Syria State television said jets from a US-led international coalition raided the government-held Qusur district of Deir ez-Zor city and killed 14 civilians and wounded 32 others. Keep Reading
Raqqa, the Syrian stronghold of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has now been declared “liberated” by both the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their backers, the US. Last weekend several hundred IS fighters struck a deal with the SDF to take their family members and leave to IS-controlled parts of Deir ez-Zor governorate. Some foreign fighters reportedly stayed behind, refusing to surrender. Keep Reading
According to local media reports, the army units engaged in fierce clashes with ISIS terrorist groups in Howeijet Saqer and al-Sinaa neighborhood, as the army air force and artillery directed intensive strikes on ISIS fortifications and hideouts in the neighborhoods of al-Sheikh Yassin, Souk al-Hal, Sinema Fouad Street, al-Howeiqa, al-Jbeiliyeh, al-Rashdiyeh, al-Ummal, Kanamat, Khasarat and al-Aradi. Keep Reading
The mainly Christian Qaryatayn town is located in southeastern countryside of the Homs Governorate in a junction that connects the Iraqi border with Palmyra and from Palmyra through to Damascus. Keep Reading
The Syrian Democratic Forces, mainly-Kurdish militia force that is backed by the US, said on Friday that it had “liberated” Raqqa from ISIS. The terrorist group had largely left the city as part of a deal with the SDF and a US-led coalition, both of which are operating in Syria without the Syrian government’s permission. Keep Reading
Saudi Arabia’s business tycoon Turki al-Rasheed said the crisis with Qatar, Yemen, Syria and Iraq was hampering the shift in Saudi Arabia and threatening not to achieve sustainable development. Keep Reading
Ousting the terrorist group from Raqqa is another heavy blow to the ISIS that in past two years gradually retreated from the seized territories upon progression by the Syrian and Iraqi national armies. Raqqa was one of the first cities the ISIS captured in the 2014 sweeping offensives. After three years, the SDF, a coalition of predominantly Kurdish forces along with Arab militias, nearly four months ago encircled the city. Keep Reading
Where observers see that Saudi Arabia to improve its image in front of Arab and Western public opinion after committing its heinous crimes against the Yemeni people of women and children, isolation and destruction of infrastructure has pushed the UAE regime to the forefront to reduce the condemnations directed by some international organizations. Keep Reading
Given that the territory between areas occupied by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Palmyra is a “very barren” rocky desert, “it is unconceivable that the American-led collation could not have seen this massive army moving towards Palmyra,” Senator Black told RT.
“I was surprised that ISIS was able to attack Palmyra. It’s important to recognize that the distance from ISIS-held territory [to]Palmyra is approximately 100 miles,” added the senator, who has repeatedly voiced support for Syrian President Bashar Assad in battling the jihadists.
The fact that the US-led coalition seemingly turned a blind eye to the imminent terrorist threat to the UNESCO world heritage site is not a coincidence, he argues, but rather a part of the foreign policy strategy employed by the current White House administration towards Islamic State.
“Unfortunately, I believe, under the Obama administration, I think there have been great deal of coordination between terrorist forces and the US-led coalition,” Black said.
While the US, as well as other western countries and major regional players, do not share the same goals as the terrorists, they have been seemingly sparing Islamic State if airstrikes against the terrorist group could have resulted in disadvantage to Turkey, the key NATO member in the region and a US ally, which Black alleges, has engaged in economic relations with terrorists.
“There [the terrorists]have not been loved by anyone, but they have been a major trading partner of Turkey, and the United States withheld any attack when they first seized Palmyra travelling a hundred miles over open territory, and, I confirm, there was not a single bomb dropped by the American-led coalition,” he said.
This very selective approach to fighting terrorists gives reason to suggest that the US-led coalition is battling jihadists only when it does not interfere with the narrow interests of its members, Black suggests, dubbing the coalition’s efforts under such circumstances as “disastrously unproductive.”
“I think ISIS is often used as a tool between Turkey and the United States and as long as they are useful to one of those parties they are protected and when they are not useful they are not protected,” Black said, arguing that ISIS served as “tool of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and NATO forces…from the very beginning” of the conflict in Syria.
At the same time, the senator commended the US-led offensive in Iraq, which has centered on liberating its second largest city, Mosul, from militants, saying that the coalition was “doing some very good work in Mosul”and seems to be genially poised to “drive ISIS forces from Mosul.”
However, US President Barack Obama’s recent decision to lift restrictions on the delivery of weapons to “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals,” who are supported by US military in Syria, plays into the hands of terrorists and looks like “a desperate last attempt” by the outgoing administration, Black said.
The senator said that the looming change of commander-in-chief in the United States will be marked by a U-turn in Syria, with the US cutting all its ties with militants.
“When Donald Trump comes in, the support is going to be cut for the terrorists. We are not going on to the side of the terrorists anymore,” he said.
Sen. Black has been known as a fierce critic of the current US policy towards Syria, calling it “insane” in comments to the Washington Post in April, when he argued that “it is within our power” to stop the bloodshed.
In April, Black traveled to Palmyra and met with Syrian government officials. He has said that Syria being entrapped in the military conflict is not the result of domestic issues but of a plot contrived by foreign intelligence, including that of the western countries, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
“The government and people in Syria want peace, but regional countries don’t,” Black told Homs Governor Talal Barazi at the time, as cited by the Syria Times.
The UN Syria Commission released a report saying it is “gravely concerned” about the impact of international airstrikes in the war-torn country, adding that US-led forces failed to take proper precautions to protect civilians during an attack in Aleppo. Keep Reading