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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Aleppo’

UN Halting Humanitarian Aid Following Air Attack on Aleppo Convoy [video]

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The UN has announced on Tuesday that it is suspending all aid convoys across Syria, following an air attack on relief trucks near Aleppo that killed a Syrian Arab Red Crescent staff member and about 20 civilians, and destroyed a warehouse and hospital.

UN humanitarian aid spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva that “as an immediate security measure, other convoy movements in Syria have been suspended for the time being pending further assessment of the security situation.” But he added that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) remains “committed to stay and deliver to everybody in need in Syria.”

Local war monitors are blaming either the Syrians or the Russians for the strike against the aid convoy near Aleppo on Monday, which came after the Syrians had declared an end to the week-long ceasefire.

The attack may have been done in retaliation for last Saturday’s airstrikes by US planes against Syrian regime forces who had been under siege by ISIS in the town of Deir ez-Zor. At least 62 Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 100 wounded in what the Americans described as a mistake.

Igor Konashenkov, an official spokesman for the Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that “no airstrikes on the UN humanitarian convoy in the southwestern outskirts of Aleppo were carried out by the Russian or Syrian forces.”

“The Russian side did not monitor the movement of the UN truck convoy that came under attack near Aleppo after the humanitarian cargo was delivered to that city,” he added.

“If this callous attack is found to be a deliberate targeting of humanitarians, it would amount to a war crime,” UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said in a statement. He noted that the Syrian government had given the humanitarian convoy permission to move into Aleppo shortly before the attack.

Peter Maurer, president of the ICRC, released a statement saying “yesterday’s attack is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and it is unacceptable. Failing to protect humanitarian workers and structures might have serious repercussions on ongoing humanitarian work in the country, hence depriving millions of people of aid essential to their survival.”

JNi.Media

80 Syrian Soldiers Killed as Russian-US Ceasefire Wobbles, And Israel Deploys Iron Dome

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

It looks like the ceasefire between Russian and American forces is very shaky, if not ceasing, as Da’esh (ISIS) forces appear to threaten the city of Deir el-Zour.

At least 80 Syrian government forces were killed Saturday in an air strike on a base near the Deir al-Zour airport, but it’s not clear which bomb was responsible.

The Syrian government military loyal to President Bashar al-Assad said it was the U.S.-led coalition that bombed its army base in Deir el-Zour. The force contends that the attack caused casualties and damage to equipment, and allowed Da’sh (ISIS) terrorists to advance on the area.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that 80 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike, citing a source at the airport. But the monitoring group told Reuters that Russian jets — who back the Assad regime — had also been bombing in the same area, at the same time.

The source at the airport confirmed the air strike had the effect of paving the way for Da’esh fighters to overrun Jebel Tharda, according to the UK-based monitoring group.

Russia meanwhile has claimed Syrian opposition forces violated last week’s ceasefire at least 55 times over the weekend, with various clashes, including strikes on military and civilian targets in Aleppo. Russia’s official Interfax news agency quoted Colonel Sergei Kopytsin on Saturday as saying mortar fire and improvised rockets launched by rebels hit Aleppo 26 times.

Syrian state news agency SANA claimed that opposition forces, “insurgents,” violated the ceasefire 12 times in the past 12 hours.

Syrian opposition activists, meanwhile, say that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have killed at least five civilians from the opposition contingent. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a woman and child were killed in the central Homs province, in the town of Talbiseh. Two men were also killed outside Damascus and a child was killed in Aleppo.

Israeli military officials decided at the weekend to deploy the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in the Israeli Golan Heights due to the near-daily “spillover” mortar fire that has been reaching over the Syrian-Israeli border. On Saturday alone, the Iron Dome system intercepted two such attacks, neutralizing both shells before they could land and explode on Israeli territory.

Hana Levi Julian

Another US-Russian Ceasefire Deal for Syria, Again

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov shook hands Friday on a deal to impose a new cease-fire in Syria after marathon talks in Geneva. More than half a million Syrians have died since the start of the savage civil war that has raged in the country since March 2011.

The truce is scheduled to begin Monday together with the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

But few have faith the deal will hold up for more than a few minutes.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), itself little more than a name on paper for a collection of secular opposition groups backed by the West, quickly dismissed the possibility that this time the deal would bring peace.

Fares al-Bayoush, head of the FSA’s Northern Division group, pointed out that Russia and Syrian government troops had not complied with the previous cease-fire. Likewise, Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesperson for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki Brigades opposition group said the agreement would only give government troops the opportunity to gather forces and reinforce troops in Aleppo with more Iranian-backed military forces.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also welcomed the agreement but reminded that “broken promises” had been heard before, The Guardian reported. “I call on all parties to the Syria conflict and all countries with influence upon them to do what is needed to end violence and lift sieges,” he said. “In particular, it’s vital that the regime in Damascus now delivers on its obligations, and I call on Russia to use all its influence to ensure this happens.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry by phone on Saturday that Ankara welcomes the cease-fire. Two and a half weeks ago, Turkey launched its own invasion of Syria after dealing with an endless flood of Syrian refugees through its southeastern border, and numerous “overflow” attacks from the war. Now Ankara has said it will provide humanitarian aid to Aleppo, in northern Syria, in cooperation with the United Nations, following the cease-fire.

It’s not the first time such a cease-fire has been proposed the same two parties; just six months ago, a similar truce was made, and violated repeatedly by both sides almost immediately. Before that, the two sides worked out a cease-fire deal in 2013. That one didn’t happen, either.

Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Lavrov, “The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe Russia and my colleague have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace.

“Out of complexity in Syria, there is emerging a simple choice between war and peace,” he said.

The plan is for the U.S. and Russia to establish a joint operation center to coordinate military efforts against the Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations.

Russia informed President Bashar al-Assad about the agreement and, according to Lavrov, the regime agreed to comply. Although the terms were documented and agreed to by both sides, they would not be made public, he told reporters, according to the UK-based newspaper, The Telegraph.

The deal rides on Russia’s ability and willingness to stop attacks by the Assad regime and its allies, and the same cooperation by the United States to halt attacks by “moderate” opposition forces who unite with Al Nusra and other radical Islamists when it suits their needs.

Other forces that have become involved in the Syrian conflict include Iran and Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the Kurds.

It’s a coin toss whether anyone will actually pay more than five minutes’ attention to the terms of the deal in Damascus this time — and some bookie is probably making good money on the estimates of how long the quiet will last, or if it will even be quiet at all by Monday night.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish Forces Invading Syria Again

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Turkish Armored vehicles entered the Syrian town of Cobanbey in the northwestern Aleppo province Saturday, as part of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield aimed at clearing ISIS from its border region, military sources told the Anadolu Agency. The sources said the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is being supported by the Turks, took control of the town of Cobanbey, near the Turkish border in Aleppo.

Saturday’s invasion took place 36 miles west of Cerablus, opening a second front for the Turkish Army in Syria. The move could cut in half the territory controlled by ISIS along the Turkish border and isolate its drifting troops along the border.

The town, which shares a border with the city of Azaz which is controlled by Syrian opposition forces, has frequently changed hands between the FSA and ISIS.

Turkish fighter aircraft have been striking the villages along a highway where ISIS fighters are regrouping after having fled Cerablus, DHA reported Saturday. Three Turkish air force sorties have hit Gandıra Village in Cerablus. Syrians living in Gandıra, Bozhüyük, Küllü and Zugara have fled their villages to the Turkish border.

DHA reports that the area near the Turkish border has been cleansed of ISIS and is being supervised by the FSA, which is clearing the Cerablus fields from mines and explosives. Turkish Armed forces are monitoring civilian safety in the area.

The Turkish government launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 with Moscow’s approval and in coordination with the US Special Forces who are operating in the area. It aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.

JNi.Media

ISIS No. 2, Mohammad al-Adnani, Killed in Aleppo, Syria

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The spokesperson and No. 2 leader of the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization, Mohammad al-Adnani, was reported dead on Tuesday (Aug. 30) by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Al-Adnani was the No. 1 man on the United States “wanted list” of Da’esh terrorists to kill, and declared a “specially designated global terrorist” in August 2014. He was reportedly eliminated while “surveying the military operations” in Aleppo, Syria.

It is not clear whether he was killed by ground forces or in an air strike, however; according to The Keffiyeh Monitor, his death comes eight months after he was severely injured in an air strike.

In a statement uploaded to the internet, the terrorist organization threatened revenge against the “filthy cowards in the sect of disbelief, and the carrier of the banner of the Cross in it” over the death of its spokesperson.

The United States had offered a $5 million reward for al-Adnani, 37, who died in Aleppo, Syria and who was supposed to be able to step into the shoes of Da’esh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi if he proved unable to carry on for some reason. Recently the group also lost its Number 3 leader, Omar al-Shishani, and its “finance minister” Haji Iman.

But al-Adnani, born in Syria, was best known for his charismatic international propaganda. A particularly virulent statement that launched numerous vicious terror attacks worldwide was produced by the Da’esh terrorist, urging Muslims around the world to become lone wolf terrorists in September 2014.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” he said at that time. “Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

The U.S. State Department Rewards for Justice Program had announced a reward for up to $5 million in May 2015 for information leading to his capture. Media reports earlier this month suggested he had begun to lead a special unit within the terror organization called the “Emni,” devoted to internal policing and executing operations outside ISIS territory.

Hana Levi Julian

Iran lets Russian Bombers Use Its Air Base for Strikes Against ISIS

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, announced Tuesday that Iran is letting Russia use its infrastructure to fight against terrorism in Syria, IRNA reported.

According to TASS, citing a Russian Defense Ministry report, “Long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 and frontline bombers Sukhoi-34 took off from the Hamadan air base in Iran carrying the full bomb load to deal a massive air strike against facilities of the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces.”

The bombers destroyed five large armament depots, three command posts and militants’ training camps used by terrorists for operations in Aleppo, the report said.

The report added that Russia’s Sukhoi-30SM and Sukhoi-35 from the Hmeymim base in Syria provided protection, and “all planes coped with their tasks and returned to base.”

This is the first time Russian planes have used an Iranian airfield for the operation in Syria. On all previous occasions Russia’s long-range bombers operated from airfields in Russia, and front-line bombers flew out of Hmeymim in Syria.

JNi.Media

Syrians Prepare for Last Stand in Aleppo

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

Syrian residents in the once-beautiful commercial hub of Aleppo are gathering their strength — what little remains — to seek whatever safe spaces they can find in the next 24 hours.

The splintered fragments of opposition forces are about to launch their final stand against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

Thus far, opposition forces appear to have the upper hand in this vicious, years-long civil war that has ripped the soul from a lovely land that for decades was the Republic of Syria, but no longer. Today Syria has been torn apart and divvied up among hungry competing warlords like a bleeding carcass about to be butchered for lion cubs.

Some 250,000 residents are beginning to slowly starve in Aleppo, trapped in the eastern part of the city since early July, while the western part of the city remained under government control. The residents of the eastern party of the city are almost without food and water now, after the main artery into that section was shut down by regime forces nearly six weeks ago.

The water pumps in the city are without power. That means two million people are without running water and facing a full siege.

Syrian state media reports government and Russian warplanes are continuing to bomb opposition forces.

But those opposition forces cut off the key access route into the western part of the city Sunday to block the entry of regime soldiers.

According to media sources in Tehran quoted by A-Sharq al-Awsat, “around 2,000 fighters came from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to assist regime forces,” but the infusion of foreign aid didn’t faze the opposition.

Jaish al-Fatah, the Islamist opposition group, released a voice recording on Monday of a phone-tapped conversation by a Hezbollah guerrilla fighter describing the situation on the southern Aleppo front. The fighter said in a Lebanese accent that Hezbollah and regime fighters were collapsing and were left to fight alone. Other militias had already abandoned the front, fleeing the debacle to save their own lives.

According to a Ahrar al-Sham leader who spoke with A-Sharq al-Awsat, “The collapse in the ranks of regime forces is clear and it continues as long as Jaish al-Fatah fighters advance in the city.”

Both sides are now preparing for “the great battle of Aleppo,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The United Nations is urging both sides to cease their fire — or at least to pause it — long enough to allow repairs to the water and electricity grids.

According to UN sources, some two million people are without basic supplies — such as sugar, wheat, food cans and water — and children in the city are at “grave risk” of disease.

Opposition forces, meanwhile, say they are poised to take control of the entire city. The fragmented forces are united in this goal, at least, and it is this unity that allows the exchange of Western-supplied weapons between so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition forces and those who are dubbed “radical Islamist groups” linked to Al Qaeda and Da’esh (ISIS).

That unity when it comes to fighting the Assad regime is not well understood by the United States and other Western nations, and it is this Western lack of familiarity with the regional culture codes that has repeatedly led to disaster when trying to fight worldwide terror.

For all of these reasons, and because of the utter chaos taking place north of Israel’s border, the IDF is being especially watchful now.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/syrians-prepare-for-last-stand-in-aleppo/2016/08/09/

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