Russia Denounces Deployment of US Forces near Venezuela

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday denounced the deployment of special commandos and military equipment from the United States near the border with Venezuela, and the preparations for a provocation, according to the most demanding rules of ''the military manual''.

Special forces and military equipment have been deployed near Venezuelan territory, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted.

She also referred to plans by the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to supply weapons and ammunition to Venezuelan opposition.

The purchase of weapons and ammunition will take place in an Eastern European country and includes big-caliber machineguns, grenade launchers and portable antiaircraft systems, the spokeswoman denounced.

The military equipment will be supplied to Venezuela in early March, in several batches that will be delivered on a territory near the border of that country by cargo planes from an international company, Zakharova noted.

For that action, planes manufactured by the Ukrainian company Antonov are expected to be used, she clarified.

Zakharova pointed out that a large-scale provocation is expected on Saturday, as Washington has called and promoted a convoy of humanitarian aid that will try to cross the Venezuelan border, she stated.

That action might cause a clash between opponents to and supporters of the Venezuelan government, and would be aimed at creating a pretext for an action of force in order to oust Venezuela's legitimate president, Nicolas Maduro, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman warned.

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Untamable Venezuela

The United States has launched a brutal unconventional war against revolutionary and progressive governments, as well as popular movements of our Latin America.

Old in the Pentagon’s military doctrine and also well-known as fourth-generation war, it has grown with recent experiences like the color revolutions and the Arab Spring. The main target of the attack is the Bolivarian Venezuela, against which the empire and rulers of the region that serve it, unleashed their fury and frustration.

After an offensive that has lasted months to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro, Trump declared that he is not ruling out “the military option” in Venezuela, amid boasts against North Korea and of having created a serious conflict in the area. Thanks to the millionaire’s militarist outburst, the governments that have joined him in the anti-Venezuelan adventure have been forced to reject a military way out and repeat it during the tour of vice-president Mike Pence in the region. Aimed at strengthening the grip against Venezuela, Pence has had to spend some time to damage control after the alarm raised by his boss's statement. Although with a three-day delay, even counterrevolutionaries of the MUD foresaw a laughable condemnation.

Maduro, knowing the U.S. prepotency, replied firmly and with a huge rally for peace and the measure of carrying out a civic-military exercise armed in all areas of integral defense on July 26 and 27. Venezuela has hundreds of thousands voluntary militiamen, besides the well-trained and armed regular army.

Chavism has defeated in two decades, one after another all attempts of ending Chavez transforming experience, national and social freedom. They have tried to stop the Latin-Caribbean integration he promoted. Peace and observance of the sharing democracy is fundamental part of his philosophy. Votes Yes, Bullets No, his watchword.

The most recent destabilizing effort of the far–right wing is bent on operation Venezuela Freedom 2 of the South Command of North American troops. After four months of Fascist violence, of setting 29 people on fire, resulting in nine dead; of the obsessive burn of hospitals and nurseries, food and medicine warehouses, public furniture, government offices and hundreds of private business, the right wing has suffered a great defeat with the elections to the Constituent National Assembly and the laws it establishes. After achieving more than 8 million votes Chavism was very near of reaching its highest historical voting and the opposition was demoralized.

To the extent that, without solution of continuity, they turned to the Fascist violence and of affirming they would remain in the streets until Maduro steps down, to register 196 candidates in a heartbeat for the regional elections.

The right wing is antidemocrat by nature, but in its strategy it appeals mainly to the coup d’état without abandoning the electoral path. If they lose in the voting, they scream fraud; but if they win, they become arrogant and try by any means necessary to impose its subordinate neoliberal agenda to Washington and the international capital.

In a somersault, now swirls to the elections, because the Chavism won the streets on July, where they no longer can gather a crowd, as it was seen in the famous "taking of Venezuela" or the "Zero hour" that it was supposed to overthrow the Chavista government on July 30. Nevertheless, David operation, shattered by the army and the Bolivarian security services, demonstrates that there can be new desperate lashes of violence.

No matter how much the United States and neoliberal forces together with those against their homeland insist at an international level, in support to counterrevolution. Regardless how the corporations of the media mafia keep pouring the most scandalous and craziest lies on the Bolivarian revolution. Regardless the financial capital and the far-right wing continue the cruel economic war. None of that would destroy the support of the Venezuelan people to their constitutional government. And that is what’s final. Besides Venezuela, is not alone, as it shows the recent visit to Cuba of President Maduro and the growing expressions of solidarity they receive from independent peoples and governments.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

Syrian Army Strikes ISIS in Damascus Countryside

Syrian Army units reportedly carried out a successful special operation against an ISIS concentration in south east Damascus Countryside wiping out terrorists from that area, while engaging anti-Syrian groups in other parts of the country.

A military spokesman told the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) that army artillery stroke the terrorist gathering in Beer al-Qasab, killing all the terrorists and destroying all their weaponry.

That is a hard blow to anti-Syrian forces following the failed attempt

by Al-Nusra Front, now Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (Organization for the Liberation of the Levant) to take control of Jobar, also in Damascus Province.

The military General Command announced on Friday that army units reclaimed all the points and blocks of buildings which were infiltrated by terrorists north of Jobar.

The head of the Syrian delegation to the fifth round of peace talks in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, said the Government is focused on counter-terrorism while assessing and following up the Geneva and Astana tracks.

In the northern province of Deir Ezzor, heavy losses were inflicted on ISIS terrorists in combined operations carried out by land and air forces against their positions and fortifications in the surrounding of Deir Ezzor City, particularly around the local airport, SANA reports Sunday.

SANA reporter in Deir Ezzor described that over the past 24 hours, the army air force carried out intensive air strikes against positions of ISIS terrorists in the areas of al-Maqaber, Jounid Battalion and in the surrounding of the airport, the Electricity Company, Liwa al-Taamin, block factories and al-Jafra village.

In the fighting, a number of ISIS terrorists were killed and others injured in the air strikes, in addition many of their hideouts and equipment were destroyed.

Meanwhile, in Daraa (southern Syria) army units launched operations targeting Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham groups -former Al-Nusra Front) breaking their positions in that souther province bordering Jordan.

The military reported that the Syrian Air Forces destroyed scores of ISIS and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorists' tanks and armoured vehicles in Akerbat, south of Taybet a-Immam, Halfaya, al-Latamneh, Tal Hawash, North of Souran, Tal Othman and in Mourek in the countryside of Hama province .

Government forces also stroke Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham's fortifications in Mas'hara town in Quneitra province, killing and injuring terrorists and destroying their vehicles and heavy weapons, according to a military source.

Terrorists Leave Strategically Important Syrian City as Army Regains Control

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on the organized withdrawal of more than 400 terrorists and members of their families from the northwestern suburb of Syrian Homs. The al-Wyer district remains, in fact, the last stronghold of the armed opposition in this administrative center of the country's largest province.

“Withdrawal was preceded by almost a month of tense negotiations because the terrorists put forward their conditions while the Reconciliation Center and Syrian side put forward others,” said Lieutenant General Aleksey Kim, head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria.

He added that it was necessary to come to a common denominator so that both sides were satisfied with the fulfillment of these requirements. The negotiation process was very difficult.

According to the center, the terrorists who have not yet left al-Wayer are also preparing to lay down their arms. Many of them will go to militia or replenish the ranks of the Syrian police in the framework of amnesty announced by the Syrian president.

The military experts have said that total control by Damascus over this city is a major strategic success for Bashar al-Assad and diplomatic for the Russian negotiators.

Importance of Homs

Only a glance on the map is enough to understand the geographical importance of Homs, the third largest city in Syria with a pre-war population of 900,000 people.

It occupies a strategically important intersection at the crossing of major highways. These traffic routes connect Damascus (in the south), the Hama province, Idlib and Aleppo (in the north), the Tartus and Latakia provinces (in the west), and Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor (in the east).

“Full control over Homs will significantly protect the movement of humanitarian and military convoys all along the Damascus-Aleppo road which is more than 350 kilometers from north to south,” Anatoly Tsyganok, the head of Center for Military Forecasting told Sputnik.

The militants present in al-Wayer had an opportunity to conduct sabotage activities against government troops both in the city and on the highway. The Syrian military forces going north repeatedly moved through this site and were killed in an ambush because of such improvised explosive devices.

Homs has great value not only as an important transportation hub. This city is a large industrial center. It houses an oil refinery and several oil storage facilities. From Homs to Damascus and from Aleppo to Latakia there are pipelines.

In addition, before the war the city was one of the largest agricultural centers of Syria. Corn, cotton, wheat, vegetables and fruits were grown here. Right now most of the infrastructure is destroyed but its restoration is the key to economic, food and fuel-energy security of the whole country.

City of revolution

Homs also has strong political significance. It was one of the first cities where in July 2011 clashes with government forces broke out and therefore the city received a nickname: “capital of the revolution.”

The terrorists had planned to use Homs as a main platform for attacking Damascus from the north. Full-scale fighting in this city did not cease for years and became one of the most violent during the Syrian civil war.

The city lies in ruins as the majority of its residents escaped the war zone. In particular, Christian communities left the city with more than 138,000 people. Government forces managed to take Homs under control only in May 2014 but in a number of areas (including al-Wayer) the terrorists continued to be active in the years to come.

Anatoly Tsyganok said that fighting in Homs with varying degrees of intensity has been going on for six years now and the fact that the remaining members of the armed opposition in the city voluntarily left is a great success for the negotiating group which consists of Russian officers.

“This is an achievement for our diplomats as well and it became known right after the third round of talks on the Syrian settlement in Astana in mid-March regarding the withdrawal of 400 militants from Homs. Although there was no opposition it is obvious that they reached a number of agreements with them,” Tsyganok said.

According to the head, the general situation in Syria gives cautious optimism. As the expert stressed, in recent years support of the so-called “moderate opposition” from European states has noticeably weakened.

In turn, interaction on the Syrian issue between Russia, Turkey and Iran is strengthening. The government troops that took Aleppo and regained control over Palmyra received a break and were able to free up considerable forces and resources for possible actions in other directions.

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EU Demands Five Billion Euros to Strengthen Defense

The European Union (EU) has demanded the contribution of five billion euros from its member states for the creation of a fund to finance joint defense projects.

The European Commission announced on Wednesday that initiative at a press conference, as part of a plan of measures to boost military cooperation and support the regional war industry, according to the agency.

The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Common Defense, Federica Mogherini, clarified that the objective of this program is not to create a European military or military headquarters,' like North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Mogherini said during contacts with press and media that 'a strong technological and industrial base of European defense and more cooperation' is essential in order to guarantee security in Europe.

The most recent proposal of the plan is precisely the creation of the European Defense Fund, with voluntary contributions from the member states of the bloc to develop and acquire priority defense resources; as well as support research in the field of defense from the Community budget.

Jyrki Katainen, vice-president of the Union's Employment and Growth Commission, said that while they expect to raise five billion euros, it is an 'indicative figure', since each country will contribute what it wants and 'will decide on what projects it wants to participate.'

Mogherini referred on November 10th to the need for the defense of Europe to be strong 'for a healthy relationship with the United States.'

She said that regional security 'matters even more than during the Cold War', therefore it is important for the EU to take steps to ensure its strategic autonomy.

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Colombia's Peace Trembles as 2 FARC Rebels Killed in Combat

The killing of two FARC rebels in combat marks the first armed confrontation between government forces and the FARC in 131 days.

In a setback to major strides toward peace in Colombia, the bilateral cease-fire between the government and the FARC ruptured Wednesday as two rebel fighters were killed in combat in the northern department of Bolivar just days after the two sides of the more than 50-year-old conflict signed a new peace agreement.

OPINION: Colombia: The Just Cause for Peace and Unity

The Revolution Armed Forces of Colombia, the country’s largest guerrilla army, identified the two fallen fighters as Monica and Joaco of the group’s Front 37 unit.

Differing versions of events have surfaced from FARC commanders and Colombian authorities. The Ministry of Defense reports that the armed guerrilla rebels were well outside their designated areas and carrying out criminal activities. FARC leaders, ontheother hand, claim that the troops were marching on route to so-called “pre-concentration” areas where members of the rebel army are gathering ahead of the final process of demobilization and laying down of arms.

Source: Twitter / @Ricardo_TFARC

However, both sides of the more than half century-long civil war agreed that the incident underlines the fragility of the bilateral cease-fire and the urgency of implementing the newly-updated peace agreement, finalized after four years of talks in Havana, Cuba.

Chief government peace negotiator Humberto de la Calle told local media Wednesday that the “discrepancy of narratives” isn’t the central issue. “The important this is the lesson that (the ceasefire) is fragile; we cannot delay,” he said.

The FARC has called for an “official statement” from the U.N.-backed mission charged with monitoring and verifying the cease-fire to clarify the facts around the incident. FARC leader Luis Antonio Losada, also known by his alias Carlos Antonio Lozada, wrote on his Twitter account that the military’s version of events “lacks validity,” calling on the monitoring and verification body to “determine the circumstances” that led to the deaths of the two rebels.

Spanish lawyer Enrique Santiago, who has served as a legal advisor to the FARC during the peace negotiations in Havana, wrote on his Twitter account that the two rebels were killed “by a sniper,” adding that the “violation of the bilateral cease-fire is a war crime.”

The cease-fire officially launched on Aug. 29 after the FARC and government teams finalized a historic peace agreement at the negotiation table in Havana. The agreement to cease hostilities is credited with significantly reducing violence in the country, home to the longest-running civil war in the Western Hemisphere.

But the future of the cease-fire and breakthrough rapprochement was thrust into uncertainty when voters narrowly rejected the peace agreement by less than half a percentage point in the Oct. 2 plebiscite on the deal. Negotiators restarted talks and the cease-fire was extended until the end of the year while the country’s fledgling peace hung in political limbo.

FARC and government negotiators signed a new peace deal in Havana Saturday after taking into consideration hundreds of proposals for changes from diverse sectors of Colombian society. Both sides of the conflict have described the new deal as “definitive.”

OPINION: Colombia’s Failed Peace Throws Prisoners' Rights Into Question

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, currently in the United States to undergo medical exams for a possible prostate cancer relapse, had repeatedly stressed the urgency of salvaging the peace deal as soon as possible to guard against threats to the delicate cease-fire.

As part of the peace deal, FARC rebels demobilize in the coming months, moving out of their jungle camps into 27 transitional zones across the country. Once they have laid down their weapons, which will be melted down to create three peace monuments, they will reorganize as a political party.

The killing of the two FARC rebels marked the first documented break in some 80 days of the official bilateral cease-fire and, according to the Center for Resources for Analysis of the Conflict, the first armed confrontation in 131 days without combat between government forces and the FARC. The center’s director, Jorge Restrepo, argued on his Twitter account that the “only way to stop the conflict and get out of the situation of risk is to begin disarmament” now that the new peace deal has been signed.

FARC leader Rodrigo Granda, also known by his nom de guerre Ricardo Tellez, wrote on his Twitter account celebrating Monica and Joaco as “heroes of peace for Colombia.”

Colombia’s 52-year internal conflict has claimed some 260,000 lives and victimized at least 8 million more Colombians.

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US Attack on Syrian Army Positions Sign of Supporting Terrorists - Official

US attacks of the Syrian Army positions near the Syrian settlement of Deir ez-Zor proves the United states is supporting terrorists, the Speaker of the People's Council of Syria, the country's legislative authority, Hadiya Khalaf Abbas, said Thursday.

Al-qaeda militants © Flickr/ Magharebia US Drone Strike Kills Afghan Al-Qaeda Commander Who Planned US, EU Attacks.

GENEVA (Sputnik) — On September 17, the US-led coalition aircraft killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor province, leaving 62 personnel killed and some 100 wounded. The Pentagon said that the airstrike was a mistake and targeted Daesh militants.

"These aggressive actions [at Deir ez-Zor] came as another proof of all the US support for terrorists," Abbas said at a meeting with Speaker of Russia's Federation Council Valentina Matvienko in Geneva on the sidelines of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly.

On September 17, the US-led coalition aircraft killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in Deir ez-Zor province, leaving 62 personnel killed and some 100 wounded. The Pentagon said that the airstrike was a mistake and targeted Daesh militants.

The United States, Russia and a number of other countries and international organizations have been struggling to find solution for the five-year long conflict ravaging Syria, where the government forces loyal to the President Bashar Assad are confronted by the opposition, ranging from the so-called moderates to the terrorist groups Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (also known as al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra) and Daesh, both outlawed in Russia in many other countries.


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Venezuelan Army Rejects Opposition's Plan to Impeach Maduro

Venezuelan Defense Minister appeals to opposition to abide by the rule of law. 

Venezuelan Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez Tuesday appealed to Venezuelans to exercise “prudence and good sense” following threats by conservative lawmakers in the National Assembly to impeach President Nicolas Maduro.

RELATED: Media Deliberately Omits Critical Info to Demonize Venezuela

Padrino reiterated the armed forces' commitment to protect the Venezuelan constitution against any unlawful threat, and to defend Venezuelans against any attempt to destabilize the country and promote violence. He also reiterated his support for Maduro's government.  

“We urge Venezuelans to act according to law and promote the dialogue between the government and the opposition, that has been always promoted by President Maduro in order to find a solution and together solve the problems of Venezuela,” Padrino said.

After a weekend of tension, Venezuela's socialist government and right-wing opposition Monday announced that they would sit down for formal talks mediated by the Vatican and other international agencies; however, staunch government opponents like Henrique Capriles have dismissed the dialogue and called for violence in the streets to overthrow Maduro. 

“We reject incitement to violence of some opposition sectors who had even called to an international intervention in Venezuela ignoring the despicable consequences that such thing would bring, chaos and anarchy,” Padrino said. 

Meanwhile, thousands poured into the streets of Caracas Tuesday to support Maduro and reject the opposition's attempt to overthrow him. 

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