Tag Archives: Syria

ISIS jihadis car bombed Prophet Muhammad’s grand daughter Syeda Zeinab’s shrine in Damascus.

Twenty dead in Damascus mosque bombing: ISIS targets holiest Shia shrine in Syria in Ramadan terror outrage

Two bombs went off on Saturday killing at least eight people in Damascus

Shiite Muslims are often targeted by ISIS, which considers them heretics

By CHRIS SUMMERS FOR MAILONLINE

Two bombs killed 20 people outside the Sayyida Zeinab mosque in Damascus, the holiest Shiite shrine in Syria.

The official SANA news agency said a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, sometimes known as Daesh, consider Shiites to be heretics.

But Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi blamed Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for being behind the ‘brutal massacres’.

Read more » DailyMail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636528/Eight-dead-bombs-Shia-shrine-Damascus-Sayyida-Zeinab-mosque-come-repeated-attack-ISIS.html

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636528/Eight-dead-bombs-Shia-shrine-Damascus-Sayyida-Zeinab-mosque-come-repeated-attack-ISIS.html#ixzz4BIOY16LI
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Kurds Warn Turkey of ‘Big War’ With Russia If Troops Enter Syria

By   meyerhenry4

Russia has promised to protect Kurdish fighters in Syria in case of a ground offensive by Turkey, a move that would lead to a “big war,” the Syrian group’s envoy to Moscow said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We take this threat very seriously because the ruling party in Turkey is a party of war,” Rodi Osman, head of the Syrian Kurds’ newly-opened representative office said in Kurdish via a Russian interpreter. “Russia will respond if there is an invasion. This isn’t only about the Kurds, they will defend the territorial sovereignty of Syria.”

Read more » Bloomberg
See more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-18/kurds-warn-turkey-of-big-war-with-russia-if-troops-enter-syria

Isis militant Ali Saqr al-Qasem publicly executes own mother in Raqqa after accusing her of ‘apostasy’

Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle

 

By John Hall@johnmatthewhall

In a shocking low even by the standards of the so-called Islamic State, a militant has publicly executed his own mother after accusing her of apostasy.

The activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS) said 20-year-old jihadi Ali Saqr al-Qasem shot his mother Lena, 45, in the head with an assault rifle in front of a large crowd.

Lena al-Qasem is understood to have been accused of apostasy – a crime that usually means leaving one’s religion but in practise is used by Isis as a justification for murdering anybody who doesn’t support or speaks out against the terror group.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-militant-ali-saqr-al-qasem-publicly-executes-his-own-mother-in-raqqa-after-accusing-her-of-a6801811.html

Putin Vows To Protect Kurds In Turkey As War Of The Century Looms

by Sean Adl-Tabatabai

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorised the Russian military and intelligence community to protect Kurdish people against the threat of Turkey – who have threatened to “cleanse” all Kurds

Putin issued the order to protect the Kurds under the authority of Article 87 of the Russian Constitution – which states that Putin is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

With Turkey now being named as a “belligerent hostile threat” to the Federation in this conflict, this report further explains, President Putin in issuing his order also cited the Turkish governments material and financial support of Islamic State terrorists as evidenced by the MoD discovering this week 12,000 oil tankers and trucks on the Turkey-Iraq border carrying stolen petroleum wealth legally owned by Iraq and Syria.

Read more » YourWireNews.Com
See more » http://yournewswire.com/putin-vows-to-protect-kurds-in-turkey-as-war-of-the-century-looms/

Pakistan Joins Russia, Condemns Any Attempts to Topple Assad in Syria

Pakistan opposes any efforts to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pakistan’s foreign secretary said on Wednesday.

“Pakistan is also against foreign military intervention in Syria and fully supports the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Aizaz Chaudhry said during a meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

See more » Sputink
Learn more »  http://sputniknews.com/asia/20151224/1032274797/pakistan-opposes-toppling-assad-syria.html

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/asia/20151224/1032274797/pakistan-opposes-toppling-assad-syria.html#ixzz3vH5Um1aY

Pakistan surprised by its inclusion in 34-nation military alliance

BY BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan found itself in the crosshairs of Middle Eastern politics on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia named it as part of its newly formed 34-nation military alliance of Muslim countries meant to combat terrorism, without first getting its consent.

Talking to journalists, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said he was surprised to read the news that Saudi Arabia had named Pakistan as part of the alliance.

He said he had asked the country’s ambassador in Riyadh to get a clarification from Saudi Arabia on the matter.

Another senior official also confirmed that Pakistan was not consulted before inclusion in the alliance.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Saudi government surprised many countries by announcing that it had forged a coalition for coordinating and supporting military operations against terrorism in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. The headquarters of the new Saudi-led coalition would be based in Riyadh.

This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has named Pakistan as part of its military alliances without Islamabad’s knowledge and consent. The Saudis earlier named Pakistan as part of the coalition that carried out operations in Yemen and a Pakistani flag was displayed at the alliance’s media centre.

Pakistan later declined to join the Yemen war.

It is Pakistani government’s policy that it will not deploy its troops outside the country’s borders except for UN peacekeeping missions.

In the past Pakistan has twice rejected US calls for joining alliances against the militant Islamic State (IS) group on the same pretext.

“We are not looking for any involvement outside our region,” army spokesman Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had said last month while replying to a question about the possibility of Pakistan becoming part of a US-led coalition against IS.

It is unclear how Riyadh went ahead with announcing Pakistan’s participation in the new alliance. It is also difficult to speculate if Islamabad will change its policy because of its close ties with the kingdom.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1226723/

Iraqi premier says IS smuggles majority of oil via Turkey

BY AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Monday that most oil smuggled by the Islamic State group goes through Turkey, joining a chorus of countries linking it with the jihadists’ financing.

During a meeting with Germany’s visiting foreign minister, Abadi stressed the “importance of stopping oil smuggling by (IS) terrorist gangs, the majority of which is smuggled via Turkey,” a statement from his office said.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1224780/

Russia hits back at Turkey by changing Syria ‘game’

Moscow’s retaliation after Turkey downed its military jet could tie Ankara’s hands in Syria.

By Zeina Khodr, Roving Correspondent

Russia is striking back after a “stab in the back by an accomplice to terrorists” by changing the “game” in Syria.

Moscow’s retaliation is not just about severing economic and diplomatic ties. It is pursuing a policy that could tie Turkey’s hands in Syria.

Ankara never received international backing for a safe zone across its border, but Russia has now ruled that out.

The deployment of S-400 anti-air missiles means Russia has effectively imposed a no-fly zone over Syria.

And now, Moscow seems to be moving closer to a group that has been the US-led coalition’s main ground force in Syria – a group which Turkey, itself a member of that coalition, calls “terrorists”.

The Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG) is a US-backed Kurdish group that has pushed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from areas along the border with Turkey.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/europe/2015/11/russia-hits-turkey-changing-syria-game-151129172933416.html

Isis was quick to understand a truth the West must now confront: that the national borders imposed by colonial powers 100 years ago are becoming meaningless, says Robert Fisk

Isis: In a borderless world, the days when we could fight foreign wars and be safe at home may be long gone

By Robert Fisk@indyvoices

Early in 2014, Isis released one of its first videos. Largely unseen in Europe, it had neither the slick, cutting-edge professionalism of its later execution tapes nor the haunting “nasheed” music that accompanies most of its propaganda. Instead, a hand-held camera showed a bulldozer pushing down a rampart of sand that had marked the border between Iraq and Syria. As the machine destroyed the dirt revetment, the camera panned down to a handwritten poster lying in the sand. “End of Sykes-Picot”, it said.

Like many hundreds of thousands of Arabs in the Middle East, for whom Sykes-Picot was an almost cancerous expression, I watched this early Isis video in Beirut. The bloody repercussions of the borders that the British and French diplomats, Mark Sykes and François Georges-Picot, drew in secret during the First World War – originally giving Syria, Mount Lebanon and northern Iraq to the French, and Palestine, Transjordan and the rest of Iraq to the British – are known to every Arab, Christian and Muslim and, indeed, every Jew in the region. They eviscerated the governorates of the old dying Ottoman empire and created artificial nations in which borders, watchtowers and hills of sand separated tribes, families and peoples. They were an Anglo-French colonial production.

Read more » Independent
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-in-a-borderless-world-the-days-when-we-could-fight-foreign-wars-and-be-safe-at-home-may-be-long-a6741146.html

Turkey arrests editors over reports Ankara supplied weapons to Syrian fighters

The journalists were arrested, accused of assisting a terrorist organisation because of footage published apparently showing the state intelligence agency sending weapons into Syria

By

Two journalists from an opposition Turkish newspaper have been arrested, accused of spying by an Istanbul court following reports that Turkey’s intelligence agency sent weapons to Islamist rebel groups in Syria.

In another case of journalists facing criminal charges and censorship, editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, the newspaper’s Ankara bureau chief, were taken into custody on Thursday night, Turkish media reported.

The two men are accused of spying and “divulging state secrets”, according to reports, as well as being members of a terror organisation. Another charge included the violation of state security after the release of the footage.

Such charges could see the men face life imprisonment.

Read more » Telegraph
See more »  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/12019905/Turkey-arrests-editors-over-reports-Ankara-supplied-weapons-to-Syrian-fighters.html

Turkey shoots down Russian plane: Nato will be worried by strike on Russia

It is damaging for Turkey to have bad relations with Russia and Iran, two powerful neighbours close to its borders

By Patrick Cockburn@indyworld

Turkey must have been eager to shoot down a Russian aircraft. Even going by the Turkish account of what happened, as illustrated by a Turkish map of the route of the Russian plane, it would only briefly have been in Turkish airspace as it crossed a piece of Turkish territory that projects into Syria.

Why would Turkey do this? Probably because Ankara has become increasingly furious, since Russian air strikes started in Syria on 30 September, that Russian jets were routinely invading its airspace. The Turkish government also knows that its policy since 2011 of getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad has failed and that it has a diminishing influence in events in Syria as Russia, the US, France and possibly, in the near future, Britain increase their military involvement in Syria.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-shoots-down-russian-plane-nato-will-be-worried-by-strike-on-russia-a6747521.html

Russia to deploy S-400 missile defense systems to Syria: Defense minister

Russia will be deploying S-400 missile defense systems to Syria, the Russian defense minister says.

“The S-400 anti-aircraft missile system will be deployed to the Hmeimim airbase,” Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday, referring to the Russian airbase outside the port city of Latakia in western Syria.

The system is the most advanced one owned by Russia in the field of air defense. The missile system, an upgrade of the S-300 family, is capable of intercepting and destroying airborne targets such as aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles at distances of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles).

The official’s remarks came a day after the Turkish Air Force shot down a Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer, which they had accused of having violated Turkish airspace. Russia denies the allegation.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/11/25/439085/Russia-Syria-air-base-S400

Turkey has spent years allowing jihadist groups to flourish – so beware its real reasons for shooting down a Russian plane

Turkey has no interest in the peaceful settlement to the conflict in Syria that world powers are negotiating. As Erdogan gets desperate, he will attempt to bring focus back to Assad

By Ranj Alaaldin@RanjAlaaldin

Turkey is getting desperate. Under President Recep Tayip Erdogan and his party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), its policies toward the conflict in Syria over the past four years have been misguided and costly. When conflict broke out in 2011, Ankara mistakenly under-estimated the strength of the Assad regime and supported hardline Islamist groups seeking its downfall. In the process, Turkey also marginalised the Kurds and alienated regional powers like Iran.

Read more » INDEPENDENT
See more » http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/turkey-has-spent-years-allowing-jihadist-groups-to-flourish-so-beware-its-real-reasons-for-shooting-a6747161.html

The Turkish provocation: Will it lead to War?

Written by Alan Woods

This morning the Turkish military shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria. It is unclear so far whether it was ground fire or Turkish jets that brought down the Russian plane. But that is a mere detail. What is quite clear is that this was a blatant provocation by the Turkish ruling clique.

Turkish military officials claimed that Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after “repeatedly warning” its pilots that they were “violating Turkish airspace”. Russia’s defence ministry said an Su-24 had crashed on Syrian territory after being hit by fire from the ground, and that its pilots had managed to eject. Russia insists that its warplane did not violate Turkish airspace. The ministry stressed that “throughout its flight, the aircraft remained exclusively above Syrian territory”, adding: “Objective monitoring data shows it.” The fact is that video footage showed the plane crashing into mountains in Latakia province – that is, inside Syria. The pilots also landed inside Syrian territory. Even the Turkish radar imagery seems to confirm that the plane was shot down over Syrian airspace.

Was it an accident?

Was this a case of a mistake on the part of the Russian pilot? Was the navigation system defective? Such explanations are of course possible. But the first question must be asked is about the readiness of the Turks to open fire. The skies over Syria have got rather crowded lately, with the risk of collisions or other accidents ever present. This is exactly the kind of incident that many have feared since Russia launched its air operations in Syria.

The dangers of operating near to the Turkish border have been all too apparent. It is well known that arrangements to avoid incidents between warplanes over Syria have been made. Why were they ineffective? The bringing down of a Russian plane was a very serious step that could not be taken without express permission from the highest level – that is, from the Turkish President himself. We should point out that Turkish planes have already shot down at least one Syrian air force jet and possibly a helicopter as well earlier on in the civil war.

The Turkish authorities may claim that the arrangements to avoid clashes in the air do not cover the approaches to their “own airspace”. But what exactly constitutes their “own airspace”? The Turkish government claims that the Turkmens who inhabit an area of Syria adjacent to the Turkish border have always been under their “protection”. This assertion gives the game away straight away.

Erdogan’s regional ambitions are well known. He wishes to re-establish something resembling the old Ottoman Empire, bringing large parts of Central Asia and the Middle East under Turkish control. In order to further this ambition he attempts to use the Turkic-speaking peoples like the Turkmens for his own cynical purposes, just as Russian tsarism used the South Slavs in the past as the pawns of an expansionist foreign policy.

It is also an open secret that Erdogan has been supporting ISIS and other Islamist gangs in an attempt to overthrow President Assad and grab slices of Syrian territory. That is why he has allowed a large number of Islamist fighters to cross the Turkish border and join ISIS in Syria, while blocking the supply of arms and volunteers to the anti-ISIS forces in Syria and brutally crushing the Kurds who are fighting ISIS.

And all the while the West has been turning a blind eye to the fact that the Turks – along with the Saudi and Qatari gangsters – have been supporting, arming and financing the Jihadis in Syria – including ISIS. But lately all that has changed.

Read more » http://www.marxist.com/the-turkish-provocation-will-it-lead-to-war.htm

Downing of Russian plane is a ‘stab in the back’ from Turkey, says Putin

 

BY AGENCIES

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists,” saying the incident would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relations with Ankara.

Speaking in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Putin said the downed plane had been attacked inside Syria when it was one kilometre from the Turkish border and had come down four kilometres inside Syria.

That contradicted Turkey’s assertion that the aircraft had been warned multiple times that it was straying into Turkish airspace before it was shot down.

“Today’s loss is a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” said a visibly furious Putin.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221963/

 

Putin and Saudi defense minister meet in Russia, agree on common goals in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s defense minister have agreed that Moscow and Riyadh should pursue common goals in Syria, including national reconciliation and combating terrorists, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said.

Putin met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman for talks on the sidelines of a Formula 1 race in Sochi on Sunday. The meeting was also attended by the foreign ministers of both states.

“The sides confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia have similar goals concerning Syria,” said Russian FM Sergey Lavrov following the talks. “First of all, they are to prevent a terrorist caliphate from getting the upper hand in Syria.”

Read more » RT
See more » https://www.rt.com/news/318324-putin-saudi-goals-syria/#.Vhrac8rfWWE.facebook

 

Syria conflict: Russia intensifies air strikes

Russia is increasing the number of air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, its defence ministry has said.

It said on Saturday morning that it had hit 55 Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria in the last 24 hours.

Later, US defence officials said progress had been made during talks with their Russian counterparts on avoiding accidents over Syria.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34496583

Gulf Arabs ‘stepping up’ arms supplies to Syrian rebels

Saudi Arabia is responding to the recent Russian air strikes on Syrian rebels by stepping up its supplies of lethal weaponry to three different rebel groups, a Saudi government official has told the BBC.

The well-placed official, who asked not to be named, said supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry including guided anti-tank weapons would be increased to the Arab- and western-backed rebel groups fighting the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.

He said those groups being supplied did not include either Islamic State (IS) or al-Nusra Front, both of which are proscribed terrorist organisations. Instead, he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances – Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front.

The official added that Qatar and Turkey have been instrumental in maintaining Saudi support for Sunni rebels fighting both Assad’s forces and, at times, the extremists of IS. Russia brands as terrorists all rebels opposing its ally, President Assad, including those trained by the US.

The Saudi official did not rule out supplying surface-to-air missiles to the rebels, a move resisted by many in the West for fear that they would fall into the hands of IS and end up being used to shoot down warplanes of the US-led Coalition or even civilian airliners.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34479929

Syria and The New World Disorder

The New World Disorder

BY

On October 20, 2011, the day that Libyan rebel fighters found Colonel Muammar Qaddafi hiding in a desert culvert, hauled him out, and killed him, President Barack Obama called a press conference in the Rose Garden, and announced that we had “achieved our objectives.” (Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, put it more archly, telling a reporter, “We came, we saw, he died.”) The previous spring, when the United States had decided to join in the NATO air strikes against Libya, the White House said that regime change was not the objective, and that persuaded Russia not to veto a Security Council mandate authorizing action to protect Libyans from their ruler “by all necessary measures.” Russia was furious about NATO’s mission creep, but Obama said, “Faced with the potential of mass atrocities, and a call from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.” Now, he said, America’s part was done and the Libyans were free to establish full democracy. The President added, “This comes at a time when we see the strength of American leadership across the world. We’ve taken out Al Qaeda leaders, and we’ve put them on the path to defeat. We’re winding down the war in Iraq, and have begun a transition in Afghanistan.”

Four years later, Libya is a battle-worn wasteland, a bitter outcome;

Read more » The New Yorker
See more » http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/12/the-new-world-disorder-comment-philip-gourevitch

Syrian rebel groups call for unity, attacks on Russia

A group of 41 Syrian rebel factions have called for their forces to unite against the Assad regime and its backers, Iran and Russia. Meanwhile, the Syria Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi clerics have issued calls for jihad.

The group of 41 rebel factions, including the powerful Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front said Russia and Iran were occupying forces and should be attacked.

“All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realize we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers,” the factions said a statement. “Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target.”

The statement of unity from an otherwise fractured Syrian opposition comes as Russia continues to bomb what it says are targets belonging to “Islamic State” group and al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, al-Nusra. On Monday, the Russian defense ministry said its planes hit nine “Islamic State” targets in the past twenty-four hours.

Russian airstrikes have also reportedly hit Ahrar al-Sham and other groups dubbed by Moscow and Syria as terrorist organizations.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-rebel-groups-call-for-unity-attacks-on-russia/a-18762524?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

BY ROBERT FISK

The Russian air force in Syria has flown straight into the West’s fantasy air space. The Russians, we are now informed, are bombing the “moderates” in Syria – “moderates” whom even the Americans admitted two months ago, no longer existed.

It’s rather like the ISIS (the self-styled Islamic State) fighters who left Europe to fight for the “Caliphate”. Remember them? Scarcely two months ago, our political leaders – and leader writers – were warning us all of the enormous danger posed by “home-grown” Islamists who were leaving Britain and other European countries and America to fight for the monsters of ISIS.

Then the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees began trekking up the Balkans towards Europe after risking death in the Mediterranean – and we were all told by the same political leaders to be fearful that ISIS killers were among them.

It’s amazing how European Muslim fighters fly to Turkey to join Isis, and a few weeks later, they’re drowning in leaky boats or tramping back again and taking trains from Hungary to Germany. But if this nonsense was true, where did they get the time for all the terrorist training they need in order to attack us when they get back to Europe?

It is possible, of course, that this was mere story-telling. By contrast, the chorus of horror that has accompanied Russia’s cruel air strikes this past week has gone beyond sanity.

Let’s start with a reality check. The Russian military are killers who go for the jugular. They slaughtered the innocent of Chechnya to crush the Islamist uprising there, and they will cut down the innocent of Syria as they try to crush a new army of Islamists and save the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian army, some of whose members are war criminals, have struggled ferociously to preserve the state – and used barrel bombs to do it. They have also fought to the death.

“American officials” – those creatures beloved of The New York Times – claim that the Syrian army does not fight Isis. If true, who on earth killed the 56,000 Syrian soldiers – the statistic an official secret, but nonetheless true – who have so far died in the Syrian war? The preposterous Free Syrian Army (FSA)?

This rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”. These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder or merely retiring quietly – and wisely – to the countryside where they maintained a few scattered checkpoints.

Washington admitted their disappearance, bemoaned their fate, concluded thatnew “moderates” were required, persuaded the CIA to arm and train 70 fighters, and this summer packed them off across the Turkish border to fight – whereupon all but 10 were captured by Nusrah and at least two of them were executed by their captors. Just two weeks ago, I heard in person one of the most senior ex-US officers in Iraq – David Petraeus’s former No. 2 in Baghdad – announce that the “moderates” had collapsed long ago. Now you see them – now you don’t.

But within hours of Russia’s air assaults last weekend, Washington, The New York Times, CNN, the poor old BBC and just about every newspaper in the Western world resurrected these ghosts and told us that the Ruskies werebombing the brave “moderates” fighting Bashar’s army in Syria – the very “moderates” who, according to the same storyline from the very same sources a few weeks earlier, no longer existed. Our finest commentators and experts –always a dodgy phrase – joined in the same chorus line.

So now a few harsh factoids. The Syrian army are drawing up the operational target lists for the Russian air force. But Vladimir Putin has his own enemies in Syria.

Continue reading The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

Russian church: The fight in Syria is a ‘holy war’

Read more » Al Arabiya
See more » http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/09/30/Church-says-Russia-fighting-holy-battle-in-Syria.html

Saudi Foreign Minister tells Assad to go or face ‘military option’

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said that his country might consider military options in Syria to remove President Bashar al-Assad. He stressed that a political solution leading to his departure would be preferable.

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must leave office or face being pushed out by force, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Tuesday, warning of stepped up support for Syrian rebel groups.

Jubeir rejected Russian calls for an international coalition to help Assad fight the self-styled “Islamic State” group (IS), and said the Syrian leader’s best option would be to step down.

“There is no future for Assad in Syria, with all due respect to the Russians or anyone else,” Jubeir told reporters in New York after meetings with Saudi Arabia’s allies.

Two options

Jubeir said that there were two options for a settlement in Syria from a Saudi perspective.

“One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council,” he said, describing this as the “preferred option.”

“The other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power. This could be a more lengthy process and a more destructive process, but the choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad,” Jubeir warned.

Jubeir would not be drawn on specifics of what the military option would look like, but noted that Saudi Arabia was already supporting “moderate rebels” in their battle against Assad.

He added the best option would be for Assad to accept the principles of the Geneva I agreement signed at a peace conference in 2012, laying the groundwork for a transitional government.

Under this plan, he said, Assad would immediately cede power to an executive council made up of both members of his regime and of opposition figures.

Cooperation with and criticism of the West

The Saudi minister would not say what Western and Arab opponents of Assad’s regime may or may not do to counter the new military buildup in Syria by Russia , Assad’s closest ally along with Iran.

“We’re not talking about (it),” he said.

Read more » DW
Learn more » http://www.dw.com/en/saudi-foreign-minister-tells-assad-to-go-or-face-military-option/a-18750101?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

US ‘willing to work with Russia and Iran’ on Syria

President Barack Obama has said the US is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria.

He told the UN General Assembly in New York compromise would be essential for ending the long civil war.

But he said realism required a “managed transition” away from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to an inclusive leader.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a key ally of Syria, are to hold rare talks later.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34378889

US On The Ropes: China To Join Russian Military In Syria While Iraq Strikes Intel Deal With Moscow, Tehran

by Tyler Durden

Last Thursday, we asked if China was set to join Russia and Iran in support of the Assad regime in Syria.

Our interest was piqued when the pro-Assad Al-Masdar (citing an unnamed SAA “senior officer”), said Chinese “personnel and aerial assets” are set to arrive within weeks. To the uninitiated, this may seem to have come out of left field, so to speak. However, anyone who has followed the conflict and who knows a bit about the global balance of power is aware that Beijing has for some time expressed its support for Damascus, most notably by voting with Russia to veto a Security Council resolution that would have seen the conflict in Syria referred to the Hague. Here’s what China had to say at the May 22, 2014 meeting:

 For some time now, the Security Council has maintained unity and coordination on the question of Syria, thanks to efforts by Council members, including China, to accommodate the major concerns of all parties. At a time when seriously diverging views exist among the parties concerning the draft resolution, we believe that the Council should continue holding consultations, rather than forcing a vote on the draft resolution, in order to avoid undermining Council unity or obstructing coordination and cooperation on questions such as Syria and other major serious issues. Regrettably, China’s approach has not been taken on board; China therefore voted against the draft resolution.

In other words, China could see the writing on the wall and it, like Russia, was not pleased with where things seemed to be headed. A little more than a year later and Moscow has effectively called time on the strategy of using Sunni extremist groups to destabilize Assad and given what we know about Beijing’s efforts to project China’s growing military might, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising to see the PLA turn up at Latakia as well.

Sure enough, Russian media now says that according to Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has decided to join the fight. Here’s Pravda (translated):

According to the Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.

Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs claimed about the beginning of the military operation by China against the IS terrorists. “It is known, that China has joined our military operation in Syria, the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, aircraft carrier follows it,” Morozov said.

According to him, Iran may soon join the operation carried out by Russia against the IS terrorists, via Hezbollah. Thus, the Russian coalition in the region gains ground, and most reasonable step of the US would be to join it. Although the stance of Moscow and Washington on the ways of settlement of the Syrian conflict differs, nonetheless, low efficiency of the US coalition acts against terrorists is obvious. Islamists have just strengthened their positions.

As Leonid Krutakov told Pravda.Ru in an interview, the most serious conflict is currently taking place namely between China and the US. Moscow may support any party, the expert believes, and that is what will change the world order for many years.

Clearly, one has to consider the source here, but as noted above, if Beijing is indeed set to enter the fray, it would be entirely consistent with China’s position on Syria and also with the PLA’s desire to take a more assertive role in international affairs.

Meanwhile, it now looks as though the very same Russian-Iran “nexus” that’s playing spoiler in Syria is also set to take over the fight against ISIS in Iraq, as Baghdad has now struck a deal to officially share intelligence with Moscow and Tehran. Here’s CNN:

Iraq says it has reached a deal to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIS militants.

The announcement on Saturday from the Iraqi military cited “the increasing concern from Russia about thousands of Russian terrorists committing criminal acts within ISIS.”

The news comes amid U.S. concerns about Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria and would appear to confirm American suspicions of some kind of cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow.

We’d be remiss if we failed to note the significance here. The entire narrative is falling apart for the US, as Russia and Iran are now moving to transform the half-hearted Western effort to contain ISIS into a very serious effort to eradicate the group.

Read more » Zero Hedge
Learn more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-27/us-ropes-china-join-russian-military-syria-while-iraq-strikes-intel-deal-moscow-tehr

Reports: Chinese ships head to Syria

Translated by Kristina Rus

China deploys troops to help Russia in Syria

Remember the joint military exercises of Russia and China in the sea and on land? With landing on shore and fighting against terrorists?

And here is the answer to the question of why they trained together.

Rusvesna:

“An Arab news source [Al Masdar News] reports that a military contingent of the PRC is on the way to Latakia and will arrive in Syrian ports any day. Chinese transport with military cargo was spotted on Tuesday morning, passing through the Suez canal.

Information about the Chinese military experts heading to Tartus was confirmed by the commander of the Syrian army. The report concludes that Moscow will create in Syria an anti-terrorist coalition that will become the alternative version of the military alliance formed by the US  for dropping supplies to ISIS. Military entrance of China into the struggle for Syria will be an important addition to today’s statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. At a press conference with “Russia Today” deputy foreign minister of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that Iran will fight ISIS together with Russia. Notably Amir talked not just about an alliance, but a creation of a broad military coalition.

“We welcome the Russian President’s proposal on establishment of a common front in a fight against terrorism and are even ready in realizing this initiative to carry out joint operations and cooperate together,” – said deputy foreign minister of Iran.

That Russia will fight terrorists with Iran’s hands, English resources have been writing for a week. And the joining of China into the support group has exceeded all imaginable expectations. The presence of the international coalition significantly changes the balance of power in favor of Moscow, untying Russian hands for direct military action in the Middle East.”

It seems that Russia has finally returned to the Middle East.

Courtesy: Fort Russ
Read more » http://fortruss.blogspot.com.ar/2015/09/reports-chinese-ships-head-to-syria.html

Russian Marines on the move in Syria, showdown with ISIS expected soon

By Timothy Whiteman Wilmington Conservative Examiner

While the American media focuses in on the Trump vs. Fiorina zinger-fest with laser-like precision, foreign news services are picking up the Yankee slack on reporting of the Russian military build-up in the Middle East. As reported by Great Britain’s The Guardianand Israel’s military-centric new media portal DEBKAfile, both on Sept. 17, 2015, and alsoThe Manila Times on Sept. 16, 2015, Russian Naval Infantry (Marines) have left their coastal bases and heading for a showdown with the Islamic jihadists situated further inland.

The Russians have seemingly overnight beefed up their Jableh airbase in the coastal province of Latakia from essentially a dirt airstrip into an advanced military base capable of housing 1,500 Russian Marines. Citing multiple sources here, the Pentagon has verified as of 48 hours ago a total of 15 of the massive Russian Antonov-124 Condor flights have touched down at Jableh, reflecting a steady stream of military cargo flooding into the Middle Eastern nation.

Between the Condor cargo aircraft and two amphibious assault ships at their naval base at Tartus, the Russians have so far unloaded at least a half-dozen third-generation T-90 main battle tanks; 15 fresh artillery pieces; 35 armored personnel carriers, similar to the U.S. Army’s Bradley fighting vehicles; and an yet to be released number of additional Russian Marines. As it turns out, the boys from Mother Russia are on a high tech road trip to pick a fight with the ISIS terrorist organization.

As reported by the DEBKAfile, an unspecified number of R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicles have been spotted on Highway 4, which links Latakia province to the ISIS-held interior of the war-ravaged country. Often referred to as “mobile war rooms” by the Israeli and Western armies, a “large convoy” of the R-166-0.5 command and control vehicles were accompanied by a yet to be released number of BTR-82 armored personnel carriers (APC) chock full of Russian Marines. The R-166-0.5 enables communication with forces located on battlefields as far as 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) distant using their high frequency and ultra-high frequency signals.

Meanwhile, The Guardian notes that a convoy of Russian APCs and up-armored trucks has left Jableh heading southeast. According to the British newspaper’s sources, this particular Russian motorized force is heading straight for the government-held city of Hama. Syrian National Army troops loyal to President Bashir al-Assad have a tentative hold on the city against militant Islamists. Much like the WWII Battle of Stalingrad, control of Hama see-saws between forces in battles where gains and losses are measured by the city block.

Read more » Examiner.com
See more » http://www.examiner.com/article/russian-marines-on-the-move-syria-showdown-with-isis-expected-soon

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