60 civilians killed, 200 injured as US-led coalition strikes Mosul residential areas


Over 60 civilians have been killed and at least 200 injured during three days of US-led coalition airstrikes on residential areas in Mosul, the Russian military reported.

There were numerous attacks of the US-led coalition targeting residential areas, schools, and other civilian objects both in Mosul and in other parts of the Iraqi Nineveh Governorate, Gen. Sergey Rudskoy, head of Operations in the Russian General Staff, told journalists on Tuesday.

We are closely monitoring the situation around Mosul. So far we see no substantial progress in liberating this city from the terrorists of ISIS,” he added, referring to the terrorist organization Islamic State by its former name.


According to the Russian military, among the civilian objects hit by US-led coalition airstrikes was a school for girls in southern Mosul, which was attacked last Friday.

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross reiterated its call not to target civilians and civilian infrastructure in Mosul. The aid organization earlier warned that the offensive may force hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee the city, overstretching Iraq’s already-challenged ability to shelter them.

The general described the situation around the Iraqi city on the sidelines of a report about Russia’s action in Syria, where Moscow and Damascus continue a pause in the offensive in Aleppo, which is divided between the Syrian Army and various armed groups, including the terrorist organization Al-Nusra Front.


Rudskoy said that Russia has not conducted sorties over and around Aleppo since last Tuesday and intends to continue holding off the warplanes. Fighting on the ground in the city resumed on Sunday, after a three-day unilateral ceasefire was derailed by insurgents, who prevented civilians from fleeing the battered city.

Iraq’s Mosul is being besieged by a ragtag coalition of uneasy allies, which includes Iraqi government forces, Shiite militias, Kurdish troops, and the Turkish Army. The US-led coalition is providing air support for the operation, which was launched a week ago.

READ MORE: Turkey may launch ground op against Kurds in Iraq if feels threatened – minister

IS fighters have since launched a number of raids on their opponents’ communications, distracting the attacking forces from Mosul. No fighting inside the city has been reported yet, although several neighborhoods were seized during the offensive.

Plan B: US considered arming Syrian rebels against Russian planes & artillery, report says

The US administration has been secretly considering sending more firepower to CIA-backed rebels fighting Syrian government forces, including weapons that can be used against Russian aircraft and artillery, according to a media report.

Citing US officials, who preferred to remain anonymous, the Washington Post reported the existence of a so-called ‘Plan B,’ which in case of “failed diplomatic efforts” provided for arming US-backed Syrian rebels with truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapons that could help rebel units “defend themselves against Russian aircraft and artillery.”

It says the plan was raised several times over the course of recent weekly White House meetings and was submitted to President Barack Obama during a National Security Council meeting on October 14.


The newspaper states, however, that ‘Plan B’ was “neither approved nor rejected,” with Obama reluctant to make any decision on the matter.

New arms supplies to the so-called moderate opposition could lead to the deaths of Russian military personnel who have been aiding the Syrian Army, and this could in turn cause a direct confrontation with Moscow, which Obama has been trying to avoid.

While the plan reportedly had supporters in the form of CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, many were skeptical, including Secretary of State John Kerry.

White House sources also told the newspaper that the decision not to expand arms deliveries to Syrian rebels “reflects a growing skepticism”within the American administration regarding the expansion of a“covert CIA program,” through which it has been training and arming Syrian ‘moderate opposition’ over the past three years. This, in their words, has been the central element of the US strategy to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and force his resignation.

The US has been supporting fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA), founded in 2011 by officers of the Syrian Armed Forces who said their goal was to bring down Assad’s government. There have been a number of reports that the US-led coalition has been supplying FSA rebels with weapons, including surface-to-surface Grad rockets, especially after the Russian-backed offensive in Aleppo began. A US official told the Washington Post that the White House still considers the FSA the only force in Syria capable of prolonging the war and consequently succeeding in ousting Assad.


Washington and Moscow have opposing views on Assad, and this has been one of the main stumbling blocks stalling their peace efforts as chairs of the ISSG (the International Syria Support Group). But according to US officials, many now doubt that “even an expanded version” of the CIA’s plan could help US oust Assad as long as he is backed by Moscow.

“It’s a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into,” a former senior administration official who was involved in the Syria program early on is cited as saying. “There’s a huge risk here since the Russians entered […] The lesson out of this is that if you don’t take action early on, you should almost expect the options to get worse and worse and worse.”
He added that under current circumstances, the US president has “understandable reason for caution” in steps regarding the Syrian crisis, but noted that “the lack of a decision is a decision” in itself.

“The Russians have seized the initiative,” another senior administration official is cited by the newspaper as saying. “You can’t pretend you can go to war against Assad and not go to war against Russia.”

Last week, Damascus and Moscow stopped carrying out airstrikes in eastern Aleppo and opened a number of humanitarian corridors for those who want to escape the areas of the city controlled by terrorists and rebels in the hope that the break will lead to a complete ceasefire.

Despite the humanitarian pause having been prolonged several times, it ended on Saturday evening without significant achievements, as militants repeatedly sabotaged the ceasefire efforts, shelling humanitarian corridors and killing civilians. Over a thousand heavily-armed fighters have massed near eastern Aleppo, seemingly in preparation for a new offensive on the city. Moscow says the humanitarian pause will once again be prolonged only when the rebels stop violating the ceasefire.

Washington’s game of good terrorists vs bad terrorists

by John Wight

When you reach the stage of making a distinction between good terrorists and bad terrorists, not only are you defending the indefensible, you are engaged in the ugly business of sowing dragon’s teeth.

Jahbat Al-Nusra, which recently changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, is a terrorist organization dripping in the blood of men, women, and children – people it has butchered across Syria over the past five years for the crime of praying to a different God than them, or else the same God in a different way. Such an organization, you would automatically think, has no place in this world, with its eradication a priority for all right-thinking humanity. Not so when it comes to Washington.

During a press briefing in Washington on October 20, US State Department spokesman, John Kirby, was asked by a reporter, “Is the US fighting al-Nusrah [sic] in Syria at this time?” Kirby replied, Our efforts militarily in Syria, as I said today, is against ISIS, against Daesh.

Kirby also said, “The only thing that stands between where we are now and a permanent and enduring ceasefire in Syria is Bashar al-Assad and his supporters,” Kirby said. “We recognize Al-Nusra as a spoiler, we have concerns about co-mingling, I’ve talked about this ad nauseam.”


This is a startling admission of Washington’s duplicity when it comes to combatting terrorism. Because not only is the US refusing to target Al-Nusra, it is actively refusing to share intelligence with Russia to help Russian forces target the Al-Qaeda affiliate either. Moreover, Washington has been doing its utmost to inhibit and impede the military operation that is currently being conducted against Al-Nusra in Aleppo by Russian and Syrian forces. As for those so-called moderate rebels we are constantly regaled with – you know, the nice guys who behead people with knives and swords made out of candy floss – there have been zero attempts to separate them from Al-Nusra in eastern Aleppo by the Americans or their regional allies, despite repeated requests from Russia for them to do so.

Considering the scale of the human suffering being endured in Aleppo – and here it is notable that upon halting the military operation to liberate the city in order to allow more civilians safe passage out of harm’s way, along with the opportunity for rebels to leave the city, Syrian and Russian personnel involved in assisting the process have come under fire – Washington’s role in prolonging the conflict has now been laid bare for all to see. For, in truth, the unprecedented anti-Russian propaganda campaign has less to do with concern over the suffering of the people of eastern Aleppo, and more to do with the fact that the military operation being conducted by Russian and Syrian forces is moving ever closer to liberating them.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said: “Both Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar ash-Sham, along with other organizations cooperating with them, are ultimately sabotaging UN efforts to restore the delivery of humanitarian assistance to eastern Aleppo, [carried out] with [Russia’s] support and the support of the Syrian government.” He went on to say, “[They] explicitly shell those routes through which such humanitarian aid can be delivered.”

Aleppo is key to the outcome of the wider conflict, as Washington knows, and, given that its overriding objective is the overthrow of the Assad government, its strategy towards the fighting in Aleppo becomes clear.


Just ponder this a moment: while Russian and Syrian forces have been engaged in a military operation to crush Al-Nusra in eastern Aleppo with the objective of liberating its people, Washington and its allies have been actively obstructing their efforts to do so; instead focusing their energy on peddling unfounded accusations that Russian and Syrian forces have been deliberately and willfully targeting civilians. It has been contemptuous to behold.

The conflict in Syria, it bears repeating, has never been about democracy in the eyes of Washington. Instead, it is about domination, about reshaping the region according to strategic objectives that pre-date the conflict. The Assad government had long been considered a key obstacle in this regard. A classified US diplomatic cable from 2006, released by WikiLeaks, leaves no doubt of US plans to destabilize the Syrian government. From the then US ambassador to Syria, the cable reads in part, “…there are some long-standing vulnerabilities and looming issues that may provide opportunities to up the pressure on Bashar and his inner circle.” It goes on, “Actions that cause Bashar to lose balance and increase his insecurity are in our interest because his inexperience and his regime’s extremely small decision-making circle make him prone to diplomatic stumbles that can weaken him domestically and regionally.”

The conclusion of the analysis contained in the cable is particularly interesting. “The bottom line is that Bashar is entering the new year in a stronger position than he has been in several years, but those strengths also carry with them (or sometimes mask) vulnerabilities.  If we are ready to capitalize, they will offer us opportunities to disrupt his decision-making, keep him off-balance, and make him pay a premium for his mistakes.”

Al-Nusra is an offshoot of ISIS [Islamic state, formerly ISIL] in Syria. It is an organization that shares Washington’s objective of overthrowing the Syrian government, led by Bashar al-Assad. However, Nusra is also committed to the eradication of Syria’s Christian, Shiite, Druze, Alawite, and other minority communities. In other words, its aims and objectives are nothing short of genocidal, which is where the locus of support for those fighting to defeat this group, along with the so-called moderates fighting alongside Al-Nusra and ISIS, resides. It is why, at this point, the survival of the Assad government is indistinguishable from the survival of Syria as a secular, non-sectarian state.

It is to Washington’s eternal shame that it refuses to acknowledge this fact and act accordingly.

Here’s Why Obama’s Provoking WAR with Russia Right Before Election

October 20, 2016 By

The Democrats have used their typical smoke-and-mirrors, fear-mongering tactics to distract Americans from the very real conflict boiling between the U.S. and Russia — which President Obama seems to be inciting in an effort to potentially influence the presidential election.

The Left has blamed the Russians for cyber hacking activities — such as the hack of the Democrat National Committee and the WikiLeaks dumps — with no concrete evidence provided to back the claims up.

In spite of this, there are reports that the Obama administration plans on retaliating against Russia via a cyber attack. Vice President Joe Biden confirmed these reports in an interview on Friday with Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press.”

In a Democrat National Committee email released over the summer by WikiLeaks, former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz reprimanded Todd over biased coverage at NBC, and even bent over backwards to schedule a meeting with her to discuss it — further proof that the mainstream media operates as an arm of the Democrat party.

Todd parroted the left’s currently-baseless claim that Russia is to blame for recent cyber attacks as he asked Biden, “Why haven’t we sent a message yet to Putin?”

Biden replied,”We’re sending a message. We have the capacity to do it and it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.”

Todd asked Biden if the public would know when that message was sent and Biden said in response: “hope not.”

The U.K. Daily Mail reported the Russian response to Biden’s threat:

‘The threats directed against Moscow and our state’s leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the US vice president.

‘To the backdrop of this aggressive, unpredictable line, we must take measures to protect (our) interests, to hedge risks,’ a Kremlin spokesman said, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Between the threat of so-called “retaliatory” acts for Russian cyber attacks that the Obama administration has yet to provide proof of to the public, and the report from Reuters that Obama is considering “direct U.S. military action” in Syria, it’s clear how serious the threat of major conflict with Russia is.

The rest of the world is talking about this threat — particularly Russia, of course — but the U.S. media is largely silent about the threat of an impending massive conflict with Russia.

This is because the media is in the tank for Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, who has made her intentions toward Russia abundantly clear on the campaign trail.

Obama is clearly inciting a conflict with Russia that would be extremely devastating. The globalists clearly want a war with Russia and Trump has repeatedly said that he wants to work with Russia and find a way to avoid it.

Many liberals voted for Obama because he laughably claimed to be a non-interventionist in the wake of former President Bush’s disastrous farce of a crusade to spread democracy and nation building that was a part of the move toward a new world order.

It’s absurd for these same liberals to vote for Clinton knowing that her policies could very well plunge us into World War III. It’s absurd for anyone who doesn’t want massive conflict with Russia and/or World War III to not vote for Donald Trump — our only chance to stop the dangerous globalist agenda.

H/T The Economic Collapse

Al-Nusra ‘not priority’ , State Department says as terror group shells civilians in Syria

US military efforts in Syria are not directed against Al-Nusra, the State Department said, acknowledging that the terrorist group is a “spoiler” in the efforts to establish a humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo and beyond.


Acknowledging that Nusra was a designated terrorist organization not included in the cessation of hostilities agreement between the US and Russia, State Department spokesman John Kirby said the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL or Daesh) has not hit Nusra targets apart from one or two occasions.


“Unilaterally, when we’ve had information that led us to take action, because of the plotting we knew that they were doing, we did that,” Kirby said.

The US strategy to deal with the group, however, was to establish a Joint Implementation Center with Russia under the terms of the September 9 cessation of hostilities agreement, “by which we would share information with the Russian military designed specifically to cooperate against Al-Nusra,” Kirby said.

This week, Russia paused its joint offensive with Syrian government troops on eastern Aleppo, which is held by an assortment of armed groups, including Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda offshoot. The goal is to allow people wishing to leave the city to do so, including both civilians and militants, who were offered separate corridors to leave Aleppo with their arms.

On Thursday, however, the militants opened fire on civilian evacuation routes, injuring three Russian officers at the El-Masharka government checkpoint, the Russian Center for Reconciliation said.

Kirby’s claim that the US wanted to set up the JIC to work with Russia against Al-Nusra contradicted his own words from September 16, when he said that the establishment of such a center would be contingent on humanitarian aid reaching Aleppo.

“We don’t have any intention of having an intelligence sharing agreement with the Russians,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, told the US Senate on September 20.



The assault on the city will also serve to highlight US inaction in the run-up to election day and may aid Donald Trump.

Yesterday, ahead of this morning’s debate with Hillary Clinton, his presidential campaign released a letter from defence experts backing plans to increase the size of the US military.

Russia’s military arsenal – in 90 secondsPlay!01:38

Royal Navy warships are due to escort a group of eight Russian warships, including the country’s only aircraft carrier, as they sail past the UK on their way to the Mediterranean.

Senior Royal Navy officers expect the task force to sail past the UK as early as Thursday in a show of strength dismissed as “posturing” by defence sources.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump has said Vladimir Putin is a strong leader CREDIT: EVAN VUCCI /AP

But a senior Nato diplomat said the deployment from the Northern Fleet’s base near Murmansk would herald a renewed attack in Aleppo.

“They are deploying all of the Northern Fleet and much of the Baltic Fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” the diplomat said.

“This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there.”

The additional military firepower is designed to drive out or destroy the 8,000 rebels in Aleppo, the only large city still in opposition hands, and to allow Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to start a withdrawal.

Vladimir Putin has also praised Donald Trump CREDIT: ODD ANDERSEN /AFP

An intensified air campaign in eastern Aleppo, where 275,000 people are trapped, would further worsen ties between Moscow and the West, which says the Kremlin may be responsible for war crimes.

Mr Trump has consistently praised Mr Putin as a strong leader and has promised a closer relationship with Russia if he wins the Nov 8 US election. He has suggested that, if elected, he would meet the Russian president before the inauguration in January.

Mr Putin has returned the compliment, calling the Republican nominee “outstanding and talented” – one of his closest political allies, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, urged Americans to vote for Mr Trump, calling him a “gift to humanity”.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama has remarked on Donald Trump’s admiration of Vladimir Putin CREDIT:JIM WATSON /AFP

Barack Obama said earlier this week that Mr Trump’s admiration of Mr Putin was “unprecedented in American politics”.

Mr Obama said: “Mr Trump’s continued flattery of Mr Putin and the degree to which he appears to model many of his policies and approaches to politics on Mr Putin … is out of step with not just what Democrats think but out of step with what up until the last few months, almost every Republican thought.” 

The Royal Navy has deployed two warships to meet the Northern Fleet group, led by the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

HMS Dragon (foreground) with the Russian aircraft carrier 'Admiral Kuznetsov' in 2014
HMS Dragon (foreground) with the Russian aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ in 2014 CREDIT: EPA / MOD

The frigate HMS Richmond is already escorting the group off the coast of Norway, while the destroyer HMS Duncan was last night on its way.

HMS Dragon is due to sail to meet two Russian corvettes travelling towards the UK from the direction of Portugal. Photographs of the vessels, taken on Monday, were released by the Norwegian military.

A Norwegian newspaper quoted the head of the Norwegian military intelligence service saying the ships involved “will probably play a role in the deciding battle for Aleppo”.