Syria Daily, Jan 21: Will UN Airdrop Aid to Besieged Civilians?


PHOTO: Residents in Madaya in Damascus Province await aid, January 11, 2016



Deir ez-Zor’s Civilians Besieged by Both Islamic State and Regime

The UN’s senior official for humanitarian operations, responding to a question from the British Government, has indicated that airdrops to besieged civilians may be considered.

Stephen O’Brien said:

All options need to be on the table. We must be guided by the humanitarian imperative, and acknowledge the failure of negotiations over four years to secure the necessary access to these besieged areas.

Britain’s International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, wrote for O’Brien’s views on “possible use of airdrops in the Syria context”.

O’Brien indicated that the airdrops could be pursued without the permission of the Assad regime, which has long blocked aid operations. He cited operations “undertaken by various military actors, including the US in the context of Iraq and Afghanistan, without the participation of the UN or humanitarian actors” and said “relevant UN guidelines” — which include agreement of the home Government — “would not apply”.

US to Oppose Any Airdrops?

A US Congressman said that the proposal is not viable.

“Airdropping doesn’t seem to be a smart way to provide food or humanitarian relief in this particular situation,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

We want to do all we can to help the Syrian people suffering at the hands of ISIS and the Assad regime. But the logistical roadblocks would make this sort of assistance rather perilous.

Cohen cited “the danger Assad’s forces would pose to American military assets, the potential damage airdropped materials could inflict onto those most in need of help, and the possibility of aid getting into the hands of terrorists”.

Benjamin Edwards, a spokesman for the US Agency for International Development, said:

Airdrops are generally the last resort for humanitarian aid delivery, and should only be considered when other safer, more efficient and effective means are unavailable.

Airdrops require staff on the ground to create large, visible drop zones, receive the supplies and organize the distribution, so that relief items are distributed according to need. Without proper controls, airdrops can lead to further insecurity, and vulnerable groups may not have access to the aid they need.

A UN resolution repeated last month that aid to besieged areas should be permitted by all sides, but the Syrian military continues to cut off areas across Syria. In one of the towns, Madaya in Damascus Province, an estimated 60 people starved to death before the regime relented and allowed three aid convoys since January 11.

The UN says about 400,000 people are besieged in Syria: 200,000 by the Islamic State’s offensives in Deir Ez Province in eastern Syria, 181,000 by the Syrian military’s blockades, and 12,500 in two regime enclaves surrounded by rebels in northwest Syria.

Activists say the UN has underestimated the number of people cut off by the Syrian military, notably in Damascus suburbs and in Homs, saying there are at least one million.

Another Resident Dies of Starvation in Madaya

The Syrian-American Medical Society reports another death from starvation in besieged Madaya, northwest of #Damascus:

An estimated 60 people have died from malnutrition in Madaya since December 1 amid a six-month siege by the Syrian military. The Assad regime finally relented to allow three aid convoys into the town in the past eight days.

Video: 8 People, Including 4 Children, Killed by Russian Airstrike

Opposition activists report that eight people, including four children, were killed on Wednesday by a Russian airstrike on Hazano village in Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

More than 20 people, most of them children, were injured.

State Media: Civilians Return to South Damascus After ISIS Departure

State media have hailed the return of civilians to Qaddam in southern Damascus, after the withdrawal of Islamic State fighters.

ISIS left the area, which it occupied last summer after clashes with rebels, under an UN-brokered agreement.

State TV showed civilians waving from green buses adorned with photographs of President Assad.

Rebels and the Assad regime had signed a truce over al-Qaddam in August 2014, in which civilians in the opposition-controlled eastern section could enter the regime-held western section via checkpoints. While water and electricity are available in the regime-held section, there is no electricity in the opposition-held districts and water only reaches some areas.

Before the truce, more than 90% of about 150,000 residents had fled to other areas in or around Damascus.

The residents returning home on Wednesday had registered with the local council and were cleared by the Assad regime.

US Takes Control of Airfield to Support Kurdish-Led Offensive Against Islamic State

US troops have taken over an airfield in northeastern Syria to support a Kurdish-led coalition against the Islamic State.

A spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces said the airfield near the town of Rmeilan, close to the Turkish and Iraqi borders, will become the first US-controlled airbase in Syria. It was previously held by the Kurdish militia YPG, the leading faction in the SDF.

“Under a deal with the YPG, the US was given control of the airport. The purpose of this deal is to back up the SDF, by providing weapons and an airbase for US warplanes,” Taj Kordsh, an SPG media activist said on Tuesday.

A media officer with US Central Command did not confirm or deny the reports.

The US Government has been switching its support from Syria’s rebels to the SDF, founded in October 2015. The Americans have provided weapons, ammunition, and special forces as the force has moved across northern Syria.

After Meeting Kerry, Russia’s Lavrov Insists Rebels Are “Terrorists”

Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov has maintained Russia’s line that some rebel factions are “terrorists” and must be excluded from negotiations.

After a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov said, “We stay firm that Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are terrorist groups. We filed our evidence with all our partners.”

See Russia Hints at Delay in Next Week’s Talks

The State Department merely said that Kerry and Lavro “discussed plans for the UN-led negotiations between the Syrian parties on January 25 and the importance of maintaining progress toward a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria”.

It also said Kerry pressed Russia to “use its influence with the Assad regime to ensure immediate, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to all Syrians in need, especially those in besieged areas such as Madaya”.


Kurdish Militia YPG Tries 4 Fighters for Damaging Arab Property

The Kurdish YPG militia has put four of its fighters on trial for damaging property of Arab civilians in northeastern Syria.

The YPG said in a statement on Tuesday that the fighters were arrested over incidents in the village of Al-Hawl and several surrounding villages.

“Following interrogations and an investigation, they have been stripped of YPG membership and sent to court to be tried in accordance with the law,” the statement declared.

Residents of al-Hawl, captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on November 13, protested last weekend with the slogan “the people want Al-Hawl itself”.

Rebels Counter-Attack in Northern Latakia Province

Rebels are counter-attacking in northern Latakia Province, hoping to regain territory for a counter-offensive on the town of Salma.

Opposition outlets claim that rebels have regained ‘Ateiri, al-Hour and other villages, killing, wounding, or capturing dozens of regime troops. Pro-regime sites dispute the claims.

Rebel factions such as Ahrar al-Sham and Turkmen units are fighting under a unified command in an attempt to retake the mountain town of Salma, considered the gateway into Hama Province. The jihadist faction Jabhat al-Nusra is also playing a limited role in the operations.

Last week regime forces took Salma, which had been held by rebels since 2012, after a three-month offensive supported by intense Russian airstrikes.

Raqqa Civilians Facing Russian Bombing, Stricter Islamic State Rule

Hani a-Rawi, a member of the pro-opposition group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, tells Syria Direct of a worsening situation for civilians in Raqqa in northern Syria amid Russian bombing and stricter rule by the Islamic State.

[It is] extremely bad because of IS’s tyranny against everyone, young and old, the rising prices of basic goods and foodstuffs and because of the bombardment of the city. On Saturday a Russian warplane struck several civilian locations in the middle of the city, killing 42 people and injuring 35 others, some of whom are in critical condition.

Now the people of A-Raqqa are facing difficulties such as house arrest and persistent violations against civilians. The pressure on civilians has increased recently. Travel is banned and there have been increases in taxes, arrests, executions and stoning.

People who are sick are not being allowed [to leave to seek treatment] now because IS is implementing even stricter measures. Departures have become increasingly rare and the number of checkpoints on back roads has increased. No one is permitted to leave without the approval of the Hisbah [religious police].

Profiles: The Civilian Victims of Russia’s Airstrikes

Borzou Daragahi profiles some of the civilian victims of Russia’s airstrikes on opposition-held territory:

Abdel Rahman was standing outside his family home in the tiny Syrian village of Marayan on a November afternoon when the Russian rocket hit, knocking him to the ground. He felt fine when he came to moments later, he said, and tried to get up. That’s when he realized both his legs had been blown off. “I looked up and my brother was screaming, but I lost consciousness,” he recalled.

About a month later, Thaer was gathering firewood when another Russian missile hit. He struggled to get up, but couldn’t. His father, Abdel Jalil al-Zein, first took his son to a local doctor, who stuck needles in his toe. There was no response. He loaded him into his car and drove him to the field hospital along the Turkish border, and when medical personnel there couldn’t help his son either, he obtained the permissions to cross into Turkey.

Doctors eventually found a piece of shrapnel lodged in his spine. It has paralyzed him from the waist down, probably for life.

The two teenagers still hang out, but now they are permanently disfigured. They lie in the sitting room of a rented apartment in the Turkish town of Reyhanli, where they now live. Al-Zein lies on the bed with a catheter running from him, and Rahmoun lies on a mat a few feet away — one a double amputee, the other a paraplegic.

“I know that God will eventually give us our rights,” said al-Zein.

Daragahi also speaks with rebels about the military effect of the Russian attacks, with an Ahrar al-Sham spokesman in northwest Syria summarizing:

We’ve had harder conditions before. The revolution is weakened because of this, but it’s not going to be ended by the Russian raids or others. On the ground, the revolutionaries advance.

But the weapon that we can’t respond to is air power. We cannot address air power with our rockets.

An Ahrar al-Sham video countering Russia’s claims of a focus on the Islamic State:

Russia Hints at Delay in Next Week’s Talks

Russia has hinted that next Monday’s international talks, which hoped to begin opposition-regime negotiations, will be delayed.

Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that the possibility of a postponement will become clear after a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday in Switzerland.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, had insisted on Monday, following a Security Council meeting, that the discussions would proceed, “They are due to be held, after all the work we have done.”

However, Moscow has put up an obstacle to the talks with its objection to the 33-member opposition-rebel negotiating team established in December. Russia is circulating an alternative list of 15 names, consisting mainly of domestic Syrian figures and including none of the names on the opposition-rebel team.

See Syria Daily, Jan 19: Will Next Week’s Opposition-Regime Talks Take Place?

The talks were already jeopardized by fundamental divisions. President Assad has said that there can be no political transition until “terrorists” are defeated, while the opposition and rebels will not accept a process in which Assad and his inner circle retain power.

The opposition-rebel bloc has also set preconditions for talks, including ceasefires with an end to regime and Russian bombing, release of detainees from regime prisons, and access to humantarian aid.

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  1. Yes! I have been thinking of airdrops for several days. The American’s weak excuses show that Ol,bummer wants the people to starve and intends to do nothing. He is killing Sunnis and very happy about it!
    The way to do it is this.
    A number of countries, excluding the Yanks, have to plan this together. The aim is to supply aid to those who desperately need it, snub Bashyer Arsof + Pea-brain Putin and embarrass the Yanks.
    The aid is delivered in a rapid series of flights. Each flight is from one country and consists of cargo planes to carry the aid and escorting fighters. The Ruskies and Bashyer Arsof are warned of the aid being delivered, where and when and a temporary NFZ for the evil axis declared. The Brits go first and they are followed by the French, Germany, Turkey, Australia, Canada etc. The order is given that any attacks by the Ruskie flying pigs or the Arsof flying butchers will be met by force from all countries providing aid. There will be no attack while delivering aid because a) It is allowed under the UN mandates b) It is allowed under international law c) It would involve NATO d) The evil axis would get hammered. Come on David Comedian get it started. Somebody has to break the stale mate and this is a wonderful opportunity.

    • Barley Bill if you a British citizen or living in the UK you can sign this petition to get Dave to drop some aid.

      “now get cracking, Biggles, tally-ho, chocks away, smoke me a kipper, I’ll be back by tea-time!”

      Oh and Barbar If your going to use a local British dialect, then… gonnea at least dea wan tha real actual people use the day, naw wan tha dizney exist ootside o year toatey wee heed. Writin like tha is jist makin yea look like a glaikit bampot. Gees a tenner and I’ll teach yea mere.

      • Thanks Niall. Done it. Job jobbed.
        If you look at BahBah Black sheep’s link, you can see him staring as a crocodile. The real beauty of it is he has no script and is completely silent. How do we shut him up in EA Worldview?

        • Oh just show him a picture of Simo Häyhä and all Russian pals will run away like scared little bunny rabbits, and once the Russians so will Mullah Barbar and rest of the Khomeinists.

        • He is also mad in the clip the Nazis lost, after all Reza Shah supported Hitler and Hafez sheltered Alios Bunner the most wanted Nazi after Eichmann and Mengele. Michel Aflaq and Salah al-din al-Bitar where inspired by Hitler. They only copy in the whole of Damascus of Myth of the 20th Century the Author of which was hanged at Nuremberg for his war crimes in Eastern Europe.

          “We were racists. We admired the Nazis. We were immersed in reading Nazi literature and books that were the source of the Nazi spirit. We were the first who thought of a translation of Mein Kampf.”- Sami al-Jundi Member of the Regional Command of the Syrian Regional Branch as well as minister of information, culture and national guidance and ambassador to France.

          • There is a book called “Nazi propaganda for the Arab World” which gives a lot of information on the links between Islamism and Fascism. Well worth reading.

            Remember also that Syria was controlled by Vichy during WWI, so there were Nazis there.

  2. Any aid should be airdropped and not given any say to the Baathists they should find it been delivered by watching channel 4 news. In the Ethiopian War the Derg would only give aid to loyal provinces and intentionally deprive it from Eritreans and Tigray Province hoping to stave them into submission. Its a common tactic in Africa to steal aid meant of civilians and give it to loyalists.

  3. 1. Plentiful airstrikes ongoing this morning in/around DeZ; after attack on Brigade 137 blunted, IS now focussing on Military Airport from South, little progress so far; SAA Brigadier Imran Yusuf allegedly KIA:
    2. In an echo of times past, pro-FSA Facebook pages lament the IS ‘martyrs’ being killed by SAA at DeZ:

      • RuMOD info today:
        1. Near Mreyah (Deir ez-Zor), Russian aircraft hit ISIS field camp. Command post & barracks with all contents were destroyed.
        2. Syrian opposition provided information about a workshop near Hatla (Deir ez-Zor), which was used for fitting out SVBIEDs … Su34 bomber performed strike and destroyed it with all contents.
        3. Near Meshia (Deir ez-Zor province), Su34 hit militant’s field artillery positions and destroyed 3 artillery guns.
        4. In the area of Bgeliya (Deir ez-Zor province) Russian bomber hit ISIS x2 MRLS units and detonated stored ordnance.
        5. At present, Russian and Syrian forces are preparing another batch of humanitarian cargos for transporting to blocked Deir ez-Zor.

        • Looks like it’s all over bar the shouting in DeZ:

          The Syrian Arab Army is on the move in Deir Ezzor’s northwestern countryside today, recapturing several sites that were under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) since Sunday.
          Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army’s 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard – in close coordination with the 137th Artillery Brigade of the 17th Reserve Division, the National Defense Forces (NDF), and the Shaytat Tribesmen – imposed full control over the Saiqa Camp and the strategic hilltop of Tal Kroum after a violent battle with the ISIS terrorists.
          According to a military source in Deir Ezzor, the Syrian Arab Army’s 104th Airborne Brigade is now targeting the Ayyash weapons depot that was captured by ISIS on Sunday; if they are able to recapture this site, along with Jabal Thurdeh, they will have effectively reversed all of the terrorist group’s gains.
          Preliminary reports from Deir Ezzor indicate that the Syrian Armed Forces have recaptured the Ayyash weapons depot; however, there has been no official confirmation or footage from the Syrian Arab Army.
          In addition to their success at these aforementioned sites, the Syrian Arab Army’s 104th Brigade also repelled ISIS’ large-scale assault on the Deir Ezzor Military Airport this morning, killing over 30 enemy combatants in the process of clearing the area.

          Hark, is it … why yes, resounding [crickets] from the NATO fanbois!

      • 1. Hmmn, seems the IS raiders at DeZ did get [to] a tracked radar vehicle too! [note how it is marked with the same yellow stripes as the launcher linked above]. Now the question is, can they make them operational and how long will it last if they actually get a shot off?
        2. RuAF operations set to expand, as officers survey potential airbase in Syria’s Qamishli:
        3. Has Jordan’s GameBoy Tyrant been knobbled by Putin?
        MoC orders Daraa rebels to stop fighting SAA, focus only on JaN:
        Ouchies, en garde FSA: on taking the bait in the South, JaN & Co in the North shall then not delay in fulfilling the vision: “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore [of Babylon], and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” — Revelations 17:16 (KJV)

  4. Russia’s list of 15 Syrian opposition leaders ready and willing to talk peace in Geneva next week, as submitted to UN envoy De Mistura’s office:
    Abbas Habib ——— Tribal Command Council
    Fateh Jamous ——- The Movement of the Path for Political Change
    Amina Owusu ——- Self-government [of Rojava]
    Khaled Issa ———- PYD
    Saleh Muslim ——– PYD
    Asiya Othman ——- PYD
    Majid Habboo ——- Qamh Movement
    Heitham Mannaa — Qamh Movement
    Qadri Jamil ———– PCLF
    Mazen Maghrebiya – PCLF
    Randa Qassis ——- Pluralistic Society Movement
    Salim Kheir-Bek —- Independent
    Nimrod Suleiman — Independent
    Rim Turkmani ——- Independent
    Samir al-Eita ——– Independent/Syrian Democratic Platform
    The Yanki list was apparently rejected with a note that the noms de guerre of its CIA-cornfed contras would not suffice. The Jonkharrie is now feverishly working to pin plausible names on his preferred candidates:

    • Rim Turkmani wonder if any relation to the late assistant to the vice president Hasan Turkmani? Also other than the PYD i not heard of a single one of these groups. Dose each of them a statue of Quisling in their garden?

      And remember Barbar Khamenei is half Azeri and if it was not for the USA the Russians would annexed Southern Azerbaijan leaving Iran 7% smaller (and the Republic of Azerbaijan 70% bigger). I don’t think someone with Khamenei’s political and religious beliefs would of done well in Stalinist Russia where the minimum age of execution was 12. So if was not for the US of A you precious Ali might of been hanged in Siberian gulag.

      So Russia ever gets very pally with Azerbaijan again, don’t expect anyone to come to the mullah’s rescues, but I’m sure the white house will be nice enough to send you new maps with much bigger Azerbaijan and a much smaller Iran.

    • Its well documented that OBL was inspired by the writings of Sayyid Qutb even saying “so immersed with the author I would feel Sayyid was with me in my cell speaking to me directly.” Guess who translated Qutb into Persian/Dari? None other than your pal Ali, who also erected monuments to the suicide bombers in Lebanon that also inspired OBL.

      Is it any wonder Iran’s Jewish population has decreased 75% since 1979? There was a time when Iran was the know Muslim country that had no problem with the Jewry boy has that changed. Turkey is now the middle east country the 2nd highest Jewish population.

      • Your documentation’s wonky, Niall, as that’s a quote from Anwar al-Awlaki, though I’m sure OBL and many others were inspired by Qutb.
        Now can you explain how any of that fascinating trivia relates to my point #1?

        • Well as the Khomeinist Barbar you must be the expert on Qutb, sectarian bigotry and Islamic loonacism. Funny that Al-Qeada and the mullahs read the same scholar

            • Not funny as hahahaha funny as in strange/queer/weird/unusual ect, pretty common use of the word funny. This suggests to me that English is your 2nd language and that you don’t speak English in many casual situations. Because at uni many of my learnt English as a 2nd language and the number of times have to explain common saying and expressions you don’t learn in school.

              In this context I being scarcastic because its not at all funny/strange/unusual/weird/queer/unexpected that they read Qutb because they are all a bunch of fizzy loony old nut-jobs.

            • in a nut shell, Qutb was a nut the father of Islamic terrorism. Outside of academia no should read his stuff. How many people read Mein Kampf? Unless its for World War 2 research?

  5. 1. 2nd TOW of 2016 shot at Khan Touman today. That’s a rate of 1 every 10 days, a far cry from the average of 15-20 per day seen last October. Would any NATO-revolutionary fanboi care to have a stab at explaining this discrepancy?
    2. JiJu is losing his personal battle with the Dark Russian Forces, along with what little remains of his mind.
    3. FSAl-Nusra’s fightback in Latakia doesn’t seem to be making great headway. Reinforcement’s aren’t exactly rushing to the front to meet an Mi-24 Hind up close and personal, in fact these trepid chaps seem excited to be heading off in the opposite direction.

  6. Stinky smelly Limy liar Lucas, this is all a pack of lies. Those Barrel Bombs have been sprinkled with magical fairy dust so they only kill your limy terrorists controlled by your limy demented brain. Our glorious leader Fuehrer Bashar will recapture all of Syria and you will need an Ouija Board to contact you dead limy terrorist rats as they have all been killed in the last 5 minutes. If you weren’t such a stupid dumb dumb who can’t read.

    We totally don’t need Russians or Iranians to fight our battles for us we are invincible and can not lose. Its impossible. Look out a window limy boy and you see pigs fly before we face defeat. The territory all held by your homosexual gay queer limy twinks was just a tactical retreat. We have already deployed our own army of Daleks and Cybermen to hold off the cockroaches until our Death Star can be deployed by our chief commander and greatest dragon slaying hero Col Shere-Khan the Tiger.

    Its just shows what bunch of limy twinks you all are that thought that defeat geniuses like Ali Mamluk and Bouthania Shabaan those two are certifiably smarter than Einstein. And Rami Makhlouf is a greater businessman than Bill Gates how else did you explain how he so rich? And Maher who is so bright that he replaced his missing leg with a euphonium I bet the rest of you would never ever in 54765463526765876 years think of doing that because you are all morons not just morons but limy morons.

    At my website we don’t use any of your dumb sources who needs testimonies and videos when I have crystal balls and a goose that has been scarified to my statue of Michel Aflaq which I bow before daily as it recite prayers to it.

    I know this is true because my uncle Zaid’s dentist’s aunt’s neighbours’ cousin’s judo instructor’s geography teacher’s baby sitter’s tennis coach’s plumber once said hi in the lift of a man who is the son of the bodyguard to the secretary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party’s Golan Heights Governor. That’s how.

  7. Update:

    #Aleppo: “Rebels take al-Nimr Mount overlooking #Salma village in Akrad Mount #Latakia countryside” – northern stork

    To any young/junior Southern Front officer: if you fear the loss of weapon supplies then launch raids on regime/SAA depots-sites, continuing launching ambushes especially if it gives you spoils in terms of weaponry, concentrate on weak regime logistical supply routes. Why I say this? The more weapons on your own you take from regime, and the more weapons you create/invent (e.g. elephant cannons, camera-drones etc), the more independent from MOC you become and the more aggressive you can be in successful way against Assad’s army and his Iranian backers and IF your seniors try to stop with you THEN FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF NASSER AND LAUNCH A COUP against incompetent senior leaders.

    • I can’t help but think that if the ‘revolution’ had adopted this philosophy [staying independent from meddling warcriminal Yankis & their rotten vassals] from the outset, it would be in a lot healthier shape right now with probably not 10% of the damage done to the people and country thus far.
      [sigh] Maybe next time they can have politically intelligent leaders?

    • Wouldn’t if be fragging if its an officer and a coup if its a government leader. But I do agree if they keep doing hit and run attacks and stealing their weapons then they will be effectively sieged. And only travel in large conveys which means all the more to slay and steal in your ambush. And more risk of death the more chance of surrender and defection of the SAA troops.

      Have you been in the military before K9? You seem quite good at it.

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