The leaders of Turkey, Germany, France, and Britain discussed issues, including the latest situation in Syria’s northern province of Idlib and the COVID-19 outbreak, at a televised meeting on Tuesday.
Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the ceasefire needs to be strengthened by adding a no-fly zone over the province to stop further bombings of hospitals.
“It would be wise to add a no-fly zone,” he told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with EU counterparts in Zagreb.
NATO member countries, particularly Europeans, must act together to provide support to Turkey to confront the difficulties arising from the Syrian conflict, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for Syria, has said at the International Idlib Conference in Istanbul.
He was responding to a question during regarding Washington’s views about concrete military support to Turkey.
Turkey’s military invasion isn’t just about wiping out the Kurds in Syria — it’s a bid to bolster the far right in Turkey. We must oppose this unconscionable act.
I would like to also echo what my German and American colleagues said about Turkey. We need the attacks on Turkey to stop. Turkey has made efforts to seek a peaceful solution in Idlib. And we are concerned that the impact of the escalation on Turkey, whose already borne the burden of hosting over 3.5 million refugees forced to flee from Syria. So I look forward to what the Turkish representative has to say later.
I join others in calling on Russia to end its support for this murderous campaign and the barbaric Syrian government. I join the Secretary-General in calling for an immediate, genuine and lasting ceasefire in Idlib and for a lasting solution to the situation there. We once more call on Syria and Russia and Iran to observe their obligations under international humanitarian law and to give us an answer on what they are doing to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Concurring, the United Kingdom’s representative noted that, while 13 or 14 Council members are willing to act, the Russian Federation uses its veto power to prevent action. She called upon that country to end its support for the Syrian Government while expressing disappointment over the current impasse within the Constitutional Committee.
France’s representative said the Syrian regime is responsible for the current impasse, adding that the intention of its attacks in Idlib is clear — to take the governorate by force, without negotiations, no matter the cost. He called upon the Special Envoy to inform the Council when he can no longer move the Constitutional Committee process forward, emphasizing that France supports efforts to end impunity in Syria.
Germany’s representative described the situation as the biggest humanitarian horror of the twenty-first century. The Astana formula no longer works, he said, echoing the representative of the United States, adding that it is time for the Secretary-General to “step up to the plate”.
Backed by heavy Russian airstrikes, Syrian regime forces have been fighting since the start of the year to recapture the Aleppo countryside and parts of neighboring Idlib, the last opposition stronghold in the country.
The advances have sent hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians fleeing toward the border with Turkey in the biggest single displacement of the nine-year war.
he global chemical weapons watchdog is facing renewed questions after fresh details emerged about how it suppressed the findings of its own inspectors who raised serious doubts about an alleged poison gas attack in Syria.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a senior official at the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demanded the ‘removal of all traces’ of a document which undermined claims that gas cylinders had been dropped from the air – a key element of the ‘evidence’ that the Syrian regime was responsible.
27 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more internal documents from the OPCW regarding the investigation into the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018.
One of the documents is an e-mail exchange dated 27 and 28 February between members of the fact finding mission (FFM) deployed to Douma and the senior officials of the OPCW. It includes an e-mail from Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, where he instructs that an engineering report from Ian Henderson should be removed from the secure registry of the organisation:
“Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”.
The main finding of Henderson, who inspected the sites in Douma and two cylinders that were found on the site of the alleged attack, was that they were more likely manually placed there than dropped from a plane or helicopter from considerable heights. His findings were omitted from the official final OPCW report on the Douma incident.
This is getting really, really, really weird.
WikiLeaks has published yet another set of leaked internal documents from within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) adding even more material to the mountain of evidence that we’ve been lied to about an alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria last year which resulted in airstrikes upon that nation from the US, UK and France.
This new WikiLeaks drop includes an email from the OPCW Chief of Cabinet Sebastien Braha (who is reportedly so detested by organisation inspectors that they code named him “Voldemort”) throwing a fit over the Ian Henderson Engineering Assessment which found that the Douma incident was likely a staged event. Braha is seen ordering OPCW staff to “remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever” from the organisation’s secure registry.
SANA’s reporter said a vehicle rigged with large amounts of explosives exploded on Monday afternoon in the main street of Salouk town in Tal Abyad area in the northern countryside of Raqqa.
The blast claimed the lives of 5 civilians and injured 15 others, in addition to causing material damage to houses and properties, with 3 buildings in the blast site collapsing later due to the high power of the blast.
Units of the Syrian Arab army established control over Jirjanaz strategic town in Idleb south-eastern countryside after fierce battles against terrorist organizations positioned in the town to the east of Hama-Ma’arat al-Numan highway.
The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is rolling through the southeastern countryside of the Idlib Governorate this evening after launching a big attack at two axes.
According to a military source near the front-lines, the Syrian Arab Army has captured the town of Al-Rafah after a short battle with the jihadist rebels of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and their militant allies.
14 December, 2019
Today WikiLeaks releases more documents showing internal disagreement within the OPCW about how facts were misrepresented in a redacted version of a report on an alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria in April 2018.
Amongst these is a memorandum written in protest by one of the scientists sent on a fact finding mission (FFM) to investigate the attack. It is dated 14 March 2019 and is addressed to Fernando Arias, Director General of the organisation. This was exactly two weeks after the organisation published its final report on the Douma investigation.
WikiLeaks is also releasing the original preliminary report for the first time along with the redacted version (that was released by the OPCW) for comparison. Additionally, we are publishing a detailed comparison of the original interim report with the redacted interim report and the final report along with relevant comments from a member of the original fact finding mission. These documents should help clarify the series of changes that the report went through, which skewed the facts and introduced bias according to statements made by the members of the FFM.
I fear this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making and I hope President Trump will adjust his thinking.
Kurdish activists circulated two videos on social media of the killings.
The first, posted on the Twitter account of the Ahrar al-Sharqiya rebel group, shows two people in civilian clothes kneeling on the ground as a fighter next to them announces they have been captured by the faction.
In the second, an unidentified fighter opens fire at a person on the ground wearing civilian attire.
5. In view of the heavy fighting, which was approaching close to the UNDOF headquarters at Camp Faouar and the mission’s positions in the central part of the area of separation, the Force Commander briefed both parties early in September on the Force’s plans to relocate its personnel and assets should the Nusra Front or other extremist fighters who posed a clear threat to the mission endanger the safety and security of the United Nations personnel. It should be noted here that from information posted on social media as well as in the course of its efforts to secure the release of the peacekeepers, the United Nations learned that its personnel had been taken and held by members of the Nusra Front. There were indications that the Nusra Front intended to detain additional UNDOF personnel and take from UNDOF more weapons and vehicles as opportunities arose. (…)
12. Crossing of the ceasefire line by civilians, primarily shepherds, was observed on an almost daily basis. On 24 October, United Nations observation post 73 observed 12 IDF soldiers who detained one civilian between the Alpha line and the Israeli technical fence south-east of the observation post and subsequently took him away. IDF informed UNDOF that they released the person within one hour at the same location. On 27 October, position 80 observed two IDF soldiers east of the technical fence returning from the direction of the Alpha line towards the technical fence. UNDOF observed IDF opening the technical fence gate and letting two individuals pass from the Bravo to the Alpha side. Following the evacuation of UNDOF personnel from position 85 on 28 August, UNDOF sporadically observed armed members of the opposition interacting with IDF across the ceasefire line in the vicinity of United Nations position 85.
UN troops monitoring the 1974 ceasefire between Israel and Syria have witnessed interactions between members of the Israeli Defence Forces and the Al Nusra Front who have taken over a large part of the Golan Heights.
Erdogan said on Thursday Ankara will send the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to Europe if European countries label the country’s military incursion in Syria as an occupation.
„We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,“ Erdogan said in speech to lawmakers from his AK Party.
The US should never have been there in the first place (though reading Hillary Clinton’s late-night response to Trump it is clearer than ever that the world dodged more than a bullet when she failed to win the presidency).
The Kurdish people should have never placed their fate in the hands of a far off and thoroughly unreliable US “ally” which has picked them up only to put them back on the shelf so many times before. Syrian Kurds belong to Syria and it is with their Syrian neighbours and government that the SDF should have been in alliance.
These Islamic State attacks have become prevalent over the last three months, as they often hit the Syrian Army’s positions and then disappear into the desert.
In addition to targeting the Syrian Army’s positions, the Islamic State also carries out attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along the eastern region of the Euphrates River Valley.
Despite claims by Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham about defending their northern Hama pocket at all costs, the jihadist group ultimately succumbed to the pressure and fled the pocket before being completely encircled by the Syrian Arab Army.
According to a military source in the area, some militants chose to stay back and try to fend off the Syrian Arab Army attack; however, they ultimately gave us their fight by either surrendering to the military or fleeing to the Turkish observation post at Morek.
After eight years of civil war, the Syrian government now controls much of the country, and on Tuesday it appeared closer than ever to seizing control of Idlib, the last of the rebels’ territory.
Whether President Bashar al-Assad will win has not been in doubt for some time. We — three journalists with The New York Times — had come to Syria to see what his victory looked like.
Rebels told the BBC that fighters pulled out of the town on Tuesday.
But an official statement from the main jihadist group in Idlib province, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), characterised it as a „redeployment“ of forces.
The Syrian army has captured all farms in west and north-west Khan Shaykhun cutting all rebel’s major supply lines toward the strategic town.
Top media outlets turn to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) for figures on deaths and detentions, never noting the group’s seamless connection to Syria’s opposition, the support it receives from states that waged war on the country, or its open lobbying for US military intervention.
By Max Blumenthal
Abdul Baset al-Sarout, 27, who rose to fame as a goalkeeper for his home city of Homs, joined peaceful protests against Assad in 2011 and was known as the “singer of the revolution”. He later took up arms as the country slid into civil war. Four of his brothers and his father have also been killed in the fighting.
Sarout’s life and his role in Syria’s uprising and conflict was the subject of Return to Homs, a documentary film that won an award at the 2014 Sundance film festival.
(31.05.2019) Maier, on Thursday, said it was also increasingly likely that the residual U.S. force would soon be bolstered by an influx of troops and capabilities from other members of the coalition to defeat Islamic State.
„We’ve talked to close to 30 coalition partners about their role … somewhere over two dozen that we’re actively engaged with,“ he said, declining to share additional specifics. „Very few have told us no at this point.“
At least 18 hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or damaged by air strikes and shelling over recent weeks, several of which were on UN „no target“ lists that detail exact locations of the health facilities to the warring sides, the UN aid chief told the council.
„Russia and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area,“ British Ambassador Karen Pierce told the council. „I think we need answers today.“
Due to the steepness of the mountain Kabani is located on, it is very difficult to advance into the town from any axis around the town.
Hama, SANA- Army units thwarted an infiltration attempt by a terrorist group in the area of al-Masasenah towards the safe areas in the northern countryside of Hama, SANA reporter said.
The only success of terrorists has now been achieved in defense of a significant visa, Tal Saker, which is key to the defense of Habit City. The losses of terrorists are in hundreds and government forces only in tens. It is also evident that terrorists increasingly use Russian anti-tank systems Konkurs, Kornet and Fagot to avoid interference, because it is known that in the Sarab system the Syrian army found a useful counter measure against the US developed system.
The Syrian army is launching „intensive strikes on dens of Jabhat al-Nusra,“ a group formerly affiliated with al Qaeda, in a village in southwestern Idlib province Sunday, Syrian state media is reporting.
The escalation in violence in Syria’s last rebel-held province in recent weeks has prompted the displacement of more than 180,000 people in the territory and killed more than 120 people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
According to a source from the 42nd Brigade, the Syrian Arab Army is now in full control of Point 1154 after they forced Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham to retreat further north.
Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said on Monday that Moscow and its Syrian government ally were trying to wrest control of two major highways in their last enclave in the northwest of the country in a bid to shore up Syria’s sanction-hit economy.
SYRIA – Units of the Syrian Arab Army have fully mobilized and taken the offensive across three theatres in Syria. What began as a retaliation to the frequent breaches and attacks by terrorists on safe areas in the countryside of Hama and Idlib, developed by this morning into an intensive operation against their positions and supply routes in Idlib southern countryside and Hama northern countryside.