ISIS/ISIL conflict in Syria/Iraq (No OpEd, No Politics)


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ISIS document says "full confrontation after 2016". In past 2 years, Indian soldiers are getting killed close to the borders. ISIS had amassed near Afghanistan after the Russian air strikes
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Rebels use "poisonous gas" in attack in Syria's Aleppo, wounding 44: state media
Xinhua| 2018-11-25 05:04:20
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At least 44 civilians suffered suffocation as a result of a rebel attack with "poisonous gas" in Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Saturday, state TV reported.

The rebels fired projectiles stuffed with "poisonous gas" on the al-Khalidiyeh and Zahraa neighborhoods as well as the Nile Street in Aleppo city, said the report.

It said 44 people suffered suffocation and were taken to the hospitals, adding that two of them are in critical conditions.

The TV, meanwhile, aired footages from inside one of the hospitals in Aleppo, showing doctors rushing to help the wounded people.

A doctor said the situation of the patients are stable, noting that a child had to be taken to the intensive care unit. The type of the poisonous gas couldn't be identified immediately.

Some reports said it's chlorine gas.

The rebels in the countryside of Aleppo city have repeatedly targeted the city with mortar shells.

But it's the first instance in a while since the state media accused the rebels of firing shells with poisonous gas as the namesake capital city of Aleppo was fully liberated from the rebels in 2016 except the western and northern countryside.

During the more than seven-year war, the rebels and the Syrian government side traded accusations of chemical weapons in the battles.

In 2013, officials of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Syria to monitor the dismantlement of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal, after Damascus officially joined the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Syrian government said that the Western-backed rebels resorted to chemical weapons to frame the Syrian government and draw in foreign intervention.


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In light of the recent events in Aleppo, Syria. It has been reported that "chemical attacks" were carried out, targeting Aleppo city. Both the Russian Federation and the Syrian Govt had repeatedly warned of such attacks being prepared by terrorists in Idlib. However no due consideration was given to such warnings and it seemed that they were deliberately ignored. Now that they attacks have taken place, the mainstream media is blaming Syrian Govt of orchestrating such attacks in order to undermine the Idlib Peace initiative, through the working mechanism of "De-Conflicting Zones" created and monitored by Russian Federation, Turkey and the Syrian Govt.

If we are to go by what the mainstream media's stance is on this subject. Then by their logic, if a chemical attack (perpetrated by Idlib Terrorists) occurs within the De-Conflicting Zone, then it is the "Assad Regime" which has carried out the attacks in order to undermine the Peace Deal. And if a chemical attack takes place in Syrian Govt controlled area, then the "Assad Regime" has carried out the attack on its own territory in order to blame it on the Idlib Terrorists. In other words, the Syrian Govt is "damned if you, and damned if you don't." Such logic, seems pretty much fixated on the narrative that "Assad Regime" is to be blamed for anything that remotely resembles chemical attacks. This narrative by mainstream media hardly is reflective of the standards of journalism which constitutes of being unbiased.

In 2015-2016, the Syrian Govt was all but destroyed and had lost nearly all of its territory to ISIS and the so-called "moderate rebels." Today (2018), Syria exists in some form better than what happened to Libya. The latter has been completely ripped apart, where there is no accountability, no rule of law and is the perfect breeding ground for more terrorists ... *cough* *cough* ... sorry, "Moderate Rebels" that are "fighting the good fight" (allegedly) to win freedom for Syria. The reason why no one in the mainstream media talks about Libya, is because the country is a sanctuary for terrorists. Libya is now the new Somalia of Africa, where human trafficking, drugs, weapons smuggling is rampant and Europe bears the brunt of this, despite the fact that it was the two old European colonial behemoths (Britain & France), which were on the forefront of the destruction of the country.

What has happened to Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, is a testament to what would happen to the Middle East, if it were left in the hands of the West and its allies.
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Moscow welcomes US pullout from Syria as signal of hope for political settlement

Washington's decision to pull its troops out of Syria might signal hope for political stability in the war-torn country, a spokeswoman from the Russian Foreign Ministry said, while other Russian officials remain skeptical.

The US soldiers' withdrawal might just bring Syria closer to a "real prospect of political settlement," Maria Zakharova
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Russia's Channel 1. It will also help resolve the tense situation in the Rukban refugee camps near the Syria-Jordan border, which have reportedly become a regional safe haven for terrorists – and also happen to be located not far from the US base in Al Tanf.

"There is hope that this area of Syria will eventually return to normal, peaceful life just like in Aleppo and other Syrian cities before it," Zakharova said, adding that "As long as the US [soldiers] were there, there was no such hope."

Rukban, which hosts some 50,000 refugees from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, is located on a territory largely controlled by the US. In August, Moscow
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that hundreds of terrorists from the Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) and the Al Nusra front were hiding among the refugees, holding people hostage and using them as human shields. The same refugee camp was listed in a recent report by the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team as one of the sources of the Islamic State’s reemergence.

Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly urged the US to cooperate to deal with the situation in Rukban, with Russia offering to help provide safe transportation of the refugees back to their homes. The Americans, on the other hand, were more of a hindrance than an asset, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who earlier this month claimed that US military presence at the Al-Tanf airbase was making it harder to deliver aid to the camp.

Now, Zakharova says that Washington has apparently finally realized that it is only doing itself a disservice by impeding the joint efforts of Russia, Turkey and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria.

Plausible deniability?
Some Russian officials remained skeptical, however, suggesting that the pullout is designed to untie the hands of Washington's militant proxies on the ground. Aleksandr Sherin, the deputy head of the Russian State Duma's Defense Committee, told RIA Novosti that Washington could be aiming for plausible deniability in future provocations by anti-Assad forces.

Lawmakers also
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Washington might be planning to get concessions from Moscow.

When President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal, he said that the Islamic State was "the only reason" for US presence in Syria, and they have now been defeated. According to Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, this leaves Washington without a formal enemy to fight, and its only remaining options are to withdraw in earnest or admit that their real fight is against Bashar Assad's government.

Even if American forces leave, Kosachev is not optimistic about seeing real change in the power landscape of Syria. He believes Washington will most likely continue pulling the strings through its allies on the ground.

While announcing the move on Wednesday, the White House made it clear that this does not "signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign" but instead marks a "transition to the next phase of this campaign." Nonetheless, the decision provoked quite a stir among politicians and the media alike, who responded with anger and disbelief.

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Spotlight: Turkey welcomes U.S. pullout from Syria, announces deal with Trump
Xinhua| 2018-12-22 04:26:21
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Turkey on Friday welcomed a decision of United States for pullout of all its troops from Syria and declared that it postponed an already announced operation into the east of Euphrates River in the war-torn country.

Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a recent deal with his U.S. counterpart for eliminating residues of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria by the Turkish army.

"We welcome the U.S. decision of withdrawal from Syria. We must coordinate the pullout with the U.S., there should not be vacuum. From now on we should focus on political solution," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Malta.

U.S. President Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday in a tweet about imminent U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria as he claimed that the IS has been defeated.

Erdogan revealed Friday that Trump had asked him if the Turkish army would be able to eliminate remaining IS fighters in Syria in the case that U.S. pulls its troops out of the country.

The Turkish president was referring to his phone conversation with Trump on Dec. 14 when the U.S. president reportedly made his final decision for withdrawal from Syria.

Erdogan on Friday said he told Trump Turkey's readiness and determination to get rid of "any kind of terrorists that would pose a threat against its border."

Citing an anonymous Turkish official who is familiar with the phone conversation, daily Hurriyet reported on Friday that Erdogan reminded Trump that the Turkish army has "cleared" 4,000 IS members in Syria and stressed the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) was not "genuine" in the fight against the jihadist groups.

The U.S. president agreed and ordered his National Security Adviser John Bolton to "start the work" for pullout from Syria even when Erdogan was still on the phone, according to the daily.

The phone conversation was only two days after Erdogan declared that Turkey would launch a military operation in the east of Euphrates River in Syria.

Turkey declared its plans for "clearing" the YPG group in the east of Euphrates, which the U.S. has been backing and arming for fighting against the IS in Syria.

But on Friday, Erdogan announced Turkey postponed its military campaign into Syria after the phone conversation with Trump.

"Our phone call with President Trump, along with contacts between our diplomats and security officials and statements by the United States, have led us to wait a little longer. Obviously, this is not an open-ended waiting period," he added.

The U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish group has been center of tension between the two NATO allies since Turkey regards the YPG as Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) designated to be a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

But Trump's move is likely to thaw the ties between the two countries, even pave the way for further bilateral cooperation in Syria.

Despite previous disappointment, "diplomacy with the U.S. is coming to the desired level now," Erdogan said.

"President Trump and I have seen that we thought similarly and shared the same views on a range of issues related to the Syrian question. Yet the practice to the ground was overdue and difficult. Finally, in recent days, we have been able to hear the clearest and most encouraging statements to date from the U.S. administration," he said.

Despite all the statements from the U.S. regarding retreat of soldiers, "Ankara is cautious," said Hande Firat, daily Hurriyet commentator.

Firat, in her column on Friday, stressed that Pentagon is known to be against this withdrawal and added that Ankara still questions if the whole administration agrees with the idea and if Trump could change his mind.

The Turkish government will follow a wait-and-see process, and revising military operation plans will require further military and political talks between Ankara and Washington, said Naim Baburoglu, a security expert from Aydin University.

If Washington realizes its pullout, Turkey will eliminate a risk of confrontation with the U.S. troops in case of a military campaign against the YPG, he added.