SYRIA | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


SYRIA

Jan 02 09:18

US Army Continues Sending Military Hardware to Eastern Syria After Pullout Call

The US Army forwarded a new convoy of military equipment to regions that are under the control of the Washington-backed forces in Hasaka province on Tuesday after controversial statements by the White House about a pullout from Syria.
The US army dispatched a new convoy, including several trucks loaded with military and logistic equipment, to al-Shadadi base in Southern Hasaka via Simalka border-crossing at Iraq-Syria border.

In the meantime, a field source disclosed that a sum of 20 US military trucks entered Ein Issa base in Northern Raqqa on Sunday, adding that the trucks were handed over to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The US is trying to continue providing the SDF with arms and ammunition after the country's decision to pull forces out of the war-hit country.

Meanwhile, US Senator Lindsey Graham has called on Trump to devaluate his decision over withdrawal from Syria.

Jan 02 09:15

US committed to 'protection of Israel' despite Syria withdrawal, Pompeo assures Netanyahu

The US 'withdrawal' from Syria might not mean the end of all its Syria-related operations where Israel is concerned, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s ongoing commitment to Israel’s security on Tuesday.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brazil, Pompeo said the US’ commitment to Israel was unchanged, despite the pullout of US troops from Syria announced by the Trump administration last month. Pompeo said that the US effort to “counter Iranian aggression” would continue along with the “protection of Israel” just as it had before.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Israel has a modern, huge military, including nuclear weapons. Why do they need the US as a protector?

Jan 02 09:14

Christmas colors light up a diverse Syria as peace & stability return – and the West barely noticed

Christmas celebrations have literally radiated out across Syria and western media was curiously silent in the face of such displays of unity and solidarity among Syria's diverse peoples.

Syrians saw off the year 2018 under a glittering canopy of festive lights and elaborate decorations adorn the streets of many cities, towns and villages throughout much of the country.

Jan 02 08:53

Syria: The Quest for Truth and Peace in the New Year

Canadians are being victimized by criminal war propaganda. War with Syria, (Russia, China etc.) IS NOT serving our interests. Politicians who demonize these countries, and support “regime change” wars of aggression, do not represent our interests. Nor do they represent Canada’s national interests, though the politicians seem to think that supporting al Qaeda is in our national interests. None of the countries that we are destroying or preparing to destroy is a threat to us. They are fabricated “threats” ultimately for the benefit of myopic special interests who are impoverishing us all[1].

Jan 01 11:43

Trump withdrawing from Middle East to focus on China: Academic

US President Donald Trump is pulling out troops from Syria and ending war in Afghanistan in order to focus on economic negotiations with China, an American writer and academic says.

James Petras, a retired professor who has published on political issues with particular focus on Latin America, the Middle East and imperialism, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday.

The US has reportedly evacuated a military base in Syria, the first step towards delivering on Trump’s recent pledge to pull American forces out of the Arab country.

According to local residents of al-Malikiya, in the northeastern province of Hasakeh, some 50 American soldiers had already left the base and traveled to a base in Iraq, along with their armored vehicles and other equipment.

Jan 01 11:40

Powerful U.S. forces work against pullout of troops from Syria

President Donald Trump’s announcement on Dec. 20 that his administration would quickly pull some 2,000 troops from Syria and 7,000 of the 14,000 in Afghanistan seemed to have caught many high-ranking U.S. as well and U.S. allies around the globe off guard.

It is unclear, however, to what extent the pullout will be able to be implemented. Trump is under a lot of pressure from even his supporters to back off or slow down the plan.

This often happens throughout history, when the core beliefs of a country promulgated by elites are challenged — and in the case of the U.S., it is both Republican and Democratic elites. The dismay at the retirement of Secretary of Defense James Mattis indicates the many battles ahead for a rebalancing of U.S. foreign policy.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The writer of this op-ed misses one very critical fact; the "winner" from this draw-down of US forces in Syria, is Israel's Benyamin Netanyahu, now fighting for his political life because he is on the keening edge of potentially being indicted for corruption by Israel's Attorney General.

Netanyahu has recently dissolved the Knesset, and set the date of 9 April for the next round of elections.

As now both Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, he can now wreak whatever havoc he wants in Syria (or Lebanon, or Iran), for these next 4 months until the election, with US collusion and cooperation from the commanders and their troops still on the ground.

And I would like to politely mention to the writer of this op-ed, that there will be utterly zero "rebalancing' of US Foreign Policy, particularly in the Middle East, as long as Trump is outsourcing his Middle East Policy to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

There are moments where there are goals to be achieved with which we should be aligned with Israel; but a regional war against Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, (with Russia most likely to take the side of these countries)at the enormous costs, which Tel Aviv fully expects to be expended in American blood, and American money?!?

So President Trump, I feel the need to strongly caution you, that the use of US troops, fighting and dying for what can only be characterized as a wretchedly apartheid, rogue theocracy with nuclear weapons, is not the highest and best use of US troops right now.

And at its point in its history, the US military doesn't have the weaponry; the troop strength; the money, or the manufacturing to insure a victory in this kind of war.

you are welcome, President Trump

Jan 01 11:25

How the War Party Lost the Middle East

"Assad must go, Obama says."

So read the headline in The Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2011.

The story quoted President Barack Obama directly:

"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. … the time has come for President Assad to step aside."

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David Cameron signed on to the Obama ultimatum: Assad must go!

Seven years and 500,000 dead Syrians later, it is Obama, Sarkozy and Cameron who are gone. Assad still rules in Damascus, and the 2,000 Americans in Syria are coming home. Soon, says President Donald Trump.

Jan 01 11:06

Trump Slows Syria Pullout: Military Given Four Months to Withdraw

Reports that President Trump is slowing America’s withdrawal from Syria were confirmed today in a series of Tweets, during which Trump confirmed that the US was “slowly sending our troops back home.”

Though there was never an official timetable for the withdrawal, early reports suggested that the 2,000 US troops believed to be in Syria could be out within 30 days. Now, President Trump is said to be giving the Pentagon four entire months.

In the meantime, the troops are going to be engaged in continued combat with ISIS, and US airstrikes will also continue. President Trump made reference to “ISIS remnants” in his comments.

This presence of remnants has been fueling a lot of the calls among hawkish politicians to just stay in Syria forever, on the grounds that if even a few remain, they’ll quickly regrow into a large organization. Several groups are expected to continue fighting ISIS after the US leaves.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Looks as though Turkey's impending invasion of Syria is on hold, pending the US drawdown.

But let's look at the real reason for the timing here, shall we?!? It appears that President Trump, unfortunately, as usual, has been given his "marching orders" from Tel Aviv.

Please remember: Israel's Netanyahu, is reeling on the ropes for the fight of his political life, if Israel's attorney general indicts him for corruption, (for which, BTW, Israel's AG is getting threatened, and his father's tomb was recently desecrated Israel's Attorney General had Father's tomb desecrated)

The Israeli Knesset has been dissolved, and elections are scheduled for 9 April of this year. And at the moment, until those elections take place, Netanyahu has also taken the job of minister of defence, as in November of last year. Israeli Prime Minister takes over Defense Ministry

Trump's " new and improved, Israel-compliant" pullout schedule in Syria actually gives Netanyahu, who now is both Prime Minister, and Defense Minister, a clear shot of creating major mayhem against Syria, Gaza, and Iran, coordinated with the White House, and US Pentagon, with utterly no oversight from Israel's Parliament, because it is now dissolved.

Were I an Israeli citizen right now, looking at this scenario, even appreciating what military weaponry and might are possessed by Israel's IDF, you would have to color me very nervous indeed.

Animals are at their most vicious when cornered, and wounded; so it is also for politically wounded heads of state.

Jan 01 11:02

NETANYAHU: ELECTION CAMPAIGN WOULD BE WORST TIME FOR U.S. TO RELEASE PEACE PLAN

The United States is unlikely to roll-out its long awaited peace blueprint during the Israeli election campaign because it wants to maximize, not minimize, its chance of success, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Asked at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro about the timing of the publication of the plan, Netanyahu said Washington is interested in giving that plan the greatest chance of success, “and in their estimation elections are the time when it will have the least chance of succeeding.”

Jan 01 05:07

Paper Warns of US-Arab Plot to Establish Tribal Emirate in Deir Ezzur

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's permission to the Iraqi air force to strike the ISIL inside Syria without a prior approval from Damascus is meant to defuse a plot hatched by the US and some Arab states to create a tribal emirate in Deir Ezzur, a leading Arab newspaper said on Monday.

An Iraqi government source said last week that Iraqi fighter jets could now enter Syria’s airspace and strike the ISIL terrorists without waiting for permission from the Syrian government.

Iraqi warplanes and artillery had in the past pounded the ISIL positions inside Syria only after getting the green light from the Syrian authorities, but following the yesterday decision they do not need a permission for such strikes anymore.

Arab newspaper Rai al-Youm said the US and some of its Arab allies are attempting to establish a tribal Arab emirate in Eastern Deir Ezzur which hosts most of Syria's oil and gas resources.

>>>

Dec 31 16:28

Scott Adams: Explaining the Syria Withdrawal in a Way CNN Will Not Understand

President Trump’s campaign promise: We’ll get out of Syria
President Trump’s request for exit plan 8 months ago
CNN now saying exit is random, impulsive, arbitrary

Comments at: https://twitter.com/ScottAdamsSays/status/1079853871218929664

Dec 31 09:32

IS A 'LAND SWAP' BETWEEN TURKEY AND SYRIA BEING BROKERED BY RUSSIA?

According to a report by RT: [1] “A high-ranking Turkish delegation arrived in Moscow on Saturday, only a day after international media broke news on Kurdish militias inviting Syrian forces to enter Manbij before the Turks do. Syria’s military proclaimed they ‘raised the flag’ over Manbij, but there have been no independent reports confirming the moving of troops into the city.”

The report notes: “The Saturday Moscow meeting was key to preventing all actors of the Syrian war from locking horns over the Kurdish enclave, Middle East experts believe.”

“Obviously, Turkey will insist that it is their forces that should enter Manbij, Russia will of course insist the city should be handed over to Assad’s forces,” Kirill Semenov, an Islamic studies expert with Russia’s Institute for Innovative Development, told RT.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I have hopes (and prayers) that this can be intelligently accomplished, so there is no more loss of life on any side; and IF Russia has actually brought Turkey and Syria to the bargaining table on this issue, my hat is off to them.

Dec 31 09:01

"The President Is Reconsidering": Syria Pullout On Thin Ice After Lunch With Lindsey Graham

President Trump is "reconsidering" his strategy to pull US forces out of Syria following an "eye-opening trip to Iraq" the day after Christmas, Bloomberg reports.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee - a harsh critic of Trump's announced pullout, said earlier Sunday that he would try to change Trump's mind during a private lunch since the Islamic state isn't quite defeated in the region as the President had previously stated.

"I feel better about Syria than I felt before I had lunch," said Graham after he left the White House. "I think the president is taking this really seriously, and the trip to Iraq was well timed." Trump has apparently devised a strategy with his generals in the field that "makes sense" according to the Senator.

Dec 31 08:25

Russia, Turkey reach ‘understanding’ over cooperation in Syria

Russian and Turkeish foreign ministers and senior officials have agreed to continue coordination in Syria, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Saturday.

The move came several days after the US President Donald Trump decreed to fully withdraw his country’s troops from Syria.

Cavusoglu’s remarks followed a meeting between senior officials of the two countries in Moscow to discuss the situation in Syria after Trump’s decision.

“Ankara and Moscow share the opinion that it is necessary to destroy all terrorist organisations in Syria,” Anadolu Agency cited Cavusoglu. “We will continue close cooperation with Russia and Iran on Syria and regional issues,” he added.

Cavusoglu highlighted that Turkey and Russia also discussed issues related to terrorism. “We confirmed our readiness and determination to continue the fight in order to liberate Syria from this scourge,” Russian news agency TASS reported.

Dec 31 03:38

Tens of US Military Trucks Arrive in Bases in Northeastern Syria

Almost 200 trucks of the US army, carrying arms, ammunition and military hardware have arrived in the coalition-run bases in Northeastern Syria, the militant-affiliated Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Sunday.

The London-based SOHR said that a long convoy of almost 200 US army trucks, carrying weapons, munitions and logistical equipment, left the US bases in Iraq on Saturday and arrived in coalition bases in Raqqa, Manbij and Ein Issa in Northeastern Syria.

In the meantime, the Kurdish militia reported that the trucks arrived in the town of Amouda and left then for the US-run bases in Northeastern Syria, adding that the arms and ammunition cargo is to be delivered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The convoy arrived after the US military decided to withdraw from Syria but leave the SDF armed in the region.

>>>

(*sure we cheered for peace , but you have to admit , we saw how it went for the stock market after the withdrawal announcement !)

Dec 31 02:34

TRUMP SLOWING US PULLOUT FROM SYRIA

Senior Republican senator says president will make sure that withdrawal will ensure ISIL is 'permanently destroyed'.

President Donald Trump has ordered a slowdown to the withdrawal of United States troops from Syria, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said.

"I think we're in a pause situation">>>

(*but let's face it , war is the side our nation butters it's bread on , and the 4th time around 'Syria pullout gag' did make the so called deal making President appear as a Merry Maker in time for The "X"mas holiday Season , if only for a week !)

Dec 30 17:56

US-led coalition admits 1,100+ civilians killed in Iraq & Syria in latest death toll

The US-led coalition has published the latest casualty figures for its airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014. At least 1,139 civilians have been “unintentionally” killed by coalition strikes, the statement said. The death toll, presented monthly by the US, has been repeatedly challenged by Amnesty International. The group says that the coalition was “deeply in denial” about the “large number of civilians killed and injured by [its] strikes.”

Dec 30 13:15

Scott Adams China Trade, AOC, Government by Torture, Climate Change Challenge

A shutdown is a way to torture random government employees
The winner is the side willing to torture them longer
CNN pundit angrily declaring “walls don’t work”
Rule of Life: Friction ALWAYS works
Who will say it first?
Politicians provide budgets, that’s their job
Engineers decide what’s needed
What will happen to stocks, once China trade deal is set?
Climate sides both talk in isolation, never debate each other
The two sides aren’t disagreeing with each other
They’re talking about different things
Tony Heller talks about unaddressed skepticism
Temp data has been rigged, fudged
Historical records disagree with climate data
Why isn’t anyone challenging him, is he correct?
97% of climate scientists are all on the same side
That’s spin, 97% agree on specific components
Obama’s Ambassador to Syria…
President Trump is probably doing the right thing

Dec 30 11:46

Report: Israel Tried to Trick Syria Into Shooting Down Civilian Airliners In Christmas Day Attack

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) carried out its recent airstrikes in Syria when two civilians planes were landing in Beirut and Damascus, putting passengers at risk, Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia told reporters on December 26.

“Provocative acts by the Israeli Air Force endangered two passenger jets when six of their F-16s carried out airstrikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace,” RT quoted the spokesman as saying.

According to Konashenkov, the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) delayed the deployment of surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy.” Meanwhile, the Damascus air traffic control diverted one of the passenger jets to a reserve airport in Khmeimim in southern Lattakia.

Dec 30 11:45

Turkey Continues to Concentrate Tanks, Artillery Near Syrian Border - Reports

A new group of Turkish heavy military vehicles arrived in the country's southeastern province of Sanliurfa bordering northern Syria, the Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.

According to Anadolu, howitzers, tanks and other vehicles were redeployed to the Sanliurfa province in order to boost security in the border area.

On Friday, the Syrian army announced it had entered Manbij after receiving an appeal from the YPG to take control over the city amid Turkey's plans to start a military operation there. On Saturday, the Kremlin confirmed that Damascus had indeed regained control over the territory.

Dec 30 10:08

Assad Receives Iraqi National Security Adviser in Damascus

Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad conducted a visit to Syria, where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Syrian president's press service said on Saturday.

According to the press service, the adviser delivered a letter from Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to the Syrian president. The letter calls for the cooperation between the two countries, as well as notes the importance of coordination of mutual efforts against terrorism, especially in the border region between the two countries.

The press service noted that the participants of the meeting had exchanged their opinions on the situation in the region and in the world. Assad acknowledged the positive changes in the Middle East, such as stabilization of the situation in the Iraqi and Syrian cities and return of the safety to the region. The Syrian president explained this by the willingness of the Middle Eastern nations to protect their sovereignty, despite foreign interference.

Dec 30 10:03

‘Land swap’ between Turkey & Syria – an option to avoid standoff over Manbij?

The Kurdish-held city of Manbij is a huge conundrum for Damascus, Ankara and Moscow as no one wants to lose lands, troops or allies. To stop a northern Syria standoff, it all could be sliced into areas of influence, analysts say.

A high-ranking Turkish delegation arrived in Moscow on Saturday, only a day after international media broke news on Kurdish militias inviting Syrian forces to enter Manbij – a strategic hub in the north of the country – before the Turks do. Syria’s military proclaimed they “raised the flag” over Manbij, but there have been no independent reports confirming the moving of troops into the city.

Dec 30 09:14

After Syria, Trump Should Clean Out His National Security Bureaucracy: They're undermining his positions and pursuing their own agendas. John Bolton should be the first to go.

President Donald Trump has at last rediscovered his core foreign policy beliefs and ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Right on cue, official Washington had a collective mental breakdown. Neocons committed to war, progressives targeting Trump, and centrists determined to dominate the world unleashed an orgy of shrieking and caterwauling. The horrifying collective scream, a la artist Edvard Munch, continued for days.

Trump’s decision should have surprised no one. As a candidate, he shocked the Republican Party establishment by criticizing George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq and urging a quick exit from Afghanistan. As president, he inflamed the bipartisan War Party’s fears by denouncing America’s costly alliances with wealthy industrialized states. And to almost everyone’s consternation, he said he wanted U.S. personnel out of Syria. Once the Islamic State was defeated, he explained, Americans should come home.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Bolton should definitely be the first to go.

He has shown himself to be contemptuous; hubristic; and ultimately the "poster child" for appallingly lousy foreign policy decisions emanating from the Trump White House.

Dec 30 09:07

Syrian Army Deploys to Manbij in New Alliance With Kurds: Turkey says Kurds have no authority to invite Syrian army into major Syrian city

With Turkey’s imminent invasion of Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria expected to begin any day, the Kurdish YPG has quickly secured a new alliance with the Syrian government. Within short order, the Syrian Army has arrived in the city of Manibj, on the Euphrates River, to help with its defense.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that this first deployment is of over 300 Syrian troops, with military spokesmen saying they are to deploy on the city’s outskirts with the goal of “defeating all invaders and occupiers.” There are US and French troops still within the city of Manbij itself, and Turkish-backed rebels advancing on the city from the north, with the expectation that this will be the first target of the new Turkish invasion.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Perhaps this consolidation between Kurds and the Syrian government will work well for both parties.

And I am sorry; the Turkish government has absolutely no right to chastise the Syrian government from doing anything it wants within its sovereign territory; but it will get dicey if Turkey, a NATO country, winds up attacking US, Another NATO country, or Iranian, or Russian troops still working in the area.

Dec 30 08:43

Christmas 2018: Iran and Syria show respect, Israel and Saudi Arabia don't

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all men. Or at least it should be. But while the West’s Middle East ‘bad guys’ Iran and Syria, showed the Yuletide spirit, its closest allies, Saudi Arabia and Israel, failed to do so.

Iran is demonized by Western neocons and we’re meant to see the country as an evil, ‘monster‘ regime of foaming-at-the-mouth religious fanatics who hate everyone.

So it goes against the dominant narrative somewhat that Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted a Christmas message and wished ‘peace and joy to all in 2019’, on Christmas Eve.

Dec 30 08:30

TRUMP CRITICS OF SYRIA WITHDRAWAL FUELED RISE OF ISIS

Too many of those protesting the removal of U.S. forces are authors of the catastrophe that tore Syria to pieces, reports Max Blumenthal for Consortium News.

Birthing ISIS From the Womb of Regime Change

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Clinton, Kerry, and the rest of the Beltway blob lined up reflexively behind George W. Bush.

The insurgency that followed the violent removal of Iraq’s Ba’athist government set the stage for the declaration of the first Islamic State by Abu Musab Zarqawi in 2006. Five years later, with near-total consent from Congress, Hillary enthusiastically presided over NATO’s assault on Libya, cackling with glee when she learned that the country’s longtime leader, Moammar Gaddafi, had been sodomized with a bayonet and shot to death by Islamist insurgents — “We came, we saw, he died!

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There is one element regarding the assassination of Qaddafi this article will not touch with a 10 foot pole, and treats it like Kryptonite, something to stay away from at any cost. But here it is, from Hillary's own email, nonetheless:

NATO KILLED QADDAFI TO STOP LIBYAN CREATING OF A GOLD-BACKED CURRENCY

The article goes on to state:

One of the 3,000 Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department on New Year’s Eve (where real news is sent to die quietly) has revealed evidence that NATO’s plot to overthrow Gaddafi was fueled by first their desire to quash the gold-backed African currency, and second the Libyan oil reserves.

The email in question was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by her unofficial adviser Sydney Blumenthal titled “France’s client and Qaddafi’s gold”.

From Foreign Policy Journal:

The email identifies French President Nicholas Sarkozy as leading the attack on Libya with five specific purposes in mind: to obtain Libyan oil, ensure French influence in the region, increase Sarkozy’s reputation domestically, assert French military power, and to prevent Gaddafi’s influence in what is considered “Francophone Africa.”

"Five years later, with near-total consent from Congress, Hillary enthusiastically presided over NATO’s assault on Libya, cackling with glee when she learned that the country’s longtime leader, Moammar Gaddafi, had been sodomized with a bayonet and shot to death by Islamist insurgents — “We came, we saw, he died!", provides us with a really interesting window on this lady's thought process.

This very much reminds me of a line from the now-cancelled, but brilliant and iconic show, "Elementary", where the Sherlock character is telling the Watson character that his father "had assassins on speed dial."

One has to wonder, given that this is the only couple in American politics with a known "dead bodies list" if that might be true for Arkansas'geopolitical "Gruesome Twosome", Bill and Hillary Clinton.

So, there you have it.

Dec 29 23:10

More Wins in Syria

Dec 29 13:15

Scott Adams: Climate Change, AOC Sexism, Sonic Weapons, Syria and Open Borders

AOC’s sexist tweet to her critic
Sonic weapon used against two of our embassies?
Mass hysteria, no weapon or culprit will ever be found
Challenge: Find me somebody, anybody who wants open borders
I’ve never met anyone who wants open borders, why?
Kurds are concerned about US pullout and attack by Turkey
Turks consider our Kurd allies to be terrorists
Shouldn’t we know why? Nobody seems to report why
Is the world safer today than it has ever been?
Hyper-connectivity benefits the world, makes us safer
Challenge: Provide a link to your BEST article on climate change
I’ll tweet the best arguments for both sides
Climate change arguments are very persuasive viewed alone
“Climate change is a scam” arguments…also persuasive

Dec 29 09:58

Syrian Army Deploys to Manbij in New Alliance With Kurds

With Turkey’s imminent invasion of Kurdish territory in northeastern Syria expected to begin any day, the Kurdish YPG has quickly secured a new alliance with the Syrian government. Within short order, the Syrian Army has arrived in the city of Manibj, on the Euphrates River, to help with its defense.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that this first deployment is of over 300 Syrian troops, with military spokesmen saying they are to deploy on the city’s outskirts with the goal of “defeating all invaders and occupiers.” There are US and French troops still within the city of Manbij itself, and Turkish-backed rebels advancing on the city from the north, with the expectation that this will be the first target of the new Turkish invasion.

Dec 29 05:07

2019 Year of Failure of US Plots, Victory of Resistance Front

Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm newspaper, referred to the withdrawal of the US forces from Syria and the Arab states' decision to reopen their embassies in Damascus, stressing that 2019 will bring failure for Washington and victory for the resistance front.

"The year 2019 will be the year of victories (for the resistance) and failure for the US plots in the region and return of honor to the regional states," Atwan said in an interview on Friday.

"Syria won because it resisted and the Arab countries are happily reopening their embassies in Damascus>>>

US Fighter Jets, Helicopters Spotted over Manbij as Turkish Troops Cross Syria Border

Dec 28 16:23

TRUMP CRITICS OF SYRIA WITHDRAWAL FUELED RISE OF ISIS

President Donald Trump’s announcement of an imminent withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria summoned a predictable paroxysm of outrage from Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Former Secretary of State and self-described “hair icon” Hillary Clinton perfectly distilled the bipartisan freakout into a single tweet, accusing Trump of “isolationism” and “playing into Russia and Iran’s hands.”

Dec 28 14:00

As US Exits, Syrian Army Raises Flag Over Kurdish Province For 1st Time Since War's Start

Currently, the Syrian Army has deployed around the city saying it stands ready to protect it from nearby pro-Turkish forces. This as the Syrian Arab Army announced it "raised the flag of the Syrian Arab Republic there" as confirmed by Russian television footage from on the ground.

Meanwhile the local MMC, or SDF Manbij Military Council appears to still maintain authority in the city in coordination with the Syrian Army. There appears a quiet status quo and possible indirect negotiations happening between US, SDF, and Syrian Army forces, with broader negotiations between Turkey and Russia — the latter which controls the airspace above the province.

On the ground there's a tense and potentially volatile yet still stable situation still holding, reflected in the following interesting scenario:

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Praying for peace to break out here, any moment.

And Turkey has been very clearly warned by the Russians that any attempt at a military operation here, might go down very, very poorly.

Were I Erdogan, I would be listening, very clearly, to what Russia has to say.

Dec 28 13:11

Trump Scores, Breaks Generals’ 50-Year War Record

The mainstream media has attacked President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria as impulsive, blindsiding his own national security team. But detailed, published accounts of the policy process over the course of the year tell a very different story. They show that senior national security officials and self-interested institutions have been playing a complicated political game for months aimed at keeping Trump from wavering on our indefinite presence on the ground in Syria.

The entire episode thus represents a new variant of a familiar pattern dating back to Vietnam in which national security advisors put pressure on reluctant presidents to go along with existing or proposed military deployments in a war zone. The difference here is that Trump, by publicly choosing a different policy, has blown up their transparent schemes and offered the country a new course, one that does not involve a permanent war state.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

On this issue, I give President Trump an absolute thumbs up.

NOW, I need to see what he is really ready and able to do to ratchet down tensions between the US and Russia, the US and China, and the US and Iran!!

Dec 28 13:04

Thank Goodness for Trump, the Ugly American

Donald Trump is the Ugly American incarnate. More so than even Dick Cheney or George Bush the Younger. His boorish manners and in-your-face self-promotion puts to shame the servile European, Japanese and other spittle-lickers who have profited from their associations with Washington at the expense of their compatriots. These would-be friends of Washington have nowhere to hide from the disgrace Trump metes out to them before their own peoples. All of this is good and necessary medicine to set the world on its way towards a multipolar future. Far more than we “American dissidents” have been able to muster.

Therefore, I can only say “godspeed” to Donald Trump in the New Year 2019. May he willy-nilly continue to do God’s work.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As a Christian pacifist activist, I have to confess; I do have a hug and a punch (more like a gentle tapping, nothing hurt) relationship with this President.

I am very morally concerned about how the US military's aided and abetted Saudi war crimes in Yemen, to which President Trump is particularly tone-deaf, when thousands of innocents have been murdered.

I am very hopeful, that this drawdown in Syria will make it possible for the country to return to some kind of normalcy, and all the rebuilding help it can get.

But getting immigration completely legal again; this is an area where I share President Trump's agenda. I love people, and agree that having good people immigrate to our country who have skills, and embrace the American ethos, is a wonderful thing. Please, just let them come legally, and healthy, is all I am asking.

I love those words, written by Emily Lazarus, emblazoned on plaque placed on the Stature of Liberty;

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The issues here are that, A, we're living in the 21st century, and B, technology has taken over, big time, for what used to be done by unskilled labor.

OK, illegal immigrants have no money; they cannot speak the language of the country in which they want to live;; and may be desperately ill with diseases the US has barely seen in recent years, and have zero relevant job skills but expect that the US government is supposed to take care of you?!?

Forgive me, but on what planet do they think this is happening?!?

Trump Fact Check: how much does illegal immigration cost this country every year?

The article goes on to question: "What are the facts behind the economic impact of illegal immigrants? We checked his (Trump's) figures with immigration and tax policy experts across the political spectrum,who said he was exaggerating, at best.

Oh, Really?!?

"A little high," said Robert Rector, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

Rector said his 2013 estimate pegged the cost of undocumented immigrants — the cost of services received minus their tax contributions — was about $54 billion a year.

A precise cost is nearly impossible to ascertain, many experts said. That's in part because undocumented immigrants operate within the shadows, leaving their full fiscal contributions — and use of taxpayer-funded resources — at least somewhat unknown.

"It's really hard to calculate anyone’s 'net cost' or 'net benefit.' We all use all kinds of services, from roads to military protection. How do we apportion what part of that is something I or you or an immigrant use?" said Kallick.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, the cost, currently, is around, +/- $54 billion; but that, in my world, is $54 billion too much, with our homeless Vets living rough in our streets, and our infrastructure crumbling, and there being "allegedly" no money to fix it.

I am very glad President Trump is attempting to do something about this, and the Dementocrats are looking, like disgruntled, petulant juveniles, through refusing the funding for a security wall at the border between the US and Mexico.

Dec 28 10:10

Recent Airstrike in Syria Shows Israelis Are Changing Tactics

Israel's recent airstrike against Syria, which involved the usage of civilian flights as cover for the operation, shows that the Israelis are changing their tactics against Damascus, Peter Ford, the former UK ambassador to Syria, told Sputnik.

Israel's new tactics were detailed in a Wednesday statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, which indicated that six Israeli F-16 fighter jets used two commercial aircraft as cover that were preparing to land in Damascus and Beirut, respectively.

Photos since released by the Israeli company ImageSat map out a 900-square-meter area where strikes reportedly destroyed an arms depot that was housing Iranian weapons. Wednesday's airstrike came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue military operations in Syria to counter Iran's military presence.

Dec 28 09:12

Who Was Secretly Behind America's Invading And Occupying Syria?

The invasion and occupation of Syria by tens of thousands of jihadists who were recruited from around the world to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, was financed mainly by US taxpayers and by the world’s wealthiest family, the Sauds, who own Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest oil company, Aramco.

America’s international oil companies and major think tanks and ‘charitable’ foundations were also supportive and providing propaganda for the operation, but the main financing for it came from America’s taxpayers, and from the Saud family and from the Government that they own.

Dec 28 08:42

'UK, US look at jihadist groups as useful, are they as against terrorists as they pretend to be?'

A Times' article portraying Chechen jihadists as freedom fighters because they are anti-Russian is an attempt to whitewash a connection between the Ukrainian government and terrorist groups, former US diplomat Jim Jatras told RT.
The British newspaper published a highly controversial interview with a Chechen who is fighting against anti-government forces in Eastern Ukraine. The head of his battalion earlier admitted that his fighters waged jihad in Syria and that the leader was even part of a terror group committing atrocities in Russia.

"Some of the battalion's gunmen admit to having honed their combat skills at Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) training camps in Iraq and Syria," the article says.

Dec 28 08:01

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DEC. 28, 2018: YPG INVITES SYRIAN ARMY TO MANBIJ

On December 28, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released an official statement inviting the Damascus government to assert control of the areas, from which YPG units had allegedly withdrawn, in particular Manbij. The YPG added that the decision is caused by the Turkish threat and that the group will concentrate its efforts on combating ISIS.

Syrian troops reportedly started entering the town of Manbij in the morning of the same day.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) have continued concentrating troops and military equipment near the Syrian border. According to fresh reports, the TAF has deployed at least 10 M60T battle tanks and several armored vehicles in the province of Kilis.

On December 27, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced the reopening of the country’s embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus. Abdul Hakim al-Nuaimi was appointed as the UAE’s charge d’affaires in Damascus.

Dec 28 07:34

Syria war: Pro-government forces 'enter Manbij' amid Turkey threats

Syrian pro-government forces have entered the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years, an army spokesman has said.

A Kurdish militia controlling the area withdrew and invited Syrian forces to retake the city amid fears that Turkish troops would launch a new offensive.

Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG forces to be part of a terrorist group.

The request by the US-backed Kurds follows the shock announcement that all US troops are to withdraw from Syria.

Dec 27 14:29

Turkey reveals locations of French military bases in Syria

For the second time this year, the Turkish state-owned media has revealed the locations of the French military bases in Syria

“In four of nine military locations the French are protected by Americans, and in the rest, they operate under the protection of PKK,” the Anadolu Agency said.

The article highlighted the French bases that were mostly located in Syria’s northeastern region, including the border governorate of Al-Hasakah.

Dec 27 13:17

Bolton’s Hawkish Syria Plan Backfired, Pushing Trump to Get Out

The national security adviser expanded U.S. goals in Syria to challenge Iran. But Trump wasn’t on board, senior officials say, and Turkey took an opportunity to push the U.S. out.

The national security adviser expanded U.S. goals in Syria to challenge Iran. But Trump wasn’t on board, senior officials say, and Turkey took an opportunity to push the U.S. out.

Some leading Pentagon officials were uncomfortable with Bolton’s anti-Iran goals in Syria. Days after Bolton’s statement, senior Pentagon officials signaled to Congress that they weren’t on board. “In Syria, our role is to defeat ISIS. That’s it,” Brig. Gen. Scott Benedict, an officer on the Joint Staff, testified to the House Armed Services Committee.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

If President Trump has been made to realize what an absolutely ham-fistedly, pig-headedly stupid Syrian policy Bolton crafted, leaving President Trump with little to zero option in Syria but to withdraw, will someone who has his ear, please, encourage the President to take a look, hard, long look at the Iranian foreign policy Bolton (and Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu) want him to pursue?

And also, 2020 being an election year, how, in the name of Heaven, does he believe he can sell yet another Middle East war to the American people, who have become very skeptical about the existing US-generated wars, which continue to go horrendously badly, and war weary,with the uncomfortable sense that if sanctions will not bring the Iranians "to their knees" economically and geopolitically, that he is considering attacking Iran?

And again, I find it interesting that President Trump's BFFs in the Middle East; The Butcher of Yemen, Prince bin Salman, and the Butcher of Gaza, Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And I have to wonder; is it because these people can order singular, or multiple assassinations with impunity, and not be held responsible for what they have done?

Dec 27 12:37

Report: Southeast Syrian Rebels Ready to Surrender After US Pullout From Tanf Base: Commanders try to negotiate safe passage for rebel north

The US withdrawal from Syria includes the withdrawal from the remote US military base at al-Tanf, and that’s got some of the rebel factions in the southeastern area around the base wondering what comes next.

Reporters say that many of the rebels are openly saying that they intend to lay down their arms and surrender as soon as the US leaves al-Tanf, and try to join into one of the Syrian government’s reconciliation offer.

On the other hand, commanders from the US-backed Mahavir al-Saura brigade are looking for life after the US by issuing a demand for Syria to grant them safe passage for 6,000 fighters into the rebel-held northern Syria area around Idlib.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So these jihadists are "demanding" safe passage from the Syrian government to get 6,000 fighters out of harm's way, after fighting the Syria, Russia, and Iranian military?!?

Were I part of the leadership of Mahavir al-Saura, I would seriously not be holding my breath that this would happen.

Dec 27 10:37

TURKISH-BACKED FIGHTERS PREPARING TO REPLACE US FORCES IN SYRIA - NEWS FROM ANTIWAR.COM

Turkey-backed rebel fighters in Syria are gearing up for a major deployment into northeastern Syria, with an eye on replacing the US ground troops in the area. Turkey is planning to invade in the course of this replacement, and is coordinating with the US and the pullout and deployment.

President Trump has said the withdrawal will be “slow,” and there has been no public timetable on troop movements. The rebels in question, however, are moving closer to the city of Manbij, which Turkey has indicated will be the first target.

Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu addressed the situation in comments to reporters on Tuesday, saying that while the timeline of deployment may be related to coordination with the US, Turkey remains “determined” to expel the Kurds from Syria’s northeast.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

To where, please is Turkish FM Cavusoglu "determined" to expel the Kurds from Syria's Northeast?

I think the short, honest answer is, to the kingdom of genocide and slaughter, given the opportunity,given the reality that the Kurds are on both Turkey's and the US's terror watch list.

However, there was something President Trump said at Ramstein, which rather unnerved me, and it has taken time to find, because it has been nearly completely obliterated by most of the coverage of President and Mrs.Trump's trips to Iraq and Germany, given by the presstitutes. And bless "thelocal.de, for reporting it: https://www.thelocal.de/20181227/trumps-surprise-visit-to-germany

The statement is as follows:

"On Wednesday, Trump said "we've knocked them out," although he appeared to hedge his bets – following widespread criticism that his victory declaration is premature – when he added that Iraq might be used as a future base "if we wanted to do something in Syria".

This to me, begs the question: are some of the US military about to be tactically redeployed in Iraq, for some future attack against Syria, and is that statement supposed to "prep" the American people for its happening, shortly down the road?!?

President Trump may well believe he has time to make his case for this, in terms of more troops in Iraq, because the Iraqi government has become paralyzed between two Shiia Factions, as reported earlier this month by Reuters: Shi'ite rivalry paralyzes Iraq's government

But the question is, how long can he wait, if the war in Syria does not go the way he wants, even with the upcoming Turkish intervention?!?

Is the Turkish government looking to annex those areas of Syria's northeast?!?

We will have to see, as the situation unfolds; Israel, of course, is always the wild card here, and I am hoping (and praying) that the Russians, generally the adults in the room in the world of geopolitics, will have a calming effect long-term.

Dec 27 08:03

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DEC. 27, 2018: LARGE NUMBER OF SYRIAN TROOPS DEPLOYED NEAR MANBIJ

On December 26, militants of the al-Qaeda-linked Wa Harid al-Muminin operations room conducted a hit and run attack on several positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Lattakia. According to pro-militant sources, over 20 SAA soldiers were killed.

Another version of the events claims that the SAA repelled the attack in the villages of Nakhshiba, Ruysat al-Malik and Ayn al-Qantra killing most of the attackers.

In late November, Wa Harid al-Muminin carried out a similar attack on SAA positions in northern Lattakia. At that time, 5 militants were killed by the SAA.

The SAA deployed hundreds of well-equipped soldiers from the 1st Division and the Republican Guards west of the town of Manbi, which is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Dec 27 07:58

‘Kick Them Out’: Syrian Women Tell Europe to Send Men Home to Rebuild Country

Syrian women are complaining that there are not enough men to rebuild the county, and have told Europe and other Western countries that have absorbed their young men to “kick them out” and send them home.

Journalist at Swedish public broadcaster SVT Johan-Mathias Sommarström travelled to Damascus, Syria, and spoke to some of the students at the University of Damascus, 70 per cent of whom he observed are women.

“Look around, you just see women. The university, on the street, in cafes, just women,” students Safaa and Sheima told Sommarström.

Dec 27 07:47

Smoking Gun Obama/Clinton Docs Tie Benghazi Weapons to Syria Mess

Dec 27 07:41

Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns

Utter silence. That is the sound of Western corporate media days after a more than one-hour-long panel on the White Helmets at the United Nations on December 20.

Journalists were present, so the silence isn’t due to lack of access. And in any case it was live streamed on the UNTV channel, and remains available on Youtube for keen observers to watch.

More likely, the silence is due to the irrefutable documentation presented on the faux-rescue group’s involvement in criminal activities, which include organ theft, working with terrorists — including as snipers — staging fake rescues, thieving from civilians, and other non-rescuer behaviour.

Dec 27 07:40

US support emboldens Israel to attack Syria: Foreign Ministry

Syria has strongly condemned Israel’s recent missile strike near the capital Damascus as a blatant violation of a United Nations resolution, adding that Tel Aviv would not have been able to carry out such attacks without support from the United States.

In two separate letters addressed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the head of the UN Security Council, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday condemned the attack as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 350, which called for a ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the wake of the Yom Kippur War.

The Foreign Ministry accused Israel of seeking to prolong the crisis in Syria, noting that such strikes are tantamount to what Daesh and other terrorist groups are doing in Syria.

Syria once again asks the Security Council to fulfill its responsibilities in keeping international peace and security and adopting firm measures to prevent the repetition of the Israeli attacks, the ministry concluded.

Dec 26 15:12

No pullout of Iraq, it can be base 'to do something in Syria' - Trump on first visit to troops

US President Donald Trump said he's not planning to take American troops out of Iraq as he made his first visit to an active combat zone. His surprise trip also sparked online frenzy after his plane had been noticed over Europe.
Speaking at Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria last week.

"I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It's time for us to start using our head," the president said. “In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria," he added.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I am having a Jean-Luc Picard double face-palm, at warp speed, upon reading this.

So, the alleged "pulling out of US troops from Syria" was not so much a withdrawal, as a repositioning of troops in Iraq, for future US campaigns in Syria?!?!?

IF I am understanding this correctly, this...is officially horrible.

Dec 26 14:32

Breaking: No withdrawal from Iraq, US can attack Syria from nearby base: Trump

US President Donald Trump said he’s not planning to take American troops out of Iraq as he made his first visit to an active combat zone.

His surprise trip also sparked online frenzy after his plane had been noticed over Europe.

Speaking Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, Trump defended his decision to withdraw troops from Syria last week.

“I think a lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking. It’s time for us to start using our head,” the president said.

“In fact we could use this as the base if we wanted to do something in Syria,” he added.

Dec 26 13:18

Israel Preparing For Comprehensive War In Syria: Report

Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta said that Israel is preparing for a comprehensive war on Syria following the US’ withdrawal from the country.

The newspaper said that the decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from Syria has left Israel forced to face the Iranian presence in Syria with its troops alone.

The newspaper quoted Israel’s former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman as saying that:

“the United States’ withdrawal from Syria greatly increases the likelihood of a large-scale conflict in the north, whether in Lebanon or Syria”.

Lieberman added that “the Americans’ departure will raise the morale of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his allies, Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah.”

The Russian daily quoted Russian military expert Yuri Liamin as saying that “Iran cannot interpret this decision as a blank cheque”.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I had a nasty feeling in my gut, when Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset, and set a time for snap elections in April, that he was going to use the time in between to wage a significant war against Syria, and/or a war against Iran, with literally no opposition from the Knesset, because it had been dissolved.

There are moments it kinds of bites, being correct on an assessment like this.

And to all my brother and sister Americans, even if you're in a tryptophan coma from too much turkey yesterday, please wake up; because by the time the New Year gets here next week, both the US military and Israel's military may well be at war with Syria, and with Russia throwing its hat into the ring, and siding with Syria.

Dec 26 12:40

Iranian Deputy DM: US Pullout from Syria Signifies New Failure for Trump

Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Qassem Taqizadeh in a meeting with Deputy Chief of the Russian Army's General Staff Vice-Admiral Igor Osipov underlined that US President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops out of Syria indicates failure of his policies.

The US military forces' evacuation from Syria is another failure for Trump's unwise policies in the region and the world, General Taqizadeh said at the meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He also stressed Iran's preparedness to further develop and deepen defense and military cooperation between the two countries.

General Osipov, for his part, described consolidation of military ties between Iran and Russia as important to regional and global security, and said, "Establishment of security and stability in the world and the region is possible in light of high-volume military cooperation and powerful interactions between the two countries in Syria."

>>>

(*See ?
Trump said he had a better deal , then Obama's , for Iran . So , if everything works out , they better not even think of criticizing Trump Grandstanding , after all
they did to make it happen , because they're already on thin ice with the boss ! )

Dec 26 12:10

Turkey amasses troops at border as operation against Syria’s Kurds looms (VIDEO)

Turkey has sent massive reinforcements to areas in its south, in preparations for a push into Syria’s northeast. As troops roll to the border, the country’s top officials have made bellicose remarks, vowing to fight “terrorism.”
A large Turkish military unit has been filmed in the town of Karkamis at the Turkey-Syria border. Right across it lies the Syrian town of Jarablus, controlled by the Turkey-backed Syrian anti-government militants since mid-2016, when Turkey left the territory during operation Euphrates Shield.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

If you are so inclined, please pray for those innocents, women, children, and the medically fragile elderly, who will be caught in the cross fire of these attacks.

And we have a companion story on this, also through antiwar.com:

The Kurds must now choose between loyalty to Syria; or defeat by Turkey

Dec 26 09:45

REVEALED: Israel’s IDF Used Passenger Airliners as Cover During Christmas Day Attack on Damascus

Yesterday, Israel carried out an unprovoked Christmas Day attack against Syria. According to reports citing the Russian Ministry of Defense, six Israeli F16 fighters violated neighboring Lebanese airspace and while passing over Sidon, fired 16 laser-guided GBU-39 bombs towards targets in and around the capital city of Damascus, 14 of which were intercepted by Syrian air defense systems.

More shocking details were revealed today, as the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the IDF jets flew in to firing position – just as two civilian passenger airliners were in the air preparing for their landings into both Beirut and Damascus airports.

As a result, Syrian military defense units did not deploy its surface-to-air missiles and electronic jamming “to prevent a tragedy” and instead allowed Damascus air traffic control divert one of its passenger flights to an emergency destination at Khmeimim in Latakia.

Dec 26 09:31

Israeli raids target Iranian weapons depots near Damascus

Syria’s air defenses have responded to a number of air raids in the vicinity of Damascus, Syrian media reported Tuesday night.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent said that the Israeli raids near Damascus were carried out from Lebanon’s airspace.

The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Israeli raids were targeting weapons storage areas of Iranian militias and Hezbollah positions in the countryside of Damascus.

Rami Abdulrahman told Al Arabiya’s sister channel Al Hadath that Israeli raids targeted the western and southern suburbs of Damascus.

State television Al-Ekhbariya carried a breaking ticker saying air defenses had intercepted missiles. But it only referred to “hostile targets” in a later report.

Lebanese state-run National News Agency said Israeli war planes performed mock raids above southern Lebanon.

Dec 26 09:30

Israel Attacks Damascus on Christmas, SAA Air Defenses Intercept ‘Hostile Targets’ Over Capital

Reports are still preliminary, but it does appear that Israel is once again in violation of international law, as it violates both Lebanese airspace and Syria’s sovereignty by launching another belligerent attack against Syria’s capital city of Damascus.

According to multiple reports including Syrian state media SANA, the Syrian Arab Army’s ground-to-air missile defense systems around Damascus were deployed against incoming targets.

Thus far, reports of any casualties in Syria are still unknown.

According to Israeli military sources, Israeli air defenses were then “activated” against anti-aircraft missiles coming from Syria to target Israeli jets. Israel claims no damage was done, nor any injuries to IDF personnel.

Dec 26 09:14

DONALD TRUMP ‘ABANDONING’ ALLIES WITH ‘HORRIBLE’ SYRIA WITHDRAWAL, EX-REPUBLICAN SENATOR SANTORUM SAYS

Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum slammed President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Syria in a Wednesday interview with CNN, arguing that the United States was “abandoning” its allies.

Although Santorum, who previously represented Pennsylvania, said he’s a “very strong supporter” of the president, he said that the move “is not a good idea,” arguing that it will “embolden” Iran and allow Turkey to target the Kurds.

“The way [Trump] did it in the face of the president of Turkey, basically abandoning our allies [the Kurds], who the Turks see as terrorists, is just a horrible piece of foreign policy,” the politician said. “I am very disappointed in the president that he would do this in this fashion,” he added.

Dec 26 09:10

The Key Unaddressed War Issue in the Mainstream

Redeploying US combat troops from column A to column B, from one nation to another, from one war theater to one or more others nearby, leaves Washington’s imperial agenda unchanged – its rage for world dominance, its naked aggression against one nation after another, the highest of high crimes.

That’s the key issue the hue and cry over Trump’s announced troop pullout from Syria and partial withdrawal from Afghanistan left unaddressed.

Republicans and undemocratic Dems are in lockstep over Washington’s aim to rule the world, wanting all nations co-opted as vassal states, allies and adversaries alike, their resources handed to corporate America for looting, their people exploited as serfs.

The beat goes on. Trump’s announcement changed nothing. First, it’s unclear what’s coming in Syria and Afghanistan in the new year – maybe continuation of the status quo or minor tactical changes.

Dec 26 08:43

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DEC. 26, 2018: ISRAEL STRIKES SYRIA. S-300 IS NOT EMPLOYED

Late on December 25, the Israeli Air Force carried out a missile strike on targets in the Damascus International Airport area. According to reports, Israeli F-16I jets launched at least 16 missiles from Lebanese airspace.

The Syrian media stressed that the Air Defense Forces (SADF) had intercepted most of the hostile missiles, but acknowledged that at least 3 Syrian servicemen had been injured in the incident. The SADF also fired several missiles at Israeli jets involved in the strike. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that they had employed their own air defense systems to protect the jets.

The Syrian side did not use the S-300 air defense system delivered by Russia to repel the airstrike. Syrian personnel have not yet finished the necessary training. According to experts, the Syrian S-300 system will be put on a combat duty in the second half of January or in early February 2019.

Dec 26 08:42

Smoking Gun Obama/Clinton Docs Tie Benghazi Weapons to Syria Mess

Dec 26 08:36

Trump's Syria Withdrawal Is A Simple Case Of Foreign Policy Realism

President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran – as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis.

The pullout may be one or all of these things, but above all it is a recognition of what is really happening on the ground in Syria and the Middle East in general.

This point has not come across clearly enough because of the undiluted loathing for Trump among most of the American and British media. They act as a conduit for the views of diverse figures who condemn the withdrawal and include members of the imperially-minded foreign policy establishment in Washington and terrified Kurds living in north-east Syria who fear ethnic cleansing by an invading Turkish army.

Dec 26 08:35

Turkey Doesn't Need Permission from Israel or Anyone to Fight Terror - Ankara

The Turkish government spokesperson made the statement following a Twitter outburst from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called Turkish President Erdogan "the occupier of northern Cyprus" and accused his forces of massacring "women and children in Kurdish villages."

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has announced that Ankara intends to continue its fight against terrorism without seeking consent from other countries, Hurriyet Daily News reported on Tuesday.

"It is out of the question for Turkey to get permission or consent from Israel or any other country [to fight terror]," he told journalists after a cabinet meeting.

Dec 26 08:34

RON PAUL: TROOPS OUT OF SYRIA AND AFGHANISTAN? THAT’S A GOOD START!

We all had a big shock this week when, seemingly out of the blue, President Trump announced that he was removing US troops from Syria and would draw down half of the remaining US troops in Afghanistan. The president told us the troops were in Syria to fight ISIS and with ISIS nearly gone the Syrians and their allies could finish the job.

All of a sudden the Trump haters who for two years had been telling us that the president was dangerous because he might get us in a war, were telling us that the president is dangerous because he was getting us out of a war! These are the same people who have been complaining about the president’s historic efforts to help move toward peace with North Korea.

Dec 26 08:28

Damascus Reportedly Finds Huge Cache of US, Israeli-Made Weapons Close to Golans

Syrian militant groups have left many weapons caches behind, when they were retreating from the Syrian army, which are now being discovered during sweeping operations conducted by the country's authorities.

The Syrian army has discovered an underground militants' cache close to the border with the Israeli occupied Golan Heights to the west of Jibbat al-Khashab in Quneitra province, Syrian state news agency SANA reported. According to the media outlet, Syrian authorities discovered the cache in a dug out den during the course of a combing operation with the help of locals.

Inside it there were various types of weapons, such as anti-tank missiles, mortars, rifles and machineguns, produced in the US, Israel, and Jordan, as well as huge amounts of ammunition. Apart from the weaponry, the Syrian army found protective gear, satellite communication devices and medical equipment, which was also made in the US and Israel.

Dec 26 08:23

Syrian Air Defences Intercept Missiles Near Damascus - Reports

Syrian air defences have repelled a missile attack on Damascus, local media said. The projectiles were downed over the western suburbs of Damascus, Ikhbariya broadcaster reported. Meanwhile, a Sputnik correspondent reported several explosions that hit Syrian capital. The causes of explosions, however, remain unknown.

"Syria’s air defences repelled an attack of several missiles in the sky over the western suburbs of Damascus," the Ikhbariya television said without naming specific locations.

The broadcaster later added that the airstrikes on Damascus surroundings were ongoing for an hour and a half.

Dec 26 08:22

Wesley Clark on Trump’s Syria withdrawal: ‘Did Erdogan blackmail the president?'

Wesley Clark, the former commander of NATO's forces, on Monday questioned whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an blackmailed President Trump into his decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria.

"There doesn’t seem to be any strategic rationale for the decision. And if there’s no strategic rationale for the decision then you have to ask, why was the decision made?" the retired U.S. Army general and former NATO commander said on CNN's "New Day."

"People around the world are asking this and some of our friends and our allies in the Middle East are asking, did Erdo?an blackmail the president? Was there a payoff or something? Why would a guy make a decision like this? Because all the recommendations were against it," he added.

Dec 26 08:21

NEOCON SENATOR: GOP NEEDS TO ‘STEP UP’ TO TRUMP ON SYRIA WITHDRAWAL

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), one of the most influential voices in the Senate Republican conference, says he and his GOP colleagues “need to step up” to balance President Trump’s foreign policy decisions.

Toomey said on Sunday that the “vast majority of Republicans” disagree with Trump’s sudden and unexpected announcement that he would withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria because he believes the terrorist threat posed by ISIS in the region has been defeated.

Dec 26 08:20

Eyewitnesses Say US Troops Remain in Syrian City of Manbij, Continue Patrol

US servicemen have not left the north-eastern Syrian city of Manbij, and they continue patrolling its streets, eyewitnesses told Sputnik, providing a video proving their claims.

On the video, shot on Sunday morning, one can see a column of four military cars with US flags patrolling Manbij's Jisr As-Sarb street.

Dec 26 08:18

Syria airstrikes continue despite Trump withdrawal announcement

The U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS in Syria are continuing, and the coalition announced that attacks Dec. 16-22 "severely degraded" the group's facilities and "removed several hundred ISIS fighters from the battlefield," per CNN.

Why it matters: It's a sign that the coalition's military strategy hasn't changed since President Trump announced last week that the U.S. would withdraw from Syria. There's also an unspoken message: the coalition doesn't consider the terrorist group to be defeated.

Dec 26 08:16

RUSSIA CALLS ISRAELI STRIKES IN SYRIA 'PROVOCATIVE ACTS'

IAF air strikes against targets in Syria on Tuesday put two civilian airlines in “immediate danger,” said Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday.

According to ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Israeli F-16s carried out air strikes on Syrian targets as two civilian flights were landing in Beirut and Damascus, putting the passengers at risk.

“Provocative acts by the Israeli air force endangered two passenger jets, when six of their F-16s carried out air strikes on Syria from Lebanese airspace,” he was quoted by RT news as saying.

Dec 26 08:15

ANALYSIS: AIRSTRIKE IN DAMASCUS AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR SYRIAN REGIME AT CRUCIAL TIME

The airstrikes took place as the Syrian state media was seeking to highlight Christmas in Syria. Syria was witnessing a “victory over terrorism,” SANA said. However the airstrikes were the most serious since September when an Israeli airstrike targeted Latakia and resulted in Syrian air defense shooting down a Russian IL-20 aircraft. That incident caused Moscow to give Syria the S-300 system and warn Israeli “hotheads” against further incidents.

For months it has been relatively quiet. An incident on November 29 and December 9th worked up Damascus as air defenses were activated. But both incidents seemed minor. One was a false alarm apparently. However December 25 was a major escalation. It comes as Syria is seeking to deal with a major crises in eastern Syria as the US withdraws.

Dec 26 08:12

Syria accuses Israel of attacking Damascus

Syrian air defense systems intercepted missiles near Damascus following an attack, Syrian media reported. The echo of explosions was heard throughout the Syrian capital.

A special broadcast was shown on Syrian television, during which it was said that "Israel continues its aggression."

The report quoted a military source as saying that the Israeli attack was directed against weapons depots and that three soldiers were wounded.

Israel does not respond to such accusations as a matter of policy.

Dec 26 08:02

Syria accuses Israel of attack; IDF confirms Israeli air defenses triggered

IDF confirms its air defenses were activated against missile launched from Syria; no damages or injuries reported; Syrian NGO says Iranian or Hezbollah arms deports were target of raid attributed to Israel.

Dec 26 07:55

Israel’s Christmas Attack on Syria Wasn’t Surprising but It Revealed an “Inconvenient Truth” About Russia’s S-300s Anti-Air Missiles

All the pieces were in place for it to happen sooner than later, but striking Syria on Christmas night sent a terrifying message that’s sure to backfire against “Israel” but will probably also get people to wonder why the S-300s didn’t deter this from happening in the first place.

Reports are streaming in that “Israel” launched an attack against Syria on Christmas night after a brief hiatus of a couple of months following what President Putin previously described as the “chain of tragic circumstances” that led to the downing of a Russian spy plane over the Arab Republic’s airspace in mid-September. Many people are shocked by the audacity of striking Syria on one of the world’s holiest days but a lot of those who have also been following the country’s conflict lately are surprised that it even happened at all.

Dec 26 07:30

The United States refuse to fight for the transnational financiers

On 19 December 2018, the announcement of the partial withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the total withdrawal from Syria sounded like a thunderclap. It was followed the next day by the resignation of Secretary for Defense, James Mattis. Contrary to the affirmation of President Trump’s opposition, the two men hold one another in high esteem, and their difference of opinion has nothing to do with the withdrawals, but with the manner in which the consequences should be managed. The United States are facing a choice which will mark a separation and transform the world.

Before anything else, in order to avoid barking up the wrong tree, we should remember the conditions and the aim of the collaboration between between Trump and Mattis.

Dec 26 07:29

France Reportedly Promised Kurdish SDF Support Amid US Withdrawal from Syria

The White House has announced the withdrawal of its troops from Syria within the next 100 days with President Trump stating that the US had managed to defeat Daesh* and thus should no longer stay in the Arab Republic.

Advisers to French President Emmanuel Macron met with representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Kurdish militants and assured them of future support from Paris, Iranian PressTV reported, citing anonymous French official.

The advisers passed on a message of support and solidarity and explained to them the talks France had with US authorities to continue the fight against Daesh", the official reportedly said.

Dec 26 07:23

Ankara warns France against supporting US-backed Kurdish militia

Turkey has warned France against protecting a US-backed Kurdish militia in Syria, AFP reports. “If France is staying to contribute to Syria’s future, great, but if they are doing this to protect the [militia], this will bring no benefit to anyone,” Hurriyet daily quoted Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying. Washington’s decision to pull out all 2,000 ground forces from Syria has stunned most allies, including France, but was greeted with approval by Turkey.

Dec 26 07:04

IDF Strikes on Syria Created Direct Threat to Two Passenger Planes – Russian MoD

The Russian Defence Ministry has stated that neither of the passenger planes that were threatened due to an Israeli airstrike on Syria was related to Russian air carriers.

Six Israeli F-16 fighter jets directly threatened to two civil planes during a recent airstrike on Syria, Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, said on Wednesday.

"Provocative actions of the Israeli Air Force on the evening of 25 December, when six F-16 aircraft launched an airstrike on the territory of Syria from the airspace of neighbouring Lebanon, created a direct threat to two passenger aircraft", the spokesman said.

Dec 25 19:21

Israel engages air defenses to intercept anti-aircraft missile from Syria – IDF

The Israeli military has confirmed it was forced to “activate” air defense systems against an anti-aircraft missile coming from Syria. The action was taken after Damascus engaged and intercepted several incoming “hostile targets.”

Israel said there was no damage nor were there any injuries among IDF personnel, but offered no further details of the engagement. Social media footage showed a supposed Israeli interceptor missile being deployed from the city of Hadera, which lies just some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the Syrian border, but it remains unclear if it downed anything. Locals there also reported hearing a large explosion.

Earlier, Syrian state media reported that the country’s air defenses had engaged “enemy targets” in the countryside west of Damascus, in an alleged Israeli attack launched from the direction of Lebanon.

Dec 25 10:08

Iran To "Build A Force Of 100,000 Ground Troops" In Syria, Claims Israeli Defense Chief

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to intensify military action in Syria after the White House's order for all US troops to pullout out of the country — expected to be complete within months — and now Israel's outgoing defense chief, Gadi Eisenkot, has revealed more details of what's driving Israel's thinking.

Gen. Eisenkot, who is set to complete his four-year tenure next month, warned Iran will "build a force of 100,000 ground troops" as soon as the war is complete, noting this will happen "the day after" cessation of fighting. Israeli defense officials have long hyped the "Iran threat" across its border and have over the past years repeatedly warned its "red line" to act militarily would be "Iran entrenchment" in Syria.

Dec 25 10:04

Christmas in Aleppo: Syrians celebrate as city recovers from years-long bloodshed (VIDEOS)

Hundreds of Syrians took to the streets of Aleppo to celebrate Christmas, as the peaceful life continues to get back on track in the ancient city, two years after its liberation.

Christmas in the Syrian city of Aleppo is a very special holiday indeed – and that's not since it housed the largest Christian minority in the predominantly Muslim country before the war.

Dec 25 09:23

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – DEC. 25, 2018: YPG PREPARES FOR BATTLE AGAINST TURKISH FORCES IN MANBIJ

On December 25, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces continued their low-intensity effort to defeat ISIS in the Hajin pocket in eastern Syria. Clashes were reported near the settlements of Abu Hasan, Abu Khatir and Susah. Technically, the SDF had captured Hajin, but it has not secured it yet.

On December 24, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a fresh propaganda video showing the group’s efforts against ISIS in the Hajin pocket. The video shows the YPG’s “deep” involvement in anti-ISIS efforts of the US-led coalition and is aimed at showing the importance of the group in this field.

Dec 25 09:22

Ex-NATO Commander Wesley Clark To CNN: Did Erdogan Blackmail Trump?

Former NATO commander Wesley Clark told CNN Monday morning that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan night have blackmailed President Trump into withdrawing US forces from Syria. The retired U.S. Army general and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander posed the following explosive question during a CNN live interview on Monday:

"You have to ask, why was the decision made? People around the world are asking this and our allies in the Middle East are asking, did Erdogan blackmail the president? Was there a payoff or something? What was it? Why would a guy make a decision like this?"

Dec 25 07:41

Trump 'Accepts Erdogan's Invitation' To Visit Turkey In 2019

Turkish presidential spokesperson says US president wants to make the trip next year but no date has been set.

US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation by his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to visit the country, according to a spokesperson for Turkey's leader.

>>>

(*WHY ? if out means out , and we're getting out of Syria so Americans can put America First and other players can do as they see fit in the place ?
If There's Always A Catch , and let's face it , there always is , this sounds , albeit , to me , like the first snag )

Dec 24 14:04

Trump’s Syria Pullout Fuels Backlash Across DC: Hawks, many liberals furious after surprise shift on Syria deployment

File this one under one of the (only) “cautiously optimistic” actions taken by the Trump administration in its entire existence.

The Mockingbird MSM showed its true colors in a dramatic way when Trump first took military action in Syria, as the only time they expressed a shred of support for Trump was when he was doing the bidding of the genocidal military industrial complex.

Further proof that the MSM is merely an arm of the Deep State and its military, the reactions over Trump’s recent announcement are so predictable that it’s practically depressing:

Dec 24 13:53

Trump's Syria Withdrawal Is A Simple Case Of Foreign Policy Realism

President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran – as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis.

The pullout may be one or all of these things, but above all it is a recognition of what is really happening on the ground in Syria and the Middle East in general.

This point has not come across clearly enough because of the undiluted loathing for Trump among most of the American and British media. They act as a conduit for the views of diverse figures who condemn the withdrawal and include members of the imperially-minded foreign policy establishment in Washington and terrified Kurds living in north-east Syria who fear ethnic cleansing by an invading Turkish army.

Dec 24 13:52

Pentagon Signs Order on US Troop Withdrawal From Syria - Reports

The US Department of Defense has enacted the execute order for the pullout of the US troops from Syria, AFP reported Sunday, citing a US military spokesperson.

On Wednesday, the White House announced that the United States began withdrawing its forces from Syria, but stressed that it did not mean the end of the US-led international coalition's fight against the Daesh terror group.

Following the announcement, US Defense Secretary James Mattis filed a resignation letter over his disagreement with US President Donald Trump on the latter's sudden decision to withdraw US forces from Syria.

Dec 24 13:51

Israeli Forces Open Fire at 'Armed Suspects' on Syrian Border - IDF

Israeli servicemen opened fire at a group of armed people, who had crossed into a demilitarized area on the Golan Heights controlled by the Syrian government army, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) press service said Monday.

"Our troops spotted armed suspects crossing the Alpha Line into #Israel near the #Syrian border fence in the Golan Heights. In response, our troops fired towards them. We will continue to operate against violations of Israeli sovereignty & the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement," the press service said on Twitter.

Dec 24 13:41

The foreign policy ‘blob’ is horrified by Trump’s Syria move– though not the voters

For all of us who worry about misguided groupthink in the Washington foreign policy establishment, the last 24 hours have been validating and demoralizing. The reaction to Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw U.S. forces from Syria has been reflexive horror that Trump is going against the great traditions of U.S. foreign policy. When in fact those traditions are the discredited ideas of liberal interventionists and neoconservatives who (somehow still) believe that the projection of U.S. military force in conflicts far from our shores will make the world a better place. Those ideas aren’t even traditional, but generational, rooted in post-cold war globalist hubris– which Trump promised voters he was going to reverse.

Dec 24 13:40

Trump's Syria Withdrawal Is a Simple Case of Foreign Policy Realism

President Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is being denounced by an impressive range of critics claiming that it is a surrender to Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran – as well as a betrayal of the Kurds and a victory for Isis.

The pullout may be one or all of these things, but above all it is a recognition of what is really happening on the ground in Syria and the Middle East in general.

This point has not come across clearly enough because of the undiluted loathing for Trump among most of the American and British media. They act as a conduit for the views of diverse figures who condemn the withdrawal and include members of the imperially-minded foreign policy establishment in Washington and terrified Kurds living in north-east Syria who fear ethnic cleansing by an invading Turkish army.

Dec 24 13:36

Nearly 300,000 Syrians return home

Nearly 300,000 Syrians returned to their homes after the Turkish military conducted successful operations in the region, as reported on Anadolu Agency.

“The number of Syrians who returned to their country after the Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch is 291,790,” Suleyman Soylu said speaking at the second International Coordination Meeting on Irregular Migration.

Turkey conducted two cross-border operations in Syria since 2016, Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders.

Speaking about Turkey’s geographical location as the main route for illegal crossings of refugees who want to go to Europe, the Interior minister said that in 2018 so far 251,794 irregular migrants were held during their attempts to illegally cross borders.

Dec 24 13:08

A Short History of How the US Went to War in Syria

Here’s what got Secretary of Defense James Mattis all worked up!

Even as what should have been a quick 2001 strike into Afghanistan bogged down into the quagmire of nation building, George W. Bush in 2003 invaded Iraq. The pretenses were all false. Terrorism was the excuse, American control over the region the goal. “Winning” in Iraq was built on an illusion the U.S. could somehow establish a puppet government there incorporating Sunni, Shia, and Kurd power blocs. There was no plan for this and it predictably failed, metastasizing into civil war, eventually drawing in powerful outside forces, most predominantly the Iranians on the Shia side, and al Qaeda on the Sunni side, with the US assuming a defacto role protecting the semiautonomous Kurds.

Dec 24 13:07

ISRAELI-RUSSIAN RELATIONS STRAINED FOLLOWING U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM SYRIA

After airing out their disagreements at the U.N., Jerusalem and Moscow have signaled a willingness to move beyond crisis over beyond downed Russian plane.

Dec 24 13:06

Netanyahu rejected Russian plan to work with U.S. on Syria, Iran

More than three months ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin's national security adviser Nikolai Patrushev gave his Israeli counterpart a document. It contained an unofficial proposal for a deal between the U.S. and Russia on Syria and Iran intended to start a wider dialogue between Washington and Moscow to improve relations, two Israeli officials with direct knowledge tell me.

Why it matters: The Russian proposal would have tied a U.S. withdrawal from Syria to an Iranian exit from the country, and provided the U.S. and Israel more influence over a future political settlement in Syria. However, it also called for a freeze on U.S. sanctions on Iran — something Netanyahu found unacceptable. Ultimately, the U.S. gave up much of its leverage in Syria with President Trump's surprise announcement Wednesday of a unilateral withdrawal.

Dec 24 13:04

Intel: Why Israel plans to fill in US void in Syria

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared today that Israel would increase its efforts against Iran’s influence in Syria "in a very decisive way and with support and backup from the US.” The comments come after US President Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday that he was pulling US troops out of Syria caught Israel by surprise, just as it did other US allies as well as Congress and key figures in the Trump administration itself. The United States had previously promised Netanyahu that US troops would remain in Syria until Iran and its proxies were removed. The Israeli leader, after speaking with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said that the pullout will be coordinated with Israel.

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