Syria Renews Call for Immediate UNSC Action to Stop US-Led Coalition’s Crimes against the Syrians

By Hamda Mustafa
Source: SyriaTimes

DAMASCUS,(ST)- Syria has renewed its call on the Security Council to act immediately as to put an end to the massacres being committed by the US-led coalition against the Syrian people and to end the illegal presence of US and other foreign troops in the Syrian territories, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in two letters to the UN Chief and President of the Security Council dealing with the US-led coalition’s repeated crimes against the Syrians and the new massacre committed on Tuesday by the coalition against civilians in al-Baghouz town in Deir Ezzor countryside.

More than 70 civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred and injured in airstrikes conducted today by the so-called international coalition led by the United States against al-Baghouz town, according to local sources.

The sources made it clear that the airstrikes targeted a camp containing hundreds of civilians who fled the coalition’s shelling and Daesh terrorism.

The ministry said that the coalition’s repeated attacks against civilians and its use of internationally banned weapons have become a systematic behavior that flagrantly violates the rules of international law, international humanitarian law and human rights agreements.

The new massacre is one of the war crimes and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the so-called international coalition against the Syrian people, added the ministry, pointing out that such crimes included the coalition’s support for terrorism and its using of terrorists and separatists to achieve its goals and aggressive schemes which target the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Syria urges all the countries member in the coalition to reconsider their participation in its aggressive acts and crimes against the Syrian people and to immediately withdraw from the coalition as to rid themselves of the US blackmail attempts as well as political and economic pressure, the ministry went on to say.

Syria renews its call on the Security Council to assume its responsibilities in preserving international peace and security, to conduct international investigation into the US-led coalition’s crimes in Syria and to put an end to the illegal presence of all foreign troops in Syria, the ministry concluded.

Lavrov: President al-Assad is defending entire region against terrorism

By Hazem Sabbagh
Source: SANA
Moscow – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that President Bashar al-Assad isn’t just defending Syria; he is defending the entire region against terrorism.

In an interview given to Britain’s Channel 4 on Friday, Lavrov said that President al-Assad is defending Syria’s sovereignty and unity, and on a wider scale he is defending the entire region against terrorism.

He reiterated that the Syrians alone will decide Syria’s future, stressing that the actions of Daesh (ISIS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists are obstructing the implementation of the de-escalation agreement in the southern area in Syria.

Lavrov asserted that Russia will not withdraw its forces from Syria until the end of 2018, and that such withdrawal would depend on developments on the ground.

The Russian Minister said the decision to expand the mandate of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) violates the chemical weapons convention, and that Russia is working to remedy this situation, but if this doesn’t happen he said the OPCW’s days are numbered.

He said that Russia had trusted the OPCW until recently, but the Organization was subjected to serious manipulation two days ago.

Syria has been Fighting, and Winning A Just War against Terrorism

By Mark Taliano
Source: Global Research
Canada and Canadians should be celebrating. Against all odds, Syria has all but defeated Daesh. Reverend Andrew Ashton summarized recent developments in these words:

Excellent news that the Syrian Army has liberated the last ISIS held town in Syria, Abu Kamal, on the Iraqi border. And been able to meet up with Iraqi forces. Impressive advances. Meanwhile, western-backed Al Qaeda groups in the Damascus suburbs continue to shell central areas of the city on a daily basis causing death, destruction and fear. Difficult to counter because of the extensive network of tunnels being used by terrorist groups under the city, and the civilians they are holding as human shields. Enormous respect for the resilience of the city’s population, and the Syrian Army that is trying to protect them.[1]

But Canada and Canadians are not celebrating these victories of Peace and Justice over War and Terrorism.

The forbidden truth, concealed by totalitarian propaganda messaging, is that Canada continues to support the very terrorists that it publicly condemns. The Truth is “forbidden” because whereas Canada projects an image of peace and humanitarianism, its foreign policy is barbaric.Canada’s foreign policy is anti-humanitarian, anti-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-everything, even as it is pro- war and terrorism.

The truth would set us on a course compatible with international law, not contemptuous of it. It would reinforce our sovereignty, and it would give meaning to the words “Never Again”, whereas criminal war lies will continue to give us “Again and Again”: more vacuous vilifications, more fear-mongering, more war, more poverty, more death, more disease, more refugees, more of everything that War imposes on us and others every time.

All of the imperial lies against Syria and Syrians have been exposed. All of the evidence-free allegations have been discarded. Since the beginning of the war on Syria, imperialists have committed all of the crimes that they continue to falsely project onto Syria and Syrians. To what end? To further an agenda of international lawlessness, high crimes, war, and terrorism.

Baseless vilification campaigns against Syria continue to override common sense. Whereas it is commendable that the Syrian government signed the Paris climate accord, it is a sign of our government’s absolute moral bankruptcy that Environment Minister Catherine McKenna should feel compelled to apologize for “praising Syria”.

Syria and its allies have been fighting, and winning, a just war against terrorism. Canada and its allies are still scampering about looking for and creating fake pretexts to inflict further misery on Syria and the world.

Syria and its martyrs have earned the respect of the world. The Canadian government and its propaganda apparatus have not.

[1] Reverend Andrew Ashton, Facebook commentary, 8 November, 2017.

The original source of this article is Global Research
Copyright © Mark Taliano, Global Research, 2017

Baghdad Conference on Terrorism – transcript of Dr Tim Anderson’s speech

Source: Tim Anderson FB
Thank you to the organisers and thank you Hashd al Shaabi (Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces). I want to extend my recognition of the Martyrs who fell in defence of this country when it was invaded by the US-led force, when it was destabilised by western powers, and when western powers got behind terrorist groups to further destabilise this country.

It is very important to talk about the sponsorship of terrorism, I believe, because as the war is being won against DAESH in Syria and Iraq, the terrorism persists and may still persist after the war is won, and the sponsorship of terrorism is the key to that: Can the war against terrorism be won after the country is liberated? Now, I know that some people are going to focus on the social background, context of terrorism, the ideology …but if they forget those who are providing finance and weapons to these groups, they are going to miss something very important. That is why I am going to focus on the role of the United States of America in Iraq, and in this region, as the principal sponsor of terrorism in the entire region.

I wrote an article two years ago saying that all of the terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq have been directly or indirectly sponsored by the United States of America. Of course evidence and reason are one important way of discussion, but that is not what determines political debate. Political debate is conditioned by consistent repetition of particular lines and particular myths. And of course, there is intimidation of voices that tend to counter those myths.

So I think it is important for us, particularly those of us who aren’t diplomats, to speak more directly about these issues because if not the same mistakes will be made.

I want to look at the role of the United States in supporting terrorism in this region as though it were a criminal prosecution. That is to say, where evidence is led about the two principal elements of the crime: one is the intention or the mental element and the other is the act, the actual act of involvement in terrorism. And of course we also have to take the regional look at this problem because for the last decade and a half we had wars and terrorism in six countries in this region, so given that context Iraq can’t be considered alone.

If we look at the mental element, the guilty mind, the ‘mens rea’ of the British legal system, we see that there has been a plan to dominate this country and its neighbours that goes back many, many years. The thought or the idea of a new Middle East – that was articulated more clearly after this country had been subjugated and invaded – in 2005 and 2006 is on public record. There were also plans to use sectarian violence in this country, to prevent a close relationship between Baghdad and Teheran, between neighbours, to try to block that constructive relationship; and that has a long history too. There is widespread evidence of control and integration of all of the regional terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, for example, by use of US intelligence through its allies in the region, in particular, the al-Saud regime, Qatar and the government of Turkey.

There are admissions by senior US officials of strategic support for DAESH in Syria. You know for example, in late, no, in mid 2012 that the US DIA said that the construction of an Islamic state in Eastern Syria and Western Iraq was exactly, quote “exactly” what the US and its allies wanted in order to weaken the ‘regime’ in Damascus. We know that there are repeated, demonstrable lies over the pretext for the US re-entering this country, on the invitation of the Iraqi government, nevertheless a pretext (was) to be fighting DAESH.
And that follows on the earlier false pretext of the invasion. After the invasion this idea of a New Middle East and ‘constructive chaos’ was announced in Tel Aviv just prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which of course was defeated. We know that in Libya the situation was different. The Libyan State was destroyed by a NATO invasion, and the Salafist terrorists in that country, linked to DAESH, were directly linked to senior US officials. And they haven’t been ashamed by showing themselves photographed giving awards to the leaders of DAESH in Libya.

We know Seymour Hersh wrote about the ‘redirection’ in 2006 of the Bush Administration. We know that Al Qaeda in Iraq which became ISI, which became ISIS, became heavily internationalised in the year 2006. The main component of that internationalised force worked from Saudi Arabia, followed by North Africa and other countries. We know that DAESH fought with the Free Syrian Army, together, for a period of time in Northern Syria. We know the head of the US armed forces admitted, at the time of the US, let’s say reoccupation of this country, militarily, on the pretext of fighting DAESH, that the then head of the US army Mark Dempsey admitted that their “key Arab allies” were financing DAESH. We know that the (US) Vice President said that their key allies in the region were financing DAESH and all of the other groups to try and overthrow the government in Damascus.

The guilty acts, the guilty acts involved the overt weapons supply to the principal direct sponsors of DAESH. We know that the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, the Trump Administration have sold increasing amounts of weapons, to the al Saud regime and Qatar in an increasing spiral, that is to say Obama sold more than Bush and Trump has been selling more than Obama. We know that the ideology and weapons have come from, from those countries. We know that the US even accuses Qatar of being a sponsor of terrorism.

The indirect supply of weapons, I was in Deir Ezzor two weeks ago, I saw a large cache of NATO weapons there, there were weapons from all over, some of those have come from this country DAESH brought them into Syria, including a NATO howitser with a 40km range, a whole range of technology that the Syrian Army captured.

We know that there have been reports of direct US assistance to DAESH commanders in this country and in Syria. The reports began in late 2014 and carry to 2015 where a number of senior Iraqi officials are complaining about the US using helicopters, for example, to remove DAESH commanders from one part to another. I spoke to a Syrian General in Deir Ezzor two weeks ago, he told me the same thing had happened down in the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor. They had three coordinates with US pick ups of DAESH commanders being evacuated as DAESH was being defeated by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

We know the omissions that took place that there was, while the US and the government of my country (Australia) pretended they were in this country and they were operating in Syria to fight DAESH, when in fact they mounted a brutal attack on Syrian soldiers just over a year ago, on a low mountain range south of Deir Ezzor, killing 123 soldiers, claiming it was a mistake. The same day DAESH took over that mountain range with the aim of trying to take the airport in Deir Ezzor.
I spoke with a survivor, a commanding officer of the Syrian Army two weeks ago and he told in detail how that the attack of five planes, including a line of sight machine gunning of Syrian soldiers on that mountain range, took place. At the same time United States forces bombed bridges going north to Raqqa and going East, sorry, going West to Tadmor. The US forces there to fight DAESH did nothing to prevent DAESH taking over the city of Tadmor, or Palmyra. In fact they actively assisted DAESH in Deir Ezzor, we have very clear evidence of that.

So when we look at that evidence, and we have to I suggest as reasonable people look at that evidence, there is an overwhelming case for the US role in masterminding these terrorist groups for its broader political strategy in this region.

Why is this important? It’s important because if we are going to have conversations about the post war situation and the reconstruction of Iraq, and we have broad general ideas of the international community being involved in that, we have to think: why would rational people invite those who have destroyed this country, destabilised it, thrown it into terrorism, to play a leading role in the reconstruction of this country. It deserves serious thought, I suggest.

Now I am not going to tell Iraqi people what to do because there are too many westerners who have been doing that for too long. But I just suggest that those who invited the wolf into their house have to find ways to get the wolf out. Many of us have diplomatic roles, but I suggest that the rest of us can and should talk more directly and honestly about who is behind terrorism in Iraq, and in this entire region. Thank you.

Tim Anderson’s presentation at the Baghdad Conference ‘Conference for International Dialogue on Terrorism’, 28 October 2017. Hosted by Hashd al Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces), under the Office of the Prime Minister of Iraq.

Egypt: Terrorist Bomb in Cairo’s Christian cathedral Kills 25, 49 wounded

Source: RT
At least 25 people, mostly women and children, were killed, and 49 others injured in an explosion near Cairo’s Coptic Christian Cathedral. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the blast – the deadliest attack on Egypt’s religious minority in years.

At least six children were among the dead, Reuters reported, citing security sources.

The blast happened as Sunday Mass was about to end, AP reported, adding that this weekend it coincided with a national holiday marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

The explosive device contained at least 12 kilos (26 pounds) of TNT, Reuters reported.

The bomb was reportedly placed in a female handbag in a seat in the back of the church, and the explosion hit the section where female worshipers mainly stood, which is why the majority of the victims are women, Egyptian reporter for The Washington Post, Heba Farouk Mahfouz, posted on Twitter.

“I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene,” said cathedral worker Attiya Mahrous, as cited by AP.

The bomb exploded at a chapel that adjoins the main hall of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, which is the largest Christian church in the Egyptian capital. The cathedral is the seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian Church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II, AP reported citing Egypt’s official MENA news agency.

Several hundred people reportedly gathered outside the cathedral after the attack, AP said. The protesters were chanting anti-government slogans and demanded the resignation of Egypt’s interior minister. Riot police have been deployed to the scene.

A three-day mourning period has been announced in Egypt.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered condolences to his Egyptian counterpart, the Kremlin press service said. Remarking that the Sunday attack was “especially deplorable” as there were women and children among the victims, Putin added that the international community should stand together in its efforts to uproot terrorism.

The latest attack comes two days after two roadside bombs, one in Cairo and one to the north of the capital, left six police officers dead and six others injured.

The bombing is the latest attack against the Christian population in Egypt – 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people.

In May, a mob of Muslims stripped naked and beat an elderly woman, and then paraded her through the streets of an Egyptian village, following rumors of a Christian man having an affair with a Muslim woman.

Over the past years, criminal gangs targeted well-off Christian families, kidnapping their children for ransom. Muslim men in Egypt are also known to have kidnapped young girls, forcefully converting them, and hiding them until they become adults.

Al-Manar TV in conversation with President Bashar al-Assad: Countering Terrorism

Source: Al Manar
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asserted that terrorists are the true tool of the Zionist aggression on Syria and that their acts are more dangerous than those of the Zionist entity.

In an interview with al-Manar TV that was broadcast Tuesday evening, Assad said the essence of the crisis in Syria is the foreign interference, and once this interference ceased in all its forms, then it would be possible to say that the crisis reaches its final stages.

“Because confronting terrorism then would be easier.”

His Excellency said that so far, there is no suitable environment or essential elements for the political track to succeed in reaching a solution for the crisis, noting that the states that support terrorism are imposing figures in any dialogue that represent these states and not the Syrian state.

President Assad said that the United States doesn’t want terrorism to triumph, and at the same time doesn’t want to become weak to the point that stability is achieved in the region; rather the United States wants matters to continue moving towards chaos and weakening of all states, adding that the crisis proved that Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a mere puppet with dreams, the last of these dreams being the buffer zone, but he can’t move in this direction without the approval of his US master.

He stressed that defending the homeland isn’t just by bearing arms; rather defending the homeland is done by all things that make it stronger and more resilient in the face of attacks, adding that the Syrians’ hope for victory is the incentive for confronting terrorists and the plot devised for Syria.

Assad said that if any international envoy was completely impartial, then the west wouldn’t have approved them, and so the biased statements of envoys are part of their role. He also reiterated that any initiative must respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and leave the decision to the Syrian people while prioritizing counterterrorism.

In response to a question on Syria’s confidence in emerging victorious from the terrorist war waged on it and what this confidence is based on, President al-Assad said that if there hadn’t been hope of victory among the citizens, then Syria wouldn’t have persevered for four and a half year.

“This hope is the incentive for confronting terrorists and confronting the plot devised for Syria and applied in it like it was applied in a number of other Arab countries,” he said.

“We rely firstly on people, of course after relying on God, but if you don’t have public support then you cannot withstand. If you don’t have public support then there is no value for any political or national direction you adopt as a president or official or state. First, you rely on the people, and second on friends who stand firm alongside Syria and support it in the region and in the world,” His Excellency said.

On the recent involvement of Oman and the visit paid to it by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem and how that may be one of the keys for solution, President al-Assad said that Oman has an important role in dealing with various points of tension in the region and cooling them down, leading to a solution, and it’s self-evident that the Foreign Minister’s visit is in the context of resolving the crisis, and it’s also self-evident that the Omani role is to help resolve the crisis.

The President stressed that the strength of a country is primarily based on the unity of the people before relying on its army or political system, and the greater part of the people are unified, but when there are elements of treason, extremism, and terrorism, then these points constitute weak points that cannot be ignored, and must be dealt with when other elements become secondary.

He said that the United States, throughout its history, “is elusive with its statement, and of course as time went on, this quality for the United States became the basis of policy. This means that what one official says, another official will contradict within days, and what one official says in the morning in a speech or a statement, they will say the opposite on the next day. This is one of the qualities of U.S. policies; abandoning allies, abandoning friends, backstabbing.”

His Excellency said that on the other hand, Russia’s policy was never like the American one, not during the days of the Soviet Union and not now, asserting that Russia’s policy is based on principles and growing more so, and therefore when the Russian Foreign Minister makes several statements and other officials make statements in the same context, it becomes obvious that Russia’s policy is concrete.

On the relation between the crisis in Syria and the nuclear Iranian deal, and whether Syria could be a victim in this regard or was an offering that provided gains, President al-Assad asserted that Syria is certainly not a victim, simply because it wasn’t a part of the nuclear negotiations, despite the fact that western forces tried to coerce Iran to have the Syrian issue become a part of the nuclear issue in order to get concessions from Iran regarding its support for Syria, but Iran was adamant and refused this completely, which was a correct, objective, and smart decision.

“Was Syria presented as an offering? Certainly not, but we could say that Syria made offerings,” the President elaborated, saying that when one’s allies are strong, that makes you strong, and when they are weakened, you are weakened as well, but saying that Syria’s steadfastness led to the nuclear deal is an oversimplification as the deal is the result of a long process that began by the Iranian people a long time ago, with Iran withstanding pressure for 12 years and holding fast to its principles throughout the negotiations during the past two years.

In answer to a question on whether the world is heading toward a new form of coalition, with Syria possibly being closer to a coalition with Iran than with anyone else, President al-Assad said that the alliance between Syria and Iran is 35 years old, and so being allied to Iran and vice versa is nothing new, noting that when Iran was subjected to an unjust war, Syria stood by its side, and now that Syria is subjected to an unjust war, Iran is standing by its side.

Regarding the political scene after Syria emerges victorious and Iran’s potential role in it, President al-Assad said that what would change is probably the influence of the Syrian-Iranian alliance on the international arena, because Iran now has more prospects to play a bigger role in it, and Iran’s strength will strengthen Syria, and in the same way Syria’s victory will be a victory for Iran.

His Excellency said that Syria and Iran share viewpoints and have mutual principles, and they form the axis of resistance, and so the principles will not change; only some tactics may change, or maybe some results on the ground.

In response to a question on the disillusionment of Syrians over the state of the Arab nation and whether he excuses that feeling, President al-Assad said “Excusing it doesn’t mean that we all purse that direction. We excuse them because conditions promoted citizens to turn against Arabism, and this is fact for most citizens. This promoted them to make no distinction between true, genuine Arabism and those who hide behind Arabism while in fact their hearts, minds, sentiments, and interests lie elsewhere that is completely outside the region.

“This is similar to what has happened in the past, maybe in several areas, but less than before; confusing those who exploit Islam like the Muslim Brotherhood and other extremist and terrorist organizations with true Islam. There was confusion; they believed that all those who use the word Islam or Muslim are true Muslim. This confusion happens constantly.

“I would like to say to everyone who doubts or confuses between the two issues that Arabism is an identity we cannot abandon. You belong to a family, and maybe one person or more from that family would treat you wrong, but even if you change your surname, you will continue to belong to that family in your upbringing, identity, nature, and everything about you. You cannot be detached from your identity. The Arab identity isn’t a choice; to belong to a religion and a nationality is your identity, and when you reach this point, this is what the enemies want: for us to disavow ourselves of our identity. The essence of the cause now and the wars that are happening isn’t about toppling regimes; rather this is a stage and a tool, nor is it about undermining states and economy. All those are tools. The final goal is undermining the identity, and when we reach that point preemptively, we’re giving the enemies a free gift that precludes their need later for military intervention or for using terrorists.”

On the effect of the political activity in Iraq on the coordination between Syria and Iraq, the President asserted that coordination with Iraq hasn’t been affected negatively, as Iraqis are aware that they are embroiled in the same battle against a mutual enemy, and that what happens in Syria will reflect on Iraq and vice versa, so unifying the battle, like what is happening between Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, there will be better results in less time and at a lower cost.

Regarding what the difference is between the presence of Hezbollah fighters in Syria and the other side having foreign fighters, the President said that the difference lies in legitimacy, stressing that Hezbollah entered Syria through agreement with the Syrian state which is the legitimate, elected representative of the Syrian people and is supported by their majority, so the state has the right to invite forces to defend the Syrian people, while the other forces are terrorists who came to murder Syrians and against the will of the people and the state.

On his relation with Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, President Assad said that this relation is strong and dates back to more than 20 years ago, and any observer can see that this is a relation characterized by honesty and transparency, as Nasrallah is absolutely honest, transparent, principled, and loyal to his principles and his associates and friends to the extreme.

“The relationship is one of a resistant state and a true resistant figure who gave his son in defense of Lebanon,” he said, adding that evaluating a relationship requires a third person to observe it and talk about it.

On the escalation by Saudi Arabia against Syria, specifically the statements of the Saudi Foreign Minister following reports of Syrian-Saudi meetings, President al-Assad said that media escalation is of no concern, as what matters is actual practices of states, so when a state supports terrorism, then what value does media escalation or media appeasement have?

“This is what concerns us, and in the end the result is the same, meaning that with and without escalation, the Saudi state supports terrorists in Syria, this is a fact that everyone knows, so escalation here is meaningless,” he said, adding that in terms of the verbal escalation, then Syria could respond in a similar manner and ask what one would expect from a group that hasn’t entered human civilization?”

“Would one expect them discourse that is moral, objective, has a political dimension, or is wise? We shouldn’t expect any of those. If we do expect that, then the problem lies with us, not with them,” he said.

On Jordan’s talk about a buffer zone and the presence of a joint, military and security operations’ room, President al-Assad said “it means Jordan talks about a Jordanian decision or a US decision… this is the question… so when a country or an official talks, we have to ask about the extent of independence of this official or country in order to express his opinion, noting that “until now, the majority of the Arab countries runs behind the US leash, they have no role.”

On the Syrian-Egyptian relations and the responsibility of Egypt for the delay of its return, Assad said, undoubtedly, the relation with Syria, Egypt and Iraq has a peculiarity as these states are the base of Arab civilizations throughout history, underlying that “What we want, in the first phase, is that Egypt not to be a launch-pad against Syria or against others in the Arab countries, but in the second phase we want Egypt to play the role of the important country which helps the other Arab countries.”

The President added that relations between Syria and Egypt are the ones which achieve balance on the Arab arena… Syria believes that it stands in the same trench with the Egyptian army and with the Egyptian people against terrorists who change their names.