Washington is playing a dangerous game of encouraging terrorists in Syria to attack government forces and the Russian military, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. Moscow won’t leave aggressive US steps unanswered, but wants to overcome the political deadlock, he added.
In an interview with the London-based, Arabic-language Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, taken ahead of the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow, Lavrov noted that the US-led coalition and the Syrian rebel forces they support consistently act in a way that helps Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups.
“In some cases, these forces mount allegedly accidental strikes against the Syrian Armed Forces, after which Islamic State [banned in Russia] counterattacks. In other cases, they inspire other terrorists to attack strategic locations over which official Damascus has restored its legitimate authority, or to stage fatal provocations against our military personnel,” Lavrov said.
Washington is guided by “double standards” in Syria, the Russian foreign minister said, slamming the US for failing to acknowledge that there are no such things as bad or good terrorists.
“If you apply double standards, divide terrorists into ‘bad’ and ‘very bad,’ force others to enter the coalition on political motives, forgetting about the necessary UN sanction to approve these actions, then it’s hard to speak about the effectiveness of an anti-terror campaign,” he said.
Russia’s involvement in the campaign against ISIS in Syria aids not only Russia’s national security, but also regional stability, Lavrov said. He added that it is not enough to defeat terrorists on the ground to bring peace to embattled regions, noting the importance of diplomatic efforts.
“It’s impossible to eradicate terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa through military means only. We are deeply convinced about that. The advantage of our policy lies in that it is not self-interested and does not have a hidden agenda,” he said. rt.com
It seems that White Helmets organization is hailed as heroes in the West, and the latter one provides millions of dollars to so-called saviors. However, Aleppo residents claim that White Helmets care only about money and saving rebels, but not the civilians. In fact, they are not autonomous, and cannot make their own decisions – these are made by other powerful people.
In July 19, the Trump administration announced that it would end the CIA’s covert program aimed at arming and training terrorist-linked “moderate rebels” in Syria, sparking hope among some Trump supporters that he was finally enacting the anti-interventionist rhetoric of his campaign.
However, a recently released report shows that the Pentagon has picked up the slack left by the end of the CIA’s program — pumping billions of dollars worth of weapons into the hands of Syrian “rebels,” while attempting to mask the paper trail and their suppliers’ ties to organized crime.
The report, published Tuesday by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), provides conclusive evidence that the Pentagon plans to provide up to $2.2 billion in weapons to Syrian “rebel” groups, particularly Kurdish militant groups like the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). While the Pentagon has been arming “rebels” since 2015, the Department of Defense began requesting increased funding for the program once the CIA covert arms program was ostensibly slated to shut down.
While the Pentagon has been arming “rebels” since 2015, the Department of Defense began requesting increased funding for the program once the CIA covert arms program was ostensibly slated to shut down.
The Pentagon has requested an additional $322.5 million for the financial year ending October 2017 and $261.9 million for the following 12 months. For fiscal years 2017 and 2018, the budget for the program has been set at $584 million while another $900 million has been earmarked to continue the program through 2022. mintpressnews.com
The Rohingya insurgency is starting to gain traction.
Pogroms and low-level anti-Muslim violence erupted in 2012 during Myanmar’s democratic transition. In large part this was allowed to fester because the international community was trying to support the new democratic government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
It was no surprise that after years of systematic human rights abuses, including the denial of citizenship rights or any other legal protections, and with the government limiting the ability of Rohingya people to work or to have food and medicine coming in, that a full-on insurgency broke out.
The insurgency was nascent for much of 2016 and the first half of 2017. It began as Harakah al-Yaqin (HaY), led by Attullah Abu Ammar Jununi, who was born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia before he returned home to lead the struggle.
The group publicly refers to itself as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Low-level attacks began to occur on a more sustained basis in 2016. Much of the violence in Rakhine state was perpetrated by government-backed vigilantes, as state security forces did little to curtail them.
But ARSA was clearly responsible for some of the violence. And, very clearly, it seemed to provoke heavy-handed responses. In October 2016, ARSA, armed with machetes and other primitive weapons, staged attacks on police posts.
The government responded with pogroms, including attacks on civilians and arson attacks in Rohingya villages. The United Nations estimates violence in October and November 2016 led to about 87,000 Rohingya refugees to cross into southeastern Bangladesh, where about 400,000 had settled previously.
Earlier this month, two days after U.N. Special Representative Kofi Annan issued his report on the Myanmar government’s alleged mishandling of the 11 million Rohingya, about 150 ARSA militants attacked 24 to 30 police outposts in Rakhine state. ARSA claims the attacks were pre-emptive and done in self-defense.
Those attacks were a tactical failure: about 77 militants were killed, compared to only a dozen police, in the fighting. But the attacks were not meant to be tactical successes. They were meant to be a strategic victory.
ARSA knew all too well that the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) could respond only one way: with an extremely heavy-handed “clearance operation” and total disregard for human rights. By Aug. 28, the death toll reached at least 104.
In the days after, thousands of refugees crossed into Bangladesh, with an additional 20,000 stuck in no man’s land along the border. Earlier, about 6,000 refugees, mainly women and children came under fire from the Tatmadaw as they tried to cross the frontier.
Human rights monitors witnessed Rohingya villages being set on fire. Human Rights Watch reported that in the four days following the Aug. 25 attacks, the number of villages burned down was significantly larger than the number burned last October and November. rfa.org
ARSA leader Ata Ullah was born in Karachi, Pakistan to a (Bangladeshi) migrant father, who claims to have had fled the religious persecution in Rakhine State in Myanmar (also known as Arakan, Burma). At an early age, Ullah’s family moved to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he was enrolled in an Islamic school.
It is possible that the ARSA leader trained with Libya rebels, but those reports can not be confirmed.
On 27 August 2017, ARSA insurgents were accused of killing six Hindus. According to the State Counselor’s office, twelve Hindu families on a business trip in Myinlut, Maungdaw Township were returning to the district capital of Maungdaw, when they accidentally wandered into the conflict zone. The families fled into the District Court Building (which was still under construction) in an attempt to seek shelter from the fighting, but when they entered the building they were allegedly shot by ARSA insurgents already inside. The incident left two Hindu men, one woman and three children dead and two women seriously injured. The victims were sent to the Maungdaw Hospital, while six others arrived at the Four-Mile camp at 6:00 AM and left for Buthidaung where their relatives were residing.
In a statement issued by her office on Facebook on Wednesday, Suu Kyi said the government had “already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible” and warned against misinformation that could mar relations with other countries.
She referred to tweets of images of killings posted by Turkey’s deputy prime minister that he later deleted because they were not even from Myanmar.
“She said that kind of fake information which was inflicted on the deputy prime minister was simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different countries and with the aim of promoting the interests of the terrorists,” the social media statement said. news.com.au
India shares Myanmar’s concern about ‘extremist violence’: PM Modi
On 7 July 2013 a series of ten bombs exploded in and around the Mahabodhi Temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bodh Gaya, India. Five people, including two Buddhist monks, were injured by the blasts. Three other devices were defused by bomb-disposal squads at a number of locations in Gaya.
The temple itself and the Bodhi Tree (where Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment) were undamaged.However, the Archaeological Survey of India confirmed damage to new structures in the temple complex. International figures, including the Dalai Lama, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Myanmar Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, condemned the attacks.On 4 November 2013, the National Investigation Agency announced that the Indian Mujahideen was responsible for the bombings
Donald Trump has decided to halt the CIA’s covert programme to equip and train moderate rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, in a move likely to be welcomed by Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
The CIA programme began in 2013 as part of Barack Obama’s support for the overthrow of Assad but met with little success, two officials told Reuters. Some armed and trained rebels defected to Islamic State and other radical groups.
One of the officials was quoted as saying the US is not making a major concession, given Assad’s continued grip on power, but “it’s a signal to Putin that the administration wants to improve ties to Russia”.
Along with Iran, Moscow has played a critical part in shoring up Assad during the the six-year civil war.
The decision was made with national security adviser HR McMaster and CIA director Mike Pompeo after they consulted with lower ranking officials, and before Trump’s 7 July meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany, Reuters reported. It was not part of US-Russian negotiations on a limited ceasefire in south-west Syria the two leaders agreed to at the summit, the officials said. theguardian.com
CIA-coordinated military aid for rebels in northwest Syria has been frozen since they came under major Islamist attack last month, rebel sources said, raising doubts about foreign support key to their war against President Bashar Assad.
Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadi assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.
The halt in assistance, which has included salaries, training, ammunition and in some cases guided anti-tank missiles, is a response to jihadi attacks and has nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump replacing Barack Obama in January, two U.S. officials familiar with the CIA-led program said.
The freeze reflects the troubles facing Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels in the almost six-year revolt against Assad, who now appears militarily unassailable in his core western region largely thanks to direct intervention on his side by Russia and Iran.
“The reality is that you have changes in the area, and these changes inevitably have repercussions,” said an official with one of the affected FSA rebel groups. He said no military assistance could “enter at present until matters are organized. There is a new arrangement but nothing has crystallized yet.”
The support funneled to vetted FSA factions has included contributions from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — states that have opposed Assad. It is one of several foreign aid channels to rebels. Others still function.
The CIA declined comment on the reported freeze in support. A Qatari official said his government had nothing to say on the matter. Turkish officials said only they could not discuss “operational details.” There was no word from Saudi Arabia. japantimes.co.jp
US backed terrorists behead young Palestinian boy, for suspected ties to a pro Assad militia.
As Donald Trump was claiming victory on Wednesday, Syrian opposition leaders were wrapping up a meeting in Stockholm that was supposed to map a way out of the mire in Aleppo, but instead ended their hopes of winning the five-year civil war.
The group of political leaders and heads of militant groups had invested much hope in Hillary Clinton, who had suggested as secretary of state that robustly supporting the opposition could serve the US’s interests.
Trump, on the other hand, had spoken in support of Bashar al-Assad. And, more importantly, he had expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president whose support for the Syrian leader has already tipped the conflict in his favour.
“The reaction was simple,” said one of the participants at the meeting, talking of Trump’s victory speech. “One of the leaders shrugged and said ‘we are like cockroaches, nothing can kill us’, and then they moved on.”
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Beyond the bravado, there was a clear recognition among those present that Trump would endorse Putin’s policy of bombing the opposition to the negotiating table, while starving communities that support them into surrender.
Opposition political leaders expect the US president-elect to frame his Syria policy as a fight against Islamic State in its last strongholds in the country’s north-east. The position is not completely dissimilar to that of the outgoing president, Barack Obama, although his administration had also spent several years trying to organise a cohesive opposition force – providing training and limited weaponry to 70 opposition units – and consistently demanded that Assad leave and cede power to a transitional government. Trump’s own transition team is reportedly skeptical of investing anything further in the opposition.
One influential Russian foreign affairs analyst, Vladimir Frolov, on Thursday confidently declared that Trump would be unlikely to stand in Putin’s way, and would in January accept as a fait accompli whatever Russia presented him with. theguardian.com
Image of Syrian children being groomed to kill secular citizens & impose Islamic theocracy.
A group of around 10 unaccompanied refugee children are expected to leave France for the the UK on Monday as part of the Home Office’s attempt to relocate children from the refugee camp in Calais before it is demolished.
The 10 children follow an advance party of five – four Syrians and one Afghan – who arrived over the weekend. According to French authorities they will be followed by a further group of around 10 on Tuesday, all of whom qualify for relocation under the Dublin Regulation because they have family living in the UK.
Local government officials in Calais told AFP there was “no deal for a larger-scale plan” for the UK to take more.theguardian.com
Another 24 refugee children from Calais arrived in the UK on Sunday afternoon as officials race to process as many as possible before demolition of the sprawling camp begins on Monday. theguardian.com
Mail Online reported that the family of the deceased 22-year-old Alexandra Mezher had revealed that she told them before her death that some of the ages of the so-called “child” migrants in the asylum centre were suspicious to her. She said she was dealing with “big powerful guys” aged up to 24 years old. breitbart.com
A U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group beheaded a 12-year-old boy in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, amid condemnation from the Syrian government.
Militants with the Nour Addien Zinki group, which is located and largely fight in Aleppo province, executed Abdullah Issa, a Palestinian child from the Handarat camp for Palestinian refugees in Aleppo.
A video clip showing members of the group beheading the boy went viral.
The boy, which was said to had been sick, was apparently trying to dissuade his captors from killing him, but in vain.
One of the captors pushed the boy face down, grabbed a knife, cutting his head while shouting in exhilaration.
According to the group, the boy was accused of being a fighter with a pro-Syrian government Palestinian militia in Aleppo, an allegation totally denied by the Palestinian militia, known as Liwa al-Quds, and the Syrian government as well.
The execution of Issa drew a big wave of condemnation by Syrians online and also by news outlets, particularly that the Nour Addien Zinki group is categorized by the United States as a “moderate” rebel group that is backed by the West.
Local media headlined “U.S. moderate rebels kill a boy in Aleppo,” scoffing at the U.S. claims that “moderate rebels” could actually exist in Syria.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry vehemently condemned the beheading, which is said to have happened a day earlier, saying “the terrorist group of Nour Addien Zinki, which is categorized by some countries as moderate, had carried out a cold-blooded crime by beheading a Palestinian kid, who didn’t complete his 12 years of age.”
“The Syrian government condemns this inhuman crime by Nour Addien Zinki movement which is backed and financed by the regimes of hate and extremism,” it said, urging the international community to condemn the killing as well. xinhuanet.com
The United States has asked Russia to stop conducting airstrikes against the al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says.
Fear of hitting the US-backed militants fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government prompted the American officials to make the request, Lavrov said in a televised speech on Friday.
“They are telling us not to hit it (al-Nusra), because there is ‘normal’ opposition next … to it,” Lavrov said. “But that opposition must leave terrorists’ positions, we long have agreed on that.”
The foreign minister noted that Russia and the US were closely discussing ways to secure a truce in Syria, adding that fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and al-Nusra should be a top priority.
Despite a US-Russia mediated “cessation of hostilities” in Syria that began on February 27, fighting has continued to rage in the conflict-ridden parts of the country, particularly around the city of Aleppo.
The Syrian government accepted the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh and al-Nusra, as well as other UN-designated terror groups which are not included in the agreement, continue.
Russia first set a deadline for the US-backed militants to pull out from areas occupied by al-Nusra, but then agreed to give them more time to withdraw. presstv.ir