CIA chief admits US role in Syrian bloodshed

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​The head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has admitted responsibility in the bloodshed in Syria while wishing that the US could have prevented the defeat of militants in Aleppo by Syrian forces.
“I think we always like to say that we wish that we would have been able to make a difference, in a way that would have prevented the slide and the situation there,” CIA Director John Brennan said in an interview with National Public Radio.
“There’s no way you can divorce yourself, emotionally or mentally, from these situations that you play a role in,” Brennan said, adding that he “felt some responsibility for the horrific bloodshed” in the Syrian conflict.
The CIA chief further insisted that the resounding defeat of militant groups in Aleppo would not constitute an end to the armed campaign against the Syrian government.
“This insurgency is not going to go away until there is some type of viable and genuine political process that will bring to power in Damascus a government that is representative of the Syrian people,” he claimed, without explaining how a representative of the Syrian people will be determined.
He also acknowledged the US inability to influence developments in foreign lands despite its military might.
“As great a country — as powerful a country — as the United States is, we have, in many areas, limited ability to influence the course of events,” Brennan said.
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed since the onset of the militancy. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

Source: iran-daily.com

​Syrian FM Moallem in Tehran to discuss latest developments in Syria against Takfiri 

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TEHRAN, Dec. 31 (MNA) – Mr. Walid al-Moallem has arrived in Tehran on Saturday along with Syrian Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, Head of National Security Bureau.

The first visit on agenda for Syrian officials is with Mr. Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council later in the evening. Mr. Shamkhani has been serving as Political, Defense, and Security Coordinator of Iran’s operations with Russia and Syria.
The meeting will address latest developments in fighting Takfirists, political initiative to bring stability and peace, and conditions for a Syrian-Syrian dialogue.
Al-Moallem will discuss with Shamkhani measures taken to prevent resuscitation of the terrorist groups after the Aleppo success. After Aleppo liberation, a modest peace has recently ruled the whole Syria with Turkey, Russia, and Iran having agreed upon a ceasefire between Syrian government and opposition groups. The ceasefire does not include terrorists of Fath al-Sham and ISIL.

Source: en.mehrnews.com

Russia will monitor Syria truce from Hmeimim air base, Turkey from Eskişehir

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​Turkey and Russia will establish joint monitoring centers in the Eskişehir Main Air Base in Turkey and Hmeimim Air Base in Syria to closely follow the implementation of a cease-fire between the Syrian regime and opposition groups, a senior Turkish official has said. 
“We, as Ankara and Moscow, will follow the cease-fire process together. We have already been working very closely in the recent month. We will monitor from the Eskişehir base and they will from their Hmeimim base. But our ground forces will also keep track of developments and inform both our monitoring centers,” the official told Hürriyet Daily Newson Dec. 30. 
In an interview with daily Hürriyet, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Dec. 29 confirmed the establishment of the joint monitoring centers between Turkey andRussia as guarantor countries of the agreement between the regime and the opposition and said a hot line between the Turkish and Russian air bases would be established to coordinate the truce process and investigate any potential violation. 
The Bashar al-Assad regime and the opposition groups have agreed to extend the ceasefire to all of Syria and to launch fresh political talks in Astana on Dec. 29 after Turkey and Russia exerted great efforts through intense diplomatic relations. The ceasefire went into force on Dec. 30. 

 
Most important success in the last 6 years 
The most important point in the agreement provided between the fighting parties is the fact that both their political representatives and commanders have expressed their approval to the ceasefire, the source said.
“This may be described as the most important success in six years of the Syrian unrest. They have also agreed not to expand territories under their control. This is very important, if this process can go smoothly, we will come up with a vision for peace,” the source added. 

Astana talks set for Jan 23
The second agreement, reached on Dec. 29, is about commencing negotiations between the regime and the opposition for a political transitional period that would end years of conflict in Syria.  
According to the document signed by the two parties, they will sit on a table along with the three guarantor countries –Turkey, Russiaand Iran- to discuss a road map for a negotiated solution. It also refers to Resolution 2254 of the United Nations Security Council and Geneva Communiqué that stipulates a transitional period in Syria.
In such a case, there would be no problem in implementing the cease-fire, the Astana talks are expected to take place on Jan. 23, the source said. However, before that, Turkish and Russian officials will come together either on Jan. 8 or 9 to discuss the developments in the field and get prepared for the Astana process. 
“Heads of nations shall not be expected to attend the first round talks. It may not even be at a foreign ministerial level. First, we should see the composition of two sides’ delegations. Details will become clearer in the coming days,” the source said. 

UN should also attend 
Along with three guarantor countries, Turkey also wants the participation of the U.N. in the Astana talks. Çavuşoğlu and Turkey’s top diplomats have been in close dialogue with U.N.’s Syria Representative Staffan de Mistura to provide UN’s possible involvement to the process. 

 
Turkey’s military operations will continue 
As the ceasefire agreement excludes groups listed as terror organizations by the U.N. Security Council, meaning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra, Turkey’s ongoing Euphrates Shield operation will continue as planned, the source stressed.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com

LEAKED: NATO Weaponry and Personnel in East Aleppo

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​Huge stockpiles of weaponry and ammunition, many with NATO markings, were discovered in East Aleppo when the Al-Nusra militants, a local branch of Al Qaida, were pushed out of the city by Syrian forces.
The previous reports that NATO personnel were captured are now retracted, as they were allowed to leave with the militants on the buses provided according to the agreement, to spare NATO the embarrassment. FWM interviews the Syrian MP Fares Shehabi, an Aleppo resident himself. He calls the discoveries “SyriaGate”.
Mr. Shehabi, European mainstream media and leading politicians are upset about the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army. They write reports about massacres committed by the army and horrified civilians in Aleppo…
It is the total opposite. The news in Europe is a real problem because they report exactly the opposite of the real facts in Syria. We were able to liberate around 100.000 civilians who were held hostage by terrorists in Aleppo. A lot of them were taken hostage for more than four years. These liberated civilians are happy now. The 1.5 million civilians who left Aleppo since 2012 are now able to come home again. This is a very positive and happy moment for Aleppo and Syria in general. We were able to celebrate Christmas in Aleppo for the first time since 4.5 years – we celebrate Christmas every day now in our city!
So the terrorists left the city completely?
 – Yes, but before they left they executed more than hundred Syrian soldiers and hundreds of civilians. We found their bodies. This is all documented. Any international independent investigation can see and check the evidence of these terrorist crimes. But we are happy that our city is now liberated. Some rural areas around Aleppo are still under terrorist occupation. The next step will be to liberate the countryside so the city is well maintained and well protected.
Damascus reported about a huge amount of Western military material such as arms and ammunition in Aleppo…
– What we found there whole weaponry warehouses which were put in former school buildings by the terrorist forces. Our schools were turned into Al Qaida military bases. We found at those Al-Nusra bases – Al-Nusra is a branch of Al Qaida – full with NATO weaponry. We found tons of these weapons. I call that “SyriaGate” – the US and NATO arm and support terrorist gangs which are even on the official UN terror list in order to topple the legitimate government of a sovereign country. This is totally ridiculous of the West…
Why ridiculous?
– Because nobody can guarantee that these weapons will not be used one day against the West itself by these terrorists. American and European tax payer’s money is abused to arm terrorist gangs which are ready to direct their guns any time against America and European civilians. This is a huge scandal.
What do you know about the presence of Western military and intel experts and advisors in the terrorist controlled areas of Aleppo? Earlier reports spoke about captured NATO personnel.
– We didn’t capture any European or American military advisor in Aleppo. However we have reliable information that many of them were there and left the city with the buses we provided for the evacuation of the terrorist forces after their capitulation. Also some of these so-called activists as Bilal Abdul Kareem who is an Afro-American from New York and a loud supporter of the Al Qaida gangs in Syria.
Kareem’s presence in Aleppo was supported by the Obama administration and he was often in Western news introduced as “independent journalist”. And there were many other Western agents and terrorist supporters as well in Aleppo who left the city with the buses. This is by the way the reason why the West pushed so hard for this evacuation. Otherwise all these agents, advisors and supporters would have been captured by us and would have been exposed. That would have been a big embarrassment for the West.

The fate of Aleppo didn’t play such a big role in Western media for the last 4.5 years. Since the start of the liberation operations of the Syrian Arab Army the situation changed completely: All of the sudden Western media, politicians and NGOs were campaigning – against the Syrian Army. They accused the Syrian Army of committing “genocide” in Aleppo, of bombarding hospitals, of massacring children and babies…
– We Syrians paid in blood and destruction. Our own blood is the currency for these Western lies and this “misunderstanding”. Someone in the West can always say “Oh sorry, I got it somehow wrong!”, but we paid with our blood and our lives for this horrible ignorance. Aleppo was conquered by Al Qaida gangs in summer 2012. There were no Aleppo residence involved, our city was very peaceful, no one took the arms against the government. We were conquered by the terrorists with heavy weapons and they took 70 percent of our city. In 2012 around two million civilians lived in East Aleppo, 1.5 million left the occupied territory to safe zones. Nobody in the West spoke about the displacement of these 1.5 million people who were fleeing into government controlled areas. America and Europe were silent. Nobody in the West was interested in the 11.000 civilians killed by the terrorist gangs in four years of random shellings and bombardments. 30 per cent of these killed civilians are children. 4.5 years we were losing innocent civilians by terrorist grenades, explosives and snipers.

European politicians, media and NGOs seem to care more about the fate of the terrorists than about the civilians of Aleppo?
– There is no other explanation for that behaviour. Again: 4.5 years the terrorists brought the hell to the civilians of Aleppo, but the West didn’t care. When we liberate the terrorist controlled areas the West reacts with a huge campaign against us. At the same time the whole Western media campaigns for liberating the Iraqi city of Mosul from the terrorist gangs of the so-called “Islamic State”. Why is it allowed to liberate Mosul, but forbidden to liberate Aleppo?
This is a big hypocrisy. I recommend to the Western audience to put themselves in our shoes. Imagine that tens of thousands Al Qaida terrorists occupy half of Berlin, Paris or London? What would the people do? They would hope for liberation by their army. We Aleppo people waited 4.5 years for our liberation! But we had to bring that sacrifice in order to minimize the civilian causalities. We had to wait for a superpower – the Russian Federation – to help us. If our Army would have immediately started the counter attack in 2012 we might have had thousands of civilian losses and much more destruction. But we waited and we liberated our city. Thank god.

Interview conducted by Manuel Ochsenreiter

The original source of this article is Free West Media

Source: globalresearch.ca

​Palmyra Operation: 2nd Convoy of Tiger Forces Arrives in Homs

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TEHRAN (FNA)- The second convoy of Tiger Forces arrived at the T4 airbase in Homs on Thursday after the deployment of a large number of the Syrian army and Hezbollah troops in the province, a field source said.

The source said that a unit of Tiger Forces had earlier been sent from Aleppo to Homs, and added that the Desert Hawks are also likely to be dispatched to the region.
Noting that another group of Tiger Forces will be dispatched to Homs in the next few days, he said that several units of Tiger Forces have been assigned to the mission to protect the T4 airbase against the ISIL’s massive attacks.
A large number of Army soldiers and popular forces are waiting for a Centcom order to start a massive offensive to push back the ISIL terrorist group from the recently occupied lands in the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) and energy-rich regions in Eastern Homs.
After the arrival of fresh pro-government forces in Eastern Homs and improved weather conditions that made it possible for the Russian and Syrian warplanes to resume their flights in the region, the Damascus troops repelled ISIL’s repeated attacks on T4 airbase and also took back a number of key positions near Palmyra and T4 base.
The pro-government forces are now waiting for an Centcom order to initiate a large-scale offensive on ISIL in Eastern Homs.
In the meantime, hundreds more of fresh forces are due to arrive in Homs in coming days.
On Wednesday, the Syrian army troops and air force targeted ISIL’s concentration centers and gatherings in the ancient city of Palmyra and its outskirts, inflicting more than a dozen casualties on the terrorists.
The army men targeted the positions and movements of ISIL East of the Fourth Station and in Ba’ar al-Fawa’erah region West of Tadmur, killing over 13 militants and wounding several more.
The army aircraft also pounded ISIL’s positions and movements in the city of Palmyra and nearby areas, in Badiyeh al-Qarbi (the Western Desert), the Fourth Station and the villages of al-Tiyas and Sharifeh in Eastern Homs, leaving a number of militants dead and their military vehicles, canons and rocket launchers destroyed.
Also, the army men stormed ISIL’s gatherings in the villages of Habreh al-Sharqi, Habreh al-Qarbi, Rasm Hamideh, Jubb Habal, Abu Qatour, Unq al-Hawa, Abu Hawadid, Jubb Hamad and Sharifeh on Tuesday, killing or wounding a large number of militants.
In the meantime, the army troops targeted a gathering of Fatah al-Sham’s commanders near al-Rastan town, killing and wounding several commanders.

 

Source: en.farsnews.com

EU Parliamentarians Shown Around Russian Military Base Hmeymim in Syria

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​HMEYMIM (Sputnik) — During their stay at Hmeymim, parliamentarians visited the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, which has been involved in ceasefire negotiations and has delivered tons of humanitarian aid to worst-hit areas across the country. Its military doctors have been providing medical assistance to Syrians.
“We are at the Hmeymim base to see for ourselves and show our colleagues that it is carrying out in full the tasks that were set before its personnel, that all conditions have been created to achieve the goals set before the Russian Aerospace Forces by the Russian president,” Konstantin Kosachev said. Kosachev said the mixed group of lawmakers had arrived in Syria to meet with the country’s leadership. “We’ve already had very comprehensive talks with President Bashar Assad and are yet to meet senior lawmakers,” he added.

Source: sputniknews.com

 

​Syrian Arab Army to Start Idlib Liberation Operation after Aleppo Freedom

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Syrian Army troops that liberated Aleppo city from Jeish al-Fatah a couple of days ago will likely storm militant-held regions in Idlib province, informed sources said.

The sources said that based on information the liberation operation of Raqqa in Northeastern Syria will be halted till the liberation of Mosul in Iraq is completed and full control is imposed by the Iraqi side on the borders.
“Then the Syrian army that liberated Aleppo city will get ready for starting a large-scale operation in Idlib province that is the main bastion of Fatah al-Sham Front (previously known as the al-Nusra Front),” they added.
The sources cited worrying humanitarian conditions as a major cause of the imminent operations in Idlib city. “In the meantime, deep internal differences among Fatah al-Sham and other terrorist groups in the city will make the military operation easier there.”
The sources said that Russian fighter jets plan to carry out over 5,000 combat sorties over militants’ positions in Idlib and the Syrian army’s missile and artillery units will also launch over 1,500 attacks on Fatah al-Sham’s gatherings and concentration centers.
“After a week of heavy missile, artillery and air attacks and complete destruction of Fatah al-Sham’s bases, the ground operation will kick off,” they added.
A media expert said on Sunday that the army which recently liberated Aleppo from terrorists would focus in 2017 on boosting its positions around the city and then would engage to retake control over Palmyra and, possibly, continue an offensive on Idlib.
It is expected that in 2017, the “Syrian Army will focus its efforts on preventing possible counteroffensives by militants. The military will also protect infrastructure facilities and residential areas which are already controlled by the government. Another important goal is retaking Palmyra,” said Igor Korotchenko, chief editor of the Russian magazine National Defense, RIA Novosti reported.
On December 16, the Russian Defense Ministry’s center for Syrian reconciliation said that the Syrian army operation to liberate Aleppo’s Eastern neighborhoods was over, and that Syrian government troops were eliminating separate hotbeds of militant resistance.
On Thursday, the Syrian army declared victory in Aleppo as the last convoy with militants left the city’s east.
The liberation of Aleppo from the radical element is the most important component of a full normalization in Syria, and I hope in the region as a whole,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
ISIL terrorists first seized the ancient city of Palmyra in spring 2015 and a year later was forced out by Syrian government troops with air support from Russian jets.
On December 11, Palmyra was recaptured by the ISIL, which pushed the Syrian army out and forced units to regroup at an airbase dozens of miles westward from the city. The expert underscored that the importance of retaking Palmyra is due to its strategic locations and unique cultural artefacts. “Another task is to improve combat capabilities of the Syrian Army and boost morale of Syrian troops. Then, the army may launch an operation to liberate Idlib,” he suggested.

Source: en.farsnews.com

Russian jets carry out airstrikes to aid Turkish Army in Aleppo’s Al-Bab

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​BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 A.M.) – The Russian Air Force carried out its first airstrikes over the key city of Al-Bab on Sunday, marking the first time during this war that their aircraft have directly aided the Turkish Army.
According to a military source at the Kuweires Airport, a group of Russian Su-24 and Su-34 fighters jets carried out airstrikes over Al-Bab in east Aleppo, resulting in the destruction of several mechanisms that belonged to the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham” (ISIS).
Despite Russian air assistance on Sunday, the Turkish Army was unable to maintain control over the Al-Farouq Hospital and Jabal Al-Aqil after the Islamic State terrorists scored a direct hit with their VBIED (vehicle borne improvised explosive device).
The Russian and Turkish governments are currently on good terms for the first time in nearly a year, putting an end to the differences they had over the downing of the Su-24 fighter jet in northern Latakia last year.

Source: almasdarnews.com

Russian ​Ground Force Participating in War on Terrorism in Syria

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TEHRAN (FNA)- Media sources released that Russian Army soldiers have been engaged in several anti-terrorism operations across Syria.

The Arabic language al-Hadath news website reported that the Russian ground troops are present in the centers of several cities in Homs, Aleppo and Damascus province in addition to the missions they are doing in the military bases of Lattakia and Tartous.
The website added that the Russian soldiers have been deployed in several important airports, including T4 airbase in Eastern Homs, Aleppo airport and Damascus airport, while the Russian forces have serious presence in al-Zabadani and Palmyra (Tadmur) regions.
Al-Hadath underlined that the Russian Special Forces have carried out several outside battlefield operations, meaning that the Russian ground force has not taken part in battles in the Southern countryside of Aleppo and Northern Lattakia.
“Thousands of Russian forces and experts are in Syria,” the website added. 
Earlier this month The Russian VGTRK TV channel released a video showing the country’s Ministry of Defense’s Special Operation Forces (SOF) in war in Syria.
Al-Hadath news website reported that the video released by the state VGTRK TV channel was actually an interview with one of the officers of SOF, who got home after carrying out his mission in Syria.
According to the report, the video displayed some war scenes from Syria, but did not mention anything about the location and time of the SOF operation.
In some parts of the video, a group of SOF were shooting at terrorist groups in different regions (in Syria).
In the meantime, the video showed that the Russian warplanes bombed the gatherings and military vehicles of the terrorists.
Al-Hadath quoted experts as saying that the Russian air raids showed in the video had been conducted in Eastern countryside of Homs and in Aleppo city.
Massdar news reported for its part that the Russian state VGTRK TV channel released a video that had somewhat lifted a veil of secrecy over SOF and its role in Syrian war.
The reportage was focused on a commander of a SOF unit regularly operating in Syria, Colonel Vadim, whose first name might well be fictitious, while his last name was not disclosed at all.
Speaking to a VGTRK correspondent, the commander revealed some details about SOF’s mission in Syria. Based on his words, the primary objectives of the operations carried out by his unit in this Middle Eastern country could be summarized as follows:
Providing the Russian Air Force with target designation which allows fighter jets and attack helicopters to carry out precise airstrikes on positions and movements of various terrorist groups;
Carrying out special operations in the enemy’s rear, that include intelligence data collection and liquidation of terrorists’ field commanders;
Destroying fortified positions of the terrorists and thus propelling Syrian Army’s advance;
Supporting the Syrian Army in crucial battles.
The Colonel also described, in a few words, the level of secrecy that covers all of his unit’s operations.
“My wife does not even ask where I am heading when I leave,” he said.
“She does guess, I think,” he added answering the reporter’s question about whether Colonel’s spouse is aware of his assignments in Syria.
A significant part of the reportage was dedicated to description of process of SOF officers’ combat training. Every officer was being prepared to combat in basically any areas (deserts, forests, mountains, water), any weather conditions and in any season.
It is noteworthy to mention that, according to a decree signed by the President of the Russian Federation, Colonel was awarded with the highest Russian honorary title, “Hero of the Russian Federation” Gold Star medal.

Source: en.farsnews.com

Iran and Russia Use Shared Base in Syria: Shamkhani

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​Iran and Russia are sharing a base in war-torn Syria to help coordinate their support for the Syrian government in the battle against Takfiri terrorists, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani said on Tuesday.
The official, however, also criticized a UN Security Council resolution which passed on Monday on the Syrian city of Aleppo.
“We have a shared base in Syria where Iran, with Russia’s help, does advisory work to help the Syrian army and the resistance forces,” Shamkhani was quoted by Tasnim news agency.
He said Russia and Iran worked closely together “to design the military aspect of the fight against terrorism” and also coordinated on “the use of Iran’s air space”.
Shamkhani criticized the UN resolution passed to deploy observers to Aleppo, saying it would allow the “intelligence and military elements of countries that support terrorism” into the devastated city.
“No role has been devised for the legitimate government of Syria, and instead of giving priority to the aid to people under siege by terrorists in Syria, only the safe evacuation of armed forces from Aleppo has been considered,” he said.
The foreign and defense ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran were meeting in Moscow on Tuesday for key talks on the conflict in Syria.

Source: english.almanar.com.lb