Syria Daily: US to Keep Troops in Country

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks at the Security Council meeting on the situation in Syria at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York, U.S, April 7, 2017 (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

UPDATE 1900 GMT: Inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are still being blocked by the Assad regime and Russia from reaching Douma.

OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu told the Executive Council on Monday that the inspectors arrived in Damascus on Saturday and began meeting regime officials to “work out a plan for the deployment”. However, they are still being held in the Syrian capital, with the officials citing “pending security issues to be worked out”.

Regime authorities said the inspections can interview 22 people brought to Damascus.


UPDATE 1730 GMT: This is the task faced by pro-Assad forces in overrunning Douma if a capitulation agreement had not been forced by the regime’s chemical attacks on April 7 — the rebel faction Jaish al-Islam and its “town under a town”:


Reversing Donald Trump’s position from less than two weeks ago, the US is maintaining its troop presence in Syria.

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, confirmed the ongoing deployment of about 2,000 personnel alongside the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the north and east of the country.

Speaking with Fox News on Sunday, Haley said the US aims are ensuring chemical weapons are not used in any way that poses a risk to US interests; defeating the Islamic State; and maintaining a vantage point on the operations of Iran, an ally of the Assad regime.

“[It is our goal] to see American troops come home, but we are not going to leave until we know we have accomplished those things,” Haley said.

Donald Trump had been declaring last month that he wanted to withdraw all US troops, asking Saudi Arabia for $4 billion in return. The Pentagon pushed back by leaking to the press that it would increase the number of personnel with the SDF.

The matter was settled on April 7 by the Assad regime’s chemical attacks on Douma near Damascus, forcing the capitulation of the opposition enclave. Seeing images of the victims on TV the following morning, Trump’s attention moved from withdrawal to a missile response against the regime.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, whose involvement and that of the UK were essential to Saturday’s strikes, said yesterday that he persuaded Trump to retain US personnel in Syria: “We convinced him it was necessary to remain there. We have complete international legitimacy to act in this framework.”

Sanctions on Russia

In another interview on Sunday, Haley said new sanctions on Russia, over its support of Syrian President Bashar-al Assad, will be announced today.

Haley said the statement will be made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: “They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use.”

Haley ruled out any direct talks between the US and Assad, saying the regime is not “worthy” of this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday against any further US-UK-France strikes over Assad’s chemical attacks.

The Kremlin summarized remarks to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani: “Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations.”

In a contrasting statement, an Arab League summit called for examination of the chemical attacks and condemned Iranian interference:

We stress our absolute condemnation of the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people and we demand an independent international investigation to guarantee the application of international law against anyone proven to have used chemical weapons.

Regime Renews Attacks in Northwest

The Assad regime has renewed conventional bombing and shelling of northern Homs Province, a day after the US-UK-French strikes to deter chemical attacks.

Opposition activists reported about 40 airstrikes before noon Sunday, as well as fire from heavy artillery and machine guns. They said two civilians were killed and a number were wounded.

Pro-opposition analysts warned of a ground offensive by pro-Assad forces to try and capture the Rastan pocket, held by the opposition since February 2012.

Rebels said they destroyed four tanks and a BMP armored vehicle, as they forced attackers to withdraw.

Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets civil defense:

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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.

50 COMMENTS

  1. “Reversing Donald Trump’s position from less than two weeks ago, the US is maintaining its troop presence in Syria.”

    The sudden reversal of Trumps’s decision to pull out of Syria lends credence to those on PressTV, Sputnik and RT who claimed the Douma incident gave the deep state the reason it needed to maintain the American troop presence in oil-rich eastern Syria.

    The sites hit in Saturday’s strikes may also have been “inactive” regarding any alleged chemical weapons activities: “Some U.S. officials, however, are saying that the sites may have been inactive, as indicated by the fact that there were no casualties or chemical leaks from the facilities.” https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria-strike-live-updates-trump-vows-to-keep-pressure-on-assad-1.5995417

  2. Allies dispute Russian and Syrian claims of shot-down missiles
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/14/allies-dispute-russian-and-syrian-claims-of-shot-down-missiles

    Syrian anti-missile didn’t even go off until the last missile had already struck. LOL. Hope they didn’t pay the sorry ass Russians for those.

    Syria fired 40 missiles ‘at nothing’ after allied air strikes destroyed three Assad chemical sites
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/14/russia-claims-ally-syria-shot-71-103-missiles-launched-us-britain/

    LOLOL. So they wasted 40 missiles just for their pathetic propaganda ploy that only Russian tools will believe. How sad.

    • That is why the Syrian missiles were shot straight up in the air, almost vertically, while the cruise missiles are ground-hugging and skim the terrain.

      US needs to destroy some of his palaces so they would shut up claiming that they intercepted 70% of the missiles.

      • That is why the Syrian missiles were shot straight up in the air, almost vertically, while the cruise missiles are ground-hugging and skim the terrain.

        What are you talking about? The cruising altitude depends on the terrain and the topology around Damascus is mountainous
        https://e3.365dm.com/16/07/750×563/syria-mao-1_3665581.jpg?20160706090214

        Even Tomohawks are shot straight up in the air and initially climb to a high altitude before they descend to their cruising altitude

        • Wrong. Terrain hugging cruise missile start at a high altitude, but when they arrive at the zone that they could be intercepted, then descend and hug the ground which is not very efficient. That is why they are called ground hugging. Damascus was one of the targets, and if the cruise missile was not hugging the ground by that time, why call it ground hugging? Damascus is exceedingly flat, and the missiles also came from the south and east with no mountains.

        • I’ll bet you and the other regime cheerleaders think that acronym is genius. LOL. Probably didn’t even think that up yourself. I’ll bet you saw it on from some other Russian stooge.

        • Cruise missiles especially those coming from the south and east would be about 300 meters at most over ground. No mountains there. Even from west, the missiles would quickly descend to hug the ground. No matter what the elevation of Damascus is, the videos show that the AA missiles went at least to 1000 meters above ground, way past the hugging elevation of the cruise missiles and then exploded.

          If 71 missiles were intercepted, where are pictures of wrecked missiles? Assad should do what Iran does, which is to google some images and photoshop them.

  3. Allies dispute Russian and Syrian claims of shot-down missiles

    Of course they will. They will never admit to the operation being an abysmal failure. Meanwhile the SOHR says otherwise.

    Does anyone with a brain seriously believe the US would need to fire 105 missiles to destroy 3 modest targets? 🙂

    The Russians, as well as other sources on the ground, report in detail of many more targets:

    Four missiles targeted the Damascus International Airport; 12 missiles – the Al-Dumayr airdrome, all the missiles have been shot down.
    18 missiles targeted the Blai airdrome, all the missiles shot down.

    12 missiles targeted the Shayrat air base, all the missiles shot down. Air bases were not affected by the strike.

    Five out of nine missiles were shot down targeting the unoccupied Mazzeh airdrome.

    Thirteen out of sixteen missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome. There are no heavy destructions.

    In total 30 missiles targeted facilities near Barzah and Jaramana. Seven of them have been shot down.

    • You are fake Andre. I have asked you so may times to describe me a bit about your window shade business, and you refuse to answer (except one time that you essentially copied from a website). Tell me, how does a honeycomb shade work? What causes it to fail? Normally, what is the maximum size recommended for such a shade? How does a motorized shade work? You can’t answer any of these questions because you are not the shade maker that you claim to be.

      Your continual refusal to answer has only one cause and that is you are not the person that you claim to be. Identity theft should be grounds for banning a poster, Scott.

      • I have asked you so may times to describe me a bit about your window shade business, and you refuse to answer

        IO already figures out you know nothing about the business so I don’t feel the need to waste my time.

        Tell me, how does a honeycomb shade work? What causes it to fail? Normally, what is the maximum size recommended for such a shade? How does a motorized shade work? You can’t answer any of these questions because you are not the shade maker that you claim to be.

        I never claimed to be a shade maker. Again you know nothing about the business. There are a number of shades and they work differently depending of design, installation and function and whether they are internal or external. So what do you want to know? Mortised Venetians (internal external), motorized rollers, motorized pleated blinds, motorised curtains, folding arms awnings, cable tensioned sky lights, all weather roofing systems.

        I already explained that I wouldn’t touch a honeycomb shade with a 10 foot pole because they are but ugly, prone to damage and are chronic dust collectors. My business caters to high end residential clients who would never request an abomination like a honeycomb shade.

        • I did not say or mean you are a manufacturer. I know from your site that you design the covering for the customer’s window which means selecting the right share, measuring, cutting, installation etc. A homemaker does not construct homes. A bookmaker does not write books.

    • But the Syrians said they only shot down 13 missiles.

      So why is it that places reported hit had only one or two interceptions, but places not hit had 100% interceptions. The ratio of interceptions should average out. Clearly this is all bogus.

      Like when Russia denied any Russian fighter killed at Deir Ezzor, for the wold to find out that 200 Russian fighters were shredded by the AC-130.

      There was little left of the three huge Barzah buildings. That is not the job of only 6 missiles.

      • Syrians said they shot down 71 missiles. You are confusing the 13 with the 13 out of 16 missiles were shot down targeting the Homs airdrome.

        No Russian fighters were killed at Deir Ezzor.

        • So are you denying that Wagner mercenaries who along with SAA rushed to occupy an oilfield never got killed? I believe this was February. Wow, just wow.

    • Andre the only thing in here which is an abysmal failure is your brain as usual. Keep feeding yourself with 2 cents cheap ass regime propaganda. Not even one of those shitty syrian AA went on target. Whats more fun is that syrian AA engaged or better “thought” of engaging when the attack was already over lol. Since you have a military knowledge of a 3yr old of course you have no clue how that happen. Its called electronic warfare. And no, to prevent your usuall 2 cent reply, the russian dident jam a thing as they cryed they would do. The US Cook is still waiting for that retaliation promised by the russians to engage any source of fire 🙂 You do understand that your flipping of this story every day in every post just shows us how frustrated and out of any reality you are. But as usuall you are good entertainment.

      • Not even one of those shitty syrian AA went on target.

        Yeah right, but the US needed to fire 105 missiles at 3 targets when a dozen would have easily done the job

        The US Cook is still waiting for that retaliation promised by the russians to engage any source of fire

        That’s why the ship hid more than 100km off he coast of Syria, and why all the bombers did the same, scared to death of the Syrian anti aircraft systems

        Tomohakws are sub sonic junk. I am amazed the US still used the antiquated toys. Knocking then out f the air is child’s play for a half decent AA system, though I must admit the Soviet era systems the Syrians employed exceeded even my expectations.

        • It’s a bit strange to this type of ignorant, jingoistic chest thumping for all things Russian from someone who claims to an Australian. Pretty hilarious though. You should probably just to windows and stop embarrassing yourself. If the Russians aren’t paying you, they should be. I mean who else so willingly cycles their absurd and increasingly desperate propaganda 17 million times a day?

        • If you belive even one word of your last message you have some kind of neurological disorder. I will not even debate the amount of bs you just wrote. Go seek some medical help. I am serious.

        • Lol, more than a dozen buildings were destroyed, some which were huge complexes, as in Barzah. Your understanding of weapon systems comes from playing video games, it seems.

        • Elayna, the Russian bots first pretended to be American or British. When that didn’t work, they pretended to be Irish or Australian. Now I see they don’t even bother camouflaging and register with a Russian name. Marhabâ!

    • As I said, “they wasted 40 missiles just for their pathetic propaganda ploy that only Russian tools will believe”. Thank you for proving my point. Oh and there is still absolutely zero credible evidence to back up any of your bullshit claims. Because clearly you don’t understand the term “credible evidence” what with your notorious comprehension issues and all.

      • As I said, “the US wasted 105 missiles just for their pathetic propaganda ploy of hitting 3 targets that could have been taken out by less than a dozen”

        The SOHR has confirmed that at least 65 outdated sub sonic Tomohawks were shot out of the sky. Probably another 30 just fell into the ocean and never even made it to land.

        Too funny 🙂

        • You’re right for once in your miserable life. Your regurgitation and predictable recycling of cheap Russian propaganda is too funny. Can’t do anything else aside from point out that you STILL have zero evidence to support your bullshit claim. It’s because it’s a propaganda stunt by the Russians and Syrians to save face. Meant for simpleminded people who will believe whatever their Russian masters tell them to believe.

        • The only comedian in here is you Andre. Calling outdated junk a JASSM-ER. Which of course you have no clue of what it is. Keep pumping out 2 cents propaganda……its obvious you are a masochist, you enjoy beeing laughed at.

  4. French declassified intelligence report on [alleged] Syria gas attacks: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-france-intellige/french-declassified-intelligence-report-on-syria-gas-attacks-idUSKBN1HL0N1

    As expected, the “evidence” proviced by the report is entirely based on photographic and video footage, along with the testimony of pro-opposition “eyewitnesses” and “medics”. No actual scientific evidence is presented. The report does not actually state what chemical agent was used. The OPCW is currently investigating.

      • “open source intelligence” is just a euphemism for social media.

        ” French services analyzed the testimonies, photos and videos that spontaneously appeared on specialized websites, in the press and on social media in the hours and days following the attack.”

        and…

        “After examining the videos and images of victims published online”

        All they cite are civil society and local and international media, Washington funded NGOs.

        How pathetic and lame is this statement “Lastly, some of the entities that published this information are generally considered reliable.”

        By that brilliant logic, Iraq had WMD because the NYT – an entity that is generally considered reliable – published reports of their existence.

        Suffocation, asphyxia or breathing difficulties,

        Symptoms of smoke inhalation

        Mentions of a strong chlorine odor and presence of green smoke in affected areas

        mentioned but not seen in the video.

        Hypersalivation and hypersecretions (particularly oral and nasal)

        Not on any of the patients in the hospital.

        Skin burns and corneal burns.

        Also produced by exposure to intense heat ie. bomb explosions

        the apparent use of bronchodilators by the medical services observed in videos reinforces the hypothesis of intoxication by choking agents.

        Anyone who suffers from asthma would use these.

        – Cyanosis,

        • No, “open source intelligence” — a key part of intelligence and analysis well before social media came around — is not a “euphemism for social media”.

          The rest of your post is ineffective diversion.

            • Seriously, if you maintain this simplistic and very wrong position, you should not be commenting on any matter of substance regarding intelligence and analysis.

              • As a matter of fact he shoud not be commenting on any matter. Period. Is really not possibile to erase or at least filter him, this thing is starting to be annoying.

    • When Russia is blocking the OPCW from freely investigating the attacks and assign blame, then we have no choice but to find Assad and Russia guilty. Otherwise they would not be blocking their investigation and would not be vetoing UNSC resolutions that authorized an independent investigation.

      • How can Russia be blocking the OPCW from freely investigating the attacks when they would have only just arrived in Syria? It was the US that preempted the OPCW investigations with their attacks, just like Bush when he ordered the weapons inspectors to leave Iraq before finishing their investigations.

        • Russia blocked the OPCW by vetoing the resolution allowing inspectors to attribute responsibility for the attacks.

          • Their primary role is to determine if a nerve agent was used. If not, then there will be nobody to blame other than those who made the false claim. The OPCW is not the FBI.

            • I appreciate that you may not understand the significance of the Joint Investigative Mechanism and the attribution of responsibility.

    • I can think of Kosovo, Haiti, Timor, Grenada. Iraq certainly was a voluntary departure. British Empire? You mean 300 years ago? lol

      Give me one example, (aside from Afghanistan – do you really want an Islamic takeover? I thought you were anti-Islam?)

      Example please.

  5. ” @markito0171
    2h2 hours ago

    #Syria #Damascus
    ORGANISATION FOR THE
    PROHIBITION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS still wait to get access to #Douma town to invastigate crime scene”
    .
    It looks like Assad has not yet completed the task of hiding all of the evidence of chemical weapons.

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