Russia Begins Operations in Syria: End Game for the US Empire?

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07.10.2018 - Netanyahu says Agreed with Putin to meet in Near Future
Netanyahu Says Agreed With Putin to Meet in Near Future

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a meeting in the near future.

"A short while ago, I spoke with President Putin. We agreed to meet in the near future in order to continue the security coordination between the military of the two countries. Israel will continue acting to prevent Iran from establishing military bases in Syria and transferring lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon," Netanyahu said on Twitter.


2018-10-08 - Netanyahu to hold meeting with Putin to prevent Iran from building new bases in Syria
Netanyahu to hold meeting with Putin to prevent Iran from building new bases in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and agreed to hold a meeting with him soon.

Kremlin does not rule out new Putin-Netanyahu contacts

On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister said that during the recent telephone conversation with the Russian leader they agreed to meet "soon"

Work is in progress on new contacts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is too early to talk about specific dates yet, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"As for Netanyahu, we do not rule out that such contacts (with Putin) can take place, but there are no specific dates yet," he said.

On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister said at a weekly meeting of his Cabinet that during the recent telephone conversation with the Russian leader they agreed to meet soon "to continue important coordination" between the two countries’ armed forces. That will be the first meeting between Putin and Netanyahu after the Il-20 plane crash.

Russia’s Ilyushin Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft was downed over the Mediterranean on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense system when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually hid behind the Russian plane exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.


Netanyahu plans to discuss with Putin Iran’s military presence in Syria

The prime minister said that Israel will act with determination against Iran's attempts to open an additional front against them on the Golan Heights

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he plans to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin Iran’s presence in Syria and the transfer of lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

"We (Israel - TASS) will continue to act with determination against Iran's attempts to open an additional front against us on the Golan Heights, and in Syria we will act against any attempts to transfer lethal weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon," Netanyahu was quoted as saying by his press service.

"I will discuss these matters with President Putin when I meet with him soon," he added.

"I decided with President Putin on important security coordination between the IDF and the Russian military, and of course together we have developed good relations between Russia and Israel," Netanyahu went on to say. "I know that President Putin understands my commitment to the security of Israel and I know that he also understands the importance that I ascribe to the Golan Heights, that we all ascribe to the Golan Heights and to the heritage of Israel."

According to the Israeli prime minister, Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights "is a guarantee for stability in the surrounding area" and "a solid reality based on ancient rights" that must be recognized by the international community.

At a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said he had had a telephone conversation with Putin to agree on a meeting in the near future. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday Putin’s possible meeting with the Israeli prime minister was being looked at but it was too early to speak of a concrete date. In any case, it will be their first meeting after the incident with the Russian Il-20 plane that was downed over the Mediterranean on September 17.

Israel took control over the Golan Heights that had belonged to Syria from 1944 after the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, Israel’s Knesset (parliament) passed a law on the Golan Heights unilaterally proclaiming Israel’s sovereignty over this territory. United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 from December 17, 1981 ruled that the annexation was null and void, having no international legal effect.


S-300 to impede Israeli Air Force flights over Syria, says analyst

The expert believes that in order to ease tensions Russia should maintain a dialogue with Israel

Air defense systems S-300 will impede Israeli Air Force flights, including reconnaissance ones, over Syria. Although Tel-Aviv earlier said it would not give up its operations, the S-300 factor puts pressure on the Israeli leadership, the chief of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis, Alexander Mikhailov, told TASS on Monday.

Earlier, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would not give up its operations in Syria in defiance of the supply of Russia’s S-300 systems to that country.

"When Russia’s S-300s are turned on over Syrian-Israeli points of engagement, the Israeli pilots know they are on Russian radars. Naturally, they report this to their superiors and this puts pressure on the Israeli leadership," Mikhailov said.

"The Israeli leadership’s position has been determined - Israel wants to go ahead with unhampered flights over Syria’s border areas and press for its decisions regarding the presence of Iranian forces there, which under our agreements with Israel are now leaving these territories," Mikhailov said.

He believes that if Israel continues to coordinate its actions with the Russian group in Syria further on, it will be possible to avoid incidents in the future.

"We would like to believe that if Israel and the Israeli Defense Ministry hold consultations with the Russian group in Syria over all activities, no conflicts will ever emerge. I believe that the Israeli leadership will display common sense not to repeat such incidents and to stay out of the areas where our systems are turned on," Mikhailov said.

He believes that in order to ease tensions Russia should maintain a dialogue with Israel.

"We should conduct a mutually beneficial dialogue with Israel and address it with fresh reminders that combat operations are in progress away from the Russian borders, but near the Israeli ones, so it would make no sense to aggravate the already complicated situation… One would like to believe that the Israeli Defense Ministry will refrain from provoking the Syrian air defense into hitting Israeli aircraft," he added.

Ilyushin-20 crash in the Mediterranean

Russia’s reconnaissance and radio-electronic warfare plane Ilyushin-20 was shot down over the Mediterranean on September 17 while returning to the Hmeymim airbase. The Russian Defense Ministry said the plane was downed with a missile launched by Syria’s air defense system S-200, which was counterattacking four Israeli jets F-16 during their strikes against targets in Latakia province. The Ilyushin-20’s fifteen crew were killed in the tragedy.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on September 24 said that the loss of the Ilyushin-20 in Syria due to the Israeli air pilots’ actions forced Moscow to take extra security measures. Russia’s air defense systems S-300 will be deployed in Syria within two weeks, the command posts of Syria’s air defense will be equipped with automatic Russian systems capable of identifying Russian planes and Russian means of radio-electronic warfare will pose obstructions to air strikes against targets in Syria.


Israel trying to show that S-300 in Syria did not change balance of powers, expert says

Alexander Zotov says it was necessary to deliver S-300 systems to Syria because the activities of the Israeli Air Force in Syria posed a serious threat to air traffic between Hmeymim and Russia

Israel will continue air operations against Iranian forces and Lebanon's Hezbollah group despite Russia's delivery of S-300 missile systems to Syria, former Russian Ambassador to Damascus and political analyst Alexander Zotov told a roundtable in Moscow on Monday.

"There is a narrative in Israel, among experts, among political analysts and in the media, that is being fueled by statements of Defense Minister [Avigdor] Lieberman and even of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu himself, that generally 'we [Israel] are not going to deviate from our course of responding to any actions by Iran and Hezbollah which present a potential threat to us, and no one and nothing can stop us'," Zotov said. "That is why many people in Israel think that there could be some kind of a demonstrative attack, maybe even at an imaginary facility, maybe far away from all those systems being deployed in Syria now, in order to avoid striking any facilities with Russian servicemen, in order to make it look like everything is fine and everything goes according to plan," he added.

The expert noted Israel should be able to understand how risky it is to carry out such operations without coordination with Russia. "In the situation when our air defense systems are given to Syria, the responsibility for retaliatory strikes will lie with Syrians, and we will thus get a room for maneuver," Zotov said. "Because what Syrians do represents a natural right of any country to defend its territory from an outside threat," he added.

Much-needed solution

According to Zotov, it was necessary to deliver S-300 missile systems to Syria because the activities of the Israeli Air Force in Syria posed a serious threat to air traffic between Hmeymim and Russia, while Israeli commanders were not transparent enough with the Russian military about their flights.

"First of all, it was emphasized in statements by our military officials that it is unacceptable for Israel not to inform us, thus violating existing agreements. Informing us one minute in advance does not count as preliminary notification," he said. "They [Israeli forces] did not tell us where they would operate, in what region. They just said they will operate in the north of Syria. That is, they practically tried to deceive us," he added.

"Secondly, this whole Israeli operation on delivering strikes at some facility belonging to Iran or Hezbollah was carried out in close proximity to our Hmeymim base which, as you know, is located to the south of Latakia," Zotov continued. "This created a real threat to a very heavy air traffic flow between Hmeymim and our country, including civilian, commercial and any other types of flights. It was impossible to put up with it, so our resolute response was justified and necessary, from this point of view," he noted.

Zotov reminded that the process of handing over S-300 missile systems to the Syrian army will take some time, and that the situation in Syria's airspace will not change quickly. "For now, we are talking about a process. We are not talking about an immediate shift in the balance of powers," he said.


One Syrian soldier killed in shelling by militants — Russian reconciliation center

Settlements in the Latakia governorate and the city of Aleppo repeatedly came under shellings over the last 24 hours

Numerous ceasefire violations by militants from Syria’s Idlin de-escalation zone were reported over the past 24 hours, with settlements in the Latakia governorate and the city of Aleppo coming under shelling. One Syrian serviceman was killed and ten others were wounded, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties Vladimir Savchenko said on Monday.

"During the day shelling attacks were reported from the settlements of Kira Kilisa (thrice), Dahr abu-Assad (thrice), Jubb al-Mgara (twice), Safsara (twice), Sandran, Rosweit Rushu, Mortlu, Barashi, Beit Smayra and Ikko in the Latakia governorate and Aleppo’s Makanis al-Duwayr neighborhood. As a result of shelling attacks, one Syrian serviceman was killed and ten others were wounded in the Latakia governorate," he said.

According to Savchenko, officers of the Russian reconciliation center conducted one humanitarian operation in the settlement of Rsas in the al-Suwayda governorate. A total of 1.29 tonnes of food products were distributed among civilians. Apart from that, one tonne of bread was handed out to people in Aleppo.

Russian reconciliation center

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes.


Syrian Ambassador demands unwelcome foreign entities leave Syria

On Monday, the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar Al-Ja’afari, slammed the foreign nations currently inside Syria without Damascus’ invitation.

During his brief press conference at the United Nations, Dr. Ja’afari criticized a report on Syria that was released by member stated.

“Authors of the report did not mention the aggression and foreign presence on the territories of some UN member states without their approval and under unconcealed and fake pretexts like possession of weapons of mass destruction or protecting their civilians from non-existent fictitious danger or spreading fake democracy,” Dr. Ja’afari said.

“It would have been helpful if those who prepared the report had considered that foreign presence as illegitimate and a blatant breach of the international law and the UN’s Charter as well as an aggression against states’ sovereignty and a threat to the international peace and security,” he added, noting that the reference here is to the illegal US, British and French military presence on the Syrian territories.
 

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The Syrian government has announced an amnesty for men who deserted the army or have avoided military service, giving them several months to report for duty without facing punishment, it said on Tuesday.

Oct. 9, 2018 - Syria offers Amnesty to deserters and draft dodgers
Syria offers amnesty to deserters and draft dodgers | Reuters
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The fear of conscription, and potential punishment for ducking it or for desertion, is frequently cited by aid groups as one of the main reasons refugees give for not wanting to return home.

In a decree issued on his social media feeds, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the amnesty covered all punishments for desertion inside or outside Syria. Men inside Syria will have four months to take advantage of the amnesty while those outside will have six months.

Under Syrian military law, deserters can face years of prison if they leave their posts and do not report for service within a set amount of time.

Syria’s conflict began in 2011 after mass protests against Assad’s rule, eventually leading to half a million deaths and drawing in world and regional powers.

Many soldiers deserted, some to join the rebels and others to escape the fighting. More than half the pre-war population fled their homes. About 5 million went abroad and millions of others were displaced within Syria.

While the amnesty covers desertion, it does not cover fighting against the government or joining the rebels, who are regarded by the Syrian government as terrorists.


2018-10-09 - Syrian President passes historic decree granting amnesty to all military deserters
Breaking: Syrian President passes historic decree granting amnesty to all military deserters

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad passed a historical legislative decree this morning that grants all military deserters amnesty.

According to a government report, the Syrian President issued decree number 18 for 2018, which grants general amnesty for military deserters inside and outside the country and the crimes included in the Military Penalties Law issued by Legislative Decree No. 61 for 1950 and its amendments committed before October 9, 2018.

Not everyone is eligible for amnesty, as the new decree specifically leaves out people wanted for crimes against the state.

However, if they turn themselves within the next four months (6 months for people outside the country), they will be considered for amnesty.

The legislative decree also provides general amnesty for crimes included in the law of Military Service No. 30 of 2007 and its amendments.


Oct. 9, 2018 - No need to rush launch of Syrian constitutional committee: Lavrov
No need to rush launch of Syrian constitutional committee: Lavrov

Moscow can see no reason to rush the launch of a Syrian constitutional committee, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following talks with his Slovak counterpart Miroslav Lajcak on Tuesday.

“We see no reasons to rush this process and artificially create some timeframes. Quality is everything in this case,” Lavrov said.

He stressed that attempts to rush things often led to a failure in achieving the desired goals “and unreasonably escalated tensions.”

“We continue working, our representatives, together with the Iranian and Turkish ones, maintain contact with all the interested parties, including our Syrian colleagues and United Nations officials, with whom they regularly meet,” the Russian foreign minister pointed out.

Participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 30, decided to establish a constitutional committee that will work on the country’s new constitution together with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. The committee is supposed to include representatives of the Syrian government and opposition, as well as group of independent politicians.

The UN envoy, who earlier suggested that the committee should consist of no more than 50 members, plans to host a meeting of the committee in Geneva in the near future.

Once the committee issues recommendations on amending the Syrian constitution, a UN-sponsored general election will be held in the country.


Oct. 9, 2018 - Russia, Syria discuss possible reconstruction of oil and gas assets in Syria: RIA
Russia, Syria discuss possible reconstruction of oil and gas assets in Syria: RIA | Reuters

Russia and Syria have discussed the possible reconstruction of gas transportation infrastructure, underground gas storage facilities, oil and gas production and oil refineries in Syria, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying.

Russia and Syria also agreed to speed up reconstruction of thermal power stations in Syria, but Damascus is first expected to find financing for these projects, the RIA news agency also quoted Novak as saying.


October 8, 2018 - Iran, Russia FMs Discuss Global Issues, Energy Cooperation
Iran, Russia FMs Discuss Global Issues, Energy Cooperation

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov have held a telephone conversation, discussing global issues and cooperation in the energy sector, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

“The two top diplomats discussed bilateral cooperation, focusing on the energy sector,” the statement reads. “The ministers also exchanged views on a number of pressing regional and global issues,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

The Russian and Iranian foreign ministers regularly meet on the sidelines of various international events to discuss bilateral cooperation, the Iran nuclear issue and ways to resolve the Syrian conflict. One of their recent meetings took place in Singapore during Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) events.


Tue Oct 09, 2018 - Syrian Army Uncovers Terrorists' Large Cache of Weapons in Eastern Dara'a
Farsnews

Al-Ikhbariya reported that the Syrian Arab Army seized the large weapons cache while combing through the towns that were previously controlled by the terrorists.

It further said that MLR missiles, several hellfire cannons, mortar shells, IEDs and ammunition boxes were among the weapons found in the large depot.


Tue Oct 09, 2018 - Largest Mass Grave in Raqqa Includes over 1,500 Bodies of Victims
Farsnews

More than 1,500 victims killed in the US air raids and its allied militants have been buried in the largest mass grave in Raqqa city in Northeastern Syria, a Russian media outlet reported on Tuesday.

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, RT, reported that the largest mass grave of civilians is in Panorama in Raqqa city with over 1,500 bodies of victims killed in the US air raids or in the Washington-backed militants' attacks when the city was under ISIL's rule.

In the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that Raqqa Civil Team has thus far discovered 11 mass graves, adding that excavations have completed in 8 mass graves.

Also, the remains of the victims of the US air raids are being taken out from under the ruined buildings' debris is in the city.

Last week, the Arabic-language website of RT quoted Commander of Raqqa Civil Council Team Yaser al-Khamis as reporting that four mass graves, including 2,800 bodies of civilians, have been unearthed in Raqqa city.

In the meantime, a media activist reported that the bodies of a sum of 50 victims of US airstrikes were unearthed in al-Jamili, Hawar School, al-Amasi, al-Badou and Tejari 2 districts in Raqqa city in the last week.


Tue Oct 09, 2018 - Turkey Setting up Large Military Base at Border Point with Syria's Lattakia
Farsnews

Turkey has started construction operation to build a large military base in a mountainous border region with Northern Lattakia, a Russian media outlet reported.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that Turkey has started construction operation in Mount al-Aqra (Casius) to pave the way for building a very large military baes in the mount that is the highest point in the region, capable of overlooking Syria's Northern coastal region.

In the meantime, a Syrian military source said that Ankara has also started mulling to build a buffer wall on its soil along the border with Northern Lattakia, adding that Turkey has brought in tens of terrorists via Syrian borders to occupy Northern Lattakia.

The source went on to say that Turkey has set up a base for Turkistani, Azerbaijani and Chechen terrorists in the small town of Yaldha opposite the Kesab border-crossing in Northern Lattakia, adding that the terrorists have already participated in every offensive against the Syrian Army in the region.

Local sources said in August that Ankara embarked on changing streets' names and numbers in the occupied town of Afrin under fresh attempts to annex the region to its soil.

The sources reported that Afrin Local City Council affiliated to the Ankara-backed Free Army embarked on renaming streets and squares in the town.

The sources said that some of the streets and squares were named after Turkish figures, adding that the names of streets were written in both Arabic and Turkish alphabets.

They went on to say that the Ankara-backed militants changed al-Saraya Square to Recep Tayyip Erdogan Square and Kawa Square to Olive Branch Square that was the codename of a military operation by the Turkish troops in the region.


October 8, 2018 - Russia’s Supply of S-300 Air Defense System to Syria Directly Threatens ‘Israel’: Zionist Media
Russia’s Supply of S-300 Air Defense System to Syria Directly Threatens ‘Israel’: Zionist Media

The Zionist Channel 7 considered that Russia’s supply of S-300 air defense system to Syria is a clear act of aggression against ‘Israel’ and shows Moscow as Tehran’s ally in face of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin aims to prove his strategic role in the region at the expense of the Israeli and the American security interests, according to the Zionist media outlets which added that the enemy prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face a difficulty in changing the situation in Syria.
 

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Iranian official claims Israel cannot target S-300 system in Syria

Israel will not be able to target the Russian S-300 air defense systems deployed in Syria, Ali Larijani, the Iranian parliament speaker stated.

“I don’t think that the Israelis are able to take a serious step, and [I believe] that Russia has the right to deploy the S-300 air defense systems in Syria and to protect its interests, especially after the Israeli attack on the Russian aircraft. This is Russia’s lawful right,” Larijani said in an interview, commenting on the Israeli official claims that the S-300s could be defeated by Israel’s stealth fighters and possibly destroyed on the ground.

On October 3, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said that the US F-35 fighters of the Israeli Air Force could defeat the newly delivered S-300s, as the former’s operational abilities were higher.

On September 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia would deliver new S-300 air defense systems to Syria in a move to boost the security of the Russian troops in Syria following the fatal downing of the Russian Il-20 plane that the Russian Defense Ministry holds the Israeli Air Force responsible for. The Israeli jets used the Russian aircraft as a shield against Syrian air defense systems, according to Russia’s military.

On October 2, the delivery has been completed. Just a day later, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel was unhappy about the S-300 delivery to Syria, but could not abandon its military operations in the Arab country.

Source: Sputnik


Ex-Iraqi Envoy: Baghdad, Tehran Ties Could Cause Tension With Washington

Iraq’s inability to cut ties with Iran will likely lead to discord between Baghdad and Washington in light of the US decision to reimpose sanctions on the Islamic republic, Iraq Foundation President and former Iraqi ambassador to the United States, Rend Al-Rahim, told Sputnik.

"The US, particularly given that this administration really is taking a very hard stance against Iran… is going to be upset, but I hope that Washington has some flexibility because Iraq cannot simply cut off all dealings with Iran," Al-Rahim said on Tuesday. "It’s just not possible for Iraq neither economically nor politically nor geographically. I do anticipate friction between Baghdad and Washington on this issue but hopefully we can resolve it."

Al-Rahim said Iraq recently sent a delegation to Washington seeking an exemption "or at least a partial exemption" from US sanctions against Iran. The Iraqi government, the former ambassador added, is saying to the US government that Baghdad is in a special position.

"First of all, we have a 1,400-kilometer [around 870 mile] border with Iran, so, it’s impossible to close that border, and we have to import certain stuffs from Iran," Al Rahim said. "Secondly, Iraq imports refined fuels from Iran, not crude, and we need these refined fuels."

In addition, Iraq gets electricity from Iran because it is the closest place available, although the Saudis and the Kuwaitis are beginning to supply it, she said.

When asked about the US armed forces in Iraq Al-Rahim said she sees the need for a continued international military presence because the fight against the Daesh terrorist group is not over.

"We have all kinds of pockets of ISIS [Daesh], sleeping cells and there are attacks every day. That’s one issue," she said. "The other issue is that our security forces are still weak, although they are a million times better than they were in 2014, but they still need a lot of capacity building, a lot of training and so on."

Al-Rahim said an international presence is also needed for things such as intelligence sharing and training on intelligence gathering.

Since the United States withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in May and announced the reinstatement of all the sanctions against Iran, Washington has been calling on importers of Iranian oil to stop buying it by November 4 — the date when the second package of US sanctions against Iran is set to be imposed.


US ship that struck Syria is leaving eastern Mediterranean for NATO drills

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is set to kick off the military alliance’s biggest exercise in 20 years later this month, with the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group participating in the drills, NATO officials said Tuesday.

Speaking in Brussels Tuesday at NATO headquarters, Adm. James G. Foggo announced, “The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and its striker, including its ships and aircraft, will participate in Trident Juncture.” Foggo is a commander in the US Navy and is the chief of NATO naval forces.

The Trident Juncture will feature military participation from all 29 NATO members and will include cooperation from Sweden and Finland. According to Foggo, the exercise has three themes, known as the three D’s: “NATO is a defensive alliance, Trident Juncture demonstrates our credible capability, and together we deter potential adversaries.”

The drills will take place in Norway from October 25 through November 7, according to NATO officials. In sum, approximately 50,000 personnel are expected to train in the drills.

When asked about the drills’ proximity to Russian borders, Norwegian Lt. Gen. Rune Jakobsen said, “The core exercise area is more than 1,000 kilometers from the Russian border, and air operations could take place up to 500 kilometers away from the border, so there should not be any reason for the Russians to get scared or see this as something else than a defensive exercise.

The USS Truman was previously stationed in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea conducting operations against the terrorist group Daesh.


Russian guard ship returning to Sevastopol from Mediterranean

Crew members of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s guard ship Pytlivy will return to Sevastopol from the Mediterranean Sea late this week, Fleet Spokesman Captain 2nd rank Alexei Rulev said on Tuesday.

"The Pytlivy guard ship of the Black Sea Fleet has completed its missions as part of a permanent task force of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea and set off for Sevastopol. Now the vessel is passing through the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits and is heading to the Black Sea," Rulev said.

The vessel is expected to arrive in Sevastopol, Crimea, by the end of this week, the spokesman said.

The crew held various drills led by the Russian Navy commander-in-chief to practice a battle solely and as part of a naval group, performing artillery fire against surface and air targets.
 

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Netanyahu Vows To Continue Airstrikes On Syria During Meeting With Senior Russian Official

On October 9, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that he told Maxim Akimov Deputy Prime Minister of Russia during a recent meeting the Israel will continue to strike Iranian forces in Syria, despite of Moscow’s decision to supply the Syrian Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) with advanced S-300 long-range air defense systems.

Israel will continue its “legitimate activity in Syria against Iran and its proxies, which state their intention to destroy us,” Netanyahu told reporters during a press conference, according to the Times of Israel news outlet.​

Furthermore, Netanyahu stated that he hopes that Israel and Russia will soon overcome the tension, which began last month when Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian city of Lattakia led to the shoot down of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane. Russia supplied Syria with S-300 systems in repose to the incident and in order to secure its troops in the war torn country.

“I think that with common sense and goodwill we can come to a solution that will allow the continuation of the good coordination between the Russian and Israeli militaries,” Netanyahu said.​

This was the first meeting between senior civilian officials of the two countries since the Il-20 incident. A more interesting meeting between Netanyahu and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is expected to be held soon.


US Upgrading F-35s Amid S-300 Delivery to Syria – Reports

The deployment of advanced S-300 missiles to Syria has set off alarm bells in the US and Israel

The Pentagon’s decision to conduct addition tests for its F-35 stealth fighter means that it is not so sure about the plane’s invisibility to Russia’s S-300 missiles, the Indian newspaper EurAsian Times wrote.

“The fact that the Americans tried to make the plane invisible does not mean that it really is. And it’s not for nothing that the Pentagon suddenly announced the need for additional F-35 tests, recently. This is clear evidence that the US themselves do not believe in the competence of F-35 against the S-300 air defense systems,” the news site added.

According to EurAsian Times, the F-35 Lightning II was developed with an eye to defeating the S-300 system the US already had access to. As soon as Iran began to negotiate with Russia about buying the S-300, Israel reportedly paid Greece a lot of money to get access to these systems to study them. Besides, the Americans bought parts of the complex through Belarus.

However, the S-300 system the Americans obtained “was put into service back in 1978 and the difference between modern technology and the one in 1978 is enormous,” the website noted.

Commenting on the S-300 deliveries to Syria, EurAsian Times concluded that they will “seriously increase the Syrian air defense, but only in one region, since it was announced that only four SAM systems were being delivered.

The Israeli air force is large enough and well equipped to withstand such protection. But the risk of losses, in this case, will be much higher.”

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said earlier this month that the S-300’s capabilities have long been factored in Israel’s strategic planning.

The former general director of the main design bureau of the Almaz-Antei concern, Igor Ashurbeili, said that part of the S-300 technology had been stolen by the United States.

At the same time, the Pentagon announced that full-scale combat tests of fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters would begin in November, and not in September, as earlier planned due to Lockheed Martin’s failure to upgrade the plane’s computer software on time.

In all, Israel is to receive 50 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the United States, which, after an upgrade, will be renamed F-35I Adir. Currently, Israel has eight such aircraft.

The S-300PM system, supplied to Syria, is based on the S-300PS complex, which entered service in Russia in 1993.

The upgraded system is capable of destroying aircraft and hypersonic cruise missiles at a distance of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles).

Moscow has supplied batteries of advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect Russian troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of the recent downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane during an Israeli airstrike in Latakia.


Idlib agreement is being fulfilled, militants being removed: Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated this afternoon that the Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib is currently being fulfilled.

“The Russian-Turkish agreement on Idlib is being fulfilled,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov continued that the withdrawal of all militants is a gradual process; however, they have already begun leaving the demilitarized zone.

The Russian Foreign Minister’s comments come just days after the Turkish regime announced that the rebel forces were removing their heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.

Despite the claims regarding the withdrawal of these rebel groups, the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) continues to launch attacks against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from this demilitarized zone.


Turkish Defense Ministry: Idlib Demilitarized Zone Is Completely Established

On October 10, the Ministry of Defense of Turkey announced in an official statement that a demilitarized zone had been established around the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib. The defense ministry stated that the withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the zone had been completed.

Last month, Russia and Turkey agreed to establish this demilitarized zone as part of a wider deconfliction agreement on Idlib. In compliance with the agreement, Syrian opposition armed groups began withdrawing their heavy weapons from the zone few days ago.

Hours before the Turkish announcement, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the establishment of the demilitarized zone around Idlib is “progressing quite well” and praised Turkey’s efforts to implement the agreement within the agreed-upon timeline.

“The deadline for demilitarized zones to be fully functional expires on October 15. A day or two do not play any role, in any case, the quality of these works is more important,” Lavrov told reporters at a news conference in the capital Moscow, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.​

The Ministry of Defense of Russia has not commented on the Turkish announcement so far. This may mean the demilitarized zone has not been fully established so far, one of the possible reasons is that radical groups like Hay’at Tahir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) are yet to announce their stand on the deconfliction agreement.


Moscow Double-Checking Reports of Weapons Pullout From Idlib by Militants

Moscow is double-checking reports on the complete withdrawal of heavy weaponry by militants from Syria's Idlib, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

"Yesterday, October 9, Turkish media reported that the pullout of heavy weapons took place, we are now verifying this information through our experts," Zakharova told a briefing, adding that to date, "over 1,000 militants have left the demilitarized zone, and about 100 pieces of equipment have been withdrawn."

She also expressed concerns that Washington would attempt to set up "some sort of a separate administration" on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, violating Syrian constitution.

“Unfortunately, the situation on the eastern bank of Euphrates is becoming more and more alarming. The Americans are de-facto running the show in this area, relying on their Kurdish allies,” the spokeswoman noted.

The Anadolu news agency earlier reported that the Syrian armed opposition completed on Monday withdrawing heavy weapons from the contact line in the area.

Idlib is the last major stronghold of militants in Syria. On September 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to set up a demilitarized zone in the city along the contact line of the armed opposition and the government forces by October 15.


Russia sees attempts to re-deploy terrorists from Syria’s Idlib to Iraq, warns diplomat

Idlib is the sole large region in Syria, which remains under the control of illegal armed formations

Russia has information on the attempts to re-deploy terrorists from Syria’s Idlib to Iraq but these actions are being cut off, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov said on Tuesday.

"There are the attempts of redeployment [of terrorists from Idlib] to Iraq but they are being cut off. Iraq is dealing with that and it clearly does not need extra terrorists," the senior Russian diplomat told TASS.

At their September 17 meeting in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to create a de-militarized zone in Idlib along the line of the engagement of the Syrian troops and the opposition. Heavy weapons must be withdrawn from it while Russian and Turkish military patrols will exercise control of that territory.

Idlib is the sole large region in Syria, which remains under the control of illegal armed formations. In 2017, the northern de-escalation zone was established there to allow militants with their families who had refused to reconcile with the authorities and voluntarily surrender their arms to move to that area.


WATCH Syrian Army Flush Militants Out of Volcanic Hideouts

Syrian government troops continue their advance on the terrorist positions in the Suwayda Desert in the country’s southwest, cleansing the area of Daesh militants.

A video posted online by Sputnik, shows Syrian government forces flushing out the remaining terrorist fighters from the rocky Tulul al-Safa area.

The natural rocky fortifications created by the lava once belched by an ancient volcano and precipitation are ideal for guerilla warfare. Because the terrain is off limits to vehicles, soldiers are scouring every rock, cave and underground tunnel where terrorists might be hiding.

According to legend, Tulul as-Safa is exactly the place where the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah once stood before they were destroyed by fire and brimstone.

Indeed, archeologists have found hundreds of human skeletons inside the huge basalt layers who were literally incinerated by a sudden volcanic eruption.

The Syrian Army has been fighting in the Suwayda Desert in an effort to liberate the area from Daesh terrorists.


Routed in the open, the jihadists gathered in the local mountains setting up arms caches and storing up food and water.

The ancient dormant volcano offered ideal natural cover for the terrorists who were hiding in the crevices.

Syrian aviation then entered the fray bombing out the jihadist positions.

After their sources of water supply were seized by advancing government forces, the terrorists started abandoning their positions without a fight.


Syrian gov't ship travels to Egypt and Turkey for 2nd time in 7 years

A Syrian government ship departed from Latakia this past weekend and reached the Egyptian port of Damietta along the Mediterranean, Yoruk Isik of the Boshophus Observer reported this week.


According to Isik, the Souria flagship unloaded cargo at the Damietta Port before traveling north towards Turkey.

Isik tweeted that the Souria ship arrived at the Turkish port of Karasu in the Black Sea.

This is only the second time in the last seven years that a Syrian government ship has taken this route from Latakia to Egypt and Turkey.

It is worth also noting that the Souria ship is currently under sanctions from the U.S. Treasury due to its involvement with the Syrian government.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A cross-Post from this Thread - started by Seato:

Assad and the release of Islamic extremists in context
Assad and the release of Islamic extremists in context

Quote from: Seato

Last night I happened to watch the BBC’s A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad Episode 1.

BBC Two - A Dangerous Dynasty: House of Assad, Series 1, Episode 1

I was able to bear most of the demonisation of Assad. Though found myself particularly annoyed regarding the accusations of his ‘secret’ release of Islamist extremists to supposedly counter the West’s war on terror. Consequently I found the following article by William Van Wagenen who elaborates on the reality and context behind these accusations.

Did Assad Deliberately Release Islamist Prisoners to Militarize and Radicalize the Syrian Uprising? - The Libertarian Institute
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
ISIS seizes chlorine canisters in attack on Al-Nusra & White Helmets – Russian MoD

Deadly chemicals have ended up in the hands of Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL) after pro-IS terrorists attacked a northern Syrian HQ of Al-Nusra, killing several militants and White Helmets and capturing canisters with chlorine.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported on the attack on Wednesday, accusing the militant-allied Western countries of helping the terrorists acquire chemical agents. The “irresponsible actions” of these states in Syria have led to the situation, in which “chemical agents ended up in the hands of Islamic State terrorists, whose actions are impossible to predict,” the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, Major General Vladimir Savchenko, said in a statement.

Moscow has previously accused the anti-government militants and their Western backers of preparing false flag chemical attacks to frame Damascus. The West, Savchenko said, completely “disregards the precarious situation in the Idlib de-escalation zone” with this alleged plan.

He said that on October 9, an extremist group affiliated with Islamic State raided a field command center of an Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (now known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham). The jihadists managed to seize two canisters filled with chlorine during the raid while killing four Al-Nusra militants, as well as two members of the controversial White Helmets group.

Moscow’s warnings have been dismissed by Washington and its allies, and it instead accused the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad of preparing chemical attacks against civilians. While making one of her anti-Assad statements at the UN, the outgoing US ambassador, Nikki Haley, notably said in September that “if there are chemical weapons that are used [in Idlib], we know exactly who is going to use them.”


WATCH Daesh Militants Steal Chlorine Tanks After Killing White Helmets Activists

According to the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, Daesh terrorists have attacked militants from Nusra Front and have seized at least two barrels with chlorine gas.

In a video posted online by the Russian Defense Ministry, a group of terrorists can be seen seizing canisters of chlorine from rival jihadists and moving them to the south of Syria’s Aleppo province.

“Late on October 9 a group of Daesh-linked terrorists attacked the headquarters of Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham terrorist organization (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra) near Al-Latmana village,” the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria says in captions attached to the video.

According to kp.ru website, the attackers took two barrels with chlorine after killing four militants and two members of the White Helmets organization.


The barrels were taken to the south of Aleppo province and handed over to members of the Harras Ad-Din terrorist group who are affiliated with Daesh, the report says.

Also shown in the video are a working tractor, a minivan and the terrorists.


Tahrir Al-Sham Wants Retreat Deadline Delayed

Farsnews

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the terrorist groups in Aleppo and Idlib on Wednesday as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has not evacuated its heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone, adding that they have hidden their tanks, artilleries and missile-launchers.

They added that Tahrir al-Sham has informed the Turkish intelligence agency that it will not withdraw from the weapons-free zone because of a lack of agreement on areas to be held by the Ankara-backed militants which are due to host Tahrir al-Sham.

According to the report, Tahrir al-Sham has called for continued negotiations and demanded Turkey to hold talks with Russia to give militants some more time for withdrawal until October 20.

A Russian media outlet reported on Wednesday that the terrorist groups continued to fortify positions and dig more tunnels and trenches in Northeastern Lattakia in flagrant violation of the Sochi Agreement.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that although the Turkish army has sent a convoy from the depth of Idlib to Northeastern Lattakia to create and monitor the demilitarized zone, Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at and its allied terrorists of al-Turkistani Islamic Party and Horas al-Deen have continued building more positions and digging more tunnels on the hills near the small town of Kabani or Kabanah in al-Haffah region in Northeastern Lattakia that is the first contact line in the battlefield in Idlib.

In the meantime, a field commander said that a Turkish military convoy that arrived in the small town of Badam in Jisr al-Shughour region has refused to patrol and monitor the strategic region of Kabani that is a triangle-like region stretching from Northeastern Lattakia to Southern Idlib and then the borders with Turkey.

He further said that Tahrir al-Sham has launched missile attacks on the Syrian army positions in Lattakia, targeting an army vehicle that was carrying food near the demilitarized zone.

The source went on to say that a group of terrorists have left the town of Jisr al-Shughour for contact lines with the Syrian Army to prevent the Syrian forces from entering the town in a possible operation.


Terrorists Attack Syrian Army in Aleppo after Claiming Withdrawal from Demilitarized Zone

Farsnews

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, Sputnik, reported that the terrorist groups, deployed in al-Zahra region in Western Aleppo that is a part of the demilitarized zone based on the Sochi Agreement, launched artillery and missile attacks on al-Nil, al-Shahba and al-Sehah Housings that are under the army's control.

It further said that the army later opened heavy artillery fire at the terrorists' positions in Western Aleppo in retaliation.

In the meantime, heavy clashes erupted between the army soldiers and terrorists at the Scientific Research district in Western Aleppo.

The terrorists had announced a few days ago that they were completing withdrawal of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) had claimed that Faylaq al-Sham withdrew its heavy arms from Southern and Western Aleppo.

In the meantime, SOHR reported on Sunday that the Turkey-backed terrorists who had claimed that they started transfer of heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone in Northern Syria were hiding their arms in Northern Lattakia, pro-opposition media sources reported.

SOHR reported that there was no clear indication of a retreat by militant groups from the weapons-free zone after the Sochi agreement between Russia and Turkey, adding that 70% of the demilitarized region was still under the occupation of militants.

It said that Ahrar al-Sham, Faylaq al-Sham and the Coastal Regiments 1 and 2, affiliated to the National Liberation Front (NFL), have not retreated from Northern and Northeastern Lattakia, noting that they have only concealed their heavy weapons in tunnels.

NFL's spokesman had on Saturday claimed that the process to transfer heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone in Northern Syria started.


Syrian Army Sends More Troops, Equipment to Sweida Deserts to End ISIL's Presence

Farsnews

The army forwarded a large number of special forces and more military equipment to the battlefields in Toloul al-Safa rugged terrain in the Eastern desert of Sweida from its bases in Damascus and Dara'a provinces to purge the region of ISIL.

In the meantime, other units of the army, backed up by artillery and missile units, continued fighting ISIL in Toloul al-Sasfa, imposing control over more key points.

Meanwhile, local sources reported that attempts to free civilians captured by ISIL have not produced results yet.

Media outlets reported on Tuesday that Syrian paratroopers entered the battle in Southern Syria this week to join comrades to counter ISIL terrorists in Toloul al-Safa in the Eastern desert of Sweida.

According to a military source in Sweida city, the Syrian paratroopers landed behind enemy lines in Toloul al-Safa region, Monday, in order to help eliminate the ISIL's well-fortified trenches that have proven difficult to infiltrate, the AMN reported.

The source added that the Syrian army is now storming the ISIL's positions at three different flanks in a bid to reach the highest peak in Toloul al-Safa.

The ISIL occupied Toloul al-Safa region for over three years ago; they were forced to retreat back to this part of Sweida province after a series of losses across Southern and Eastern Syria.


Northeastern Syria: Turkish-Kurdish Tensions to Possibly Intensify amid US Supports for Kurds

Farsnews

The sources claimed that the US Army handed over 7 heavy construction machinery to the Manbij Military Council in Northeastern Aleppo to use them for fortifying positions.

In the meantime, commander of the Council underlined that his forces have taken all the necessary security measures to protect all entrances and roads to Manbij against any threat by the Turkish army.

"Our forces are entitled to make any move and do whatever they can to restore security in Manbij," he further said.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has recently underlined that the Turkish forces are monitoring the Kurdish militias' digging tunnels around Manbij.

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily reported on Monday that the Kurdish units built more bunkers, dug more tunnels and reinvigorated their posts and positions in several districts in the town of Tal Abyadh in Northern Raqqa and at border with Turkey.

The daily went on to say that the Kurds dug long tunnels and trenches from East of Tal Abyadh up to a Power Plant Southwest of the town, adding that the Kurds also dug long tunnels and tranches between al-Toweihanah region and the village of al-Mantabah near the border with Turkey and also between al-Mantabah and the Old Gate in al-Sakhani neighborhood.

The daily further said that the Kurdish move came after the Turkish army boosted its military presence in Ankara-occupied region, adding that the Kurds also are worried about a plan of the US forces to leave them alone in the war against the Ankara forces.

The Turkish army had announced that it was mulling to kick off a large-scale operation on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Northeastern Syria.


Kurdish Militias Fortify Positions in Northeastern Syria to Counter Turkish Threats

Farsnews

The sources said that the Kurds dug a very long tunnel connecting 17th Brigade Base North of Raqqa city to al-Banat Plain region in the Northeastern part of the city.

The sources further said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started digging tunnels 4 meters wide and three meters high a few days ago to connect the Brigade to al-Banat Plain.

They went on to say that the SDF also boosted defense capabilities of the base by erecting cement walls around its buildings and posts.

Turkey has threatened to kick off a large-scale military operation on the Eastern banks of the Euphrates River in Syria.


'Not Completely Dead': Erdogan Says Deal With US Regarding Manbij Is Delayed

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said last week that the United States was delaying The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) withdrawal from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, thereby failing to implement Washington's joint plan with Ankara.

Since August 2016, Manbij has been controlled by Kurdish groups that liberated it from terrorist organizations, including the Daesh, which took it over in January 2014.

In June 2018, Turkey and the United States adopted a road map envisaging the US-backed YPG withdrawal from the city and passing control over Manbij to the Turkish and US troops. The Turkish government has long been seeking the YPG withdrawal from Manbij over security concerns, as it regards the YPG as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, listed as a terror organization in the country.

According to Reuters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Hurriyet newspaper Tuesday on the flight back from his visit to Hungary that the deal between Turkey and the United States regarding the Syrian town of Manbij was delayed "but not completely dead".

Since June 18, the Turkish and the US-led coalition's forces have been carrying out independent patrols in Manbij. On Tuesday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the US and the Turkish servicemen had started training for their further joint patrolling.

Turkey has been repeatedly claiming that the YPG's presence near its border hampers its national security. Earlier this year, it conducted an offensive against the Kurdish militia in Syria's northern border city of Afrin. Ankara is also currently engaged in an operation to eliminate Kurdish strongholds in northern Iraq.


Pompeo: Releasing Pastor Would Be 'Important Step' for Improving US-Turkish Ties

American Pastor Andrew Brunson is scheduled to appear on October 12 in a Turkish court regarding his detention over allegations of involvement in the 2016 coup. Earlier this month, Brunson’s attorney appealed to the Turkish Constitutional Court demanding that his client be released from house arrest.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told an audience at a Jewish security institute that it would be an important step in improving US-Turkish relations if Ankara released American Pastor Andrew Brunson at his next court hearing on Friday.

"It’s an important step," Pompeo said on Wednesday when asked how the release of Brunson would affect overall US-Turkish relations. Pompeo said he was hopeful Brunson and his wife will soon be able to return to the United States. "It is the right thing for them to do, it is the humanitarian thing for Turkey to do."

Brunson's arrest significantly dampened US-Turkish relations. The pastor was detained in 2016 over his alleged ties to the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, which Turkey holds responsible for orchestrating the failed military coup of 2016. The pastor was released from prison in late July, only to be moved to house arrest.

The United States later imposed sanctions on Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, accusing them of human rights violations.

Another wave of tensions between the two countries occurred following the decision of US President Donald Trump to authorize the doubling of previously imposed import tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively. The US move resulted in the Turkish lira hitting a historic low. Turkey in response to the US decision increased tariffs on 22 types of US goods worth $533 million. In particular, the country introduced higher levies on US cars, alcohol, fruit, cosmetics and tobacco.


US Army Reinvigorates Military Base in Largest Energy-Rich Region in Eastern Syria

Farsnews

Smart news reported that the US army dispatched a convoy of vehicles, carrying arms and ammunition and military hardware to Eastern Deir Ezzur.

It went on to say that the convoy included 300 trucks and 30 armored military vehicles, adding that the convoy was sent to a US-run base near al-Tanak oilfield in Eastern Deir Ezzur, which is one of the largest energy fields in Syria.

A Syrian state paper reported on Monday that the Russian Army deployed more troops in Southeastern Deir Ezzur near regions that are controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) amid intensifying tensions between Moscow and Washington.

Syria's state-run al-Watan daily reported that the Russian military stationed more troops in the town of al-Mayadeen and in the small town of Mahkan in Southeastern Deir Ezzur.

In the meantime, militant-affiliated sources said that a large volume of Russian army equipment has been sent to al-Mayadeen and Mahkan and Russian soldiers have deployed in different positions near SDF's strongholds.

Also, al-Watan said that deployment of more Russian troops in Deir Ezzur came after tensions between Moscow and Washington over the Deir Ezzur region went high.

Russia has on many occasions criticized occupation of oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzur by the US and its militant allies and called several times for expulsion of the occupiers from the Eastern Banks of the Euphrates River, it added.


https://sputniknews.com/russia/2018...hibition-artifacts-from-terrorist-held-areas/

Syria and Russia plan to jointly restore artifacts retrieved from terrorist-held areas of the Middle Eastern country and display them at an exhibition in Moscow, Qassim Mohammed, the head of the classical art department of the National Museum of Damascus, said.

Around 500 items, representing 12,000 years of Syria’s history, are currently on display at "The Recovered Treasures of Syria" exhibition held in Al-Assad culture and arts center in the Syrian capital.

Mohammed, who is the curator of the exhibition, told reporters that the majority of the artifacts had been restored after they had been retrieved by the museum workers, adding that Syrian museums hoped for the support from colleagues working in the Russian Hermitage museum and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in the restoration of other items.

"We already have an agreement that after the Russian specialists help us restore the artifacts, we will hold an exhibition of the recovered treasures of Syria in Moscow, in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts," Mohammed pointed out.

The Syrian servicemen have been tasked with finding museum exhibits stolen by terrorists and returning them to museums, Mohammed added. According to the exhibition curator, the soldiers have recovered over 20,000 artifacts, while around 9,000 of them are being preserved in the National Museum.

"It is a very unusual exhibition of the recovered items. All the artifacts were found on the territories that had been under the terrorists’ control … When we have collected a large number of such findings, we decided we should demonstrate them to the public. This is how the idea of such an exhibition emerged," Mohammed pointed out.

Mohammed noted that the most part of the recovered items was restored in Syria while two of them were restored by specialists in Italy.
 
"Они" готовятся всерьез.


СМИ: Истребители США испытали на Украине возможности ЗРК С-300
11 октября 2018
07:27


Translation
"They" are preparing seriously.

Mass media: fighters of the United States experienced in Ukraine, the possibility of s-300
11 October 2018
07:27.

A joint U.S.-Israeli delegation secretly visited Ukraine to study the characteristics of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems that are in service with the country. It is reported by the Vietnamese news service Soha News.
According to the publication, the Ukrainian experts told the delegation about the tactical and technical characteristics of the S-300 country and offered to send American and Israeli fighters to Ukraine, which would evaluate the capabilities of the system during the exercises.
Given the fact that Russian and Syrian units are deployed in Syria, which are armed with s-300 systems, the US authorities decided to send 18 fourth-generation f-15C Eagle fighters to Ukraine. From Israel came the pilots, who on American machines have experienced the possibility of S-300.
At the same time, it is noted that Kiev was able to convince its Western partners that the characteristics of the anti-aircraft missile systems available in Ukraine are not fundamentally different from those that Moscow supplied to Damascus.
The Vietnamese edition concludes that the analysis of the capabilities of the S-300, due to interaction with the Ukrainian side, convinced the Israeli military leadership of the invulnerability and advantage of stealth fighters of the fifth generation F-35 Lightning II in a collision with the Syrian S-300.
As reported by Colossal, according to military experts, the Israeli side understands the danger of modern Russian s-300 in Syria for its air force. "This is a modern highly effective means of air defense, allowing to effectively solve problems that could potentially arise in the middle East region," said, in particular, the editor — in-chief of the national defense magazine Igor Korotchenko. - S-300 and S-400 are adapted for search, detection and, if the situation requires, the destruction of fifth-generation aircraft created using stealth technology. Therefore, if The f-35 will come from the threat and it will be recognized as a hostile target, the aircraft of this type will be guaranteed to be destroyed."

СМИ: Истребители США испытали на Украине возможности ЗРК С-300: EADaily
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Recognizing the illegally-annexed Golan Heights as part of Israel would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Russia’s foreign minister has said, in an apparent rebuke to an appeal made by Israel’s prime minister.

2018-10-11 - Netanyahu wants world to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory, Russia says go to UNSC
Netanyahu wants world to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli territory, Russia says go to UNSC

Recognizing the illegally-annexed Golan Heights as part of Israel would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Russia’s foreign minister has said, in an apparent rebuke to an appeal made by Israel’s prime minister.

Changing the status of the Golan Heights would be a “direct violation” of United Nations Security Council resolutions which dictate the international community’s stance on the disputed territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted.

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan, Syrian territory seized by Israel fifty-one years ago.

“Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me, the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said during an inauguration of a synagogue in the Golan Heights.

In August, Netanyahu expressed hope that Washington would recognize Israel’s claim to the territory, but US National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that “there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government.”

Israel seized part of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War of 1967.

In 1981, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, unilaterally proclaimed the occupied land to be part of the Jewish state. The declaration was swiftly declared illegal by the UN Security Council.


2018-10-11 - Russian military thwarts terrorist attempt to kidnap families of pilots in Syria
Russian military thwarts terrorist attempt to kidnap families of pilots in Syria

The Russian military recently uncovered a terrorist sleeper cell that belonged to the outlawed Jama’at Al-Tawheed wal-Jihad in the western part of Siberia’s Tomsk Region, the Federal Security Service (FSB) announced on Wednesday.

According to the FSB, the jihadist group was responsible for carrying out attacks in Syria against the government forces, while also recruiting members in the Tomsk Region.

Led by their National Guard and FSB, the Russian military arrested several members of this terrorist group after they discovered the latter was preparing to kidnap the families of pilots currently deployed in Syria.

The FSB said that they were able to track the terrorist group’s movements using Telegram, while also penetrating their cell in the Tomsk Region.


2018-10-11 - US planes warned about Russian jamming threat in eastern Mediterranean
US planes warned about Russian jamming threat in eastern Mediterranean

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a warning to U.S. planes flying in the eastern Mediterranean region due to the increased threat of Russian electronic warfare systems disrupting their flights, IHS Janes reported today.

According to the IHS Janes report, the FAA posted a notice to airmen (NOTAM) on October 9th, warning them to “be aware of possible loss of GNSS [global navigation satellite system] signal within Beirut FIR [flight information region] due to unforeseen reason”.

The report added that the threat was posed after the Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced on October 2nd that his military was deploying their electronic warfare systems in Syria again.

While U.S. flights do not fly over Syrian airspace, there are many airports in the eastern Mediterranean that are used by several airlines.


2018-10-11 - Syrian Army gives jihadist rebels until Oct. 15 to leave west Aleppo
Breaking: Syrian Army gives jihadist rebels until Oct. 15 to leave west Aleppo

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has reached their tipping point in west Aleppo after the jihadist rebels launched another attack on the provincial capital from their positions at the city’s outskirts.

According to a military source in Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army’s Republican Guard announced via loud speaker that Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and their allies have until October 15th to withdraw from the Al-Zahra Association Quarter or else they will be launching a large scale operation.

Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and their jihadist rebels have launched several attacks on the west Aleppo districts from their positions in the Al-Zahra Quarter in the past, prompting the Syrian Arab Army to concentrate their elite forces at this front.

The source added that the Syrian Arab Army wants the jihadist rebels to completely withdraw from the Al-Layramoun Quarter, which neighbors several government areas in northwest Aleppo.

Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham will not likely withdraw from west Aleppo without any pressure from the Turkish Army, who is currently positioned at the nearby town of Daret Izza.

However, the Turkish military does not appear to be pressing the jihadists to leave, as they have launched several attacks on west Aleppo since the Idlib buffer zone deal was announced.


2018-10-11 - Jihadist rebels refuse to withdraw forces from Idlib buffer zone – report
Jihadist rebels refuse to withdraw forces from Idlib buffer zone - report

Militants from the terrorist organizations Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra* and are not willing to withdraw their forces from the demilitarized zone in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, as Turkey has not provided the guarantee of their security, the Al Watan newspaper reported on Thursday, citing sources.

The sources close to the armed groups operating in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib told the Al Watan newspaper that Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations, including the Turkistan Islamic Party* and Haras al-Din, would not leave the demilitarized zone as they had not received sufficient guarantees of security for their foreign members from Turkey. They specified that some of the foreign contract fighters were denied access to their home countries.

According to the sources, Ankara failed to provide these guarantees as it is concerned over the foreign contract fighters’ possible fleeing to Turkey and the consequent deterioration of the security situation there.

The sources went on to say that Turkey was concerned over possible direct confrontation with the radical organizations, and it was willing to extend the terms of armed groups’ withdrawal from Idlib and pursue talks with their leaders.


10 October، 2018 - Turkish regime cuts down olive trees in Afrin to open road leading to Liwa Iskenderun
Turkish regime cuts down olive trees in Afrin to open road leading to Liwa Iskenderun – Syrian Arab News Agency

The Turkish regime and it mercenaries from terrorist organizations have been continuing their attacks on the locals’ properties since their invasion of Afrin area in March.

Sources at Aleppo governorate told SANA reporter that the Turkish authorities and the councils appointed by the Turkish regime are continuing to cut down the olive trees in order to open a road leading between Afrin area and Liwa Iskenderun via Hammam village, 25km west of Afrin area to enable trucks to transport olive and other items from Syria, which constitutes an act of pillage against national wealth and property.

Establishing an illegal land crossing comes as an alternative to Bab al-Hawa and Atmeh border crossings to cover the illegal trade based on the theft of the Syrian crops in the area along the Turkish border, especially Afrin area.

Local sources affirmed that the so-called Jinderes Local Council has issued a circular preventing the farmers from picking olives except under an official permit in the context of its aggressive practices against the locals and seizing their properties.


2018-10-11 - US military sends new military aid to Syria’s Kurds
US military sends new military aid to Syria's Kurds

Huge convoy sent by the International Coalition has entered the Syrian territories as Washington continues to back a Kurdish group in northeastern Syria.

The convoy consists of more than 300 trucks carrying armored vehicles, ammunition and logistics, destined for the Syrian Democratic Forces SDF.

The trucks made it into the SDF-controlled territories through Faysh Khabur border crossing which links northeastern Syria to Kurdistan.

The newly-arrived military aid aim at supporting the Kurdish forces in its fight against the Islamic State terror group.


Monday, 08 October 2018 - Moscow: Idleb must eventually return to the Syrian state’s control
Moscow: Idleb must eventually return to the Syrian state’s control

Moscow - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said that Idleb will inevitably return to the Syrian state, SANA reported.

Speaking to Sputnik on Monday, Vershinin said that Idleb in the end must ‘get back under the control of the Syrian state’, pointing out that the agreement on Idleb, which was reached in Sochi, is being implemented and the atmosphere has changed for the better.

He added that the agreement generally prepared conditions to stimulate the political process, indicating a possibility to reduce the suffering of citizens in Syria and mainly in Idleb where terrorists maintain a stranglehold on the civilian population, creating intolerable conditions for them.

The Russian diplomat said Moscow considers the task of removing heavy weapons and extremist groups from Idleb “possible”, adding that the separation of terrorists and “opposition” is a complex issue.

He noted that the Turkish side is working in this direction under the Sochi agreement on Idleb , and Moscow wants to see good results in this regard.


(Comment - Pompeo is crawling on all-four's ... again!)

October 11, 2018 - US’ Pompeo: ‘We want the whole Middle East to look like Israel’

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/2...nt-the-whole-middle-east-to-look-like-israel/

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday that “Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward” and that US-Israel relations are “stronger than ever”.

Speaking at an award ceremony held by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America in Washington DC, Pompeo hailed Israel as “democratic and prosperous”, adding “it desires peace, it is a home to a free press and a thriving economy,” Arutz Sheva reported.

Pompeo then compared Israel to Iran, citing the latter’s “corrupt leaders [who] assault the human rights of their own people and finance terrorism in every corner of the Middle East”. Pompeo lamented that the US administration under former President Barack Obama “had more respect for the leaders of Iran than it did for the State of Israel,” stressing that:

Under President Trump’s leadership, the United States is standing where it should firmly be: On the side of Israel.

Pompeo also discussed the long-awaited US peace initiative – dubbed the “deal of the century” – hailing it as a “truly historic” effort to reach an agreement. Pompeo said that “we [the USA] are very hopeful that one day the Palestinian people will have the same kinds of things, the same material, the same opportunities that the people of Israel have,” according to the Jerusalem Post. Pompeo added “We very much want you [the Palestinians] to have a space.”

Yet the Secretary of State also admitted that despite this “hope” for a Palestinian “space”, he had that same day denied a $165 million transfer of aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) citing the PA’s “funding of terror”. Pompeo was referring to the PA’s refusal to adhere to US demands to cease so-called “martyr payments” to the families of those killed by Israeli occupation forces or those incarcerated in Israeli prisons. Other countries have also put pressure on the PA, with Israel enacting a law to withhold $130 million per month of tax revenue collected on behalf of the PA unless it ceases these stipends and Australia cutting its aid to the PA.

Though US-Israel ties have historically been strong, under President Donald Trump’s administration these ties have reached new heights. Last week the largest ever US aid package to Israel – worth $38 billion over 10 years – entered into force. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the US and Israel in 2016 under the Obama Administration, but State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert hailed the deal as reflecting “the enduring and unshakable commitment of the President [Trump], this Administration, and the American people to Israel’s security”.

Trump has also spearheaded the so-called “deal of the century”, a peace initiative he hopes will solve the decades-long situation in Israel-Palestine. Last month the president expressed support for the two-state solution for the first time since entering office. He explained: “I like two-state solution. Yeah. That’s what I think… that’s what I think works best. I don’t even have to speak to anybody, that’s my feeling… I think two-state solution works best.” Despite such attempts to appear even-handed, the US has been criticised as a dishonest broker in any peace negotiations, with many believing the “deal of the century” will be biased towards Israel and put Israel’s “security” before any measures beneficial to the Palestinians.
 

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"Они" готовятся всерьез.

СМИ: Истребители США испытали на Украине возможности ЗРК С-300: EADaily

СМИ: Истребители США испытали на Украине возможности ЗРК С-300
11 октября 2018
07:27


Translation
"They" are preparing seriously.


Mass media: fighters of the United States experienced in Ukraine, the possibility of s-300
11 October 2018
07:27.

A joint U.S.-Israeli delegation secretly visited Ukraine to study the characteristics of the S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems that are in service with the country. It is reported by the Vietnamese news service Soha News.
U.S & Israel use Ukraine to Get S-300 Secrets - Fort Russ

A joint US-Israeli delegation visited Ukraine to seek information on several important weapons, including the Russian S-300 complexes recently established in Syria, since after the fall of the USSR, Kiev inherited about 250 units of the S-300.

In response to the supply of the S-300 air defense systems to Syria, the United States sent 18 fourth-generation F-15C Eagle fighters to participate in military drills in Ukraine, while Israel dispatched several F-16 fighter pilots to try to “test” the S-300, reported Khang Minh, the author of the article published in Soha News .

According to the media, the analysis of the S-300’s capabilities in collaboration with the Ukrainian side has convinced the Israeli military command of the invulnerability and supposed advantage of fifth-generation F-35 fighters if they encounter the S-300 positioned missiles in Syria.

The US F-15C Eagle fighters first arrived in the territory of Ukraine on October 6. According to official statements from Kiev and Washington, these airplanes are allegedly involved in the Clear Sky 2018 international exercises. The event is attended by military personnel from nine countries, eight of which, except Ukraine, are members of NATO.

In early October, Moscow completed the delivery of 49 components of the S-300 anti-aircraft defense systems to Syria. This measure was taken after the accidental downing of the Russian aircraft by the Syrian anti-aircraft defense, according to the official story. The aircraft was allegedly used as a shield by the Israeli Air Force and resulted in the death of the 15 military personnel on board.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu noted that deliveries of these systems to Damascus were suspended at the request of Israel in 2013, but now the situation has changed, and it was not Russia’s fault.

It is unsurprising to see Ukraine collaborate with the US and Israel to work against Russia as they continue their path to become the next lackeys of NATO.


US warship docks in Israeli port for first time in 20 years (video)

The USS Ross became the first United States warship to dock in Israel in nearly 20 years on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boarded the guided-missile destroyer, stationed in Ashdod, to mark the occasion.

In a short speech, Netanyahu called the visit “significant” and symbolic of “deep alliance” between Israel and the US.

“President [Donald] Trump has given full support to our policy and that this destroyer is visiting here today is an expression of that American support,” the Israeli leader added.



Netanyahu says US Navy's visit shows support of Israeli military action in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Thursday that the U.S. Navy’s visit at Ashdod Port was a message of support for his country’s military action in Syria.

“We are determined to act to defend ourselves against the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and against its proxies,” Netanyahu stated, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.

“President [Donald] Trump gave full support to this policy of ours, and the fact that this destroyer is visiting here today is an expression of that American support. I think that message has been received through the Middle East,” he added.

Earlier today, the U.S.S. Ross reached the Ashdod Port in the eastern Mediterranean, mark the U.S. Navy’s first visit to Israel in 19 years.


'S-300 Destruction' Delayed: Israel Halts F-35I Flights Over Engine Malfunctions Problem

The Israel military announced on October 11 that it had halted all F-35I flights following the crash of a U.S. F-35 in South Carolina last month. The move followed similar steps by the Pentagon.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) revealed in an official statement that the F-35B crash was caused by a technical malfunction in the engine’s fuel pipe. According to the statement, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, commander of the IAF, decided to take additional precautions and conduct tests on all F-35I aircraft, despite the accident having occurred in a model not used by Israel.
“The testing will take several days and once completed the planes will return to full operations … In the meanwhile, if the F-35I are required for operational action, the F-35I aircraft are ready and prepared,” the IAF said in its statement.​
Last May, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin said that the IAF used its version of the F-35 in operational missions, striking at least two unspecified targets in the region. The Israeli announcement marked the first time the F-35 had been used in an actual combat situation.

Capabilities of the Israeli F-35Is gained additional media attention when Syria received S-300 long-range air defense systems from Russia. Some Israeli top officials even said that the IAF will began using the stealth multirole fighters to attack targets inside Syria.

However, now it appears that the IAF will have to wait additional time before its F-35Is will be able to challenge the increased Syrian air defense capabilities.


Saudi Arabia Claims S-300 Delivery Is Not Contributing To Solving Syrian Crisis

On October 11, Saudi Arabia ambassador in Jordan Khalid bin Turki Al Saud said that the delivery of advanced S-300 air defense systems to Syria will not help to end the war there. Bin Turki also claimed that the real problem in Syria is the Damascus government.

“I believe that the problem is not the presence of the S-300 systems, the problem is the presence of the Syrian regime. Russian arms deliveries to Syria will not help solve the Syrian crisis,” Bin Turki told the Russian news agency Sputnik in an interview.​
The Saudi ambassador went on to accuse the Damascus government of violating human rights and said that the current leadership shouldn’t have a saying in Syria’s future.

“Those who govern Syria now have crossed the red lines in the human rights issue and we, as well as many other states, believe it impossible that they have their say in the future,” the ambassador said.​
Saudi Arabia abandoned its hostile stand on Syria after the beginning of the Russian military campaign there in 2015. However, the Saudi ambassador statements lead to speculations that the kingdom may be planning to escalate the situation once again in order to pressure Iran.


Israel Thanks US for Recognizing its 'Right' to Attack Pro-Iran Forces in Syria

Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General Yuval Rotem has thanked US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his public recognition of the partner nation’s "right" to attack pro-Iranian forces in Syria.

"Israel will never allow #Iran and its terrorist proxies in #Syria & Lebanon to endanger Israel's sovereignty and people," Rotem tweeted.

Addressing the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) on October 10, Pompeo reiterated the US administration’s "unwavering support" for Israel.


In particular, Pompeo claimed that Israel had the sovereign right to "target Iranian-backed militias" in Syria, and pledged that the United States would continue to stand up for this right.

Over the last two years, Israel has struck Syria on multiple occasions, claiming that it targets Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah. The nation has vowed to continue its air raids, despite the crash of the Russian Il-20 off the Syrian coast, which Moscow blamed on Tel Aviv and subsequent deliveries of Russia’s S-300 air defenses to the Arab Republic.


Strategic nuclear forces’ drills held in Russia

Russian submarines and long-range aircraft held drills to live-fire missiles from the Barents and Okhotsk Seas

The Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces were put on alert for drills on order from President Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"The exercise of the Strategic Nuclear Forces was held on October 11, 2018 on order from Russian President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin," the statement reads.

According to the Defense Ministry, Russian submarines and long-range aircraft held drills to live-fire missiles from the Barents and Okhotsk Seas.

"Ballistic missiles were live-fired from submarines, along with the launches of airborne cruise and aircraft missiles from the Barents and Okhotsk Seas, including by long-range aircraft, which took off from the Engels, Ukrainka and Shaikovka airfields," the ministry said in a statement.

The statement also said that Russia’s missile early warning system had detected all the launches of ballistic missiles from submarines in drills and the data on the launches was transmitted to command posts.

"The unified space system and ground-based radar stations have timely detected all the launches of ballistic missiles from submarines," the ministry stated. "The data on the launches was transmitted to the posts of controlling the state and the armed forces in accordance with the established procedure."


PressTV-Russian nuclear forces hold drills on Putin's order

Russia’s strategic nuclear forces have staged major military drills in the country’s territorial waters, practicing a wide range of nuclear attack and defense scenarios under President Vladimir Putin’s direct order.

"The exercise of the Strategic Nuclear Forces was held on October 11, 2018 on order from Russian President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin," the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday.​
The war games saw Russian submarines operating from bases in the Barents and Okhotsk Seas live-fire submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to test the force’s ability to act in times of conflict.

Russia’s long-range aircraft also took part in the drills, firing a range of missiles and munitions, including nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

"Ballistic missiles were live-fired from submarines, along with the launches of airborne cruise and aircraft missiles from the Barents and Okhotsk Seas, including by long-range aircraft, which took off from the Engels, Ukrainka and Shaikovka airfields," the ministry said in the statement.

According to the statement, Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system detected all of the SLBM launches from submarines and successfully transmitted the data to command posts.

The exercise came on the heels of the “Vostok-2018” (East-2018) war games between September 12 and 17, which saw some 300,000 troops, thousands of vehicles, fighter jets, and warships test their readiness for battle.

The exercise, described by Russia’s Defense Ministry as the country’s largest drills since the end of the Cold War, also incorporated contingents from China and Mongolia.

The NATO military alliance has condemned Russia’s recent drills as rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”

This is while the US-led pact has often held military maneuvers near Russia’s western borders, amassing advanced military hardware and specialized forces in the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The alliance is currently in preparation for a joint exercise with Georgia in March 2019.

Russia said Wednesday that it would spare no efforts to safeguard its borders.

"We will be appropriately responding to that massive exercise, as it is being held near our borders," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told state-owned TASS news agency.


WATCH: Russia tests its NUKES in large-scale drills

The Russian military has tested components of its nuclear deterrence, including land-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-armed submarines and strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs, intended for retaliation against enemy attack.

All three components of the Russian nuclear triad were involved in the exercise on Thursday.


The ministry released footage of the drill, which shows naval missile launches and the deployment of Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3 and Tu-160 bombers carrying missiles.


[..]


Russian defense chief arrives in Uzbekistan to attend CIS defense ministers’ council

On October 12, a session of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers will take place in Tashkent

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has arrived in Tashkent, where he will take part in the session of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers, Shoigu’s Press Secretary Rossiyana Markovskaya told reporters on Thursday.

"On October 12, a session of the Council of CIS Defense Ministers will take place in Tashkent under the chairmanship of Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu. Delegations of defense ministries of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will participate in the event," Markovskaya said.

According to her, the ministers will discuss the issues of multilateral cooperation in the sphere of security and defense. "It is planned to take stock and agree on joint events for the next year, including those dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War," the press secretary stressed.

She also informed that the parties would exchange opinions on the situation in the Asia-Pacific Region, and priority goals for combating international terrorism.


Syrian Army Repels ISIS Attack On Western Bank Of Euphrates River

On October 11, ISIS cells launched a surprise attack on several positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies on the western bank of the Euphrates River in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside, according to Syrian opposition sources.

A source in the SAA told the Syrian al-Masdar News blog that the SAA repelled the attack and forced ISIS fighters to withdraw to their positions on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. According to the pro-government blog, the SAA lost six soldiers and killed ten terrorists while repelling the attack.

The US-led coalition and its proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are supposedly conducting a military operation against ISIS on the eastern bank of the river. This raises the question of how the terrorist group cells managed to cross the river and launch the attack without being noticed by the coalition.

Local observers believe that ISIS fighters were planning to open a route through the government-held area in order to withdraw towards the eastern Homs desert, where hundreds of terrorists are hiding.


PressTV-US-backed YPG says holding 900 Daesh militants in Syria

A US-backed Kurdish militant group says it is holding around 900 foreign members of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria.

Militant spokesman Nuri Mahmud said on Thursday the so-called People's Protection Units (YPG) had rounded up thousands of Daesh members during the last few years.

"Around 900 Daesh terrorists are in our jails... from 44 countries," said Mahmud whose tally is a sharp rise from the figure of 520, given by another Kurdish official last month.

Nuri said Kurdish authorities have repeatedly called on the home countries of the militants to take them back. "Most countries have been flouting their responsibility," he added.

Syrian Kurds also hold 550 women and around 1,200 children from the families of Daesh members, he said.

A King’s College London study earlier estimated that around one fifth of Daesh's militants were residents or nationals of Western Europe.

In June, the Daily Telegraph said the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Western-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants, had released foreign Daesh elements, including Europeans, back to the Takfiri terrorist group through secret prisoner swap deals.

The daily cited people with knowledge of the talks between the two sides and relatives of those detained as saying that the SDF had struck three agreements with Daesh to exchange terrorists and their families with its own captured members.

Senior officials in Damascus have accused Washington of using Kurdish militias, now that other US-backed militant outfits have lost ground on the battlefield.

Last September, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that American aircraft in Syria were transporting Daesh terrorists to other places presumably to be later used in those areas.

The US has been conducting airstrikes against what it says are Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.

The US and its allies have repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians and drawn criticism over their failure to destroy Daesh, which they claim to be fighting.

On multiple occasions, Moscow has complained about what it says are friendly ties among US-backed militants, US special forces and Daesh terrorists with the aim of slowing the advances of the Syrian army.


US responsible for dire condition of Rukban camp refugees — Russian general

The general urged the US to provide humanitarian access to the camp, help refugees to return home as well as close the military base

The head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria has blamed the US for the dire condition of 70,000 refugees in the Rukban camp in the southeast of Syria.

"We think it is necessary to reiterate that the above mentioned refugee camp is located close to the American military base in the area of Al Tanf settlement," Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko told a briefing on Thursday.

"It was the US that banned entry into the 55-kilometer base around their base to Syrian government structures and humanitarian organizations," he said. "As a result, the Syrian government and the Russian reconciliation center have no possibility to organize the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the Syrian nationals in the Rukban camp," Savchenko said.

The general urged the US to provide humanitarian access to the camp, help refugees to return home as well as close the military base.

Earlier, Russian military said bases of terrorists trained by American instructors were situated in the closed area.
 

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US Trying to Create Quasi-State East of Euphrates With Help of Allies – Moscow

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Washington was keeping the situation in Syria tense, so no-one can be certain of what happens next, adding that this kind of strategies "never ended up well".

According to the Russian minister, the US aims to use its allies in order to create a quasi-state east of the Euphrates River, establishing illegal structures in the region.

“To the east of the Euphrates river, there are vast lands where absolutely unacceptable things happen. The US is trying to use these territories through their Syrian allies, particularly, the Kurds, in order to create a quasi-state there,” he stated.

He noted that the US is encouraging refugee resettlement in the territories under their control, undermining the peace process in the country.

“This is all going on despite the fact that in territories that are under the control of the legitimate Syrian government, neither the United States, nor France, nor other Western countries want to create conditions for the return of refugees until, according to the West, a credible political process begins. The question is why they, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River which is controlled by the United States and their local associates, do not have to wait until the beginning of a credible political process,” the minister added.

The diplomat also commented on the Idlib agreement with Turkey, underlining that is was temporary.

"The agreement is in fact temporary. The end of this story will be only when the power of the Syrian people is restored in the whole country and all those who are in Syria, especially those who have not been invited there, will leave this territory. This is clear to everyone," the minister said.

The US-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against Daesh* targets in Syria since 2014. The coalition's mission was neither approved by Damascus nor the UN. Currently, about 2,000 US troops are deployed in Syria.

*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia, the United States and many other countries


PressTV-Iran’s presence in Syria none of Israel’s business: Russia

A senior Russian official has dismissed the Israeli regime’s demand that Iran be forced out of Syria, saying that the issue is none of Tel Aviv’s business as it is Syria’s sovereign right to authorize Iranian forces on its soil.

“Syria is a member of the United Nations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that the Arab country “has equal rights” over its self-determination with Russia, the US and any other member of the UN.

“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” he noted in an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released Thursday night.

That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East.

He went on to say that Moscow had already explained to Israel and the US that “this is a sovereign decision for Syria who should be on their territory.”

“They asked us and the Iranians to be there. The Iranians have said repeatedly on many levels that Syria asked them to help them in the fight against terrorists, and when Mr. Assad tells them that their mission is accomplished and they are no longer needed, they will leave Syria, just like us.”

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.

However, over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

In the latest Israeli airstrikes on Syria a few weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all 15 people on board, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.

Shortly after the attack, Russia delivered a modern version of its S-300 missile defense system to Syria in a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Plane crash changed rules of the game

In his interview with i24NEWS, Bogdanov underlined that the Israeli pilots’ fault in that incident totally changed the rules of the game.

“The rules of the game were violated when Israeli pilots used a Russian aircraft for cover, knowing how it threatened the Russian crew,” he noted.

“You can imagine what would have happened if 15 Israeli officers had been killed through our fault,” he said.

Netanyahu's UN theatricals on Iran nuclear site

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bogdanov mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrical performance at the United Nations, in which he used placards with satellite pictures to make claims about a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran.

“It’s naive to think that only one country and only one secret service knows something that nobody else knows," Bogdanov told i24NEWS, refuting allegations leveled by the Israeli PM about an atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, a village close to Tehran.

“It’s the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is supposed to check this. It is a professional and serious organisation. It has authority and legitimacy," he said, adding that the IAEA can inspect any site at any time under the agreement it has with Iran.

"To tell the whole world they have something, and show pictures, maybe some people like this and it helps him, maybe it’s intended to score points and for internal consumption," Bogdanov noted.

“Speaking seriously... Israel should have taken a different approach and not worked with journalists and with what we call ‘megaphone diplomacy’," he noted.


PressTV-Erdogan threatens new incursion into northern Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested that Turkey could soon launch a new incursion across the border into northern Syria.

Erdogan's address to a military ceremony honoring Turkish commando soldiers on Friday renewed his threat to expand Turkey's military operations into areas east of the Euphrates River held by US-backed Kurdish militants.

"God willing, very soon...we will leave the terror nests east of the Euphrates in disarray," Erdogan said.

Turkey invaded Syria in 2016 and 2018, occupying areas west of the Euphrates. The country associates Kurdish militants with anti-Ankara separatists, who have been fighting a deadly decades-long war against the country.

It has locked horns on several occasions with the US, which has been generously arming and training the militants under the pretext of fighting Daesh terrorists who have been driven out of much of the territories under their control in Syria.

Most recently, Turkey deployed forces to Idlib Province in the Euphrates River's western side as part of a joint operation with Russia to create a buffer zone.

Syria regards the presence of Turkish troops as illegal and wants them to leave its territories.

Ankara's agreement with Russia forestalled an imminent offensive to liberate Idlib where several Turkish-backed militant groups are based.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the Russian-Turkish deal to avert a military offensive in Idlib is a "temporary one" that prevented bloodshed but that his government's goal is to restore control over all of Syria.

Turkey and Russia have voiced alarm at US massing of heavy weapons in support of Kurdish militants on the eastern site of the Euphrates.

Erdogan said recently that "the biggest threat to Syria's future lies in the nests of terror to the east of the Euphrates," citing the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which are supported by the US.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last month that “the main danger to Syria’s territorial integrity originates from the eastern bank of the Euphrates, where independent and autonomous structures are created under the direct control of the United States.”


Turkish Army Continues Reinvigorating Positions in Idlib

Farsnews

The Arabic-language Turk Press claimed that the Turkish army has sent a military convoy to Northern Syria after the terrorist groups evacuated their heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone.

It added that the convoy consisted of 20 trucks, carrying 20 cement blocks, that entered the Turkish army-held regions in Idlib province.

The report said that each cement block is four meters long, and added that the Turkish army will continue sending military convoys to the regions under its supervision in Idlib.

The Turkish media have reported evacuation of heavy weapons from demilitarized zone as the Syrian media sources said that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) has demanded Turkey delay its retreat from the weapons-free zone mentioned in the Sochi Agreement until October 20.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the terrorist groups in Aleppo and Idlib on Wednesday as saying that Tahrir al-Sham has not evacuated its heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone, adding that they have hidden their tanks, artilleries and missile-launchers.

They added that Tahrir al-Sham has informed the Turkish intelligence agency that it will not withdraw from the weapons-free zone because of a lack of agreement on areas to be held by the Ankara-backed militants which are due to host Tahrir al-Sham.

According to the report, Tahrir al-Sham has called for continued negotiations and demanded Turkey to hold talks with Russia to give militants some more time for withdrawal until October 20.

A Russian media outlet reported on Wednesday that the terrorist groups continued to fortify positions and dig more tunnels and trenches in Northeastern Lattakia in flagrant violation of the Sochi Agreement.


No withdrawal for jihadists in northern Latakia as they fortify front-lines (video)

It doesn’t look like the jihadist rebels in northern Latakia are planning on adhering to the new buffer zone agreement, as they were spotted raising new trenches near the Syrian Arab Army’s front-lines.

Based on new footage obtained by the Sputnik News Agency, the jihadist rebels of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) raised new trenches around the key town of Kabbani, which is supposed to be a part of the new buffer zone agreement that was established in Sochi on September 17th.

This move by the Turkestan Islamic Party indicates that they have no intent on withdrawing from the area, despite repeated threats from both the Turkish and Russian forces.

As shown in the footage below, the Syrian Arab Army was monitoring the jihadist forces very closely in the Kurdish Mountains.

A source from the Syrian Arab Army told Al-Masdar shortly after the Sochi agreement that their troops were still planning on launching the Latakia offensive because they do not believe TIP and their allies from Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham would adhere to any ceasefire.


Syrian military crowds west Aleppo as they prepare to launch offensive if jihadists don't leave

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops in the Aleppo Governorate have begun gathering in the western part of the city, a military source told Al-Masdar News from the provincial capital on Friday.

According to the military source, the Syrian Arab Army has made it clear to the jihadist rebels in west Aleppo that if they do not leave the Al-Zahra’a Association Quarter by October 15th, they will face a large-scale attack from the government forces.

This military build-up by the Syrian Army comes just 24 hours after they announced via loud speaker in west Aleppo that the jihadist rebels have until October 15th to leave Al-Zahra’a.

Due to the new Idlib buffer zone deal, which is believed to stretch to the Aleppo Governorate, the jihadist rebels are to withdraw from all areas that were established in the Sochi Agreement on September 17th.

However, the jihadist rebels have yet to make any significant withdrawal from any part of the buffer zone, prompting the Syrian Army to remain on high alert in several areas.

The Al-Zahra’a Association Quarter in west Aleppo has often been a staging point for jihadist attacks on the provincial capital and its surrounding area.


Kurdish Media: Kurdish Delegation Arrives in Damascus to Resume Talks with Gov't

Farsnews

The Kurdish-language Basnews quoted an informed source as saying that Ilham Ahmed has traveled to Damascus after a short visit to Moscow, and met with special security adviser to the Syrian president Ali Mamlouk.

According to the report, during his visit to Moscow, Ahmed had held meetings with the Russian foreign ministry, negotiating on talks with Damascus and the Syria case.

According to pervious reports, the Kurdish militia and Damascus authorities have, thus far, held several round of talks on surrendering SDF-held regions to the government.

The predominately Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had formed a negotiating delegation in July to resume talks with the Syrian government after a series of recent talks on the delivery of control of SDF-held regions to the Damascus army, well-informed sources reported.

The SDF-affiliated Syria's Democratic Council held a conference participated by Kurdish militias and representatives of Syria-based opposition groups in the town Tabaqa in Western Raqqa.

Hekmat Habib, a member of the presiding board of the council, said that resumption of negotiations with Damascus is among the aims of the conference.

He further said that the newly-formed delegation will represent the entire Kurdish-held regions, including Rarqqa, Deir Ezzur and Manbij in talks with the Syrian government.


PressTV-Amnesty ‘shocked’ by ruin caused by US strikes in Raqqah

Amnesty International’s new Secretary General Kumi Naidoo says he has been shocked by the horrific destruction and utter human devastation left by the US-led campaign in Syria’s northern city of Raqqah.

“What I saw in Raqqah shocked me to my core. The city is a shell, bombed-out buildings, very little running water or electricity, the stench of death hanging in the air. That anyone is still able to live there defies logic and stands as testimony to the remarkable resilience of the city’s civilians,” Naidoo said after his field visit to Raqqah.

“Attacks by the US-led coalition not only killed hundreds of civilians but also displaced tens of thousands, who are now returning to a city in ruins, while many others languish in camps,” he added.​

The US has been conducting airstrikes against what it says are positions of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.

The US and its allies have repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians and drawn criticism over their failure to destroy Daesh, which they claim to be fighting.

Raqqah fell in the hands of US-sponsored Kurdish militants last year after they managed to drive Daesh terrorists out of the city. They have refused to hand back the control of Raqqah to the Syrian government.


Remains of More US Victims Found in Raqqa

Farsnews

Media activists reported on Wednesday that the corpses of 8 people were unearthed from a mass grave in Panorama in the Southern parts of Raqqa city.

They added that at least 20 bodies have been found in the past 2 days, noting that they belong to the civilians killed in the US airstrikes and attacks by the Washington-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) when the region was occupied by the ISIL.

A Russian media outlet reported on Tuesday that more than 1,500 victims killed in the US air raids and its allied militants were buried in the largest mass grave in Raqqa city in Northeastern Syria,.

The Arabic-language website of Russia's state news agency, RT, reported that the largest mass grave of civilians is in Panorama in Raqqa city with over 1,500 bodies of victims killed in the US air raids or in the Washington-backed militants' attacks when the city was under ISIL's rule.

In the meantime, the Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that Raqqa Civil Team has thus far discovered 11 mass graves, adding that excavations have completed in 8 mass graves.

Also, the remains of the victims of the US air raids are being taken out from under the ruined buildings' debris is in the city.
 

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Oct. 12, 2018 - US to plunge into dangerous game in Syria with unified Kurdistan gambit, warns Lavrov
US to plunge into dangerous game in Syria with unified Kurdistan gambit, warns Lavrov



Top diplomat does not rule out the United States is "seeking to keep the situation in the region that tense so that no one could calm down".

The United States is bound to plunge into a dangerous game in Syria with idea of a unified Kurdistan, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RT France, Paris Match and Le Figaro.

"Neither the United State nor France nor other Western countries want to create conditions for the return of refugees on the territories that are controlled by Syria’s legitimate government until <…> a reliable political process is launched," the Russian Foreign Ministry quoted him as saying.

In the meantime, the United States is establishing power bodies in alternative to the Syrian legitimate authorities on a vast territory east of the Euphrates and is taking robust efforts to encourage the return of refugees there, Lavrov noted.

"The question is why it is not necessary to wait for the launch of a reliable political process on the Euphrates east bank that is controlled by the United States. There is only one answer to it - it is planned to establish a territory that would be a kind of a prototype of a new state. Or it will be another round of the most dangerous game with Iraqi Kurdistan, the idea of the so-called unified Kurdistan," he said.

"I don’t rule out the United States is seeking to keep the situation in that region that tense so that no one could calm down," the Russian top diplomat said. "It is much easier for them to fish what they want in such trouble waters. It has never done any good," he stressed.


Oct. 12, 2018 - US Congress passes legislation to impose new sanctions against Hezbollah
Breaking: US Congress passes legislation to impose new sanctions against Hezbollah

The US Congress has passed legislation to impose new sanctions on Hezbollah and nations that support its terrorist activities, US Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said in a press release on Friday.

“This legislation… imposes additional sanctions on Hezbollah, and targets those foreign nations, government agencies and foreign companies or individuals who would support its terrorist activities by knowingly providing arms, recruitment services and combat or financial support to its terrorist activities,” Crapo said.

The bipartisan bill — the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act — will now head to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law, the release said.

Hezbollah operates a military wing that battled Israel during the latter’s invasions of Lebanon. Hezbollah’s military wing is currently active in Syria, where it is fighting on behalf of the government of President Bashar Assad.

Israel considers Iran-backed Hezbollah to be one of its main adversaries in the region and has pledged to counter its missile program.


Oct. 13, 2018 - Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo come under shelling over last 24 hours — Russian Defense Ministry
Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo come under shelling over last 24 hours — Russian Defense Ministry

"In spite of the cessation of hostilities regime, violations are ongoing by illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone," Vladimir Sanchenko said.

Over the past 24 hours, militants have violated the ceasefire several times in Syria’s Latakia region and in some districts of the city of Aleppo, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, said on Friday.

"In spite of the cessation of hostilities regime, violations are ongoing by illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone. For example, in the past 24 hours, shelling was documented in the populated localities of Safsada (twice), Iqqo, Rois-Almilq, Ruyset-Iskander in Latakia, the western outskirts and Castello districts in the city of Aleppo," he said.

Savchenko added that in the past 24 hours, the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides distributed 1.29 tonnes of aid consisting of 300 food kits and 300 pieces of warm clothing in Kodna, Quneitra province.

"In the Sahra Awad district of the city of Aleppo, a humanitarian mission was organized when people in need received one tonne of fresh bread. In Aleppo’s districts - al-Suryan, al-Mualimin, al-Jebel, Balalat, and al-Kalas - 15 families, who are in a dire social situation, were given 15 food and hygiene kits," Savchenko said.
 

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Russia has information on upcoming chemical weapons provocations in Idlib — envoy

Russia has obtained intelligence that militants are plotting provocations with the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian province of Idlib, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin told TASS on Friday.

"Yes, of course. [Russia has information]. The information comes constantly," he said.

"We have held several meetings at the OPCW [the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons]. I applied to the Technical Secretariat and handed them detailed information about a provocation in the Idlib province. We know surnames of the armed opposition leaders and the number of barrels with chlorine," Shulgin said.

"We were hoping that the Secretariat would raise its voice, but it had never happened," the ambassador added.

According to Shulgin, the provocations are highly likely, regardless of the fact that "the creation of a buffer zone and militants’ pullout from Idlib are under consideration."

"At any moment, the militants might get involved in something," Russia’s permanent representative said. "This threat is real and it is still looming."

Russia has reiterated that members of the non-governmental organization White Helmets were getting ready to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians. Their aim was to pin the blame for the chemical weapons attacks on the Syrian government forces and to justify the Western countries’ strikes on Syria.

In September, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and the White Helmets were making preparations to fake a chemical weapons attack and for this purpose, the banned nerve agent sarin had been transported to the Idlib province.

The September 17 talks between the Russian and Turkish Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Russia’s Sochi yielded an agreement to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib, along the contact line between government troops and the opposition by October 15. At Ankara’s initiative, it is planned to withdraw the opposition’s tanks, multiple missile launcher systems, artillery systems and mortars from this zone by October 10. Control in this zone will be exercised by mobile patrol groups of Turkish troops and unites of Russian military police.

Idlib is the only large region in Syria that is still controlled by illegal armed groups. In 2017, a northern de-escalation zone was established in Idlib to give shelter to militants and their families who are reluctant to voluntarily surrender arms.


OPCW's attributive mechanism directed against Russia — diplomat

Russia's Permanent Representative to OPCW Alexander Shulgin said it will turn the organization into a "quasi-prosecution body"

Endowment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with attributive functions is directed against Russia, Permanent Representative to OPCW, Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin told TASS on Friday.

Attributive functions pertain to tasking the organization with determining those responsible for the use of chemical weapons. "This will be directed against Russia. Western countries [that promote this measure] do not know themselves yet how this mechinsm will work," Shulgin said. "They want to do it in a format that will be maximally detrimental and painful for Russia," he added.

"It is not even clear to whom the OPCW Technical Secretariat will report its findings. Some say [they will report] to the International Criminal Court, others say to the so-called impartial mechanism of investigating serious crimes in Syria which was established by the UN General Assembly," Shulgin said. "It's important for them to launch the process now, and the specifics will be developed later," he noted.

The West's main goal is to get a budget for this from the OPCW, the diplomat said. "They don't care whether it will be 5 million, 2 million or 1 million [euros]. They want to launch the process. It's clear that this will not be limited to Syria, the main effort will be directed against Russia," Shulgin stressed.


This will turn the organization into a "quasi-prosecution body," the diplomat continued. "Will legal experts work there? This has nothing to do with the purpose of the Chemical Weapons Convention," he concluded.

Fact-Finding Mission on Syria

When accusing Russia and the Syrian government of hampering the operations of the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria (FFM), the UK is losing its ability to objectively assess their own actions, Shulgin said.

Commenting on recent statements by the UK envoy to OPCW, Shulgin said: "One can only think of a well-known Russian proverb - 'don't blame the mirror for your crooked face'. It seems that on the wave of never-ending accusations against Russia, our British colleagues have lost their ability to objectively assess their own actions. They should take these conclusions on board themselves, so that they do not hamper the activities of experts from the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria, and so that they stop imposing their will on them [experts]."

"Of course, the Mission is working exceptionally bad - they don't go to incident sites, they investigate from the distance and make their conclusions on the basis of materials from social networks and data provided by various biased NGOs and by the Syrian opposition," the ambassador said. "The FFM is especially attentive to reports coming from the notorious presudo-humanitarians from White Helmets," he added.

The FMM flagrantly violates the established procedures of handling evidence, the diplomat said. "At the same time, the evidence provided by the Syrian government and Russian military is almost always left out," he added.

Staff imbalance

Moscow has repeatedly raised the question of improving the Mission's work on the basis of meeting the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), Shulgin continued.

"We are also asking to establish order in issues of FMM's staff, which currently overrepresents experts from countries known as 'Friends of Syria'," he reminded. "Serious concerns about FMM's impartiality are raised by the fact that both leaders of this mission were Britons. They probably got this position for the sake of making 'right conclusions'," he noted.

Russia never jeopardized the work of Mission's specialists, the diplomat said. Moreover, Russian military police provided assistance to OPCW, in particular with the investigation in Syria's Douma.

"We will continue insisting on bringing the work of the Fact-Finding Mission on Syria in accordance with CWC, on diversifying its staff and making it geographically balanced, which is in line with practices of other international organizations," the ambassador said.



Schulgen: OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria is doing a poor job

Schulgen: OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria is doing a poor job – Syrian Arab News Agency

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Schulgen said that the staff of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in Syria is doing a poor job.

Schulgen said in a statement on Friday that the FFM is working in a poor way as they don’t go to the scenes of incidents and they are content with remote investigations as the Mission draws its conclusions based on materials from social networks and data provided by NGOs and armed groups.

He added that the FFM staff grossly violates the chain of procedures of ensuring the preservation of physical evidence and at the same time they don’t consider the evidence provided by the Syrian government and the Russian army.

Schulgen indicated that regrettably, the FFM deals with “holiness” with information provided by disreputable organizations such as the “White Helmets”.

“We have repeatedly suggested the issue of improving the work of the FFM on the basis of meeting the requirements of the Chemical Weapons agreement, and we also demand correcting the situation with regard to the FFM staff which is controlled by a number of states that call themselves the friends of Syria,” Schulgen said.

He indicated that the serious doubts about the integrity of the FFM are based on the fact that the two chairmen of it have been until recently British.


Syria’s Latakia, Aleppo come under shelling over last 24 hours — Russian Defense Ministry

"In spite of the cessation of hostilities regime, violations are ongoing by illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone," Vladimir Sanchenko said

Over the past 24 hours, militants have violated the ceasefire several times in Syria’s Latakia region and in some districts of the city of Aleppo, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, said on Friday.

"In spite of the cessation of hostilities regime, violations are ongoing by illegal armed groups operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone. For example, in the past 24 hours, shelling was documented in the populated localities of Safsada (twice), Iqqo, Rois-Almilq, Ruyset-Iskander in Latakia, the western outskirts and Castello districts in the city of Aleppo," he said.

Savchenko added that in the past 24 hours, the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides distributed 1.29 tonnes of aid consisting of 300 food kits and 300 pieces of warm clothing in Kodna, Quneitra province.

"In the Sahra Awad district of the city of Aleppo, a humanitarian mission was organized when people in need received one tonne of fresh bread. In Aleppo’s districts - al-Suryan, al-Mualimin, al-Jebel, Balalat, and al-Kalas - 15 families, who are in a dire social situation, were given 15 food and hygiene kits," Savchenko said.

Apart from that, 120 basketball uniforms and 40 balls donated by Russia’s basketball club Lokomotiv Kuban were given to children at Aleppo’s stadium.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.


Breaking: Syrian Army uncovers mass grave filled with bodies of women and children in rural Hama

Breaking: Syrian Army uncovers mass grave filled with bodies of women and children in rural Hama

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) uncovered a mass grave in rural Hama this evening while combing through areas that were previously occupied by the Islamic State (ISIS).

According to a military source in Hama, the Syrian Arab Army uncovered a mass grave containing tens of corpses.

The source said the grave contained the bodies of women and children who were executed by the Islamic State (ISIS) during their 2015 offensive in the Salamiyah countryside.

He added that the grave was filled with beheaded bodies near the Aqareb Dam, which was a stronghold for ISIS during the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive against them in 2017.

No further details were released at this time.


Trump using Iranophobia to sell American munitions to Arab states: Nasrallah

PressTV-‘Trump knows no bounds in blackmailing Arab states’

The secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement says US President Donald Trump knows no limits in his efforts to blackmail Arab states of the Middle East region through the Iranophobic language.

Addressing his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Friday evening, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Trump’s latest remarks that Iran planned to take control of the Middle East in just “12 minutes” were meant to lure regional rulers into paying him exorbitant sums of money in return for preserving their regimes.

“As (the late founder of Iran's Islamic Revolution) Imam Khomeini said the US government is an administration of thieves. It is a regime of theft. Former US presidents were also thieves but did not perpetrate their misdeeds blatantly. The incumbent one, however, robs Arab leaders and humiliates them at the same time,” Nasrallah pointed out.​
“Trump shows no respect for ethics, human rights and justice in his remarks. We are witness to a US regime, which does not shy away from using the language of contempt and humiliating anyone, albeit it might be their friend and ally,” he said.​

The Hezbollah chief further noted that Trump views the Islamic Republic of Iran as a great and strong establishment, while considers all Arab states buying billions of dollars worth of weapons from him as fairly feeble that cannot last on their legs for more than 12 minutes without his support.

“Trump is making use of the anti-Iran rhetoric in a bid to sell billions of dollars worth of American munitions and military hardware to Arab rulers,” he said.​

Nasrallah then advised Arab leaders to reconsider their reliance on American statesmen, saying, “The United States is the same country, which denied the deposed Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a visa for cancer treatment. This came despite the fact that he used to be a long-time US ally in the region.”

“Arab leaders would better allocate the billions of dollars that they are paying Trump to solving their own nations’ problems,” the Hezbollah secretary general commented.

He also scoffed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s allegations about Hezbollah’s secret weapons sites, stressing that his movement’s policy is to maintain vigilance and not to respond to such trumped-up charges.

“Denial of Israeli allegations would be a free favor to the Tel Aviv regime,” Nasrallah said.​

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hezbollah chief stated that he has on occasions demanded the quick formation of a new unity government in Lebanon.

“I assure you all that neither Iran nor Syria does interfere in the formation of the future Lebanese government,” Nasrallah concluded.​


Breaking: US Congress passes legislation to impose new sanctions against Hezbollah

Breaking: US Congress passes legislation to impose new sanctions against Hezbollah

The US Congress has passed legislation to impose new sanctions on Hezbollah and nations that support its terrorist activities, US Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo said in a press release on Friday.

“This legislation… imposes additional sanctions on Hezbollah, and targets those foreign nations, government agencies and foreign companies or individuals who would support its terrorist activities by knowingly providing arms, recruitment services and combat or financial support to its terrorist activities,” Crapo said.

The bipartisan bill — the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act — will now head to US President Donald Trump to be signed into law, the release said.

Hezbollah operates a military wing that battled Israel during the latter’s invasions of Lebanon. Hezbollah’s military wing is currently active in Syria, where it is fighting on behalf of the government of President Bashar Assad.

Israel considers Iran-backed Hezbollah to be one of its main adversaries in the region and has pledged to counter its missile program.

Source: Sputnik
 

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US Coalition Strikes Syrian Town Using Banned White Phosphorus - Reports

The reported strikes are not the first time that the US-led coalition has been accused of using the banned munitions in recent weeks. Last month, the Russian military reported that US strikes using white phosphorus had resulted in major fires and civilian casualties in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor.

The strikes, taking place Saturday across multiple districts in the town of Hajin, Deir Ez-Zor province, included the use of white phosphorus, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has reported, citing local sources.

The agency did not provide any immediate information about possible civilian casualties.

Syrian television station Ikhbariya later reported that several people had been killed and several others injured following separate coalition strikes in al-Soussa, Deir Ez-Zor in an attack which hit a local bakery.

SANA said the strikes involving the use of white phosphorus appeared to have been carried out "under the pretext of fighting Daesh (ISIS).*"

The coalition has not yet made any official commentary regarding the alleged incident.

This week, the United Nations' humanitarian watchdog expressed concern regarding the safety of an estimated 10,000 civilians believed to be trapped in the Hajin area amid reports of civilian deaths during ongoing SDF and coalition operations in the area against Daesh.

Saturday's incident was not the first suspected use of white phosphorus by the US-led coalition. Last month, the coalition denied using the substance in Syria after the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation issued a report of airstrikes carried out using the internationally-prohibited weapons by US F-15 fighter jets on September 8. Damascus has repeatedly accused the coalition of using white phosphorus in its attacks, charging Western forces of using the agent in strikes which have led to the deaths of multiple civilians, including children, last year.

Under Geneva Conventions, white phosphorus munitions are prohibited for use against civilians or in civilian areas.

US-led coalition operations in Syria are not sanctioned by Syrian government, nor the UN.

*Daesh is a terrorist group banned in Russia.


Int'l Coalition's Use of White Phosphorus Must Be Probed by UN, OPCW - Lawmaker

The US-led international coalition's reported airstrikes in Syria with the use of banned white phosphorus munitions must be investigated at the level of the UN Security Council and OPCW if the reports are confirmed, the Russian parliament's lower house’s defense committee member told Sputnik.

"First of all, the authenticity of the information has to be reverified. If it is confirmed, then without a doubt, a relevant request has to be immediately submitted to the the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) when the information is obtained so that a relevant internal investigation is conducted; the issue must be brought to the attention of the UN Security Council," Yuri Shvytkin, deputy chair of the Russian parliament's lower house’s defense committee told Sputnik on Saturday.

In turn, Alexei Kondratyev, deputy chair of the Russian upper house's defense committee, told Sputnik that if the United States used banned weapons, it must be held accountable.

"White phosphorus is prohibited by international law, especially in settlements where civilians may be affected. If these data is confirmed, the United States must be held accountable for this," Kondratyev said.

He also stressed that the incident requires international investigation.

In addition, a member of the Russian parliament's upper house's defense committee, Frants Klintsevich, said that the OPCW should look into reports on the incident as soon as possible.

"Of course, I do not call on the OPCW to accuse the international coalition led by the United States of the use of white phosphorus in Syria only citing SANA's reports. This fact needs to be verified, which is what this organization should do immediately," he wrote on Facebook.

Klintsevich also noted that the fact that the OPCW had not yet commented on the reports yet might mean that the organization was politicized.

Earlier in the day, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing local sources, that the coalition conducted an airstrike in the eastern Syrian city of Hajin in the province of Deir ez-Zor on Saturday, using the internationally prohibited white phosphorus munitions; under Geneva Conventions, white phosphorus munitions are banned for use against civilians, or in civilian areas.


Syria, Israel Agree to Reopen Key Crossing in Disputed Golan Heights – US Envoy

In late September, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman signaled his country's readiness to resume normal activity at the Quneitra border crossing point, adding that "now the ball is in the Syrian court."

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that Israel and Syria had agreed to open the Quneitra checkpoint in the Golan Heights on Monday to help UN peacekeepers "prevent hostilities" in the area.

"We look to both Israel and Syria to provide UN peacekeepers the access they need as well as assurances of their safety. We also call on Syria to take the necessary steps so UNDOF [the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] can safely and effectively deploy and patrol without interference," Haley pointed out.

Her statement came a few weeks after Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Jewish state is ready to re-open the Quneitra checkpoint, the only official border crossing point with Syria.

"We see Syrian police and customs officers on the opposite side of the border, work is underway, patrols of the Russian military police are passing. […] We are ready to bring life back to normal," Lieberman said after visiting the Israeli section of the crossing in late September.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, the deputy commander of the Russian forces in Syria, for his part, said that the upcoming reopening of the Quneitra checkpoint was "preceded by significant work carried out by the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic with the assistance of the Russian Aerospace Forces."

" The work at the checkpoint was launched by the Russian servicemen, by the Russian military police. First of all, we came to the site, checked it, then proceeded with extensive work to demine the area. At the final stage, the territory's clearance was checked by the mine clearance specialists of the UN mission," Kuralenko said.

The conditions for the resumption of the checkpoint's work were created after Syrian government forces regained control over Syria's southern areas several months ago and the UN peacekeepers returned to the line of separation with Israel.

In May 1974, Israel and Syria signed a disengagement agreement after a military conflict fought mainly in Sinai and the Golan Heights.
Under the agreement, part of Quneitra province was returned to Syrian government control, although the authority of Damascus in the region was disrupted by the civil unrest which began in Syria in 2011.

In 1967, Israel took control of the Golan Heights after the Six-Day War, and in 1981, the Jewish state passed a law declaring its right to the area, a document that has never been recognized internationally.

Although it never recognized recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region, the UN brokered an armistice between the two countries in 1974, forcing Israel out of parts of the Golan Heights and the destroyed capital of the Quneitra province.

The dispute between Israel and Syria over the territory has yet to be resolved.
 

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Pentagon Says Weapons Used by US-Led Coalition in Syria Comply With Intl Norms

All weapons systems used by the US-led coalition in Syria comply with the Law of Armed Conflict, a Pentagon representative told Sputnik.

"As a matter of policy, the Coalition will not publicly discuss the use of specific weapons and munitions in operations. However, every weapons system in the US inventory undergoes a legal review to ensure the weapon complies with the Law of Armed Conflict," the representative said.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Saturday that the coalition had carried out an airstrike on the city of Hajin in Deir ez-Zor province, using the internationally prohibited white phosphorus munitions. According to Ikhbariya broadcaster, the airstrike led to civilian casualties. The use of white phosphorus munitions is banned under Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

The US-led coalition is conducting military operations in Syria against the Daesh terrorist group. The coalition's strikes have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the United Nations.

Last year, Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson told Sputnik that the US-led coalition has used white phosphorus only to screen and mark targets in Raqqa during the operation to liberate the Syrian city from the Daesh.


ISIS Kills And Captures Scores Of SDF Fighters During Large Hit And Run Attack In Southeastern Deir Ezzor (18+ Photos, Video)

ISIS fighters killed more than 28 fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and captured 8 others during a large hit and run attack in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside on October 12, according to the terrorist group news agency Amaq.

In details, ISIS fighters took advantage of the bad weather conditions and attacked several positions of US-backed forces around the towns of al-Kashmah and al-Bahrah. After overrunning theses positions, the terrorists stormed the Hajin refugee camp and several military positions around it.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that ISIS abducted over 130 families from the Hajin camp during the attack. The SDF, which is responsible for the camp, is yet to confirm or deny this.

Earlier the SDF claimed that their fighters had repelled a large-scale ISIS attack in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside on October 12. However, the video and photos released by Amaq prove that US-backed forces were manipulating the truth to hide their heavy loses.


Idlib Deconfliction Agreement Shrinks: Militants Shell Government Targets In Northwestern Hama

On October 13, radical militants shelled the town of al-Bahsa and a base of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the northwestern Hama countryside with mortars and Grad rockets in a clear violation of the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement.

A source in the SAA told SouthFront that two soldiers of the SAA were killed and another one was injured as a result of the militant shelling. Furthermore, several civilians building in al-Bahsa were damaged.

The Turkish military claimed on October 10 that all heavy weapons, including mortar canons and rocket launchers, had been withdrawn from the demilitarized zone around the governorate of Idlib. However, the shelling on northwestern Hama indicates that Turkey had lied to protect the militants.

The October 13 shelling was not the first violation of the deconfliction agreement. A day earlier, the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) destroyed a bulldozer of the SAA north of the city of Aleppo with an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

The SAA and the Russian Aerospace Forces may respond militarily to these violations. This will be especially likely if Turkey failed to force the radical militants to withdraw from the demilitarized zone before October 20.


Unknown Militant Sniper Kills Syrian Soldier in Aleppo Area - Russian MoD

According to the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation, a Syrian serviceman was shot by a sniper allied with an unidentified militant group in nearby Aleppo

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier on Saturday that the Russian side of the Russian-Turkish commission monitoring the implementation of the Syrian ceasefire has registered seven truce breaches over the past 24 hours, while the Turkish side has not recorded any ceasefire violations.

The number of areas, which signed reconciliation agreements, has remained the same and amounts to 2,518, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said Saturday. The number of armed formations claiming that they observe the ceasefire has not changed either, standing at 234.

Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and militant and terrorist organizations. Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, is a guarantor of the ceasefire regime in Syria. Moscow has also been providing humanitarian aid to residents of the crisis-torn country.

The city of Aleppo, which had long been one of the most severe battlefields in the country, was completely liberated from terrorists in December 2016 by Syrian government forces.


Weapons and ammo left behind terrorists uncovered in Damascus Countryside – Syrian Arab News Agency

Damascus Countryside, SANA- Authorities on Saturday seized large amounts of weapons and ammo which had been buried in a farm in Yelda town in Damascus Countryside.

An officer told SANA that large amounts of weapons and ammo, some of them US-made, were found buried underground inside a plastic water tank in a farm where terrorists had been positioned in Yelda town.

The seized items included DShK machinegun ammo, AK-47 clips, grenades, Dragunov and NATO sniper rifles, IEDs and improvised grenades, a LAW rocket launcher, thermal and night vision equipment, and DShK tripods, which were hidden by the terrorists shortly before they left the area and headed to Idleb.

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Russian MoD Delivers Humanitarian Aid to Al Quneitra, Syria

Russian military has delivered about a tonne of food and medicines to Nabia es-Sahr village in Syria's Quneitra province, aid delivery group chief said.

"We have come to [the village] for the first time… We must continue and increase our aid… We are always welcomed with smiles as people are happy that aid has finally arrived," Vladimir Ladeynov told reporters. Russian medical staff have also arrived in the village to provide assistance.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the international community to ensure that the process of humanitarian aid provision to Syrian civilians was not affected by politics.

In late August, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia said that the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees adopted a "passive position" on providing assistance to Syrians due to an internal UN directive, adopted in October 2017, which "impedes the involvement of United Nations agencies in efforts to rebuild Syria until political changes are in effect in that country."

As the Syrian government has regained control over most of the country's territories from under the terrorist control, it is now focused on creating favorable conditions for the refugees' repatriation. Moscow assists Damascus in bringing home those Syrians who wish to do so, provides humanitarian aid to civilians and serves as a guarantor of the ceasefire.

The Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said in July that several thousand militants agreed to withdraw from the province as part of a local reconciliation between the Syrian government and an armed opposition in Quneitra.


PressTV-Iran will keep 'effective' presence in Syria: IRGC

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the Islamic Republic will keep its military advisory presence in Syria as long as Tehran finds it "effective and useful" and as long as the Arab country's government demands it.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV, IRGC spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif said the Islamic Republic has been supporting Syria in accordance with international regulations since the beginning of the crisis in the country.

"This fabricated crisis has been led from abroad with the purpose of instigating insecurity in Syria and creating a safety margin for the Israeli regime," he added.​

Sharif reiterated that the legitimate Syrian government has called for Iran's military advisory presence and said the Islamic Republic has made efforts to share its "useful" experience with the Syrian army and people to help them defend their country.

He added that resistance of the Syrian people and government has foiled a plot hatched by Israel and its allies aimed at partitioning the Arab country to create a safety margin for the Tel Aviv regime.

However, four or five years after the beginning of the crisis in Syria, they found out that that they had failed to overthrow the Arab country's government and that they are facing with a "professional" Syrian army, the senior Iranian commander said.

He stressed that the outcome of the Syrian war marked a "big loss" for the Israeli regime.

Sharif further said during the eight-year war imposed on the Islamic Republic by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 1980s, Syria was the only country that defended Iran's legitimate rights and even provided military and advisory support to Tehran.

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said in May that the legitimate governments of Iraq and Syria have called for Iran's military advisory presence in their countries in order to help them fight terrorism.

"The ire of the US and this country's allies, who were the main creators and sponsors of Takfiri terrorism and the final losers of this battlefield, is understandable," the SNSC secretary added.

Iran, self-reliant military, defense power

The IRGC commander further said the Islamic Republic is a "self-reliant military and defense power" in the areas of training, planning and logistics.

However, the Americans seek to portray Iran's significant power as a threat to regional countries, Sharif added.

The Islamic Republic has always made efforts to remind neighboring countries that its capabilities in defense and military sectors aim to promote peace and stability in the region and counter enemies of Islam and regional Muslim nations, he pointed out.

The IRGC spokesman also responded to a question about US President Donald Trump's claim that Iran planned to take control of the Middle East in just “12 minutes.”

He said the US president is preparing the ground for milking Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and diverting their attention from the Israeli regime as the main enemy of Muslim nations.

Speaking to his supporters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on October 9, Trump said, “Look at Iran, before I got there (to the White House), Iran was going to take (control of) the Middle East in about 12 minutes, right?”

In a statement issued in August marking the anniversary of the National Defense Industry Day, the IRGC said the development of the country’s defense and deterrence capabilities is an indispensable strategy of the Iranian Armed Forces.

It added that four decades of sanctions against the country since the victory of the Islamic Revolution have proven ineffective as Iran is now “the anchor of defense power and deterrence in the region.”

Iranian nation's security, Armed Forces red line

The senior commander further emphasized that the Iranian nation's security remains the red line of the country’s Armed Forces, saying the IRGC has always taken practical measures to realize this aim.

Sharif said the IRGC always tries to boost surveillance of the activities of terrorist groups that have targeted the Iranian nation's security and the IRGC would carry out necessary and required military operations in this regard.

He added that the IRGC has repeatedly announced that it would never submit to any bid seeking to create insecurity in the Islamic Republic and would give a "crushing response" in the shortest possible time to anybody seeking to disrupt the country's security.

Saudi Arabia's efforts to attribute its defeat to Iran

Elsewhere in the interview, Sharif dismissed "contradictory" claims that the Islamic Republic is dispatching weapons to Yemen and said Saudi Arabia is attributing its defeat in nearly a long war on the Yemeni people to Iran.

Such allegations are in contradiction to the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has imposed the toughest sea and land blockade on Yemen, he added.

The IRGC commander emphasized that Yemen has been a "missile power" in the region due to its ties in the past with the former Soviet Union.

Back in March, the IRGC rejected Saudi accusations that Iran is providing missiles to Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement, saying such claims are aimed at diverting attention from Riyadh’s war crimes in Yemen.

IRGC's Deputy Commander for Political Affairs Brigadier General Yadollah Javani said that all routes to send weapons to Yemen are blocked as the country remains under a full Saudi blockade.

Saudi Arabia and some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, launched the brutal war against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has played a significant role, alongside the Yemeni army, in defending the nation.

Some 15,000 Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more injured as a result of the bloody campaign which has also left a record 22.2 million Yemenis in a dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger, according to UN statistics.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Sun Oct 14, 2018 - Turkey Issues Ultimatum to Terrorists Violating Sochi Agreement in Northern Syria
Farsnews

Ankara has announced that it will not provide backup any more for the terrorist groups that violate the Sochi Agreement, informing of the Syrian Army's possible military operation to purge the demilitarized zone in Northern Syria of the militants, a Syrian media outlet reported on Sunday.

The Arabic-language al-Watan daily quoted militant-affiliated sources as disclosing that the Turkish intelligence service has declared to all Ankara-backed militant groups, especially the National Liberation Front (NLF), Horas al-Deen and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) to continue implementation of the Sochi Agreement, and warned that Ankara will not provide support for those militant groups that continue violating the Agreement, especially with regard to withdrawal from the demilitarized zone till October 15th.

The daily went on to say that Ankara has reminded these groups that the Turkish army shoulders more important military missions apart from Idlib, specially on the Eastern banks of the Euphrates River against Kurds.

The daily further said that Tahrir al-Sham will likely withdraw from the demilitarized zone and will hand over control of its regions in Northeastern Lattakia to Turkistani Islamic Party and leave its regions in Southeastern Idlib and Northwestern Aleppo to Ajnad al-Sham and Jeish al-Mujahedeen.

Al-Watan went on to say that the Syrian Army is likely to launch a limited military operation against the terrorists that oppose withdrawal from demilitarized zone, adding that Ankara would not express opposition to such an assault.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday that Tahrir al-Sham, Turkistani Islamic Party, Horas al-Deen, Ansar al-Deen and other terrorist groups that were included in the Sochi Agreement, endorsed by Russia and Turkey, did not withdraw fighters and weapons from the zone that stretches from Northeastern Lattakia to Northwestern Aleppo.

In the meantime, the Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported that Tahrir al-Sham and Turkistani Islamic Party launched missile attacks on army positions in Northeastern Lattakia and also the army's strongholds in a region near Idlib province on Thursday.

It further said that the army units detected terrorists' positions for launching Grade missiles in Qala al-Maziq in Jabal al-Zaviyeh and in the town of Bedama in Lattakia province that are controlled by Tahrir al-Sham.

It went on to say that the terrorists have continued reinvigoration of positions on a daily basis to intensify provocative measures in the region.


Sun Oct 14, 2018 - Gaps Widening among Terrorist Groups over Sochi Agreement
Farsnews

Tensions are rising among various groups of militants in Northern and Northwestern Syria over the Sochi Agreement as the deadline for its implementation is looming, militant-affiliated sources reported on Sunday.

The sources said that violent feuds have erupted among terrorists over Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) retreat from the demilitarized zone in Northern and Northwestern Syria and start of a so-called Salvation Government in the region.

In the meantime, a commander of Free Syrian Army (FSA) said that one of the most difficult phases of implementing the Sochi Agreement is withdrawal of militants that are enlisted as terrorists from the demilitarized zone and then relocation of the terrorist groups in other regions in Idlib without their dissolution.

The FSA commander further said that another serious difference over the Sochi Agreement pertains to the administration of those territories remaining under terrorists' occupation in Northern and Northwestern Syria in the presence of a salvation government and the interim government in the region.

The terrorist groups must withdraw forces and heavy weapons from the demilitarized zone under the Sochi Agreement by October 15.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian state-run news agency, Sputnik, reported earlier today that the terrorist groups, deployed in demilitarized zone North of al-Ghaab Plain in Western Hama, launched missile attacks on army positions and residential areas in the small town of Jourin in Western Hama on Saturday afternoon.

It further said that two Syrian soldiers were killed and another one was injured in the attack, adding that the army's artillery units retaliated and opened heavy fire at terrorists' missile platforms in the villages of Tal Waset, al-Ziyarah, al-Mansourah and al-Sarmaniyah.

The region that terrorists used to launch attacks on army is an intersection point for the terrorist groups of Turkistani Islamic Party, Liwa Soghour al-Ghaab affiliated to the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front and ISIL-affiliated Ansar al-Tawhid and is located in the demilitarized zone specified by the Sochi Agreement.

The report went to say that according to the Sochi Agreement, the Turkish-Russian forces are to start patrolling in the region after terrorists' retreat from the demilitarized zone till October 15.


2018-10-13 - US seek to establish ‘quasi-state’ in Syria – Lavrov (video)
US seek to establish 'quasi-state' in Syria - Lavrov (video)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the US is seeking to establish a “quasi-state” east of the Euphrates river in Syria, during an interview for RT France, Paris Match and Le Figaro in Moscow on Friday.

“On Syrian territory there are vast lands east of the Euphrates where absolutely unacceptable things are taking place. The US are trying to use these lands through their Syrian allies – above all, through the Kurds – in order to establish a quasi-state there,” said Lavrov.

“The US are by all means illegally seeking to establish a quasi-state on this territory, trying to do everything there to create the conditions for a normal way of living for their subordinates, creating a structure of authority which is an alternative to the legitimate [structure] of the Syrian Arabic Republic and actively assisting in the return of refugees and their settlement there,” he added.

“In that region the US are as a rule trying to keep the situation in a heated condition in order that everybody is on the edge. And in such muddy waters, it is much easier for them to catch the fish they want,” said Lavrov.


Sat Oct 13, 2018 - US Sends 500 Trucks of Arms to PKK/YPG Militants in Northern Syria in One Week
Farsnews

The US administration has supplied militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG, with a sum of 500 truckloads of weapons in Syria’s Manbij in the past week alone, despite a deal between Ankara and Washington for the withdrawal of the group from the town.

The Manbij roadmap between Turkey and the US was agreed upon in June this year on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK from the town of Manbij to stabilize the region, which is in the Northeast of the Aleppo province in Northern Syria, the Turkish Yeni Safak paper reported.

The US forces in Syria’s Manbij have provided the YPG/PKK group with new construction equipment, allowing the militants to continue digging up trenches and build embankments around the town center.

As the US troops continue military and logistic transportation from Northern Iraq into Northeastern Syria, despite a deal between Ankara and Washington on the withdrawal of the terror group from the city, local sources told Anadolu Agency that the US also sent aid to YPG/PKK in the region.

Trucks, carrying four construction vehicles, were transported to Manbij. The US soldiers escorted the transfer of the construction machinery, which included 3 bulldozers and one excavator.

The YPG/PKK uses bulldozers and excavators to dig up trenches and embankments in the area.

PKK/KCK formed embankments at various depths in front of trenches to make up a series of lines stretching nearly 30 kilometers (18.06 miles).The trenches can be clearly seen in satellite photos taken by Anadolu Agency.

The YPG/PKK also built tunnels linking trenches to use during possible combat.


2018-10-14 - Jihadist rebels reinforce front-lines near Idlib buffer zone, no withdrawal
Jihadist rebels reinforce front-lines near Idlib buffer zone, no withdrawal

The jihadist rebels in the Latakia and Hama governorates have yet to leave the Idlib buffer zone, despite the fact the deadline for their withdrawal is only hours away.
According to a military source in Latakia, the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkestan Islamic Party continued raising new trenches near the key town of Kabbani, as Syrian and Russian troops observed from afar.

The source said that the entire Kabbani front has been heavily fortified by the jihadist rebels, prompting the Syrian military to believe there will be no withdrawal from the Latakia part o the buffer zone agreement.

Furthermore, the Syrian military watched as the jihadist rebels in the Al-Ghaab Plain strengthened their positions and reinforced their lines.

The deadline for the complete withdrawal of all rebel forces, including jihadists, is set for midnight on October 15th.

Thus far, some rebel groups have withdrawn from the buffer zone; however, a large number of fighters still remain in the designated de-escalation area.


2018-10-14 - ISIS terrorists parade dead and captured SDF fighters through east Deir Ezzor (Video)
ISIS terrorists parade dead and captured SDF fighters through east Deir Ezzor

The so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) released a new video this weekend that showed their forces parading dead fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces through the eastern countryside of the Deir Ezzor Governorate.

According to the terrorist group’s media wing, the Islamic State seized a large quantity of US-made weapons and killed scores of fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces after repelling their assault in eastern Deir Ezzor.

The terrorist group claimed that more than 30 fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed after two different attacks at the Shafah axis.

As shown in the video below, the terrorist group paraded the bodies of the SDF fighters through an unknown town near the Shafah axis this weekend:


Sun Oct 14, 2018 - Turkey-Backed Militants Continue Plundering Afrin Infrastructures
Farsnews

Ankara-backed militants continue looting the infrastructural facilities and plants in occupied Afrin region and are engaged in daily infighting over their share of war booties, a Kurdish media outlet reported on Sunday.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported that Ankara-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiyah militants have stolen the rail lines in Afrin region in Northwestern Aleppo, especially from the village of Maydan Akbas in Rajou region to the town of Azaz in Northern Aleppo.

It went on to say that the Ankara-backed militants of Ahrar al-Sham engaged in fresh clashes over distribution of looted olive products of farmers in Jandaris region.

In the meantime, a commander of Faylaq al-Sham, a close ally of the Turkish officials, has embarked on excavation and stealing historical artifacts from Maydanaki and Nabi Houri regions.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Saturday that governor of Turkey's Hatay called on Ankara-backed militants in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo to hand over the entire olive crops to the Turkish province.

In the meantime, Salah Ibo, the deputy head of Afrin Agriculture Department, said that Ankara intended to steal $100 mln of Afrin residents' agricultural products.

Also, Hawar news went on to say that terrorists of Ahrar al-Shamiyah and Tajamo'a Adl, both affiliated to the Turkish army, have started fierce clashes in the village of Qajomo in Jandaris region over distribution of looted olive products.

It added that residents in Jandaris are now allowed to step onto their farms after the Ankara forces seized their lands


2018-10-14 - US gives F-35 fighter jets green light to fly again
US gives F-35 fighter jets green light to fly again

Earlier this week, the United States temporarily suspended all F-35 operations worldwide after the first-ever crash of the advanced F-35 Lightning II fighter jet in September.

On Sunday, most grounded F-35 fighter jets in the US and beyond were given the green light for flight, the aircraft’s manufacturer Lockheed Martin said.

The manufacturer added that the US-made stealth planes returned to the skies after their engines were meticulously inspected, with some of the warplanes assigned for a fuel pipe replacement.

Earlier this week, Israel, Australia and Britain announced that they had decided to ground all of their fight-generation F-35 fighter jets.

The move came after the Pentagon’s F-35 Lightning II Program said in a statement that the US temporarily grounded all F-35 operations worldwide after the first-ever crash of the sophisticated fighter jet led investigators to suspect that a common problem exists with the jet’s fuel tubes.

The Defense Department, for its part, noted that any faulty fuel tubes installed on the F-35 jets will be removed and replaced, but if inspection reveals that good fuel tubes are already installed, then those aircraft will be returned to flight status.

On September 28, a Marine F-35B crashed in South Carolina due to technical failure in a jet engine fuel pipe, according to investigators.

In September 2016, the US Air Force (USAF) ordered the grounding of 15 F-35A jets after the discovery of “peeling and crumbling” coolant tube insulation installed in the wings of the jet.

The F-35’s operating coasts remain a major headache for the USAF and European customers. According to the latest Pentagon acquisition report, the cost per hour of operating the F-35 averages $30,000 compared to $25,500 per hour for the older F-16.


12 Oct 2018 - F-22s Left Behind at Tyndall During Hurricane Likely Damaged: Air Force
F-22s Left Behind at Tyndall During Hurricane Likely Damaged: Air Force

The U.S. Air Force anticipates that a number of F-22 Raptors left behind at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, during Hurricane Michael were damaged by the storm, an official said Friday.

"A number of aircraft were left behind in hangars due to maintenance or safety reasons, and all of those hangars are damaged," Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said in a statement. "We anticipate the aircraft parked inside may be damaged as well, but we won't know the extent until our crews can safely enter those hangars and make an assessment."

Neither the extent of the damage nor how many fighters were left behind was disclosed.

Officials also did not describe what maintenance was taking place that led officials to leave the jets at Tyndall instead of moving them to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where other F-22s from the 325th Fighter Wing moved earlier this week.

The damage could hamper operations for the already dwindling Raptor fleet as the Defense Department aims to restore its fighter readiness rates.

While some aircraft have come out of active status for testing purposes, the Air Force has 183 of the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-22s in its inventory today. More than 160 belong to active-duty units; the remainder are with Air National Guard elements. Four aircraft were lost or severely damaged between 2004 and 2012.

The Pentagon last estimated the F-22 unit cost at $139 million in 2009, roughly $163 million in today's money. The last F-22 was delivered in 2011. But in a classified report submitted to Congress last year, the Air Force estimated it would cost "$206 million to $216 million per aircraft" should it ever want to restart the production line for newer, more advanced F-22s.

The DoD said that would amount to approximately "$50 billion to procure 194 additional F-22s."

Roughly 120 fifth-generation stealth Raptors are combat-coded, or authorized to perform in wartime operations, at any given time. But the platform's mission-capable rate has decreased over the years.

According to Defense News' fiscal 2017 statistics, F-22s had a 49.01 percent mission-capable rate, meaning less than half were flyable at any given time. In 2014, more than three-quarters of F-22s were deemed mission capable.

The Pentagon wants to increase readiness rates for the F-22, F-16, F-35 and F/A-18 to 80 percent by next September -- a 31 percent bump for the Raptor alone.

In July, the Government Accountability Office said the F-22 is frequently underutilized, mainly due to maintenance challenges and fewer opportunities for pilot training, as well as the fleet's inefficient organizational structure.

Just this week, an F-22 at Alaska's Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson made an emergency landing on a base runway. Photos showed the jet, from the 3rd Wing, leaning on its left side, which the Air Force said was the result of a landing gear malfunction.

The latest incident comes months after an F-22, also assigned to JBER's 3rd Wing, experienced engine failure April 6 during a routine training flight at Tyndall. Days preceding the engine failure, another F-22 experienced a belly skid at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.


October, 14, 2018 - F-22 Raptors Stealth Fighters Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricane Michael (+Video)
F-22 Raptors Stealth Fighters Damaged or Destroyed by Hurricane Michael (+Video) - Tasnim News Agency

The advanced F-22 Raptor stealth fighters of the US air force were damaged or destroyed at Tyndall Air Base after they took direct hit by Hurricane Michael in Florida.

An unknown number of aircraft, including the multibillion F-22 Raptor stealth fighters, were damaged when the devastating Hurricane Michael mauled Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, the US Air Force has confirmed.

US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense News that some jets were parked inside Tyndall's hangars due to maintenance or safety reasons, and all of those hangars were hit by one of the most intense hurricanes ever to have slammed into the shore of the United States.

The Air Force was unable to identify the number of aircraft damaged and to say which models were impacted.

Aerial footage showed extensive damage to the Florida base, including an upended jet on static display.

* 11 Oct 2018 - Tyndall Air Force Base Suffers Severe Damage in Hurricane, Remains Closed
Tyndall Air Force Base Suffers Severe Damage in Hurricane, Remains Closed
 
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