President Erdoğan of Turkey entered Syria to End al-Assad’s rule
Erdogan’s Imperial Lawlessness
by Stephen Lendman
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an international outlaw, a wannabe sultan ruling with an iron fist, wanting northern Iraq and Syria annexed, along with Assad ousted. What’s been well-known all along, he partly admitted, saying “(w)e entered (northern Syria) to end the rule of the tyrant (sic) al-Assad who terrorizes (sic) with state terror (sic)…(not) for any other reason.”
Claiming he has no territorial ambitions is false. He covets northern Iraq around Mosul for all that oil. He seeks expanding Turkish borders to include Iraqi and Syrian territory as part of his war on Kurds – at home and abroad.
Claiming he entered Syria “for the establishment of justice” is pure rubbish. He denies it to millions of his own citizens – ruthlessly eliminating opposition, imprisoning independent journalists and other critics, waging state terror at home and abroad, while supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Erdogan’s remarks unsettled Moscow, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying “(n)o doubt, we hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners (sic).”
Erdogan’s remarks were “indeed news. This is a very serious statement. (It’s) in discord with previous ones in general and with our understanding of the situation,” said Peskov. Russian armed forces alone are in Syria legally, at the behest of its government. America, Turkey and other rogue states flagrantly breached international law by their involvement. Erdogan’s meeting with Putin last summer left both leaders world’s apart on resolving Syria’s conflict, Russia’s leader knowing the hazards of dealing with him.
After years of US-initiated conflict, Putin is the only major power leader genuinely going all-out for restoring peace and stability – his good faith efforts consistently undermined by Washington.
Will Trump fulfill his campaign pledge to normalize bilateral Russia/US ties? Will he cooperate with Putin in combating terrorism, halting aggressive wars on other nations?
Key questions remain to be answered. A lot depends on what he does and doesn’t do.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that his goal in Syria was to end the rule of Bashar Assad has caused consternation in the Kremlin, with officials saying it contradicted previous assurances and was out of sync with Moscow’s take on the situation. “The statement was indeed news, this is a very serious statement. [It] is in discord with the previous [statements] in general and with our understanding of the situation,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
“We hope that in the near future there will be explanations on this from our Turkish partners,” he said, adding that Russia is the only country whose armed forces are in Syria on a legitimate basis – at the direct request of the Syrian authorities. Answering a question as to whether Erdogan’s comments would affect the relations between Moscow and Ankara, Peskov stressed that Turkey is Moscow’s partner and therefore will have to explain its stance before the Russian authorities make any judgments. “Before making any judgments, we expect that this position will be clarified,” Peskov said. President Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, discussed the situation in Syria in a telephone call on Wednesday, the Kremlin’s press service reported.
“There was an extensive exchange of opinions concerning the Syrian question, including the situation in Aleppo,” the service said in a statement. “A number of urgent issues regarding Russia-Turkey relations have been raised, including upcoming bilateral contacts on various levels.” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on whether Erdogan had clarified his earlier statement about Syrian President Bashar Assad.
On Tuesday, Erdogan said that Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” operation in Syria, which was launched on August 24, has been aimed at toppling the Syrian president. “We entered [Syria] to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” the Turkish president said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul, as quoted by Hurriyet daily. Erdogan said that Turkey has no territorial claims in Syria, but instead wants to hand over power to the Syrian population, adding that Ankara is seeking to restore “justice.” Turkey has been deploying ground troops and air power to northern parts of Syria, a neighboring country, initially identifying its goal as retaking areas held by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) from terrorists, as well as battling armed Kurdish units in northern Syria, which Turkey claims are aiding the outlawed Kurdish insurgency on Turkey’s own soil. Syria slams Erdogan comments on Assad
Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria does not target any country or individual, and is aimed only at terrorist groups, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. He had earlier stated that Turkey was in Syria to “end the rule of the cruel Assad.”
“The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation [in northern Syria] is not any country or person, but only terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said Thursday, Hurriyet reported.
“No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to derail it,” he added.
The latest comments come in contrast to remarks Erdogan made on Tuesday, when he said Turkey’s operation in Syria, launched in late August, aimed “to end the rule of the tyrant Syrian President Assad who terrorizes with state terror.”
This drew surprise from Russia, which asked for clarification of the remarks.
According to Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov, this was provided when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Erdogan discussed the issue by phone on Wednesday.
“I can only say that a telephone conversation between our president and Erdogan took place yesterday, and the topic [of Turkey’s presence in Syria] was addressed. Yes, he [Erdogan] gave an explanation,” Ushakov told reporters on Thursday, without elaborating.
On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara’s operation in Syria is aimed at combating ISIL terrorists and other armed terrorist groups.
“Currently, in the framework of the ‘Euphrates Shield’ operation we are specifically working with our partners and allies. Our goal is to clear Syria, this region, from ISIL, from terrorists and Al-Nusra Front (Fatah al-Sham Front) insurgents,” Cavusoglu said, speaking at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Mediterranean town of Alanya.
“We will continue to pursue a policy that is harmonic and coincides with the position of Russia to search for and find a political solution to the conflict and to provide systematic humanitarian assistance,” Cavusoglu added, as quoted by the Interfax.
He stated that Turkey’s policy on Syria “remains unchanged.”
“We are cooperating with other countries, but we think that our close cooperation with Russia will provide greater benefits,” Cavusoglu said.
Without a political solution on Syria, the fight against ISIL may prove ineffective, the Turkish foreign minister acknowledged following the meeting with his Russian counterpart.
Lavrov stressed on Thursday that he expected close Russia-Turkey cooperation on Syria to help make a real contribution to the implementation of decisions by the international community.
Aleppo: Syrian army pounds rebels in Sheikh Saeed district
Airplanes Russian Air Forces with the medical detachment and a field hospital flew to Syria
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Draft UN resolution calls for Syria ceasefire
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Syrian War Report – December 1, 2016: Operation in Idlib to Be Launched after Liberation of Aleppo
The Syrian army continued marching on the militant-held positions in several districts of the city of Aleppo, and established full control over more strategic areas in the city.
Several militants were killed and injured in the fighting with the Syrian troops over strategic districts.
The Syrian troops also inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists in other provinces.
The Syrian Army and popular forces captured a strategic region in the Southern parts of Eastern Aleppo on Wednesday to continue their unexpected high speed advances that herald a complete clampdown on terrorists in the war-ravaged city.
The army troops and popular forces that earned sweeping victories over the terrorists in 16 districts in a matter of only 72 hours and captured the Northern half of the Eastern Aleppo shifted Southward and gained control over al-Sakan al-Shababi (Youth Housing Complex) with the first push on Wednesday night.
The terrorist groups had relocated tens of their fighters from other fronts to al-Sakan al-Shababi, al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha’ar districts that are the gates to the South, but failed to block or slow down the momentum of the pro-government troops’ rapid advance that has just gathered pace.
As pro-government forces advanced in militant-held regions of al-Halwaniyeh and al-Sha’ar regions, a large number of terrorists retreated in chaos, requesting Damascus amnesty or safe relocation to Idlib.
The army men and Hezbollah fighters started a fresh round of military operation on Tuesday to move towards the Southern part of Eastern Aleppo after capturing al-Sakhour, Jabal al-Badrou and Arz al-Hamra regions.
Local sources say militants are deeply fearful of being trapped in the Syrian army’s tightening siege and retreat from regions under their control in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city even with brief clashes in a number of cases.
The new victory for the Damascus troops came only a few hours after the army and its allies pushed Jeish Al-Fatah terrorists from the strategic district of Sheikh Saeed Southeast of Aleppo city.
The Syrian army, supported by the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi al-Nujaba forces, had started a new phase of operations in Sheikh Saeed a few days ago but made slow advances due to the deployment of hundreds of terrorists in the region.
The Syrian forces could seize back control of the strategic district on Wednesday after hours of continued clashes with the militants and pushed them back from the region.
A battlefield source had earlier said that al-Sheikh Saeed “is the Southern gate to the Aleppo city’s Eastern districts”, adding that recapturing al-Sheikh Saeed will result in new military developments in the Eastern part of the city the most important of which will be preparing the ground for starting new military operations to take control of Aleppo castle and end the decisive battle of Aleppo.
A Syrian Army commander had informed earlier on Wednesday that the Army and its allies were to start a comprehensive military campaign to liberate the Southern districts of the city.
The commander told Al Masdar’s Arabic-language service that the countdown had started to the beginning of the army offensive to win back the Southern districts of East Aleppo from the militant groups.
The high-ranking Syrian Army official who demanded anonymity further said that the operation to liberate the Southern districts would start with simultaneous attacks from nine directions, the same strategy that was employed by the Syrian army to drive back militants from the Northern neighborhoods of the battleground city’s East.
The military official also revealed that army forces had deployed equipment and fresh forces to launch the large-scale offensive on the terrorists, while popular forces stationed in several positions in and around the city to help liberate the remaining districts still under the grip of the militant groups.
The Syrian army started special operations in Aleppo after several humanitarian pauses declared by Damascus and Moscow to give a chance to the civilian population as well as the militants to leave the Eastern parts of the city through 8 corridors, and managed to impose full control over the Northern flank of the Aleppo city’s Eastern districts only in the last three days.
The army units have taken back 25 square kilometers of the total 45 square kilometers of Eastern Aleppo while scores of terrorists were killed and wounded in tough battle with the Syrian army soldiers.
Thousands of civilians, including hundreds of children and newborn babies, have also left the Eastern part of the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo, while a total number of 647 militants have left Eastern Aleppo over the past few days.
Meanwhile, terrorist commanders stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo have threatened Abdullah Muhammad al-Muhaysini, a senior al Qaeda-linked cleric and the religious leader of Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups, that they will be forced to give up fight and surrender the city to the army in the next two days if not rescued from outside.
Local sources in Eastern Aleppo have also reported that the terrorists have lost confidence in their commanders after their repeated unfulfilled promises on breaking the army’s siege and their morale has weakened after heavy defeats and sustaining abundant casualties and damages.
After continued defeats and nearly two months of insistence on remaining in the city and rejecting the army’s several chances to leave Eastern Aleppo with their weapons, terrorists are now facing the realities of war as their comrades’ massive attacks on the city to break the army’s several-month-long siege have all ended up in fiasco.
A military source also said Wednesday that the terrorists in Aleppo will finally be forced to agree with the government’s plan to transfer the militants to Idlib similar to their comrades in Homs and Damascus.
The Lebanese al-Safir newspaper reported that the terrorists in Aleppo are under the Syrian army’s tight noose and have no option but surrendering given the field situation, while the paper referred to heavy attacks launched by the Syrian army against the terrorists in different parts of Aleppo, and wrote it seems that the era of terrorist groups is ending in Aleppo.
A senior official at Syria’s National Reconciliation Ministry said the ceasefire agreements signed between the militant groups and the government in various parts of Damascus province, including those in Khan al-Sheih in Western Ghouta, has increased the chance for the start of peace agreements in Quneitra province.
Mohammad Nader al-Amri underlined that the peace plan in Daraya paved the ground for its implementation in other parts of Damascus, adding that efforts are underway to persuade terrorists to leave al-Tal town in the Northern parts of Damascus.
He said despite the fact that the terrorist groups, specially al-Nusra Front (recently renamed to Fatah al-Sham Front), prevented implementation of the peace plan in Quneitra, reconciliation in Khan al-Sheih and the nearby areas will remove the obstacles to the implementation of the plan in the Southern province of Quneitra as well.
The Syrian army seized full control over the strategic region of Tal al-Ain in the Northern parts of Dara’a province.
Tal al-Ain, located between the two towns of al-Faqi’e and al-Dalli in the Southern parts of Jassim city, was set free from the terrorist groups’ control on Wednesday.
The Syrian army units retook full control of Tal al-Ain after the militants withdrew from their positions and fled the battle field.
According to military sources, the Syrian army and its allies will soon start operations to liberate Jassim city.
The Syrian air force continued operations against Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) terrorists in the Northern parts of Hama, destroying their bases and military equipment and inflicting heavy casualties on them.
The Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes on the gathering centers and moves of Fatah al-Sham and other affiliated groups in Taybat al-Imam, al-Lataminah, Jeni al-Albawi, Sakik, Northern al-Ma’an, North of Kafar Zita and al-Sayyad in the Northern parts of Hama.
During the operations, tens of terrorists, including their commanders, were killed and wounded and their hideouts and military vehicles were smashed.
The Syrian warplanes also pounded Fatah al-Sham, Jeish al-Izza and Jeish al-Nusra terrorist groups’ strongholds in Ma’arkaba, al-Zalaqiyat, Northern Halfaya and Zor Abuzaid in Northern Hama, killing dozens of militants and blowing up their military vehicles.
The Syrian army forces continued advance in the Eastern parts of Damascus and retook control of the strategic town of al-Meida’ani.
The Syrian army units clashed with Jeish al-Islam terrorists inside al-Meida’ani town after the air force pounded the militants’ positions in Eastern Ghouta of Damascus and could regain full control of the town.
During the operations, a large number of Jeish al-Islam terrorists fled to areas outside the town.
Also, military sources reported that the Syrian army has seized control of over 45 points and 8 tunnel networks of Jeish al-Islam.
After controlling al-Meida’ani, the Syrian forces also established their military control over Hawsh al-Shalaq village.
The army troops are planning to take control of al-Reihan and Shifouniyeh towns in Eastern Ghouta to get closer to Douma now.
Tens of ISIL oil tankers were destroyed in the Syrian airstrikes in Deir Ezzur province.
The Syrian intelligence forces monitored the terrorists’ moves in the Eastern parts of Deir Ezzur and the oil-rich region of al-Abed and provided the Air Force with intelligence on the whereabouts of tens of ISIL oil tanker trucks.
The Syrian fighter jets then targeted the ISIL oil tanker trucks by pounding them several times and destroyed tens of them.
Also, dozens of other oil trucks were filling their tanks when they were targeted by the Syrian warplanes.
At least 40 ISIL terrorists were killed and tens of others were wounded during the operations.
The Syrian army units, supported by the National Defense Committees, clashed with the ISIL terrorists near al-Sha’er and al-Mahr oil fields as well as Tal al-Sawanah region in the Eastern parts of Homs.
The Syrian air force and artillery units, meantime, targeted the terrorists’ positions and hideouts in the region which destroyed their bases and military equipment and killed a large number of militants, including several non-Syrian terrorists.
The Syrian fighter jets also launched airstrikes against the ISIL bases in al-Sukhnah, al-Tayyebah, Talat al-Awamid and the Northern parts of al-Quaryatayn dam in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of Homs which smashed their headquarters and military vehicles and wounded tens of militants.
The air force also targeted the bases of Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front), Rajalallah and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups in al-Rastan city and the two towns of Talbiseh and Tir Ma’alah as well as al-Qajar, al-Qanto, al-Sam’alil and Tal Zahab in the Northern and Northwestern parts of Homs, blowing up their bases and inflicted tens of casualties on them, including their commanders.
Informed military sources said on Monday that the Syrian warplanes struck an important meeting of Ahrar al-Sham commanders in the Northern part of Homs province.
“Ahrar al-Sham commanders had a gathered in a military base near the terrorist-controlled Al-Rastan region in Northern Homs province when their meeting came under the Syrian airstrikes,” a Syrian military source said.
The source noted that as a result of the Syrian fighter jets’ raids at least five terrorist commanders were killed and 15 others were wounded.
Several notorious terrorists, including Muhammad Al-Hosn from Iraq, Bilal Al-Daher, and Muhammad Al-Mahmoud were among the terrorists killed in Northern Homs province. A military vehicle parked outside the building was also destroyed in the air raid.
Multiple ISIS leaders flee from Mosul
Iraqi woman recalls harrowing act by ISIS
Water has been cut for 650,000 people in Mosul
The comprehensive military campaign to liberate the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul continued on Thursday with Counter Terrorism Forces saying that they are progressing steadily in their operations to liberate the ISIL-held city.
Commander: Iraqi Elite Forces Progressing Steadily in Mosul
Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) said they are progressing steadily in their operations to liberate the ISIL-held city of Mosul from its terrorist occupants.
CTS troops have entered the Northeastern neighborhood of Qahera, where they commenced operations to purge ISIL militants from it and surrounding districts, presstv reported.
Major General Abdul Ghani al-Asadi, a CTS commander, told reporters that after deployment the troops split up into two groups heading South and North.
“The troops made good progress in both directions according to plan. Troops heading South secured almost 70 percent of al-Ikha neighborhood, which is an important neighborhood,” he said.
He noted that the forces had now surrounded the al-Ilam, al-Tamim and al-Noor neighborhoods, and were preparing to cut off the supply routes to the al-Quds and al-Karama neighborhoods.
26 ISIL Militants Killed by Iraqi Forces as Another Mosul District Liberated
At least 26 ISIL militants were killed when Iraqi security forces liberated another district in the Northern city of Mosul and a village just outside the militant-held city during the massive military campaign to retake the ISIL’s last bastion in the war-hit country, local media said.
According to a statement by Iraq’s Joint Operations Command (JOC), cited by Al Forat News, Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces retook Mosul’s al-Ikha al-Thaniyeh district after inflicting great losses in lives and equipment on the ISIL terrorists.
The statement added that the Iraqi forces have raised the country’s flag on buildings in the liberated neighborhood.
The command center said the Iraqi federal police have also freed Tal al-Romman village just outside Mosul on the city’s Southwestern flanks.
Dozens of Terrorists Dead as ISIL’s Munitions Warehouse West of Mosul Explodes
Dozens of ISIL terrorists were reportedly killed when an ammunition warehouse used by the terrorist group West of the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul went off on Thursday, media reported.
Al Mayadeen TV channel said the ammunition warehouse in the Northwest of Tal Afar airport in Western Mosul was apparently used by the terrorist group to store mines, IEDs and other weapons.
There were no immediate reports on possible causes of the incident.
The report came as Iraqi forces say they are progressing steadily in the operations to liberate the ISIL-held city of Mosul from its terrorist occupants.
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units liberated two more villages close to Mosul. Some 2,300 families, whom ISIL terrorists were using as human shields, were also freed during the offensives to free al-Buthah and al-Salehiyah villages.
15 Iraqi Children Killed by ISIL Snipers in Mosul
ISIL snipers shot dead 15 children in Iraq’s battleground Northern city of Mosul as they were desperately running for a safe haven, a security source told local media.
The security source told Arabic-language al-Sumeriya News that ISIL snipers targeted the children as they were trying to reach the Iraqi security forces’ position in the ISIL-held city.
The source added that ISIL terrorists who frequently target the homeless and displaced children have deliberately killed the 15 children in the streets of Mosul.
ISIL employs the most horrible methods to kill Mosul’s displaced residents including using them as human shields or blowing them up with booby-trap bombs as well as targeting children by sniper shots to prevent them from leaving the battleground city.
UN: 500,000 Civilians in Mosul Facing Catastrophic Water Shortages
The United Nations warned that up to 500,000 civilians in Mosul are facing a “catastrophic” drinking water shortage as Iraqi forces advance on ISIL in the city.
“Nearly half a million civilians, already struggling to feed themselves day to day, are now without access to clean drinking water. The impact on children, women and families will be catastrophic,” said Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, the National reported.
On Tuesday, a local official said water supplies had been cut off for about 650,000 residents in 15 districts and suburbs after a pipeline was hit during fighting.