US military boosts weapons airdrops to Syrian opposition – reports

screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-12-15-16-pm

A growing number of opposition groups in Syria are getting increased weapons and ammunition supplies from the US Air Force to tackle Islamic State, according to US media reports citing the country’s military.
*

The weapons are intended for opposition forces closing in on IS’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa in Syria, USA Today .

*

The “expanded” airdrops are “helping ground forces take the offensive to [the Islamic State] and efforts to retake Raqqa,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, commander of the US Air Mobility Command, is quoted by the news outlet.

Currently, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) – an alliance of various militias, mainly formed by Kurdish fighters – is continuing its  to retake territories around Raqqa. SDF is among key opposition forces being backed by the US-led international coalition in Syria.

The weapons supplies “are absolutely essential” for the irregular forces fighting on the ground, the US Air Force spokesman in Baghdad Col. John Dorrian claimed, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, Everhart reportedly claimed that the US military is being extremely precise while delivering arms and equipment to the opposition in Syria. “We’ll get it within 10 or 15 meters of the mark,” he said.

The US-led coalition has been repeatedly conducting military airdrops for the opposition groups in Syria. However, such missions have not always gone according to plan.

Back in October 2014, a weapons airdrop by the US Air Force apparently ended up in the hands of IS terrorists, who released a video claiming to have seized the cache of arms. The weapons had been intened for the Kurdish forces battling jihadists who were besieging the Syrian town of Kobane at the time.

*

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren later said that two bundles of weapons have been lost. While one of them was destroyed by an air strike, another “went astray and probably fell into enemy hands.”

“There is always going to be some margin of error in these types of operations,” Warren added.

In December last year, US President Barack Obama granted a waiver for some of the restrictions on the delivery of military aid to “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals,” if those groups are supporting the US’s alleged counter-terrorism efforts in Syria.

Reacting to the decision, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move could result in some of the weapons getting into the hands of terrorists.
Such an occurence would pose “a serious threat not only for the region, but the entire world,” he warned.

On December 9, 2016 US Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard  the Stop Arming Terrorists Act bill. She alleged that the CIA in fact supplied arms to the opposition, some of whom cooperated with terrorists including al-Qaeda. “This madness must end,” she urged.

Streep and Streisand weep for the devout Muslims who HURL gays off roofs *Warning* GRAPHIC CONTENT

capture

BY PAMELA GELLER

The “foreigners” and outsiders” that Meryl Street harangued and admonished us about at the Golden Globes are throwing gays off roofs today. These same  “foreigners” and “outsiders” use fake passports to come to the West as “refugees.” This is what Streep and Streisand want to bring here. Is Streep’s daughter gay? Will she cheer if her daughter is thrown off a roof?

One thing is for sure, Streisand’s son Jason Gould is. They would throw him off the roof so fast her head would spin, even as she stumped for their right to come here.

capture

ISIS HURL ‘GAY’ PRISONER OFF A ROOF IN PUBLIC IN MOSUL

ISIS extremists in Mosul hurl blindfolded prisoner off a roof in front of a crowd of men and boys after accusing him of being gay

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
ISIS extremist seen reading out charges against the prisoner in a public square
The man, who was accused of being gay, was blindfolded and taken to a roof top
Pictures then show him being hurled off the top of a roof in ISIS-held Mosul
This is the moment ISIS extremists in Mosul hurled a blindfolded man off a roof after accusing him of being gay.

By Julian Robinson for MailOnline, 10 January 2017

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4105804/ISIS-extremists-Mosul-hurl-blindfolded-prisoner-roof-crowd-men-boys-accusing-gay.html#ixzz4VNQBoe00
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

A fanatic can be seen reading out charges against the prisoner, a man in his late 20s or early 30s, who is then dragged to the top of a building in the besieged Iraqi city.

Shocking pictures then show him being pushed off the roof in front of a baying crowd below.

This is the moment ISIS extremists in Mosul hurled a blindfolded man off a roof after accusing him of being gay.

A fanatic can be seen reading out charges against the prisoner, a man in his late 20s or early 30s, who is then dragged to the top of a building in the besieged Iraqi city.

capture

Shocking pictures have emerged showing the moment ISIS extremists in Mosul hurled a blindfolded man off a roof after accusing him of being gay

capture

Further pictures show him being forced off the edge of the building while a final gruesome image shows his blood-soaked body on the ground below

Homosexuality is punishable by death under the terror group’s brutal rule. The corpses of those executed in this way are often then stoned by onlookers.

In the most recent example, a jihadist can be seen reading out charges against the prisoner in front of a crowd.

Further pictures show him being forced off the edge of the building while a final gruesome image shows his blood-soaked body on the ground below.

Homosexuality is punishable by death under the terror group’s brutal rule. The corpses of those executed in this way are often then stoned by onlookers.

In the most recent example, a jihadist can be seen reading out charges against the prisoner in front of a crowd.

Further pictures show him being forced off the edge of the building while a final gruesome image shows his blood-soaked body on the ground below.

The execution happened despite Iraqi forces fighting their way into more districts of ISIS-held Mosul over the last 24 hours.

But advances in the city’s southeast were being slowed by the terror group’s use of civilians for cover, military officials said.

The United Nations said civilian casualties had streamed into nearby hospitals in the last two weeks as fighting intensified in the jihadist group’s last major stronghold in Iraq.

capture

A fanatic can be seen reading out charges against the prisoner, a man in his late 20s or early 30s, who is then dragged to the top of a building in the besieged Iraqi city

capture

Jihadists take the blindfolded man to the top of a building ahead of the gruesome execution

Advances by elite forces in the city’s east and northeast have picked up speed in a new push since the turn of the year, and U.S.-backed forces have for the first time reached the Tigris river, which bisects the city.

‘They entered Hadba (district) today. There is a battle inside the city,’ Lt-Colonel Abbas al-Azawi, a spokesman for the Iraqi army’s 16th division, said.

Seizing control of Hadba, a large district, would likely take more than a day, and ISIS were deploying suicide bombers, he added.

Recapturing Mosul after more than two years of ISIS rule would probably spell the end of the Iraqi side of the group’s self-declared caliphate, which spans areas of Iraq and Syria.

 

US misjudged appeal of Western democracy for Middle East during Arab Spring – CIA’s Brennan

capture

The administration of US President Barack Obama made a mistake when it hoped to impose Western values and Western-style democracy in the Middle East during the Arab Spring, according to outgoing CIA Director John Brennan.

*

“I think there were very, very unrealistic expectations in Washington, including in some parts of the administration, that the Arab Spring was going to push out these authoritarian regimes and democracy is going to flourish because that’s what people want,” Brennan said in an interview with CNN.

Earlier this year Brennan, who spent years stationed in the Middle East, already admitted that the Arab Spring uprisings that began in late 2010 created fertile ground for terrorists. But in his latest comments, he said the focus should not be solely on the “symptoms of the problems” like terrorism and violence, but rather on the underlying factors such as governance.

*

Assessing the prospect of Western-style democracies taking root in Middle Eastern and North African states, he concluded that what the people of these areas actually want is freedom for themselves, or their group, or their tribe, while the “concept of democracy is something that really is not ingrained in a lot of the people and the cultures and the countries out there.”

The CIA head also discussed the ongoing crises in the Middle East, noting that some of the decisions Washington has made over the past two decades may have contributed to the current state of affairs.

*
For instance, he pointed at the 2003 invasion of Iraq as the reason why there was the tremendous slide into violence and bloodshed in that part of the world, adding that “history would have been different” if the US had not fully withdrawn from the country in 2011.
Echoing his previous comments, Brennan said he sees the move to leave Iraq as “a contributing factor” to the instability in the region and the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).  

“If we knew then what we know now in terms of what ISIL was able to do, in terms of just this explosive growth in Iraq that then was able to lop over into Syria, would we have pursued the same course? Probably not, the official stated.

Brennan also said the Syrian civil war could have played out differently had the US provided more active help to the Syrian opposition when the crisis first unfolded – as US critics of the Obama administration suggest should have been done.

“If additional support was provided by various international actors to the […] Free Syrian Army, early on, might that have made a difference? Maybe. Because at that time, the Syrian regime was reeling and was more vulnerable,” the official noted.

*

Brennan warned, however, that providing military support to the Syrian opposition earlier would have presented its own challenges, with the opposition being an unstable, “very eclectic” mix of secular and extremist groups.

“Supporting the opposition blindly and throwing weapons over the transom into Syria could have led to a worse outcome than today,” Brennan concluded.

The CIA chief recently slammed Russia’s anti-terrorism efforts in Syria as a “scorched-earth policy” far from “something that the United States would ever do.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov last week said that the operation does indeed differ from the actions of the US coalition, which are focused on “methodically and steadily destroying Syrian economic infrastructure.”

President Vladimir Putin, in an interview with Russia’s NTV channel in December, said that the Arab Spring itself and the negative consequences for the region occurred because key nations “preferred not to observe” the norms of international law “to satisfy their geopolitical interests.”

Putin noted that the late Russian Prime Minister Evgeny Primakov warned about the possible harmful effects of the Arab Spring, but stated that at the time Russia “could not influence directly and practically the development of events, or our opportunities to influence those events were rather limited.”

The so-called Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent demonstrations, protests, riots, coups and civil wars in the Arab world that began in December 2010 and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its neighbors. It led to the overthrow of the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen, and caused civil wars in Libya and Syria, as well as mass disorder in Algeria, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, and other countries.

US B-52 bombed Idlib, Syria, killing over 20 civilians

More than 20 civilians were killed in a B-52 strike carried out by the US on the Idlib province in Syria on January 3, according to Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

*

Gerasimov slammed the Western coalition in Syria for failing to achieve any meaningful results,” adding that “at the same time, significant numbers of victims among the civilian population and government forces were reported.

As we remember, in September last year, the US aviation carried out an attack in the Deir-ez-Zor targeting government forces. After this attack, Islamic State started its advance, Gerasimov said as cited by RIA Novosti news agency.

“The latest example of this is the January 3 airstrike, when a B-52 bomber – without warning the Russian side – hit a target in the town of Sarmada, Idlib Province, which is covered by the cessation of hostilities agreement. Over 20 civilians died as a result of the airstrike.”

He did not provide any further details.

capture

The US Defense Department announced on January 6 that a strike had killed 20 people in Sarmada, Idlib; those killed were described as Al-Qaeda militants, AFP reported.

The September airstrikes by the US-led coalition killed 62 and injured 100 Syrian soldiers near the Deir ez-Zor airport, a vital supply conduit for the enclave besieged by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) forces.

In November, US Central Command described the incident as an unintentional, regrettable error,” which was primarily based on human factors.

READ MORE: Pentagon chief claims US fighting ISIS alone, Russia doing ‘virtually zero’ in Syria

Russia was notified of the planned strike via the “de-confliction” hotline, but was given the wrong location, said Brigadier General Richard ‘Tex’ Coe, who headed the CENTCOM investigation.

When Russian officers called the hotline to report the strikes were targeting Syrian positions, they were kept on hold for 27 minutes because the US officer who was the designated point of contact was not available. The bombing continued in that interval, according to Coe, and stopped once the Russian message went through.

During the Tuesday meeting, Gerasimov said the operation carried out by the Russian Air Force since September 30, 2015 has turned the tide of the Syrian war.

Since the beginning of its operation in Syria, Russia’s military jets destroyed around 200 illegal oil-extracting facilities belonging to IS, 174 oil-producing plants, 111 groups of oil tank trucks, the head of General Staff added.

This allowed not only to breach the IS supply system, but also to deprive them of their main income, Gerasimov added.

All strikes are carried out only after the confirmation of data from several sources, including the space intelligence and drones, Gerasimov emphasized.

Pentagon chief claims US fighting ISIS alone, Russia doing ‘virtually zero’ in Syria

Russia has done “virtually zero” in the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria the US Secretary of Defense has claimed, contending that the US and its coalition partners are carrying this burden “by themselves.”
*

“They haven’t done anything,” Ash Carter stated in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. “They came in, they said they were going to fight ISIL, and they said they were going to help in the civil war in Syria.”

*

“They haven’t done either of those things. As a consequence of course, we’re fighting ISIL ourselves,” adding that Moscow achieved “virtually zero in Syria.

Carter moved on to praise US-led efforts to free the Iraqi city of Mosul which has been ongoing since the mid-October. He said the US campaign there is going “according to the plan – contrasting with initial projections and US media reports that Iraq’s second largest city would be liberated in time for the US elections in November.

Criticizing Russian involvement in Syria, Carter said that it “almost certainly” made the ending of Syrian civil war “harder,” because Moscow failed to align with Washington’s intention to oust the Syrian president and failed to “help Assad move aside gently” and “bring the moderate opposition into the Syrian government.”

Moscow never made such promises, however, instead, it has repeatedly insisted that it is up to Syrian people to decide the future of their country without intervention or advice from outside. Russia’s involvement in Syria is focused on preserving Damascus’ sovereignty and bringing those who agree to join the reconciliation process to the negotiation table, while eliminating as many Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and other jihadist groups as possible.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-16-02-am

Russia has on numerous occasions requested coordinated strikes against IS, but the Pentagon snubbed Moscow’s invitation to do so. In addition, Washington also failed to separate the so-called “moderate” opposition groups from jihadist fighters, further complicating the task.

READ MORE: ‘US not serious about fighting ISIS, it raised terrorists & wants them to stay’ – Iran Def Min to RT

The US-led international coalition’s own strikes in Syria targeted everything but oil production facilities captured by IS terrorists, the Russian Defense Ministry said earlier, accusing Washington of leading yet another campaign to “methodically and steadily” destroy yet another sovereign country’s economic infrastructure.

Furthermore, US-led forces has “mistakenly” killed dozens of Syrian government soldiers, which Washington promised to avoid when it illegally intervened in the conflict. All fragile ceasefire deals based on agreements reached by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and his US counterpart John Kerry, also ended abruptly as the US repeatedly failed to honor their obligations.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-16-54-am

Pointedly, and the turning point in the conflict, was that Russia’s intervention helped liberate the Syrian cities of Palmyra and Aleppo which had been under IS and other jihadist groups tyranny for years. In addition, Moscow led the efforts to secure the latest peace deal negotiated by Russia, Iran and Turkey in late December – and supported by a UN Security Council resolution.

 screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-11-17-43-am

Apart from his unsubstantiated claims about Russian involvement in Syria, Carter also referred to the now widely ridiculed US intelligence “assessment” of Moscow’s alleged involvement in influencing the US election, calling for more punitive measures by the Trump administration.

“I don’t think it should be military or purely military response. There has to be a response, and I think the steps taken so far probably represent the beginning and not the end, the floor, not the ceiling… I believe the price should be more,” Carter said.

*

The US intelligence community presented a report on Russia’s alleged “activities and intentions” during the elections in response to growing skepticism over its hacking claims – which again offered no hard or technical evidence, but accused Moscow and RT in particular of trying to “influence” American public opinion.

The US Defense Secretary’s latest remarks are nothing more than yet another failed attempt by American politicians to further demonize Russia as well as “hurt” and “embarrass” president-elect Donald Trump, Middle East expert, Joshua Landis told RT.

“We are in a campaign of demonizing Russia right now. Really it is not so much about Russian right now as it is about Trump. I think the Democrats and many republicans like McCain are very badly hurt by Trump and they are sticking it to him. And they are sticking it to him because he has denied the intelligence communities and he has been friendly with Russia,” Landis said.

While Trump has consistently stressed he will work to improve relations with Russia. In one of his latest tweets on Saturday, he said only “stupid” people would want a confrontation with Moscow.