Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Erdogan says he has evidence US-led coalition has given support to Isis

    Tuesday, December 27, 2016   No comments
ISR comment: For four years, some government officials from Syria, Iran, and Iraq have accused members of the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition of supporting the UN-designated terror group. Russia had also accused Turkey of allowing ISIL fighters to cross its borders freely, open its market for ISIL to sell Iraqi and Syrian oil to Turkish dealers, and provide the group with weapons. Now, it is the Turkish president who is accusing the anti-ISIL coalition, in which his government is a member, accusing it, including the United States government of providing support to Daesh [he used the Arabic acronym for ISIL, ISIS, or IS). What is very clear is that, some governments have been supporting all armed groups in Syria, including ISIL and Nusra and the cache of sophisticated weapons left behind in buildings previously controlled by Nusra fighters in east Aleppo is evidence of that. This coming year might reveal the governments that took part in the destruction of Syria and the killing of hundreds of thousands of Syrians Erdogan's statement might be just the first of many testimonies.

ISILfighters killing civilians accused of being spies this month.
*****
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he has evidence that U.S.-led coalition forces give support to terrorist groups including the Islamic State and Kurdish militant groups YPG and PYD, he said on Tuesday.

"They were accusing us of supporting Daesh (Islamic State)," he told a press conference in Ankara.

"Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It's very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos," he said. source
...

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has uncovered evidence that US-led coalition forces have helped support terrorists in Syria – including Isis.

American-led forces have been working alongside Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad but have attempted to avoid helping Isis and other Islamist militant groups.

However, speaking on Tuesday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, he said he believed they had given support to a variety of militant groups, including Isis Kurdish outfits YPG and PYD. source
...
Throughout Syria's five-year civil war, Turkey and the U.S. have been opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad and have backed various rebel factions against the Syrian army and its allies, which include Russia and Iran. Recent major victories by the Syrian government and its supporters, however, have brought Turkey to the negotiating table. Source

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Cross Shield: ISIS burns Turkish soldiers alive

    Saturday, December 24, 2016   No comments
The armed group calling itself "the islamic state" [IS] released another video depicting its cruel and unusual acts. The video depicts group members carrying out execution of Turkish captured soldiers, being burned alive

Turkey launched a campaign against IS in northern Syria in August and is currently fighting IS around the group's stronghold of al-Bab.
...
The Turkish army previously reported losing contact with two soldiers in northern Syria last month but it is unclear whether either are the men in the video.

At least one of the purported victims appears to have been captured by the group as far back as September 2015.

Turkish officials did not immediately respond to the publication of the video late on Thursday. source

Friday, December 23, 2016

Armed groups in Syria shell Aleppo after withdrawal, killing three civilians

    Friday, December 23, 2016   No comments
Syrian rebels shelled Aleppo on Friday, killing three people, state television reported, a day after insurgents finished withdrawing from their last pocket of territory in the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said about 10 shells had fallen in al-Hamdaniya district in southwest Aleppo.

Rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have frequently shelled the areas of Aleppo that have been under government control throughout the conflict, which began in 2011.

The destruction in those parts of the city has been far less than in the eastern districts that rebels held until this month.

The last rebels left the city late on Thursday for the countryside immediately to the west of Aleppo, under a ceasefire deal in which the International Committee of the Red Cross said about 35,000 people, mostly civilians, had departed.

Many of those who left the city are now living as refugees in the areas to the west and south of Aleppo, including in Idlib province where bulldozers were used to clear heavy snowfall on Friday morning, the opposition Orient television showed.  source

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Facebook Experiment: Quitting Facebook Leads to Higher Levels of Well-Being

    Thursday, December 22, 2016   No comments
Taking a break from Facebook can boost emotional wellbeing and life satisfaction, with the effects particularly pronounced among people who “lurk” on the social network without actively engaging with others, a study suggests.

The research by the University of Copenhagen showed the effects of quitting for a week were also strong among heavy users and those who envied their Facebook friends, suggesting that people who pore irritably over the posts of others may benefit the most.

The report’s author, Morten Tromholt, from the university’s sociology department, said the findings suggested that changes in behaviour – for example, heavy users reducing their time spent on Facebook, or lurkers actively engaging – could yield positive results.

Abstract:
Most people use Facebook on a daily basis; few are aware of the consequences. Based on a 1-week experiment with 1,095 participants in late 2015 in Denmark, this study provides causal evidence that Facebook use affects our well-being negatively. By comparing the treatment group (participants who took a break from Facebook) with the control group (participants who kept using Facebook), it was demonstrated that taking a break from Facebook has positive effects on the two dimensions of well-being: our life satisfaction increases and our emotions become more positive. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these effects were significantly greater for heavy Facebook users, passive Facebook users, and users who tend to envy others on Facebook.

To cite the study:
Tromholt Morten. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. November 2016, 19(11): 661-666. doi:10.1089/cyber.2016.0259.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Joint statement on Syria by Iran, Russia, Turkey's Foreign Ministers

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016   No comments
At the end of their trilateral meeting, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey issued a joint statement on agreed steps to revitalize the political process to end the Syria crisis.

Zarif, Lavrov and Cavusoglu agreed on the following topics:

1. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their full respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, non-sectarian, democratic and secular state.

2. Iran, Russia and Turkey are convinced that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They recognize the essential role of the United Nations in the efforts to resolve this crisis in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254.

The ministers also take note of the decisions made by the International Syria Support Croup (ISSG) and urge all members of the international community to cooperate in good faith in order to remove the obstacles on the way to implement the agreements contained in these documents.

3. Iran, Russia and Turkey welcome joint efforts in eastern Aleppo allowing for voluntary evacuation of civilians and organized departure of the armed opposition.

The ministers also welcome the partial evacuation of civilians from Foua, Kefraya, Zabadani and Madaya and commit to ensure the completion of the process without any interruption and in a safe and secure manner.

They express their gratitude to the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their assistance in the conduction of the evacuation.

4. The Iranian, Russian and Turkish ministers agree on the importance of expanding ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian assistance and free movement of civilians throughout the country.

5. Iran, Russia and Turkey express their readiness to facilitate and become the guarantors of the prospective agreement being negotiated between the Syrian government and the opposition. They invite all other countries with the influence on the situation on the ground to do the same.

6. They strongly believe that this agreement will be instrumental to create the necessary momentum for the resumption of the political process in Syria in accordance with the Security Council resolution 2254.

7. Zarif, Lavrov and Cavusoglu take note of the kind offer of the president of Kazakhstan to host relevant meetings in Astana.

8. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their determination to fight jointly against Daesh and al-Nusra terrorists and to separate them from armed opposition groups.

______________________

The News Conference:
________________


Monday, December 19, 2016

Who killed the Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov in Turkey and why?

    Monday, December 19, 2016   No comments
ISR: Since Turkey threw its support behind violent armed groups in Syria, the number of attacks in Turkey have increased. After each attack, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and his government accused "Kurdish terrorists" and some times they accused ISIL terrorists. This time, it will be hard pinning the killing of the Russian ambassador on either. The gunman, wearing suit and a dark tie, looked more like a police officer working for the Turkish government than a Kurdish or ISIL fighter. Erdogan, therefore, and his government must take part of the blame for the crime this time. Their rhetoric and one-sided narrative about the Syrian conflict made it clear to the Turkish people that the armed groups are "righteous" and the Syrian government, and all its supporters, are evil. That one-sided, absolutist rhetoric motivates Turkish individuals to kill anyone who support the government of Syria. Erdogan and his government must walk back their rhetoric before they are able to contain the violence that is bound to consume Turkey. Absolutist, dogmatic political rhetoric has consequences. The Turkish government is responsible for violence stemming from its sectarian, hateful, and violent rhetoric.

__________

Announcing Karlov's death, the ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the "day is tragic in the history of the Russian diplomacy." The ambassador was shot at a public event in the Turkish capital, the ministry confirmed, saying that he later died of his wounds.

The topic of the killing of the Russian diplomat will be raised at the UN Security Council on Monday, Zakharova said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry will issue a statement later in the day, she added.
Moscow will resolutely fight terrorism, Zakharova said, adding that Russia expects Turkish authorities to launch a "thorough" investigation into the murder.

Calling Karlov "an outstanding Russian diplomat," Zakharova said that the ambassador "had done a lot to fight terrorism."

"His memory will remain in our hearts forever," she said, adding that Moscow will make sure those behind the murder "will be punished."

The "hideous" murder of the diplomat should not impede the progress of talks on Syria, scheduled to be held among Russia, Iran and Turkey on Tuesday, Russian MP and head of the International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, said. Speaking to Russia's Rossiya 24 TV channel, Slutsky said that Moscow and Ankara should ramp up their efforts in order to achieve a solution to the Syrian crisis. source 

 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Media coverage: More evidence suggest that Aljazeera and the government of Qatar enabled war crimes in Syria

    Sunday, December 18, 2016   No comments
More evidence suggest that Aljazeera and the government of Qatar, and other states supporting the armed groups in Syria including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, enabled and Qatar promised to continue to enable war crimes in Syria.


With armed groups and their families being evacuated out of Aleppo, the process and aftermath reveal, with undeniable certainty, that these groups have committed war crimes in the city and the areas they control. The process also exposed the supporters of groups like the Idlib-based Fath al-Sham (aka Nusra, al-Qaeda affiliate), like Qatar and its mouthpiece Aljazeera. 


Aljazeera failed to report that Fath al-Sham burned buses that were supposed to evacuate the injured and civilians from Shia towns in Idlib endangering the lives of pro-rebel Sunni civilians still trapped in east Aleppo. This callous act, blocking the evacuation of civilians and injured individuals, prompted armed groups and civilians in Aleppo to appeal to “mujahideen to let civilian leave.”


Images out of east Aleppo also reveal that armed groups used mosques, including the historical one—Umayyad Mosque, as military bases. These acts, using civilians as human shields, preventing the evacuation civilians, the evacuation of the injured and sick, holding civilians as hostage, and the use of religious sites for military purposes, all are war crimes.

 
Armed groups used the mosque as military base.

 







 











   




     Aljazeera not reporting the fact that Nusra burned the buses to block the evacuation of civilians, injured, and sick individuals as part of a deal struck between Turkey and Russia.

     Aljazeera lack of coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.

 BBC coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.

Reuters coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.




Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Aleppo, as in Mosul, all sides committed war crimes

    Saturday, December 17, 2016   No comments
ISR Comment: War is a sanitized name for mass killings. Those controlling the tools of propaganda would like people to believe that it depends on who is waging the war. A war waged by some governments are clean; but in wars waged by other countries crimes are committed. A good example is the narrative associated with the war in Mosul and the War in Aleppo. The anti-Assad coalition are quick to charge war crimes in Aleppo, and there is no doubt that war crimes took place there. But discussing war crimes in Mosul is muted, but we also know that war crimes were committed there. 
The UN, perhaps bowing to the powerful and influential, is following this faulty logic, which making it loose credibility with every report. For UN, civilians killed in Aleppo are bigger concern than civilians killed in Mosul. This double standard is destroying its credibility and the hopes of those who depend on it to save their lives and their communities. In Aleppo, as in Mosul, all sides committed war crimes; so stop sanitizing war.

UN selective concern is now clear contradiction: One day UN says that it knows that Syrian government is behind civilian deaths in Aleppo, the next day, UN says they have no proof of that. 
_________________ 

Dozens of civilians were killed by Syrian forces in "a complete meltdown of humanity" during the final battle for Aleppo, the U.N. said Tuesday amid separate reports that women and children were burned alive while some families chose suicide over surrender.

The U.N. human rights office said it received reports of pro-government forces killing at least 82 people as they tightened their grip on the shrinking rebel districts in the east of the city.

Below, as reported by the same news outlet affiliated with Syrian Opposition, the UN said: We have no proof that Syrian government is behind the death of civilians in Aleppo.



Friday, December 16, 2016

Egypt accuses Qatar of providing sanctuary to individuals who financed the bomb attack on church in Cairo

    Friday, December 16, 2016   No comments
ISR comments: For the second time in days, Egyptian authorities accuse Qatar of a role in training groups threatening the security of the country. This time, the interior ministry explicitly stated that Qatar is providing sanctuary to individuals who are training and financing the terrorists who bombed the church in Cairo. Other Gulf Stated reacted by rejecting the charges against Qatar claiming that all Gulf States stand against terrorism.

____
Egypt's interior ministry Monday accused fugitive Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have fled to Qatar of training and financing the perpetrators of the bomb attack on a Cairo church that killed 25 people.

The ministry said investigations revealed the group was led by a suspect who received financial and logistical support and instructions to carry out the attacks by Brotherhood leaders residing in Qatar.

The Muslim Brotherhood have denied any involvement with the explosion at the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church on Sunday.

The incident was the deadliest attack in recent memory on the Christian minority, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population.

The Interior Ministry said late Monday that Mustafa belonged to a terrorist cell founded by an Egyptian doctor and funded by Muslim Brotherhood leaders living in exile in Qatar, long accused by Egypt of supporting militants groups. It said the cell was tasked with staging attacks that would lead to sectarian Muslim-Christian strife. source

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

US will not sell weapons to Saudi Arabia

    Tuesday, December 13, 2016   No comments
ISR comment: This is one of those instances where late is better than never. In September, when Saudi Arabia committed another war crime while continuing its brutal war on Yemen, killing many civilians and pushing millions to starvation, the US Senate cleared way for $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. Today, it was announced that sale of arms will be halted. This is a very small and rare victory for the poorest Arab country, Yemen, which has been bombarded for nearly two years by the richest Arab country. It is hoped that EU governments will do follow and ban the sales of arms to Saudi Arabia until its rulers, especially their teenage-minded war minister and son of King Salman, stop using these tools of killing and destruction as toys.

US halts arms sale to Saudi Arabia over civilian casualties in Yemen

The US has cancelled a planned weapons sale to Saudi Arabia and will limit military support for the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen over widespread civilian deaths, a US official revealed on Tuesday.

More than 10,000 people have been killed during the 20-month-old civil war in Yemen, and the impoverished country is gripped by food shortages and other humanitarian crises.

According to a UN estimate, about 60 per cent of the 4,000 or more civilian deaths have resulted from Saudi-led air strikes. Source


Saturday, December 10, 2016

#Aleppo: About 50,000 civilians have fled the rebel enclave over the past two days

    Saturday, December 10, 2016   No comments
About 50,000 civilians have fled the rebel enclave over the past two days, a Russian defence spokesman said.

He added that more than 1,000 rebels had laid down their arms as pro-government forces close in.

Meanwhile Western powers have renewed calls for Syria and its ally, Russia, to allow people to leave Aleppo.

The statement came at a meeting of officials from the US, Europe, and some Arab countries.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who attended the talks in Paris, said: "Russia and [Syrian President] Assad have a moment where they are in a dominant position to show a little grace."
Earlier Russian defence ministry spokesman Gen Igor Konashenkov said Syrian troops had suspended their offensive to allow the evacuation of civilians.

"People are moving in a constant stream through humanitarian corridors into the government-controlled districts,'' he told reporters.

He said 30,000 people had left on Friday and 20,000 so far on Saturday.
Source: BBC

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

#Syria, #Aleppo: Celebrations as families return to homes in Aleppo

    Tuesday, December 06, 2016   No comments
ISR: the complexity of the Syrian crisis is showing in this report about Syrians returning to their homes in Aleppo. The one-sided reporting has prolonged the violent conflict. This is a rare perspective on Western media.

Families loyal to Syrian President Assad have begun to return to Aleppo, as government forces retake territory held by rebels.



The BBC's Lyse Doucet reports from the district of Hanano where the citizens have come back to their devastated homes.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Is Recep Tayyip Erdogan becoming a liability for Turkish foreign policy and economy?

    Thursday, December 01, 2016   No comments
A country's economic development depends on stable governance. When a country is ruled by a person who acts impulsively and contradicts himself often, his government looses credibility. That can be a drag on regional stability and national security. This applies to Turkey.
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is loosing credibility fast and that is reducing any chances of seeing Turkey play a positive role in a very unstable region. These are signs that Erdogan may not be psychologically stable or temperamentally able to lead his country.
Just two days after declaring that his government's forces entered northern Syrian to "end the rule of the cruel [President Bashar al-] Assad", he was forced to walk back that comment stating that "Turkey's military operation in northern Syria did not target any one country or individual, but was aimed at terrorist organisations, only". Stating one thing and its opposite days apart reveal Erdogan's personal ambitions, that are driven by his sectarian and nationalist impulses, and the requisites of good relations with countries he depend on, namely Russia and Iran. 

Timeline of events

Erdogan's comments about Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad were a topic of discussion during the upcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, TASS reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying on Wednesday.

"That will be a good topic to clarify the intentions," he said answering a question from a TASS correspondent.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that Erdogan's words on removing Assad were uttered "off the record."

"We studied the matter yesterday. The quote caused a great stir," Zakharova said. "We tried to understand whether it was quoted as it had been said. It was not a direct quote, but a retelling of what had been said ‘off-the-record’. We rely on the public statements."

The retraction came after Erdogan called Putin and supposedly explained himself. 

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated on Tuesday that his army entered Syria in order to end the reign of Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, and bring justice to Syrians.

“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan stated.

Erdogan alleges nearly 1 million people have died in Syria, despite the fact no monitoring or humanitarian group has put the death toll this high.
“In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” Erdoğan said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.

The Turkish Army illegally entered Syria in August 2016, claiming that they were focused on defeating the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham" (ISIS) in northern Aleppo; this did not prove to be the case, as they have repeatedly attacked the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the border.


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