'Hope they come to their senses': Tehran summit ends with call for Idlib terrorists to lay down arms

Turkey seems to have prevailed during tripartite talks with Russia and Iran, convincing the other parties that a major offensive in Syria's Idlib governorate would not be the wisest move at the moment.

The situation in Syria was discussed in Tehran on Friday by Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani as part of the so-called "Astana process." The leaders of Iran and Turkey disagreed on what action should be taken in Syria's Idlib, the last major stronghold of armed groups in the country, which is dominated by hardcore jihadists.

 
FILE PHOTO: The US flag on a military vehicle in Manbej countryside, Syria © Aboud Hamam

All three nations agree that the threat of radical Islamists in Syria must be eliminated, but differ as to how this should be achieved. Rouhani advocated a strong-arm approach, claiming it would secure an end to major hostilities in the seven-year-old conflict.

"We have to realize that only the destruction of the terrorists, a military victory against them, can ensure stability and peace in the future in Syria and not only in that country," he said.

Erdogan reiterated his government's concern over the potential death toll of an offensive in highly populated Idlib, where an estimated 3.5 million people are currently living. Turkey, which borders the Syrian governorate, is also objecting to a major operation there because it would likely cause a major exodus of refugees across the border, with extremists potentially sneaking in with refugees.

"[The refugees] would have no other way to go but Turkey. But we have already accepted 3.5 million refugees. Turkey cannot take in more," said President Erdogan.

"Our goal is to resolve the situation in Idlib according to the spirit of the agreements we made in Astana," Erdogan added, warning that "mistakes in Idlib may derail the political process in Syria."

The Iranian president eventually agreed that civilians living in Idlib should not become victims of an anti-terrorist effort.

Call to end violence

At Erdogan's suggestion, the final communique of the summit was amended to include a call for all armed groups in Idlib to lay down arms and seek a political transition in the country. Putin and Rouhani agreed, which may indicate that a major offensive in Idlib is not likely to be launched in the immediate future, unless some major development happens on the ground. The Russian president remarked that the call is addressed to all armed groups in the Syrian province, including UN-designated terrorist groups.

"Let us hope that the members of the terrorist organizations would have enough sense to stop resistance and lay down weapons," he said.

"Our agreements on Syria were always based on a premise that we are seeking to ensure peace between all belligerents, but kept the terrorist organizations bracketed out," he remarked.

@Khaaasteh While final statement of was about to be passed, Erdogan suddenly questioned the text and called for inclusion of "ceasefire" in the statement. The presidents are now negotiating and bargaining live on TV !

As he was arguing against an offensive in Idlib, Erdogan acknowledged that armed groups controlling the governorate pose a credible threat, including to Russian military personnel stationed at Khmeimim Airbase. He suggested that regular drone attacks on the Russian military site should be stopped by pushing those launching them out of range.

During the summit, Rouhani and Erdogan were united in their criticism of the presence of US troops in Syria. The Iranian president repeatedly stressed that foreign influence was a major factor in escalating the war in Syria, and called on the US to withdraw the troops that it has illegally deployed in Syria. Erdogan reiterated Ankara's objection to the support that the US gives Kurdish militias in northern Syria, which are perceived as a major security threat by the Turkish government.

Return of refugees key to resolving violence

Putin's remarks on the situation in Syria tilted towards humanitarian aspects and the necessity to reconstruct the country. He said that many people who had fled violence in Syria to other nations may now return to their homes.

 
© Umit Bektas

"Conditions have been made in Syria to take in up to a million of refugees. The government has provided security guarantees to all returnees, assuring that they would not be subjected to discrimination, including in terms of property rights," he said.

The Russian president argued that, if as many Syrians as possible get a chance to return to peaceful lives, it would give an impetus to a political resolution of the conflict between the Syrian government and the so-called "moderate opposition." Erdogan disagreed with Putin, saying that the return of refugees to Syria would only be possible after a new constitution is agreed and adopted, and an election held to form a new government.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are seeking to end violence in Syria and facilitate negotiations between its government and opposition groups, which agree to cease hostilities and seek a political transition for their country. The desired outcome is a peaceful Syria under a government that properly represents all its minorities and is in control of all its territory. The final resolution of the conflict, which was greatly complicated by foreign interference and the rise of jihadist groups, is expected to be negotiated in Geneva under the aegis of the UN.

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Russian jets hit solely Nusra targets in Syria’s Idlib – MoD

Russian military planes launched precision strikes against Jabhat an-Nusra objects in Syria’s Idlib province on September 4, the Russian Defense Ministry has revealed, countering reports of civilians falling prey to bombardment.

The statement comes after speculation that Russian aircraft in fact bombed civilian targets in the area on Tuesday and that the assault led to casualties.

Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly warned that the area is the last stronghold for the terrorists, where militants, among others, have their weapons stockpiled. A particular point of concern, Russia said, were plans by terrorists to stage a fake chemical attack with the aim of framing Damascus. Especially worrying was that militants also received their weapons from “forces from abroad.”

@RT_com US demonstrates ‘subtle desire’ to rescue terrorists in Idlib, Syria – Lavrov https://on.rt.com/9dou

“High-precision munitions” targeted the terrorists’ sites, according to Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

The official stressed that the hits were launched “solely on the identified terrorist objects [targets] located far from settlements.”

Elaborating on the targets, the Russian MoD said Su-34 hit and destroyed a workshop where Al-Nusra Front terrorists constructed drones and a warehouse of explosives for them. An Su-35C also bombed a storehouse, where the militants kept their MANPADs.

Ignoring Russia’s warnings, the US has been threatening to retaliate if Syrian authorities use chemical weapons. Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump warned Syrian leader Bashar Assad not to launch an attack in Idlib, also saying that Iran and Russia should not take part in the “potential human tragedy.”

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the planned chemical weapon provocation in “the last remaining hotbed of the terrorists,” Idlib, is aimed at keeping the terrorists in the area. He noted that civilians are still being held as “human shields” there.

The Western media still refers to those controlling Idlib as ‘moderate rebels’. However, the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, also noted that an estimated 10,000 terrorists are entrenched in the area.

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Planned chemical weapon provocation in Idlib aimed to prevent removal of terrorists – Lavrov

The planned chemical weapon provocation in the Syrian province of Idlib is aimed at maintaining the presence of terrorists in the area, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

The Russian FM, who met his Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir in Moscow on Wednesday, compared the terrorist presence in the province with an “abscess” that should be swiftly removed.

“Idlib is now the last remaining hotbed of the terrorists, who try to speculate on the area’s status of de-escalation zone; try using the population as a human shield and try repressing the armed groups that are ready for talks with the government,” he said.

The Minister also noted that the overall goal in Washington with regard to war-ravaged Syria, was not really helping the country, but to push for regime change.

 

FILE PHOTO. © Rodi Said

“It’s not the first time the US – no matter the administration – has prioritized the task of changing dissident regimes above the common goals of eradicating terrorism and extremism. It happened in Iraq and Libya. Now they’re trying to do the same in Syria. To phrase it more correctly – they tried to do it in Syria, but failed,” Lavrov said.

The chemical attack issue and “the threats that are put forward against the Syrian government, are used with the sole purpose of preventing the expulsion of the terrorists from the de-escalation zone in Idlib,” Lavrov said.

In this case, the Trump administration is simply following the policies of Barack Obama, under whom “the Americans tried to use all means possible to shelter Jabhat al-Nusra, with hope of using it in the fight against, what they call, the regime,” he added.

Earlier, Moscow warned that a provocation, involving chemical weapons, was being prepared in Idlib by the US, with the aim of blaming the Syrian authorities and justifying further air strikes.

Chemical weapons provocation aimed at keeping terrorsts in Syria - Lavrov

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that sources on the ground informed them that the chemicals to be used in the fake attack have been already delivered to terrorists in the area with the assistance of the infamous White Helmets group.

Washington cautioned that it would respond to a chemical weapons attack by Syrian authorities with retaliatory strikes, which would be a lot larger in scale than those conducted against the country by the US, the UK and France in April.

READ MORE: White Helmets accompany large delivery of poisonous chemicals to militants in Syria – MoD

Those strikes were carried out based on an unconfirmed reports of a chemical attack, which also came from the White Helmets. The Western-backed group has been caught red-handed working with militants and producing fake evidence to smear the Syrian government and its allies.

 
 
 
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US plans to use fake chemical weapons attack to strike Syria – Russian MoD

The US may have plans to use a fake chemical attack in Syria to hit government forces with airstrikes, the Russian Defense Ministry has said. Washington is already building up strike capability in the Middle East, it said.

The warning comes a day after the Russian military said it had information about a looming provocation in Syria’s Idlib governorate, which would involve a staged chemical weapons attack. The US earlier warned it would respond to a chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces with retaliatory strikes, which would be stronger than those conducted by the US, the UK and France in April.

 
FILE PHOTO White Helmets in Syria © Omar Haj Kadour

In a statement published on Monday, the Russian MoD said it noted the deployment to the Mediterranean last weekend of the missile destroyer USS Ross carrying 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles on board. It came after a similar move of the USS The Sullivans to the Persian Gulf and the rebasing of a B-1B Lancer strategic bomber to an air base in Qatar. The Russian ministry said the “preparations are the latest evidence of the US intention to use the” expected provocation.

The statement reiterated that the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militant group, previously known as Al-Nusra Front, was preparing a staged chlorine attack in a city in Idlib. It alleged that a group of jihadists, trained in the handling of chemical weapons by the British private military contractor Olive Group, has already arrived in Jisr al-Shughur. The group will “stage decontamination of victims of a staged chemical weapons attack posing as members of the notorious White Helmets group,” the ministry claimed.

“The implementation of this provocation, which is being conducted with the assistance of the British intelligence services, is meant to serve as the latest pretext for the US, Britain and France to deliver a missile strike against state and economic facilities in Syria,” said General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.

On August 22, US National Security Advisor John Bolton stated that “if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons, we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time.”

READ MORE: WWII relics & cutting-edge US drones: Spoils of Syrian war displayed in Russia (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

In April, a reported chlorine attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta neighborhood served as justification for the US, UK, and France to attack what they claimed to be sites involved in a clandestine Syrian chemical weapons program. The missile attacks came just as a team of international inspectors was set to arrive at the scene to collect evidence of the supposed attack.

Later, residents of the area told journalists that the footage of the treatment of the alleged victims of the attack was filmed by the White Helmets group after they orchestrated a panic at a local hospital. The patients there were not poisoned by chlorine, local medics said. The footage was presented by the mainstream media as proof that an attack took place.

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UN Debates Will Focus on Middle East, Africa Issues

United Nations, Jul 3 (Prensa Latina) The Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN, Olof Skoog, announced that several issues about the Middle East and Africa will be the focus of attention during debates of the Security Council this month, in which the European delegation assumes the presidency.

Three sessions will be dedicated to Syria (days 3, 26 and 30) and special emphasis will be placed on the humanitarian situation of that Arab country after eight years of conflict, he said.

Yemen is also on the agenda, this is one of the issues that are very much addressed in the 15-member body that is deeply concerned about the violence scenario there and closely follows how the events develop, added the Swedish ambassador.

Next Monday there will be an open debate on children and armed conflict, which seeks to draw attention to the need to offer greater protection for minors and to devote more efforts in the prevention of a war, he said.

In addition, the adoption of a resolution on the protection of children in armed conflicts is envisaged.

Meanwhile, on July 18 the session will be devoted to the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations, while in the rest of the month the situation of countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan will be addressed.

Consultations on July 23 will be focused on Myanmar and a report is expected to discuss the possibility of a voluntary, safe and dignified return of the Rohingya people who fled the violence and are refugees in Bangladesh.

The Security Council will discuss on July 26 the way to continue supporting the peace efforts in Colombia, in the face of the change of government.

Another of the open debates will be on July 11 on the maintenance of international peace and security, with emphasis on the risks related to climate change.

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Syria: U.S. increases support for terrorists

The latest chemical attack against civilians has once again served as a new pretext for U.S. to justify a greater intervention against the Arab country, without resigning itself to the continued defeats of the terrorist groups it has armed, trained and organized, and whose greatest percent is made up by contractors, as many elegantly call these mercenaries, and Islamic fundamentalist individuals who give their lives ignoring the manipulation they have been subjected to by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The entire anti-Syrian plot, and eventually anti-Russian, is seasoned with a funding that increases, despite the defeat and withdrawal of many of the aggressors, and having received extensive supplying of US, British and Israeli weapons, including chemical ones, which have been generously paid by the satraps of the Persian Gulf, and Arab League members, which are Arab by their name, rather than by their spirit, as has shown their hypocritical and empty support to the Palestinian people so far.

The United States does not resign itself to the defeat of its protégées at the hands of the Syrian army and the solidarity intervention of the Russian air force, which only participates in actions in rural areas, not in the cities, geared at avoiding what usually happens to the Empire’s army, “collateral damage”.

In this context, the CIA, of a long record of support to terrorists and mercenaries, used once again, as we have stated, the pretext of the chemical attacks, carried out by its hosts, with the support of the US mainstream press, after which the missiles launched by US troops targeted a Syrian airbase in the province of Homs, amid the rhetoric of the Trump Administration telling that preps are underway to intensify their military operations in Syria.

Like in previous episodes of chemical attack charges, the public is being overwhelmed with unverified recordings of agonizing victims, as official reports and corporate press, before any probe and groundless; hold the government of Bashar al Assad and its Iranian and Russian allies responsible of a war crime.

In a matter of minutes, The New York Times and The Washington Post posted articles pinning the blame on the Syrian and Russian governments for the alleged attack. For its part, British newspaper The Guardian declared in an editorial that, “the renewed use of chemical weapons by Syria against its own people over the weekend is shameless and barbaric”.

All this farce takes place shortly after a very painful event for the Empire: because after having used the region of eastern Ghouta for years to cut off supplies to Damascus and to attack unfriendly embassies, such as Russia’s, the Syrian army forced the opposition groups, mainly armed by Israel, to withdraw to other remote spots, but they previously evacuated the hundreds of thousands of locals held hostage by the aggressors.

It’s worth adding that Trump is already devising plans to attack the Syrian army with missiles there, as part of the chemical pretext, unlike what his predecessor, Barack Obama, did in a similar event, also plotted by the CIA, since he did not want to bombard Ghouta in 2013, which earned him furious criticisms until the day he left the White House.

The investigations that have been conducted since then prove that the attack was actually perpetrated by the “rebels” at the service of the U.S., together with the Turkish government that openly supported the aggression against Damascus at that time.

In April 2017, an alleged gas attack was used to justify a significant bombardment with cruise missiles against a Syrian airfield. Similarly, it turned out to be an airstrike targeting facilities used by the “opponents” to collect poisonous gases.

But with Trump, I stress, the hawks that control the cabinet have no problems, and with the head of the National Security  Agency, John Bolton, they should be considering to carry out new actions at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people.

For the moment, as it is actually happening in Iraq, the Empire does not have its hands free for other terrorist actions, such as the immolation of fundamentalist individuals deceived by their own CIA-hired chiefs, not aimed at primarily occupying cities or territories, but at sowing chaos, destruction and uncertainty among citizens.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

 

Moscow has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chem attack in Syria’s Douma was staged – Russia’s envoy to OPCW

Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said.

“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.

READ MORE: The facts behind the ‘staged’ video of kids’ chemical weapons drill in Syria

MORE TO FOLLOW

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‘They can go anywhere they want in Douma’: OPCW team arrives in Syria to investigate alleged attack

The first four chemical weapons experts from the OPCW have arrived in Syria on a fact-finding mission (FFM) into the April 7 Douma incident, while Western leaders continue to blame the government for the alleged attack.

@OPCW

? In response to media queries, the Spokesperson for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirms that the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team is on its way to Syria and will start its work as of Saturday 14 April 2018.

"We will facilitate the arrival of the team to anywhere they want, in Douma, to check whether or not there was use of chemical substances," said Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s envoy to the UN in New York, adding that a second team is due to arrive on Friday.

 
US Secretary of Defense James Mattis waits to testify to the House Armed Services Committee on

The Damascus suburb of Douma was recaptured by the government this week, so experts from the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are expected to have easier access than on previous occasions when the alleged attacks happened in areas of ongoing fighting or those controlled by radical Islamists.

Syria and Russia both requested an FFM team to be dispatched after opposition groups claimed that the Syrian army executed a chemical weapons attack there, alleging there were scores of deaths and hundreds of casualties.

Both countries have claimed that the incident was “staged” with the purpose of galvanizing Western rebel backers after the US earlier announced that it was planning to pull out of Syria, and they say that there may not have been any chemical use at all.

READ MORE: Macron blames Assad for Douma ‘chemical attack’ before OPCW visits site

In a television interview on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “that chemical weapons were used [in Douma] at least with chlorine, and that they were used by the regime of Bashar al-Assad,” but he did not disclose the nature of the evidence.

A day earlier, the US said that it was “still assessing intelligence” and that it was “confident” that Damascus was involved.

The FFM experts, whose mission was set up in 2014, are not entitled to place responsibility for the incident on either side, but they are expected to say if and what chemicals were used, and how they were disseminated.

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