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ISIS update 9/20\2015..Ayatollah, Soleimani hard at work with Putin and Assad designing Syria’s future

Sunday, September 20, 2015 13:19
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(Before It's News)

John Kerry: Russia needs to bring Syrian President Assad to the negotiating table

US Syria Strategy Officially Unravels: Kerry Admits Timetable For Assad Exit Is Completely Unknown

On Saturday we brought you the latest from Syria where the Assad regime’s rejuvenated forces carried out aggressive air raids on ISIS positions for a second consecutive day on Friday, striking targets in Idlib and Palmyra, the UNESCO heritage site that fell to Islamic State in May.

The latest round of bombing came just 24 hours after regime planes hit the de facto ISIS capital at Raqqa, and served notice not only to the multifarious anti-government fighters operating in Syria, but also to the US, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, that Russia’s stepped up logistical and technical support is already paying dividends.

The arrival of four Sukhoi “Flanker” jets and presence of eight Russian military helicopters further underscored the extent to which Moscow is now preparing to play a pivotal combat role and by Friday, Washington was left with little choice but to put Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on the phone with his Russian counterpart. Here’s how we described the situation currently facing the US:

Moscow, realizing that instead of undertaking an earnest effort to fight terror in Syria, the US had simply adopted a containment strategy for ISIS while holding the group up to the public as the boogeyman par excellence, publicly invited Washington to join Russia in a once-and-for-all push to wipe Islamic State from the face of the earth. Of course The Kremlin knew the US wanted no such thing until Assad was gone, but by extending the invitation, Putin had literally called Washington’s bluff, forcing The White House to either admit that this isn’t about ISIS at all, or else join Russia in fighting them. The genius of that move is that if Washington does indeed coordinate its efforts to fight ISIS with Moscow, the US will be fighting to stabilize the very regime it sought to oust.

The game, as they say, is officially up for Washington. Toppling Assad will now mean ISIS, al-Nusra, YPG, and the various and sundry other groups operating throughout the country will need to first defeat Russia, an exceptionally unlikely outcome and one that the Pentagon certainly cannot afford to wait out.

All that’s left now is for Washington to try and save face by negotiating for some manner of deal that removes Assad from power, but even that now looks less than likely. Speaking from London on Saturday, John Kerry attempted to hang on to the “Assad must go” narrative, but in what might fairly be described as the most conciliatory language yet, Washington’s top diplomat essentially admitted that the timetable for Assad’s exit is now completely indeterminate.

……………………………Note that this a far, far cry from the hardline rhetoric the US was still clinging to just months ago and it marks a tacit recognition of what should have been obvious from the very beginning. That is, the US backed effort to assist Qatar and the Saudis in destabilizing the Assad regime was doomed from the start.

In retrospect, the idea was ludicrous to the point that one wonders how it’s possible that US intelligence officials ever seriously considered it. The notion that Washington and its regional allies could effectively engineer a popular rebellion in Syria by providing support to a multitude of ragtag Sunni extremist groups without plunging the country headlong into chaos is laughable.

The Assad regime is a pillar (if not the pillar) of Iran’s efforts to expand its regional influence and Syria serves as a critical link between Tehran and Hezbollah. Quds Force and its spymaster general Qassem Soleimani have supported the Assad regime both financially and militarily for years and that support hasn’t and probably will never will wane. “I don’t think the Iranians are calculating this in terms of dollars. They regard the loss of Assad as an existential threat,” a Mid-East security official told The New Yorker in 2013. “Suleimani told us the Iranians would do whatever was necessary, he said ‘We’re not like the Americans. We don’t abandon our friends’”, an Iraqi politician added. And here is Assad last week: “The relationship between Syria and Iran is an old one. It is over three-and-a-half decades old. There is an alliance based on a great degree of trust. That’s why we believe that the Iranian role is important.”

………………..In other words, while President Rouhani keeps Obama and Kerry busy with the Mickey Mouse Iran Nuclear Deal, the Ayatollah and Soleimani will be hard at work with Putin and Assad designing Syria’s future.

And finally, lest we should forget that this entire debacle has created a refugee crisis of historic proportions, we leave you with the following quote from John Kerry, who once again refuses to acknowledge that while Bashar al-Assad may not be the most benevolent leader history as ever known, and while regime forces have certainly contributed to human suffering on a massive scale (see Yarmouk), the bottom line is that Syrians are not running from Assad, they are running from the civil war that the US and its allies helped to engineer:

John Kerry: “I just know that the people of Syria have already spoken with their feet. They’re leaving Syria.”

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Russian Satellite Imagery Helps Syrian Fighter Jets Target Militant Positions in Lattakia Province

Military sources said that the country’s Air Force, using satellite images, carried out a series of airstrikes above the Prophet Younis Mountains in the Lattakia Governorate’s Northeastern territories, killing at least 47 militants from Liwaa Suqour Al-Ghaab and Ahrar Al-Sham.

The sources said that the Syrian air force was provided satellite imagery from their Russian advisors, which in turn, displayed the movements of the militants between the Al-Ghaab Plains of the Hama Governorate and the Prophet Younis Mountains of the Lattakia Governorate near al-Souda village.

Sources on Saturday said that the army backed by the popular defense groups killed at least 80 terrorists in military operations against the Takfiri terrorists in the countryside of Lattakia.

Syrian MP: Damascus Welcomes Iran, Russia Military Aid to Fight against ISIL

A senior Syrian legislator underlined that his country welcomes Iran and Russia’s military assistance in campaign against terrorism, and said the Egyptian government has also voiced readiness to help Syria in the fight against the terrorist groups.

“Syria welcomes Iran and Russia’s military partnership in fight against the ISIL in Syria and assumes the efforts made by these countries as legal, distant from the double-standards and in line with safeguarding our national security,” Jamal Rabe’eh told FNA on Sunday.

Also asked about Egypt’s U-turn in policies towards Syria and its eagerness to participate in anti-terrorism efforts, he said, “Cairo wants to be coordinated with Syria in the fight against the ISIL which has also sneaked into Egypt and has turned into a real threat to that country’s security.”

“Egypt also seeks to use the secret intelligence that Syria has gained from the terrorist groups during several years of campaign against these groups, including the ISIL,” Rabe’eh said.

The Syrian foreign minister said Thursday that Damascus might ask Moscow to send troops to fight alongside the government forces against terrorist groups in the war-torn country if necessary.

Moreover, Syria’s envoy to the United Nations said earlier that Russia had every right to carry out airstrikes against the ISIL on the country’s soil.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Russia’s military participation in operations in the fight against the ISIL terrorist group in Syria could be discussed in a bilateral format should such a request surface.

“If there’s a request, then it would naturally be discussed and reviewed in the framework of bilateral contacts and bilateral dialogue. This is so far difficult to discuss hypothetically,” Peskov said.

Also, Iran and Syria have inked several defense cooperation agreements based on which Tehran gives consultations to Damascus in fighting against the terrorist groups.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with the government of President Bashar Assad fighting against many armed opposition factions, militant and terrorist groups such as ISIL and the al-Nusra Front.

Syria in Past 24 Hours: Army Kills Over 100 Terrorists

Units of the Syrian army in cooperation with the popular defense groups killed at least 100 terrorists in different parts of the country, specially in the coastal province of Lattakia.

A military source said on Saturday that at least 33 terrorists were killed, most of them from Jabhat al-Nusra, in operations carried out by a unit of the army against their hideouts and positions in the camp of al-Atira village in Rabi’aa area, 60 km to the North of Lattakia.

The source added that 7 of the terrorists’ vehicles were destroyed with all arms and ammunition inside them and all terrorists onboard were killed.

A unit of the army also carried out bombardments against positions of the terrorist organizations in al-Souda village in the Northeastern countryside of the province, killing 47 terrorists and injuring others, in addition to destroying their arms and ammunition.

An army unit carried out a special operations against a terrorist group between al-Nawba Mountain and al-Shiekh Said in Salma area, about 48 km to the East of Lattakia city, killing all of its members and destroying a munitions cache.

Later on Saturday, the army launched a series of airstrikes against dens of terrorist organizations in the villages of Rweiset al-Kharb, West of Marj Shili, Akko, Kabani, Kibdin and in Kensabba in Lattakia’s Northeastern countryside.

Several members of Jabhat al-Nusra were killed and a number of vehicles were destroyed.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian armed forces continued combating terrorists in other parts of the country, killing scores of them and injuring others.

Units of the Syrian army, in cooperation with the Lebanese resistance, regained control over more blocks in al-Zabadani in Damascus Countryside.

A military source said that an army unit carried out a swift operation that led to advancing in the direction of al-Aara neighborhood in the Center of al-Zabadani region, eliminating many terrorists in the process, and sending others fleeing from several locations in the area.

The source said that the army established control over a number of blocks in the perimeter of the neighborhood’s square, providing a strategic advantage that will help establish control over the entire neighborhood.

In the Eastern Ghouta part of Damascus Countryside, army units carried out operations against concentrations and movements of members of Jaish al-Islam terrorist organizations in al-Samadi, Southeast of Rahma gas station, and East of Harasta suburbs at the Western outskirts of Douma area.

Sources on the ground said that these operations left many terrorists dead or injured and resulted in destroying their weapons, munitions, and vehicles.

Field sources also refuted allegations of malicious media outlets claiming that Jaish al-Islam had established control over part of the strategic Abu Zeid hill, asserting that these reports are completely baseless and are a desperate bid to raise the terrorists’ morale following the heavy losses they suffered in the past few days, which included leading the death of Mahmoud al-Ajwa Abu Obaidah whom they referred to as the deputy commander of Jaish al-Islam.

Also in Aleppo, an army unit killed and injured a number of terrorists and destroyed their vehicles, some of which equipped with machineguns, and mortar launchers in al-Mansourah village and Khan al-Assal area in the Western and Southwestern countryside of Aleppo province, according to the source.

Another army unit targeted positions of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Kafr Hamra village in Aleppo’s Northwestern countryside, killing a number of them and destroying their weapons, ammunition, equipment and machinegun-equipped vehicles.

More terrorists were killed and others were injured during army operations that targeted their hideouts in Hareitan town, located on the road leading to Turkey.

Gatherings of terrorists were targeted in al-Ameriyeh village in the Southeastern countryside of the province, while others’ hideouts and positions were hit in al-Sheikh Lutfi village on the Southwestern outskirts of Aleppo city.

In the Eastern countryside of Aleppo, an army unit killed a number of ISIL terrorists and injured others as it targeted their gatherings in the surroundings of the Air Force Academy.

In Aleppo city, the army targeted terrorists’ positions in the neighborhoods of al-Rashidin, Bani zaid, al-Ramouseh, Old Aleppo, al-Lairamoun, Jamiyet al-Zahra, al-Shaar, al-Fardous, al-Kallaseh and al-Sheikh Saeed.

A tunnel dug and used by terrorists in Salah Eddin neighborhood was destroyed.

Also in the past 24 hours, popular defense groups in cooperation with locals in al-Foua’a and Kafriya towns in Idlib countryside thwarted a terrorist attack by Jabhat al-Nusra organization, the so-called Turkistan Islamic Party and Jund al-Aqsa, inflicting heavy losses in personnel and munitions upon them.

Field sources inside al-Foua’a said by phone that the popular defense groups with a coverage by the Syrian Army’s Air Force left hundreds of deaths and injuries in the ranks of Takfiri terrorist organizations during the past 24 hours on the axes of towns and villages of Bennesh, Ma’aret Masreen, Taftanaz, Ram Hamdan, Deir al-Zaghab, al-Sawaghiyeh in the surroundings of Kafriya and al-Foua’a towns.

The sources said that the popular defense groups in Kafriya and al-Foua’a fought the fiercest clashes since the start of the siege on the two towns with terrorist organizations, destroying 12 various vehicles on Taum axis in addition to four armored vehicles and five car bombs.

Terrorist organizations pulled the bodies of many dead and dozens injured terrorists to Ma’aret Masreen town near al-Foua’a before some vehicles came and took them to the Turkish territories, according to the sources.

Meanwhile, terrorist organizations acknowledged on their social media pages that more than 28 of their members were killed, including a leader in Jabhat al-Nusra and leader of the so-called Ansar al-Sham brigades.

Also in Hama, the Syrian Arab Army’s Air Force carried out intensive airstrikes on hideouts of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the villages of al-Bahsa and al-Enkawi in the Northwestern countryside of Hama province, a military source said.

The source also stated that the Air Force eliminated a number of terrorists from ISIL in an airstrike on one of their gatherings in al-Baroudi farm south of Qasr Ibn Wardan village and destroyed a number of their vehicles along with the weapons and munitions they were carrying.

In the Southern Daraa province, an army unit destroyed 3 of Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations’ vehicles and killed a number of their members in al-Nazihin camp and al-Kark neighborhood in Daraa al-Balad.

The army operations against one of the terrorist organizations’ supply routes in al-Manshiyeh neighborhood ended up with the killing and injuring of a number of terrorists and the destruction of their weapons and ammunition.

Meanwhile, terrorist organizations admitted on their social media websites that they have received big losses in personnel and equipment, and the killing of a number of their members, among them Mohanad Naser al-Elian al-Hariri.

Also on Saturday, an army unit targeted the ISIL terrorists in al-Saqiyeh village in the Northeastern countryside of the Southern province of Sweida.

The army operations ended up with the killing and injuring of a number of the ISIL terrorists and the destruction of their vehicle with all weapons and ammunition inside it.

Also in Homs, a unit of the army carried out a series of consecutive operations against hotspots of ISIL terrorists in various areas in the city of Tadmur (Palmyra), a military source said.

The source said that the operations resulted in the death and injury of many terrorists and destroying their hideouts and large amounts of their weapons and munitions.

The army’s Air Force also carried out a series of concentrated airstrikes on gatherings of ISIL terrorists in al-Hail oil field 40km East of Tadmur, inflicting heavy losses in personnel and equipment on the terrorists.

Later, the source said that army units destroyed terrorists’ hideouts in the village of Kafr Nan and al-Kenn Mountain in al-Rastan area in the Northern countryside of the province, killing and injuring a number of terrorists and destroying their weapons and munitions in the process.

Another army unit prevented an infiltration attempt by ISIL terrorists from the direction of al-Sultaniye village towards Abu al-Alaya village in the Northern countryside.

Also in the past 24 hours, a military source said that the Syrian Arab Army’s Air Force carried out a series of concentrated strikes on hideouts and gatherings of ISIL terrorists in the surroundings of Deir Ezzor Military Airport, inflicting losses upon them in personnel, equipment, and vehicles.

Russia Should Ignore Washington’s Blind Arrogance on Syria: Information Clearing House – ICH

By Finian Cunningham

September 19, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “Sputnik” – The trouble with arrogance is that it is intellectually blinding; and the trouble with being intellectually blind is that you fail to see your own contradictions – no matter how preposterous those contradictions may be.

The arrogant ones we are referring to here are the United States and its Western allies. In the past week, Washington has been up in arms about Russia’s decision to step up its military support for the government of Syria. The Americans are calling on Moscow for “clarification” and are getting all hot under the collar about what they say is unwarranted Russian support for the “regime” of Bashar al-Assad.

This finger-wagging from Washington comes at the same time that a US-led military coalition continues to bomb Syria for nearly 12 months.

This week, US warplanes striking Syria were joined by fighter jets from Australia for the first time in those operations, which are allegedly aimed at hitting the Islamic State terror group within the country. France and Britain are also expected to soon join the bombing runs inside Syrian territory.

Now hold on a moment. Let’s get this straight. The US and its allies have appointed themselves to carry out air strikes on a sovereign country – Syria – without having approval from the government of that country, or without a mandate from the UN Security Council.

Thus, the legality of these US-led air strikes – which have resulted in numerous civilian casualties – is therefore of highly dubious status, if not constituting flagrant violation of international law.

Yet the arrogant Western powers, led by the US, have the temerity to lecture Russia about its decision to supply weapons to the government of Syria.

As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out, the military equipment being sent to Syria is consistent with long-standing and legal bilateral agreements between the two allied countries. Russia and Syria have been allies for nearly 40 years.

There is nothing untoward going on – unlike the Western aerial bombing campaign.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin went further in defending the military aid to Syria by saying that it was necessary to help its ally “fight against terrorist aggression”.

For the past four years, the Syrian national army has been battling against an array of foreign mercenaries whose main formations comprise al Qaeda-linked terror groups, such as Al Nusra Front and Islamic State. Putin is correct when he says that the Syrian government forces are the primary fighting front against the jihadist terror networks.

If Western countries are serious about defeating these same terror groups – as they claim to be – then they should be supportive of the Syrian government, as Russia is. America’s top diplomat John Kerry says that Russia’s support for Syria will “exacerbate and extend the conflict” and will “undermine our shared goal of fighting extremism”. His Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov rightly dismissed Kerry’s objection as “upside-down logic”.

Arrogance not only blinds to contradictions; it evidently leads sufferers of the condition to speak nonsense.

Here’s how the New York Times this week reported the Russia-Syria development: “The move by Russia to bolster the government of President Bashar al-Assad, who has resisted Mr. Obama’s demand to step down for years, underscored the conflicting approaches to fighting the Islamic State terrorist organisation. While Mr. Obama supports a rival rebel group to take on the Islamic State even as he opposes Mr. Assad, Russia contends that the government is the only force that can defeat the Islamic extremists.”

Note the arrogance laden in those words. With breezy casualness, the Western view is that the Syrian leader has “resisted Mr. Obama’s demand to step down for years”.

Again, just like the presumed “right” to bomb a sovereign country, it is an American presumed right to decide whether a leader of another state should stand down.

Who are the Americans or any other government to decide something that is the prerogative of the Syrian people? At this point, it should be mentioned by the way that the Syrian people voted to re-elect President Assad by a huge majority – nearly 80 per cent – in the country’s last election in 2012.

But here is the fatal contradiction in the logic of the US and its Western allies. According to the New York Times, Obama “supports a rival rebel group to take on the Islamic State even as he opposes Mr. Assad”.

That proposition is simply not true. In fact, it is delusional. Even the Americans have elsewhere admitted that there is no “rival rebel group” in Syria. After years of pretending that the West was supporting “moderate rebels” in Syria, the reality is that the war against the Syrian state has been waged by jihadist extremists covertly armed and bankrolled by the US and its allies, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Former director of the US Defence Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, in an interview with the Al Jazeera news channel back in July, candidly admitted that Washington was well aware that it was supporting the Islamic State and other terror groups as the main anti-government forces. It was a “wilful decision” said Flynn because Washington wanted regime change in Syria.

Regime change, it needs to be emphasised, amounts to criminal interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. And regime change is something that Washington and its European allies are all too habitually complicit in, as with Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Ukraine in 2014, to mention just a few.

From that “wilful decision” by Washington, Syria has been plunged into four years of unrelenting war with a death toll of some 240,000 people. Over half its 24 million population has been displaced, with hundreds of thousands surging towards Europe in desperation. Terrorism has now become an even greater regional security problem threatening to tear other countries asunder through sectarian violence.

So, when Washington and its Western allies pontificate to Russia about terrorism and what to do or not to do in Syria, they are best ignored with the contempt they deserve. Arrogant, blind and criminal are not qualifications for international leadership.

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