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

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The U.S. needs to stop playing by Israel's dictates and rules and release the chains that bind? (!!!) Another case of ...

U.S. drops reference to 'Israeli-occupied' Golan Heights in annual rights report
FILE PHOTO: A couple look towards signs pointing out distances to different cities, on Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen


The U.S. State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled"
in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday.

... so Israel can pull off this scheme ...

Israel says Hezbollah suspect in U.S. troop deaths now active on Golan
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. solider shows a picture of  Ali Mussa Daqduq (L) during a news conference at the heavily fortified Green Zone area in Baghdad July 2, 2007. REUTERS/Wathiq Khuzaie/Pool (IRAQ)/File Photo


Israel on Wednesday accused a suspected Lebanese Hezbollah operative who was previously held in Iraq over the killing of five U.S. military personnel of now setting up a Syrian guerrilla network for cross-border attacks on Israeli targets.

The accusations against Ali Mussa Daqduq came as Israel seeks U.S. recognition of its claim of sovereignty over parts of the Golan Heights,
a strategic plateau on the Syrian frontier, which it captured in a 1967 war and deems a key security buffer.

With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reasserting control after an 8-year insurgency, Israel has also been lobbying his big-power backer Russia to keep Hezbollah and Damascus’ other Iranian-aligned reinforcements away from the Syrian-held parts of Golan.

Israel’s acting foreign minister was quoted as saying such U.S. recognition would be “an appropriate” response to what he said was increased Hezbollah activity on the Golan.

In statements based on what it described as previously classified intelligence, the Israeli military said Hezbollah had mobilized “a few operatives, Syrians” as part of a new “terror network on the Syrian Golan Heights aimed at striking Israel”.

The military said it believed Daqduq to be the network’s mastermind.

Iraqi Detention -
Daqduq was released from detention in 2012 in Iraq, where he had been accused by the United States of orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping that resulted in the killing of five U.S. military personnel.

The United States had handed Daqduq over to Baghdad in 2011 after failing to secure a custody deal ahead of the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Iraq. Washington said it had received Baghdad’s assurances Daqduq would be prosecuted, but he was later cleared by an Iraqi court and repatriated to Lebanon.

There was no immediate response to Israel’s allegations on Wednesday from Hezbollah, Syria or the U.S. and Russian embassies in Israel.

U.S. diplomats have said they are in talks with Israel about its request to recognize its sovereignty on the Golan, a status that has yet to win any formal endorsement among world powers.

Israel’s Mako news site quoted acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz of saying that such recognition by the United States would be “an appropriate and required response” to the allegations about Hezbollah’s activity on the Syrian Golan.

“I hope that this will soon happen, during the prime minister’s upcoming visit to Washington,” Katz was quoted as saying. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to address the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC in the U.S. capital in late March.

In the past, Russia has spoken in favor of other foreign forces leaving Syria, though it plans to keep a garrison there.
Israel claimed on Wednesday that their military had uncovered a Hezbollah cell near the border of the occupied Golan Heights.
2019-03-13 - Israel claims new Hezbollah network along Syrian border

Israel claims new Hezbollah network along Syrian border


According to a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), their military uncovered the Hezbollah network inside the Syrian province of Al-Quneitra, which borders the occupied Golan Heights.

“The network is new and currently focused on becoming familiarized with the Golan Heights area. It is intended to eventually control teams of Syrian operatives who will launch attacks against Israel,” the IDF said in a statement, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

The IDF says the Hezbollah is focused on the border region, near the provincial capital of the Al-Quneitra Governorate.

Furthermore, the Hezbollah network is believed to stretch from the provincial capital to the Druze town of Hader, which is located near the cross-border Druze town of Majdal Shams.

The commander of the IDF’s Golan Division, Brigadier General Amit Fisher, said the military “will act with all our might to force this terrorist organization out of the Golan Heights and ensure the stability of the region.”

Last month, the Israeli Defense Forces attacked the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) positions inside the Al-Quneitra Governorate.

This attack resulted in the death of a few soldiers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), thus revealing the group’s presence near the demilitarized zone.

The Russian Aerospace Force has destroyed a weapons depot belonging to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terror group (also known as Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia) in the Syrian province of Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
March 13, 2019 - Russian Aerospace Force destroys terrorist weapons depot in Syria’s Idlib

Russian Aerospace Force destroys terrorist weapons depot in Syria’s Idlib

© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defense Ministry's Press and Information Department/TASS

A pinpoint airstrike was carried out on March 13 in coordination with Turkey.The airstrike "targeted a weapons depot belonging to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) terror group in the city of Idlib," the ministry said.

"According to information confirmed through several channels, militants earlier brought a large number of combat unmanned aerial vehicles to the facility, which they planned to use for attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base," the statement adds.

A thing to note is that Russia’s military facilities in Syria have on numerous occasions been attacked with unmanned aerial vehicles.

On January 6, 2018, militants carried out a large-scale drone strike on the Hmeimim air base and a naval facility in Tartus. The Russian military either destroyed or took control of the UAVs used in the attack. A Defense Ministry source noted at the time that "the programming of systems to control unmanned aerial vehicles and drop GPS-guided munitions requires completing engineering studies in a developed country."

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said, in turn, that the drones involved in the January 2018 attack on the Hmeimim base were run from a US Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft. When the drones were confronted by Russian jamming systems, they went to manual mode controlled from the US aircraft.

The Russian Air Force has unleashed a massive assault across the Idlib Governorate this afternoon, targeting several areas under the control of the jihadist rebels near the provincial capital.
March 13, 2019 - Russian Air Force unleashes massive assault across Idlib

Breaking: Russian Air Force unleashes massive assault across Idlib

Led by the Sukhoi jets, the Russian Air Force heavily bombarded several bases and storage facilities belonging to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham near Idlib city.

The source said the Russian Air Force managed to hit their targets in the Idlib Governorate, causing several explosions in the process.

He would add that the Russian Air Force is likely to keep bombarding the jihadist sites the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) prepares to launch their long-awaited offensive in northern Hama and southern Idlib.

Russian Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov and its convoy passed through Gibraltar and crossed into the Mediterranean Sea as part of its long-range operational cruise, the Northern Fleet press service told TASS on Tuesday.
2019-03-12 - Russian Navy enters Syrian waters for new mission

Russian Navy enters Syrian waters for new mission


“A squadron of ships and logistics vessels of the Northern Fleet including the frigate Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Gorshkov, the multifunctional logistics support ship Elbrus, the salvage tug Nikolay Chiker and the medium-sized sea tanker Kama passed through the Strait of Gibraltar last night and entered the Mediterranean Sea,” the press service announced.

In the coming days, the squadron will continue to perform its Mediterranean long-distance deployment objectives.

The U.S. military’s 2020 budget will see over $550 million allocated to training and developing forces inside Syria, a new report from the Department of Defense read this week.
2019-03-13 - US spending $250 million to build border security force in Syria
(... but Trump can't get funding for OUR Border?)
US spending $250 million to build border security force in Syria


During a presentation by the Department of Defense, a reporter asked about the inaudible money that is going to be used to train a border security force inside Syria, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw most of the American forces from the country.

“So as we know, this year the fight against ISIS in Syria is rolling out, and that the U.S. forces are pulling out of Syria, but we see that still the budget allocates $300 million for Syrian training (inaudible) program and then $250 million for the border security of that — in that country.

Can you explain how this (inaudible) money will be used and who the U.S. is going to train, as the U.S. is already pulling out and the fight against ISIS is coming to be over?”

In response to the question, two officials gave their take on the funding:

DEPUTY COMPTROLLER MCCUSKER:
I’ll start and then let General Ierardi comment. I think what you’re seeing in our budget is a reflection as, you know, an updated part of the strategy on sort of where we stand in defeating ISIS, but also continued emphasis on our second line of effort, which is our — our partnerships and our allies and their critical role in, you know, maintaining the — the gains that we’ve achieved in that area.

LT. GEN. IERARDI: I think we’ll adjust as appropriate as we move forward. As we built this — this budget, it was based on the information at the time, still is an important part of the overall request and we’ll — we’ll adjust as — as necessary.

The U.S. is planning to build a new security force in northern Syria, which will ultimately be tasked with protecting the area along the Turkish border.

U.S. sees Turkish offensive in Syria as unnecessary: U.S. official
The United States is not discussing a Turkish offensive in northeast Syria with Turkey
and believes no such operation is needed
to address Ankara's security concerns, a U.S. official told Reuters on Wednesday, dismissing media reports to the contrary.
 

goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
we’ll adjust as — as necessary
Not too much stammering going on there...and they can't even spell unauditable (probably spell check issue since inauditable does not work). Just a stupid rant I know.

During a presentation by the Department of Defense, a reporter asked about the inaudible money that is going to be used to train a border security force inside Syria, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw most of the American forces from the country.

Unauditable is not in the dictionary yet but maybe needs to be. I guess you could just say "can not be audited".

The link above is an old article from 2011 but shows the money tracking problem still goes on...

I remember my shock when I first heard the word “unauditable.” About a decade ago, one of my sources called the DOD hotline to report major fraud in DOD accounting. After many delays and vague letters from the DOD IG, he finally received a letter saying that they could not investigate his fraud because the DOD was unauditable. That, unfortunately, was not the only time I have seen this excuse
And even worse “unauditable” applies to the Federal Reserve (which is Federal in name only). The Federal Reserve creates the U.S. fiat currency and is also “unauditable”.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
And even worse “unauditable” applies to the Federal Reserve (which is Federal in name only). The Federal Reserve creates the U.S. fiat currency and is also “unauditable”.
:lol2: Giggle! The U.S. fiat currency is also "un-worth-able"! (That's not in the Webster's Dictionary, either?)
It's Fiat-flat! :phaser: The metal in a copper penny is worth more!


Today, March 15 - marks "the eighth Anniversary" of the Syrian civil war.

U.N. raises $7 billion for Syria from donors
Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah attends an international peace and donor conference for Syria, at the European Union Council in Brussels, Belgium March 14, 2019.  REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

The United Nations won almost $7 bln in aid pledges for Syria on Thursday, overcoming fatigue among donors after eight years of civil war and sidestepping divisions over how to deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

DAMASCUS: Syria on Friday accused donors who pledged aid to help its citizens displaced by the country’s eight-year war of “hypocrisy” as they continue to impose sanctions on the regime.
March 13, 2019 - Syria slams ‘hypocrisy’ of donors

Syria slams ‘hypocrisy’ of donors

Damascus says the sanctions have contributed to a fuel crisis in the country, which on Friday marked the eighth anniversary of its civil war. (AP)

International donors — led by the European Union — meeting on Thursday in Brussels pledged nearly $7 billion in aid for 2019 for civilians caught up in the conflict. But European powers stressed progress on a UN-led peace process must come before they release funds to rebuild Syria — though they no longer insist President Bashar Assad must go.

“The hypocrisy of the discourse of the officials of some countries taking part in the Brussels conference is both laughable and angering,” a source at the foreign ministry said.

EU sanctions have deprived “the European Union of any credibility when it speaks about helping Syrians and alleviating their suffering,” state news agency SANA quoted the source as saying.

The source criticized what it called the “deliberate and systematic politicization of the humanitarian issue and attempts to use it through conferences like these to continue to exert pressure on Syria and compound the crisis.”

It slammed the conference for not inviting the Damascus government, calling it the “main concerned party” in the matter.

Since late 2011, the 28-member bloc has imposed sanctions on 277 Syrian officials including Damascus ministers over their role in the “violent repression” of civilians.

It has frozen the assets of some 72 entities and introduced an embargo on Syrian oil, investment restrictions and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets within the European Union. The United States has also imposed a flurry of sanctions against Syrian officials, and had worked to hamper oil shipping to Syria.

Damascus says the sanctions have contributed to a fuel crisis in the country, which on Friday marked the eighth anniversary of its civil war.

An escalation of heavy air and artillery strikes on Idlib in northwestern Syria on Wednesday night has raised doubts over the future of the Astana deal between Turkey, Russia and Iran.
March 14, 2019 - Idlib bombing raises doubts over future of Astana agreement

Idlib bombing raises doubts over future of Astana agreement

Turkey had already been discussing extending patrols to Tal Rifaat, in northern Aleppo. (AFP)

Moscow claimed the bombing of Syria’s last rebel stronghold had been coordinated with Turkey, but this was denied by Ankara.

Under the deal, Turkey was expected to persuade rebel groups to remove heavy weaponry from a designated buffer zone, and convince hard-line groups, including Al-Qaeda affiliated Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), to withdraw completely from major highways as part of a “de-escalation” process.

But HTS fighters remain in place, controlling 80 percent of the region, and criticism of Ankara for failing to honor its part of the agreement is becoming more acute.

Some experts see the bombing as a sign that Moscow is turning the screw on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, either to assume more responsibility or renegotiate the terms of the deal.

Turkey had already been discussing extending patrols to Tal Rifaat, in northern Aleppo, with the Russians after Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced similar cooperation would happen in Idlib.

“Perhaps Moscow is trying to raise the stakes to get constructive talks with Ankara on Idlib and find a solution to the future of HTS,” Anton Mardasov, military affairs expert and head of the Department of Middle Eastern Conflicts at the Moscow-based Institute for Innovative Development, told Arab News.

Russia and Turkey are to patrol the area in turns in line with bilateral agreements.
March 15, 2019 - New Russia-Turkey deal on Idlib comes in continuation of bilateral memorandum — diplomat

New Russia-Turkey deal on Idlib comes in continuation of bilateral memorandum — diplomat

Russian Deputy Foreign Minsiter Sergei Vershinin

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin © Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

"The new agreement comes in continuation of the Russian-Turkish cooperation based on provisions of the 2018 memorandum," he said, answering to a TASS reporter’s question. "Those provisions envisage, among other things, joint Russian-Turkish patrols, disengagement lines and also include the creation of a joint coordination center. Their implementation is now under way."

According to the Russian diplomat, Russia and Turkey are to patrol the area in turns in line with bilateral agreements.


"In other words, there will be unilateral patrols by, say, the Turkish side, followed by Russian patrols, and then by joint patrols. Those patrols have already begun and they will continue," he said.

Vershinin added that implementing the memorandum remains "a very complicated process."

"At the moment, it would be correct to say that many thousands of militants, jihadists, including foreign terrorists, have gathered in Idlib. This [patrolling missions] is a very delicate and serious process and, naturally, we cannot afford putting at risk Russian servicemen who would be fulfilling this task," he said.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday that Moscow and Ankara continued their efforts to create a joint coordination center in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone. He also said the sides had signed a new agreement on Idlib earlier this month. According to Akar, the document "clarifies the joint work" Turkey and Russia have been doing.

Ankara Making Last-Ditch Efforts to Rescue Tahrir al-Sham Terrorists in Idlib
Turkey intends to merge Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the National Liberation Front (NFL
in a bid to save and maintain them in Idlib province, media reports said.

Russian Security Services: Daesh Picked Northern Afghanistan as New Centre of Caliphate
The Daesh terror group has picked Northern Afghanistan as the new centre of its so-called caliphate,
first deputy director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), General Sergei Smirnov, told reporters on Friday following a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (SCO RATS) council.

Israeli Footprints Found in Terrorists' Hideouts in Dara'a
The Syrian army found a large number of weapons and military equipment, including Israeli-made arms,
during purging operations in regions liberated from the terrorists in the Northern parts of Dara'a province.

Syrian Gov't Pardons over 40,000 Ex-Militants
Syrian Gov't Pardons over 40,000 Ex-Militants

Thousands of ex-militants that had laid down their arms and called for government's amnesty were pardoned by authorities in different provinces of the country.

The Arabic-language website of RT quoted the head of Syria's peace committee Yana Khadour as saying on Thursday that nearly 40,000 ex-militants, who had laid down arms and surrendered to the army forces, have received amnesty.

It added that over 6,000 women who had earlier been stationed in regions controlled by the terrorists have also been pardoned. According to the report, nearly 600 people outside Syria have also demanded the government's amnesty.

In a relevant development last month, over 3,500 people in the Southern province of Dara'a changed sides and joined the Syrian army.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The U.S. State Department changed its usual description of the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report released on Wednesday.
In major shift, Trump says time for U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967, marking a dramatic shift in U.S. policy and giving a boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign.

Syria vows to recover Golan as Trump policy shift draws criticism
FILE PHOTO: Israeli soldiers stand on tanks near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Israel May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

The Syrian government vowed to take back the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as its allies and enemies alike condemned U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday for moving to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war.

Kremlin: hope Trump's statement on Golan Heights will remain just 'a call'
The Kremlin said on Friday there was a hope that U.S. President Donald Trump's call to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would remain just a call, and not be enacted.

Russia: Golan Heights status change would violate U.N. decisions - RIA

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that a change in the status of the Golan Heights would be a direct violation of United Nations decisions, RIA news agency said in a report citing ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
U.N. rights body calls for halt to Israeli expansion in Syrian Golan
The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday criticized Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights a day after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the disputed territory.

EU holds position on Golan Heights despite Trump: Tusk
European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday the EU was holding its line on the Golan Heights despite U.S. President Donald Trump's move to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the territory seized in war.

Responding to Trump, EU reaffirms it does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan
The European Union underlined it does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump moved to do so for the territory viewed by European allies as occupied.

Druze on Golan Heights reject Trump backing for Israeli sovereignty
FILE PHOTO: Members of the Druze community holds Syrian and Druze flags as they sit facing Syria, during a rally marking the anniversary of Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights in the Druze village of Majdal Shams, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Druze Arabs and Israeli settlers on opposite sides of the dispute over U.S. President Donald Trump's support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights agree on one thing - it won't change matters on the ground.

Iran says U.S. recognition of Israel sovereignty over Golan is unacceptable
U.S. President Donald Trump's statement in favor of recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights is unacceptable, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said on Friday, cited by state TV.

Erdogan says Trump's Golan Heights statement threatens new crisis
U.S. President Donald Trump's statement that it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights has brought the region to the edge of a new crisis, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Gulf Arab regional group regrets Trump call to recognize Israeli rule of Golan Heights
The Gulf Cooperation Council regional group of six Arab monarchies expressed regret on Friday at U.S. President Donald Trump's call to recognize Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory captured from Syria in a 1967 war.

Responding to Trump, France says Israeli sovereignty over Golan breaks international law
France does not recognize the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights and its recognition - as called for by U.S. President Donald Trump - is contrary to international law, its foreign ministry said on Friday.

Germany rejects Trump's call to recognize Golan Heights as Israeli
The Golan Heights is Syrian territory occupied by Israel, a German government spokeswoman said on Friday when asked about U.S. President Donald Trump's call to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the strategic territory.

~~~
Serbia sentences seven for joining, recruiting Islamic State fighters

Serbian court sentenced seven people, three of them in absentia, to up to 11 years in prison for joining Islamic State and conspiring to recruit others to fight for the militants in Syria and elsewhere.

Hungary detains Syrian Islamic State member accused of killings: prosecutors
Hungarian authorities have detained a Syrian man on Friday accused of taking part in beheadings in Syria as a member of Islamic State, Budapest prosecutors said in a statement.

Attackers throw explosive at Russian consulate in Athens
Police officers stand outside the Russian consulate after an explosion, in Athens, Greece March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

Attackers on a motorcycle threw a hand grenade at the Russian consulate in Athens early on Friday, causing no injuries and slight damage, police said.

Islamic State no longer holds territory in Syria: White House

Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stand together in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said
Islamic State no longer holds any territory in Syria, a White House spokeswoman said on Friday after Washington's local ally in Syria reported that fighting with the jihadists continued at the site of their last enclave.

Victory over Islamic State to be announced after enclave searched: SDF
Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) sit in the bucket of an excavator in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 20, 2019. Picture taken March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi Said

U.S.-backed Syrian forces were sweeping on Thursday through the final enclave that had been held by Islamic State fighters, and said they would declare the group defeated once a search for hidden mines and jihadist holdouts was complete.

Kremlin accuses U.S. of stoking tensions by flying bombers near its borders
FILE PHOTO: U.S. bomber B-52 flies over during the final day of NATO Saber Strike exercises in Orzysz, Poland, June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

The Kremlin on Thursday complained that flights by U.S. nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers across the Baltic Sea near Russia's borders were creating tensions in the region, but Washington said they were needed to deter potential adversaries.

Turkey says agreed with Iran to continue operations against PKK, Iran says no joint operation
Turkey said on Wednesday Turkish and Iranian military commanders had agreed to continue "simultaneous and coordinated operations" against Kurdish militants, though Iran's armed forces later said there were no joint operations.

Iran denies again joint operation with Turkey against PKK: Tasnim news
A spokesman for Iran's armed forces said on Wednesday there was no joint operation with Turkey near their border, as Tehran denied for the second time any involvement in Turkish attacks against militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
 

Voyageur

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Form Tim Hayward:

Posted on March 19, 2019
by timhayward


The Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media has published a response to the recent attack on the group by Sir Alan Duncan.
This page is open for comments on that response. (A copy of the response follows.)
p06vlzch


Response to Sir Alan Duncan’s attack on the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media
Tim Hayward, Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Piers Robinson
19 March 2019

In December 2018 we posted a briefing note on the Integrity Initiative, examining the documents that had appeared online about this ostensibly charitable programme funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). For an online article on the exposure of the Integrity Initiative published on 6 March 2019, Sky Foreign Affairs editor Deborah Haynes interviewed Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the FCO. In response to a question about the Working Group in which she named the four authors of this response, Sir Alan was quoted as saying:
These academics dotted around the UK, whenever there is something pro-Russian, row in behind it in a coordinated way … We should not be taken for a sucker. We should realize what these people are doing together against our interest and against the interests of democracy more widely.
The phrase “whenever there is something” indicates that Sir Alan is referring not just to the December briefing note but to earlier posts from the Working Group, which include briefing notes on alleged chemical attacks in Syria (August 2018) and on the Salisbury poisonings (May 2018).

We provided Haynes with the following response, which she quoted (leaving out the first paragraph and the reference to alleged chemical attacks in Syria in the second paragraph):
  1. As Deborah Haynes’s involvement with the Integrity Initiative is well-documented, we expect her to make a full disclosure of this in her reporting on this semi-covert programme.
  1. The briefing notes that we have written on alleged chemical attacks in Syria and on the Integrity Initiative have been carefully researched and supported in detail by references to original sources. If Sir Alan Duncan or anyone else believes that they can rebut these, we should welcome criticisms that show, with evidence, where we are wrong.
  1. Sir Alan’s assertion that we are working “against the interests of democracy” is beneath contempt. We note that last December in response to a question about the Integrity Initiative from the Shadow Foreign Secretary he misled the House of Commons.
We are encouraged to learn that our posts are drawing the attention of government ministers, and we are grateful to Sir Alan for helping to promote them. We reiterate that if Sir Alan, or any other government minister wishes to respond to these posts, they should prepare a rebuttal that sets out, with direct quotations from what we have written, where we are wrong.
Instead of attempting a rebuttal, Sir Alan has resorted to smears about our allegedly “pro-Russian” activities and an unsubstantiated but menacing assertion that we are working “against the interests of democracy”. As we noted briefly in our original response to Deborah Haynes, it is Sir Alan who has undermined a fundamental principle of parliamentary democracy by misleading the House of Commons (as set in the Annex to this note). The Ministerial Code reiterates long-established practice in stating that:
It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.
Annex

Below we document four recent occasions on which Sir Alan has misled the House of Commons either by an outright falsehood which he failed to correct, or by answers that, without actually stating falsehoods, would mislead anyone who did not check the original sources.

1. Misleading answer to a question from the Shadow Foreign Secretary about FCO funding for the Integrity Initiative programme (12 December 2018)

The Integrity Initiative’s Twitter account had been used to attack the Leader of the Opposition and his staff. In response to an Urgent Question from the Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Duncan stated in the House that FCO funding of the Integrity Initiative:
does not fund any activity within the UK; nor does it fund the management of the integrity initiative’s social media account.
Thornberry responded immediately in the House, and followed up with a letter to Duncan pointing out that the documents showed that domestic UK activities were a stated objective of the Integrity Initiative and that its social media activities were included in the budget submitted to the FCO. We can find no record of Duncan apologizing for misleading the House in this exchange.

2. Misleading answer to a question about use of the FCO’s Russian Language Programme to fund domestic propaganda (10 December 2018)

In our briefing note on the Integrity Initiative, we set out how Duncan’s answer to a parliamentary question had concealed the fact that the initial government funding for the Integrity Initiative, which did not target Russian speakers, had been provided from an FCO-led programme that the government had described to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in July 2017 as having a remit to counter disinformation and provide reliable information in the Russian language. After setting this out in detail, we concluded that “It is difficult to read Duncan’s answer as anything but an attempt to mislead without actually telling a lie.”

3. Misleading answer to a question about the Prime Minister‘s assertion on 16 April 2018 that Russia and Syria had delayed the visit of OPCW inspectors to Douma following the alleged chemical weapon attack (17 September 2018)

On 16 April 2018 the Prime Minister had stated that the OPCW team “is currently being prevented from [visiting Douma] by the regime and the Russians”. In response to a question asking the Prime Minister to provide the evidence for her assertion, Duncan answered:
The team arrived in Damascus on 14 April, following an invitation from Syria which was supported by Russia, but their deployment to Douma was delayed for a week until 21 April. The Director General of the OPCW reported that they had been prevented from deploying to Douma by Russia and Syria, who cited security concerns.
Although the Director-General‘s note on 16 April had stated that “The Syrian and the Russian officials who participated in the preparatory meetings in Damascus have informed the FFM Team that there were still pending security issues to be worked out“, this was clarified in a letter on 18 April and in the Interim Report which made clear that the risk assessment by the Syrian and Russian authorities was “shared by the representative of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security“ who had insisted that a reconnaissance visit should be undertaken before the FFM could deploy to Douma.

Thus even if the Prime Minister’s statement, based on the DG’s statement on 16 April, was made in good faith, Duncan’s answer, given after the later documents had clarified that it was not “the regime and the Russians” that had delayed the team’s deployment, was misleading in its failure to correct the Prime Minister’s statement.

4. Misleading answer to a question about the status of OPCW’s questions on the Barzeh site before it was attacked on 14 April 2018 (13 September 2018)

The Prime Minister had stated on 16 April that 76 of 107 missiles were targeted on the research centre at Barzeh, a surprisingly large number for an undefended target, and at variance with other accounts that most of the missiles were directed against Syrian military airfields. In a question tabled on 10 September 2018, the government was asked whether it had been aware that Barzeh had been inspected by OPCW and reported to be clear of chemical weapons just six months before the attack on 14 April 2018. Duncan’s answer stated that OPCW “continues to report that gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies remain in Syria’s account of its declaration”. A close examination of the timeline, however, shows that the Syrian government had responded promptly to a “non-exhaustive list of questions” from the OPCW Director General on 29 January 2018 and that OPCW had issued an updated list of follow-up questions on April 10th, only four days before the US-led attack. Duncan’s statement, which by omitting the timeline gave the impression that Syria had failed to respond to the concerns raised by OPCW, could reasonably be judged misleading.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The Russian Air Force launched their largest attack of the year over the Idlib Governorate last night.

March 21, 2019 - Russian Air Force launches largest attack of the year over Idlib

Russian Air Force launches largest attack of the year over Idlib

Led by six Sukhoi jets, the Russian Air Force unleashed a barrage of airstrikes over Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s positions inside the Jisr Al-Shuhour District and Al-Ghaab Plain region of southwestern Idlib.

The Russian Air Force conducted these airstrikes last night in response to the heavy attack by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham and the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF) on the towns of Al-Suqaylabiyeh, Mhardeh, and Salhab.

The Russian Navy has transported more heavy equipment to the Syrian military this month as the latter prepares to launch a new offensive in the Idlib Governorate.
March 22, 2019 - Russian Navy transports heavy equipment to Syrian military as Idlib operation approaches

Russian Navy transports heavy equipment to Syrian military as Idlib operation approaches (PHOTOS)

According to regional observer Yoruk Isik, the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet LST Orsk 148 transited the Bosphorus Strait towards the Mediterranean Sea this week to transport more equipment to the Syrian military.


Isik reported that the Russian ship was carrying desert camo Ural 4320 trucks that were destined for the port of Tartous in western Syria.


The Syrian Arab Army is now preparing to launch a new operation to expel the jihadist groups from the demilitarized zone in the Idlib and Hama governorates.

This operation will likely require a large number of military personnel and heavy equipment, as the jihadist rebels in the area are relatively strong and deeply embedded.

For the first time this year, the Russian Air Force used their attack choppers to strike the rebels in northwestern Syria.
March 23, 2019 - Russian Air Force uses attack choppers in northwest Syria for first time this year

Russian Air Force uses attack choppers in northwest Syria for first time this year (VIDEO)

Based on footage obtained by the pro-opposition STEP News Agency, the Russian Air Force appears to use their Mi-28 choppers, which is most commonly used by the latter inside Syria.

Published on Mar 21, 2019 (1:59 min.)

Per the video above, the Russian Air Force was targeting the town of Al-Latamnah in the northern countryside of the Hama Governorate. Al-Latamnah is considered Jaysh Al-Izza’s primary stronghold in northern Hama; it is often the target of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) missiles and artillery shells.

Since the start of March, the Russian Air Force has carried out several attacks against Jaysh Al-Izza and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in both the Hama and Idlib governorates. These daily airstrikes by the Russian Air Force come at the same time the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) builds up their forces around the demilitarized zone.

The Syrian Arab Army is preparing to launch a large-scale operation that will target all of the rebel-held areas inside the demilitarized zone in the Hama and Idlib governorates.

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) carried out a new ambush against a group of Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers in the eastern desert of the Homs Governorate.
March 25, 2019 - ISIS terrorists kill several Syrian Army soldiers in new ambush

ISIS terrorists kill several Syrian Army soldiers in new ambush

According to a military communique from the Homs Governorate, the Islamic State carried out the ambush along the strategic Palmyra-Deir Ezzor Highway.

This ambush by the Islamic State on Sunday afternoon resulted in the death of at least five Syrian Arab Army soldiers, including one officer with the rank of colonel.

The military communique added that the Syrian Arab Army is now on high alert near the desert cities of Al-Sukhnah and Palmyra

Three Russian troops were killed in a gunfight with terrorists in Syria in late February, the Defense Ministry has said. A gang of 30 militants responsible for the attack has since been identified and eliminated.
March 25, 2019 - Three Russian soldiers killed during month of February in Syria

Three Russian soldiers killed during month of February in Syria

The Russian servicemen were returning to base in a car after a humanitarian aid delivery in the Deir ez-Zor Province when they were ambushed by a group of gunmen.

“After the battle that broke out, the troops were missing in action,” the ministry said in a statement. The search for the troops, which the Syrian military also took part in, started right after their disappearance.

The fighters who organized the attack were eventually identified and the death of Russian soldiers was confirmed. The group of 30 militants was then eliminated in an operation involving the Russian jets and Special Forces, the Defense Ministry said.

The bodies of the slain servicemen have already been delivered to Russia, where they’ll be buried.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US President Donald Trump for his decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem on Thursday.
March 22, 2019 - Netanyahu thanks US President for ‘historic’ Golan Heights recognition (VIDEO)

Netanyahu thanks US President for 'historic' Golan Heights recognition (VIDEO)
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“President Trump has just made history,” said Netanyahu.

“And he did so at a time when Iran is trying to use Syria as a platform to attack and destroy Israel, and the message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel,” he added.

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced that the league fully supports Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
March 22, 2019 - Arab League goes against Trump, rejects Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights

Arab League goes against Trump, rejects Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights

“The League of Arab States fully supports Syria’s right for its occupied territory. We have a specific position, based on resolutions, on this issue,” Aboul Gheit said on Thursday.

The official insisted that the Golan Heights were occupied territory belonging to Syria under international law and the resolutions of the United Nations and the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, a representative of the European Union’s diplomatic service stressed that the EU still doesn’t recognize the territory as part of Israel.

The residents of the occupied Golan Heights issued a statement on Friday condemning U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent comments about recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over this region.
March 23, 2019 - Golan Heights residents vow to undermine Israel’s authority over region

Golan Heights residents vow to undermine Israel's authority over region

In a statement on Friday, the people of the occupied Syrian Golan said: “Trump’s statements on the Golan didn’t come as something new because we are aware of his support for the head of the Israeli occupation entity Benjamin Netanyahu who is passing through a political and judicial crisis.”

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and police are bracing themselves for possible violent protests near the Israeli-Syrian border following US President Donald Trump’s move to recognize the Jewish state’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
March 23, 2019 - Israeli military braces for violence in Golan Heights amid Trump’s recent statement
Israeli military braces for violence in Golan Heights amid Trump's recent statement

“We are preparing for the possibility of tension in the northern Golan Heights,” the IDF said in a statement without elaborating.

The development comes as the Druze, an Arab minority who practice an offshoot of Islam and live in the Golan Heights, rejected US President Donald Trump’s support of Israel’s sovereignty over the area.

They spoke after the Syrian Foreign Ministry responded to Trump’s statement by pledging to recover the Golan Heights by “all available means”.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said that the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham with the support of the White Helmets were preparing new staged chemical attacks in Idlib.

Militants Preparing Staged Chemical Attacks in Idlib, Syria - Russia's UN Envoy
27.03.2019

Nebenzya: All foreign troops occupying areas in Syria must leave the country
By Shaza/Mazen 27 March, 2019

Massive US military convoy enters Syria despite claiming victory against ISIS
2019-03-25

Iranian and US troops just separated by a few hundred yards in eastern Syria
2019-03-27
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Arab leaders said on Sunday they would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution against the U.S. decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and promised to support Palestinians in their bid for statehood.

March 31, 2019 - Arab leaders to seek U.N. Security Council resolution on Golan

“We, the leaders of the Arab countries gathered in Tunisia ... express our rejection and condemnation of the United States decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.


He said Arab countries would present a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council and seek a legal opinion from the International Court of Justice on the U.S. decision. It warned other countries away from following Washington’s lead.

Slideshow (14 Images)
Arab leaders to seek U.N. Security Council resolution on Golan

Saudi king rejects measures impacting Syrian sovereignty over Golan Heights
Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Sunday that he "absolutely rejects" any measures that impact on Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Putin to Arab Summit in Tunis: Crisis in Syria Should be Resolved through Political, Diplomatic Means


Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed the need to solve crises in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, through political and diplomatic means based on international law and on respecting Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"Russia operates on the premise that the crisis situation in the region should be settled through political and diplomatic means on the basis of international law and with scrupulous respect for countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity. This applies to Syria in full, where a massive blow was delivered to terror, the political process was launched and work was started to resolve pressing humanitarian issues", Putin said in a message addressing the Arab Summit currently being held in Tunis.

In his message, published on the Kremlin website on Sunday, Putin pointed out that a major condition for sustainable stabilization of the situation in the region is the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which would include a just solution of the Palestinian cause.

He made it clear that the Arab Peace Initiative, approved by the League of Arab States, remains relevant in this regard, particularly its call for establishing a comprehensive anti-terror coalition under the auspices of the United Nations.

Putin also affirmed that Russia is ready to further boost its partner relations with the Middle East and the states of North Africa in all domains.

Russia: US Decision on Golan Heights Is Open Demonstration of Permissiveness
Russia: US Decision on Golan Heights Is Open Demonstration of Permissiveness

The United States’ decision to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel is a deliberate demonstration of permissiveness, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following meeting of the Joint Strategic Planning Group.

"In addition to the fact that many people analyze that move in light of the upcoming elections in Israel, it also has another dimension, of course," Russia’s top diplomat said, TASS reported.

"I feel that this is a deliberate, conscious demonstration of permissiveness. This demonstration of permissiveness, along with threats, ultimatums and sanctions, are the tools used by the US on the international stage," he added.

"That is sad, but such an attitude towards international law can be seen everywhere," the foreign minister stressed.

EU's Mogherini says ignoring U.N. resolutions on the Golan 'not a solution'
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
said on Sunday that ignoring United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Golan Heights was "not a solution".

High-Profile ISIL Terrorist in Syria Transferred to US Base in Heliborne Operations Mar 30 2019
High-Profile ISIL Terrorist in Syria Transferred to US Base in Heliborne Operations

The Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website quoted a security source as saying on Saturday that the US forces have launched heliborne operations in Syria near the border with Iraq to transfer a key ISIL terrorist to their bases in the country.

Local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported that the US-led coalition forces staged heliborne operations near Badiyeh al-Tonak region, rescuing the ISIL militants on 3 helicopters.

They added that the evacuated terrorists were likely senior ISIL commanders, noting that a number of other ISIL militants were also transferred in another heliborne operation in al-Shifeh district of the town of al-Kashkiyeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

American Officials Say 'Many Troops' Will Remain in Syria
American Officials Say 'Many Troops' Will Remain in Syria

The officials told The New York Times on Friday that the Pentagon mulls cutting its combat force in Northeastern Syria roughly in half by early May - or to about 1,000 troops - and then pause the process.

The US military, they added, will then assess conditions and reduce the number of forces in Syria every six months or so, until it reaches 400.

Syrian Army Gives Crushing Response to Terrorists' Attacks from Demilitarized Zone in Hama
Syrian Army Gives Crushing Response to Terrorists' Attacks from Demilitarized Zone in Hama

The Syrian army destroyed several important positions of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorist group in Northern Hama in response to their continued offensives from the demilitarized zone.

Also, the Syrian army forces targeted the gathering centers of Turkistani terrorists in Jisr Beit al-Ra'as in Northwestern Hama who intended to infiltrate the army-controlled areas, fully destroying their positions and military equipment and inflicting heavy tolls on them.

People in Aleppo Rise against Turkish Military Occupiers
People in Northern Aleppo are demanding the occupying Turkish forces to leave the region as tensions and insecurities have sorely increased in the region.

Several Ankara-Backed Militants Killed in Kurds' Operations in Aleppo
Over 10 Ankara-backed militants were killed and wounded in the Kurdish militias' military operations in Afrin and A'azaz regions in Northwestern Aleppo.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Arab leaders said on Sunday they would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution against the U.S. decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and promised to support Palestinians in their bid for statehood.

March 31, 2019 - Arab leaders to seek U.N. Security Council resolution on Golan

“We, the leaders of the Arab countries gathered in Tunisia ... express our rejection and condemnation of the United States decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan,” Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said.

'In the Golan Heights maybe?'

Next Year's Arab League Summit Location to Be Determined - Secretary-General
01.04.2019
 
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goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website quoted a security source as saying on Saturday that the US forces have launched heliborne operations in Syria near the border with Iraq to transfer a key ISIL terrorist to their bases in the country.

Local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur reported that the US-led coalition forces staged heliborne operations near Badiyeh al-Tonak region, rescuing the ISIL militants on 3 helicopters.

They added that the evacuated terrorists were likely senior ISIL commanders, noting that a number of other ISIL militants were also transferred in another heliborne operation in al-Shifeh district of the town of al-Kashkiyeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
What a fine example of how the U.S. has defeated the ISIS caliphate in Syria. This is worse than a cheap B movie. :evil:
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Syrian people in different provinces continued protest rallies against the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize annexation of the occupied Golan Heights of Syria to Israel.

April 1, 2019 - Protest Rallies against Trump's Decision on Golan Heights Continue across Syria
Protest Rallies against Trump's Decision on Golan Heights Continue across Syria

A large group of residents and activists in different cities and towns of Quneitra, Sweida, Deir Ezzur, Homs and Damascus provinces poured to the streets on Sunday to condemn Trump's measure.


The protestors also blasted the US-Israeli attempts to rise tensions and undermine the Syrian nation and army's achievements in the war on terrorism, stressing continued campaign against militants in occupied areas of Syria.

Protests against Trump's decision have been underway for more than a week now. On Sunday, the local population in Syria's Golan Heights held protest rallies to deplore Trump's decision.

US-Backed SDF Blocks Syrian Gov't's Humanitarian Aid to Hasaka
US-Backed SDF Blocks Syrian Gov't's Humanitarian Aid to Hasaka

The Arabic-language al-Watan Online reported on Monday that the SDF has stopped a convoy of the Syrian Red Crescent and Red Cross societies sent to the flooded people in the villages of Tal Hamis and Tal Borak in Northern Hasaka from entering the region, forcing them to return to Qamishli. Recent flash floods in regions occupied by Kurds in Northern Hasaka have destroyed houses and taken a toll from the population.

Meantime, field sources in Hasaka reported that the SDF has detained a number of civilians in different districts of Hasaka city, including Tal Hajar, Qawiran, al-Aziziyeh and al-Salehiyeh, with the aim of recruiting more fighters.

What a fine example of how the U.S. has defeated the ISIS caliphate in Syria. This is worse than a cheap B movie. :evil:
The Pentagon/US forces have been airlifting "their precious gems" to bases located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and then transporting them over the Border to Iraq, with some - then transported to Afghanistan. The "heliborne operations" began (ironically) right after U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command visited Iraq around the middle of February.

I speculate, this devious activity is one of the main reasons - Lavrov keeps emphasizing - the US needs to vacate the eastern side of the Euphrates, where the Pentagon has three or more large military bases.

The general overseeing U.S. forces in the Middle East flew into Iraq on Sunday for talks with U.S. and Iraqi officials expected to focus on ensuring that Islamic State cannot stage a resurgence after U.S. troops withdraw from neighboring Syria.

February 17, 2019 - In Iraq visit, US General eyes longer-term Islamic State threat

In Iraq visit, U.S. general eyes longer-term Islamic State threat
FILE PHOTO: General Joseph Votel, the head of the U.S. military's Central Command, speaks aboard the USS New Orleans as it travels through the Strait of Hormuz July 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Phil Stewart/File Photo
U.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, made no remarks to reporters upon landing in Iraq, where he was expected to get battlefield briefings on the final push to retake the remnants of Islamic State’s once vast territory in Syria.
US Sends Military Equipment to ISIL Terrorists in Western Iraq March 31, 2019
The US continues logistical military support for the ISIL in Western Iraq to help the terrorist group occupy the bordering areas with Syria.
March 30, 2019 - Lavrov highlights need to restore the situation on eastern bank of Euphrates
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said it is essential to restore the situation on the eastern bank of the Euphrates that existed prior to the United States’ invasion of Syria.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday following meeting of the joint Strategic Planning Group.

"Speaking about the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the United States should withdraw its forces from there, in accordance with its statements. Also, it is necessary to restore the situation that evolved there historically, before the United States invaded Syria’s territory," Lavrov said. "I mean the return of the territories to the Arab tribes where they had lived for centuries."

"This is important for completing the tasks outlined in [UN Security Council] Resolution 2254," the minister added.
 
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