Expands “Advise and Assist” Mission in Syria
A Russian military adviser, Alexei Buchelnikov, was killed in Syria by a sniper from the ranks of militants, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on May 2. Buchelnikov was “a member of the group that had been training personnel of the Syrian artillery units.”
Experts note that according to photo and video evidence the Russian military has recently expanded a number of military advisers embedded with Syrian army units as well as intensified efforts aimed at training Syrian military personnel.
These developments came amid a significant increase of the number of US troops and military equipment deployed in the Kurdish-held area in northeastern Syria and embedded with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Thus, both global powers involved in the war are increasing their activity on the ground in an attempt to speed up operations of their allies on the ground against ISIS.
Meanwhile, Russian military servicemen accompanied with members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have visited the Runbar refugee camp in the Afrin Canton, a YPG-held area in northwestern Syria. Earlier this week, the camp came under shelling from Turkish military forces.
The visit of the Russian military delegation to the area followed reports that Russia was setting up observation posts in order to monitor Turkish actions against the YPG and population in the YPG held area in Afrin near the Turkish-Syrian border as well as actions of pro-Turkish militants in northern Aleppo. Photos from Afrin also show Syrian flags at the observation posts, confirming the presence of government forces.
The YPG-held areas in northern Syria could be visualized as three separate sections:
- The first is the Afrin Canton where government forces and Moscow have a notable influence.
- The second is the Manbij countryside where government forces, Moscow and Washington have been de-facto operating jointly since they prevented a possible Turkish military operation against the town of Manbij, controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – the YPG is a core of this group;
- The third is the eastern bank of Euphrates where the United States and its coalition have a significant influence and deployed lots of forces on the ground.
This structure of relations formed during the war under the necessity of an urgent need to combat terrorist groups such Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in northern Syria and now is strengthening amid a constant threat of another Turkish military invasion in Syria that will be aimed against Kurdish militias.
Meanwhile, the SDF has got control over the important town of Tabqa in the province of Raqqah. An unknown number of ISIS terrorists are remaining in the ISIS-held part of the nearby Tabqa dam. In April 2017, pro-SDF and US sources argued that there were about 700-800 ISIS fighters inside the town. However, no photo or videos evidence were released that could confirm that this number of ISIS members were neutralized inside the town. There is a notable chance that a majority of ISIS fighters has left the town of Tabqa via some kind of “open corridor” during the storm.
Meanwhile, the situation became relatively halt in northern Hama. This week, government forces have not made major attempts to reach the important town of Lataminah controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Instead, government forces, led by the 5th Assault Corps, resumed operations in the countryside of Palmyra advancing on the Shumriyah Mountains. This could be linked up with an increased activity of US-backed militants along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
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SYRIAN CRISIS: Western Military Intervention Compromised After White Helmets ‘Sarin’ Scam
21st Century Wire
Over the last week the US ordered ‘sweeping’ new sanctions on Syria following the still as of yet unsubstantiated sarin chemical attack out of Idlib. While the political fallout after the highly questionable WMD allegations continues, there are details concerning NATO weaponry making their way into the hands of terrorists in Syria, as ISIS reportedly ‘apologized‘ to Israel for opening fire on IDF soldiers in Golan Heights on at least one occasion.
While the West continues to base its foreign policy on hearsay, al Qaeda affiliated sources and YouTube videos, other more sane dissenting voices are looking for real answers. Here are the facts…
Sanctions on Syria: Without Clear Evidence
This past week, the US Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner and ex-Soros Fund Management employee announced sweeping new sanctions set to take effect on Syria following allegations over a chemical weapons attack said to have taken place in early April in the province of Idlib.
The LA Times reported the escalation over growing ‘suspicion’ that the Syrian government has somehow not complied with a chemical weapons agreement of 2013-2015:
“A senior administration official said the 271 people cited included chemists and other scientists or researchers who have worked for the agency since at least 2012.
The sanctions mean that those individuals named may not have business dealings with U.S. companies or persons, and any assets they might have in the United States would be frozen. The move also complicates travel for some.”
The Times adds that in January, the Trump administration enacted sanctions on “18 senior Syrian government officials and five branches of the Syrian military,” over allegations concerning three separate chlorine gas attacks throughout 2014 and 2015.
In 2014, the Syria handed over 1,300 tonnes of chemical arms to the UN and Organisation for the Prohibition and Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to be destroyed and has denied using sarin or any chemical weapons during the ongoing Syrian conflict.
According to the Arms Control Association, “In June 23, 2014: OPCW Director General Uzumcu announced that the last 8 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons was shipped out of the country from the port of Latakia on the Danish ship Ark Futura. Uzumcu says the chemicals should be destroyed within four months.”
Interestingly, there’s also additional evidence of gas attacks linked to terror groups over the past few years, as the same Arms Control report acknowledged in November of 2015:
“A press release from the OPCW fact-finding team claimed with “the utmost confidence” that the Islamic State used sulfur mustard in an attack on August 21, 2015 in Marea, in northern Syria.”
Once again, it’s important to remember that there’s already been a chain of events implicating other actors involved in Syrian chemical attacks…
Award winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh discussed the intelligence links between Turkey, rebel fighters and al-Nusra Front (who produce sarin according to the US Defense Intelligence Agency) in a 2014 published piece entitled “The Red Line and the Rat Line” featured in the London Review of Books:
“For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’”
In addition, Hersh added other unsavory details implicating NATO member state Turkey and al-Nusra Front terrorism:
“In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability.”
When analyzing Turkey’s lengthy involvement alongside terrorists in Syria, Moon of Alabama also shows recent events surrounding the NATO member concerning the recent chemical allegations out of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib:
“The first news and Turkish reports to the UN speak of chlorine, not sarin. It is only the Turkish Health Minister who mentions sarin – in parentheses, but then lists a symptom of severe chlorine exposure as one of sarin. Neither the casualties nor the unprotected medical personal involved in the incident show any effect of sarin exposure. The only one who claimed “sarin” early on was an al-Qaeda aligned former doctor in a staged propaganda video.”
‘FALSE FLAG?’ There are many questions following the recent chemical claims out of Syria (Image Source: RT)
The Balkanization of Syria
QUESTION: Is there something deeper behind the military escalation of the US in Syria?
In a recently published article by Marwa Osman at 21WIRE, we see that Israel is making a strong push to capture land in Golan Heights under the guise of fighting ISIS, a move that completely undermines Syria’s national sovereignty. If that wasn’t enough the US and its Western coalition are seeking to partition Syria through so-called ‘safe zones’ which by their nature require military occupation:
“The US allies on both the southern and northern part of Syria have been busy lately, especially after the liberation of Aleppo from Nusra terrorists, preparing for a pre-planned balkanization of the Syrian sovereign state.”
Osman’s timely thoughts echo aspects of those made by writer and researcher William F Engdahl, as we noted in a recent report at 21WIRE displayed below once again:
“In an article published at New Eastern Outlook by writer researcher William F Engdahl, we see another aspect of geopolitical tension developing in Syria. Engdahl describes the ‘growing chaos’ of the Syrian conflict concerning a strategic occupation of Golan Heights:
“What has unfolded in the region since Netanyahu’s February 16 Trump talks gives reason to believe the US and Netanyahu’s Israel covertly agreed to a strategy to allow Trump to recognize Israel as the de facto occupier of Golan Heights amid what they will call the growing chaos of the Syrian “civil war.”
Events are moving rapidly to a possible new war involving Israel, the United States, Syria and Russia. Were it to take place, I honestly hope not, it would be yet another stupid war over oil. Only this oil war somehow feels far more dangerous than the US war against Iraq or Libya or previous oil wars. It’s about the part of Syria named the Golan Heights.”
Here’s another listen to Engdahl’s (featured on the Sunday Wire) timely thoughts on the encroachment of Golan Heights and the signs Trump may be used as a geopolitical tool of the establishment nearly a week before the US missile strikes hit Syria this past April…”
The Western Way: Arming Proxies
Here’s another look at a report published at 21WIRE that discussed Middle East arms shipments between Western allies in the ramp up of conflict in Syria:
“According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), arms imports to Middle Eastern countries have had an 86 percent upsurge over the past decade. In addition, US arms exports have amounted to nearly one third of global arms imports from 2012-16.
SIPRI is a Swedish based think-tank focused on independent research concerning “conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.”
The recently released Stockholm study yielded some stunning conclusions concerning arms exports from the US and Europe, in addition to arms imports acquired by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, most notably Saudi Arabia. According to this latest report from 2012-16, there has been the highest arms transfer volume over a 5-year stretch since the end of the Cold War. Here’s a passage from the SPIRI armament findings that have dovetailed the ongoing Western-backed regime change campaign in Syria as well as Yemen:
“Saudi Arabia was the world’s second largest arms importer in 2012-16, with an increase of 212 per cent compared with 2007–11. Arms imports by Qatar went up by 245 per cent. Although at lower rates, the majority of other states in the region also increased arms imports. ‘Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities’, said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions.’”
The article continued by disclosing the dubious Western allied arms shipments over the course of several years:
“In 2013, the NY Times openly discussed the CIA’s arms shipments (with Turkish aid) to parts of the Middle East, namely, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Unbeknownst to most US taxpayers at the time, the CIA was arming so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels, many of which have had links to terror. Here’s a passage from the March 2013 NY Times report, that disclosed the Langley sanctioned arms shipments to rebels:
“With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.
The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.”
In June of 2016, the content analysis site Media Research Center underscored the US-Saudi ‘rebel training’ revelations:
This training program, authorized by President Obama in 2013, allows the Central Intelligence Agency to arm and train Syrian rebels under the codename “Timber Sycamore.”
Several days ago, the NYT reported the intricate history of the U.S.-Saudi arms relationship in Syria:
“… the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.“
Flash forward to January of 2016, the NY Times disclosed that millions in arms shipments supplied to Jordan from the CIA and Saudi Arabia were somehow ‘stolen’ by Jordanian intelligence operatives and put on the black market, according to official reports.
In February of 2017, Reuters stated that the CIA reportedly froze aid to apparent rebel groups in Northwest Syria. Here’s a passage from the Reuters exclusive:
“Rebel officials said that no official explanation had been given for the move this month following the jihadist assault, though several said they believed the main objective was to prevent arms and cash falling into Islamist militant hands. But they said they expected the aid freeze to be temporary.
The halt in assistance, which has included salaries, training, ammunition and in some cases guided anti-tank missiles, is a response to jihadist attacks and has nothing to do with U.S. President Donald Trump replacing Barack Obama in January, two U.S. officials familiar with the CIA-led program said.”
The apparent temporary freeze happened two months before it was revealed that NATO arms ended up in the hands of terrorists once again. Here’s another look at that report featured on RT…
WMD Fallout: White Helmets Deception
Here at 21WIRE, we’ve also noted the political fallout concerning the latest WMD allegations out of Syria, as the heavily propagandized imagery brought to us by the US-UK and Gulf state backed White Helmets group has been parroted by Western media without question. The White Helmets of course are well documented at 21WIRE, a group that has a history of producing western-oriented war propaganda.
Over the past 24 hours, a story circulated that revealed a Democratic US Congressman recently met with the White Helmets, which was met with a wave of social media backlash:
“Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a rising star in Congress and ally of former President Barack Obama, deleted a tweet and edited a Facebook post about a meeting with the noted Syrian humanitarian group the White Helmets last week after online comments accused him of cheering interventionism, a spokeswoman confirmed to HuffPost on Tuesday.”
While Washington has spent the last month building a chemical attack narrative without clear evidence via the use of White Helmets agitprop war imagery, weapons from a NATO member state were discovered in the clutches of jihadist mercenaries. This of course is nothing new in the prolonged Western directed proxy conflict in Syria, as NATO was caught running arms through Croatia in 2013 and in 2014, it was reported that ISIS had somehow “got a hold of American weapons.”
All of this has occurred as Western media has gone mostly silent about the recently distressed Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua which endured great suffering at the hands of Gulf-state backed terrorists, as recently reported by 21WIRE‘s Vanessa Beeley.
Here’s another look at Beeley’s on the ground report regarding the tragic circumstances surrounding the ‘Rashideen massacre’ originally published in the UK Column story below…
TAKE NOTE: The questionable US intelligence document (pushed by the NY Times) regarding an alleged chemical attack reminds one of the deception that boosted public acceptance during the First Gulf War, which in turn led to another wave of lies in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The Iraq War, just like its predecessor the First Gulf War, was fully aided by reportage by both the media and members of the US government…
Is this what we are witnessing now?
More below from the UK Column…
(Image Source syrianfreepress)
Military Intervention in Syria: High Risk Over Next Four Weeks
At midnight on 14 April, several buses with civilians on board left the terrorist besieged Kafarya and Foua areas of northern Syria, as part of the so-called “four towns deal.” A journey which should have taken forty five minutes, took more than seven hours as terrorist groups forced buses to stop at several villages held by them along the way. At each of these stops, armed men taunted and threatened them.
By the time they reached al-Nusra held compound at Rashidin, the final stop before entering Aleppo, they were already traumatised. But their trauma was just beginning as they were held captive on the buses for a further day and a half; denied food and water.
On the morning of the 15th, terrorists turned up with big transparent bags containing packets of crisps. Allowed off the buses, the children swarmed around the men with the crisps, not having seen food like this for over two years. Ten minutes later, the children were forced back onto the buses.
At around 3pm on the 15th, more crisps were delivered for the children, who once again were allowed off the buses, this time with some of the younger men. Again, the children, full of excitement, swarmed around the man with the crisps. At that moment, having been deliberately enticed off the buses with the promise of food, a bomb exploded, killing 126 people, at least 80 of whom were children.
Next, the women – only the women – were allowed off the buses. Already traumatised, and now in a state of sheer terror and panic, they frantically searched for their children. As if by magic, the White Helmets appeared with their entourage of videographers to record them “saving” the distraught mothers. After ten minutes, the women were forced back onto the buses and the doors were locked.
Contrary to media reports, these “first responders” did not help to look after the injured, and they did not help return the dead to their families. Instead they took their video propaganda and around two hundred injured children off to Turkey. Many of these children have still not been returned.
The Rashidin bus bombing represents a new low in the tragedy that is Syria. Based on witness testimony we can say with certainty that it was a planned event, with innocent civilians used as pawns in a propaganda game aimed at giving continuing credibility to the White Helmets in the eyes of all those fooled by the lies published in western mainstream media.
So where does Rashidin leave the claims of western governments that Bashar al-Assad gassed his own people in Idlib province just over a week prior? Reports describing that “attack” came solely from the White Helmets – the same White Helmets that were willing to use the murder of dozens of children at Rashidin for their own purposes.
It is difficult to believe that any group willing to entice children off a bus in order to blow them up would have any compunction about killing others with some kind of gas, photographing rows of their dead bodies for propaganda purposes before shipping them to Turkey for autopsy.
That propaganda has been well used. Following the defeat of a UK sponsored draft resolution submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of March, the White Helmets’ reports claiming Assad had gassed his own people could not have come at a better time.
Britain’s permanent representative to the UN Security Council, Matthew Rycroft, began the verbal attacks on Syria and Russia. Boris Johnson followed up with his own unsubstantiated claims. At no point was any evidence placed in the public domain, and at no point did any mainstream journalist do their jobs to ask why.
US President Trump fell for the scam, to the delight of Downing Street. He ordered a missile strike on an airbase at Shayrat, near Homs.
This was quickly followed up with another UN Security Council resolution, again vetoed. Matthew Rycroft responded, in a state of total apoplexy, with accusations of Russian support for chemical weapons use in Syria, and claiming Russia had chosen “the wrong side of history.”
Again, no evidence was provided to support these accusations, either by Rycroft, or subsequently by Boris Johnson. Both fell back on a default position of “the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons” said so. And they did, despite not having ever attended site. The OPCW’s assessment was based on the testimony of the White Helmets, and some autopsy results. They have not, to date, visited the site of the alleged bombing to gather any real evidence.
UK Column continues here…
READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files
READ MORE ON THE WHITE HELMETS AT: 21st Century Wire White Helmet Files