#AceNewsReport – July.11: While there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attacks – part of a wave targeting U.S. troops or areas where they are based in Iraq and Syria – analysts believed they were part of a campaign by Iranian-backed militias.
Iraq/Syriawere targeted by a number of attacks by ‘rocket & drones’aimed at U.S. Personnel on Wednesday that left two American service members wounded
Military vehicles of U.S. soldiers are seen at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq January 13, 2020. REUTERS/John Davison
Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran vowed to retaliate after U.S. strikes on the Iraqi-Syrian border killed four of their members last month.
Two people were slightly wounded in the rocket attack on the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, said coalition spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Wayne Marotto. The rockets landed on the base and its perimeter. He said earlier that three people were wounded.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the two personnel injured were U.S. service members. One suffered a concussion and the other had minor cuts, one of the officials added.
#AceNewsReport – July.07: A 13-year-old boy who was taught to use a gun by ISIS fighters aged eight is locked up at a prison for ‘Caliphate Cubs’ and says he wants to come ‘home’ to Britain.
Caliphate Cub: The chilling story of 13-year-old locked up in prison for child jihadi fighters who claims to have been dragged from UK to #Syria and now wants to come ‘home’ and recounts how the #IslamicState taught children the Qur’an and how to use a gun at aged 8: by Richard Ashmore and Andrew Drury, MailOnline, July 1, 2021:
Abdullah, who says he is a fan of Chelsea and McDonald’s, claims he grew up in London with his family, who are originally from Pakistan.
When he was eight, his mother and father took him to live under the Islamic State in Syria, along with his younger sister and two brothers. They are all now dead.
Most of his family were killed at Baghouz, the final stronghold of ISIS which was obliterated by US airstrikes in the last days of the so-called ‘caliphate’ in March, 2019.
He is now being kept at the Kurdish-run Hori Centre, a rehabilitation facility for boys accused of carrying out atrocities on behalf of ISIS, in the northeastern town of Tal Marouf.
Abdullah, who speaks good English with a slight accent, said he had been in Syria for less than a year when he was taught how to use an AK-47 assault rifle.
He claims to have never used it, but that ISIS wanted him and other children to do so.
Abdullah is one of scores of children ISIS sought to indoctrinate as ‘Caliphate Cubs’ to further their twisted ideology in a similar model to that used by the Hitler Youth.
He said: ‘The first day I go to school they learn me how to use the weapons.
‘And then I tell my mum, I can’t do these kind of things, and then my mum tell me go to second school. And the second school they learn me like the Quran and this kind of thing….
#AceNewsReport – June.28: President Joe Biden would “act to protect US personnel”, it added: The Pentagon did not provide any information on casualties. But a monitoring group reported that five militia fighters were killed in Syria.
Statement by the Department of Defense: June 27, 2021: (Attributable to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby)
WASHINGTON: US air strikes in Iraq and Syria target Iran-backed militias and Sunday’s strikes hit “operational and weapons storage facilities”, in response to drone attacks on US forces, the Pentagon said in a statement.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said several more fighters were wounded “in an attack by US warplanes”.
Syrian state news agency Sana meanwhile reported that a child had died and at least three other people were wounded.
This is the second round of air strikes President Biden has authorised against Iran-backed militias since taking office in January.
US forces based in Iraq have been targeted several times in recent months by drone attacks. Iran has denied any involvement.
About 2,500 US troops are based in the country as part of an international coalition fighting the jihadist Islamic State (IS) group.
According to the Pentagon, the “defensive precision air strikes” hit two targets in Syria and one in Iraq. It said several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, used these facilities.
Since 2009, the US has designated Kataib Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, accusing it of threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.
The US took “necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message”, the statement said.
Getty Images: It is the second round of air strikes President Biden has ordered against Iran-backed militias (file photo)
Iran’s influence over Iraq’s internal affairs has grown steadily since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
The strikes come as Iran has been holding talks with world powers including the US about reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions against the state in exchange for stopping some nuclear work.
Foreign powers suspect Iran has ambitions to build a nuclear bomb – something Iran strongly denies.
Former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions. Iran’s nuclear programme: What’s been happening at its key nuclear sites?
#AceNewsReport – June.06: The return of dozens of Iraqi families suspected of links to the #IslamicState (IS) group from Syria to Mosul has sparked fears among residents who survived the horrors of IS rule.
IRAQ: #IslamicState families return, ‘They are a time bomb’ Fear in Iraq’s Mosul as IS families return from Syria,” Middle East Eye, May 30, 2021:
Around 300 people from some 90 families left the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp in northeast Syria on Tuesday under Iraqi army escort, a Kurdish administration official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
It was the first repatriation of Iraqi families from the camp, which is home to more than 60,000 people, including relatives of IS fighters, and came as part of an agreement between Baghdad and the multinational coalition battling the jihadists.
But the move has stirred up nightmares for many Mosul residents.
For three years, Mosul was the heart of IS’s self-proclaimed “caliphate”.
IS fighters imposed a strict interpretation of sharia law, banning music and smoking and meting out brutal punishments, including public beheadings, for those who violated their rules.
“We are totally opposed to their return,” said Omar, a 28-year-old soldier, whose father was killed by an IS fighter.
“Our future is dark and dangerous because the jihadists will live near us,” said Omar, who declined to give his surname for security reasons.
“They are a time bomb.”…
Ali al-Bayati, a member of Iraqi’s human rights commission, said the residents’ fears stemmed from a “lack of transparency”.
“Nobody knows if these people have been interrogated or if they were subject to an investigation,” he said.
“Before accepting them, [the authorities] should have ensured that none of them were charged or had committed crimes.”
Omar al-Husseini, a human rights activist from Mosul, expressed scepticism.
“The government must be cautious” because the families have spent years in the al-Hol camp under the influence of jihadists, he said….
For Omar the soldier, life with the returnees will be “impossible”.
#AceNewsReport – May.19: On Tuesday 11 May, Iraqi security forces encountered a group of Daesh terrorists in a strong defensive position some twenty five miles south west of Mosul:
GOVUK Update Report: ‘Air- strikes as the RAF are continuing to take the fight to #Daesh in Iraq and Syria: Tuesday 11 May – Typhoons struck terrorists engaged in a firefight with Iraqi forces in northern Iraq’
Coming under heavy small arms fire from the terrorists, the Iraqi troops requested air support from the global coalition, and a pair of Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s responded promptly. Liaising closely with the Iraqis, our aircraft attacked the Daesh terrorists with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs. The bombs hit the target and eliminated a number of the Daesh extremists. The Iraqi forces were then able to assault the position successfully and overwhelm the few remaining terrorists.
On Sunday 4 April, an RAF Reaper, armed with Hellfire missiles, identified a small group of Daesh terrorists in northern Syria, some fifty miles west of Al Hasakah. Having checked that there were no civilians nearby, the Reaper’s crew attacked the terrorists, striking the target successfully.
#AceNewsReport – May.02: A German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.” Iran has never slowed down, and no deal will stop it:
German intelligence: Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are producing weapons of mass destruction: The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 380-page intelligence document which contains 28 references to the Islamic Republic. The report lists additional threats to Bavaria’s democracy.
“Iran still seeks mass destruction weapons – German intelligence report,” by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2021:
The German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.
“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,” wrote the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for the domestic intelligence agency.
“In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states are trying to establish business contacts to companies in high-technology countries like Germany,” said the Bavarian intelligence report in its section on weapons of mass destruction.
The German agency is the rough equivalent of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The intelligence report defines proliferation as “the unauthorized spread of atomic, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction or the products used for their manufacture as well as the corresponding weapon carrier systems, including the necessary know-how.”
With respect to the section of the report on the Islamic Republic’s espionage activities, the intelligence document stated that “Germany remains in the focus of intelligence activities. This includes information from foreign and security policy as well as business and science. An additional focus [of Iran’s intelligence services] is the observation of, and fight against, opposition groups domestically and abroad.”
Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s chief strategic ally in the Middle East, has 30 members in Bavaria….
#AceNewsReport – May.02: The joint convoy covered a distance of more than 100 km in the first operation of its kind by the forces of the two countries in Syria, and included 10 towns that are not under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Russian and Turkish forces carry out record long patrol in northeast Syria: ‘The commander of the Russian forces convoy, Brigadier General Andrei Titov, said: Today a new joint Russian-Turkish patrol was carried out from the Sharq crossing. The peculiarity of this patrol is the long distance of the route, as it included a large number of towns.” Video footage of alleged Russian strikes on HTS training camp
Titov added, “The patrol took place in an orderly manner, and the combination of troops and military equipment succeeded in carrying out the mission. The local residents in most of the towns welcomed the convoy.”
60 soldiers from the forces of both countries and more than ten of military vehicles participated in the patrol, accompanied by helicopters of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Turkey has extended its control over an area that extends about 30 kilometers south from the Turkish-Syrian border in northeastern Syria, since the launch of its military operation “Peace Spring” on October 9, 2019, against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which Ankara considers a terrorist and an arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
#AceNewsReport – Apr.25: Redzepagic has admitted to travelling overseas to try to join and provide material support to ISIS and the al-Nusrah Front, two foreign terrorist organizations that were engaged in fighting in Syria,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The threat from these terrorist organizations has not ended, and we will continue to work to stem the flow of fighters and bring to justice those who provide material support to these groups.”
Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to Foreign Terrorist Organizations: ‘According to court documents, Elvis Redzepagic, 30, of Commack, New York, began communicating in early 2015 with an individual he believed to be both the commander of a battalion in Syria and a member of ISIS or the al-Nusrah Front, and made attempts to join that individual’s battalion to engage in violent jihad. In July 2015, Redzepagic traveled to Turkey and made multiple unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Syria. Unable to enter Syria from Turkey, Redzepagic traveled to Jordan in August 2016, but was stopped and deported by Jordanian authorities’
Defendant Planned to Travel to Syria to Wage Violent Jihad: Redzepagic, a Long Island resident, admitted that he attempted to travel to Syria on several occasions to wage jihad on behalf of ISIS and other organizations dedicated to violence and mass destruction,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko for the Eastern District of New York. “This Office is committed to preventing the spread of terrorism by stopping individuals like the defendant in their tracks and prosecuting them before they are able to harm the United States and its allies.” Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies.
In Facebook messages from October 2015, Redzepagic explained that “jihad” is when “you fight for the sake of God” and “die for the sake of Allah.” Redzepagic stated that he traveled to Turkey to “perform Jihad and join Jabhat Al-Nusra.” He predicted, “there will come a time where people will only know to say Allahu Akbar.” In subsequent interviews with law enforcement, Redzepagic admitted that at the time he attempted to enter Syria, he was prepared to strap a bomb to himself:
Redzepagic pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The FBI’s New York Field Office is investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Stephanie Sweeten of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saritha Komatireddy and Artie McConnell are prosecuting the case.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.17: He added, “Syria and many other countries have acknowledged that the states which supported and funded armed terrorist groups in Syria, particularly the United States, France, Germany and Britain, will use the Syrian chemical file and the OPCW to achieve their hostile goals against Syria.”
FM Mekdad: US, allies have turned OPCW into a tool to pursue anti-Syria objectives: BUT Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Faisal Mekdad has categorically dismissed the new report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), stating that the United States and its allies have turned the international watchdog into a tool to pursue their political goals against Damascus’
Friday, 16 April 2021 8:48 AM [ Last Update: Friday, 16 April 2021 11:42 AM ]
Mekdad noted that Syrian government forces continue to score remarkable victories in their battles against the Takfiri terrorist groups, emphasizing that the troops have never used chemical warfare even in toughest operations against the foreign-sponsored militants.
He went on to say that certain Western countries have established the OPCW’s so-called Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) in order to produce reports, which best suit their anti-Syria agenda.
“The French-Western draft resolution, which is to be presented at the 25th meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons later this year, is a new chapter in the series of conspiracies against Syria,” Mekdad pointed out.
The top Syrian diplomat finally called on the OPCW member states to support Damascus and counter the politicization of the organization’s activities by some Western countries.
A report by the OPCW’s so-called investigative arm claimed on Monday that Syria’s air force had dropped a chlorine bomb on a residential neighborhood in the terrorist-controlled Idlib region.
The report further asserted no one was killed when the cylinder of chlorine gas, delivered in a barrel bomb, hit the al-Talil neighborhood in the city of Saraqib in February 2018.
The Syrian foreign ministry, in a statement published on Wednesday, said the OPCW’s “misleading report,” written by “an illegitimate and incredible team,” fabricates “facts” to incriminate the Damascus government.
“This report has included false and fabricated conclusion which represents another scandal for the OPCW and the inquiry teams that will be added to the scandal of the reports of Douma incident in 2018, and Ltamenah in 2017,” it said.
Moscow and Damascus have on many occasions said members of the so-called White Helmets civil defense group stage gas attacks in a bid to falsely incriminate Syrian government forces and fabricate pretexts for military strikes by the US-led military coalition.
The group claims to be a humanitarian NGO but has long been accused of collaborating with anti-Damascus militants.
On April 14, 2018, the US, Britain and France carried out a string of airstrikes against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack on the city of Douma, located about 10 kilometers northeast of the capital Damascus.
Washington and its allies blamed Damascus for the Douma attack, a charge the Syrian government rejected.
Western governments and their allies have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.
This is while Syria surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the United States and the OPCW, which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry. It has consistently denied using chemical weapons.
#AceNewsReport – Apr,17: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has taken an intense interest in Syria’s civil war, and has accused President Bashar Assad of deploying chemical weapons against his own people on several occasions. Its conclusions have twice been used to justify US military action against Syria, and a new OPCW report on Monday found “reasonable grounds” to suspect that a Syrian Army helicopter dropped chemical weapons on the town of Saraqib in 2018.
Mick Wallace, an Irish MEP, is among them. When OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias addressed the European Parliament Subcommittee of Security and Defence on Thursday, Wallace accused the OPCW of squashing evidence that Assad may not have been behind one particularly heinous 2018 attack in Douma, near Damascus.
“Why will you not heed calls from renowned international figures…to meet with all the investigators?” Wallace asked Arias. “This problem is not going away. Are you going to investigate all aspects in a transparent manner?”
He is far from a lone crank. Whistleblower testimony and internal documents suggest that the OPCW suppressed “key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies” relating to the Douma attack, in order to “favor a preordained conclusion,” in the words of one panel of skeptics. A scientific paper challenging the OPCW’s conclusion was shelvedfollowing an outcry from Bellingcat, and one director within the OPCW worried that were the truth to get out, it could aid Russia, an ally of Assad. Furthermore, while multiple whistleblowers have come forward to dispute the OPCW’s findings, more have been “frightened into silence,” one claimed last year.
Wallace also accused Arias of ignoring a “false leak,” made to the BBC and the NATO-affiliated Bellingcat, which he claimed was used to discredit former OPCW Director-General José Bustani, who disagrees with Arias’ blaming of Assad for the Douma attack.
Yet before Arias could respond, subcommittee chairwoman Nathalie Loiseau stepped in to do his job for him. Loiseau apologized to Arias for Wallace’s tough questioning, and accused the Ireland South MEP of peddling “fake news.”
“I cannot accept that you can call into question the work of an international organization, and that you would call into question the word of the victims in the way you have just done,” she scolded Wallace.
“Is there no freedom of speech being allowed in the European Parliament any more,” Wallace shot back, “today you’re denying me my opinion!”
Wallace’s microphone was then cut, and Arias allowed to speak. However, the OPCW chief did not directly address his questions. Instead he thanked the other MEPs present for their “words of support,” and reiterated his claims that Assad’s government is responsible for “a humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions.”
Though Loiseau apparently wanted to shield Arias from Wallace’s uncomfortable questions, skepticism within the OPCW goes all the way to the top. Former Director-General Bustani has accused the organization of “potentially fraudulent conduct in the investigative process,” a position that saw him banned from addressing the UN Security Council on the issue last year.
The whistleblower scandal has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media, with only a handful of alternative outlets picking up the story.
From Loiseau’s position though, dissent within the parliament is undesirable ahead of the OPCW’s ‘Conference of the States Parties’ in The Hague next week. Ahead of Wallace’s questioning, Loiseau reminded MEPs that a vote will likely be taken at the conference to suspend Syria’s voting rights within the organization, likely accompanied by other “punitive measures.”
#AceNewReport – Apr.05: The report said the Saudi command center in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden has even instructed the al- #Qaeda warlord in Abyan to secure the entry points for terrorists arriving from Syria and other countries.
Terrorists in Syria transferred to Yemen to aid Saudi-led forces in Ma’rib: Report: ‘Citing Yemeni intelligence sources, the paper said al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants are waiting for terrorists from Syria to arrive in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan’
Sunday, 04 April 2021 10:23 AM [ Last Update: Sunday, 04 April 2021 10:34 AM ]
Saudi-backed militants loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi get into position during clashes with Yemeni armed forces and their allied fighters from Popular Committees in Ma’rib in central Yemen, on March 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)
Security and intelligence sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said AQAP terrorists have been tasked with transporting the incoming militants and their weapons to Ma’rib.
For the past two weeks, al-Qaeda terrorists have been deployed in vast areas off the coast in Abyan under the command of a high-profile militant identified as Salem al-Shina, with the operations being coordinated with the Salafist Islah Party amd the Saudi command center, the report said.
According to local sources, al-Qaeda terrorists are roaming publicly in the areas of Wadi Hamra, Yahmas, al-Maraqasha and al-Wazi’, and have repeatedly met with senior Saudi military figures at their barracks.
According to al-Akhbar, al-Qaeda terrorists launched a series of attacks last week on the positions of Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatists in order to secure the arrival of fellow militants from Syria.
Over the past few weeks, Ma’rib has been the scene of large-scale operations by the Yemeni troops and allied Popular Committees fighters, who are pushing against Saudi-led mercenaries and militants loyal to Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and its other regional allies, launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of Yemen’s former president back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.26: Following recent allegations of a hospital being targeted Al Atarib, western Aleppo, the US State Department repeated the claim, in spite of any clear evidence to back it up:
Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent: after but instead, reports rely on highly questionable sources like the White Helmets, the USAID-funded Syrian American Medical Society and theusual unnamed “witnesses” and (clearly impartial!) “rebel sources,” as per a Reuters’ report on the recent claims:
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
The presence of Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups makes it impossible for independent, neutral bodies to assess what is going on.
Facts matter, they say. But really, not so much when it comes to war propaganda.
In Sarmada, Idlib countryside, one of the targets was a Tahrir al-Sham (Al-Qaeda in Syria) fuel market, the smuggled fuel tankers obliterated.
A White Helmets video supposedly filmed in Al-Atarib alleges a hospital was bombed there. It indeed shows what looks like a medical facility covered in dust, and a lot of bulky men of fighting age. Glaringly absent are women or normal looking civilians.
Given the White Helmets’ penchant for working only in areas controlled by terrorist factions, working with them and even numbering among them, dabbling in organ trade, and having lied many times in the past, the video proves nothing.
There is, on the other hand, a precedent for “hospitals” or medical centres being weaponized by terrorists. And not just once or twice, but repeatedly in terrorist-occupied areas throughout Syria.
The Eye and Childrens’ Hospitals, a large complex in eastern Aleppo, was militarized and occupied by terrorists including the Tawhid Brigade, Al-Qaeda and even IS (Islamic State, formerly ISIS). Prisoners were held, and tortured, in nightmarish prisons and solitary confinement cells deep below.
As journalist Vanessa Beeley noted, in eastern Ghouta, medical centres, “provided treatment almost exclusively to extremist armed factions.” They were also built underground, “linked by a vast maze of tunnels that snaked below most of the districts controlled by the armed groups, providing cover for the fighters during SAA [Syrian Arab Army] military campaigns.” (An aside, see one of these massive tunnels in Douma, at the location of the underground “hospital.”)
In Idlib, a “hospital” that the New York Times claimed Russian warplanes bombed in May 2019 was a cave used as a terrorist headquarters. Another fortified cave in Khan Sheikhoun was well-stocked with weapons, medical supplies and gas masks, and a prison with solitary confinement cells.
In areas liberated from terrorists, the Syrian Army routinely finds such caves, with tunnels connecting terrorist bases so they can avoid moving above ground.
The May 2016 IS horrific multiple suicide bombings in Jableh (andalso in Tartous the same day), including inside Jableh’s National Hospital.
The May 2016 attack outside Aleppo’s Dabeet maternity hospital, a missile hit a car parked outside, which then exploded, killing three women at the hospital and injuring many more.
I went to Aleppo in July 2016 and spoke with the director, who confirmed his hospital was gutted in the blast, and noted that a week later terrorists’ mortars hit the roof of the hospital, destroying the roof and injuring construction workers.
In May 2018, before Daraa was fully liberated, I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists (including the day I went), and took a perilous high speed ride in the taxi I had hired in Damascus to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.
The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards (dialysis and laboratory), and off-limits areas due to high risk of sniping (gynecology, operations, blood bank, nursing school, children’s hospital).
When I returned to Daraa in September, after the region was liberated, the hospital was full of patients, since it was finally possible to access without risk.
Behind the hospital, roughly 50 metres away, I saw a building when I was told had been occupied by terrorists. Hence the extreme risk of being sniped while inside the hospital.
I never saw any Western outlet speak of this hospital, although it serviced civilians and was quite visibly partially destroyed.
In November 2016, I met Dr. Ibrahim Hadid, former Director of Kindi Hospital, who said that he wanted medical colleagues and institutions to exert some of the concern they have for “hospitals” allegedly bombed in terrorist areas.
They, and Western corporate media, have done the opposite, of course.
Another chemical song and dance routine?
Meanwhile, Russia is warning of a possible new staged chemical provocation by Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation says, “militants are plotting to stage a fake chemical attack near the settlement of Qitian,” to again accuse the Syrian government of using chemicals on the people.
As anyone following the war on Syria knows, although the West desperately wants to prove Syria committed one or more chemical attacks, it has failed, to the point where even OPCW experts spoke out, contradicting the claims.
As I wrote last week, in spite of incessantly lying about Syria for ten years, Western (and Gulf) media, pundits and politicians steam ahead with more lies – recycled accusations and war propaganda.
So, it is likely the “hospitals bombed” theme will surge anew, and then the “chemical attacks” theme. And then maybe we’ll have another new Bana al-Abed to ask Biden to bomb Syria or “holocaust” Idlib…
The irony is of course, as I feel the need to make clear nearly every time I write, those script-readers claiming that Syria (and Russia) are bombing hospitals, or using chemicals, or whatever lie is next recycled, don’t actually care about the lives of Syrians.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.21: The Assad regime once again has carried out a brutal attack on innocent civilians,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a written statement:
Assad regime attack on hospital kills 7 civilians in Syria’s Idlib: ‘Five innocent civilians, one of whom is a child, were killed by the regime’s artillery bombardment on a hospital in Idlib’s Atareb,” the ministry said in its initial reaction.
“The regime, which again carried out crimes against humanity, also injured 10 civilians,” the statement added.
Later, it was reported that seven civilians were killed and at least 14 medics were injured.
According to the White Helmets Syria civil defense group, the attack also caused serious infrastructural damage, putting the hospital out-of-service. Teams from the civil defense group took the injured to the nearest hospital.
The Idlib de-escalation zone was forged under an agreement between Turkey and Russia. The area has been the subject of multiple cease-fire agreements, which have been frequently violated by the Assad regime and its allies.
Most recently, a fragile truce was brokered between Moscow and Ankara in March 2020, in response to months of fighting by the Russia-backed regime. Almost a million people have fled the Assad regime’s offensive, yet the regime still frequently carries out attacks on civilians, hindering most from returning to their homes and forcing them to stay in makeshift camps.
Syria’s war has killed more than 387,000 people and displaced millions since beginning in 2011 with the regime’s brutal repression of anti-government protests.
First Turkish air strikes on Kurdish zone in Syria in 17 months: monitor
March 21, 2021 02:52
BEIRUT: The Turkish airforce conducted its first strikes in 17 months against a zone in north Syria held by Kurdish militia on Saturday night, a monitor said. “A Turkish fighter jet has struck military positions of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Saida village in Ain Issa countryside… which caused loud explosions,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. This was the first aerial raid since “Operation Peace Spring,” it added — an October 2019 military campaign launched by Ankara and its Syrian allies against the SDF in northern Syria. That operation, interrupted after two accords negotiated by Ankara with first Washington, and then Moscow, allowed Turkey to seize control of a “safe zone” inside Syria around 120 kilometers long and 32 kilometers deep. The village of Ain Issa, however, remained in the hands of Kurdish forces. The air strikes come the same day as “violent clashes” and “intensive rocket fire” on the frontlines of Ain Issa district between SDF forces and Turkish-backed factions, the SOHR said, adding there had been confirmed casualties. “Clashes between the two sides have been going on for the last 24 hours… Turkish forces have had difficulty advancing since the SDF destroyed a Turkish tank,” the director of the SOHR, Rami Abdul Rahman, told AFP. The Syrian Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units, which form a vital component of the SDF, are considered by Turkey to be a “terrorist offshoot” of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. But they have also been a key ally to the United States and others in the battle against the Daesh group in Syria.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.24: Two blasts kill seven in Syrian rebel-held northwest near Turkish border: A few hours later, at least two civilians was killed and 17 wounded in a car blast in the city of Afrin, a mainly Kurdish area which Turkish forces and their Syrian allies took from the Kurdish YPG militia in 2018: Videos posted on social media showed footage of mangled cars and extensive damage to an industrial area with fires burning: Reuters could not immediately vouch for their authenticity: Civil defence officials said the death toll was expected to rise:
#Syria Report: At least seven people have been killed & dozens wounded in two bomb blasts on Tuesday & at least five people killed and a further 20-wounded some critically in another bomb blast close to Aleppo Reuters.Com/
The two cities, which Turkey administers with the help of Syrian Arab rebels it backs, have in the last year been frequently hit by bombings detonated in crowded civilian areas: Turkey and its rebel allies accuse the YPG of carrying out the blasts that have killed dozens in the mainly Arab populated towns near the border under their control, saying their goal is to make them ungovernable and sow fear among civilians: There was no immediate comment from the YPG, which has denied previous accusations of attacks on civilians. It says it only targets Turkish soldiers and their allies in a guerrilla campaign to drive out “occupiers”………….The YPG says Ankara wants to drive out Kurds and settle Arabs:
Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group tied to the PKK inside its own borders, and has staged incursions into Syria in support of Syrian rebels to push it from the Turkish frontier: Ankara now retains a large military presence in the area deploying thousands of troops in the last rebel enclave:
#AceNewsReport – Sept.19: “Russian choppers confront US helicopters after new chase in northeast Syria: video” ………..There has been no immediate comment from the Russian Defence Ministry or the Pentagon on this new incident:
Confrontation between Russian & American choppers in #Syria was filmed and circulated across social media
By News Desk • 19 September 2020″ Video: Link: https://t.me/almasdarnews1/14176 This video footage, which has been circulating since September 16, documents the intervention of two Russian Mi-35 and Mi-8 helicopters in the incident, forcing the American Apache to retreat:
” This development comes after northeastern Syria witnessed several incidents over the past months, but the new provocation by the United States indicates that it has changed its tactics in the confrontation.”…………….”The video clip filmed from the air was circulated on social media and showed two American AH-64 Apache helicopters accompanying the Russian military police convoy while carrying out a patrol in the Al-Hasakah Governorate.”
There has been no immediate comment from the Russian Defense Ministry or the Pentagon on this new incident:
#AceNewsReport – June.13: #Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings…………………..Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.” ……..Until the encouragement Islamic law gives to honor killing is acknowledged and confronted, more women will suffer:
“Woman axed to death over love marriage,” Express Tribune, June 11, 2020 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
OKARA: A man axed to death his sister for contracting love marriage……………….The deceased woman was living in Lahore and she had come to visit her parents………………………Police claimed to have arrested the accused an hour later and seized the murder weapon as well………………Reportedly, Saima Bibi, a resident of Baman Zirin village of Ravi got married to a young man named Azam on which her brother Shafqat got upset.He was unhappy with his sister’s marriage….
On Tuesday, Saima Bibi had come to the village from Lahore to visit her parents where her brother Shafqat took the opportunity to kill her with an axe and then fled away….…………………..Police arrested the accused an hour after the incident.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.11: A CNN team in Syria witnessed airstrikes, explosions and mortar fire in Baghouz after the operation by the Syrian Defense Forces began about 6 pm local time: SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter Sunday that its forces were engaged in “direct violent clashes” and that its planes were targeting weapons depots.
Earlier Sunday, Bali tweeted that “the timeline … for ISIS to surrender themselves is over” and that SDF forces were ready to “finish what is left in ISIS hands.”
At its height, ISIS controlled huge swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq: The US-led coalition has been working for years to oust the group from cities and towns: It was not clear Sunday how many fighters and civilians remained in the half-mile-square pocket under ISIS control in Baghouz.
Before the recent offensive started last month, SDF officials estimated that 1,500 civilians and 500 ISIS fighters remained, but as the assault got under way it became clear that the actual number was much higher: On Tuesday about 500 ISIS fighters surrendered to SDF forces. The militants were among a wave of people fleeing fighting in the village, near the Iraqi border, which has been pummeled by US-led coalition airstrikes in recent weeks.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.23: The heightened military activity comes days after President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would postpone a planned military operation on the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria after the United States decided to withdraw from Syria;DHA said the Turkish convoy, headed toward the border district of Kilis, located in the southern province of Hatay, included tanks, howitzers, machine guns and buses carrying commandos: Part of the military equipment and personnel are to be positioned in posts along the border while some had crossed into Syria via the district of Elbeyli, DHA said #AceNewsDesk reports
Elbeyli is located 45 kilometers (27.96 miles) from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, which has been a major flashpoint between Ankara and Washington. In June, the NATO allies reached an agreement that would see the YPG ousted from the area but Turkey has complained the roadmap has been delayed: Reuters could not independently verify the reason for the reinforcements and Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey will take over the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria as the United States withdraws its troops, adding that the planned operation would target the YPG, as well as Islamic State: Ankara considers the U.S.-backed YPG militia a terrorist organisation and an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey since the 1980s.
Turkey has carried out two operations in Syria, dubbed “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch”, against the YPG and the Islamic State in northern Syria.
Reuters: Reporting by Yesim Dikmen; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Kirsten Donovan: BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:40 A.M.) – The Turkish military will fight the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) after the U.S. military withdraws from Syria, the Associated Press reported, citing unnamed US and Turkish officials, that Donald Trump had decided to withdraw American troops from Syria after a phone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkish President Recep […]Source: AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدرنيوز – The Arab Source via AMN – Al-Masdar News | المصدرنيوزhttp://bit.ly/2GCdzo0
#AceNewsReport – Oct.28:Members of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been on the offensive since early September under the cover of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition to capture the last pocket held by IS in Syria: Friday’s fighting that lasted until the early hours of Saturday began when IS, taking advantage of a sandstorm, launched a counteroffensive against SDF positions east of the Euphrates river in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq, activists said #AceNewsDesk reports
Col. Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, said they have no confirmation of exact figures “as both sides are taking casualties.” He called it a “difficult fight.”“The sandstorm allowed an ISIS counterattack, which was surprising given the conditions, but now the air is clear and the Coalition will continue to increase air and fire support to assist our partners,” Ryan said using a term to refer to IS.
Rami Abdurrahman who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that since Friday IS has killed more than 60 SDF fighters, wounded others and captured at least 20: He added that some 100 SDF fighters have fled the battlefield as the extremist group has carried out suicide car bomb attacks.
The Observatory and the Deir Ezzor 24 activist collective said IS fighters captured the village of Sousa that they had lost control of earlier this week: The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said that more than 40 SDF fighters were killed and posted a video of six gunmen captured alive.
An SDF official did not immediately respond to inquiries sent by The Associated Press:The Observatory said that the fighting continued until early Saturday and that IS gunmen attacked SDF positions on the eastern banks of the Euphrates river in east Syria…………………The last pocket held by IS in Syria is home to thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire with nowhere else to go.
Brett McGurk, the White House envoy for the war against IS, told a conference in Bahrain on Saturday that “the military mission in Syria is the enduring defeat of ISIS.” He said he expected IS would be defeated over the coming months……….“It is very difficult because we are in the last stages, where almost every ISIS fighter is a suicide belt,” McGurk said. “It’s very difficult fighting but we will get it done.”
Last week, U.N. humanitarian official, Jan Egeland said in Geneva that some 15,000-people including IS fighters and their families live in the area:“A lot of civilians there are being attacked from all sides,” Egeland said.
McGurk said that the U.S. and the SDF are holding some 700 foreign fighters in Syria, adding that they are determined that “these people cannot get out of Syria to threaten our homelands or yours: He said the coalition is working with some countries to make sure that “we could try to repatriate these people.”
While the process is underway, McGurk added, the U.S. is working to ensure that they are housed in a facility inside Syria that meets international standards “so that these people cannot commingle and repeat any of the problems that we’ve seen in the past.”
SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told the Kurdish ANHA news agency on Friday that an international tribunal should be set up to try the foreign IS fighters his group is holding: He said that the SDF has apprehended more than 700 non-Syrian IS fighters in addition to their families.
#AceNewsReport – Experts believe a good impetus for the meeting may be an agreement on southern Syria: How things unfold in this area would indicate that here the positions of Russia and the United States coincide, the paper writes #AceNewsDesk reports
Top stories in the Russian press on Tuesday
Sources from the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper say the US is ready to pull out the opposition from the southern areas and even dismantle its Al-Tanf base in exchange for the withdrawal of Iranian and pro-Iranian forces. The point of contention is how far the forces controlled by Tehran should retreat:
If no full-fledged summit between the two presidents is held, they will have a chance to briefly meet in Buenos Aires this fall at the G20 forum, Maxim Suchkov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council and head of the Moscow bureau of Al-Monitor, said. One of the major problems is the presence of US forces to the east of the Euphrates River, the expert noted.
“As far as I understand three key issues have been announced – Syria, Ukraine and strategic stability, this means extending or not extending the treaties on reducing strategic offensive weapons, and short-and intermediate- range missiles. It will be more difficult to agree on Ukraine as well as on strategic stability,” Suchkov stressed. It is unclear whether the Americans will enter talks with a joint stance, according to the expert.
Another problem is whether Iran is ready for a compromise. It remains an enigma if Russia has secured Iran’s guarantees that the forces loyal to Tehran will leave Syria’s southern areas, the paper says.
Oleg Deripaska’s En+ group, which controls assets from energy to aluminum and mining, has hired French-British investment bank Rothschild to find investors who could buy the assets of the holding owned by the sanctioned Russian billionaire.
Hiring Rothschild as an agent to find a buyer of En+ assets is a demonstration that Deripaska is ready to make concessions to the US, partner of NAFCO Law & Tax Advisers company Irina Mostovaya told RBC.
The participation of an international agent as an independent party makes it possible to lower the risks of noncompliance with the US Treasury Department’s demands that Deripaska should be deprived of control in the company, and ensure that persons and companies affiliated with the tycoon do not become new owners of the assets. Meanwhile, Rothschild shoulders serious reputational risks in this deal, Mostovaya cautioned.
It’s hard to imagine an investor, who could have the guts to buy shares from Deripaska now, Corporate Ratings Group Director at ACRA analytical rating agency Maxim Khudalov told the paper. He did not rule out that the Kremlin could make a political decision to lure an investor.
Khudalov expects that Deripaska won’t meet the deadline to sell off his share in En+ by August 5, but it won’t be a problem for the US Treasury Department to extend the deadline. “Now, we see that US sanctions against Russian businesses aren’t getting unanimous support from the Europeans anymore, especially after President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU,” Khudalov said. Rusal’s foreign clients may step up pressure on the US Treasury Department because they do not want to lose lucrative business. However, it may take nearly a year to lift the sanctions against Deripaska’s companies, he noted.
Kommersant: No breakthrough expected at Singapore-hosted US-North Korea summit
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has announced its readiness to launch inspections at North Korea’s nuclear facilities within several weeks if an agreement on these checks is reached at the June 12 meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
Russian and Korean experts told Kommersant that the parties are expected to achieve some sort of an agreement, but no major breakthrough is expected.
Vasily Kashin, senior research fellow at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the paper that the June 12 meeting would become “an introduction to endless talks.”
Most likely, the sides will ink a symbolic document that the Korean War has ended de jure, said Vladimir Khrustalev, an expert in non-proliferation. “This is a beautiful project allowing everyone – Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul – to declare themselves as winners,” he told the paper.
Expert of South Korea’s ASAN Institute for Policy Studies Go Myong-Hyun believes that Kim Jong-un should meet Donald Trump halfway, otherwise the domestic political climate in the US won’t permit a second meeting. “If Kim makes concessions, Donald Trump will declare his victory and may allow South Korea and China to provide North Korea with humanitarian assistance.” According to the expert, this will ease the economic situation in North Korea.
“Sanctions will remain in force, but maybe the US will stop blacklisting those vessels which smuggle goods into North Korea,” he said.
Izvestia: Foreign investors return to Russian market
Panic among foreign investors over new US sanctions against an array of Russian companies did not last for long, Izvestia writes. In early April, foreign investors rushed to pull 19 bln rubles ($306.7 mln) out of the Russian stock market, but by the end of the month non-residents brought back more than 60% of their investments (12 bln rubles, $194 mln). According to the experts, interviewed by the paper, this was attributed to the calming of sanctions rhetoric and simultaneous oil price growth.
Fundamentally, the Russian market is attractive and that’s why foreigners quickly regained their positions, Darya Zhelannova, an analyst at Alfa Capital, told Izvestia. When the US Treasury Department explained the terms for lifting sanctions against Russian aluminum giant Rusal, investors understood that this was a single measure, she explained.
Foreign investors are behaving rather pragmatically, Head of the analytical department at Loko-Invest Kirill Tremasov told the paper. Most investments were poured into the shares of raw materials exporters, whose revenues grew alongside oil prices while the ruble continued depreciating, he noted.
The interest in Russian assets will continue rising provided that there are no external shocks, Zhelannova noted. Foreign investors still prefer Federal Loan Obligations (OFZs), Russia’s sovereign Eurobonds and shares of oil and gas companies, the expert said.
The United Nations Security Council should meet modern-day realities and more countries should become permanent members, Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva, told Izvestia. There is no consensus on this issue among members now, he said, noting that any reform should ensure that all world regions are represented.
“The Security Council’s reform is a vital issue, but the solution to it demands the agreement of 100% of the permanent members of the Security Council. Now, none of the proposed options have been supported,” the diplomat elaborated.
An imposed decision, which won’t be backed by a significant number of countries, would split the global community, Gatilov noted.
“Of course, we should prevent this since our goal now is to unify efforts in the Security Council to solve important issues facing the international community. Until now, no decision on expanding the Security Council which would suit all countries has been found,” he emphasized.
One reform proposal is the cancellation of veto rights by the UNSC permanent member-states. The French Foreign Ministry told Izvestia that Paris is calling on all five permanent members to give up their veto right if mass crimes are concerned. However, Russia is against this option.
Moscow has been calling for its BRICS partners, India and Brazil, to be granted permanent membership, but not everyone backs this proposition, former UN Deputy Secretary General Sergey Ordzhonikidze told the paper.