Syria Daily: Kerry Calls for Grounding of Russian and Regime Warplanes

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THURSDAY FEATURES

Audio Analysis: After the “Ceasefire”, Assad Burns Aleppo
Video: Assad — “No Siege on Aleppo…Terrorists Attacked Aid Convoy”
Russia Accidentally Reveals Its Troop Numbers
Analysis: Will Obama Step Up Weapons to Kurdish Militia?


UPDATE 1600 GMT: President Assad has told the Associated Press that there is no siege of Aleppo:

Now see Syria Video Feature: Assad — “No Siege on Aleppo…Terrorists Attacked Aid Convoy”


UPDATE 0630 GMT: The opposition Syrian National Coalition has welcomed John Kerry’s statement for the grounding of military flights, but cautioned, “This won’t be achieved by deals with Russia, which has shown a consistent willingness to violate deals and to flagrantly violate international law.”

The Coalition appealed for a “no-bomb zone”for all of Syria, and putting “credible force back on the table” to deter the Assad regime.


ORIGINAL ENTRY: US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Wednesday for a grounding of Russian and regime warplanes over parts of Syria, two days after Russia apparently carried out strikes on a UN aid convoy.

Addressing the UN Security Council, Kerry said that the flights over zones of humanitarian need must be stopped in a last chance to salvage a ceasefire and find a way “out of the carnage”:

To restore credibility to the process we must move forward to try to immediately ground all aircraft flying in those key areas in order to de-escalate the situation and give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.

The Secretary of State said Monday’s missile strikes and bombing — in which about 20 people were killed, including 12 Red Crescent personnel — raised “profound doubt whether Russia and the Assad regime can or will live up to” ceasefire obligations.

Kerry will chair a meeting of the 23-nation International Syria Support Group, where he is expected to repeat his call. However, the Assad regime has already issued a rejected, saying the halt to flights — and presumably bombing — would be a “breach of sovereignty”.

On Wednesday, the regime continued attacks, including one on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Province which killed at least 13 people. Activists also said that 15 personnel were killed in a strike on a medical center in Khan Tuman, west of Aleppo city.

The Local Coordination Committees documented the deaths of 89 people across Syria yesterday, including 52 in Aleppo Province and 23 in Idlib Province.

The Syrian military said that it struck seven areas near Aleppo.

Overnight bombing of Aleppo city:

Lavrov: “Refrain from Emotional Instincts”

Speaking before Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tried to fend off criticism: “One needs to refrain from emotional instincts, from rushing to the microphone immediately to comment on something; a probe should be conducted.”

Russia has put out various claims to divert responsibility. They include assertions that rebels attacked on the ground, that the convoy was accompanied by an armed “terrorist” vehicle, and even that the trucks suddenly “caught fire” with no damage from ammunition, let alone airstrikes.

However, US officials told journalists on Tuesday that they had intelligence establishing that two Su-24 strike aircraft were over the scene in western Aleppo Province at the time of the attacks. While both the Russian and Syrian air forces operate Su-24s, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said Russia carried the responsibility for the bombing.

Lavrov, perhaps unwittingly, bolstered Rhodes’ claim when he noted that regime warplanes do not fly at night, leaving Moscow’s forces as the only possible suspect.

1st US Call in 5 1/2 Years to Stop Military Flights

Kerry’s statement was the public call by the US Government for a suspension of military flights in Syria’s 5 1/2-conflict, despite repeated appeals by activists and the Syrian opposition for action to end the bombing that has killed many tens of thousands of civilians.

In 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA Director David Petraeus were among high-level US officials pressing for no-fly zones, but President Obama objected to the initiative.

In August 2013, following the Assad regime’s chemical attacks near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people, Kerry led US public declarations for intervention. However, Obama suddenly pulled back, surprising almost all of his top advisors.

The shift in Washington’s stance on Wednesday followed the suspension of all aid activities by the UN and Red Crescent, after the bombing and the end of the seven-day ceasefire declared by the US and Russia.

The US had said that the truce must lead to aid deliveries to besieged areas; however, the Assad regime refused to allow any transport of assistance from Turkey to opposition areas in Syria’s largest city Aleppo.

On Monday afternoon, hours before the end of the seven-day period, the Syrian military announced it was renewing operations. Russia supported the message of an end to the “freeze of hostilities”.

Kerry said on Wednesday, “I emphasize this to Russia. The United States continues to believe there is a way forward that, although rocky and difficult and uncertain, can provide the most viable path out of the carnage.”

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault distributed a document to the Security Council outlining a new mechanism for monitoring a truce, seeking discussion later this week.


Group of Rebels and Families Leave Besieged al-Wa’er in Homs

A group of rebels and their families have left the besieged al-Wa’er district in Homs, as a deal to remove civilians and fighters finally gets underway.

al-waer-removal-22-09-16

The removal was supposed to begin earlier this week, but was held up because of opposition concerns over the security of routes from al-Wa’er to opposition-held Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

The Assad regime has been trying to force the surrender of al-Wa’er, the last opposition area in Homs, since 2013. A deal was struck for a truce in December 2015, but the Syrian military has continued its siege and bombardment to try and force a capitulation of rebels and between 50,000 to 80,000 residents.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

37 COMMENTS

  1. It’s getting hard to keep track of all the Russian lies about their murder of the aid workers. It’s easier to just make a list.
    1. They said there were no Russian or regime planes in the area
    2. They said the strike was directed against Nusra Front
    3. They said it was aimed at a nearby town
    4. They said that a towed mortar was spotted following the convoy
    5. They said that the trucks somehow spontaneously combusted(LOL)
    6. Now they are saying that a US drone in the area carried out the strike.

    They are up to six different lies thus far. Not bad by Russia’s depraved standards. I’m sure there will be more.

    • It’s not much easier to keep track of all America’s lies about the incident either.

      1. The U.S. and its allies claim that the convoy was bombed in an air attack. The Russians deny that they or the Syrians executed any such attack.

      2. The “rebels” had various version. Syrian jets AND helicopters did it; “Barrel bombs” were used; a sustained attack over hours …

      3. U.S. Secretary of State first claimed that the Syrian did it, then that the Russians did it; helicopters had attacked.

      4. The Pentagon then came up with two Russian SU-24 fixed wing aircraft as the culprits. But the U.S. then claimed that the attack went on over two hours which is longer than a pair of SU-24 could sustain.

      Of course, the White Helmets just happened to be on the scene to film the aftermath – how convenient!

      Why would the Syrian Air Force attack the Syrian Red Crescent with which it has good relations and which also works in all government held areas? Why would the Syrian or Russian forces attack a convoy which earlier had passed through government held areas and checkpoints and was thereby not carrying contraband? There is no plausible reason or motive for such an attack. Nor has anyone else come forward with such.

      No doubt Kerry will claim again that he has proof but cannot show it to the public.

      • Deal was ceasefire = food to besieged Aleppo..
        but then..
        1. US attacks Syrian soldiers near Deir Azzour
        -So
        2. Russia decides to hit back by bombing food convoy

        It doesnt take a genius

          • LOL.. the US admitted they did it, we all know they made up a lie about it being a mistake, but they admitted they did it openly.. Russia cant even own up to there choices.. and so here you are LOL

      • LOL. Here comes the ever predictable Andre to defend the Russians from yet another embarrassing war crime. Must be a tiresome job these days. And do you know what the White Helmets actually do? Apparently not. It makes perfect sense for them to be at the scene of just about every bombing. Certain stooges like to bitch about it and call them ridiculously call them “terrorists” because they are highly inconvenient for the covering up of Russian/regime war crimes.
        Motive? How is this for a motive. The regimes main strategy has been to been to starve out huge numbers of people in opposition areas and the aid convoy was delivering food to just such an area. Gee whiz. Guess something that obvious just slipped your little mind. I mean have you read nothing for the last year?
        And I’m not sure where you getting your typical garbage from, but once the convoy was hit the US was consistent in their statements on Russian responsibility. It was some of the witness accounts that differed. Keep trying. It’s sad.

    • There is not a single doubt on who carried out the attack on the UN aid. The rest is the usuall disgusting flow of excuses and pathetic ways to come out of it, some of which are very funny indeed. A war crime, not the first not the last. Full stop.

        • The Syrian Air force and Russian jets could never do such a thing.. they are too kind and loving.. thanks for telling us.. we are all naive unlike youuuu LOL

            • “there is nothing the Syrians or Russians stood to gain from this”

              I think that bombing aid convoys benefits the pro-government alliance in the same way bombing hospitals does – they want to make it difficult for people to live in besieged areas such as Aleppo in particular and in rebel-held regions in general. I find a ceasefire in which aid flows freely into besieged opposition-held areas difficult to conceive of given the general regime war strategy of targeting all assets that can be viewed as essential to military or civilian life in rebel-held areas in order to depopulate (where not besieged) or starve out (where a siege is in place) those areas.

              • I think that bombing aid convoys benefits the pro-government alliance in the same way bombing hospitals does – they want to make it difficult for people to live in besieged areas such as Aleppo in particular and in rebel-held regions in general.

                The problem is that wars are won on the propaganda front as much as the battlefield, and the prescription you present is a guaranteed way to lose that fight. The pattern is all too familiar. Every time the rebels are on the back foot or look like losing ground, one of these attacks takes place. Makes no sense from the regime standpoint. How many times has the last hospital in Aleppo been bombed? How many times has the last pediatrician been killed? How many times are the white helped gestapo there to film it and pull a baby our of the rubble?

            • “there is nothing the Syrians or Russians stood to gain from this …”

              They are using a “starve or submit” strategy in rebel Aleppo, as they have in other areas. They gain when Aleppo starves …, and lose when the UN feeds it.

              I don’t think any of the individual Russian claims are meant to be taking seriously. They just put out a bunch of them, so that people like Andre can pick their favorites and recycle them all over the web. Whichever proves the most popular/plausible with the internet trolls then becomes the official line.

              My all-time favorite Russian claim is that the convoy spontaneously combusted, so @Andre, please start using that one!

              • They are using a “starve or submit” strategy in rebel Aleppo, as they have in other areas.

                No one has starved. In fact, if you read the headlines carefully these areas are said to have food for months, then a week later, they are reported as starving.

                My all-time favorite Russian claim is that the convoy spontaneously combusted, so @Andre, please start using that one!

                I think that was Kerry’s words no Russia’s but I could be wrong.

            • lol Andre dont fall in your usuall rethorics and laughable theories. One side is to blame and even a blind person would understand it.

            • Mozhet bit, potemu chto oni slishali zvuk pilota na radio, ponimaesh ? Net, ti ne ponimaesh nichigo..

              They’ve got the radio calls of the pilots. They could release them, but the russians and US are working together so they aren’t going to do it straight away.
              .
              Not that it makes any difference. Russia is still screwed. Their great ceasefire is over. They bombed the convoy because they’re cowards who can’t stand up to the US who bombed their spec ops team in Dier ez Zor They wouldn’t dare even fart in the direction of the US. Putin is scared tha his bank accounts will be closed..

            • It was a SU-24, which they’ve said repeatedly. It was flown at night, which is something the Assad dictatorship apparently doesn’t do. They’ve also said the attack was too sophisticated for the Assad regime. And I’m sure they have communication intercepts that they won’t release to the public along with other intelligence information.

          • @Andre– No one has starved because they’ve submitted instead. As for wars being won as much by propaganda as on the battlefield, that is correct.

            The regime uses chemical weapons, the regime and the Russians block aid convoys and bomb hospitals, and then Russia puts out a bunch of absurd claims.

            And no one holds them to account: either for their actions, or for their lies. So it’s a win-win: they get their way on the battlefield with war crimes, and then in the propaganda sphere. It isn’t pretty, but its working, so why would they stop?

  2. The only deal that Russia keeps is the safe passage for surrendering and evacuated neighborhoods. As it was in Darayya and now in Homs. Soon in Aleppo insha’Allah. NO to reinforcements to Islamists, YES to surrender and safe evacuation.

  3. I put only a half penny of Kerry’s statement.No value.He said to calm spirits at UN (especially for France)…. something as “we study for X if it is possible”. It will not happen.Fake judges do it so in courts. The audience is happy! But the trial on the subject was already decided.The new “development” on the ground does not change Obama’s mind; for him the “ceasefire” to work is similar in a small way to Iran’s deal.
    ————
    International preparations for aid airlift and dropping could scare Assad. But Russia and Assad will go on saying that it was ISIS, it was AlQaeda.it was Jund Aqsa. And declaring Jund Aqsa “terrorist” org., it was a new license to kill for Putin and Assad — in Hama and Idlib.

  4. It’s amazing to see a bunch of wholehearted US supporters here! Think outside of the controlled media box for a second. How can the US get the attention off their garbage in eastern Syria… I know we can bomb an aid convoy and blame it on Russia! The US has been doing false flag attacks for a long time and this is no exception. As long as we continue to go along with their plans, the wars will not stop. The CIA has over $50 billion dollars they spend that we know about, that no one except for them using the money knows about how it’s used or what it used on.

    • One of the smart things that Russia has done is to create a symbiosis with paranoid internet conspiracy theories, as reflected in this post – it’s a false flag cos America’s always doing false flags (usually the next bit is ‘cos the Jews’).
      .
      The Kremlin has co-opted the paranoid right so thoroughly that the paranoid right’s representative par excellence, The Donald, openly professes his man-love for Putin, and useful idiots and Alex Jones ditto heads will turn up like clockwork on internet discussions parroting lies that have come straight from the Kremlin.

      • Donald is garbage just like Hilary, he said he wants to bomb Syria and take the oil. Ron Paul is one of the few that have the brains and morals of a true leader, but you would call him an isolationist because he would push to get rid of most of the hundreds of foreign bases and talk to countries first instead of just occupying countries, put on sanctions/embargoes, support proxy fighters, and give billions of dollars to other nations every year. He wouldn’t support the hidden agendas that are being followed today and that’s why both parties hate him. I look at past and current doings of the US government and I see they’re garbage, but you see that nothing is wrong, only little mistakes here and there? Your only defense for the US government’s actions is trying to label me as paranoid and brainwashed by the Kremlin and it’s many useful idiots. I go after the US because they’re the ones doing the great majority of evil in the world right now. I come here to get the other side of the arguments which is healthy.

        • Ron paul anonymous? A grown ass man who still believes in austrian economics
          Is he gonna run americas health service on voodoo too?

        • Ron Paul LOL, it’s amazing to see how conspiracy theorists worship this old, grumpy politically irrelevant homophobe as some sort of messiah, because he has occasionally thrown them a bone. Sad really.

  5. I wonder whether rebels use google earth at both operational (e.g. areas of a province that rebels will attempt to capture) and a tactical (e.g. which buildings will be stormed by which rebel units) level?

  6. Obama Lectures on Syria, a Crisis He Exacerbated
    .
    http://eaworldview.com/2016/09/syria-daily-kerry-calls-for-grounding-of-russian-and-regime-warplanes/
    .
    So true. Yet Donald Trump and Jill Stein, Putin heartthrobs, would be even worse. Both defend Putin’s behavior in the Ukraine and accept Putin’s justifications without question. Stein and Trump’s crazy general, Michael Kelly, ex-DIA head, even sipped win with Putin at his table celebrating the 20th anniversary of his propaganda organ, Russia Today. Gary “Oops” Johnson, as an isolationist, would also allow Putin to get away with murder if elected. The guy never even heard of Aleppo until he was asked “what he would do about it” in a TV interview. Hillary is the only candidate who appears to question Putin’s “good will” or see the New KGB head/dictator as a threat.

  7. Perhaps someone more enlightened can explain this for me, but isn’t a ceasefire between Yankistan and Russia somewhat superfluous, seeing as they have not yet commenced shooting each other in Syria?

  8. Am still wondering why after 5 years of conflict rebel fighters don’t use flame throwers whilst storming regime positions? The regime and Russians have no problem using incendiary weapons against Syrian civilians so why are rebels hesitating using the flame-thrower as a weapon? There’s a reason why people say ‘fight fire with fire’ and the use of a fire weapon like a flame-thrower by the Inghimazis on regime fighters would be giving the regime a taste of it’s own medicine.

    • Ok whats it gonna be. I strap on a flame thrower or do I use a suicide vest.
      Since my chances of getting killed while using either weapon are 99% I’ll go with the suicide vest.
      Is’nt this war horrible enough for you without bringing in weapons that are useless except for pinpointing your exact location so the enemy can train their weapons on you?
      Suggestion: Lay off the war movies.

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