Syrian Army, Opposition Confirm Nationwide Truce

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY AND THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWSPAPER)

Syria army, opposition confirm nationwide truce

WORLD Updated: Dec 29, 2016 21:19 IST

AFP
AFP
AFP, Damascus

Highlight Story

A boy walks his bike near stacked sandbags in al-Rai town, northern Aleppo province, Syria. (Reuters)

Syria’s army said Thursday it would halt all military operations from midnight under a truce deal brokered by Russia and Turkey and supported by a leading Syrian opposition body.The agreement was announced earlier by Russian President Vladimir Putin who said the Syrian regime and “main forces of the armed opposition” had signed on.“The general command of the armed forces announces a complete halt to all hostilities on Syrian territory from the zero hour of December 30th,” Syria’s army said in a statement carried on state television.

It said that the ceasefire excluded the Islamic State group and the former Al-Qaeda affiliate previously known as Al-Nusra Front, now rebranded the Fateh al-Sham Front.

The National Coalition, a leading Syrian political opposition group based in Turkey, confirmed its backing for the truce.

“The National Coalition expresses support for the agreement and urges all parties to abide by it,” spokesman Ahmed Ramadan told AFP.

He said key rebel groups including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham and Army of Islam factions had signed the ceasefire deal, though there was no immediate confirmation from rebel representatives.

“The agreement includes a ceasefire in all areas held by the moderate opposition, or by the moderate opposition and elements from Fateh al-Sham, such as Idlib province,” he told AFP.

Idlib, in northwest Syria, is controlled by an alliance of rebel groups led by Fateh al-Sham.

Read| Turkey, Russia to implement Syria ceasefire before New Year: Turkish minister

The group, in its previous incarnation as Al-Nusra, was designated a “terrorist” organisation by countries including the United States, as well as the United Nations.

The ceasefire agreement follows the recapture by Syria’s government of the country’s second city Aleppo from rebels, in the worst blow to opposition forces since the war began.

It will be the first nationwide halt in fighting since a week-long truce from September 12-19 that collapsed after several incidents of violence.

A previous truce was implemented in February. Both of those deals were organised by Russia and the United States.

The latest agreement is the first nationwide ceasefire brokered with the involvement of Turkey, a backer of the Syrian opposition.

Russia is a key supporter of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and began a military intervention in support of his government in September 2015.

Despite backing opposing sides in the conflict, and a souring of relations after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last year, Ankara and Moscow have worked increasingly closely on Syria.

They jointly brokered a ceasefire for Aleppo this month that allowed the last remaining rebels and civilians in the city’s east to leave to opposition territory elsewhere.

More than 310,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with protests against Assad’s government.

Successive bids to reach a peace deal to end the conflict have failed, but Moscow has said it is planning to convene new negotiations in Kazakhstan.

And the army statement said the ceasefire was intended to “create conditions to support the political track” in resolving the conflict.

John Kerry Concerned by Rhetoric Out of Turkey And Russia Saying U.S. Involved In Ambassador Karlov Murder

 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

BEIRUT — The Latest on the development in the Syrian civil war and the aftermath of the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey (all times local):

11:45 p.m.

John Kerry’s spokesman says the U.S. Secretary of State has raised concerns about “some of the rhetoric coming out of Turkey with respect to American involvement or support, tacit or otherwise, for this unspeakable assassination yesterday because of the presence of Mr. Gulen here in the United States.”

Spokesman John Kirby said called any such claims ludicrous and false.

“We need to let the investigators do their job and we need to let the facts and the evidence take them where it is before we jump to conclusions,” Kirby added. “But any notion that the United States was in any way supportive of this or behind this or even indirectly involved is absolutely ridiculous.”

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, earlier said that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Kerry that both Turkey and Russia “know” that a movement led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the attack.

___

11:15 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken by telephone with the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey after a meeting.

Continue reading the main story

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters the U.S. “welcomes any effort to try to get a cease-fire in Syria that can actually have meaningful results, particularly for those people that remain in Aleppo, as well as the resumption of political talks.”

Kirby said that Kerry also “stressed the need to try to get those political talks back on track as soon as people,” adding that it was “too soon to know” if the Moscow declaration would have any impact.

“Given that the meeting just broke up today and given the fact that we have seen repeated promises to appropriately influence the Assad regime … fail, I think we really need to wait and ascertain the results over the next coming days,” he said.

___

9:45 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says he would like to grant medical assistance to Syrians wounded in the battle over the city of Aleppo.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of the foreign press in Jerusalem on Tuesday that he has asked Israel’s Foreign Ministry to look into the possibility of bringing non-combatant men, women and children to Israel for medical treatment.

Israel has treated thousands of Syrians wounded in Syria’s nearly six-year civil war, offering them medical treatment in hospitals in Israel.

Netanyahu told reporters, “We see the terrible tragedy of civilians and I’ve asked the Foreign Ministry to seek ways to expand our medical assistance to the civilian casualties of the Syrian tragedy, specifically in Aleppo.”

___

8 p.m.

Syrian TV says a bomb has gone off in western Aleppo where dozens of people were gathered for a Christmas tree-lighting event.

No injuries were reported from Tuesday’s bomb, which went off near Azizieh square in government-controlled western Aleppo.

A reporter for the channel said celebrations resumed a few minutes after the bomb went off. Dozens of Syrians were seen dancing and waving Syrian flags and red balloons to blaring music as they rallied around a giant tree decorated with Christmas lights.

Huge posters of President Bashar Assad and the leaders of Russia and Hezbollah were put up.

The celebration in western Aleppo was taking place on the same day as the evacuation of the last rebels and residents of the former rebel-held enclave in eastern Aleppo was taking place.

___

4:20 p.m.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says a cease-fire in Syria should not cover terrorist groups like the Islamic State group and the Fatah al-Sham Front, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah which fights on the government side.

Speaking at a Moscow news conference after talks with the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran, Cavusoglu said the global community should target not only IS and Fatah al-Sham but also “other groups including Hezbollah.”

Lebanon’s Hezbollah is allied with Russia and Iran fighting on the Syrian government’s side.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who chaired Tuesday’s talks, did not openly disagree with Cavusoglu. But he mentioned that some groups operating in Syria “were invited by the government of Bashar Assad,” implying that Hezbollah’s presence in Syria is as legitimate as Russia’s own role.

The Iranian minister said that Iran “respects” Turkey’s stance, but added that “other countries don’t accept” it.

___

4:10 p.m.

A ceremony is being held at Ankara airport for assassinated Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, whose body was being flown home to Russia Tuesday.

Karlov’s wife Marina stood in the front row, holding two red carnations. She wept as her husband’s flag-draped coffin was carried by a Turkish honor guard.

Deputy Prime Minister Tugrul Turkes said Karlov had, “become the eternal symbol of Turkish-Russian friendship.”

Karlov was shot dead Monday evening as he delivered a speech at a photo exhibition in the Turkish capital, Ankara. His attacker, Mevlut Mert Altintas, a 22-year-old member of Ankara’s riot police squad, shouted slogans about the battered Syrian city of Aleppo during the attack. He was later killed by police.

Security was tight at the airport, with security forces’ special units securing the area.

___

3:40 p.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that Russia, Iran and Turkey are ready to act as guarantors in a peace deal between the Syrian government and the opposition.

He spoke on Tuesday after a meeting of the three countries’ foreign ministers in Moscow — a day after Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at an exhibition in Ankara by a policeman who shouted: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

Lavrov told reporters the three ministers have signed a joint statement which says that Russia, Iran and Turkey “are expressing their willingness to help the Syrian government and the opposition draft an agreement and act as its guarantors.”

___

3:20 p.m.

Syrian activists say as few as 3,000 people are left in eastern Aleppo awaiting evacuation before the government is to resume full control of the city after nearly six years of war.

Opposition media activist Ahmad Primo said on Tuesday that the next convoy of buses that will evacuate rebels and civilians may well be the last one. Primo spoke to The Associated Press from the Rashideen crossing between government and rebel-held territory in the Aleppo countryside.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 60 buses have entered eastern Aleppo to pick up the remaining 3,000 fighters and their families from the opposition’s last foothold in the war-torn city.

The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman says the fate of 70 pro-government fighters taken prisoner by rebels over the course of four years of fighting over the rebel enclave remains unknown. He says they were supposed to be handed over to the government as part of an agreement to allow the opposition to evacuate the city

___

2:15 p.m.

The U.N. humanitarian aid agency says Syria’s government has authorized U.N. plans to send about 20 staffers to monitor evacuations of people from rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo.

Spokesman Jens Laerke of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that “we stand ready to increase our presence there.”

The plan comes after the U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Monday urging the quick deployment of monitors.

Laerke said U.N. staffers “will go there as soon as they can.” He said OCHA cannot estimate how many people remain in eastern Aleppo after buses shuttled some out on Tuesday.

He said about 90 of OCHA’s 100 staffers already in Aleppo are Syrians, and the new deployment would “almost triple” the number of international staffers there.

___

12:40 p.m.

The spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin says the assassination the previous day of Moscow’s ambassador in Turkey plays into the hands of those who want to derail peace talks for Syria.

Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that Ambassador Andrei Karlov’s murder “benefits those who want to drive a wedge between Russia and Turkey” as well as hamper “the normalization of the talks … for a Syrian political settlement.”

Peskov lauded President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to allow Russian investigators to take part in the probe and described the Russians who arrived in Ankara earlier on Tuesday as “good specialists.”

Peskov quoted Putin who had instructed Russian intelligence and Foreign Ministry officials to review security measures for Russian diplomats abroad, but said it’s ultimately up to the countries who host diplomats to ensure their safety.

___

12:30 p.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he hopes that Russia, Iran and Turkey will agree on steps to bring about peaceful settlement in Syria.

Talks involving the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey were planned for Tuesday in Moscow, even before the Russian ambassador was assassinated in Ankara on Monday evening.

Lavrov said in televised comments at the start of talks with Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif that Moscow wants Tuesday’s talks “to determine the most effective steps that our countries could take to normalize the situation in Syria, bring about an end to violence, and ensure the supply of humanitarian aid along with persisting in the fight against terrorist groups in Syria.”

___

11:45 a.m.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says 10 more buses have arrived to the west Aleppo countryside in northern Syria evacuating residents from the opposition’s last foothold in eastern Aleppo.

Ingy Sedky, Damascus spokeswoman for the ICRC, says evacuations would continue throughout the day.

The ICRC says 25,000 people have been bused out of east Aleppo since rebels effectively surrendered the area under an Ankara- and Moscow-brokered deal. It’s unclear how many remain.

Meanwhile, Syrian state media say several more buses have arrived to the government-controlled Aleppo countryside after evacuating the sick and wounded from the rebel-besieged Shiite villages of Foua and Kfarya.

The swap evacuations are part of the Aleppo cease-fire deal — Syrian rebels besieging the two villages agreed to allow over 2,000 people to leave from there in exchange for the government allowing civilians and rebels to leave eastern Aleppo.

Pro-government Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast live images showing buses arriving from Foua and Kfarya, escorted by International Committee of the Red Cross vehicles, on Tuesday.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah’s media arm says eight buses left the two villages earlier in the morning. Hezbollah is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria.

___

11:35 a.m.

Russian state television has shown a plane landing at the Ankara airport carrying Russian investigators and Foreign Ministry employees who will take part in the probe into the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the visiting Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday that the presidents of the two countries have agreed that Russian investigators would take part in the probe.

The state-owned Rossiya 24 television broadcast footage of the plane landing in Ankara. The plane would later in the day repatriate the body of Andrei Karlov, who was fatally shot at a photo exhibition on Monday.

The spokesman for the Russian president said earlier in the day that Moscow had dispatched 18 people to help the investigation.

___

11:30 a.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey makes Moscow even more determined to press ahead with Syrian talks that will offer “no concessions to the terrorists.”

Lavrov is hosting the foreign ministers of Turkey and Iran in Moscow on Tuesday in what was expected to be a major meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis.

Lavrov and the visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday laid flowers at the portrait of Ambassador Andrei Karlov, who was shot dead at an exhibition in Ankara.

The Russian minister said in televised comments that President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Monday night and “agreed this tragedy makes us more decisive in fighting terrorism and makes our today’s meeting even more important.”

Lavrov says Moscow is willing to seek agreements that will improve the humanitarian situation in Syria and help political progress but “will not offer any concession to terrorists.”

Cavusolgu who told Lavrov at the start of the meeting that the attack happened when he was on his way to Moscow offered his condolences and said that “Turkish people are mourning this loss as much as Russia and the people of Russia.”

___

10:55 a.m.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it has overseen the evacuation of 25,000 people from eastern Aleppo since the rebels effectively surrendered the Syrian rebel enclave under an Ankara- and Moscow-brokered deal.

The figure was provided by Robert Mardini, the ICRC’s Mideast regional chief, who posted it on Twitter. Ingy Sedky, the ICRC spokeswoman in Damascus, told The Associated Press that Aleppo “evacuation (are) not over yet” and that there are “still thousands remaining” in eastern Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah says Syrian army troops are to enter the rebels’ last foothold in Aleppo later in the day, marking the return of the entire city to government control.

Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad forces, warned the remaining residents in the rebel enclave to leave “as quickly as possible.”

The warning was distributed through Hezbollah’s media arm on Tuesday.

___

9:30 a.m.

The last Syrian rebels and civilians are awaiting evacuation from the remainder of what was once a rebel enclave in eastern Aleppo, a day after the U.N. Security Council approved sending observers to monitor the exodus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that more than 15,000 people, among them 5,000 opposition fighters, have left the enclave since the rebels effectively surrendered the area under an Ankara- and Moscow-brokered deal. It’s unclear how many remain.

In Moscow, the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran are meeting on Tuesday to discuss Syria, but the talks are likely to be overshadowed by the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey the previous night by an Ankara policeman, who after killing his victim cried out: “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”

Russia’s Ambassador To Turkey Shot Dead In Ankara Turkey

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME )

Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in Ankara on Monday in an attack that will unsettle the delicate diplomacy over the regional crisis emanating from the civil war in Syria.

The shooting comes at a moment of high stakes negotiations between Turkey and Russia, with implications for the future of the conflict which has left as many as half a million people dead.

Ambassador Andrei Karlov was shot at an art gallery in Ankara on Monday. In video footage, the ambassador stands at a podium as gunfire rings out. He flinches and then drops to the floor. Standing behind him, a man wearing a dark suit and tie raises one finger skyward and shouts, “Allahu akbar.”

The gunman continues speaking. “Don’t forget about Aleppo, don’t forget about Syria!” he shouts in Turkish.

The attacker was killed following the shooting, according to Turkish state media. The Russian foreign ministry confirmed Karlov’s death.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the assassination a “terrorist attack.” According to Russia’s TASS news agency, she said Russia was in contact with Turkish officials who had had pledged an “all-round” investigation into the shooting. “The attackers will be punished,” she said.

Russia’s support for the regime of President Bashar Assad has angered sections of the public in Turkey, where the government supports Syrian rebel groups who have been attempting to oust Assad.

The attack took place on the eve of a diplomatic summit in Moscow including the foreign ministers of Russia and Iran, a meeting of key regional powers that back opposing sides in the Syrian war.

Last week, Turkey and Russia negotiated an agreement to evacuate the remaining civilians and rebel fighters from a besieged enclave in the Syrian city of Aleppo, marking a victory for the Assad government and a turning point in more than five and a half years of crisis.

The Turkish and Russian governments recently set aside tensions following a period of deep discord. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that crossed into its airspace along the Syrian border in November 2015, triggering months of hostility in which Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a rapprochement in June and Turkey hosted the Russian leader at an energy summit in Istanbul in September.

Massacre In Aleppo: Honestly How Can Anyone In The Whole World Be Surprised By This?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MIDDLE EAST ONLINE’ NEWS)

First Published: 2016-12-02

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’
Istanbul protests Syrian regime’s recent brutal assault on Aleppo, where Assad government aims to recapture all rebel-held areas.
Middle East Online

ISTANBUL – Around 1,000 people protested in Istanbul on Friday against the operation being waged by President Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria’s second city of Aleppo, accusing them of committing a “massacre”.

“Stop the massacre in Aleppo!”, demonstrators chanted as they held placards saying “the bombing is not against Aleppo but our humanity” and “our brotherhood is besieged, not Aleppo”.

The protest outside Istanbul University had been organised by religious student associations who called for “imperialist Russia to leave Syria”.

In recent days, Assad’s army has pressed a fierce assault aimed at retaking the whole of the city which is currently divided between the regime in the west and the rebels in the east.

The offensive, supported by heavy artillery, has triggered an exodus of tens of thousands of residents from the rebel-held east as Assad made significant gains in the past week.

The assault has left 42 children dead, from a total of more than 300 civilians killed since November 15.

Moscow intervened militarily in support of Damascus last year but says it is not involved in the current assault on Aleppo. Turkey supports the Syrian opposition.

Protester Ramazan Kaya said Ankara should “raise its voice” against the regime offensive. “If we don’t react, if we stay like observers of this massacre — that is absolutely intolerable.”

On Friday Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu repeated Turkey’s opposition to Assad remaining president.

“We supported the Assad regime before he started killing his own people… But, at this stage, we have to be realistic that the person who kills almost 600,000 people should not rule any country,” he said during a visit to Lebanon.

Presidents Putin, Erdogan discuss Russia-Turkey relations on phone

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF AZERNEWS AGENCY)

Does President Putin Have Dreams Of Creating Russia Into The Proverbial 4th Reich

 

Today on the Google News that I use as my computer’s homepage I noticed an article about Russia retreating from the International Criminal Court (ICC) via the direction of President Putin. To be honest with you I was surprised to hear that they actually belonged to it. The reason I was surprised is because the United States does not belong to it and as far as I know, China doesn’t either. In my belief either every Nation on Earth should belong to it or no Nation should. For most of my adult lifetime (born in 1956) it has seemed that only African Nations and some Eastern European Nations have been accused under its jurisdiction. I am not a person that looks forward to a one World Nation situation even though I know it is coming. When the UN or the Hague speak of War Crimes a lot of us older folks think of Germany under Hitler yet they did not charge Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. We have used such Courts to convict and to hang ‘War Criminals’ like Saddam in Iraq and Generals in Serbia and deposed Presidential butchers throughout Africa but never a ‘Western-World’ Leader. So yes, I was surprised to hear that Russia was a consenting member of the ICC.

 

In the media here in the U.S. we have been hearing of ‘possible’ war crimes being committed in Syria by ISIS and other ‘Rebel’ groups as well as by the Government of Syria via their President Mr. Assad. We are also now hearing that ‘War Crimes’ may be being committed by the Russian Military under the leadership of President Putin. I guess this would be a real good reason for Mr. Putin to have Russia withdrawn from the umbrella of the ICC so that he and or his Generals cannot be arrested and brought before that court. Personally if I were him I would have done so a long time ago. Before any of my fellow Americans get all uppity with me on this issue you need to remember that we do not belong to the ICC either. If we did belong to it would former President George W. Bush, former VP Dick Cheney, and former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld  not have all swung from their gallows long ago for their actions in Iraq?

 

Now to the main issue of this article concerning President Putin. It is my own personal belief that the American Media, Hollywood, and our idiotic Politicians created President Putin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 and the fall of the Soviet Union these three groups of idiots constantly belittled Russia in every form and medium. They portrayed the Russian people as backward, lazy and stupid. They trounced on them without mercy as a vanquished enemy instead of a future friend and Ally. These idiots gloated over, stomped on and spit all over the National Pride of the people of Russia without mercy. President Putin when he came to power started to rebuild the integrity of the Russian Country and their people. In my belief he was exactly what the people of Russia needed at that time. The Communists Russian Government fell in 1989 for many good reasons, among them was how horribly they treated their own citizens. If the ‘West’ had only made fun of the flaws of the Communist system and not of the Russian people, Mr. Putin would still be hiding in his closet bowing to his KGB Uniform in private. Mr. Putin should have helped bring in a new level of friendship with the people of the U.S. but how do you make yourself grow closer to someone who is laughing at and mocking your people? The answer is, you don’t.

 

President Putin is a very wise human being and he is a very strong Leader yet it would have been better for the World as a whole if he had only served his first two terms as their President then retired to a villa on the Baltic. 2008, Georgia, a chance for Mr. Putin to regain some National pride for the Russian people. Question for you, how do the Leaders of Countries usually do this? The answer is through their military, a huge Nation goes to war with a little Nation and squashes it. Just my opinion but the former President of Georgia was acting like an idiot by flaunting issue differences in Mr. Putin’s face and he got himself and his country spanked. American politicians have done the same kind of things before like with Cuba in the Spanish-American War, Granada, and Panama. Mr. Putin has restored the pride of the people of Russia yet at the same time it appears he has fallen back into his KGB mindset.

 

President Putin has taken total control of all aspects of Russian Society and when any leader/government does this it always means that the people of their Country lose their freedoms, their lively hoods and sometimes, their lives. President Putin is making some grave mistakes in his dealings with Iran though not so much with his dealings with President Assad in Syria. Even though Mr. Putin’s Mother was a Christian it seems that her knowledge was not passed down to him. Syria under Mr. Assad was much more secular even though it was obvious that he was by no means a Saint, Iran on the other hand is all about the Islamic religion, they are a total different mindset. In Syria Russia has had a major Naval Base for several decades, they were already allies. To not realise that Mr. Putin would step in to help secure his Ally was very short-sighted of Western Leaders. With the selling of 10 billion dollars worth of military equipment to Iran Mr. Putin is giving a ruthless murderer that is up against Russia’s underbelly the weapons that he will sooner or later turn against the Russian people.

 

In my online dictionary I looked up the word ‘Reich’ to make sure of its definition before I used it in this title. The dictionary said that the word ‘Reich’ is from “old High German”. This should not surprise many of us as we have grown up hearing of Hitler and Germany’s 3rd Reich. Hitler considered the First Reich to be the Roman Empire and the Second was under Mr. Bismark during the 1880’s. He did not consider the German Government during World War One to be a ‘Reich’ as he considered it to be weak and not worthy of the title. Then of course Hitler thought his Germany would last a thousand years, he was only wrong by about 990 years. As far as English usage is concerned the dictionary says there was only one ‘Reich’ and it was the Germany of 1871-1945. Here is where I am tying Mr. Putin into the word and the world of “Reich”. The definition of ‘Reich’ is (Empire, Realm, Nation). I believe that President Putin, in his mind, is trying to return to a system of Communism/Czarism. Mr. Putin has made it clear that he is not one who believes in Democracy or Capitalism, but he does believe in Communism and the policies of the old KGB. His actions have proven without a doubt that he has no intention of ever letting go of power in Russia. I am sure he does not want to be known by the German word Führer which means ‘Leader, to lead’ so, maybe, will Mr. Putin decide to someday proclaim himself to be Czar Putin so that he can disperse of the need for future phony elections all together? Remember, ‘Reich’, the Nation/Empire of the ‘New’ Soviet Union under the Realm or Leadership of Czar Putin? I’m just saying, is it possible?

Trump Says Hillary’s Policy’s Will Start WW-3

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 Trump: Clinton’s foreign policy plan would start WW-3
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during an campaign event with employees at Trump National Doral in Miami.Image copyright AP
Image caption Donald Trump: “Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said his rival Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy plan in Syria would trigger World War Three.

He also said the US should focus on defeating so-called Islamic State (IS) rather than removing Syria’s president.

Mrs Clinton has proposed a no-fly zone over Syria. The top US military chief has said that could spell conflict with Russian jets in the region.

The Clinton campaign accused Mr Trump of “playing to Americans’ fears”.

Mr Trump also attacked Republicans for not uniting behind his candidacy.

“If we had party unity, we couldn’t lose this election to Hillary Clinton,” he told Reuters news agency at Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida.

The Republican standard-bearer struck an apocalyptic tone when criticizing his Democratic rival’s plan to control Syrian air space.

“You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” Mr Trump said.

“You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?

“Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk.”

Mr Trump suggested there should be a refocus away from the long-held US position of trying to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying: “What we should do is focus on IS. We should not be focusing on Syria.”

He also suggested Mrs Clinton would be unable to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin after her sharp criticism of him.

Mr Trump questioned “how she is going to go back and negotiate with this man who she has made to be so evil” if she is elected president on 8 November.

The Clinton campaign dismissed the criticism, saying both Republican and Democratic national security experts have denounced Mr Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief.

“Once again, he is parroting Putin’s talking points and playing to Americans’ fears, all while refusing to lay out any plans of his own for defeating ISIS or alleviating humanitarian suffering in Syria,” Clinton spokesman Jesse Lehrich said in a statement.

‘Kill a lot of Syrians’

Mr Trump’s warning of confrontation with Russia echoes concerns raised last month at a congressional hearing by the highest-ranking military officer in the US armed forces.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine Gen Joseph Dunford told lawmakers a “no-fly zone” in Syria could spell war with Russia.

“Right now, senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria it would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia,” Gen Dunford told the Senate Arms Services Committee.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford testifies on Capitol Hill in WashingtonImage copyright AP
Image caption America’s highest-ranking military officer has warned against a US-imposed no-fly zone in Syria

“That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”

At the final presidential debate in Nevada on 20 October, Mrs Clinton outlined her support for the measure.

“A no-fly zone can save lives and hasten the end of the conflict,” she said on stage.

But in a 2013 speech to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, Mrs Clinton said establishing a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians”, according to a transcript disclosed by Wikileaks.

The civilian death toll would result from the US needing to take out Syrian air defenses, which are located in populous areas.

Her policy is not only a disagreement with President Barack Obama, but would be a significant escalation of US involvement in the Syrian conflict.

Mr Trump’s comments come two weeks before election day and as his campaign grapples with a backlash over a string of accusers who have come forward with allegations of sexual assault.

The New York businessman, who is trailing Mrs Clinton in national polls, has railed against media and suggested members of the press were colluding to rig the election against him.

“The people are very angry with the leadership of this party, because this is an election that we will win 100% if we had support from the top,” he said. “I think we’re going to win it anyway.”


What happens next?

  • The two candidates spend the remaining 13 days of campaigning, criss-crossing the country in their bid to persuade undecided voters. Expect to see lots of appearances in battleground states such as Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania
  • Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday 8 November to decide who becomes the 45th president of the US
  • The new president will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017

More on the US election

Clinton and Trump and world leaders

President George H.W. Bush Proven To Be Wiser Than His Son Or Mr. Obama & Hillary

(The American Government Once Again Chooses The Wrong Side In A Civil War)

Just as U.S. President George H.W. Bush did not press on to Baghdad to depose their President America should have stayed out of the Syrian civil war. We have all seen the lessons of replacing Middle East leaders via what President George W. Bush did in Iraq and the lives that has cost in the past, present, and future as we have also seen in Libya. The American government of President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not learn from Iraq or Libya so they decided to help over through the Syrian government, now look at the mess almost six years in the running. There is no way our government can retreat and save face in the Arab world but exiting from the fight against the Syrian government is the only thing we really can do. I am not saying that we should stop trying to kill the ISIS fighters even though killing them does help the Syrian government to stay in power. Our efforts would have been better used if we had been trying to find a way to help the Kurdish people to find a truce with Turkey and Iraq and to help them find a piece of land that they can call home where they can live in peace! Instead we have spent billions of dollars training and supplying Islamic groups who are trying to over through the Syrian government. These are groups that hate the U.S. and all we stand for, they only like our money and the things they can do with it they don’t give a damn about us or our culture. Today I read on a news article (Reuters I think) where 44 Afghan troops that were training here in the States have gone AWOL during the past two years. The questions are, did they defect in an effort to live a better life style here in the States, or did they defect to later show up as enemy combatants/terrorist?

Syria: Once Again U.S. Government On The Wrong Side Of The Issues In A War

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)

Assad offers rebels amnesty if they surrender Aleppo

 (Just as U.S. President George H.W. Bush did not press on to Baghdad to depose their President America should have stayed out of the Syrian civil war. We have all seen the lessons of replacing Middle-East leaders via what President George W. Bush did in Iraq and the lives that has cost in the past, present, and future as we have also seen in Libya. The American government of President Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not learn from Iraq or Libya so they decided to help over through the Syrian government, now look at the mess almost six years in the running. There is no way our government can retreat and save face in the Arab world but exiting from the fight against the Syrian government is the only thing we really can do. I am not saying that we should stop trying to kill the ISIS fighters even though killing them does help the Syrian government to stay in power. Our efforts would have been better used if we had been trying to find a way to help the Kurdish people to find a truce with Turkey and Iraq and to help them find a piece of land that they can call home where they can live in peace!)
By Ellen Francis and Tom Miles | BEIRUT/GENEVA

Rebels holed up in Aleppo can leave with their families if they lay down their arms, President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday, vowing to press on with the assault on Syria’s largest city and recapture full control of the country.

The offer of amnesty follows two weeks of the heaviest bombardment of the five-and-a-half-year civil war, which has killed hundreds of people trapped inside Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern sector and torpedoed a U.S.-backed peace initiative.

Fighters have accepted similar government amnesty offers in other besieged areas in recent months, notably in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus that was under siege for years until rebels surrendered it in August.

However, rebels said they had no plan to evacuate Aleppo, the last major urban area they control, and denounced the amnesty offer as a deception.

“It’s impossible for the rebel groups to leave Aleppo because this would be a trick by the regime,” Zakaria Malahifji, a Turkey-based official for the Fastaqim group which is present in Aleppo, told Reuters. “Aleppo is not like other areas, it’s not possible for them to surrender.”

Washington was also skeptical of government motives: “For them to suggest that somehow they’re now looking out for the interests of civilians is outrageous,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, citing the heavy civilian toll from air strikes and bombardment.

The army announced a reduction in shelling and air strikes on Wednesday to allow people to leave. It backed that up with an ultimatum: “All those who do not take advantage of the provided opportunity to lay down their arms or to leave will face their inevitable fate.”

The government also sent text messages to the mobile phones of some of those people trapped in the besieged sector, telling them to repudiate fighters in their midst. More than 250,000 people are believed to be trapped inside rebel-held eastern Aleppo, facing dire shortages of food and medicine.

Speaking to Danish television, Assad said he would “continue the fight with the rebels until they leave Aleppo. They have to. There’s no other option.”

He said that he wanted rebels to accept a deal to leave the city along with their families and travel to other rebel-held areas, as in Daraya. Neither Assad nor his generals gave a timeline for rebels to accept their offer.

Washington accuses Moscow and Damascus of war crimes for intentionally targeting civilians, aid deliveries and hospitals to break the will of those trapped in the besieged city. Russia and Syria accuse the United States of supporting terrorists by backing rebel groups.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the relentless Russian and Syrian bombardments could result in the fall of rebel-held eastern Aleppo within “weeks if not days”.

“It’s unclear how long they will last, but considering the destruction of infrastructure that supports life, they are hanging by a thread,” the U.S. official said. “There is only so much they can endure.

The war has already killed hundreds of thousands, made half of Syrians homeless, dragged in global and regional powers and left swathes of the country in the hands of jihadists from Islamic State who have carried out attacks around the globe.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Denmark’s TV 2, in this handout picture provided by SANA on October 6, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

The United States and Russia are both fighting against Islamic State but are on opposite sides in the wider civil war, with Moscow fighting to protect Assad and Washington supporting rebels against him.

Storming Aleppo’s rebel-held zone, which includes big parts of the densely populated Old City, could take months and cause a bloodbath, the U.N. Syria envoy warned on Thursday.

“The bottom line is in a maximum of two months, two and a half months, the city of eastern Aleppo at this rate may be totally destroyed,” said Staffan de Mistura, invoking the 1990s atrocities of the Rwandan genocide and Yugoslavia’s civil war.

LIGHTER BOMBARDMENT

Residents of eastern Aleppo said the aerial bombardment was significantly lighter overnight and on Thursday after the government’s statement, but they said heavy fighting continued on the front lines and people were afraid.

The army and its allies, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Shi’ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon backed by Russian air power, seized half of the Bustan al-Basha quarter of Aleppo, north of the Old City on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, reported.

“The bombardment decreased a lot in the eastern districts, but there’s a sense of foreboding … people are still scared. And because there’s still the siege, there’s nothing at all in the shops,” said Ibrahim Abu al-Laith, a Civil Defense official in eastern Aleppo.

Amir, a resident of the rebel-held district who did not want to be identified with his family name, said it was true that air strikes had diminished, but that he had not yet seen any way for civilians to leave the area. “It’s not true that there are safe crossings,” he said.

Residents in eastern Aleppo forwarded to Reuters text messages they said had been sent by their telecom provider carrying a government warning urging them to distance themselves from rebels and to depart.

“Our people in Aleppo: save your lives by rejecting the terrorists and isolating them from you,” read one message. “Our dear people in the eastern districts of Aleppo! Come out to meet your brothers and sisters,” read another.

Meanwhile, rebels continued the shelling of residential areas of government-held western Aleppo, where dozens of people have also been killed since the end of a ceasefire two weeks ago. The Observatory said 10 people were killed 52 wounded in government-held areas of Aleppo city by rebels on Thursday.

The government-held western districts of the city are still home to more than 1.5 million civilians who face far less daily danger than in rebel-held areas. Video footage obtained by Reuters showed people in the city enjoying a night club in the Seryan district, while war rages in the east.

MILITANT GROUP

Russia says it is targeting the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s Syrian branch which changed its name in July and says it broke ties with the network founded by Osama bin Laden.

The U.N. envoy De Mistura on Thursday urged Moscow and Damascus to accept a deal under which the fighters of that group would leave the city, while other insurgents and civilians would be allowed to remain.

He said there were fewer than 1,000 members of the hard-line Islamist group inside Aleppo, part of a contingent of around 8,000 rebel fighters, and offered to lead them out of the city himself to guarantee their safety.

Russian presidential envoy Mikhail Bogdanov said it was “high time” such an offer was made, but it was not immediately clear if Moscow was also willing to stop the bombing.

A U.S. State Department official said he could not confirm De Mistura’s estimate of less than 1,000 Nusra fighters in Aleppo, though he said Washington believed the group’s adherents were a minority of the opposition fighters in the city.

“We’re not able to verify that that’s accurate,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Asked if De Mistura actually carried out his proposal to escort the fighters out of Aleppo it might simply make it easier for Syrian forces to take the city because some of their most effective opponents would have been removed, the official replied: “potentially.”

Distinguishing between fighters from the former Nusra Front and other groups has been difficult in the past, including during the week-long ceasefire which collapsed last month when the army launched its offensive.

Russia accused the United States of failing to ensure that other rebels separated themselves from Nusra, which Moscow and Washington both regard as a terrorist group excluded from the ceasefire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Paris on Oct. 19 to discuss Syria with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, the only diplomatic track still active over efforts to bring peace to the country.

In his Danish TV interview, Assad accused Washington of using Nusra as a proxy, and said this was why the ceasefire had collapsed.

“It’s an American card. Without al-Nusra, the Americans cannot have any real, let’s say, concrete and effective card in the Syrian arena,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay and Doina Chiacu in Washington, John Irish in Paris and Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Peter Graff and James Dalgleish)

UN: Aleppo Bombing Are A War Crime: So Are Presidents Putin & Assad War Criminals?

 

This past week as the very weak humanitarian cease-fire in Aleppo Syria broke down Russian and Syrian Jets restarted bombing the eastern half of this once beautiful city. The UN says there are still more than 250,000 civilians ‘trapped’ in the eastern half of the city that ‘the rebels’ still control. In reality almost all of Syria has become a stew of who hates who, who is backing who, and who is killing whom today. The UN says the people of the city are trapped and starving and have no way out from the conflict. We have heard in the past few days that Russian and Syrian Jets have been bombing and shelling pretty much anything and every thing not caring whom they kill. This sounds a bit like Hitler ordering the bombing of London during WW-2. We hear on our evening news how the hospitals in Aleppo have been bombed several times and that the Syrian government is using Barrel Bombs on the population. They have also been know to use chemical weapons of the citizens several times during this almost six-year Civil War. The UN says that the actions by Russia and Syria do amount to War Crimes. So my friends, my question is simple. If in deed these are by legal definition War Crimes, should anyone be charged with these crimes? These crimes are in fact ‘mass murder’ so does the World Court in the Netherlands at the Hague actually hold anyone in either government as the ‘criminals?’ Or is the Hague really just a paper tiger that only holds weak small third world countries Leaders at fault for their crimes? I ask you for your opinion, will Presidents Putin of Russia and President Assad of Syria be charged as War Criminals and put out warrants for their arrest? I believe that the answer to that is no. I don’t think they have the guts to charge President Putin with anything just as they did not charge President George W Bush, VP Dick Cheney or Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for their illegal actions in Iraq. Folks, this article is just my opinion. Time will tell us all if I am correct or not. I believe I am going to be right on this issue or I wouldn’t have written this article to you. I wouldn’t bet the title to the farm on it, but then again, I don’t bet, I don’t have a farm and I don’t have a title. I hope you all have a great day, stay safe, stay out of Aleppo, God’s blessings to you all.