil up to Turkey, bringing the terrorist army equally massive amounts of money to use for their rampages while, according to a leaked, verified audio tape of John Kerry speaking with the Syrian opposition, the US was “watching ISIS grow” hoping the pressure would get Assad to negotiate. Instead, an appeal was made to Putin and answered. Within a few months, the ISIS oil convoys had been reduced significantly, cutting that cash flow.

By the end of 2016 total chaos had been replaced with more established battle lines and though violence was still occurring everywhere, there was some order. Palmyra was liberated from ISIS in the spring of 2016, after which the Russians and Syrians put on an orchestra concert to rededicate the spectacular archaeological site to culture; Western governments and media were not enthusiastic. It fell again to ISIS and many of the most important buildings were destroyed by the terrorists. The battles for Palmyra would have been the perfect opportunity to actually use chemical weapons – to protect that prized site and with ISIS forces isolated in the desert, however the fighting raged with conventional weapons and casualties were very high. In December 2016, Aleppo was freed from the terrorist groups that had been holding the eastern half of the city for years by the Syrian Army and its allies – with the ones fighting the terrorists being treated as though they were worse than ISIS in western media. The terrorist groups backed by the US and allies included the likes of Nour al din al Zenki that grabbed the young boy, Abdullah Issa, out of hospital with the IV still in his arm and beheaded him in the back of a truck on video while laughing. Al Zenki had received advanced weapons and other support by the US.

By October of 2017 when I was in Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and al Mayadeen, most of that area was freshly liberated from ISIS by the combined Syrian, Russian, Iranian, Iraqi, and Hezbollah forces. ISIS was still all around but its backbone of cities down the Euphrates had been severed. In Homs, I observed the transportation of armed groups twice from the Al-Waer suburb, overseen by the Russians. In addition, Russian de-mining efforts have insured relative safety for civilians returning to their homes after areas have been liberated.

To summarize, in my experience the Russians have indeed been effective in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda while displaying professionalism, precision, and minimizing civilian casualties. The US has been using ISIS as a pretext for its own completely illegal occupation of the entire northeast third of Syrian lands, and has often been helping or working directly on behalf of the al Qaeda affiliate and similar terrorist groups.

However, the US/Western media is still saying the same things they’ve said since 2012, if anything entrenching deeper in the assertions of the US and other western governments. All major articles and stories are still about “the tyrant Assad killing his own people”; and the great majority of the Syrian people who supported their leader and army were made invisible. That support ranged from total devotion to begrudging acceptance because the alternative, Syria falling to the terrorists promoted by the West, was unthinkable. Anyone offering evidence and opinion different from that of the accepted narratives isn’t just ignored – they’re treated as enemies and attacked by the media.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is still in the early stages and although I’ve been tracking the situation since 2014, I certainly don’t to know all of what’s happening or will happen. To sort fact from fiction from all sides will be a painstakingly long process yet there is great urgency to avoid as much devastation as possible. War is painful, the most painful thing. It truly does hollow out souls as it lays waste to lands and lives and I hate it all, but I’ve seen the wall go up already which prohibits looking at the other side, hearing what their grievances and concerns are. That wall protects the easy to memorize, constantly repeated, approved talking points: “pre-meditated”, “unprovoked”, “unjustified” and that wall is already considerably taller, deeper, and wider than it’s been about Syria. For me, this is when the red light starts flashing, the alarm begins sounding, and I’m on full alert for more gross oversimplifications, exaggerations, unproven allegations, and outright falsehoods.


Copyright © 2022 by Ron Paul Institute

March 29, 2022 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments