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SDF militants kill civilian protesting against US military presence in Syria

Press TV – August 5, 2020

A civilian has lost his life and several others sustained injuries during a rally in Syria’s northeastern province of Dayr al-Zawr to demand the withdrawal of US military forces and their allied militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the region.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported that residents of Diban town demonstrated on Tuesday afternoon to express their opposition to the presence of American soldiers and the arbitrary practices of SDF militants.

The US-backed militants responded by firing live bullets at the protesters, killing one of them and injuring several others.

SANA added that locals managed to expel SDF militants out of their checkpoints and the schools which they had been using as bases following the clashes.

Similar protests were held in other Dayr al-Zawr towns and villages, including al-Hawaij, Jadeed Ekedat, Tayaneh, al-Sobhah, Abu al-Nitel, al-Shuhayl and Shinan, where people called for the immediate pullout of SDF militants and US forces.

The militants reportedly brought in reinforcements from the towns of al-Shaddadi, al-Susah and al-Baghouz in order to bring the situation under control.

The Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency, citing sources speaking on condition of anonymity, reported that SDF militants, supported by military aircraft belonging to the US-led coalition, raided the towns of al-Shuhayl and al-Hawaij later in the day, triggering fierce clashes with locals.

Security conditions are reportedly deteriorating in areas controlled by the SDF in Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr provinces amid ongoing raids and arrests of civilians by the militants.

Locals complain that the SDF’s constant raids and arrest campaigns have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihoods.

Residents accuse the US-sponsored militants of stealing crude oil and refusing to spend money on services sectors.

Local councils affiliated with the SDF have also been accused of financial corruption. They are said to be embezzling funds provided by donors, and failing to provide basic public requirements.

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Turkey Cries Foul About Deployment Of Egyptian Troops In Idlib. What’s Going On?

SOUTH FRONT | July 31, 2020

The Egyptian military has deployed about 150 troops on the frontline in the Syrian region of Greater Idlib to support forces of the Damascus government, Turkish sources claimed on July 30.

“The troops were later deployed in the Khan al-Asal area in the western countryside of Aleppo and around the city of Saraqib in the southern countryside of Idlib,” the Anadolu Agency quoted its source as saying. The news agency claimed that the Egyptian service members had arrived via the Hama Air Base.

Later, Youssef al-Hamoud, a spokesman for the Syrian National Army, a coalition of Turkish proxy groups based in northern Aleppo, said that the number of Egyptian troops is in fact 148. They supposedly deployed in Syria in 3 groups via the Hama Air Base. According to him, 98 Egyptian personnel reportedly came from the city of Ismailia on July 26 and then were deployed in Khan al-Asal. 50 others arrived from Cairo Airport on July 27. They are supposedly deployed in Saraqib.

However, no flights from Egypt to the said base were recorded over the past few days. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to hide the deployment of foreign troops on the frontline in the conditions of the Syrian war, when almost every second fighter has a mobile phone and social media accounts and uses them to share pictures and videos from the battlefield.

Most likely, Turkish state media and proxy groups loyal to Ankara found a new original way to justify the illegal presence of their own forces in Syria. The accusation of other parties doing something that the Erdogan government does itself is something that Turkish media outlets regularly do.

In the earlier stages of the conflict, Turkey and its intelligence services openly allowed various terrorists aiming to join ISIS and al-Qaeda to use the territory of Turkey and camps on the Syrian-Turkish border as a transport hub on their route to Syria. At the same time, Turkey was actively involved in illegal oil trading with ISIS.

Later, when the Russian military operation, including mass bombings of ISIS oil infrastructure, convoys, and public revelation of the facts of Turkish cooperation with ISIS, put an end to this, Turkish official propaganda shifted its attention to accusations of all other parties involved in the conflict of cooperation with ISIS. It even claimed that its military operation against Kurdish militias in Afrin was aimed against ISIS.

Ankara sent almost 10,000 Syrian militants to Libya to support the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Nonetheless, Turkish outlets are crying foul about the small number of Russia-linked private military contractors hired by the UAE to support the Libyan National Army against Turkish-backed forces.

Over the past years, Turkey has occupied a notable part of northern Syria and deployed thousands of troops in Greater Idlib to protect al-Qaeda-linked terrorists there from the Syrian Army. Therefore, it would be logical for Ankara to find some ‘foreign force’ that it can accuse of deploying its own troops in the country.

At the same time, if the deployment of Egyptian troops to support the Syrian Army turns out to be true, this will be really bad news for Turkey. Ankara still seems to be unable to control its local al-Qaeda partners and the chances of a new round of escalations in the region are increasing.

The mighty Turkish Armed Forces have thus far failed to defeat the Syrian Army exhausted by years of conflict with terrorists. The outcome of the new escalation will be even more gloomy for Turkey if Egyptian forces will join the coalition supporting Damascus.


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August 2, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

US cannot disarm Lebanon’s Hezbollah through sanctions: Russian ambassador to Beirut

Press TV – August 1, 2020

The Russian ambassador to Beirut says US officials are under the illusion that they can disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement through sanctions.

“Disarming Hezbollah is the primary purpose of US sanctions… I do not think that such a goal would be achieved through this method. The United States will not manage to force Hezbollah into laying down its weapons. This is an illusion,” Zasypkin said in an exclusive interview with Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Friday.

In late October 2018, US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed a new round of sanctions on Hezbollah, targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.

“Over the past year, we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah, in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them,” Trump said during an event in Washington, DC, that marked the 35th anniversary of an attack on US marine barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Zasypkin added, “We (Russia) have made efforts in Syria. This is not only beneficial to Syria, but also to Lebanon as it protects the country against the potential threat of terrorism. If terrorism prevails in Syria, it will be easy for thousands of terrorists to cross into Lebanon, and this would lead to the partitioning of the country.”

He noted that Iran plays a positive role in the Middle East region, condemning the recent harassment of an Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut by two US fighter jets over Syria.

“Americans are creating problems and violating international law. The goal is to create tensions and reestablish their presence, role and influence,” the Russian diplomat said.

He went on to say that the balance of power in Syria is changing. “Over the past four years, the balance of power had been in the interest of terrorists. The ensuing terrorism allowed outsiders, including the US-led coalition, to come into play.”

“I think Americans have numerous problems there (in Syria), but al-Tanf region is still under their control. They are clinging to the area in order to have influence. Their main goal is to sever ties between Iran and Syria,” Zasypkin pointed out.

He noted that Moscow honors the principle of non-interference in Syria’s domestic affairs, lauding “close relations” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad as well as military forces of the two countries.

Zasypkin said Russian and Syrian institutions are closely cooperating with each other in various fields, including combat against terrorism, maintenance, reconstruction and humanitarian activities.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian ambassador pointed to the recent rafts of economic sanctions against Syria under the so-called Caesar Act.

“The United States has used the leverage of sanctions for decades against Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran. The essence of the idea has been to starve people in those countries in a way that they would ultimately turn against their own ruling systems. The scheme is now being applied to all countries,” Zasypkin highlighted.

He added, “Caesar Act is broad and comprehensive, and affects other parties since Syria has been under sanctions for a long time. Foreign companies are now targeted by the ruling. It is a preemptive battle against the possibility of restoration of ties between Syria and Western or Arab parties.”

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Incident at Benghazi

Tales of the American Empire | July 30, 2020

Chris Stevens was an ambitious US State Department employee who volunteered to participate in the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011. He covertly arrived in Libya in early 2011 aboard a Greek cargo ship with CIA personnel and set up operations in Benghazi to coordinate illegal shipments of weaponry into Libya and organized attacks on the Libyan army. After Africa’s most prosperous nation was in ruins, Stevens became the US Ambassador to Libya in Tripoli and was given a new mission of shipping tons of arms to Syria to destroy that nation. He traveled to Benghazi in September 2012 to check on progress and was attacked. Stevens was captured, beaten, and killed. The Obama administration hid these facts and proclaimed Chris Stevens an American hero who had traveled to Benghazi to mediate peace among warring factions when he was killed by terrorists.

_______________________________

“Slain Ambassador Chris Stevens Slipped Into Libya on a Cargo Ship During Revolution”; Amy Bingham; ABC News; September 12, 2012; https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/…

Related Tale: The Destruction of Libya in 2011; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5Lh4…

“Operation Timber Sycamore”; the CIA’s semi-secret shipments of tons of weapons to terrorists in Syria; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_…

“CIA Gun—running, Qatar-Libya-Syria”; Phil Greaves; Global Research ; August 9, 2013; https://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-gun…

“The Arming of Benghazi”; Fox News; June 27, 2015; https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/…

Video report: Part I https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/43285…

Part II https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/43284…

“Arms for Libya 2.0”; Wikispooks; https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Arms_for_…

”Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged broker of Libyan weapons”; Ken Vogel; Politico ; October 5, 2016; https://www.politico.com/story/2016/1…

“Hillary’s Secret War”; Andrew Napolitano; July 2, 2015; Antiwar.com ; http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-…

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Syrian Army Is Appointing on “Aleppo – Lattakia” Highway – Idlib Battle Is Approaching

M4 International Highway
By Khaled Iskef | American Herald Tribune | July 28, 2020

The field developments return to the front of the Syrian events, after the cautious calm that lasted for several months in the north of the country coinciding with the implementation of the Russian-Turkish agreement on conducting joint patrols on the “M4” road known as “Aleppo-Lattakia” highway.

The reopening of the road from Raqqa, through Aleppo, to Lattakia, is now at the forefront of Syrian army’s next strategic goals, though the beginning of the “M4” highway starts in the eastern side of the country, specifically from the areas controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The past days have witnessed huge Syrian military movements towards this highway in a sign that the Syrian forces are ready to start military action and open the road, which if it occurs, will have a significant positive impact on trade movement throughout the country in light of the circumstances due to the procedures of the blockade imposed by Washington.

Speaking of the field in the Syrian north, it is certain that Turkey did not succeed in fulfilling its obligations to the Russians about isolating terrorist organizations and keeping them out of the way, as the Russian and Turkish sides, shortly after the battle to secure Aleppo and reopen the M5 “Aleppo – Damascus” International highway, agreed that the militants should move away / 6 / kilometers to the north and south of the “M4”, knowing that the distance outside the control of the Syrian army, which links Aleppo to Lattakia, is estimated to be 60 kilometers.

The end of September 2020 was scheduled to be the Russian deadline for the Turks to implement their obligations, but the terrorist operation carried out by “Khattab Al-Checheni Brigades” targeting a Russian patrol on the road with a suicide operation, accelerated the launch of the military operation, which is expected to be early next month according to private sources. The Syrian army’s build-up and preparations have been completed, with confirmed information of the arrival of modern Russian weapons to the Syrian army, in addition to the army’s ongoing targeting of armed points on Hama and Idlib countryside axes, such as Kansafra, Al-Fateira, Kafr Ouid, and several villages of Jabal Zawiya.

If launched, the military operation is expected to be swift and decisive in case the Turkish side does not interfere directly or take any step that would hinder it in northern Syria. It is noteworthy that the military operation of the Syrian army had stopped after securing Aleppo city in the west and reopening the international highway, the main connection between the south and center of the country to the north.

Khaled Iskef is a journalist working for Almayadeen TV.

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

US switches to obstruction of air transit in the Middle East

By Lucas Leiroz | July 29, 2020

Last Thursday, July 23, two American fighters carried out hostile maneuvers against an Iranian civil aircraft at an extremely short distance on the stretch between Beirut and Tehran, in Syrian airspace. Several people were injured. Much more than a mere “mistake”, the American attitude reveals a real military strategy.

The pilot of the Iranian aircraft – flight 1152 of the company Mahan Air – said that, while traveling through Syrian airspace, he had to perform sudden maneuvers to avoid collision with the fighters that approached violently, consequently injuring several passengers. The Iranian pilot claims to have then contacted the American pilots to warn them and ask to keep a safe distance. However, the fighter pilots only reported that they were American military personnel and ignored him, continuing with the maneuvers. The travelers reported that the American fighter was “literally glued” to the Iranian aircraft and the maneuver was so abrupt that they were “thrown” from their seats.

The case generated strong national indignation in Iran, acquiring great repercussion throughout the country. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said the United States would be responsible for any incident with the plane. In addition, he said that Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, informed the UN’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, about what had happened. In the same vein, spokesman for the Guardians of the Iranian Constitution, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, classified the American action as terrorist and announced that the Iranian government will take appropriate action.

Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US Central Command, commented on the case, saying that American fighters only performed a standard visual inspection from a “safe distance”, which does not seem to match the incident data. The purpose of the inspection, according to Urban, is to ensure the safety of Americans in the coalition forces in the Al Tanf garrison, an American military base near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, whose aim, according to the Americans, is to train local anti-ISIS fighters – however, some national security experts argue that the base is aimed at spying on Iran and curbing Iranian influence on the region.

In fact, American aircraft, especially the F-15E Strike Eagles (the same one involved in the incident), based in Jordan, routinely patrol the area for the strategic purpose of keeping away or fighting enemy foreign aircraft and require all planes, even commercials, to identify themselves as they pass. What happened with the Iranian aircraft, however, does not correspond to a simple “visual inspection”, since at no time did American fighters contact the civil aircraft to request identification, on the contrary, the communication came from the Iranian aircraft itself, precisely because it was under violent interception.

Iran therefore dismissed the United States’ explanation and classified it as unjustified and unconvincing. “The harassment of a passenger plane on the territory of a third country is a clear violation of aviation security and freedom of civilian aircraft,” said Laya Joneydi, vice president of the Iranian government for legal affairs, according to Iranian media.

At no time did the US government apologize or formally lament the victims who were injured in the incident, showing that American forces in the Middle East must continue carrying out hostile maneuvers without any restrictions. We can relate this increase in aerial violence to the American naval military decay. Recently, maritime tensions between Americans and Iranians have been rising in the Persian Gulf, with an increased Iranian presence in the region through military incursions against American vessels.

Violence through the air can be understood as a strategic choice in view of the impossibility of facing Iran by sea or by land. However, it is not strategic for American interests to face Iranian forces head-on for aerial combat – instead, they invest in piracy tactics in conflict areas. The choice of the location for the maneuvers seems meticulously planned: an area where Washington will always claim “jurisdiction” because of its right to protect the military base. This will probably not be the only incident and soon new episodes will be reported.

Iran has acted correctly in submitting the case to the UN and international law must be applied promptly to punish the American attitude. The fact that American fighters did not contact the Iranian plane previously constitutes a serious violation of international aviation standards and international humanitarian law itself, since it has put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. As long as the UN response is not announced, it is up to Iran to strengthen a defense system against American air piracy, in order to avoid new incidents.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

More Explosive Leaks From OPCW Show Trump Bombed Syria On False Grounds

By Tyler Durden | ZeroHedge | July 27, 2020

As the ongoing increased sanctions regimen on Syria demonstrates, Washington’s pursuit of regime change against Assad is not over, despite Damascus clearly having won the war, and with the US having wisely ditched talk of some kind of overt major Iraq-style military intervention (as was the case under Obama in August 2013).

While mainstream media has largely “moved on” from coverage of Syria (so much for feigned humanitarian “concern” for millions of Syrians suffering under severe American-led sanctions!), some analysts like independent journalist Aaron Maté have been detailing damning leaks from the chemical weapons watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

“A series of leaked documents from the OPCW raise the possibility that the Trump administration bombed Syria on false grounds and pressured officials at the world’s top chemical weapons watchdog to cover it up,” Maté’s latest report in The Nation begins.

“Two OPCW officials, highly regarded scientists with more than 25 years of combined experience at the organization, challenged the whitewash from inside. Yet unlike many whistle-blowers of the Trump era, they have found no champion, or even an audience, within establishment circles in the United States,” the report continues.

Recall that President Trump bombed Syria on two occasions. On the last occasion, in April 2018, Damascus was pummeled with a series of major tomahawk missile strikes ostensibly in response to claims by the primarily Saudi-backed jihadist group Jaysh al-Islam that the Syrian Army had carried out a chemical weapons attack on civilians. It was the all too familiar pattern which went back to 2013: “rebels” on the brink of being wiped out make a last ditch unverified claim in order to draw Western military support, then the mainstream media runs with it because it already fits the narrative of the “monster” Assad, and then right away it’s American and allied “bombs away” with no questions asked.

But Maté now documents an avalanche of leaks and internal dissent within the global chemical weapons watchdog group OPCW to say the US once again attacked a Middle East country based on lies (and just like in neighboring Iraq, don’t forget that some 1,000 or more American troops occupy the oil-rich northeast section of Syria).

Maté’s report finds that “Since May 2019, internal OPCW documents, including a trove published by WikiLeaks, reveal that the Douma investigators’ initial report reached different conclusions than their organization’s published version. They were overruled by senior officials who kept evidence from the public.”

The Nation report outlines leaks’ key revelations as follows:

Senior OPCW officials reedited the Douma investigators’ initial report to produce a version that sharply deviated from the original. Key facts were removed or misrepresented and conclusions were rewritten to support the allegation that a chlorine gas attack had occurred in Douma. Yet the team’s initial report did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred, and left open the possibility that victims were killed in a “non-chemical related” incident.

Four experts from a OPCW and NATO-member state conducted a toxicology review at the OPCW team’s request. They concluded that observed symptoms of the civilians in Douma, particularly the rapid onset of excessive frothing, as well as the concentration of victims filmed in the apartment building so close to fresh air, “were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine, and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified.”

Chemical tests of the samples collected in Douma showed that chlorine compounds were, in most cases, detected at what amounted to trace quantities in the parts-per-billion range. Yet this finding was not disclosed publicly. Furthermore, it later emerged that the chemicals themselves did not stand out as unique: According to the author of the initial report, the OPCW’s top expert in chemical weapons chemistry, they could have resulted from contact with household products such as bleach or come from chlorinated water or wood preservatives.

The author of the initial report protested the revisions in an e-mail expressing his “gravest concern.” The altered version “misrepresents the facts,” he wrote, thereby “undermining its credibility.”

Following the e-mail of protest over the manipulation of the team’s findings, the OPCW published a watered-down interim report in July 2018. Around that time, OPCW executives decreed that the probe would be handled by a so-called “core team,” which excluded all of the Douma investigators who had traveled to Syria, except for one paramedic. It was this core team—not the inspectors who had been deployed to Douma and signed off on the original document—that produced the final report of March 2019.

After the e-mail of protest, and just days before the interim report was published on July 6, a US government delegation met with members of the investigation team to try to convince them that the Syrian government had committed a chemical attack with chlorine. According to veteran reporter Jonathan Steele, who interviewed one of the whistle-blowers, the Douma team saw the meeting as “unacceptable pressure and a violation of the OPCW’s declared principles of independence and impartiality.” Interference by state parties is explicitly prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The inference drawn from the OPCW’s final report—widely disseminated, including by the Trump administration—was that gas cylinders found in Douma likely came from Syrian military aircraft. An unpublished engineering study reached the opposite conclusion. The study evaluated competing hypotheses: Either the cylinders were dropped from the sky or they were manually placed. There is “a higher probability,” it concluded, “that both cylinders were manually placed… rather than being delivered from aircraft.” At “Location 4,” where a cylinder was found on a bed, the study determined that the cylinder was too large to have penetrated the hole in the roof above; at the other site, “Location 2,” the observed damage to the cylinder and to the roof it allegedly penetrated were incompatible with an aircraft bombing. Ballistics experts also said it was more likely that the crater had been made by an explosion, probably from an artillery round, a rocket, or a mortar. With both cylinders, the study concluded, “the alternative hypothesis”—that the cylinders were manually placed and that the craters were caused by other means—”produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

Of course, the media is seeking for these revelations to be memory-holed right way.

They are being conveniently ignored, and not just ignored, but covered up.

* * *

Read the full in-depth investigative report at The Nation.

July 28, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | 3 Comments

Hypocrisy of US, Allies in the UNSC and Amnesty International Regarding Aid to ‘The Syrian People’

Syria Solidarity Movement | July 25, 2020

On July 11, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution presented by Germany and Belgium that would permit one border crossing from Turkey into Syria’s Idlib province for a US- backed UNSC aid program. The United States has been battling with China and Russia for a resolution increasing the number of gateways for cross-border aid from Turkey from two to four since January 2020 when two crossings were approved on a temporary basis. The July 11 decision for one crossing at Bab al Hawa has been universally lamented in the US and Western mainstream press as inadequate, as a failure forced on the council by Russian and Chinese meanness and obduracy. On the 9th of July a similar resolution for two crossings was vetoed by Russia and China.  Following this vote, Amnesty International headlined their response: “Russia and China launch despicable veto of lifesaving aid for millions of civilians in Syria”. (Amnesty International, 7/8/20)

The Syria Solidarity Movement supports the Russian and Chinese positions on aid to Syria and calls out the attacks on those two Security Council members by the Western mainstream media and by Amnesty International as hypocritical.

Following the successful vote on July 11, there was a round of recriminations in the Security Council, with the United States, Belgium and Germany denouncing the Russians and Chinese for blocking aid to “innocent Syrians” while the Russians and Chinese responded with their concerns. The Russians, who have personnel on the ground in Idlib, complained that the UN does not actually have a presence in the area, but rather the aid is passed to an assortment of Al Qaeda and Turkish-backed militants who currently govern there, who then may or may not provide it to the civilians. The ambassador suggested the aid could be more appropriately coordinated in partnership with the Syrian government, which has been fighting for a decade to restore its sovereignty over all of its national territory. The Chinese ambassador said that China is fine even with four cross-border gateways but said his country insists on addressing the needs of the Syrian people in a holistic manner. In this light, the first priority of the Security Council would be to lift Western economic sanctions so that all Syrians could receive the desperately-needed aid.

According to Syrian authorities, before the US-backed regime change war on Syria, there were twenty-three million people residing there. Today, the number is closer to fifteen million. Many of these people are internally-displaced persons. Since Idlib is the last active war zone in Syria, the population is likely less than 1 million, including the Al Qaeda, the Turkish-backed fighters and the Uyghur migrants resettled there by Turkey. Over and over, western politicians and the Western mainstream media refer to the people who reside in Idlib as “The Syrian People“, as if there were no other Syrians. It is true that most of the people in Idlib are Syrians but also true that most Syrians live somewhere else in the country. In fact, most of the original population of Idlib live elsewhere at present.

While the US and its allies strike poses of righteous indignation and blame their Russian and Chinese colleagues for heartlessness, they refuse to acknowledge the reality that their program, in its best capacity, is meant to provide meager assistance to a small portion of the Syrian population who are essentially hostages of the terrorist proxies who control Idlib on behalf of their US and Turkish masters. They have spent months negotiating this detail while the holistic picture of Syrians deteriorates under the burden of US-imposed sanctions.

Moreover, after the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality against Black Lives Matter protesters in the USA, it’s utterly hypocritical that the US has the gall to lecture other countries about heartlessness and human rights.

Amnesty International’s UN associate says,

“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring the crossing points, delivering vital aid, stay open. For millions of Syrians, it is the difference between having food to eat and starving. For hospitals, it is about having enough supplies to save lives. That’s why Russia and China’s abuse of the veto power is despicable and dangerous.” (Amnesty International, 7/8/20)

The hypocrisy of this stance is stunning. The UN aid-through-Idlib program never affected more than a few hundred thousand people. Let it be noted that there are many open crossings between Turkey and Idlib, though, through which all kinds of materials flow. Existing US aid programs are not restricted to that single crossing between Turkey and Idlib.

Meanwhile, Amnesty has not once complained about the despicable unilateral coercive measures that are crushing the Syrian economy and leaving the millions of Syrians everywhere in the country without food and medicine. The Syrian people as a whole have endured ten years of war instigated by the imperialist powers. Is Amnesty not concerned about the suffering of the Syrians throughout the war-torn country? Or, do only the terrorists and their hostages qualify as ‘Syrians’?

How is the US helping the desperate millions in Syria? They want to control several border crossings which are controlled on the other side by militants. Aside from food and medicine, what else might they want to send through their portals? The US and its allies have been arming those same militants since before the regime change operation began in 2011. The US wants as many gateways as possible open from Turkey into the terrorist-controlled Idlib province so they will have maximum influence there. In effect, the US wishes to weaponize “aid.”

Again hypocritically, the US controls two UN refugee camps in Syria’s eastern provinces. Both are desperately lacking supplies for their residents and plagued by local militias unlike the camps in government controlled Syria which are secure and provisioned.

The US has placed Syria under illegal unilateral sanctions (not approved by the UN Security Council) designed to destroy its currency and crush its economy. The people of Syria – all of Syria – are going without food and medicine while their currency has been enormously deflated in value as a direct result of a decade of unilateral coercive measures, now capped by the punishing “Caesar Sanctions”, all enforced by the USA which now has the audacity to accuse Russia and China of “meanness.” US proxies burned the wheat fields in Eastern Syria, destroying the harvest while US soldiers are sitting on half of Syria’s oil fields. And, at this moment, the Empire threatens to embargo any ship that attempts to bring oil to Syria to heat Syrians’ homes for the coming winter.

The US insists on pursuing this course and routinely punishes any other state which dares to defy its illegal sanctions on Syria. US allies, such as Canada, Arab monarchies, and EU countries, follow along like a dog pack, barking when the big dog barks, retreating when he turns his bark on them. Meanwhile, Western mainstream media and so-called humanitarian NGOs, such as Amnesty International, are trying to shame Russia and China for wanting to deliver aid in coordination with the sovereign Syrian government and to see an end to unilateral coercive measures that are destroying the economy of Syria and causing immeasurable suffering for ordinary Syrians.

No one should be taken in by such hypocrisy.

July 25, 2020 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | 1 Comment

Iran to legally pursue US ‘act of terrorism’ against its Beirut-bound flight

Press TV – July 24, 2020

Iran has condemned the harassment of its Beirut-bound passenger plane by two US fighter jets over the Syrian airspace, vowing to lodge a complaint over the “unlawful” act at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In a statement on Friday, the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said it will seriously pursue the US fighter jets’ harassment of Mahan Air flight 1151 over the Syrian airspace on Thursday.

The Iranian organization urged the ICAO to immediately address the move, which is “a clear violation of the international law and the aviation standards and regulations.”

Iranian Vice-President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneidi also said on Friday that the harassment of a passenger plane in a third country is a blatant violation of aviation security, a breach of the freedom of the air for civil flights, and contradicts the Article 3 and Article 44 of the Chicago Convention as well as the 1971 Montreal Convention.

Joneidi said the US government is responsible for the fighter jets’ dangerous maneuvering, and Iran can legally pursue the issue at the ICAO Council and the International Court of Justice.

Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami described the US air piracy as an “act of terrorism”, urging the international community to condemn the “poisonous” move.

“Our passenger plane was moving at the international commercial flight route and corridor, and the American fighter jets’ threatening move was unlawful and inhumane,” he added.

He also called on the governments of Lebanon and Syria to file a complaint against Washington at the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“The ICAO is also expected to issue a statement against this inhumane move by the US,” the Iranian minister said.

On Thursday night, US warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted some aggressive and “dangerous” maneuvering close to the Mahan Air flight in an act of air piracy.

Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital when the incident happened over Syria’s hugely-strategic al-Tanf region.

In response, the US Central Command said a single F-15 had made a “visual inspection” of the Iranian airliner “in accordance with international standards… to ensure the safety of coalition personnel” at the military base in al-Tanf.

The command added that the US F-15 was on a “routine air mission” in Syria and conducted “a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters”.

“Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”

Forgoing any permission from Damascus, the US has been operating in the Arab country since 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist group. The US, however, continues its occupation even as Syria defeated the Takfiri terrorists in late 2017.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran to launch special trade office in China: Businessman

Press TV – July 21, 2020

Iran is to set up a special office in China to streamline trade activities with the East Asian country.

A senior businessman says major Iranian companies are teaming up to create a trade office in China amid growing economic relations between the two countries.

Gholamhossein Jamili, a board member at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA), said on Tuesday that the trade office in China would play a major role in protecting Iranian businesses and firms working in the East Asian country against growing restrictions caused by US sanctions.

“We are working to launch this office before the end of the current Christian calendar year,” Jamili was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

The announcement comes amid reports of booming economic relations between Iran and China as the two countries move to finalize a 25-year comprehensive partnership agreement that would massively boost bilateral cooperation in areas like energy, infrastructure, tourism and trade.

China was the top buyer of Iranian oil before the United States introduced its unilateral sanctions on Iran two years ago. However, Beijing is still a top economic partner for Iran and the balance of trade between the two countries hit $20 billion in the year ending March, according to Iranian government data.

Other senior Iranian figures involved in trade with China said that the planned trade office would seek to resolve problems facing Iranian businesses and companies in China.

Majid Hariri, who chairs the Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce, said that the office in Beijing would serve as Iran’s economic embassy in the East Asian country.

The official IRNA news agency said the ICCIMA plans similar offices in India, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Iraq, adding that two such offices are being set up in Russia’s Astrakhan and Syria’s Damascus.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria mainly targeting its long-suffering civilians

By Eva Bartlett | RT | July 13, 2020

The US is waging multiple fronts of war against Syria, including brutal sanctions, while claiming concern over the wellbeing of Syrian civilians – the vast majority of whom are suffering as a direct result of US policies.

On June 17, the US implemented the Caesar Act, America’s latest round of draconian sanctions against the Syrian people, to “protect” them, America claims. This, after years of bombing civilians and providing support to anti-government militants, leading to the proliferation of terrorists who kidnap, imprison, torture, maim, and murder the same Syrian civilians.

Just weeks after these barbaric sanctions were enforced, cue American crocodile tears about Syrian suffering, and claims that Moscow and Damascus are allegedly preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid. More hot air from American hypocritical talking heads who don’t actually care about Syrians’ well being.

America trigger-happily sanctions many nations or entities that dare to stand up to its hegemonic dictates. The word “sanctions” sounds too soft – the reality is an all-out economic war against the people in targeted nations.

Sanctions have, as I wrote last December, impacted Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, and machines and materials needed to manufacture prosthetic limbs, among other things.

Syria reports that the latest sanctions are already preventing civilians from acquiring “imported drugs, especially antibiotics, as some companies have withdrawn their licenses granted to drug factories,” due to the sanctions.

In Damascus, pharmacies I’ve stopped into, when I ask what some of the most sought-after medications are, hypertension medications are at the top.

But sanctions have yet another brutal effect: they wreak havoc on the economy.

The destruction of Syria’s economy is something US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

The website Sanctions Killnotes :

“Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life-threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”

So you have Western hypocritical talking heads pretending they want to get aid to Syrian civilians while literally cutting them off from medicine and the ability to purchase food.

Resource theft and arson

But these crimes against humanity don’t suffice for America. The US occupation troops and their Kurdish proxy forces (the SDF) are plundering Syria’s oil resources to the tune of $30 million a month as of last October, according to Russian military estimates.

In early July, SANA reported another convoy leaving Syria to Iraq, loaded with oil thieved from areas under US occupation.

Terrorists and US proxy groups are also thieving Syria’s cotton, olives, wheat, and flour.

Further, Syria accuses the US of deliberately setting fire to crops using Apache-dropped thermal balloons.

Civilians from affected areas near Turkish occupation posts likewise blame Turkish forces for setting fires and firing live ammunition upon those who attempt to extinguish the fires, farmers literally watching their livelihoods go up in flames. The Hasakah Agriculture Directorate director likewise blames Turkey for arson of the crops.

Turkish occupation forces are also accused of cutting water supplies at Alouk water pump station, depriving one million people in the Hasakah region of drinking and agricultural water, with no condemnation from the Security Council.

The poverty and suffering Syrians are enduring these days is unbearable, with prices of basic goods doubled and tripled from just a few months ago, turning what were affordable items into luxuries, particularly for the 7.9 million food-insecure Syrians.

But alarmist Western media and representatives omit the context: the nearly 10 years of war on Syria; the deliberate targeting by terrorists and by US and Turkish occupation forces, and Israel, of Syria’s infrastructure; the looting of oil, wheat and cotton, even allegedly stealing parts of an Idlib power plant for scraps sale in Turkey.

Likewise, Aleppo’s heavy industry was thieved during the years when terrorists occupied the industrial zones of the city. Heavy machinery was reportedly trucked in broad daylight to Turkey.

With all of these factors, of course there is poverty and a chaotic economy.

A safe resolution rejected

Recently, the UNSC passed a resolution to maintain one humanitarian border crossing from Turkey into Syria, the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

Prior to that, Russia had proposed a resolution enabling the safe delivery of humanitarian aid from within Syria.

On July 11, Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN issued a statement again noting the need to phase out cross-border deliveries, as the Syrian government has regained much of the territories previously occupied by terrorist factions, and deliveries must be made from within Syria.

The UNSC resolution that passed, however, continues the delivery of aid via Turkey, delivering to the hands of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups occupying Idlib. It is with these people the US aid ends up when delivered, from Turkey, not from Syrian territory.

Given that the US has supplied weapons to anti-government extremists in Syria before, it is not illogical to believe they hoped to funnel still more weapons in under the pretext of “aid” deliveries.

Russia’s statement also noted the lack of UN presence in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying:

“It’s not a secret that the terrorist groups, listed as such by the UN Security Council, control certain areas of the de-escalation zone and use the UN humanitarian aid as a tool to exert pressure on [the civilian] population and openly make profit from such deliveries.”

This is what Russia and China opposed, not the delivery of aid.

Those are details which US Ambassador Kelly Craft slyly omitted when she spoke of callousness and dishonesty being an established pattern. Her verbal guns were aimed at Syria and Russia, but her choice of words perfectly describes US policy towards Syrians.

One only needs to look at US policy towards displaced Syrians in Rukban Camp to see that the US has actively worked to prevent aid deliveries there and prevent Syrians from being evacuated from there. Or the lack of US outcry at Turkey’s prevention of humanitarian convoys from reaching Idlib areas, which while scheduled for last April still hasn’t been successful.

On the other hand, on July 4 the WHO acknowledged the Syrian-Russian delivery of 85 tons of medicines and medical supplies from Damascus to Al Hasakah. On July 9, the Russian Reconciliation Center noted that 500 food packages (2,424 tons) were delivered to Idlib province and Deir-ez-Zor province.

I wonder how many tons of actual aid the US would send…

In case it isn’t yet clear, America is weaponizing and politicizing aid, as it tried to do in Venezuela last year. American representatives posture and bellow, and Russia and Syria quietly go about actually delivering aid to needy Syrians.

The Russian post-resolution statement also critically noted the brutal impact of sanctions on Syria, which, as detrimental to Syrians’ wellbeing as they are, somehow don’t merit the feigned concern of representatives like Craft.

The statement said:

“These coercive measures seriously undermine not only the socioeconomic situation in Syria, but also impede activities of many humanitarian NGOs that are ready to help the population in territories controlled by Syrian official authorities.”

If America truly wanted to alleviate the suffering of Syrians, all sanctions against the country and people would be immediately lifted.

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). Follow her on Twitter @EvaKBartlett

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Iran and Syria sign agreement to boost military, security cooperation

Press TV – July 8, 2020

Iran will boost Syria’s air defenses, as part of a wider military security agreement between the two countries.

“We will strengthen Syria’s air defense systems within the framework of strengthening military cooperation between the two countries,” Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said on Wednesday after signing a “comprehensive” agreement with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub in Damascus to boost military and defense cooperation.

The agreement provides for the expansion of military and security cooperation and the continuation of coordination between the Armed Forces of the two countries.

Speaking after signing the agreement at the headquarters of the General Command of the Syrian Army and Armed Forces, the top Iranian commander said the signed deal “increases our will to work together in the face of US pressure.”

“The people and countries of the region do not welcome the presence of the United States, and our response to the American prattling will continue,” Baqeri added.

The Iranian commander said the military-security agreement also envisages boosting the Syrian air defenses.

On the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil, the Iranian commander said that Turkey is dragging its feet regarding the implementation of its commitments under the Astana agreements on the withdrawal of terrorist groups from Syria.

He said that Turkey must realize that the solution to any of its security problems is through negotiation with the Syrian side, and not through military deployment in the Arab country.

Ayoub, for his part, lauded Damascus-Tehran relations.

“If the American administrations had been able to subjugate Syria, Iran and the axis of resistance, they would not have hesitated for a moment,” the Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel quoted the Syrian minister as saying.

He described Israel as a “powerful partner” of the US in the war against Syria, adding that terrorist groups constituted part of the Israeli aggression.

He also lambasted the so-called Caesar sanctions imposed by the US against his country, saying Syria will counter the bans barring the provision of foodstuff and medicine to its people.

He stressed that Syria that has maintained its government structure since 2011 and will undoubtedly emerge victorious out of the war.

The two sides also underlined the need for the withdrawal of foreign forces who have been “illegally” deployed to the Arab country in violation of international law and said the forces are the main obstacle to the complete cleansing of armed terrorist groups in some parts of Syria.

The heads of the senior military delegations of Iran and Syria also stressed that the agreement was the result of years of military, security and technical coordination and cooperation in various areas of joint fight against terrorism.

At the end of the talks, a joint statement was also issued by the high-ranking military delegations of the two countries, which said a continued battle against Takfiri terrorism supported by some regional and international powers is among the goals of the agreement.

They also stressed in the statement that the comprehensive military agreement was signed to implement the directives of the political and military leaders of the two countries to enhance their defense capabilities and promote self-reliance against any possible foreign aggression.

Iran and Syria have signed different military and defense cooperation over the past years.

Iran began providing Syria with advisory military assistance after numerous countries, at the head of them the US and its Western and regional allies, started funding and arming militants and terrorists with the aim of deposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Despite initially losing considerable expanses of territory to Daesh and other terror outfits, the country, however, rallied with the help of Iran and Russia, another Damascus’ ally, and reversed the balance in favor of itself on the battleground.

July 8, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment