onsdag 30. november 2016

US, UK, France not eager to provide aid for liberated parts of eastern Aleppo – Russia’s MOD

Syrians that evacuated the eastern districts of Aleppo gather to board buses, in a government held area in Aleppo, Syria in this handout picture provided by SANA on November 29, 2016. © SANA
Not a single offer to deliver humanitarian aid to the 90,000 residents living in the neighborhoods of East Aleppo that have been freed from terrorists by the Syrian army has been made by the US, UK, France, or the UN, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“While Western countries and representatives of various international organizations were vocal about the need to make humanitarian deliveries to eastern Aleppo possible when it was fully under rebel control, they seem to have lost interest in helping the stricken residents now that they’ve been liberated by government forces,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

“In the last few weeks, they [Western countries] were insistently demanding that humanitarian convoys be ensured access to the rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo. However, now, two days since over 90,000 Aleppo residents were liberated from the terrorists, it turns out that not a single offer to provide humanitarian help to them has been submitted either by the office of UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, or the UK, the French foreign ministries, or the US State Department,” Konashenkov elaborated, adding that nothing is preventing aid deliveries at the moment.

Konashenkov says the apparent reluctance of Western governments to provide aid to East Aleppo’s recently liberated residents now that it’s actually possible to deliver it suggests that those powers weren’t really concerned about those supplies reaching the civilian population in the first place.
“Apparently, this aid was intended for some other people living in the eastern Aleppo neighborhoods,” he said, implying that it had really been meant for the militants fighting the Syrian government there.

In the meantime, Syria’s Russian-backed military operation in eastern Aleppo is in full swing, with scores of civilians flooding into government-controlled parts of the city from rebel-held areas.

On Wednesday, 5,629 civilians, including 2,855 children, fled rebel-controlled neighborhoods for parts of the city that have been freed by Syrian forces, Konashenkov said.

All received shelter in humanitarian centers specially set up by the authorities to accommodate them. Some 150 field kitchens have been dishing out much-needed hot meals.

On Tuesday, Konashenkov called the advances made by the Syrian army this week “a radical breakthrough,” adding that half of the territory previously controlled by the militants in eastern Aleppo has now been freed, paving the way for the liberation of over 80,000 Syrians, who have been suffering from food shortages and a lack of adequate medical care.

Due to the tremendous success of the large-scale operation, the militants have been losing control of the situation and been unable to use civilians as living shields to hinder airstrikes as in the past.

 Terrorists groups such as Al-Nusra Front went to great lengths to prevent civilians from leaving via humanitarian corridors, shooting at them if they attempted to flee and threatening those remaining with execution if they should try.

Russian Air Defense Troops Put on Alert due to Ukraine’s Plans to Launch Missiles over Crimea

Crimean air defense troops have been put on alert due to Ukrainian plans to conduct missile firing over the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry is not going to refuse from its plans and establishes new ‘danger zones’ over the Black Sea.
Photo: ntv.ru
Crimean air defense troops have been put into a beefed-up service regime due to Ukrainian plans to conduct missile firing over the Black Sea, the TASS news agency reported, citing unnamed sources within the security agencies of the region.
“Russian air defense forces in Crimea have been put into a beefed-up regime of operating,” the source said, noting that he meant not only ground-based air defense facilities, but also ship-based air-defense systems.
He also stressed that vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are all-sufficient fighting units to repel such threats.

According to the source, the Russian Defense Ministry regards the actions of the Ukrainian side as a kind of PR stunt, but, nevertheless, Russian military perceives it as a real and potential threat.

Earlier, SF reported that Russia is going to shot down Ukrainian missiles and to deliver a retaliation strike against Ukrainian missile launchers, if Kiev conducts missile-firing exercises in the area of Russia’s Crimea.

Meanwhile, official representative of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Andrei Lysenko, said that Ukraine is not going to refuse from its plans to carry out missiles’ firing over the Black Sea in the area of Crimea, scheduled for December 1 and 2.
According to Lysenko, “everything that is planned will be carried out.”
“Everything that is related to the threats cannot hurt the plans that [Ukrainian] military will carry out,” the representative of the Ukrainian Defense ministry said.
Lysenko also added that Ukraine would hold military exercises “on its national territory” and “no one will point out what to do.”
In addition, Ukraine has established new no-fly zones over the Black Sea, which include airspace above Russian territorial waters to the southwest and the southeast of Crimea, representative of the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya), Sergei Isvolsky, said.
“New ‘danger zones’ have been established in airspace over neutral waters of the Black Sea and a part of the territorial waters of the Russian Federation in the Black Sea to the south-west and south-east of the peninsula of Crimea,” Isvolsky said.
He noted that reasons of the announcement of the new no-fly zones have not been called by Ukraine. At the same time, there were no consultations with Russia on this issue.

According to Isvolsky, these actions violate requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization and are politically engaged and provocative.

He also added that new ‘danger zones’ do not threaten to flights over Crimea.
“Fake News” censorship begins. Apple removes Breitbart News app from their iTunes 

Apple has removed the Breitbart News app from their iTunes marketplace.
Now that the “fake news” false narrative have been firmly planted in the collective minds of the liberal left zombie class, liberal left champion Apple Inc., has decided to get the ball rolling on the digital book burning festivities by banning the Breitbart News app from their iTunes marketplace.

Breitbart News has been the whipping boy for the entire alt-right, “fake news” propaganda meme, conjured up to explain Hillary Clinton’s stunning defeat in the US presidential elections.

Despite having been available for the last three years on iTunes, as of today there is no official Breitbart app available for Apple products.

Breitbart.com currently ranks 28th on SimilarWeb’s Top 100 U.S. Media sites, with over 168 million page views in October.

Google Play store still carries Breitbart’s Android app.
InfoWars reports on Breitbart’s social media censorship courtesy of Apple and Twitter, as the popular news site is now “the primary target for a massive, concerted effort by globalists to silence and suppress all opposition voices deemed arbitrarily as ‘fake news.'”
The war on Breitbart has increased exponentially since CEO Steve Bannon was appointed to helm Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and even more after Bannon was announced at the White House Chief Strategist.

Twitter has refused to verify Breitbart’s account, despite the outlet’s ranking as the top political social media publisher in the world, beating its closest competitor, the Huffington Post, by nearly two million interactions.

Neither Apple or Twitter have commented on these contentious decisions.

★ DPR Head: Kiev tries to freeze peace talks in the absence of orders from the West

Глава заседание с минтранспорта (2)
Donetsk, Nov 30 – DAN.
The lack of significant progress in the Normandy Four talks is rooted in Ukraine’s authorities position, who hanker for war with Donbass, DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko said commenting on the results of the four-way talks between the foreign ministers of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine.

“Kiev is not going to fulfill the Minsk Agreements on its own will. They hanker for war with us. Only external factors restrain them. First of all these are Europe and especially the US positions, those countries currently going through a slight panic and disorder. Kiev is temporarily not receiving orders and it just freezes the process,” Zakharchenko’s statement reads.

DPR leader expects Kiev to either launch a large scale offensive before the inauguration of the USA president elect Donald Trump in January or to face a severe political crisis that will overshadow the Donbass conflict.

“The second reason (for the Normandy talks to produce no visible results) is that the format itself is misbalanced without Donbass participation. How can an issue between two sides be settled down if one of the sides is out of negotiations?” Zakharchenko added.

He said he believed the three countries in the Normandy Four format talks were striving, unsuccessfully, to talk the fourth into making peace.

“Ukraine’s and Donbass’ destiny cannot be decided without Donbass,” Zakharchenko said.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin held talks in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, intended to revive shaky peace process in Donbass. The meeting ended without any visible progress.

Lavrov admitted that “There weren’t any breakthroughs”, while Steinmeier said there is no political agreement in sight on holding local elections in Donbass.

DPR envoy to Minsk negotiations Denis Pushilin earlier said that he wasn’t expecting any progress as Kiev position doesn’t match the prospects of coordinating a road map to fulfill the Minsk Agreements.

Syrian Army Liberated Sheikh Saeed Neighborhood of Aleppo City (Map)

Click to see the full-size map

As SouthFront reported earlier, Syrian government forces intensified military operations against Jaish al-Fatah militant coalition in the southern part of Aleppo city.

Today morning, Syrian army units have entered Sheikh Saeed and engaged Jaish al-Fatah members in heavy clashes in the area.

By now, the army has liberated the neighborhood, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry.

Governent forces are also advancing in Amiriyah and Sikarry neighborhoods.

Turkey Tries to Mark Territory in Syria, Suffers a Harsh Rebuke

Tue, Nov 29, 2016
 Originally appeared at Indian Punchline
The Russian President Vladimir Putin found himself in an altogether new role on Friday when his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan phoned him to lodge a complaint about Syrian military. Putin probably expected the phone call since an air attack on a Turkish contingent on November 24 in northern Syria had killed 3 Turkish soldiers and injured ten others.

Turkey feels outraged, but is unsure whether it was a solo Syrian attack or a quasi-Syrian show. An intriguing detail here is that November 24 also happened to be the first anniversary of the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey, killing the pilot. A strange coincidence, indeed. But the Russian military maintained that the attack was not carried out by them. The Turks apparently know that the jets took off from a base which is under Russian control. A report in the Hurriyet daily said,
The Turkish Armed Forces will probe all the tangible data over the deadly incident. If it finds that Russia was behind the attack, moves will be made through diplomatic means. After the government acquires solid information about the attack’s perpetrators, a timely response will be given, officials have said.
Erdogan, conceivably, would prefer to accept the Russian version. The Kremlin readout said Putin held a ‘detailed discussion’ with Erdogan about the Turkish-Russian relations and also had a ‘constructive exchange on a settlement of the Syrian crisis’. They agreed to continue an ‘active dialogue’ at the diplomatic, military and intelligence levels. 

The November 24 incident no doubt constitutes a ‘reality check’ for Turkey. Erdogan has been resorting to good old salami tactic by incrementally expanding the scope of the Euphrates Shield operations in northern Syria, which it had initially defined as a limited anti-ISIS counter-terrorist operation, but subsequently expanding the scope ostensibly to create a ‘safe haven’ of over 5000 square kilometres of territory inside Syria, and lately morphing into plans to establish a Turkish military base on Syrian territory. And, all this while ignoring the protests from Damascus that Turkey is violating Syria’s territorial integrity.

Erdogan is in an unseemly hurry to create new facts on the ground by taking advantage of the transition in Washington and the uncertainties in the US-Russia ties as well as the Russian-Iranian preoccupations in Aleppo. The November 24 attack is a warning against overreach. The point is, Turkish air force cannot operate in the Syrian air space without Russia’s approval, and without Turkish air cover Euphrates Shield operations in the hostile Syrian territory are not sustainable.

So far Moscow chose to look away, allowing Turkey to keep changing the scope of Euphrates Shield. But now, some ‘red line’ is being drawn. It is a delicate game because the game needs to be played by unwritten rules and as far as possible the façade of cordiality needs to be maintained too. 

The Turkish leadership instinctively threatened to retaliate against the November 24 attack but better sense prevailed. Turkey has since clarified that the operations in northern Syria are only aimed at preventing Syrian Kurds from establishing a unified enclave in the region and harbored no agenda toward Aleppo. According to the Turkish account of today’s phone call, Erdogan also reiterated to Putin that he ‘supported’ Syria’s territorial integrity. Evidently, Erdogan is anxious not to upset the apple cart – for the present at least.

Erdogan must be acutely conscious that Russia has also played a key role to bring about the nascent Syrian-Egyptian proximity, especially between the two militaries. Erdogan and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi have no love lost for each other. Sisi abhors the Muslim Brotherhood, whereas Brothers see Erdogan as their local guardian. The revival of the axis between the two Arab regional heavyweights (with Russia’s blessing) will inevitably shift the balance of forces against Turkey and shut the door on Erdogan’s ‘neo-Ottomanism’.   

On December 6, Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim will visit Moscow. To be sure, both Russia and Turkey realise that the present point is a twilight zone. The crunch time will come when Donald Trump assumes office as US president.

Trump has voiced admiration for both Putin and Erdogan. He has vowed to rebuild Turkish-American alliance, just as he hopes to have a ‘great relationship’ with Russia.  On their part, Turkey and Russia would each prefer to have an exclusive partnership with Trump in Syria. Of course, the new facts on the ground  – such as the air attack on Thursday– will significantly impact the future trajectory of the Syrian conflict.

BBC, CNN News Caught Staging FAKE News Chemical Attacks In Syria 

A leaked CNN video and a Truth Seeker RT documentary details the multiple times the corporate media as staged fake news to get the West into war

November  2016
What follows is shocking evidence that crisis actors, green screens, CGI, and paid propagandists are being used to fake worldwide events in order to scare people into giving up liberties and sending us into war.

To say this was shocking would be to put it lightly.

From video proof showing “dead soldiers” killed by “chemical weapons” walking around after they thought the videos stopped recording, to digitally altering sounds to add in “explosions” that never happened, this segment demonstrates some of the most damming evidence against the media ever shown on television.

In this brave segment, it’s shown that CNN, Fox news, MSNBC, BBC are all guilty and need to be exposed and punished.

CNN’s not innocent either. For months they used a Fake activist named Danny to justify war in Syria.
Like in the movie Wag The Dog mainstream news channels have been caught carrying dubious footage from Syria to cook up drama to legitimize military intervention

Some mainstream news channels have been recently caught carrying dubious footage from Syria. It fuels the debate over media’s role in legitimizing possible military intervention in the country.

‘Danny’ is a Syrian opposition activist who reports from Homs for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. He is attached to the opposition movement and regularly calls for military invasion of Syria. He’s identified as Danny Abdul Dayem, a 22-year-old British citizen of Syrian origin.

In a video leaked online, Danny appears to be falsifying a video broadcast for CNN. Prior to going on air, he requests colleagues to fire weapons to dramatize his Live report with Anderson Cooper. Though he denied any wrongdoings in an interview to CNN after the video went viral, his reliability as a verified news source was called into question.

More here…

16 European States Back German Proposal for an Arms Control Treaty With Russia

It's called diplomacy. An art lost to the US

Mon, Nov 28, 2016
More than a dozen European countries have expressed willingness to engage in dialog with Russia toward reaching an arms control deal, potentially upsetting US military build-ups near Russian borders.
Germany and 15 other countries are pressing for the arms control deal with Russia, German newspaper Die Welt said on Friday.

The paper quoted German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as saying that, in spite of a loss of trust between Europe and Russia over the Ukrainian conflict, the two sides needed to talk to each other more often.
“Europe’s security is in danger,” Steinmeier warned, in a reference to the danger from a potential arms race with Russia. “As difficult as ties to Russia may currently be, we need more dialog, not less.”
He criticized Russia’s “annexation” of the Crimean Peninsula, which used to be a territory of Ukraine before it voted in a March 2014 referendum to join Russia. He said the Ukrainian conflict risked stirring an arms race in Europe.

Steinmeier, who has been nominated by the Social Democratic Party for president, first floated the idea of an arms control deal with Russia in August to avoid an arms race and the escalation of tensions in Europe following the developments in Ukraine.

The 15 other countries that have since sided with the initiative are France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Portugal, according to Die Welt. All of them are members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The rotating presidency of the OSCE is currently with Germany.

The countries plan to issue a joint statement on Friday and will meet again on the sidelines of a December 8-9 ministerial-level meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

A potential arms control deal with Russia is likely to disrupt NATO plans to deploy forces and military hardware to Baltic states and Poland.

US officials have voiced skepticism about the idea, citing what they say is Russia’s failure to abide by existing agreements and treaties.

Steinmeier also drew criticism from the US and NATO officials in June after warning that Western military maneuvers in Eastern Europe amounted to “saber-rattling and shrill war cries,” which he said could increase tensions with Moscow.

NATO’s planned enhancement of its military presence in the Baltics and Poland, near Russia, which is aimed at military force projection in the Black Sea and Eastern Europe, is likely to saturate the region with US arms and missiles.

In response, Moscow’s planned deployment of its S-400 air missile defense system along with the Iskander ballistic missile system in Kaliningrad, near the border with NATO members Lithuania and Poland has drawn criticism from Washington.

Moscow has rejected Washington’s allegations that the move would destabilize security in Europe, arguing that it is in fact leading to an arms balance in the region.
Dangerous Disguise As Ukraine Junta Military Spotted Driving A Sport Utility Vehicle With Official OSCE Stickers !
Dangerous Disguise As Ukraine Junta Military Spotted Driving A Sport Utility Vehicle With Official OSCE Stickers !
Ukrainian Junta soldiers were spotted driving a red sport utility car with OSCE SMM-like stickers on the doors, the observers said in report based on information received as of 27 November.
“On 27 November, near government-controlled Halytsynivka (Galitsynovka, 28km north-west of Donetsk) the SMM observed a red sport utility vehicle driven by Ukrainian Junta armed forces soldiers.

 The vehicle had square white stickers with white letters inside blue boxes, in a shape and colour similar to those of the OSCE logo, on the front doors”, the documents says.

At the bottom of the sticker the words “Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine” were written in blue letters.
No further details were provided.
Novorossia Today

Assad On Verge Of Biggest Victory Since Start Of Syrian War With Imminent Capture Of Aleppo

Originally appeared at Zero Hedge
The battle for one of the most contested Syrian cities in the nation's long-running civil war, Aleppo, is approaching its climax. According to Reuters, the Syrian army and its allies announced the capture of a large swath of eastern Aleppo from rebels on Monday - by some estimates as much as 40% of the militant held part - in an accelerating attack that threatens to crush the opposition in its most important urban stronghold.

In a major breakthrough in the government's push to retake the whole city, regime forces captured six rebel-held districts of eastern Aleppo over the weekend, including Masaken Hanano, the biggest of those. On Sunday, the 13th day of the operation, they also took control of the adjacent neighborhoods of Jabal Badra and Baadeeen and captured three others.

As is customary, when it comes to describing events in Syria, one has two biased narratives to choose from: one from the perspective of the Western forces, for whom the protagonist are the Syrian rebels, and Assad is the enemy, and then there is the Syrian/Russian point of view, in which the rebels are aligned with the Islamic State (and are supported by the US) and the liberation of the country entails removing both at the same time.

Covering the former "angle" first, Reuters writes that two rebel officials said the insurgents, facing fierce bombardment and ground attacks, had withdrawn from the northern part of eastern Aleppo to a more defensible front line along a big highway after losses that threatened to split their enclave. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - a UK funded "think tank" operated by just one man, who in 2013 was responsible for the Assad "chemical attack" fabricated YouTube clip - said the northern portion of eastern Aleppo lost by the rebels amounted to more than a third of the territory they had held, calling it the biggest defeat for the opposition in Aleppo since 2012.

Thousands of residents were reported to have fled. A rebel fighter reached by Reuters said there was "extreme, extreme, extreme pressure" on the insurgents. Part of the area lost by the rebels was taken over by a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia from another part of Aleppo in what rebels described as an agreed handover, a rare example of cooperation between groups that have fought each other.

What appears to be the imminent loss of Aleppo by rebel forces has sent shockwaves of demoralization across the war-torn country, and hundreds of miles to the south, people have started to leave the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Khan al-Shih for other parts of the country controlled by insurgents under a deal with the government, the Observatory said.

As Reuters adds, capturing eastern Aleppo would be the biggest victory for President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the uprising against him in 2011, restoring his control over the whole city apart from a Kurdish-held area that has not fought against him.

For Assad, taking back Aleppo would shore up his grip over the main population centers of western Syria where he and his allies have focused their firepower while much of the rest of the country remains outside their control. More importantly, it would be seen as a victory for his allies, Russia and Iran, which have outmanoeuvred the West and Assad's regional enemies through direct military intervention. It would be a major slap in the face for the US and its allies.

"What happened in the last two days is a great strategic accomplishment by the Syrian army and allies," a fighter with a militia on the government side in the Aleppo area said.

Meanwhile, animosity toward the US is building even among its erstwhile "friends" as rebels said their foreign patrons including the United States have abandoned them to their fate in Aleppo.
While some of the rebels in Aleppo have received support from states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States during the war, they say their foreign backers have failed them as Assad and his allies unleash enormous firepower.
"The situation is very bad and the reason is the round the clock shelling with all types of weapons," said Abdul Salam Abdul Razaq, military spokesman for the Nour al-Din al-Zinki group, one of the main Aleppo rebel factions.
"There is very fierce fighting going on now and the regime and its supporters are destroying whole areas to allow themselves to advance," he told Reuters. Another fighter said there was heavy attrition in "people and ammunition".
Assad has gradually closed in on eastern Aleppo this year, first cutting the most direct lifeline to Turkey before fully encircling the east, and launching a major assault in September. A military news service run by Hezbollah declared the northern portion of eastern Aleppo under full state control. The Russian Defence Ministry said about 40 percent of the eastern part of the city had been "freed" from militants by Syrian government forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the Syrian army’s advances with members of his Security Council on Monday, Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
To preserve some pride, officials with two Aleppo rebel groups said rebels had withdrawn to areas they could more easily defend, particularly after losing the Hanano housing complex area on Saturday.
"It is a withdrawal for the sake of being able to defend and reinforce the front lines," an official in the Jabha Shamiya rebel group told Reuters.  In other words, it's not a defeat, just a strategic retreat.
* * *
Meanwhile, the same narrative from a biased Russian angle, as reported earlier by RT, sounds as follows:
More than 3,000 civilians have left the eastern part of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo in the last 24 hours, the Russian Center for Reconciliation said. It later reported that about 40 percent of the militant-held part of the city has been liberated. Some 3,179 people, including 1,519 children – among them 138 newborn babies – have left Eastern Aleppo through the ‘humanitarian corridors’ set up by Syrian government forces, Russian Reconciliation Center said on Monday. The center reported that 12 neighborhoods, comprising roughly 40 percent of the territory previously controlled by the militants, have been cleared.
According to the Russian Center for Reconciliation, more than 80,000 people live in the newly liberated areas of the eastern part of the city. It added that more than 5,000 people fled from the southern districts of eastern Aleppo, which are still controlled by the militants, to the areas held by government forces. More than 100 militants laid down their arms and left eastern Aleppo through the special corridors, the statement said.
Despite joint humanitarian efforts undertaken by the Syrian government and Russia, thousands of civilians are still kept in the eastern part of the city by militants. To minimize damage to the civilian population, the Russian and Syrian militaries suspended airstrikes and set up 'humanitarian corridors' for both non-combatants and militants willing to leave the area.
However, the corridors are vulnerable to militant small arms fire and shelling, which complicates the evacuation of civilians. RT's Lizzie Phelan, reporting from Syria, said the government army's advance in the eastern part of Aleppo “has enabled civilians to leave the area,” and that there are thousands of people desperate to flee. Those who managed to escape told RT crew the militants deprived them of all means to survive, including food and water.
“The militants are lying, they are holding us there, even now they are holding families [in the area]. They don't let people go,” one man said.
“Every time we tried to flee they caught us and turned us back,” a young woman added.
As RT concludes, "currently, the Syrian Army is continuing their large-scale offensive in eastern Aleppo, targeting Al-Nusra Front and other radical militants still controlling the area. The troops have already established control over important blocks and districts in the eastern part of the city."

tirsdag 29. november 2016

URGENT: Turkey invades Syria to remove Bashar al-Assad 

President Erdogan of Turkey has issued a statement saying his troops have entered Syria with the intention of ousting President Assad.
Turkey has been illegally running soldiers, artillery and infantry in and out of Syria for much of the duration of the present conflict. Now, however, the proxy and shadow war, which Turkey has been waging against the Syrian Arab Republic, has just become official.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just announced that Turkish troops have entered Syria with the intention of removing President Assad from power. It is a formal declaration of war.

If this threat is genuine, the person who could lose power might not be Assad but Erdogan himself.

 This summer’s poorly organised coup attempt in Turkey was brought about by deep divisions in Turkish society, divisions sowed by Erdogan’s extreme and often manic policies. Although Erdogan has retaliated severely against many of the coup leaders and supporters, his position is far from being as stable as he might dream that it is.

Erdogan’s announcement comes shortly after Russia and Turkey reconciled following a period of highly strained diplomatic relations as a result of Turkey downing a Russian jet over Syria in 2015.

Part of the reconciliation agreement made between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, stated that the two countries will cooperate over Syria. If Turkey aims to use her military to oust Assad, this agreement is as good as dead, and what’s more, by declaring war on the legitimate government of Syria, Turkey is by extrapolation, declaring war on Russia.

The flippancy with which Erdogan conducts foreign policy may well be his undoing. He is clearly fearful that when Donald Trump takes office, all of the major international players will be stacked against the mutual ambition of Turkey and the terrorists operating in Syria to remove Assad.

Erdogan is likely considering this as well as the fact that his attempt to gain a major foothold in northern Iraq isn’t going as planned. The western led coalition against ISIS in Mosul isn’t making the progress its leaders anticipated. Moreover, the Kurdish forces who Turkey has entered Iraq to eliminate, seem to be fighting rather better than Turkey and her US-European allies.

Equally crucial is the continued floundering of the so-called Free Syrian Army, a name generally assigned to the anti-government terrorists in Syria who are working most closely with Turkey. 

Since they seem incapable of doing Turkey’s bidding, Turkey may be looking to do the job themselves.
Not since America threatened to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, something which would have grounded Russian and Syrian planes, has the situation in Syria come so close a major fight between large powers.

There are, however, two areas from which hope can be derived. First of all, Erdogan is known for blustery, bellicose and threatening rhetoric, aimed more at his domestic supporters than an international audience. This could be one of those instances.

Secondly, members of the Russian government, perhaps even President Putin himself, must speak directly with Erdogan and explain the full consequences of his actions. It could bring Turkish troops into direct conflict with not only Russian and Syria armed forces but also with those of Iran and Hezbollah.

With the US all but conceding ground in the conflict, as the Syrian and Russian forces make staggering breakthroughs in Aleppo, Turkish forces could rapidly find themselves outnumbered by opponents as worthy as they are angry.

If things go badly for Turkey in Syria, it could lead to a far more organised coup against Erdogan, one that he might not see off. Erdogan has time and again proved to be something of a madman. His next move will determine whether or not he is also a stupid man.

American Missile Destroys Russian Tank In Syria

American missile destroys Russian tank
The Free Syrian Army have released footage of American troops firing a missile and destroying a Russian tank during recent fighting in Aleppo, Syria. 
The militants say the footage shows an a rocket attack coming from an American TOW 2A on a Russian T-90 tank.

Fort-russ.com reports:
November 29, 2016 by Sean Adl-Tabatabai
The footage was captured during recent fighting in Aleppo. Experts say that the tank in the photos is actually a T-72B, but the militants have claimed it is a T-90.

At the time, the terrorists claimed that the tank was destroyed, but other bandits reported that the tank was hit but is still operating.

The “FSA 1st regiment” announced: “A TOW has destroyed a T-90 at the Tel al-Syriatel hill in the Aziza district of southern Aleppo.”

One of the bandit groupings of the FSA then wrote: “A T-90 was damaged on a hill south of Aleppo after a TOW missile hit it.”

Judging by the recovered footage, the anti-tank rocket hit the frontal armor of the Russian tank, but no particular consequences are evident.

‘Fake news comes from our own govt’: Ron Paul fires back on propaganda charges (VIDEO) 

Allegations of spreading “fake news” and propagandizing for Russia are being laughed off by Dr. Ron Paul, founder of the Ron Paul Institute. He tells RT “it’s flattering” to receive so much attention from a recent Washington Post article.
Calling the accusation “a bit ironic,” Paul chalked it up to “sour grapes” on the part of those who had hoped for a different outcome in the presidential election.

The Washington Post article, published November 24, cited PropOrNot, an anonymous website listing more than a dozen websites, including the Ron Paul Institute, as "sources" or "repeaters" of "Russian influence operations."

“The mainstream media and the establishment lost this election,” Paul told RT America’s Ed Schultz on Monday. Paul also stressed that his own program, The Liberty Report, had remained neutral in its campaign and election coverage.

“They've been as involved in fake news and fake stories as anyone else,” he added, calling the charge “pretty amazing.”

“I'm very concerned about fake news stories,” Paul said, adding that “where the fake news comes from is our own government,” including through official economic reports and in pushing for war.

Paul noted that the subject of Russian meddling in the US election coming up during the debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was nothing more than “politics as usual,” and now that Trump has been elected the next president, some in the media are “looking for scapegoats.”

“The ones who are charging us with listening to what Russia tells us to say,” Paul said, “they've lost all credibility.”

The most important thing that President-elect Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin can do now is to “believe in and practice diplomacy,” Paul said.

“The two of them could certainly do some talking, and let the public know where they stand on the issues.”

NATO's "Iron Sword" in full swing: Massive war game in Russian northern border

11 NATO states take part in large scale ‘Iron Sword’ drills in Lithuania. Exercises have entered its active phase and about 4,000 troops from the US, UK, Germany, Canada, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Luxemburg and three Baltic states are involved in the war game in Russian border region.

The troops taking part in the drills are expected to carry out military tasks in multinational battalions, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said by the article, published in the RT News. The exercises will take place on two military training grounds in Pabrade and Rukla. This year’s annual Iron Sword exercises, the largest to be held so far. Earlier this month Finland conducted large scale MEPA-16 Navy exercises in the Baltic sea.

The NATO drills on the Russian border come amid ongoing preparations for the stationing of 4,000 alliance troops in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, a decision made at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July.

A quarter of the force would be composed of US troops currently based in Germany, who would relocate to Poland. A 1,000-strong German-led force equipped with tanks would be deployed in Lithuania in February. The remaining 2,000 British and Canadian troops would be stationed in Estonia and Latvia.

DONi News Agency

This Tiny Sliver of Russian Territory (and Its Weapons) Is What NATO Fears Most

Once east Prussia, now west Russia

Originally appeared at The National Interest
Robert Farley

In 1945, Soviet armies occupied East Prussia, a portion of Germany territorially detached from the rest of the Reich since 1918 (briefly reunified in 1939). Ethnically German and featuring the historic Prussian city of Königsberg, the territory represented a problem for the Soviets. They had no interest in returning it to Germany, especially as such a move would increase tension with the Poles, and they did not want to create an independent German socialist state, the birth of the German Democratic Republic remained in the future. Stalin decided to simply annex the territory, expelling the German inhabitants and replacing them with Russians.

Until 1991, the Kaliningrad enclave was territorially contiguous with the Soviet Union, if not the Russian Federation. After the secession of the Baltic Republics and the collapse of the USSR, Kaliningrad was separated from the rest of Russia. When the Baltics joined NATO, it became hostile territory deep inside the Western alliance. 

This has left Kaliningrad deeply vulnerable, but has also made it a potentially deadly military threat. Recently, the Russian government has taken to publicly highlighting the deployment of some of its most lethal military systems to the enclave. Intended to defend Kaliningrad, these systems could also represent a critical offensive threat to the heart of the NATO alliance.

The S-400 System

As detailed in numerous National Interest articles, the S-400 is one of the most lethal air defense systems in the world. It includes a variety of radars, communications equipment and information-management technology necessary to conducting a layered, integrated area air defense, and can protect against aircraft, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. The radars can dozens (possibly hundreds) of targets across the threat spectrum.

The S-400 system comes with a variety of different missiles, from forty-kilometer short-range SAMs to four-hundred-kilometer extreme long-range weapons. The four-hundred-kilometer weapons would extend deep into NATO territory, making the staging of an air campaign in support of operations near the Baltics awkward and difficult. 
The presence of the S-400 would also complicate efforts to reduce the Kaliningrad enclave, forcing NATO to rely on stealth aircraft, standoff precision weapons, or (possibly) conventional long-range artillery to eliminate the threat posed by Russian ground forces and offensive missile systems.

The ability of the S-400 to track, identify and target U.S. stealth aircraft remains in question. However, there is little doubt that S-400 systems could wreak havoc against fourth-generation warplanes, much less against the fleets of civilian aircraft that normally operate across Central Europe. Indeed, conceived in offensive terms, the S-400 system in Kaliningrad could completely disrupt the economy of air travel in the region, at least for the duration of any conflict.

The Iskander Missile

The Iskander-M ballistic missile is the land-and-sea attack component of Kaliningrad’s long-range defenses. Precise information on the capabilities of the Iskander-M remains hard to come by, but we know that it can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads of various types up to four hundred kilometers (some estimates suggest five hundred kilometers). The Iskander can maneuver during its terminal phase, potentially allowing it to avoid missile defense systems.

Recently, the Russian government made a great public display of transferring nuclear-armed Iskanders to Kaliningrad, which would enable Moscow to strike numerous NATO targets in an extremely short period of time. Whether armed with conventional or nuclear weapons, the Iskanders could disrupt NATO operations and mobilization. The nuclear missiles could threaten to hold NATO hostage in case of conflict over the Baltics, or other territory. In particular, these missiles could target BMD installations in Poland, the destruction of which would leave NATO at even greater risk of Russian attack.

However much of a threat Kaliningrad can pose to NATO, it can only ever have a temporary impact. Russia has no plausible means of long-term defense of the enclave beyond an offensive that would open a corridor through NATO territory. While Russian forces might enjoy temporary superiority in the Baltics and eastern Poland, NATO forces would undoubtedly concentrate on overrunning Kaliningrad as quickly as possible. 
NATO would also subject the enclave to consistent and overwhelming electronic and PGM attacks at the initiation of hostilities, hoping to destroy or disrupt any offensive capabilities before they could do the same to NATO.

Nevertheless, the existence of Kaliningrad (and its accessibility by sea) give the Russian government the opportunity to manage political escalation dynamics with NATO. When Moscow wants to put pressure on wavering NATO governments, it can make a great show of deploying some new and frightening weapon to the enclave. 

However, it is not inconceivable that if Kaliningrad becomes too inconvenient, NATO could take political steps designed to destabilize the enclave, giving Moscow plenty of headaches it doesn’t need. In this, as in so many other areas, NATO and Russia play a delicate game of coercion dynamics.
Trump is meeting with an ex-bank CEO who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and return to the gold standard 

As President-elect’s Donald Trump’s transition rolls on, more and more attention is being paid to possible selections for a variety of high-ranking positions and meetings that might help decide these appointments.

On Monday, Trump will meet with John Allison, the former CEO of the bank BB&T and of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute.

There have been reports that Allison is being considered for Treasury secretary.
Trump’s has on the campaign trail questioned the future of the Federal Reserve’s political independence, but Allison takes that rhetoric a step further. While running the the Cato Institute, Allison wrote a paper in support of abolishing the Fed.

“I would get rid of the Federal Reserve because the volatility in the economy is primarily caused by the Fed,” Allison wrote in 2014 for the Cato Journal, a publication of the institute.

Allison said that simply allowing the market to regulate itself would be preferable to the Fed harming the stability of the financial system.
“When the Fed is radically changing the money supply, distorting interest rates, and over-regulating the financial sector, it makes rational economic calculation difficult,” Allison wrote. “Markets do form bubbles, but the Fed makes them worse.”

Allison also suggested that the government’s practice of insuring bank deposits up to $250,000 should be abolished and the US should go back to a banking system backed by “a market standard such as gold.”

Allison also argued for higher capital reserves of up to 20% of assets at banks. On the other hand, he also argued that the government should repeal three of the broadest banking regulations.

“We should raise capital standards, but it is even more important to eliminate burdensome regulations — including Dodd-Frank, the Community Reinvestment Act, and Truth in Lending,” Allison wrote. 
“About 25 percent of a bank’s personnel cost relates to regulations. Banks cannot pay the regulatory costs and have high capital standards.”

This is similar to Trump’s desire to roll back regulation — including Dodd-Frank — on financial institutions, though he has since backtracked somewhat.

It is unclear if any of Allison’s policy views will ultimately become a part of Trump’s plan, but given the unconventional nature of his ideas, the meeting is notable.

This article originally appeared on businessinsider.com

West threatens Russia over Syrian Army advance in Aleppo: Russian DM

Western countries are urging to impose sanctions against Russia after 80,000 civilians were liberated in Syria’s Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said on Tuesday.

He recalled that, over the past 24 hours, the Syrian army had been able to liberate from militants almost half of eastern Aleppo where 80,000 civilians reside.

"Now it turned out that the release of over 80,000 Aleppo residents held hostage by gunmen was not part of the plans of the UK and French Foreign Ministries, the US Department of State and the German Bundestag. They even urged to impose new sanctions for that," the spokesman said.

According to Konashenkov, there are tens of thousands of children in the liberated areas. "Many of them were provided, for the first time in a long while, with food, drinking water and medical assistance in the humanitarian centers deployed by Russia. 

Over the past few years, these Syrians have been used as human shield by terrorists of every stripe and color in Aleppo. It was they who were allegedly protected by all Western politicians," he said.

Ukrainian army fires 320 artillery, mortar rounds at DPR frontline areas

Donetsk, Nov 29 – DAN.
Ukrainian forces fired 326 artillery and mortar rounds at the outskirts of Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Dokuchayevsk and villages in south DPR overnight, a Republic’s defence source told Donetsk News Agency on Tuesday.

“From 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Ukrainian forces fired 326 122mm and 152mm artillery rounds and 82mm and 120mm mortar rounds,” the source said. “The Ukrainian army targeted Trudovskiye, Staromikhailovka and Aleksandrovka villages west of Donetsk, Elenovka south-west of Donetsk, Spartak village in Yasinovatskiy district, Sakhanka village in DPR south, Dokuchayevsk outskirts and the industrial zone outside Yasinovataya.”

Aside from heavy artillery and mortars, Ukrainian forces used infantry fighting vehicle cannons, grenade launchers and small arms. No casualties or damage have been reported.
East Aleppo Populated by 90,000 Fully Liberated From Terrorists - Russian MoD
A general view shows a damaged road and abandoned buildings in Aleppo's militant-held Kalasa neighbourhood
© AFP 2016/ KARAM AL-MASRI  29.11.2016
The territory of east Aleppo where 90,000 residents live was liberated from terrorists on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. 
Some 90,000 residents live in east Aleppo freed from militants, the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said. 
 "By noon on November 29, the territory of the city where 90,000 residents of Aleppo live, has been fully freed from terrorists." 
Over the past 24 hours, 507 terrorists have left Aleppo and laid down arms, the center said, adding that 484 fighters among local residents have been immediately granted amnesty.
The ministry said that the residents of the area received humanitarian aid and medical assistance. 
On Tuesday, Syrian Army's General Command called on militants to lay down arms in accordance with an amnesty decree, to stop the bloodshed, bombing of residential areas as well attacks on civilians. 
Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a major battleground in Syria, engaging government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Eastern Aleppo is held by militants, encircled by government forces, and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city. 
Between 200,000 and 300,000 civilians are still held by terrorists in the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo, according to Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien.

WikiLeaks Documents Reveal Apollo Program Was A Fraud, Moon Landings Never Happened

New documents scheduled to be released this week by Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, could reveal damaging information about NASA’s Apollo program, believe experts.

Julian Assange, who has lived at Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012 in fear of being extradited to the United States to face espionage and conspiracy charges arising from the leaking of thousands of secret diplomatic and military documents by US Army private Chelsea Manning, has announced that he will release incriminating evidence that the government of the Unites States of America and NASA have hidden the truth about the Apollo program and the lunar landings for more than 40 years.

The documents are said to have been handed to the WikiLeaks founder by a “retired high ranking official of NASA that has worked within the government for over 45 years”, Assange told reporters.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is about to reveal documents that could prove the Apollo space program was an elaborate scheme to dupe the Russians into a space race that never occurred

The documents to be released this week could cause up a stir weeks after NASA has announced it is preparing for another moon landing mission in 2030.

«These documents that have been entrusted to me come from a highly known and respected high ranking official of the U.S. government who desires to leave this as a testament to the world before he dies. His desire is to stay anonymous as to not embroil his family and friends into a major polemic that could possibly destroy their lives» he told reporters. 

«These documents reveal the true reason behind the Apollo program deception and how this all played out in the Cold War strategy of the government of the United States at the time» he concluded, not willing to give too much information before the documents were published online.

Top officials of the Chinese space program last year accused the government of the United States of “faking” the moon landings after the Chinese lunar rover found no evidence of the Apollo program moon landings after investigating the same area where the Apollo 11 mission allegedly landed on 20 July 1969.