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Updated: 9 hours 42 min ago

Houthis Strike Power Plant In Southern Saudi Arabia With “Cruise Missile”

16 hours 30 min ago

Illustrative image, source: the Houthis media wing

For the second time this month, the Houthis used what they described as a “cruise missile” in an attack on a strategic facility in southern Saudi Arabia.

The new attack, which occurred in the late hours of June 19, targeted a major power plant in the area of al-Shuqaiq in the Kingdom’s southern province of Jizan, according to the al-Masirah TV.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, said that the new missile strike was a response to the “continued crimes” of the Saudi-led coalition and to the siege imposed on Yemen.

“There are great surprises coming, God willing, we will target positions that are more sensitive for the Saudi regime if it continues to escalate [the situation],” Sari added.

Last week, the Houthis also launched a “cruise missile” at the Abha International Airport in southern Saudi Arabia. The missile hit the airport with high-accuracy rendering it out of service and injuring dozens of civilians.

The Houthis had used real cruise missiles before. In 2017, the Iranian-backed group launched what is suspected to be an Iranian Soumar cruise missile at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. However, the missile failed minutes after launch and crashed in northern Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition has not commented on the Houthis’ claims, so far. However, the upcoming few hours will likely reveal more details about the attack.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

The Trump-Bolton Duo Is Just Like the Bush-Cheney Duo: Warmongers Using Lies to Start Illegal Wars

17 hours 6 min ago

Written by Prof Rodrigue Tremblay; Originally appeared Global Research

[False flag operations:] “The powers-that-be understand that to create the appropriate atmosphere for war, it’s necessary to create within the general populace a hatred, fear or mistrust of others regardless of whether those others belong to a certain group of people or to a religion or a nation.” James Morcan (1978- ), New Zealander-born Australian writer.

[Definition: A ‘false flag operation’ is a horrific, staged event—blamed on a political enemy—and used as pretext to start a war or to enact draconian laws in the name of national security].

Almost all wars begin with false flag operations.” Larry Chin (d. of b. unknown), North American author, (in ‘False Flagging the World towards War. The CIA Weaponizes Hollywood’, Dec. 27, 2014).

Definition of reverse projection: attributing to others what you are doing yourself as the reason for attacking them.” John McMurtry (1939- ), Canadian philosopher, (in ‘The Moral Decoding of 9-11: Beyond the U.S. Criminal State’, Journal of 9/11 Studies, Feb.2013).

That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true; but when those who are concerned in the government of a country, make it their study to sow discord, and cultivate prejudices between nations, it becomes the more unpardonable.” Thomas Paine (1737-1809), American Founding father, pamphleteer, (in ‘The Rights of Man’, c. 1792).

I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, and we stoleIt was like — we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. Mike Pompeo (1963- ), former CIA director and now Secretary of State in the Trump administration, (in April 2019, while speaking at Texas A&M University.)

***

History repeats itself. Indeed, those who live by war are at it again. Their crime: starting illegal wars by committing false flag attacks and blaming other countries for their own criminal acts. On this, the Donald Trump-John Bolton duo is just like the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney duo. It is amazing that in an era of 24-hour news, this could still going on.

We recall that in 2002-2003, the latter duo, with the help of U.K.’s Tony Blair, lied their way into a war of aggression against Iraq, by pretending that Saddam Hussein had a massive stockpile of “weapons of mass destruction”and that he was ready to attack the United States proper. On October 6, 2002, George W. Bush scared Americans with his big Mushroom Cloud analogy.  —It was all bogus. —It was a pure fabrication that the gullible (!) U.S. Congress, the corporate media, and most of the American public, swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Now, in 2019, a short sixteen years later, the same stratagem seems to being used to start another illegal war of aggression, this time against the country of Iran. The masters of deception are at it again. Their secret agents and those of their Israeli and Saudi allies, in the Middle East, seem to have just launched an unprovoked attack, in international waters, against a Japanese tanker, and they have rushed to the cameras to accuse Iran. They claim that the latter country used mines to attack the tanker.

This time, they were unlucky. —The owner of the Japanese tanker, the Kokuka Courageous, immediately rebuked that “official” version. Yutaka Katada, president of the Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, declared that the attack came from a bombing from above the water. Indeed, Mr. Katada told reporters:

Source: The Washington Post

The crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something came flying toward them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the vessel.”

His company issued a statement saying that “the hull (of the ship) has been breached above the waterline on the starboard side”, and it was not hit by a mine below the waterline, as the Trump administration has insinuated. —[N. B.: There was also a less serious attack on a Norwegian ship, the Front Altair.]

Thus, this time the false flag makers have not succeeded. But, you can be sure that they will be back at it, sooner or later, just as they, and their well financed al-Qaeda allies, launched a few false flag “chemical” attacks in Syria, and blamed them on the Syrian Assad government.

Donald Trump has too much to gain personally from a nice little war to distract the media and the public from the Mueller report and from all his mounting political problems. In his case, he surely would benefit from a “wag-the-dog” scenario that John Bolton and his friends in the Middle East could easily invent. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, warmonger John Bolton was coincidently in the Middle East, in the United Arab Emirates, just before the attacks!

Besides the Japanese ship owner’s denial, it is important to point out that  at the moment of the attack on the Japanese tanker, the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, was in Iran, having talks with the Iranian government about economic cooperation between the two countries about oil shipments. Since Iran is the victim of unilateral U. S. economic sanctions, to derail such an economic cooperation between Japan and Iran could have been the triggered motivation to launch a false flag operation. It did not work. But you can be sure that the responsible party will not be prosecuted.

Conclusion

We live in an era when people with low morals, sponsored by people with tons of money, can gain power and do a lot of damage. How our democracies can survive in such a context remains an open question.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay.

International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, of the book “The New American Empire”, and the recent book, in French “La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018“. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Blocking Crimea. A New Border-style Checkpoint at the Kerch Strait Bridge

17 hours 14 min ago

The Kerch Strait Bridge. Click to see the full-size image

Moscow continues its efforts to strengthen security of the Kerch Strait Bridge that links the Republic of Crimea with mainland Russia.

A checkpoint of the Interior Ministry has been recently established on the Crimean side of the Kerch Strait Bridge, near the city of Kerch. The cost of the project is around 88 million rubles (around 1,350,000 USD).

A general look at the region. Click to see the full-size image

The decision to establish the checkpoint came in the framework of further actions to esnure security of this key infrastructure object. Russia has been steadily working in this direction. The need of such efforts became obvious on November 25, 2018 when the government of then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko staged a provocation in the Kerch Strait area. As a result of the encounter between Russian coastal guards and the Ukrainian Navy, the Russian side detaned 3 Ukrainian ships.

The campaign to strengthen security in the area as well as in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov continued in late 2018 and early 2018. One of the employed measures is the deployment of additional patrol ships and other forces.

For example, On June 11, the Russian Black Sea Fleet received its latest patrol ship the Project 22160 Dmitryi Rogachev after a flag-raising ceremony at the Novorossiysk Naval Base. The patrol ship Dmitry Rogachev is  the second serial ship of the project 22160. The ship was designed and built using the modular concept of weapons. The lead project 22160 Vasily Bykov patrol ship was delivered to the Black Sea Fleet on December 20th, 2018. 4 more patrol ships are expected to be delivered to the Black Sea Fleet between 2020 and 2023

Nonetheless, something strange is happening at the newly established checkpoint at the Kerch Strait Bridge, according to data received by SouthFront from Crimea over the past few weeks.

Accounts of eyewitnesses regarding the situation on the spot generate questions. People leaving Crimea towards mainland Russia are especially concerned. According to their accounts, there is an enormous level of the security at the checkpoint. The situation can be compared with crossing of a state border.

For example, passengers of long-distance regular buses have to leave the vehicles where they pass a portal body scanner. Passengers’ luggage, including hand baggage, is checked via security scanners. Often the baggage becomes a subject to physical inspection. Security service personnel ask passengers to unpack their bags. There is also a total passport control. Documents are checked and scanned. The difference between this and crossing of some state border is that in the case of Crimea there are no visa checks, registration of migration cards and stamping of the corresponding stamps.

Such actions take a significant amount of time from travelers and go contrary to one of the concepts of the Kerch Strait Bridge – a freedom of movement of people across the country. This situation is especially disturbing people of riper years.

Officially, this situation is described as a part of the ongoing campaign to boost security of the infrastructure object and prevent possible incidents, which may appear because of the complicated situation in the region. At the same time, a part of the locals already see this case as a kind of signal of the possible separation or autonomisation of Crimea from Russia.

The explanation, which is closer to the common practice, is the traditional lack of proper performance of the duty and instructions. There are no doubts in the need to ensure security of the bridge. The deployment of additional forces and employment of various means to achieve this goal are logical. However, the practice demonstrates that formalism, spasms of “can-do” spirit and attempts to get nice performance reports may create additional and unexpected tensions in such a sensitive region as Crimea.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Syrian Army Uncovers Large ISIS Hideout, Weapons In Southern Deir Ezzor (Photos)

18 hours 55 min ago

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) uncovered a large hideout of ISIS cells near the town of al-Quriyah in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside on June 19, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).

Inside the hideout, the army found several assault rifles, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, military uniforms and flags of the terrorist group.

“The hideout was being used by terrorists of ISIS organization to coordinate their terrorist attacks in Deir Ezzor countryside, which witnessed increasing attacks by the remnants of the terrorist group, recently,” The SANA’s reporter in Deir Ezzor said.

Earlier this week, the SAA uncovered two large weapons workshops of ISIS in Deir Ezzor and Raqqa. The workshops contained over 12,000 mortar shells and loads of explosive materials.

The SAA has apparently intensified its combing operations in Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Homs in a bid to counter ISIS’s attempts to resurface in central Syria.

Photos:

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Houthis Destroy Eleven Saudi-led Coalition Armored Vehicles In Southern ‘Asir (Videos)

20 hours 35 sec ago

The Houthis carried out two attacks on positions of the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies in the area of al-Majaza al-Gharbiyah in the Kingdom’s southern province of ‘Asir on June 17 and 18.

In the first attack, the Houthis destroyed six armored vehicles and pick-up trucks of the coalition with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and rocket-propelled grenades.

Another five armored vehicles were destroyed in the second attack. Houthi fighters also captured loads of weapons, which had been left behind by coalition forces.

Saudi warplanes and attack helicopters carried out several airstrikes on Houthi positions in southern ‘Asir in an attempt to repel the attacks. However, the airstrikes were not effective.

The Houthis stepped up their attacks in the Kingdom’s southern part in the last few months proving that their military presence in the region is stronger than ever. The Saudi-led coalition suffered from heavy loses as a result of these attacks.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Saudi Armed Forces released a comment on the current situation:

Click to see the full-size image

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Mainstream Media Is Obsessed With ‘Problems’ In Russian-Chinese Cooperation

20 hours 8 min ago

Click to see full-size image

Following the June 5th meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, MSM began a new propaganda campaign, that is aimed at throwing shade over the expanding Chinese-Russian relations.

A very recent example of the new campaign is a report by Germany’s Die Welt, which claims that “If even Putin is afraid [of Xi Jinping] then help us God.”

According to it, the China-US trade war, among other things has created a necessity for the improvement of relations with Russia, but not on equal terms. And according to the report, the Russians fear the Chinese.

As China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia showed, relations between countries are developing more than ever: China’s share in Russian trade has almost doubled over the past five years. Only in 2018, trade turnover grew by almost a quarter and amounted to $108 billion.

However, according to Die Welt, when building relations, Moscow and Beijing are not equal. Although China is interested in its northern neighbor as a supplier of raw materials, Russia plays a minor role in Chinese exports. Since Moscow needs Beijing as a potential investor who will replace the “Wes”t, Beijing is taking advantage of this and taking a tough stance in negotiations, aiming at really “tasty morsels.”

As the newspaper notes, while the Kremlin is trying to keep its composure while looking at its “poor hand”, the Russian people are allegedly skeptical of China. Although in the survey on Russia’s closest allies, China was in second place after Belarus. Nonetheless, Die Welt claimed  that in private conversations, almost no one hides skepticism and fear of the Chinese. One of the main speculations is that Beijing will “take over” the territory in the east of Russia. This fear, according to the article, comes from being under the Tatar-Mongol yoke.

It is also noted that the head of the People’s Republic of China is the only leader who has not been “teased” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Die Welt diplomatic sources in Moscow and Beijing, Xi Jinping will not ignore the insults. Also, the leader of China, is the only person for a meeting with whom Putin is never late, while other colleagues and high-ranking delegations have to wait for the meeting for hours.

Now, nonsensical as that seems, Die Welt got some things right. The Chinese-US trade war is among the reasons behind the rapidly developing Chinese-Russian cooperation. In addition to that, what reinforces the drive to improving relations is the US unhidden interest in Taiwan’s “independence,” their continuous freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea.

On Russia’s side, it is no secret that the US accuses the Kremlin of meddling in almost everything that can potentially be meddled in – elections in the US, in Africa, in Europe.

Allegedly Russia “blackmails” the EU in its natural gas economic “trap.” Russians are doing God-knows-what in Africa, especially in Central Africa.

China is also being accused of attempting to spread its influence in Africa, and of course it is malign.

And the Arctic, Russia said it would cooperate with China in the region, of course that wouldn’t stand for the US, since the US wants to lead the way in the Arctic and profit from its massive resources.

The only issue is that the US doesn’t nearly have the capability to do so, even if Russia didn’t have the world’s biggest Ice Breaker fleet, and China actively working on constructing its own massive Nuclear Icebreaker.

With the US’ recent antagonism it has become more than apparent for Beijing that being neutral, and only barely supporting a multipolar global status quo was impossible, especially since that neutrality is beginning to put its interests under direct and significant threat – be it economic, diplomatic, military, etc.

The examples of its interests being under duress are numerous: the Huawei ban, the US tariffs, the continuous “exercises” in the South China Sea, the general discontent with the Belt and Road Initiative.

At the same time, Russia is customarily antagonized by the US and many of its interest correlate with those of China.

Russia is an important partner of Beijing in energy and military-technical cooperation spheres, and a key partner in some regions around the globe.

During Xi Jinping’s visit, he and Vladimir Putin visited a Chinese car manufacturing plant in Russia that began work recently. According to data from March 2018, China’s weapons contracts with Russia are worth approximately $7 billion.

The Vostok 2018 military exercise was the biggest ever since Soviet times. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu said Moscow engaged in tri-service mock-operations involving 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 military aircraft, two of Russia’s naval fleets and all its airborne units.

China’s Ministry of National Defense announced it sent nearly 3,200 troops, 900 weapons, and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to the exercise.

In the post-USSR regions both Russia and China have strong interest and are concerned with keeping stability. The same goes for the Korean Peninsula, which both countries are trying to assist in currently.

In Africa, Chinese and Russian interests appear to be less aligned, but at the same time, they are both strongly antagonized by the US, which in itself pushes them to cooperate. The same goes for Latin America, and specifically Venezuela.

In terms of diplomacy, it is quite apparent that the US is attempting to reinforce its global dominance, which appears to be failing in recent years, by fueling coups, supporting “moderate rebels”, opposition in various countries and so on. The sanction regime blackmail is still an active tool of the US.

Both China and Russia are hindered by these actions and have a direct interest in counteracting them.

Going directly against its recent, at least formal, neutrality are many of the economic projects that were inked with Russia over the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, when Xi visited on June 5th.

As a result of the meeting, the following was concluded:

  • Cooperation on the production and sale of LNG is being increased. The third stage of the Yamal LNG plant opened in November, one year ahead of schedule. A sizeable share in this plant – almost 30 percent (29.9 percent) belongs to China. We welcome cooperation on another large project – Arctic LNG 2;
  • The possibility of creating a Russian-Chinese agricultural holding company in the Primorye Territory with an investment of 10 billion rubles is being discussed;
  • The two sides agreed on establishing two more interregional cooperation mechanisms between Russia’s Central Federal District and North China, as well as between our Northwestern Federal District and the maritime provinces of Southeast China;
  • Both leaders signed a joint statement on strengthening global strategic stability that emphasizes the principled stand of Russia and China that any attempts to destroy the existing system of agreements on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation are unacceptable;
  • Both countries share identical assessments of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and are carrying out a joint roadmap to solve the situation;
  • The countries reaffirmed their intention to continue building up bilateral cooperation within the framework of the UN, the SCO, BRICS, the G20, APEC and other leading multilateral venues;
  • Russia would continue efforts to link the EAEU integration processes with the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt Initiative;

Recent blocks of UN resolutions on Venezuela, Libya, among others show that Beijing has given up on neutrality and decided the time has come to counteract unilateralism.

Rather than Russia being secretly afraid of China, while celebrating 70 years of successful relations, it is mostly the US that is intimidated by a closer China-Russia relationship.

And it is ironic that Washington is creating the reality that it fears by its own actions. Naturally, there will be attempts to try and reverse the situation, but it may be too little too late.

A similar example could be seen in Syria, with reports by US and Israeli media claiming of various spats and issues between Russia and Iran. And it is not unlikely that both countries have their own agenda for the post-conflict scenario, but there are nowhere near cause to lead to tensions, to the degree alleged by media.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Syrian War Report – June 19, 2019: New Militant Attack In Hama Ends In Disaster

Wed, 2019-06-19 23:42
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On June 18, the joint forces of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Turkish-backed militant groups launched an assault on several positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Hama.

The so-called “moderate opposition” reportedly used at least two suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive devices. One exploded near SAA positions in Jalamah. Another one was eliminated in the nearby area. At the same time, clashes were reported near Sheikh Hadid, Qiratah and Jub Suleiman.

By June 19, the militant attack had been fully repelled by the SAA. Despite this, pro-militant media outlets claimed that all devices had worked as intended and “Assad regime forces” had suffered dozens of casualties. According to pro-government sources, the militants lost up to 30 killed or injured fighters, and 6 pieces of military equipment, including a battle tank.

The militant advance also triggered a new round of Syrian airstrikes on their infrastructure in southern Idlib and northern Hama.

The SAA halted offensive actions in the area last week in the framework of the temporary ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia. However, this move does not seem to be appreciated by the so-called opposition.

Clashes between the SAA and ISIS erupted north of the town of al-Sukhna in the Homs province. ISIS cells reportedly ambushed at least one SAA checkpoint there. There are no confirmed reports regarding the casualties.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) detained nearly 100 people in the town of Tayaneh on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, according to Syrian state media. The SDF also stormed the village of Shwehan arresting 11 more people. Reports claim that the raids came in response to the locals’ refusal to hand over their crops of wheat and barley to the US-backed militias. Earlier reports appeared that SDF units were burning crops in farms that do not support the SDF’s administration policy. Pro-SDF sources deny this.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

UAE Deployed Russian-Made Pantsir-S1 Air-Defense System In Libya (Photos)

Wed, 2019-06-19 23:38

On June 18, Libyan sources released several photos showing units of the Libyan National Army (LNA) escorting a Russian-made Pantsir-S1 air-defense system near al-Jufra Airbase in the central part of the country.

Click to see full-size image

The system showed by the photos is wheeled on German-made MAN SX 45 8×8 trucks. This variant is in service with the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces only, which leaves no doubts about the origin of the system.

The Pantsir-S1, which designed to defend installations, is armed with two dual 2A38M 30 mm autocannon guns along with up to twelve radio-command-guided 57E6 surface-to-air missiles with an operational range of 20 km and a flight altitude of 10 km.

Click to see full-size image

The UAE’s decision to supply such an advanced air-defense system to the LNA was likely a response to the increasing Turkish involvement in Libya. Earlier this month, Libyan sources confirmed that Ankara deployed several unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) in the country to support forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA).

The Pantsir-S1 system will not be effective against the Turkish UCAVs only, but also against the aged warplanes of the GNA’s air force. This will likely give the LNA a major advantage and give the Libyan Air Force (LAF) a chance to gain aerial superiority.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Russia, Syrian Warplanes Struck Idlib City For First Time In Months

Wed, 2019-06-19 22:29

10/04/2015 Russian servicemen attach a Kh-25 high-precision missile to a Su-24 aircraft at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria. Dmitriy Vinogradov/RIA Novosti

On June 18 and 19, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) stuck several militants targets in the outskirt of Idlib’s city center for the first time in three months.

Opposition activists said that the Russian and Syrian airstrikes targeted several positions around the city, including the district of al-Sina’a. Many workshops and small factories are reportedly located there.

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies are known for storing weapons inside civilian buildings in Idlib’s city center and around it. In late 2017, a truck carrying ammo for the group exploded near a football stadium in the heart of the city. More than a year later, an ammo depot located inside Idlib’s collage exploded.

Despite this, the Russian Aerospace Forces and the SyAAF usually avoid hitting targets inside Idlib’s city center as the area is heavily populated.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Moscow Says Result Of Upcoming Russian-US-Israeli Meeting In Jerusalem Could Stabilize Syria

Wed, 2019-06-19 21:24

Israel flag with a view of old city Jerusalem and the KOTEL- Western wall

The results of the upcoming Russian-US-Israeli meeting could stabilize the situation in Syria and the entire Middle East, Yevgeny Anoshin, spokesman for the secretary of the Russian Security Council, revealed on June 19.

Russia’s Security Council Secretary, Nikolay Patrushev, US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, and Israel’s National Security Advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat, will lead the meeting which will be held in the city of Jerusalem next week.

“We hope our joint work will yield common practical steps aimed at stabilizing the situation in Syria and the entire Middle East,” Anoshin said, according to the Russian news agency, TASS.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared the same optimistic view on the meeting. During a recent memorial ceremony in Jaffa the Israeli PM said that the meeting is “very important for the stability of the Middle East during these turbulent times.”

Earlier this month, Asharq al-Awsat reported that the US will offer a new deal on Syria for Russia. According to the London-based newspaper, under the deal Washington will lift sanctions of Damascus and recognize the legitimacy of the current government there, in exchange for several measures that would “minimize” Iran influence in the war-torn country and boost the political process.

Russia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Vershinin, had denied Aharq al-Awsat’s claims. On June 6, Vershinin said that Moscow is not discussing any deals on Syria with Washington or Tel Aviv.

While the chances of reaching a “deal” on Syria during Jerusalem meeting remain low. Russia, the U.S. and Israel could reach an understanding over several issues related to Syria during the meeting, such as the Iranian military presence and the situation in Greater Idlib.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Washington’s Negotiator With Taliban: US Does Not Seek Troops ‘Withdrawal Agreement’

Wed, 2019-06-19 20:34

ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE

The US does not seek “a withdrawal agreement”, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on June 19 adding that Washington’s  goal is a “comprehensive peace agreement”.

(1/3) As we prepare for the next round of talks with the Taliban, important to remember we seek a comprehensive peace agreement, NOT a withdrawal agreement.

— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) June 18, 2019

(3/3) As I've said on numerous occasions, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

— U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (@US4AfghanPeace) June 18, 2019

Most likely, Khalilzad’s remarks were a response to a statement by the Taliban’s Qatar office spokesman Suhail Shaheen. The Taliban representative said on June 18 that the United States has “accepted” a full troops withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The exact date will be announced today or tomorrow that when the seventh round [of talks] will start. It is clear that when the Americans announce their decision on the timeline of the withdrawal of their forces, it will open the way for intra-Afghan talks so that we can decide on the future government and intra-Afghan talks,” Shaheen said.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

In Video: Russian Fighter Jets Intercept U.S. B-52H Strategic Bombers Near Crimea, Over Baltic Sea

Wed, 2019-06-19 20:02

On June 18, Russian Su-27 fighter jets intercepted U.S. Air Force B-52H strategic bombers above the Black Sea, near Crimea, and the Baltic Sea.

“The crews of Russian Su-27 fighter jets … have intercepted US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers, that approached Russian state border from the Black and Baltic seas,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Over the past years, the US and NATO have dramatically increased its military activities along the Russian border. In 2019, Russia was repeatedly forced to scramble fighter jets to intercept US aircraft, including spy planes, moving towards its borders.

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Categories: Foreign Policy

Syrian Army Uncovers Two Large ISIS Workshops With Over 12,000 Mortar Shells (Video)

Wed, 2019-06-19 19:57

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) uncovered two large ISIS weapons workshops during recent search operations in southern Raqqa and eastern Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on June 17.

The first workshop, which was founded near the town of Zur Shmir in Raqqa, including over 12,000 locally-made mortar shells of different. The second one was located near the city of al-Mayadin in Deir Ezzor. It contained loads of explosive materials.

“The SAA’s unit and the authorities recovered ISIS terrorists’ remnants [mortars] in a careful and a precise manned in order to prevent them from exploding … Work is undergoing to fully clean the area in order to secure it,” the SANA’s reporter said.

The SAA, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, liberated both Zur Shmir and al-Mayadin in 2017 following fierce clashes with ISIS terrorists.

In the last year, the army uncovered several ISIS workshops and ammo depots in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. The terrorist group had located most of its strategic facilities in the two governorates believing that its enemies will not be able to reach them.

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Military Situation In Libya On June 19, 2019 (Map Update)

Wed, 2019-06-19 19:33

A brief overview of the current situation in Libya:

  • According to pro-GNA media, the Government of National Accord (GNA) Air Force destroyed a Sukhoi aircraft at Watiya Airbase;
  • Clashes between the GNA and the Libyan National Army (LNA) continue around Tripoli Airport;
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said that a total of 691 people have been killed since the start of the battle for Tripoli;
  • The LNA allegedly received a Pantsir-S1 system from the UAE. The photo is still not confirmed.

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Russian Security Forces Crack Down On Large Terrorism Financing Network

Wed, 2019-06-19 19:08

Russian security forces a carrying out a large-scale campaign to neutralize a terrorism financing network, the Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement on June 19.

According to the statement, raids were already carried out in the city of Moscow and the following regions: Moscow Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Astrakhan Oblast, Stavropol Krai and the Republic of Dagestan. The Federal Security Service, the Centre for Combating Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other security services are involved.

At least 2 suspects were detained in Moscow and Moscow Oblast:

https://southfront.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/1-4.mp4

According to investigators, the terrorism financing network, which acted in the period from 2014 to 2017, was acting in Russia in favour of ISIS. The group involved Russian citizens from Dagestan in order to establish a financing network across Russia. The network collected around 8 million rubles (around 123,000 USD). Criminal cases were already opened against some of the people that contributed money.

It’s interesting to note that the network was acting in such financially prosperous regions as Moscow Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Krasnoyarsk Krai and Astrakhan Oblast. Another factor is the ethno-national composition of the group: Most of its members are person originally from Dagestan, Chechnya, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia.

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ISIS Killed 17 Syrian Soldiers In Series Of Attacks In Eastern Homs: Monitoring Group

Wed, 2019-06-19 18:59

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ISIS cells killed 17 soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in a series of attacks in the eastern Homs countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed on June 19.

According to the monitoring group, most of the attacks took place near the villages of al-Mudir and al-Kawm. Both villages are located in the outskirt of the town of al-Sukhnah, which recently witnessed several attacks by the terrorist group.

“The number of the organization’s [ISIS] fighters who were killed during the same clashes has risen to 6,” the SOHR’s report reads.

These attacks were apparently launched from the Homs desert, where hundreds of ISIS fighters and commanders were reportedly hiding. The vast desert lays between western Deir Ezzor and eastern Homs.

The terrorist group recently intensified its activities in eastern Homs in what appears to be an attempt to strength its influence in central Syria. Despite suffering from heavy loses, the army has prevented the group from achieving this goal, so far.

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HTS And Its Allies Suffered From Catastrophic Losses In Recent Hama Attack (Photos)

Wed, 2019-06-19 18:07

Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its Turkish-backed allies suffered from catastrophic losses in their recent failed attack in the northern Hama countryside.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) released on June 19 several photos showing some of HTS’ losses, including 3 destroyed vehicles and the dead bodies of 10 militants. According to pro-government sources, the terrorist group also lost two battle tanks and an armored vehicle.

While the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 37 militants were killed in the attack, a military source told Muraselon, a pro-government outlet, that the army killed at least 65 fighters of HTS and its allies.

HTS attempted to hide its loses by claiming that the attack was limited, as usual. However, the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) acknowledged that it had lost “dozens of fighters” in an official statement.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) could take advantage of the militants’ low morale and launch a ground attack to recapture the towns of Jibeen and Tell Meleh, which were lost earlier this month.

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Military Situation In Syria On June 19, 2019 (Map Update)

Wed, 2019-06-19 17:46

A brief overview of the recent developments in Syria:

  • The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) repelled all militant attacks in northern Hama;
  • Clashes between the SAA and ISIS cells were reported north of al-Sukhna;
  • A new round of airstrikes hit militnat infrastructure in southern Idlib and northern Hama;
  • The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) repportedly detained nearly 111 people in Tayaneh and Shwehan. The raids were carried out to force locals “to hand over their crops of wheat and barley” to the SDF administration, according to SANA;
  • A firefight allegedly took place at the contact line between the SDF and Turkish-backed groups north of Manbij.

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Rocket Strikes Site Of Major Oil Companies In Iraq’s Basra Amid Heightened US-Iran Tensions

Wed, 2019-06-19 17:03

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A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several major oil companies on the morning of June 19th, the Iraqi military announced.

The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of Basra, Iraqi police said. The site is home to a number of international oil giants, including US firm ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Italian Eni SpA.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Basra, said a local security official confirmed Exxon evacuated 21 foreign staff in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

“The oil ministry is saying that oil production in the area has not been affected by this attack,” Stratford said, adding the security official described the rocket used as a Katyusha.

“[But] we are seeing what can only be described as an increase in the frequency of such incidents, over the last month and a half there has been a number involving rockets fired at what has been interpreted to be foreign interests here,” he added.

According to security official Mahdi Raykan, the Katyusha rocket landed at dawn in the Zubair and Rumeila oil fields camp, operated by the Iraqi Drilling company. It was fired from a distance of up to 5 km.

On the two previous days, similar attacks took place.

On June 17th, three rockets landed on a military base hosting U.S. forces north of Baghdad.

Reuters cited an anonymous source that claimed two mortar shells had landed in the Iraqi section of the Taji base and one just outside of it.

No casualties were caused by the shelling, the source said. He said sirens wailed in the US section of the base during the incident.

On June 18th, a rocket landed an Iraqi military base hosting US forces in the northern city of Mosul.

Mosul’s military commander said the rocket landed in an open space causing no casualties or damage. He said it was fired from west Mosul, across the Tigris river, and was a “locally made” rocket, without elaborating.

This comes amid US accusations against Iran for the alleged attacks on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman and the older alleged sabotage on four tankers earlier.

On May 19th, a rocket also landed approximately 1 mile away from the emptied US Embassy in Baghdad, which was also attributed to militants backed by Iran.

Naturally, MSM wasted no time in claiming that these incidents were also a part of the US-Iran rise in tensions and that despite both countries claiming that they do not wish conflict, events such as this take place.

Notwithstanding, ISIS is farm from being defeated in Iraq, despite it being announced defeated in December 2017. Attacks by ISIS militants continue on a daily basis. he fight against ISIS is on-going, a simple glance on reports from Iraq is proof enough.

A simple glance at any Iraqi outlet will show that ISIS is alive, despite being announced as defeated.

Regardless, the defeated ISIS couldn’t have possibly carried out any of these recent attacks on US forces and the oil infrastructure, since they’re defeated – it could have only allegedly been Iran, or Iran-backed militants.

But quite conveniently these attacks managed to injure nobody and caused minimal damages.

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Military Situation In Yemen On June 19, 2019 (Map Update)

Wed, 2019-06-19 16:39

A brief overview of the recent developments in Yemen:

  • Heavy clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces were reported in the areas of Rabua and Baqem;
  • Ansar Allah advanced in the areas of Malahit and Qays, Jizan province;
  • Cashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces were reported in the Sudays area;
  • Clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces were reported in Midi desert;
  • Saudi-led forces shelled Al Hudaydah city with 12 mortar shells;
  • Saudi Coalition warplanes struck the Hajar area, Qatabah district.

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