Fighting for Russia against the New World Order.

Showing posts with label Idlib. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Idlib. Show all posts

Russia Warns West Against New Strikes in Syria Under Far-Fetched Pretexts


Previously, Moscow stated that terrorists in the rebel-held Syrian city of Idlib attempted to carry out provocations with the use of chemical weapons in order to create a pretext for international strikes against Syrian government forces.

Related: Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria
 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned Western countries against new strikes on Syria. He also mentioned possible provocations with the use of biological weapons, noting that constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington is needed in order to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.

"There's an alarming situation regarding the issue of chemical disarmament. First of all, this is in connection with the actions of a number of Western states accusing the Syrian authorities with more and more unsubstantiated allegations of using banned chemical agents. We warn [the West] against new strikes on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic under another staged pretext," Lavrov said at a UN Security Council meeting.

READ MORE: Russia's S-300 Will be Able to Close Parts of Syrian Airspace — Moscow

Previously, US President Donald Trump stated that the US would respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Syrian government.

Earlier this year, a coalition, led by Washington, carried out a series of airstrikes against Syrian forces following an alleged chemical weapons attack by the government in the city of Douma. Damascus denied the accusations, while Moscow stated that the whole attack was a false flag operation, staged by anti-government militants.

Source: https://sputniknews.com/world/201809261068361943-syria-new-strikes-us-eu/


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[Video] Who Putin Is Not by Prof. Stephen F. Cohen

Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was based on Cohen’s article below, completed the day of the broadcast.





Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.”
—Senator John McCain
 
“[Putin] was a KGB agent. By definition, he doesn’t have a soul.”

 


“If this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 1930s.”

—2016 Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton


The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

The specter of an evil-doing Vladimir Putin has loomed over and undermined US thinking about Russia for at least a decade. Henry Kissinger deserves credit for having warned, perhaps alone among prominent American political figures, against this badly distorted image of Russia’s leader since 2000: “The demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy. It is an alibi for not having one.”

Related: Driving out militants from Syria’s Idlib now top priority – Putin

But Kissinger was also wrong. Washington has made many policies strongly influenced by the demonizing of Putin—a personal vilification far exceeding any ever applied to Soviet Russia’s latter-day Communist leaders. Those policies spread from growing complaints in the early 2000s to US-Russian proxy wars in Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, and eventually even at home, in Russiagate allegations. Indeed, policy-makers adopted an earlier formulation by the late Senator John McCain as an integral part of a new and more dangerous Cold War: “Putin [is] an unreconstructed Russian imperialist and K.G.B. apparatchik…. His world is a brutish, cynical place…. We must prevent the darkness of Mr. Putin’s world from befalling more of humanity.”

Mainstream media outlets have played a major prosecutorial role in the demonization. Far from atypically, The Washington Post’s editorial-page editor wrote, “Putin likes to make the bodies bounce…. The rule-by-fear is Soviet, but this time there is no ideology—only a noxious mixture of personal aggrandizement, xenophobia, homophobia and primitive anti-Americanism.” Esteemed publications and writers now routinely degrade themselves by competing to denigrate “the flabbily muscled form” of the “small gray ghoul named Vladimir Putin.” There are hundreds of such examples, if not more, over many years. Vilifying Russia’s leader has become a canon in the orthodox US narrative of the new Cold War.


As with all institutions, the demonization of Putin has its own history. When he first appeared on the world scene as Boris Yeltsin’s anointed successor, in 1999–2000, Putin was welcomed by leading representatives of the US political-media establishment. The New York Times’ chief Moscow correspondent and other verifiers reported that Russia’s new leader had an “emotional commitment to building a strong democracy.” Two years later, President George W. Bush lauded his summit with Putin and “the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”

Related: Syria Conflict: Results Of Meeting Between Rouhani, Erdogan, Putin In Teheran

But the Putin-friendly narrative soon gave away to unrelenting Putin-bashing. In 2004, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof inadvertently explained why, at least partially. Kristof complained bitterly of having been “suckered by Mr. Putin. He is not a sober version of Boris Yeltsin.” By 2006, a Wall Street Journal editor, expressing the establishment’s revised opinion, declared it “time we start thinking of Vladimir Putin’s Russia as an enemy of the United States.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Who has Putin really been during his many years in power? We may have to leave this large, complex question to future historians, when materials for full biographical study—memoirs, archive documents, and others—are available. Even so, it may surprise readers to know that Russia’s own historians, policy intellectuals, and journalists already argue publicly and differ considerably as to the “pluses and minuses” of Putin’s leadership. (My own evaluation is somewhere in the middle.)
In America and elsewhere in the West, however, only purported “minuses” reckon in the extreme vilifying, or anti-cult, of Putin. Many are substantially uninformed, based on highly selective or unverified sources, and motivated by political grievances, including those of several Yeltsin-era oligarchs and their agents in the West.

By identifying and examining, however briefly, the primary “minuses” that underpin the demonization of Putin, we can understand at least who he is not:

§ Putin is not the man who, after coming to power in 2000, “de-democratized” a Russian democracy established by President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and restored a system akin to Soviet “totalitarianism.” Democratization began and developed in Soviet Russia under the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, in the years from 1987 to 1991.

Yeltsin repeatedly dealt that historic Russian experiment grievous, possibly fatal, blows. Among his other acts, by using tanks, in October 1993, to destroy Russia’s freely elected parliament and with it the entire constitutional order that had made Yeltsin president. By waging two bloody wars against the tiny breakaway province of Chechnya. By enabling a small group of Kremlin-connected oligarchs to plunder Russia’s richest assets and abet the plunging of some two-thirds of its people into poverty and misery, including the once- large and professionalized Soviet middle classes. By rigging his own reelection in 1996. And by enacting a “super-presidential” constitution, at the expense of the legislature and judiciary but to his successor’s benefit. Putin may have furthered this de-democratization of the Yeltsin 1990s, but he did not initiate it.

Related: [Video] Live - Vladimir Putin, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban Hold Joint Press Conference

§ Nor did Putin then make himself a tsar or Soviet-like “autocrat,” which means a despot with absolute power to turn his will into policy. The last Kremlin leader with that kind of power was Stalin, who died in 1953, and with him his 20-year mass terror. Due to the increasing bureaucratic routinization of the political-administrative system, each successive Soviet leader had less personal power than his predecessor. Putin may have more, but if he really was a “cold-blooded, ruthless” autocrat—“the worst dictator on the planet”—tens of thousands of protesters would not have repeatedly appeared in Moscow streets, sometimes officially sanctioned. Or their protests (and selective arrests) been shown on state television.


Political scientists generally agree that Putin has been a “soft authoritarian” leader governing a system that has authoritarian and democratic components inherited from the past. They disagree as to how to specify, define, and balance these elements, but most would also generally agree with a brief Facebook post, on September 7, 2018, by the eminent diplomat-scholar Jack Matlock: “Putin…is not the absolute dictator some have pictured him. His power seems to be based on balancing various patronage networks, some of which are still criminal. (In the 1990s, most were, and nobody was controlling them.) Therefore he cannot admit publicly that [criminal acts] happened without his approval since this would indicate that he is not completely in charge.”

§ Putin is not a Kremlin leader who “reveres Stalin” and whose “Russia is a gangster shadow of Stalin’s Soviet Union.” These assertions are so far-fetched and uninformed about Stalin’s terror-ridden regime, Putin, and Russia today, they barely warrant comment. Stalin’s Russia was often as close to unfreedom as imaginable. In today’s Russia, apart from varying political liberties, most citizens are freer to live, study, work, write, speak, and travel than they have ever been. (When vocational demonizers like David Kramer allege an “appalling human rights situation in Putin’s Russia,” they should be asked: compared to when in Russian history, or elsewhere in the world today?)

Putin clearly understands that millions of Russians have and often express pro-Stalin sentiments. Nonetheless, his role in these still-ongoing controversies over the despot’s historical reputation has been, in one unprecedented way, that of an anti-Stalinist leader. Briefly illustrated, if Putin reveres the memory of Stalin, why did his personal support finally make possible two memorials (the excellent State Museum of the History of the Gulag and the highly evocative “Wall of Grief”) to the tyrant’s millions of victims, both in central Moscow? The latter memorial monument was first proposed by then–Kremlin leader Nikita Khrushchev, in 1961. It was not built under any of his successors—until Putin, in 2017.

Related: Putin Someone is harvesting Russian bio samples for obscure purposes

§ Nor did Putin create post–Soviet Russia’s “kleptocratic economic system,” with its oligarchic and other widespread corruption. This too took shape under Yeltsin during the Kremlin’s shock-therapy “privatization” schemes of the 1990s, when the “swindlers and thieves” still denounced by today’s opposition actually emerged.

Putin has adopted a number of “anti-corruption” policies over the years. How successful they have been is the subject of legitimate debate. As are how much power he has had to rein in fully both Yeltsin’s oligarchs and his own, and how sincere he has been. But branding Putin “a kleptocrat” also lacks context and is little more than barely informed demonizing.

A recent scholarly book finds, for example, that while they may be “corrupt,” Putin “and the liberal technocratic economic team on which he relies have also skillfully managed Russia’s economic fortunes.” A former IMF director goes further, concluding that Putin’s current economic team does not “tolerate corruption” and that “Russia now ranks 35th out of 190 in the World Bank’s Doing Business ratings. It was at 124 in 2010.”

Viewed in human terms, when Putin came to power in 2000, some 75 percent of Russians were living in poverty. Most had lost even modest legacies of the Soviet era—their life savings; medical and other social benefits; real wages; pensions; occupations; and for men, life expectancy, which had fallen well below the age of 60. In only a few years, the “kleptocrat” Putin had mobilized enough wealth to undo and reverse those human catastrophes and put billions of dollars in rainy-day funds that buffered the nation in different hard times ahead. We judge this historic achievement as we might, but it is why many Russians still call Putin “Vladimir the Savior.”

§ Which brings us to the most sinister allegation against him: Putin, trained as “a KGB thug,” regularly orders the killing of inconvenient journalists and personal enemies, like a “mafia-state boss.” This should be the easiest demonizing axiom to dismiss, because there is no actual evidence, or barely any logic, to support it. And yet, it is ubiquitous. Times editorial writers and columnists—and far from them alone—characterize Putin as a “thug” and his policies as “thuggery” so often—sometimes doubling down on “autocratic thug”—that the practice may be specified in some internal manual. Little wonder so many politicians also routinely practice it, as did recently Senator Ben Sasse: “We should tell the American people and tell the world that we know that Vladimir Putin is a thug. He’s a former KGB agent who’s a murderer. ”




Few, if any, modern-day world leaders have been so slurred, or so regularly. Nor does Sasse actually “know” any of this. He and the others imbibe it from reams of influential media accounts that fully indict Putin while burying a nullifying “but” regarding actual evidence. Thus another Times columnist: “I realize that this evidence is only circumstantial and well short of proof. But it’s one of many suspicious patterns.” This, too, is a journalistic “pattern” when Putin is involved.

Leaving aside other world leaders with minor or major previous careers in intelligence services, Putin’s years as a KGB intelligence officer in then–East Germany were clearly formative. Many years later, at age 65, he still speaks of them with pride. Whatever else that experience contributed, it made Putin a Europeanized Russian, a fluent German speaker, and a political leader with a remarkable, demonstrated capacity for retaining and coolly analyzing a very wide range of information. (Read or watch a few of his long interviews.) Not a bad leadership trait in very fraught times.

Moreover, no serious biographer would treat only one period in a subject’s long public career as definitive, as Putin demonizers do. Why not instead the period after he left the KGB in 1991, when he served as deputy to the mayor of St. Petersburg, then considered one of the two or three most democratic leaders in Russia? Or the years immediately following in Moscow, where he saw firsthand the full extent of Yeltsin-era corruption? Or his subsequent years, while still relatively young, as president?

As for being a “murderer” of journalists and other “enemies,” the list has grown to scores of Russians who died, at home or abroad, by foul or natural causes—all reflexively attributed to Putin. Our hallowed tradition is that the burden of proof is on the accusers. Putin’s accusers have produced none, only assumptions, innuendoes, and mistranslated statements by Putin about the fate of “traitors.” The two cases that firmly established this defamatory practice were those of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot to death in Moscow in 2006, and Alexander Litvinenko, a shadowy one-time KGB defector with ties to aggrieved Yeltsin-era oligarchs, who died of radiation poisoning in London, also in 2006.

Related: 'Best military & diplomatic solution': Putin, Erdogan talks end with deal averting Idlib crisis

Not a shred of actual proof points to Putin in either case. The editor of Politkovskaya’s paper, the devoutly independent Novaya Gazeta, still believes her assassination was ordered by Chechen officials, whose human-rights abuses she was investigating. Regarding Litvinenko, despite frenzied media claims and a kangaroo-like “hearing” suggesting that Putin was “probably” responsible, there is still no conclusive proof even as to whether Litvinenko’s poisoning was intentional or accidental. The same paucity of evidence applies to many subsequent cases, notably the shooting of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, “in [distant] view of the Kremlin,” in 2015.

About Russian journalists, there is, however, a significant, overlooked statistic. According to the American Committee to Protect Journalists, as of 2012, 77 had been murdered—41 during the Yeltsin years, 36 under Putin. By 2018, the total was 82—41 under Yeltsin, the same under Putin. This strongly suggests that the still–partially corrupt post-Soviet economic system, not Yeltsin or Putin personally, led to the killing of so many journalists after 1991, most of them investigative reporters. The former wife of one journalist thought to have been poisoned concludes as much: “Many Western analysts place the responsibility for these crimes on Putin. But the cause is more likely the system of mutual responsibility and the culture of impunity that began to form before Putin, in the late 1990s.”
§ More recently, there is yet another allegation: Putin is a fascist and white supremacist. The accusation is made mostly, it seems, by people wishing to deflect attention from the role being played by neo-Nazis in US-backed Ukraine. Putin no doubt regards it as a blood slur, and even on the surface it is, to be exceedingly charitable, entirely uninformed. How else to explain Senator Ron Wyden’s solemn warnings, at a hearing on November 1, 2017, about “the current fascist leadership of Russia”? A young scholar recently dismantled a senior Yale professor’s nearly inexplicable propounding of this thesis. My own approach is compatible, though different.

Whatever Putin’s failings, the “fascist” allegation is absurd. Nothing in his statements over nearly 20 years in power are akin to fascism, whose core belief is a cult of blood based on the asserted superiority of one ethnicity over all others. As head of a vast multiethnic state—embracing scores of diverse groups with a broad range of skin colors—such utterances or related acts by Putin would be inconceivable, if not political suicide. This is why he endlessly appeals for harmony in “our entire multi-ethnic nation” with its “multi-ethnic culture,” as he did once again in his re-inauguration speech in 2018.

Russia has, of course, fascist-white supremacist thinkers and activists, though many have been imprisoned. But a mass fascist movement is scarcely feasible in a country where so many millions died in the war against Nazi Germany, a war that directly affected Putin and clearly left a formative mark on him. Though he was born after the war, his mother and father barely survived near-fatal wounds and disease, his older brother died in the long German siege of Leningrad, and several of his uncles perished. Only people who never endured such an experience, or are unable to imagine it, can conjure up a fascist Putin.

There is another, easily understood, indicative fact. Not a trace of anti-Semitism is evident in Putin. Little noted here but widely reported both in Russia and in Israel, life for Russian Jews is better under Putin than it has ever been in that country’s long history.

§ Finally, at least for now, there is the ramifying demonization allegation that, as a foreign-policy leader, Putin has been exceedingly “aggressive” abroad. At best, this is an “in-the-eye-of-the-beholder” assertion, and half-blind. At worst, it justifies what even a German foreign minister characterized as the West’s “warmongering” against Russia.

In the three cases widely given as examples of Putin’s “aggression,” the evidence, long cited by myself and many others, points to US-led instigations, primarily in the process of expanding the NATO military alliance since the late 1990s from Germany to Russia’s borders today. The proxy US-Russian war in Georgia in 2008 was initiated by the US-backed president of that country, who had been encouraged to aspire to NATO membership. The 2014 crisis and subsequent proxy war in Ukraine resulted from the long-standing effort to bring that country, despite large regions’ shared civilization with Russia, into NATO. And Putin’s 2015 military intervention in Syria was done on a valid premise: either it would be Syrian President Assad in Damascus or the terrorist Islamic State—and on President Barack Obama’s refusal to join Russia in an anti-ISIS alliance. As a result of this history, Putin is often seen in Russia as a belatedly reactive leader abroad, not as a sufficiently “aggressive” one.

Embedded in the “aggressive Putin” axiom are two others. One is that Putin is a neo-Soviet leader who seeks to restore the Soviet Union at the expense of Russia’s neighbors. He is obsessively misquoted as having said, in 2005, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” apparently ranking it above two World Wars. What he actually said was “a major geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century,” as it was for most Russians.
Though often critical of the Soviet system and its two formative leaders, Lenin and Stalin, Putin, like most of his generation, naturally remains in part a Soviet person. But what he said in 2010 reflects his real perspective and that of very many other Russians: “Those who do not regret the collapse of the Soviet Union have no heart, and those that do regret it have no brain.”

The other fallacious sub-axiom is that Putin has always been “anti-Western,” specifically “anti-American,” has “always viewed the United States” with “smoldering suspicions.” A simple reading of his years in power tells us otherwise. A Westernized Russian, Putin came to the presidency in 2000 in the still-prevailing tradition of Gorbachev and Yeltsin—in hope of a “strategic friendship and partnership” with the United States. Hence his abundant assistance, following 9/11, to the American war in Afghanistan. Hence, until he believed Russia would not be treated as an equal and NATO had encroached too close, his full partnership in the US-European clubs of major leaders.

Given all that has happened during the past nearly two decades—particularly what Putin and other Russian leaders perceive to have happened—it would be remarkable if his views of the West, especially America, had not changed. As he remarked in 2018, “We all change.” A few years earlier, Putin remarkably admitted that initially he had “illusions” about foreign policy, without specifying which. Perhaps he meant this, spoken at the end of 2017: “Our most serious mistake in relations with the West is that we trusted you too much. And your mistake is that you took that trust as weakness and abused it.”

If my refutation of the axioms of Putin demonization is valid, where does that leave us? Certainly, not with an apologia for Putin, but with the question, “Who is Putin?” Russians like to say, “Let history judge,” but given the perils of the new Cold War, we cannot wait. We can at least begin with a few historical truths. In 2000, a young and little-experienced man became the leader of a vast state that had precipitously disintegrated, or “collapsed,” twice in the 20th century—in 1917 and again in 1991—with disastrous consequences for its people. And in both instances, it had lost its “sovereignty” and thus its security in fundamental ways.

These have been recurring themes in Putin’s words and deeds. They are where to begin an understanding. No one can doubt that he is already the most consequential “statesman” of the 21st century, though the word is rarely, if ever, applied to him in the United States. And what does “consequential” mean? Even without the pseudo-minuses spelled out above, a balanced evaluation will include valid ones.

For example, at home, was it necessary to so strengthen and expand the Kremlin’s “vertical” throughout the rest of the country in order to pull Russia back together? Should not the historic experiment with democracy have been given equal priority? Abroad, were there not alternatives to annexing Crimea, even given the perceived threats? And did Putin’s leadership really do nothing to reawaken fears in small East European countries victimized for centuries by Russia? These are only a few questions that might yield minuses alongside Putin’s deserved pluses.

Whatever the approach, whoever undertakes a balanced evaluation should do so, to paraphrase Spinoza, not in order to demonize, not to mock, not to hate, but to understand.

Source: https://www.thenation.com/article/who-putin-is-not/
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‘Criminal negligence’ or disregard to Russia-Israel ties: MoD details chronology of Il-20 downing

© Russian Defense Ministry / Sputnik 

A minute-by-minute account of the Il-20 downing shows Israel's culpability and either its military bosses' lack of appreciation of relations with Moscow, or their control of commanding officers, the Russian defense ministry said.

Related: Syrian President Assad Says Il-20 Crash 'Result of Israeli Arrogance' - Reports 
 
"We believe that the blame for the Russian Il-20 aircraft tragedy lies entirely with the Israeli Air Force," said spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov, before revealing a detailed account of events leading to the downing of the Russian Il-20 military aircraft on September 17. The plane was shot down by the Syrian air defense units as Israeli's F-16s effectively used it as a cover during the attack on its neighbor.

The report featured previously undisclosed radar data and details of communications between Russian and Israeli militaries, and concluded that "the military leadership of Israel either has no appreciation for the level of relations with Russia, or has no control over individual commands or commanding officers who understood that their actions would lead to tragedy."

Related: ‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel 

Misinformation & 'criminal negligence'

On the evening of September 17, the Russian Ilyushin IL-20 with 15 crew on board was circling over the Idlib de-escalation zone on a special reconnaissance mission, when four Israeli F-16 fighter jets left their country's airspace and flew over the neutral Mediterranean waters towards the Syrian coast. The Israeli Air Force gave the Russian side less than a minute's warning before dropping the precision-guided glide bombs, leaving virtually no time for any safety maneuvers, Konashenkov said, calling such actions "a clear violation of the 2015 Russian-Israeli agreements."

Related: [Video] Blame Game: Downing of Russian plane reveals resentment over Syria

Moreover, the Israeli military failed to provide the location of their jets or properly specify their targets, claiming they were going to attack several 'industrial facilities' in northern Syria, close to the Il-20’s area of operation. The misinformation prompted the Russian Command to order the recon plane back to the Khmeimim air base. The Israeli jets, however, instead almost immediately attacked the western Syrian Latakia province.

 "The misleading information provided by the Israeli officer about the area of strikes did not allow the Russian Il-20 airplane to move timely to a safe area."

Once the Syrian air defenses responded to the initial strike, the Israeli jets switched on radar jamming and pulled back, apparently preparing for another attack. One of the jets then approached the Syrian coast –and the Russian plane which at that time was preparing to land– again.

 Inforgraphics showing the location of the Israeli targets © Russian Defense Ministry

The Israeli pilot must have been well aware of the fact that the Il-20 has a much larger radar cross-section than his F-16, and would become a "preferred target" for the Syrian air defense units, who use different friend-or-foe systems with the Russians, Konashenkov said. Thus, for the Syrians, the reconnaissance plane could appear as a group of Israeli jets.


"The Israeli jets saw the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 and used it as a shield against the anti-aircraft missiles, while they carried on maneuvering in the region," Konashenkov said during the news briefing.
"The actions of the Israeli fighter pilots, which led to the loss of life of 15 Russian servicemen, either lacked professionalism or were an act of criminal negligence, to say the least."
Finally, the Israeli jets carried out their maneuvers in the immediate vicinity of the Khmeimim air base, which is used both by military and civilian aircraft, including passenger planes, the ministry's spokesman emphasized, saying that the reckless actions of the Israeli pilots could also have posed a threat to any passenger or transport aircraft that may have happened to be there at that time.

Israel 'crossed the line of civilized relations' with 'ungrateful response'

Israel's negligent behavior amounts to a flagrant violation of the very spirit of cooperation between the countries, Konashenkov stated, noting that Russia has never broken its commitment to the deconfliction agreement – it has always informed Israel about their missions in advance and has never used its air defense capabilities against the Israelis, even though their airstrikes sometimes put the Russian servicemen in danger.

Related: Israeli army blames Damascus for Russia’s Il-20 downing, mourns death of crew – statement

Russia has sent as many as 310 notifications to the Israeli Air Force Command, while the latter appeared to be reluctant to show the same level of commitment, notifying only 25 times even though its jets carried out more than 200 strikes against targets located in Syria over the past 18 months alone.

"This is an extremely ungrateful response to all that has been done by the Russian Federation for Israel and the Israeli people recently," Konashenkov said.

The Russian military supported the Syrian military operation in the Golan Heights to "ensure there were no shelling attacks on Israeli territory" anymore, thus allowing the UN peacekeeping mission to resume patrolling of the contested border between Syria and Israel after "a six-year hiatus."

Related:  Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

Russia also managed to secure the withdrawal of all Iran-backed groups from the Golan Heights to a "safe distance for Israel," more than 140 kilometers to the east of Syria, the spokesperson said, adding that this was done at the request of Tel Aviv. "A total of 1,050 personnel, 24 MLRSs and tactical missiles, as well as 145 pieces of other munitions and military equipment were withdrawn from the area," Konashenkov told journalists.

The Russian Defense Ministry had provided assistance in preserving Jewish sacred places and graves in the city of Aleppo. Putting Russian Special Forces soldiers' lives in danger, it also organized the search for the remains of some Israeli servicemen that died during the past conflicts in an area where the Syrian forces were combating Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) terrorists at that time.
"In view of the above, the hostile actions committed by the Israeli Air Force against the Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft cross the line of civilized relations."
While Israel said that it mourned the deaths of Russian troops, the IDF statement following the incident shifted all the blame for the incident solely on Damascus, and its Iranian and Lebanese allies.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/439151-russia-israel-il-20-negligence/

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[Video] Russia, Turkey announce deal on demilitarized zone in Syria


Russia, Turkey announce deal on demilitarized zone in Syria


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7Vwn5ripyg
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[UPDATE] Breaking News - Airstrikes On Government Facilities Reported In Latakia, Tartus, Homs Provinces. Russia Allegedly Employs Own Air Defenses

UPDATE:

Airstrikes On Government Facilities Reported In Latakia, Tartus, Homs Provinces. Russia Allegedly Employs Own Air Defenses

 

Missile attack targets several locations in Syrian coastal city of Latakia - state media

 

Missile attack targets several locations in Syrian coastal city of Latakia - state media
Syrian air defenses have engaged missiles targeting the area of Latakia, a city in the coastal province that is the home of Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base.
According to the state SANA news agency, the attack targeted the Technical Industries Agency headquarters in Latakia, owned by the Syrian military. Reports from the area refer to “powerful explosions” heard in the city.
Air defense activity was also reported in Homs and Tartous provinces, where Russia maintains a naval base.
There are no reports of casualties at this time.
Syrian media report that a “number of missiles” have been shot down. Multiple reports from the area speak of an attack by missiles launched from drones. It is unclear whether only the Syrian air defense batteries have been engaged, or if the Russian air defenses around Khmeimim are taking part as well.
Multiple local reports are accusing Israel of launching the strikes, but there has been no independent confirmation of that. Another possibility suggested by local media is that the drone attack was launched by jihadists in Idlib.
The attack comes just hours after Russia and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438665-missile-attack-latakia-syria/
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[Video] Iran: U.S. presence in Syria is act of aggression featuring Prof. Vladimir Golstein

Iran's representative to the United Nations slams the United States for its illegal military presence in Syria, describing it as an act of aggression.




Gholam-Ali Khoshrou who was speaking at the Security Council’s special session on Syria said Iran is on the ground in that country on an invitation by Damascus. He added that Tehran is playing a constructive role in bringing peace and prosperity to Syria and supports all efforts toward a political solution. During the meeting held on Russia’s request, US ambassador Nikky Haley accused Russia and Iran of failing to protect civilians in Idlib province. She also threatened the use of force if the Syrian army uses chemical weapons. In reaction, the Russian ambassador accused the extremist groups of planning to launch a false flag chemical attack in Idlib.

Source: https://youtu.be/G2yv-7bqct0
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[Video] Partitioning of Syria is drawing China into the theater of war


The law of unintended consequences has forced China’s hand in Syria.

As the battle for Idlib draws near, China is set to fight Al Qaeda trained Uyghur jihadists in Syria in order to help the Syrian government retake their territory, preventing those very jihadist terrorists from returning to Xinjiang province and sewing the seeds of partition in China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst, from Moscow, Mark Sleboda discuss how the American plan to partition Syria has pressured China to take part in an already crowded and complicated conflict.


After Syria’s partition, will Xinjiang be destabilized?” Authored by Christina Lin via Asia Times…
The US policy of permanently balkanizing Syria appears to be a foregone conclusion, even as the Syrian Arab Army and Russian forces proceed with their last major counter-terrorism operation in Idlib.
According to Wolfgang Mühlberger, senior fellow for EU-Mideast relations at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs, “Idlib is the very Arab Kandahar with potentially more than 100,000 experienced, battle-hardened Sunni jihadi fighters hiding between the civilians.”
This high number is due to the amalgamation of all the militants from de-confliction zones or reconquered battle zones (e.g., Aleppo, Ghouta, Deraa, etc.) throughout Syria that have been shipped to Idlib over the past couple of years, as well as remnants of the Free Syrian Army.
However, despite Washington acknowledging that the governorate is an Al Qaeda safe haven for militants from over 100 countries, the tripartite powers of the UK, US and France are now asking Germany to join planned airstrikes against Syria – as soon as President Bashar al-Assad gives them the green light by using chemical weapons.
It is not entirely clear why the US believes the Syrian president would deliberately provoke western airstrikes on Syrian forces when they are on a winning streak in their war with the terrorists, but it does seem apparent that Washington intends to prevent Syria from regaining sovereignty over Idlib.
As discussed in a previous Asia Times article, RAND Corporation drew up a Syria partition plan wherein the US would occupy the northeast, Turkey the northwest, Russia and Iran the coastal area and large parts of the Syrian desert, and Israel and Jordan the southwest.
The US zone would contain oil fields where 90% of Syria’s pre-war oil production took place, while Israel would control the newly discovered oil reserves in the Golan Heights. Turkey’s control of Idlib as a safe haven for militants would put continued pressure on the Syrian government, and a balkanized Syria would be weak and less likely to provide a viable base for Iran and Hezbollah to attack Israel.
However, the partition of Idlib as a jihadi sanctuary has important implications for another actor – China. Back in August, there were reports that Beijing would participate in the Battle for Idlib due to the presence of Chinese Uyghur jihadi colonies. If Turkey controls Idlib, China fears Ankara and the West would exploit Uyghur militants as proxies to destabilize Xinjiang.

Idlib proxies to destabilize Xinjiang?

There are historical reasons for this concern, given that the CIA tried to destabilize Xinjiang and supported separatists in Tibet during the Cold War. As Israeli sinologist Yizhak Shichor pointed out, in the 1950s Washington tried to exploit Muslim grievances against China and the Soviet Union, by attempting to form a Middle Eastern Islamic pact to organize fifth columns in these countries.
Brian Fishman, a counter-terrorism expert at the New America Foundation, also noted that in the 1990s Osama Bin Laden accused the US and CIA of inciting conflict between Chinese and Muslims. After a series of 1997 bombings in Xinjiang that Beijing ascribes to Uyghur separatists, bin Laden blamed the CIA in an interview, saying, “The United States wants to incite conflict between China and the Muslims. The Muslims of Xinjiang are blamed for the bomb blasts in Beijing. But I think these explosions were sponsored by the American CIA.”
Interestingly at the time, Al Qaeda had its eyes on the West and largely ignored Uyghur separatism as a Chinese domestic issue. But as Fishman assessed, over time the transnational problem of al Qaeda and its allies, and the increasing prominence of Uyghurs in jihadi propaganda, meant that China could no longer avoid them.
Indeed, given that the 2016 bombing of the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan was a joint operation between Al Nusra and its Uyghur affiliate Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP); the continual supply of advanced weaponry and tacit Western support for TIP due to its intermingling with the “rebel” opposition; professional military training by the private security company Malhama Tactical to improve TIP’s warfighting capabilities; and TIPs ultimate goal to attack China, James Dorsey at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore argued that Beijing mulling military intervention in Idlib underscores the gravity of this threat to China’s core interests.
Currently, China seems to be steering clear of direct military involvement and instead relies on Syria and Russia, but it would be concerned should Western powers block Damascus and Moscow’s campaign to reclaim Idlib and continue to partition a safe zone for Uyghur militants.
Moreover, as Jacob Zenn from the Jamestown Foundation pointed out, China is also concerned by “the prospect of re-shaping the borders in the Middle East that could lead to new conceptions of sovereignty and statehood – not only in the region but elsewhere throughout the Islamic world, including Central Asia and Xinjiang.’

Xinjiang at heart of Belt and Road Initiative

Now it appears that a Western united front is emerging to confront China on human rights issues, using various tools of media coverage, economic sanctions, political activism by NGOs and think tanks to internationalize the Uyghur issue in Xinjiang. 
Similar to Israel’s dilemma over the internationalization of the Palestinian issue, China is bracing itself for a destabilization campaign and possible call for secession and partition of the province from Chinese sovereignty.
This perception is due to US backing of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, which aspires to revert Xinjiang to an independent East Turkistan. The first president of the Congress was Erkin Alptekin, son of Isa Alptekin, who headed the short-lived First East Turkestan Republic in Kashgar (November 12, 1933 to February 6, 1934), and also served as an advisor to the CIA while working at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich.
The Alptekin family and Xinjiang secession enjoy strong support from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who while being mayor of Istanbul in 1995, named a section of the Blue Mosque park after Isa Alptekin and built a memorial to commemorate Eastern Turkistani martyrs who lost their lives in the “struggle for independence.”
Given resource-rich Xinjiang is at the heart of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), destabilizing the province would not only spoil the plan for Eurasian integration and development, but also weaken China’s economy by cutting off its overland energy supply from Central Asia and the Middle East, hamper its market access, and keep Beijing bogged down in an ethnoreligious conflict.
While this may augment current Washington’s trade war against the Middle Kingdom and weaken the Pentagon’s “peer competitor,” by deliberately stoking Chinese fears about Xinjiang destabilization and increasing radicalization, thereby egging Beijing to clamp down on Uyghurs, is in effect exploiting the ethnic Uyghur’s plight for narrow geopolitical agenda.
And as Yizhack Shichor perceived, “Vocal criticism of China related to its Uyghur persecution comes primarily, in fact almost entirely from outside the Middle East, from Western non-Muslim countries…[which] may have little do to with loving the Uyghurs, and much more to do with opposing China.”
 Source: http://theduran.com/partitioning-of-syria-is-drawing-china-into-the-theater-of-war-video/
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Syrians go to polls in 1st local elections for 7 years of war


Syrians go to polls in 1st local elections for 7 years of war
Syrians are electing their local councils during first municipal elections since the start of the lingering seven-year war. Polls have opened on Sunday shortly after an overnight airstrike hit Damascus airport.
 
As many as 6,551 polling stations opened on Sunday morning with Syrians invited to vote for their representatives in local councils, state news agency SANA reported. It said over 40,000 candidates are contesting 18,478 seats. Polls will be closed at 7.00pm local time, and authorities have said they took all necessary precautions to keep the ballot boxes safe and secure.
 
 
Today’s local elections, the first to be held since the conflict broke out in 2011, comes amid continued violence in various parts of the war-ravaged country. On Saturday night, an airstrike – purportedly carried out by Israeli jets – hit Damascus international airport causing several explosions.

Worrying news also come from Idlib, where the Syrian army braces for its major offensive on the militants-held stronghold. Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed chlorine-filled canisters were delivered by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters to stage a false flag attack that would be used to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its people.

Nevertheless, efforts to bring lasting peace to Syria still carry on. Recently, Russia, Turkey and Iran have called on all armed groups in Idlib and beyond to lay down arms and seek a peaceful transition in the country. Leaders of the three nations had previously met in Astana in May, where they agreed to push for negotiations between its government and opposition groups, which agree to cease hostilities.

The format brought together representatives of the Syrian government and armed opposition groups at the negotiating table – something previous efforts by the international community had failed to do.
Aside from the diplomatic efforts, Russia it actively engaged in humanitarian activities in Syria. Russian military personnel have defused thousands of explosive devices left by terrorists and brought tons of much-needed aid to Syrian provinces liberated from terrorists.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438560-syria-local-elections-war/
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[Video] Days After 9/11 Tulsi Gabbard Slams "Betrayal Of American People" Over Syria

In a rare and unprecedented speech delivered on the House floor just two days after the nation memorialized 9/11, Democratic Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday slammed Washington's longtime support to anti-Assad jihadists in Syria, while also sounding the alarm over the current build-up of tensions between the US and Russia over the Syria crisis.

She called on Congress to condemn what she called the Trump Administration’s protection of al-Qaeda in Idlib and slammed Washington's policies in Syria as "a betrayal of the American people" especially the victims and families that perished on 9/11.

Considering that Congresswoman Gabbard herself is an Iraq war veteran and current Army reserve officer who served in the aftermath of 9/11, it's all the more power and rare that a sitting Congress member would make such forceful comments exposing the hypocrisy and contradictions of US policy.


She called out President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence by name on the House floor in her speech:
Two days ago, President Trump and Vice President Pence delivered solemn speeches about the attacks on 9/11, talking about how much they care about the victims of al-Qaeda’s attack on our country. But, they are now standing up to protect the 20,000 to 40,000 al-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria, and threatening Russia, Syria, and Iran, with military force if they dare attack these terrorists."
And in perhaps a completely unprecedented moment, the Congresswoman accused America's Commander-in-Chief during her floor speech for acting as "the protective big brother of al-Qaeda and other jihadists". 

Interestingly she has elsewhere previously leveled the same blistering criticism of the Obama administration during media interviews for its "regime change policies" in Syria.



Gabbard continued:
This is a betrayal of the American people, especially the victims of al-Qaeda’s attack on 9/11 and their families, first responders, and my brothers and sisters in uniform who have been killed or wounded in action and their families. For the President, who is Commander in Chief, to act as the protective big brother of al-Qaeda and other jihadists must be condemned by every Member of Congress.”
Gabbard has for especially the last couple of years been an outspoken critic of US policies in Syria, and drew controversy in early 2017 when she traveled to Damascus to meet privately with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The move met with an icy reception among fellow Congressional Democrats and raised questions over possible violation of the Logan Act.

But interestingly though Thursday's floor speech evoked President Trump and his latest threats to intervene militarily against Assad and Russia should chemical weapons be used in Idib, Gabbard is actually echoing the very stance that Trump took on the campaign trail and prior on Syria, where he also described the Syrian rebel insurgency as being led and filled by terrorists and jihadists in multiple informal statements.

Trump 2013 vs Trump 2018 on Syria...



Trump and Gabbard had even once met to discuss Syria policy at a private meeting at Trump Tower in November of 2016 just ahead of then president-elect Trump being sworn into office. At the time the two appeared to be in complete agreement over Syria policy, after which Gabbard said of the meeting, "I felt it important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect now before the drumbeats of war that neocons have been beating drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government—a war which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families."
The following summer President Trump allegedly shut down the CIA's clandestine efforts for overthrowing the Damascus government, a covert program called 'Timber Sycamore', after reports said he was increasingly disturbed by the brutal and jihadist nature of the armed opposition.

All the way up until April 2018, he had appeared to be pushing toward withdrawing the over 2,000 US troops from Syria, against which advisers and neocon hawkish policy wonks  vehemently pushed back. Trump had proposed“Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon, very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to get back to our country, where we belong, where we want to be.”

However just days after that statement video emerged from Idlib purporting to show an Assad sarin attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, to which Trump responded with a brief Tomahawk missile strike on a largely abandoned Syrian military airport in the center of the country.

The pro-regime change interventionists in the administration had perhaps won out, as Trump the following April launched an even bigger attack on Damascus following more unverified opposition claims of another gas attack.

And now Congresswoman Gabbard appears to be calling Trump out and back to that original policy path of military withdrawal and non-intervention in Syria.

Source: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-09-13/tulsi-gabbard-house-floor-slams-betrayal-american-people-after-911-over-syria
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‘Chlorine delivered’: Idlib militants ‘readying false flag attack’ in Syrian village – Russian MoD

Militants in Syria’s Idlib have transported several canisters containing chlorine to the village of Bsanqul, apparently preparing to stage a false flag chemical attack, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. 
 
The chlorine-filled canisters were delivered by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants of Tahrir al Sham, formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, a spokesman of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, said in a statement Saturday. He added that the latest developments showed that the militants are preparing for a false flag attack that would be used to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its people.
 
This is the latest warning from the Russian military on what it says is a chemical “provocation” in the making. On Wednesday, it said the White Helmets group has shot videos intended to be used in framing the Syrian government. Earlier, the MoD said toxic chemicals had been delivered Idlib and accused the White Helmets of carrying out the delivery.

The US and its allies have so far dismissed the Russian warnings, but said that the government in Damascus might instead be preparing chemical attacks against civilians. Moscow has suggested that the attack might be prepared with the support of Washington, which wants to justify further air strikes against Syria. Those planned strikes are said to be much larger in scale than those launched against the Syrian military by the US, the UK and France in April.

READ MORE: ‘Don’t test us’: Haley threatens US strikes over any attack on Syria’s Idlib

It comes as Washington has been building up its military presence in the region. In late August, the missile destroyer USS Ross was deployed to the Mediterranean, carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles, while the USS The Sullivans was deployed to the Persian Gulf and a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber was moved to an air base in Qatar.

Most recently, the USS Bulkeley (DDG-84), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, entered the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. Last week, the attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN-750) arrived in the Mediterranean as well.

With the arrival of the Bulkeley, the US forces in the region reportedly have up to 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles available to strike targets in Syria if ordered to do so, Russian media reports.

READ MORE: Merkel reportedly weighing German involvement in Syria, coalition partner says ‘Nein’

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438537-syria-false-flag-chlorine-bsanqul/
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[Video] CrossTalk on Syria: Into The Abyss?




Peering into the abyss: The Syrian Arab Army is determined to liberate Idlib and to eliminate the terrorists there. Thus, essentially ending this international proxy war. The U.S. and its regional allies are dead set against this. Why is the Trump administration siding with terrorists? CrossTalking with Adel Darwish, Afshin Shahi, and Naim Salem.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZsHtRng2P8
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Filming of staged chemical attack in Syrian Idlib begins - Russian MoD

 

Filming of staged chemical attack in Syrian Idlib begins - Russian MoD

 
Footage, meant to serve as proof that the Syrian government has conducted a chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria, is to be handed to global news outlets by the end of Tuesday, the Russian military claims. 
 
Several Middle East TV channels and a US news channel have been sent to Jisr al-Shughur in Syria’s Idlib Governorate to produce the footage needed for the provocation, a statement by the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said. It added the intelligence came from local residents of Jisr al-Shughur.

 
“All the footage of the staged provocation in Jisr al-Shughur is to be delivered to the newsrooms of TV channels, which are to broadcast it after its publication on social media,” the statement claimed.
It also said that an Islamist group was provided with two canisters of a “chlorine-based chemical” for the purpose of the operation.

The Russian military said the footage would include scenes of White Helmets operatives treating supposed victims of an apparent barrel bomb chemical weapon attack by Damascus.

Moscow has repeatedly warned that a false flag chemical weapon attack was being prepared in Idlib, giving the US and its allies justification to attack Syrian government forces. Senior US officials have threatened Damascus with retaliation if it uses chemical weapons in Idlib and even preemptively assigned the blame for any such attack to the government.

Speaking at the UN security Council meeting on Tuesday, Russia’s Ambassador Vassily Nebenzya, stressed that Damascus did not possess any chemical weaponry to begin with. Any incident with such weaponry would only benefit the militants, fighting Syria’s government.

“The false-flag attack by the adversaries of Damascus, who count on foreign armed support, is very possible. We have irrefutable evidence of preparations [for it],” the official stated.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/438158-staged-chemical-attack-idlib/
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US bombs the Syrian town of Hajin in Deir Ezour province, with banned white phosphorous

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Syria Conflict: Results Of Meeting Between Rouhani, Erdogan, Putin In Teheran



The presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran met in the Iranian capital of Tehran on September 7 to discuss the issue of the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib, which is controlled by several radical groups, including the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
During the meeting, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country can’t accommodate any more refugees and proposed a truce in Idlib as a solution. However, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin rejected the proposal and noted that any truce will be pointless as it would not involve radical groups such as HTS and ISIS.
“I think in general the Turkish president is right. It would be good. But I can’t speak for them, and even more so can’t talk for terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra [HTS] or ISIS that they will stop shooting or stop using drones with bombs,” President Putin said according to the Reuters news agency.
Despite failing to reach an agreement on Idlib issue, the three leaders stressed in the final statement of the summit that separating moderate opposition fighters from terrorists and protecting civilians are essential steps for stabilizing the northern Syrian governorate.
“Separating the aforementioned terrorist organizations from the armed opposition factions that have joined or will join the system of cessation of fighting will be of vital importance in order to avoid casualties among the civilians,” the leaders said in the final stamen of the summit.
Russia, Turkey and Iran also rejected any attempts to divide Syria under the pretext of fighting terrorism and vowed to support the U.N. sponsored peace process in the country.
“We are determined to continue active cooperation to advance the political process in line with the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in Sochi and Security Council Resolution 2254,” the statement reads.
The inability of the sides to agree on a final solution of the Idlib issue may lead to an escalation in northwestern Syria. Some sources expect that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies may even launch a military operation against  terrorist groups in the region despite an open opposition of Turkey.

Source: https://southfront.org/syria-conflict-results-of-meeting-between-rouhani-erdogan-putin-in-teheran/
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Driving out militants from Syria’s Idlib now top priority – Putin

Driving the extremists out of Syria’s Idlib province should be the primary goal at the current stage of the Syrian peace process, Russian President Vladimir Putin said following a meeting with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts. 
“Our common absolute priority lies in the total elimination of terrorists in Syria,” Putin said, adding that the Russian forces had recently helped to liberate the southwestern part of the war-torn country and that Idlib province has become the primary target now. “The presence [of militants] poses a direct threat to the … civilians in the whole region,” the president warned.
 
The Russian president went on to say that the three leaders discussed some “concrete steps” aimed at the gradual stabilization of the Idlib de-escalation zone that involve offers of peaceful reconciliation for those armed groups that are ready to engage in a dialogue. Putin expressed his hope that the militants “would have the wisdom” to lay down their arms and back down as he said that the three leaders called on all parties to the conflict to stop violence.

“We assume that [the sides] will be able to reach an agreement and our call for ceasefire in Idlib would be heard,” Putin said, adding that Russia, Turkey and Iran have always sought to bring the conflicting parties together. At the same time, the Russian president also said that Moscow, Tehran and Ankara would continue to actively fight terrorist groups in Syria, which are not considered to be part of any ceasefire agreements.

The president hailed the fact that some armed opposition groups, which are active in Idlib, have joined the fight against terrorists as well. He said that such developments are “of utmost importance,” adding that the joint fight against extremists would contribute to building trust between the Syrian government and opposition, thus facilitating smoother reconciliation between them.

Meanwhile, the continued activities of extremists in Idlib have become a source of particular concern, Putin said, adding that the radical groups apparently enjoy some outside support.
 
“Militants from various groups manage to build drones there and they somehow obtain the spare parts and everything they need to create such UAVs,” the Russian leader said. He also once again said that Moscow has “irrefutable” evidence suggesting that the terrorist groups entrenched in the militant-controlled province are seeking to stage false flag attacks, using chemical weapons. Such actions serve the interests of some foreign actors, he added.

It is “unacceptable” that some actors “want to let the terrorists off the hook under the guise of protection of civilians” and “inflict damage upon the troops loyal to the Syrian government,” Putin said, commenting on the issue of potential false flag attacks involving the use of chemical weapons.
Apart from combating terrorists, the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran also agreed to enhance their efforts aimed at promoting intra-Syrian dialogue and improving the humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged country. Moscow, Tehran and Ankara “assign an important role to the coordinated efforts aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Syria as well as at rebuilding its economy and resolving acute social problems,” the president said as the three leaders called on the international community and the UN in particular to render more assistance to Syria by delivering humanitarian aid and taking part in the reconstruction efforts.

Source: https://www.rt.com/news/437877-putin-idlib-syria-summit/
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