‘If the terrorists again raise their heads, we will deal such blows to them they have never seen,’ Russian leader says
Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, Moscow’s state news agencies are reporting.
The Russian leader made the announcement at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia, the heartland of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Alawite minority.
Accompanied by defence minister Sergey Shoygu, Mr Putin said Russian and Syrian armies had achieved their mission to destroy Isis – “one of the most capable groups of international terrorists” – in just over two years.
He said the two countries’ forces would respond with power strikes if “terrorists raise their heads” in Syria.
Addressing Russian servicemen gathered at the base, he said: “The task of fighting armed bandits here in Syria, a task that it was essential to solve with the help of extensive use of armed force, has for the most part, been solved and solved spectacularly. I congratulate you!
“You have shown the best qualities of a Russian soldier.”
In the televised speech, Mr Putin said he had ordered the military to withdraw a “significant part” of the Russian contingent in Syria.
“Friends, the Motherland is waiting for you,” he said.
“If the terrorists again raise their heads, we will deal such blows to them they have never seen.”
Mr Putin, who confirmed last week he would seek re-election in 2018, also announced that Russia would keep its Hmeymim air base in the Latakia Province as well as its naval facility at Tartous “on a permanent basis”.
The visit marks Mr Putin’s first trip to Syria and comes as the Assad regime’s forces have retaken control over most of Syria under Russian air cover.
The air base has served as the main foothold for the air campaign Russia has waged since September 2015 in support of Mr Assad.
Russia launched its air campaign in Syria at the end of September 2015 when Mr Assad’s government was teetering on the brink of collapse and quickly changed the course of the conflict in its favour.
Russia’s Defense Ministry is bewildered at the statement made by France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that Russia has misappropriated the victory over IS
Russia’s Defense Ministry is bewildered at the statement made by France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian that Russia has misappropriated the victory over IS (Islamic State terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia), the ministry said on Sunday.
“The defeat of IS in Syria is first of all result of actions by the Syrian leadership and governmental forces,” the ministry said. “With support of the Russian Aerospace Force, the Syrian armed forces liberated from IS terrorists hundreds of settlements and returned under control of the legitimate leadership practically the entire territory of the country.”
Over that time, the international coalition focused on counter-acting the Syrian governmental forces, including direct air strikes on their positions in Deir ez-Zor, the ministry said. Over three year of existence, the “coalition” only recently succeeded for the first time in fighting IS in Syria – when it delivered mass bombing of Raqqa and its civilians, the Defense Ministry said.
On Wednesday, according to Chief of Russia General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, ISIS in Syria was “destroyed…(T)he territory has been liberated,” Vladimir Putin and Defense Secretary Sergey Shoigu were informed, adding:
“Today the advancing units of (Syrian) General Hassan Sukhel and the 5th Volunteer Assault Corps routed the remaining illegal armed forces” in Deir Ezzor.
“(H)aving liberated the inhabited communities of Al-Salihiyah, Al-Khreita, al-Katia and Musalaha, merged with the government troops advancing from the south…there are no territories controlled by (ISIS) in Syria today.”
Conflict hasn’t ended yet. Scattered pockets of US-supported ISIS fighters remain to be eliminated. A greater task involves destroying US-supported al-Nusra terrorists.
On Thursday, Russia carried out dozens of sorties against them near Khan Sheikhoun, the al-Hoss mountain area, in Aleppo province and Hama governorate.
Thousands of its fighters remain to be eliminated. It’ll take time. Given the success against ISIS, destroying al-Nusra should follow in the weeks or months ahead, leaving winning the peace to achieve, a formidable challenge given Washington’s rage for war and regime change, Israel pursuing the same agenda.
Russia and Iran alone provided vital humanitarian aid to liberated areas throughout the conflict. A New York Times disinformation piece headlined “Russia Balks at Cross-Border Humanitarian Aid in Syria,” saying:
Russian UN envoy Vasily Nebenzia said border crossings require “permission from government authorities.”
Syria welcomes aid to liberated areas. America, other Western countries and the UN provided none throughout years of conflict, only delivering it to terrorist-controlled location, something Damascus rejects, including supplying them with heavy weapons and munitions, the Times failed to explain.
Aid for areas held by terrorists are used for its fighters exclusively, denied to civilians held as virtual hostages and human shields.
The Times lied claiming most UN aid “is delivered to government-controlled areas.” The world body has provided little or none.
Syria and Russia welcome aid to civilians in need. Both countries oppose supplying anti-government terrorists with anything.
War continues raging to eliminate them entirely. Feeding them and treating their wounded isn’t an option unless they surrender.
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“The statement is nothing new, the same typical snobbery. Even with total resistance from the US special services, those who know how much Russia and the Syrian military forces have done, how many lives were lost, simply cannot say that Russia has done nothing,” Senator Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Upper House Committee for Defense and Security, told RBC in response to remarks by Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon.
“Nothing is sacred to these people. Now leading news agencies around the world that are being managed by them will tell us that they are the greatest. And we will disprove this,” Klintsevich added. “I think that, in the nearest future, the Americans will face a great disappointment. They have installed so many time bombs for themselves.”
A member of the Lower House Committee for Defense, Pavel Dorokhin (Communist Party), described the Pentagon’s statement as an attempt to retake the lost initiative in the Middle East. “Of course, the merit of freeing Syria belongs to Russia. We have seen it in the news every day as the land was liberated, piece by piece,” he said.
“The American state used special mechanisms to depose the Syrian government and they used other gangs for it, apart from the Islamic State. When it became clear that the plan is going to end in fiasco, they attempted to regain the initiative, but they failed,” Dorokhin told reporters.
The comments came soon after Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said in an interview with Sputnik that the Syrian government and the Russian Federation had allegedly demonstrated insufficient seriousness or commitment to defeating the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group. “They have only conducted a fraction of counter-ISIS operations, and most of the territory liberated in Iraq and Syria has been liberated through the efforts of the global coalition and its partners,” Pahon said, adding that the US-led coalition would continue to operate in Syria.
On Monday, President Vladimir Putin said that almost all of Syria’s territory has been liberated from terrorists. “The situation in this country [Syria] is gradually changing. The Syrian armed forces, supported by the Russian military, have liberated from terrorists almost the whole territory of the country, including historic Christian regions,” Putin told a major congress of Orthodox Christian bishops in Moscow.
On the same day, a representative of the Russian military group in Syria Major General Yevgeny Poplavskiy said that in the coming days, the whole territory of Syria east of the Euphrates River would be freed from terrorists.
Despite significant progress toward defeating US-supported terrorists in Syria, conflict resolution is far from achieved – not as long as Washington and Israel want war and regime change.
On Monday evening, for the second time in three days, an Israeli warplane flying illegally in Lebanese airspace fired multiple missiles at Syria’s Jamarya military facility and research center, northwest of Damascus.
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said “(t)he army’s air defense confronted an Israeli attack with missiles on one of the military sites in Damascus countryside, destroying three of them.”
“An informed source told SANA that at 11:30pm (local time) Monday, the Israeli enemy launched a number of missiles targeting one of the military sites in Damascus countryside, adding that the army’s air defense intercepted the Israeli missiles, downing three of them.”
“On December 1st, the army’s air defense confronted an Israeli attack with surface-to-surface missiles on one of the military sites in Damascus countryside, destroying two of them.”
Lebanese sources said the Israeli warplane fired six air-to-ground missiles at the military/research center, three intercepted, others apparently detonating on the ground, loud explosions heard.
On Monday, Israel’s ambassador to Washington/close Netanyahu confidant Ron Lauder said “(t)he chances of military confrontation are growing.”
“I can’t tell you by the year or by the month. I’d say even by the week. Because the more they push, we have to enforce our red lines.”
“So in taking action to defend ourselves, you don’t know what could happen. But I think (chances of Israeli war on Syria) is higher than people think.”
In early November, Israel threatened to launch an incursion into Syria – on the phony pretext of protecting a Syrian Golan Druze village supporting Damascus, an IDF spokesman saying at the time:
Israel’s military “is prepared and ready to assist the residents of the village and prevent damage to or the capture of the village Hader out of commitment to the Druze population.”
Washington and Israel support ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorists in Syria. Netanyahu threatened war if Iran maintains a permanent military presence in the country – its legitimate right, invited by Damascus to be there.
Iranian military personnel are largely helping in an advisory capacity from Syrian bases, none of its own as falsely reported.
Netanyahu gave Damascus an ultimatum. If Iranian forces establish bases or use Syrian ones, Israel will attack Syrian army positions and other military targets – a near-declaration of war.
Two instances of Israeli aerial aggression on Syria in three days perhaps indicates stepped-up attacks coming.
Russia has sophisticated S-400 air defense systems protecting Syrian airspace. They’re able to strike targets up to 400 km away at altitudes up to 90,000 feet.
They’re protecting Russian facilities and personnel in the country. It’s time they’re used against incoming missiles by Israel or any other foreign source, aimed at striking Syrian targets.
The only language Washington and Israel understand is force. Destroying incoming IDF missiles and its attacking warplanes close to Syrian territory will show Netanyahu his aggression will be forcefully countered.
If nothing is done to stop Israeli attacks, they’ll continue, likely escalate, making conflict resolution harder to achieve.
Much depends on how Putin responds to increasing Israeli aggression. Failure to confront it assures more to come.
Sophisticated Russian air defense systems can destroy air-to-ground missiles with pinpoint accuracy.
It’s high time they’re used to defend Syrian territory from aerial aggression. Otherwise, it’s likely to escalate.
China is planning to send troops to Syria to aid President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, according to the New Khaleej.
According to informed sources, the move comes as China becomes increasingly concerned with the presence of Islamic militants in the East Turkestan region, who have been sighted aiding opposition groups in Syria.
Last week, during a meeting with Syrian Presidential Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi praised the regime’s efforts at tackling the fighters from the Islamic East Turkistan Movement.
The Syrian regime has also claimed that some 5,000 fighters of Uyghur origin, an ethnic Muslim minority that Chinese authorities regularly accuse of terrorism, have arrived in Syria, illegally passing through Southeast Asia and Turkey.
The sources said that the Chinese Ministry of Defence intends to send two units known as the “Tigers of Siberia” and the “Night Tigers” from the Special Operations Forces to aid Syrian government troops.
This is not the first time Chinese troops have crossed into Syria; in 2015 the Syrian regime permitted some 5,000 soldiers to enter its territory as allied forces and stationed them in the Western region of Latakia. Chinese military advisors were also among the deployment, as well as naval and aerial assets.
China is one of the five veto-wielding powers of the UN Security Council and, along with Russia, has used its power on more than one occasion to protect the interests of the Syrian regime.
Russian support has given the government an upper hand in the six year-long civil war, especially as the battle against Daesh comes to an end.
More than half a million people are believed to have been killed since 2011, the vast majority by the Assad government and allied forces. The regime has also used chemical weapons against civilians and prevented aid from reaching those affected on the ground. UN officials further estimate that some ten million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting.
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A concerned friend and co-author of SyriaNews Ms. Miri Wood sent me an urgent message on Friday afternoon sharing an article appearing on ‘Vanity Fair’ website asking my feedback.
It’s a common way we share information and look at the different publications with the huge unprecedented amount of fabricated stories especially by Western mainstream media and their regional minions.
We’ve spent many long hours throughout the current Syrian crisis deciphering posts addressed to the Western public opinion and to the masses in our region naturally. Is the information correct? Or better how much of the information is correct in each post, sadly and without any exaggeration, Western journalists writing for mainstream publications cannot post any article, even a post of a current event without their personal and in all the cases their employers’ touch to the events.
I remember some of my friends in the early days of the crisis in Syria asking me to change the wording I use, especially when calling the ‘rebels’ in Syria as ‘Anti-Islamic Wahhabi Sex Jihadist’ and ‘Terrorists’ and instead requesting me to call them ‘rebels’, or ‘insurgents’ or any other word to please Western journalists and the public opinion in the West to allow my posts to be shared by them. When I didn’t change my posts to please them my posts were completely ignored, and countless times copied and regenerated with a complete make-up to cover the ugly reality of these terrorists.
‘EXCLUSIVE: WHAT TRUMP REALLY TOLD KISLYAK AFTER COMEY WAS CANNED’, with All annoying CAPS was the subject of the article my friend sent me to look at.
I do not claim I’m always right, but being skeptical about all Western ‘news’ made me almost always correct in my analyses of their posts.
The ‘Vanity Fair’ post describes the information they know the information Trump revealed ‘contents of a classified and highly sensitive Israeli intel operation’ to his guests the Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Kislyak Russian ambassador to the United States at the time.
The publication clearly accuses the US president of betrayal, if not yet to his country but as they described ‘the president betrayed his intelligence community’.
Our concern here has nothing to do with the US president and his struggle with his ‘intelligence community’ or the ‘mainstream media’ or how ‘the Mossad will have to hold back important information from the US due to this betrayal of the US president’ and keep him in the dark, the least in our interest, it’s about the content he revealed which ‘Vanity Fair’ describes in details as an operation deep in the Syrian territories carried out by a sophisticated highly trained ‘Sayeret Matkal’ or ‘Shadow unit of ghosts’…
I read on with much of surprise, and to be honest, I visualized the well-written story as if I’m watching it live on a big screen in a cinema with all the details given except I couldn’t see the faces of the ‘shadows of ghosts’, my ability and knowledge isn’t yet able to see ghosts faces, although I’ve seen before some faces of Jinn, or what I thought they were before I woke up in the dense of a very cold winter night in Damascus.
Will not waste your time describing the black-op carried out by the Israeli unit, which amounts to a hostility that is definitely another breach of the ‘Agreement on Disengagement between Israel and Syria‘ signed post the October 1973 war. You will with no doubt watch it in an upcoming movie by Hollywood who will not find problems raising a few millions of dollars to create such an entertainment.
I’ll just share with you my reply to my friend:
“There’s not a shred of evidence to support any part of this story and the operation carried out and the information leaked by Trump to his Russian guests, there’s everything that would serve as the magazine’s exclusive story to the magazine’s own name a ‘Vanity Fair’ and same applies to Israel.
Carrying out an operation inside Syria is not a tough job during the crisis, and wasn’t that tough before, massive plains shared with similar plains in Iraq and Jordan, both under US protection, hostile borders with Lebanon and a very long rigid and difficult terrain borders with NATO Turkey. What to expect?
But for 2 helicopters to travel that far and back, and land in the plains then drive 2 Syrian Army jeeps into an ISIS land to kill, kidnap and posses, it’s a bit difficult to digest.”
Then I added:
“They could simply call the ISIS commander and ask about the new idea he was working on, or better ask his operator in the Mossad what he was up to. or even call the Saudis for info. Give me a break here. Mossad against ISIS?” – And there’s not a shred of a conspiracy theory here, the Israelis have worked and still are working closely with all branches of al-Qaeda (FSA) operating in Syria including ISIS and Nusra Front, especially in the occupied Golan Heights and in the supposed to be demilitarized zone there.
One day later, a prominent Syrian analyst who goes by a the pseudonym ‘Naram Sargon’ (after the last great king of the Akkadian Empire), posted on his Facebook page his analysis about ‘Vanity Fair’ article and calling it as it is a ‘Rambo and James Bond scene with some hot spices, onion, ketchup and Biryani Tekka addressed to the naive Western, American, and Arabic public’.
It’s a well-known practice that each fighting unit in moments of defeat would cling to any story to raise their morale and this is exactly the case now with the terrorist groups on the run in Syria especially after their ISIS miserable defeat in Bu Kamal, despite the heinous direct support they received from the US military to prevent the defeat and prolong their holding on the city until a change of flags with the other US-sponsored ‘HSD’ (SDF) forces arrive and take the city.
Until the next Hollywood episode shaping the western public opinion and the naïve Arabs. Thanks to the free high-quality education we received in Syrian schools these mind playing games for us are mere laughable for moments then we usually feel sick and sorry for those who fall for such stories and get brainwashed into the mainstream media’s programmes.
Remaining elements of ISIS are being eliminated. The US-supported terrorist group in Syria is a shadow of its peak strength.
“Eliminating terrorists, creating and ensuring proper operations in the de-escalation zones as part of the Astana process have contributed significantly to improving the situation” in liberated areas, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (MZ below) explained.
Achieving a political settlement is much harder, America’s imperial objectives the main obstacle, wanting regime change in all sovereign independent countries, opposing peace and stability in nations it attacks.
On November 16, the “Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations formally ceased to exist” – because Washington vetoed the joint Sino/Russia resolution to extend it, following international investigative standards, what it failed to do so far in Syria, MZ explained.
Together with its rogue allies, America “finished off the JIM that has already discredited itself too much” – discussed in previous articles.
Discussing the sham trial and conviction of Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, MZ called it “a continuation of the politicized and biased course that has dominated the (pro-Western International Criminal Tribunal for the Forher Yugoslavia – ICTY) activity from the outset.”
The ICTY delivered “selective justice,” convicting innocent individuals, absolving others responsible for high crimes of US-led NATO aggression in Yugoslavia, raping and destroying the country, balkanizing it for easier control.
“Nobody in the West has answered for these barbarous actions,” MZ explained, only victims of its high crimes.
Discussing Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt’s intention to give RT and Sputnik News less prominence on Google News by de-ranking them, MZ blasted what she called an “artificial grading…amount(ing) to censorship and violation of” America’s First Amendment.
Google is waging illegal war on media freedom, fully supported by Washington, the company more an online censor than search engine.
It masterfully manipulates Internet content, giving prominently featuring what it supports, censoring vital information differing from the official narrative.
Google is playing a “Good Cop Bad Cop game,” said MZ, supporting the bad over the good. “We have taken note of this, of course, and we interpret this as a global offensive against freedom of the media and freedom to provide information.”
Russian media are prime targets. Will independent sources of news, information and analysis be next?
The Pentagon is likely to announce in the coming days that there are about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, two U.S. officials said on Friday, as the military acknowledges that an accounting system for troops has under-reported the size of forces on the ground.
The U.S. military had earlier publicly said it had around 500 troops in Syria, mostly supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces group of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State in the north of the country.
Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon could, as early as Monday, publicly announce that there are slightly more than 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. They said there was always a possibility that last minute changes in schedules could delay an announcement.
That is not an increase in troop numbers, just a more accurate count, as the numbers often fluctuate.
An accounting system, known as the Force Management Level (FML), was introduced in Iraq and Syria during former President Barack Obamaâ€™s administration as a way to exert control over the military.
But the numbers do not reflect the extent of the U.S. commitment on the ground since commanders often found ways to work around the limits – sometimes bringing in forces temporarily or hiring more contractors.
The force management levels are officially at 5,262 in Iraq and 503 in Syria, but officials have privately acknowledged in the past that the real number for each country is more than the reported figure.