Syria Daily: Limited Evacuation Deal in Surrounded ISIS-Held City of Manbij?

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PHOTO: Claimed image of men carrying young victims of US bombing of Manbij last week


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The Islamic State and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are discussing a limited evacuation deal over the ISIS-held city of Manbij, surrounded by the SDF, in Syria’s Aleppo Province.

ISIS has proposed the passage of critically-ill civilians to SDF-controlled areas in return for wounded Islamic fighters being transported out of Manbij, the target of an SDF offensive and US airstrikes since May.

However, an SDF spokesman said the Islamic State rejected an offer of safe withdrawal if they gave up the city, which they have held since early 2014.

An estimated 50,000 civilians are believed to be in Manbij.

On Monday and Tuesday, scores were killed in US airstrikes in and near the city, including on a school that housed displaced Syrians. Up to 160 civilians were slain, said activists, and some unconfirmed reports gave an even higher toll.

See Syria Daily, July 20: US Airstrikes “Hit School”, Killed Up to 160 People

The SDF quickly cut off Manbij after the launch of its offensive, but has struggled to advance within the city.

On Thursday, the SDF-allied Manbij Military Council said Islamic State fighters had 48 hours to withdraw with light weapons.

Council spokesman Sharfan Darwish said early Saturday:

The deadline is approaching, time is almost up…and the battles are continuing. As far as we’re concerned, the situation has not changed. Our steps towards liberating Manbij are going ahead.

US Plays Down Civilian Deaths, Strikes to Continue

On Friday, the spokesman for the US-led coalition, Colonel Christopher Garver played down the civilian deaths from airstrikes, saying that any of them might be attributable to the Islamic State’s use of civilians as human shields or people “mixed in or among the Daesh fighters”.

Garver said Tuesday’s airstrikes on Tuesday occurred US allies on the ground observed a convoy with a substantial numbers of ISIS fighters “who appeared to be readying for a counterattack against SAC [US-aligned Syrian Arab Coalition] troops in the area, and a strike was called in on Daesh. The strike was against both buildings and vehicles.”

The Colonel said the US does not have a clear picture on the civilian death toll. He declared that “internal” sources were “concerned about between 10 or 20″, though there was a “kind of a wild speculation toward 73” dead civilians in the press.

The UK-based group AirWars provided the names of approximately 73 people, grouped by their families, whom local sources said were killed. It says that there could be up to 203 victims.

Garver told the Kurdish outlet ARA News that strikes will continue:

The Coalition will not reduce the use of air strike capabilities in the campaign to defeat ISIL [the Islamic State]. Coalition airstrikes are the most precise in the history of warfare.

Mitigating civilian casualties is a key component of the air campaign and is why we use precision weapons. We take great care, from analysis of available intelligence to selection of the appropriate weapons to meet mission requirements to minimize the risk of collateral damage, particularly any potential harm to civilians….

“U.S. and Coalition forces comply with the Law of Armed Conflict and take all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to non-combatants.

The opposition Syrian National Coalition has demanded an immediate suspension of aerial operations pending a thorough inquiry into the civilian deaths.

“It is essential that such an investigation not only results in revised rules of procedure for future operations, but also informs accountability for those responsible for such major violations,” the Coalition said in a letter to foreign ministers of the anti-ISIS coalition.


Regime and Hezbollah Renew Shelling of Zabadani

The Syrian military and Hezbollah have renewed shelling of the besieged town of Zabadani, northwest of Damascus, according to activists and the Qasioun News Agency.

Claims are circulating that the pro-Assad forces have sealed off all roads in the area.

A regime-Hezbollah offensive from last July, with daily bombardment and airstrikes, tried for almost three months to capture Zabadani. A truce was eventually agreed, with some residents and rebels leaving the town, but the siege has continued.


Russia-Regime Bombing Targets 6 Hospitals in 24 Hours

Russian and regime warplanes have targeted six hospitals within 24 hours in Aleppo Provinces.

Syria’s White Helmets civil defense organization issued a statement on the effect on medical provisions, with scores of people already being killed on a daily basis by the Russian-regime bombing.

The latest attacks included the Hakim, Zahra, Bayan, and Daqaq field hospitals in Aleppo city, a blood bank in the Sha’ar district, and the field hospital in Atareb to the west of the city.

An Aleppo-based activist said an infant was among those killed.

The Red Cross expressed its concern:

Since Russia’s aerial intervention last September, scores of hospitals, clinics, drugs warehouses, blood banks, and civil defense buildings have been destroyed or damaged.

The Local Coordination Committees documented the deaths of 121 people across Syria on Saturday, including 28 women and 19 children.

Almost 60 of the deaths were in and near Aleppo city. There were also 24 deaths near Damascus and 17 in opposition-held Idlib Province, most of them in the city of Jisr al-Shughour.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. What about this? Any more news, and how many hours until Kerry downplay it as PR and continue switching red lines to green lights for Russia’s bombings of civilians in the name of fighting Alqaeda in every school, hospital and neighborhood.

    • Kenan كنان ‏@KenanRahmani 6h6 hours ago

      Breaking: Nusra leader Abu Mohamad al-Jolani to address ties with AQ tomorrow in recorded statement, with his face *uncovered*. #Syria

    • If this happens, it’s a political maneuver aimed at other rebel factions, not US. Cutting ties won’t stop US bombing. It will however appease many in the Syrian rebellion who long called for it, seeing it (not unreasonably) as harmful to their revolution. JaN has repeatedly stated that the US isn’t against them because of their status as an AQ affiliate. Strictly speaking, this is true. With this move JaN makes itself appear complaisant and – when bombs finally start dropping – it can claim victimhood while those appeasers who called for the split as if it mattered will end up looking like donkeys. Again.

  2. yalla souriya ‏@YallaSouriya 12h12 hours ago

    Amaq : Daesh has shot down another regime air craft (not mention the type) in Hama E. Rif.

  3. Why Is There a ‘Red Line’ on Chemical Weapons but Not on 70,000 Deaths?

    Obama’s strategy in the Middle East is ‘engage where we must, disengage where we can’
    —————————————————–
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/04/why-is-there-a-red-line-on-chemical-weapons-but-not-on-70-000-deaths/275328/
    —————————————————–
    THE ARTICLE IS FROM Apr 26, 2013
    NOW WE TALK ABOUT 500.000 DEATHS

  4. Syria just got worse than the ‘worst-case scenario’
    Sunday, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described the current situation in Syria as “the worst-case scenario” for American interests.
    Specifically, he told CBS, the worst-case scenario “is that [Bashar al-] Assad continues to remain in power,” “that the Russians continue to have a presence there” and continue to attack moderate Syrian forces and, finally, that ISIS would benefit from the mess.
    Those headlines — partnership with Russia as NATO and US allies come under increasing pressure — capture the essence of President Obama’s Syria policy.
    To understand the president’s decisions in Syria, one must look to his signature foreign-policy initiative: the deal with Iran. Since Syrian dictator Assad is Iran’s strategic ally, Obama long ago decided he wouldn’t back the effort to topple him.
    http://nypost.com/2016/07/21/syria-just-got-worse-than-the-worst-case-scenario/

    • Cocokarim, you should be careful quoting Leon Panetta and understand what he’s really trying to say.
      .
      Panetta is one of the main people responsible for the bloodshed in Syria, along with Obama and indeed Hilary Clinton when she was foreign secretary. They were the ones tasked with developing and implementing the plan to save the regime at all costs, regardless of whether Assad stays or goes and regardless of how many Syrians are killed.
      .
      From http://www.revolutionobserver.com/2015/06/does-the-us-have-a-strategy-in-syria.html
      .
      Leon Panetta, in an inter­view with the CNN, he said: “I think it’s impor­tant when Assad leaves — and he will leave — to try to pre­serve sta­bil­ity in that coun­try. And the best way to pre­serve that kind of sta­bil­ity is to main­tain as much of the mil­i­tary, the police, as you can, along with the secu­rity forces, and hope that they will tran­si­tion to a demo­c­ra­tic form of gov­ern­ment. That’s a key.”[3] The US sees the regime in power what­ever the out­come of the upris­ing, with or with­out al-Assad.
      .
      The “moderate” forces are the ones who agree to keep the regime intact, with it’s army and security structure. Later on, when it became apparent to the US that the figures within the regime who could replace Assad wouldn’t be able to control the country, they modified this strategy to the “transition” plan of Vienna and Riyadh, which keeps Assad in place.
      .
      Panetta’s underlying point is that the vital interest of the US is in preserving the regime. And preserving the regime is vital because the police state dictatorship functions for one sole purpose: to keep the population under tight control. This is the “stability” Panetta refers to.

      • I mean, read carefully. This is the only reason there is a war and hunreds of thousands of men women and children are slaughtered without mercy but blink and you’ll miss it.
        .
        “the best way to pre­serve that kind of sta­bil­ity is to main­tain as much of the mil­i­tary, the police, as you can, along with the secu­rity forces, and hope that they will tran­si­tion to a demo­c­ra­tic form of gov­ern­ment. That’s a key.”
        .
        “That kind of stability” – the stability that keeps the population under control and gives the US and “international community” a single point of access over the muslims of Syria.
        .
        “main­tain as much of the mil­i­tary, the police, as you can, along with the secu­rity forces, and hope that they will tran­si­tion to a demo­c­ra­tic form of gov­ern­ment.”.
        .
        Notice how he says that you have to – as in must – keep the military and security services. And then afterwards – i.e. once they are established in power – hope that they will transition to a democratic form”.
        .
        I.e. democracy is a mere hope but maintaining “that kind of stability” is vital. And then the “democracy” is one that is arranged by the military and security services and preserves them as they transition to it – i.e. it is a hope that the regime can pull off a PR job to re-market itself as a “democracy”.
        .
        This is the US strategy, and this is what Panetta was responisble for. And the reason the US so far has failed is that in Syria there are actually people fighting the regime who know what he means and aren’t accepting it. So the Iranians, Russians and possibly next the Saudis and Turks are brought in to overcome these failures, but the US grand strategy has never changed since the first day and cannot change as US political power in the middle east depends upon regimes like Syria’s controlling the people.

        • What regime ? 6 hospitals bombarded by Assad’s regime in 48 hours in Aleppo/
          Not a regime , but a mass of killers …. I don’t know how rebels resists not to mass attack regime’s hospitals ……. they still have good commanders and leaders …. you understand what I mean….

          • What regime? The legitimate and elected government of Syria.

            6 hospitals bombarded by Assad’s regime in 48 hours in Aleppo

            Yes, more of those never been seen , now you see them now you don’t hospitals that magically appear out of nowhere just before a bomb lands in their vicinity.

            I don’t know how rebels resists not to mass attack regime’s hospitals ……. they still have good commanders and leaders …. you understand what I mean….

            Simple. The regime (which you previously didn’t know existed but now do) don’t claim that a building is a hospital every time a building is hit.

            • Lol ooh dear god andre so much b.s in one post but the fact u start off with ‘elected’ kinda puts the other whoppers in the shade
              U sir are trolling o.g style right now

  5. At the beginning of the revolution and a bit latter there were many defectors : political and military.
    The regime was not completely rotten ; it had best chances to follow a democratic strong transition.
    It was an opening for discussion , for sitting at the same table : opposition and regime .
    Later or now ….we arrived at the next regime …. under the form of a transitional body realized from rebels, civilian opposition , former regime military ——-> who left but did not fight against the regime, Kurds, Druzes.
    But with ISIS , different hardline Islamists, killing , massacres …. do you consider today that still is a regime ? or a group of terrorists and criminals supported by Iran, Russia and helped indirectly by US?
    Westerners didn’t want chaos……. but now it is completely full chaos….. it is the worst case SCENARIO indeed.

  6. Too good to check: Trump ready to invest $20 million to end Cruz’s and Kasich’s careers
    .
    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/07/22/too-good-to-check-trump-ready-to-invest-20-million-to-end-cruzs-and-kasichs-careers
    .
    I thought the GOP primary was over. Strategically this behavior makes no sense and it’s unimaginable from any other candidate, Democrat or Republican, past or present.
    .
    The guy is literally a sociopath who can’t let go of things, depends on internet conspiracy theories, praises the National Enquirer as a “legitimate source,” admires Putin more than our allies, etc. The ghostwriter who wrote “The Art of the Deal” and spent 19 months observing Trump at close hand says that if he could retitle the book, he’d name it “The Sociopath.” Lots of people in the USA and abroad agree. Those who don’t are mostly Fox News/radio talk show converted into paranoids. Prolonged exposure can drive folks crazy. Most Fox viewers are over 65.

  7. NYTime REPORT IS WORTHY OF AN EA “SPECIAL REPORT”

    “Cyber experts agree with Clinton campaign: Russia is behind email release”
    .
    The extraordinary charge came as some national security officials have grown increasingly concerned about possible efforts by Russia to meddle in the U.S. presidential election, according to several officials familiar with the situation.

    RedT says: It was never in doubt. Putin has actually financed similar right wing, pro-Russian politicians in Europe. He wouldn’t hesitate for a second.

  8. Question!
    If, because of civilians killing and the the destroyed hospitals by the regime + Russia in Aleppo ,
    ISIS will bomb 6 of the regime hospitals in Damascus , it will be considered a terrorist act, an act of justice or at least an act of retribution model “eye for eye” ?
    (Hint: these hospitals have some military patients but the general understanding is as being civilian structures)

    If your answer is terrorist act … what is the difference between Aleppo and Damascus killing?
    I help with the answer : bombs from sky and bombs from cars……. or criminal pilot against suicide bomber …..but their purpose is completely similar: to kill people.

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