Thursday 22nd of August 2019

sub plan to the main game, with robbery included.

robbery

After over a month of fierce clashes in the last stronghold of Islamic State in Baghuz village, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have announced “final defeat” of the terror group.

SDF, a force comprised of Kurdish and Arab units that is considered the closest ally of the US in the fight against ISIS in Syria, managed to overcome ISIS defenses with the support of the US-led International Coalition. The clashes resulted in severe casualties on both sides, while hundreds of terrorists, as well as their wives and children, surrendered to SDF.

The terrorists in SDF custody were presented a deal which involves fighting against the Syrian government forces in oil-rich desert area in eastern Syria, informed sources reported.

US military offered the terrorists an opportunity to “redeploy” to Al Tanf area located on the Syria-Iraq border where US maintains a small contingent of forces, according to the sources. Holding the families of the captured ISIS members hostage, the US demanded that the terrorists launch an offensive against the Syrian army and establish control over Al Shaer, Al Maghara, Al Jazal and Tuwaynan oil fields. Another goal of the offensive is capturing Khunayfis phosphate mine and forcing the Syrian troops to abandon the checkpoints on the strategic Damascus – Deir Ezzor highway.

First batches of ISIS terrorists have already arrived to Al Tanf and were positioned at the training camps in the area. They have already set up ambushes and executed surprise attacks against the Syrian troops, killing at least 20 soldiers during the past few days, sources added.

The terrorists are benefiting from difficult terrain and establish hide-outs and weapon stashes in caves and wadis that are abound in this desert region. They also enjoy continuous support and reinforcement from Al Tanf.

However, informed sources claimed that this clandestine operation is only a part of a bigger long-term plan of the US command to preserve American influence in this resource-rich area. According to the plan, after ISIS succeeds in capturing territory from the government forces, the SDF will intervene to “liberate” and seize control of the desert areas acting under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

These claims are supported by the rumours that the SDF command rejected appeals to relieve the fighters of their duties hinting at a possibility of another “large-scale” operation in the near future.

This scenario is painfully reminiscent of the path the Pentagon took in northern Syria, where SDF overcame ISIS after the terror group had captured the area from the government forces. Should this plan succeed, the US will get to keep its military presence in Al Tanf.

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/03/26/us-has-a-plan-for-eastern-syria-and-...

trying to hide crimes...

The US troops occupying a 55-km zone in southern Syria have blocked Russian and Syrian diplomatic and military officials from entering. The delegation said they wanted to assess the state of the ill-famed Rukban refugee camp.

The delegation was denied access to the Al Tanf zone, where it planned to monitor and conduct detailed assessments of refugees living at the remote and overpopulated Rukban camp.

They had also invited US officials for a meeting to “develop step-by-step activities” aimed at dismantling the camp, however, both offers were rebuffed by the US command.

“The American side, which is directly responsible for what is happening in the Al Tanf zone illegally occupied by them, ignored the initiative aimed at saving the residents of Rukban and refused to participate in the coordination meeting,” said the joint statement by Russia-Syria coordination center on refugee repatriation.

Noting that the US command’s position was “puzzling,” the center added that the refusal of access to the zone was under the “false pretenses” of humanitarianism. Instead, it accused the Americans of “trying to hide crimes”against Syrians living in the US-occupied zone.

“Despite assurances from our American partners about joint cooperation, their goal is clearly not to save people dying from unsanitary, hunger, cold and diseases of the Syrian citizens,” the statement added.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/news/454820-us-block-access-rukban-camp/

 

eight years of bullshit...

 

 

POLITICS & POLICY
Eight Years of Corrosive Lies about Syria


By MICHAEL BRENDAN DOUGHERTY


A Syrian Democratic Forces fighter rides a vehicle in Baghouz, Syria, February 18, 2019 (Rodi Said/Reuters)
When will America’s leaders tell the truth about our role in the conflict?

We are told constantly that Donald Trump’s lies corrode the life of our Republic. Jacob Levy of the Niskanen Center invoked Hannah Arendt on the subject, and said that Trump uses lies the way authoritarians do, to demonstrate and expand their power, by “making his surrogates repeat the lies [he] compromised them; that tied them to him. And it degraded them, and made clear where power lay.” James Pfiffner of the Brookings Institute solemnly argued that Trump’s lies are different than past presidential fibs because Trump doesn’t try to equivocate, and that they thus “challenge the fundamental principles of the Enlightenment.


I’m willing to give these arguments in the defense of truth-telling a great deal of time. The triviality of some presidential lies, they often tell us, is an aggravating factor. By lying trivially, and casually, the president demeans truth itself, which is suborned by power. All true, as far as it goes.

But, then I come across another story about Syria in the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that the United States may leave 1,000 troops in that country after all. The president, if you’ll remember, announced a complete withdrawal of troops from Syria months ago. Then, weeks later the White House announced that a small force of 200 would stay behind. Now, the Journal was reporting that it would actually be 1,000. A few hours later the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff said the original plan remained unchanged.


I realized that I no longer knew what to believe.

Consider three assertions routinely made about Syria by pundits, politicians, and policymakers: 1) Syria shows the perils of U.S. non-intervention; 2) We’re only in Syria to fight ISIS; and 3) U.S. withdrawal from Syria would mean handing a victory to Vladimir Putin.

All of the above statements have become conventional wisdom. The same people sometimes repeat more than one of them. And yet they are entirely irreconcilable with one another.

If withdrawing from Syria means handing a victory to Vladimir Putin, then we are doing something other than fighting ISIS there, something that certainly can’t be described as “non-intervention.”


One fact I do know: The CIA began the U.S. mission in the Syrian Civil War years before ISIS came into being, and a full year before President Obama began talking up his red lines and proposing a congressional vote to authorize intervention in Syria.

Another fact, I do know: We were told that we were arming “moderate rebels,” but these moderate rebels fought side by side with Al Nusra. And Al Nusra fighters were often known to be using weapons brought in by the CIA or the Department of Defense to fight this war in which we weren’t intervening. We also funded a group called Nour al-Din al-Zenki, until its members showed up on YouTube beheading a child, at which point the “moderate” label no longer quite fit.


Congress, looking at the polls, refused to authorize U.S. military intervention in Syria, which was already ongoing. So did the intervention stop? No, it continued under the 2001 AUMF that authorized the president to make war on al-Qaeda. We were now using the legal authority to hunt and destroy al-Qaeda to fund and arm al-Qaeda’s allies on the ground in Syria.

 

Read more:

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/syria-conflict-american-involvement-civil-war-isis/?

carthago delenda...


Syrian society and secularism


by Thierry Meyssan


Before the war, Syrian society was organised in a secular manner, in order to allow cohabitation between the many religious groups which compose it. All Syrians have suffered from the atrocities committed by the jihadists (for which the Europeans today blame the Syrian Arab Republic). Many of the victims turned to God. Religious practice has risen from approximately 20 % to 80 %. The Christian community faithful to Rome has mostly emigrated, while the Orthodox Christians have stayed. Sunni Muslims are now even more strongly in the majority. Paradoxically, some of their Imams, forgetting the rhetoric of Daesh and ignoring the resistance of the country, today define secularists as their enemies.


Sunni General Hassan Turkmani had imagined defending Syria by counting on its inhabitants [1]. According to him, it was possible to take care of one another and to involve each community, with its own particular cultural relations, in the defence of the country.


This was just a theory, but we have been able to verify that it was correct. Syria has survived assaults by the most massive coalition in human History, just as during the Roman era, it survived the Punic Wars.


« Carthago delenda » (Carthage must be destroyed) [2]), said Cato. « Bachar must go! » echoed Hillary Clinton.


Those who still hope to destroy Syria have now understood that they will first have to crush its religious mosaic. So they vilify the minorities and encourage certain elements of the majority community to impose their cult on others.


It so happens that Syria has a long history of collaboration between religions. In the 3rd century, Queen Septimia Zenobia, who revolted against the Western tyranny of the Roman Empire and took over the leadership of the Arabs of Arabia, Egypt and all of the Levant, made Palmyra its capital [3]. She took care to develop the arts, but also to protect all the religious communities.


In France, during the 16th century, we experienced the terrible wars of religion between two branches of Christianity - Catholicism and Protestantism. This situation ended when philosopher Montaigne managed to imagine interpersonal relations, which allowed everyone to live in peace.


The Syrian project, as described by Hassan Turkmani, goes even further. It is not a question of simply tolerating that others, who believe in the same God, choose to celebrate Him in a different way. It’s about praying with them. So, every day, the head of John the Baptist was venerated in the Umayyad mosque by Jews, Christians and Muslims [4]. It is the only mosque where Muslims have prayed together with a Pope - Jean-Paul II - around their common relics.


In Europe, after the suffering of the two World Wars, priests of the different religions preached that we should fear God here on Earth, and that we would be rewarded in the Beyond [5]. Religious practices have evolved, but the hearts of Mankind have weakened. In fact, God did not send his prophets to threaten us. Thirty years later, the young generation, who wanted to free themselves from these restrictions, suddenly rejected the very idea of religion. Secularism, [6], which was a method of government designed to allow us to live together in the respect of our differences, became a weapon against these differences.


Let’s not commit the same mistake.


The role of religion is not to impose the dictatorship of a way of life, which is what Daesh tried, nor to terrorise our consciences, as the Europeans had tried in the past.


The role of the state is not to arbitrate theological disputes, and even less to choose between religions. As in the West, political parties have aged badly in the Arab world, but as soon as they were created, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) [7] and the Ba’ath Party [8] intended to found a secular state, in other words, one which guarantees, to everyone equally, the freedom celebrate his own cult without fear. That is Syria.


Thierry Meyssan

Translation 

Pete Kimberley

Source 

Al-Watan (Syria)

 

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article206501.html

 

 

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more bullshit from the new york times...

by Finian Cunningham

 

 

The campaign is on for Syrian national forces to retake the last-remaining redoubt of militants in northwest Idlib. That might explain why the New York Times was prompted to publish a 5,000-word article based on flimsy anti-Syrian propaganda.

It is the Damascus government's sovereign right to recover all of its national territory, yet Western media are again trying to spin another "Aleppo-style" onslaught to discredit the Syrian army from its ultimate task.

This week Russia blocked a discussion at the UN Security Council on the grounds that Western powers were traducing the Idlib military operations as a criminal violation against innocent-sounding "rebels". Most of the militants holding out in Idlib province are foreign-backed mercenaries affiliated with internationally proscribed jihadist terror groups, such as Nusra Front or ISIS (Daesh in Arabic).

At this critical juncture along comes a suspicious New York Times' article published on May 11, headlined: ‘Inside Syria's Secret Torture Prisons: How Assad Crushed Dissent'.

 

To be sure, the article is a re-run of a tired old story dating from 2014 when several Western media outlets had back then published sensational claims alleging a barbaric prison, torture and execution system overseen by President Bashar al-Assad.

Strangely, the NY Times seems to be only Western media outlet still pushing the story with its recent update, while other outlets have left it behind. The anomaly could be because the original "torture story" has since been convincingly debunked by several independent researchers. The main source for Western media claims was a mysterious, alleged Syrian military police defector nicknamed "Caesar". He was supposed to be a photographer working for Syrian military police who smuggled out tens of thousands images purporting to show how detainees were tortured, starved and beaten to death, among other horrors.

READ MORE: 'Unpublished OPCW Report' Implies 'Chemical Attack' in Syria's Douma Was Staged

The trouble is that "Caesar's" identify has never been verified, even though he has appeared incognito in front of the US Congress to testify against the Syrian government. It has also been demonstrated that many of the photos he allegedly smuggled out of Syria are either fake, or actually illustrate the opposite of what he and Western media were claiming: namely, that at least half of the victims were members of the Syrian state security forces or victims of war.

Researchers like Rick Sterling, Tim Hayward, Adam Larson and Tim Anderson, have concluded that the so-called "Caesar photos" are unreliable, if not, more sinisterly, a compilation of Western/Qatari intelligence agitprop.

The NY Times, however, persists in referencing the Caesar images as bona fide to form the basis for its latest article. It also cites supposed testimony from former detainees who had allegedly been held in Syrian government-run jails, primarily Saydnaya prison near Damascus. The Times also published what it claims are internal government memos acknowledging repressive practices. How do we know the memos are not forgeries?

 

Again, the trouble is that the so-called evidence is unverifiable and based on uncorroborated claims made by political opponents of the Assad government.

Paul Larudee, who chairs the Syria Solidarity Movement based in California, says that the NY Times' article is aimed at smearing the Syrian government and justifying further aggression against the Arab country.

He said: "The Caesar photos and Saydnaya prison information is old news that has previously been shown to be at minimum not credible and at worst totally false. Much of the cited evidence is based on flimsy, politically biased and uncorroborated testimony."

READ MORE: US Boosting Presence in Middle East Triggered by Intel Discoveries — Reports

Larudee goes further to contend that the aim is to justify more US military intervention in Syria or at least reversing President Trump's declared policy to withdraw the 2,000 American troops from Syria.

"The New York Times' piece is clearly timed to build public support for further US military intervention in Syria, as the Syrian Arab Army begins its slow recovery of the remaining territory that is legally Syria's but is still under the control of foreign and foreign-paid mercenary forces."

That strategic US military agenda may be plausible. In any case, there appears to be other political motives behind the Times' attempt at smearing.

 

The paper editorializes: "As Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, closes in on victory over an eight-year revolt [sic], a secret industrial-scale system of arbitrary arrest and torture prisons have proven pivotal to his success. While the Syrian military, backed by Russia and Iran, fought armed rebels for territory, the government waged a ruthless war on civilians, throwing hundreds of thousands into filthy dungeons where thousands were tortured and killed."

Note how the Times is attributing the Syrian state's victory to the use of torture and repression, rather than to the courage and tenacity of the Syrian Arab Army to roll back a foreign-backed mercenary army. That amounts to a cheap shot at smearing the victors, including allies Russia and Iran.

READ MORE: US, Israeli-Made Arms Left by Terrorists Found in Syrian Countryside – Reports

Another swipe from the Times: "Now, even as the war winds down, the world's attention fades and countries start to normalize relations with Syria, the pace of new arrests, torture and execution is increasing."

Based on uncorroborated claims of "increasing torture and execution", the US "paper of record" appears to be trying to ensure Syria remains a pariah state beyond the pale of redemption for normalized relations with the rest of the world. Such an outcast status would augment US and other NATO governments' agenda of refusing to allow international reconstruction aid for war-torn Syria.

Still another scurrilous swipe from the Times: "Kidnappings and killings by the Islamic State [ISIS or Daesh] captured more attention in the West, but the Syrian prison system has vacuumed up many more times the number of people detained by ISIS in Syria."

 

So, here we have the NY Times attempting to criminalize the Syrian state forces as somehow worse than the jihadist head-choppers who had been infiltrated into Syria by the American CIA and other NATO military intelligence to run amok in that country for Western-backed regime change.

That criminal war for regime change was defeated by the heroic resilience of the Syrian people, their political leadership and national army, along with the principled military support of Russia, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah. Western media like the NY Times long sought to obscure or justify the US-backed criminal war with outright lies, such as describing the conflict as a "pro-democracy revolt".

Even in ignominious defeat, the NY Times just can't help trying one more time to smear Syria from its grave of journalism.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do no necessarily reflect those of Sputnik

Read more:

 

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201905141075009751-smearing-syria-vic...

 

 

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the hospital they did not bomb...

by David McIlwain

 

When I first set eyes on Douma Hospital a year ago today, it came as something of a surprise. As the scene of the notorious alleged chemical weapons attack only a month earlier, I was already quite familiar with its emergency ward, shown in “activist videos” around the world.

Viewers of Russian and alternative media also got to see more of the same ward when their reporters visited it soon afterward in search of some verification of the claims before they led to the US-led missile strikes on Damascus of April 14th.

The emergency ward looked like so many others that we’ve seen pictured over the last seven years in those videos “that can’t be independently verified” and – for all we would know – mightn’t even be in Syria, and mightn’t even be in hospitals.

Well, maybe Douma hospital is different because you just can’t miss it – as is clear from my photo! Somehow this public hospital, serving the local community with free healthcare for many years, remained in operation throughout the occupation of Douma by the violent extremists of Jaish al Islam – who were described to James Harkin of the Intercept by local residents as “ruling with an iron fist”. More to the point, the hospital building evidently didn’t come under attack from the Syrian air-force, despite its terrorist occupiers.

Harkin visited Douma looking for evidence to support – or counter – the chemical weapons claims some months after the event, and released a comprehensive analysis of his observations with other analysts in February this year.

His report, and the slickly produced video accompanying it, appeared to pre-empt the final release of the OPCW’s report from their Fact Finding Mission to Douma, conducted in late April 2018. Most significantly the authors of the Intercept’s report concluded that the video scenes taken in Douma hospital’s emergency ward were “likely staged”, but they nevertheless echoed the public conclusions of the OPCW that two chlorine cylinders had been dropped on nearby apartments and killed 35 people.

Both the Intercept’s conclusions and those of the OPCW leadership have now been shown to be not just mistaken but criminal fabrications, following information from the OPCW itself, and analysis from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. The details of the engineering assessments of experts from the OPCW who visited the site showed quite unambiguously that it was not just the hospital scenes that were “staged”, but that the Chlorine gas cylinders could not have fallen from the sky, dropped by the Syrian air force. As they described it:

 

…the dimensions, characteristics and appearance of the cylinders and the surrounding scene of the incidents, were inconsistent with what would have been expected in the case of either cylinder having been delivered from an aircraft. In each case the alternative hypothesis produced the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene.”

 

 

The “alternative hypothesis” being that the cylinders were moved into their respective positions manually – “staged” in other words. The Working Group has drawn the many conclusions that follow from this piece of simple scientific analysis, and very serious consequences must follow for those organizations and governments who collaborated on this massive deception and the war crimes that accompanied it.

That is not the immediate focus of my article, however, which remains on the “unmissable” Douma Central Hospital that wasn’t bombed, and the elaborate campaign of disinformation and lies that has surrounded it. As Western governments and their puppet media once again fire up their “juggernaut of lies” about the Syrian and Russian governments moves to clear the remaining areas of Western Syria from Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups, the talk of “bombing hospitals” is once again to the fore.

This interview by the ABC’s Fran Kelly with a Dr. Samir Al Taqi from the Orient Research Centre in Dubai gives the essence of the new campaign, both in her questions and his answers. It includes the claim that “twelve hospitals have been destroyed in recent days”.

Not coincidentally, a renewed barrage of disinformation alleging ongoing serious human rights abuses by the Syrian government has been launched by Western media, led by the New York Times former Beirut correspondent Anne Barnard.

As key actors in the development of these false narratives about Syria that saturate our media, James Harkin and his associates, Eliot Higgins from Bellingcat and Eyal Weizman from Forensic Architecture now have a lot to answer for, as their seemingly impartial and honest assessment of the Douma incident is shown to be an elaborate deception, contrived both to suit the interests of the Intercept’s sponsors and to maintain the pretence that this is “investigative journalism” of the best and most trustworthy kind.

But like the deception by the OPCW leadership, who simply omitted that most important part of their investigations in Douma, Harkin has left the six-storey hulk of Douma hospital out of his article, replacing it with a “makeshift underground hospital”:

 

Douma was a blackened shadow of its former self, many of its buildings still listing or reduced to charred metal and concrete, but a whole new city had been quietly carved out beneath it. Our first stop, a few yards from al-Shuhada Square, was at the mouth of a 3-meter-wide underground tunnel, reinforced with corrugated steel and concrete. It had been constructed by the Islamist rebels several years back, according to a soldier who walked us through it. He told us that hostages held by Jaish al-Islam had done the building. In total, it stretched for more than 5 kilometers and was broad enough to drive a truck through.

The tunnel had been set up to access a makeshift hospital emergency ward, whose spartan facilities were arranged over a single floor underground. Five meters below ground and reinforced by 13 meters of sandbagging above that, the hospital was still functioning when I arrived.

 

Robert Mackey, talking in the Intercept video also gives the impression that Douma had been mostly reduced to rubble, yet rows of apartment blocks over the street from the hospital are still occupied and little damaged. But the photos Harkin uses to illustrate his report show only the tunnel entrance and a view of Shahada square showing neither the hospital building nor the apartment blocks.

All these elements are visible in my photo, with the Shahada sq monument on the left and the hospital entrance on the right. This doubles as one of the main entrances to the extensive tunnel system, machine excavated and reinforced with prefabricated steel sections.

Giving Harkin and his colleagues the benefit of the doubt is now out of the question, so we can only conclude that his failure to describe or illustrate the Douma hospital building was an integral part of the Intercept’s disinformation package. It was even a fundamental part, and to reveal its un-bombed presence would have blown a hole in the whole pretense of “honest journalism in the fog of war” that the Intercept assumes.

 

 

Read more:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/05/17/the-hospital-they-didnt-bomb/

 

 

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