Syrian Coalition: UN Proposal on Aleppo ‘Flawed,’ & Made amid Mass Forced Displacement Operations around Damascus

Members of the Syrian Coalition said that the proposal put forward by the United Nations on Aleppo is flawed and is not based on the relevant UN resolutions on Syria, stressing that the proposal was made whilst mass forced displacement operations are being currently carried out by the Assad regime in the Damascus suburbs. Residents of these suburbs were forced to agree to evacuation deals whereby they were moved Idlib province.

Secretary of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Riad Hasan said that the UN proposal on Aleppo talks about the evacuation of rebel fighters from eastern Aleppo while ignoring the delivery of humanitarian aid or guarantees for protection of the aid convoys.

Hasan stressed that the UN proposal and the meetings held in Geneva on Wednesday completely ignored the main cause of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Aleppo, namely the continued war crimes by the Assad regime and its Russian allies. The Assad regime and Russia’s air forces carry on with their relentless bombing campaign on Aleppo, targeting mainly vital civilian facilities such as hospitals and bakeries and using internationally banned weapons against civilian areas.

Hasan said that the UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura called for the exit of Fatah al-Sham Front fighters from Aleppo while turning a blind to the presence of 18,000 mercenaries belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization militias who are fighting alongside regime forces in Aleppo and committing the most heinous war crimes in the city and its countryside.

Member of the Coalition’s political committee Riad Seif said that the main goal of the Russian aerial campaign on Aleppo is to force civilians living in the rebel-held parts to leave their homes as part of the massed forced displacement campaign carried out by the Assad regime in different areas including the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiya, Qudsayya, and Daraya. Although Fatah al-Sham Front does not have any presence in these suburbs, its residents were forced to agree to an evacuation deals under the threat of besiegement and starvation.

Seif pointed out that “Russia is directly responsible for undermining chances of a political solution and for the collapse of previous truces as its intervention in Syria is aimed at assisting the regime in its mass forced displacement policy and at propping up the Assad regime.”

Seif regretted the fact that the UN is facilitating and covering up the mass forced displacement operations being carried out by the Assad regime as well as “keeping silent on the war crimes the Assad regime and its allies are committing in Syria.” He urged the next UN Secretary-General António Guterres to reconsider the UN positions on Syria, adding that statements and suggestions made by the UN representatives in Syria are being exploited by the Assad regime and its allies to carry on with their war crimes.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 20.10.2016)

The Roots of the Iraq and Syria Wars Go Back More than 60 Years

Article of 

It’s Always Been about Oil and Pipelines

The same issues which drove war and terrorism in the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s are still driving it today

The best way to see this is to start with today, and work backwards …

The U.S. is bombing Iraq again in order to protect the major oil center in Erbil.

The war in Syria is also largely about oil and gas.   International Business Times noted last year:

[Syria] controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate.


Syria also has oil shale resources with estimated reserves that range as high as 50 billion tons, according to a Syrian government source in 2010.

Moreover, Syria is a key chess piece in the pipeline wars:

Syria is an integral part of the proposed 1,200km Arab Gas Pipeline:

Here are some additional graphics courtesy of Adam Curry:

A picture named arabGasPipeline.jpg

A picture named syria-turkey.jpg

A picture named levantprovince2.jpg

So yes, regime change was planned against Syria (as well as Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran) 20 years ago.

And yes, attacking Syria weakens its close allies Iran and Russia … and indirectly China.

But Syria’s central role in the Arab gas pipeline is also a key to why it is now being targeted.

Just as the Taliban was scheduled for removal after they demanded too much in return for the Unocal pipeline, Syria’s Assad is being targeted because he is not a reliable “player”.

Specifically, Turkey, Israel and their ally the U.S. want an assured flow of gas through Syria, and don’t want a Syrian regime which is not unquestionably loyal to those 3 countries to stand in the way of the pipeline … or which demands too big a cut of the profits.

A deal has also been inked to run a natural gas pipeline from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria (with a possible extension to Lebanon).

And a deal to run petroleum from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias has also been approved:

Turkey and Israel would be cut out of these competing pipelines.

Gail Tverberg- an expert on financial aspects of the oil industry – writes:

One of the limits in ramping up Iraqi oil extraction is the limited amount of infrastructure available for exporting oil from Iraq. If pipelines through Syria could be added, this might alleviate part of the problem in getting oil to international markets.

If you don’t believe that the war in Syria is about access to oil and gas, keep reading …

The architects of the Iraq War (the one which started in 2003) themselves admitted it was about oil.

The Gulf war was also about oil.   Specifically, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait caused oil prices to skyrocket. The U.S. invaded Iraq in order to calm oil markets.

In its August 20, 1990 issue, Time Magazine quoted an anonymous U.S. Official as saying:

Even a dolt understands the principle.  We need the oil. It’s nice to talk about standing up for freedom, but Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are not exactly democracies, and if their principal export were oranges, a mid-level State Department official would have issued a statement and we would have closed Washington down for August.

The Guardian reports that the U.S. and Britain planned regime change in Syria 57 years ago to guarantee the flow of oil:

Nearly 50 years before the war in Iraq, Britain and America sought a secretive “regime change” in another Arab country they accused of spreading terror and threatening thewest’s oil supplies, by planning the invasion of Syria and the assassination of leading figures.


The document [was] approved by London and Washington ….


Syria also had control of one of the main oil arteries of the Middle East, the pipeline which connected pro-western Iraq’s oilfields to Turkey.

And between 1932 and 1948, the roots for the current wars in Iraq and Syria were planted.  As Wikipediaexplains:

File:Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline.svg

The Mosul–Haifa oil pipeline (also known as Mediterranean pipeline) was a crude oil pipeline from the oil fields in Kirkuk, located in north Iraq, through Jordan to Haifa (now on the territory of Israel). The pipeline was operational in 1935–1948. Its length was about 942 kilometres (585 mi), with a diameter of 12 inches (300 mm) (reducing to 10 and 8 inches (250 and 200 mm) in parts), and it took about 10 days for crude oil to travel the full length of the line. The oil arriving in Haifa was distilled in the Haifa refineries, stored in tanks, and then put in tankers for shipment to Europe.

The pipeline was built by the Iraq Petroleum Company between 1932 and 1935, during which period most of the area through which the pipeline passed was under a British mandate approved by the League of Nations. The pipeline was one of two pipelines carrying oil from the Kirkuk oilfield to the Mediterranean coast. The main pipeline split at Haditha with a second line carrying oil to Tripoli, Lebanon, which was then under a French mandate. This line was built primarily to satisfy the demands of the French partner in IPC, Compagnie Française des Pétroles, for a separate line to be built across French mandated territory.

The pipeline and the Haifa refineries were considered strategically important by the British Government, and indeed provided much of the fuel needs of the British and American forces in the Mediterranean during the Second World War.

The pipeline was a target of attacks by Arab gangs during the Great Arab Revolt, and as a result one of the main objectives of a joint British-Jewish Special Night Squads commanded by Captain Orde Wingate was to protect the pipeline against such attacks. Later on, the pipeline was the target of attacks by the Irgun. [Background.]

In 1948, with the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the official operation of the pipeline ended when the Iraqi Government refused to pump any more oil through it.

Why is this relevant today?   Haaretz reported soon after the Iraq war started in 2003:

The United States has asked Israel to check the possibility of pumping oil from Iraq to the oil refineries in Haifa. The request came in a telegram last week from a senior Pentagon official to a top Foreign Ministry official in Jerusalem.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which views the pipeline to Haifa as a “bonus” the U.S. could give to Israel in return for its unequivocal support for the American-led campaign in Iraq, had asked the Americans for the official telegram.

The new pipeline would take oil from the Kirkuk area, where some 40 percent of Iraqi oil is produced, and transport it via Mosul, and then across Jordan to Israel. The U.S. telegram included a request for a cost estimate for repairing the Mosul-Haifa pipeline that was in use prior to 1948.  During the War of Independence [what Jews call the 1948 war to form the state of Israel], the Iraqis stopped the flow of oil to Haifa and the pipeline fell into disrepair over the years.


National Infrastructure Minister Yosef Paritzky said yesterday that the port of Haifa is an attractive destination for Iraqi oil and that he plans to discuss this matter with the U.S. secretary of energy during his planned visit to Washington next month.


In response to rumors about the possible Kirkuk-Mosul-Haifa pipeline, Turkey has warned Israel that it would regard this development as a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.

In other words, the same issues which drove war and terrorism in the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s – oil, gas and pipelines – are still driving it today.

(Source / 20.10.2016)

Russian, Syrian Radars Prove Belgian Jets Strike Syrian Village – Russian MoD

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian and Syrian radars proved that Belgian jets struck the Syrian village of Hassajek.

The Russian Defense Ministry will unveil flight path details of the Belgian Air Force jets at the time of the deadly strike on a village near Aleppo in Syria, Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Thursday.

“Russia has effective air defense means to maintain round the clock monitoring of the air situation over almost entire Syria. Besides us, Syrian air defense systems that have been restored over the past year control the airspace. Not to be unfounded, today we will present information about the flight route and the actions of the Belgian Air Force and US Air Force aircraft in Syrian airspace on October 18,” Konashenkov said.

The Russian Defense Ministry vowed to present detailed information about the operation of Belgian F-16 jets over Syria to Belgian authorities.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that two aircraft that took off from an airfield in Jordan belonged to the Belgian Air Force. “The aircraft that took off from Salti [Al-Azraq] airbase in Jordan have been immediately identified to be F-16, and their affiliation was established as that of the Belgian Air Force.”

He specified that Russia registered the takeoff 22:34 GMT based on its unique characteristics. Afterward, the ministry spokesman said the F-16s patrolled the vicinity of Azaz.

“As a result of the bombing, two houses were destroyed, six people killed and four wounded in various degrees of severity,” Konashenkov added.

He emphasized that this the US-led coalition bombs civilians, he emphasized.

“This is not the first time the US-led coalition carries out strikes on civilians, while completely denying being guilty for it.” “Weddings, funerals, hospitals, police stations, convoys, and even Syrian troops who fight against Daesh terrorists in Deir ez-Zor have been struck.”

The US side did not notify Russia of the flight of Belgian aircraft on October 18, when Hassajek village was bombed, Konashenkov said.

“During exchange of information to avoid air incidents, American colleagues usually inform us about planned flights over Syria. However, we have not received any notification about the Belgian jets’ flight on October 18,” Konashenkov said.

Russian and Syrian combat aircraft did not conduct sorties in the area, the general said.

The Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said it had received local reports of an airstrike by Belgian F-16 fighter jets on Kurdish positions in the village of Hassajek. Neither Russian, nor Syrian aircraft were in the area, while the Belgian defense minister dismissed claims of responsibility.

(Source / 20.10.2016)

Jojah: Assad’s Policies Seeking Demographic Change in Syria Risk Fueling Sectarian War

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Mohammed Jojah said that the mass forced displacement operations carried out by the Assad regime, which amount to war crimes, risk causing an all-out sectarian war with unpredictable and dire consequences on the security of the entire region. He said that these operations are being carried out with political and military cover by Russia, with Iran benefiting from the situation and sending more and more militias to Syria.

The Assad regime, backed by Iranian-backed foreign militias, continues to intensify the bombing and killing in besieged Damascus suburbs, especially in Moadamiya and Qudsaya with the aim of forcing civilians out of their homes.

The Assad regime looks poised to deploy the same tactics in the town of Khan Alsheeh in southern rural Damascus as regime forces escalated the barrel bombing on the town as well as on the nearby town of Zakiya on Wednesday. Regime forces also shelled the roads linking the two towns with heavy artillery, killing six civilians, including three women and a child. Russia’s air force also raided the area using white phosphorous and incendiary bombs. The Assad regime helicopters dropped leaflets on Khan Alsheeh ordering the FSA fighters to lay down their weapons in preparation of an evacuation deal.

Jojah criticized the international community’s failure to take action against the Assad regime’s policies. He said that apart from shy calls by some friendly countries to end the conflict, the international community has not yet assumed its responsibility to put an end to crimes of the Assad regime and its allies.

Jojah called on the FSA and rebel fighters in eastern and western Ghouta as well as in the Southern Front to ‘ignite frontlines’ against the Assad regime to stop the mass forced displacements and demographic change operations by the Assad regime, especially in the western Damascus suburbs.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 19.10.2016)

Kilo: Russian-proposed Truce in Aleppo is ‘Gimmick’ Designed to Crush FSA & Rebel Resistance

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Michel Kilo said that Russia’s announcement of a so-called eight-hour “humanitarian pause” in Aleppo on Monday is a gimmick aimed at crushing the FSA and rebels’ resistance and quashing the revolution. Kilo said Russia and the Assad regime are determined to pursue a military solution to the conflict.

Russia’s latest move deserves only condemnation just as its ongoing ferocious campaign on Aleppo, which amounts to war crimes and crimes against humanity, does, Kilo said.

Kilo stressed that the political deadlock in Syria has left Russia internationally isolated, therefore Russia is trying to end this isolation by showing willingness to halt the bombing of Aleppo for just few hours. Such false gestures of goodwill are meant to give the impression that Russian and the Assad regime are not bent on pursuing a military solution, even though they continue to escalate military operations across Syria.

Kilo pointed out that by carrying on with their onslaught on Aleppo, Russia and the Assad regime have reached a new low in their brutality and have shown barbarity unmatched in modern history of wars and conflicts.

The Russian announcement coincided with increasing unrest inside Russia by journalists, political activists, and former army generals, Kilo said. He added that according to opinion polls, nearly 27% of the Russian population opposes Russia’s military performance in Syria, stressing that the Russian announcement of a halt to the bombing of Aleppo is meant to send a message to the Russian people that Russian forces are fighting according to a plan that includes, pauses, breaks, and temporary truces.

Kilo also said that the Russians are using much more destructive weapons in their onslaught on Aleppo, including the use of bunker-buster bombs against civilians in populated areas.

(Source: Syrian Coalition + Asharq Al-Awsat / 18.10.2016)

Syrian Army Claims US, Saudi Arabia Allow Daesh to Flee From Mosul to Syria

Shot with an extreme telephoto lens and through haze from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group's flag on a hilltop at the eastern side of the town of Kobani, Syria (File)

The Syrian Army claimed on Tuesday that the US and Saudi Arabia are allowing Daesh terrorists passage into Syria from Mosul.

According to the army’s statement released via state media, the US-led coalition plans to entail securing roads and safe passages into Syria to allow the terrorists consolidate their presence and create “new battleground realities” in eastern Syria. “Any attempt to cross the border is an attack on the sovereignty of Syria… and would be dealt with all forces available,” the  statement said.

On October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the start of the military operation to retake Iraqi Mosul from the militants from Daesh terrorist group. According to local media, about 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and 4,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are taking part in the operation, backed by air strikes carried out by the US-led international coalition.

Iraqi forces hold a position on October 17, 2016 in the area of al-Shurah, some 45 kms south of Mosul, as they advance towards the city to retake it from the Islamic State (IS) group jihadists

Mosul Operation Poised to Become ‘Ace of Trumps in Clinton’s Pack of Cards’

(Source / 18.10.2016)

Syrian Coalition: Liberation of Dabiq “the Beginning of the End” for ISIS

The Syrian Coalition said that the FSA’s liberation of the town of Dabiq form ISIS is the beginning of the end for the extremist group. The Coalition said that capturing Dabiq, which has symbolic importance for ISIS, represents a turning point in the fight to cleanse all of Syria’s territory from this extremist group.

The Coalition reiterated that the FSA has proved itself the force most capable of defeating terrorism in all its forms in Syria if it receives enough support and when the international community shows a real will to defeat terrorism.

Activists in northern rural Aleppo said that the FSA groups has liberated 10 villages from ISIS in the past two days as part of the Turkish-backed Shield of the Euphrates Operation. The latest gains against ISIS enabled the FSA to break the siege on the nearby town of Marea. The FSA groups are now preparing to advance on the strategic town of Albab to the south.

The Turkish Army’s Chiefs of Staff announced that the FSA, backed by artillery and aerial cover by the Turkish forces, has captured nine towns east of Marea, adding that the FSA has begun clearing the liberated areas east of Marea from mines and IEDs planted by ISIS fighters.

The FSA’s gains in northern rural Aleppo were hailed regionally and internationally, with the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter welcoming the FSA’s capture of Dabiq. Carter on Monday described the capture of Dabiq as a “military and symbolic blow” to ISIS and that it will give new momentum to the campaign to defeat the extremist group.

Saudi Arabia also welcomed the FSA’s recent gains, while Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the capture of the towns of Souran and Dabiq is a positive development and an important step towards the liberation of the rest of Syrian towns and cities. Qatar expressed full support for all measures taken by Turkey to enhance the security on its borders against external threats.

(Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies / 17.10.2016)

Detailed Account of the Russian-Syrian Attacks on the Neighborhoods of Eastern Aleppo after 25 Days of the Second Cessation of Hostilities Statement

The Security Council has to Prevent a Second Rwandan Genocide in Syria

the Russian-Syrian Attacks

SNHR has released the report: “Detailed Account of the Russian-Syrian Attacks on the Neighborhoods of Eastern Aleppo after 25 Days of the Second Cessation of Hostilities Statement”
The report documents the most notable violations of human rights that were perpetrated by government forces and their allies the Russian forces in the 25 days following the end of the Cessation of Hostilities statement. The report draws upon the archive that has been built through the daily and ongoing process of documentation and monitoring over the course of the period of time covered by the report in addition to accounts from survivors and eyewitnesses.

The report notes that neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo have been under siege since the beginning of September 2016 where the medical situation is deteriorating in light of the shortage in medical resources and the medical points’ and hospitals’ limited capacity that is unable to take in the huge numbers of the injured. Furthermore, the Syrian regime and its allies are blocking the passage of any relief aids and preventing any residents from getting in or out of the neighborhoods.
Fadel Abdul Ghani, chairman of SNHR, says:
“The United Nations General Assembly and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic are responsible for this failure in putting an end to the genocide in Syria which brings us back to the same scenario in Rwanda. History will never forget the presidents of the current member states of the Security Council.”
The report documents the killing of 361 civilians among whom were 287 civilians who were killed by Russian forces including 82 children and 46 women while government forces killed 74 civilians including 14 children and nine women.

Also, the report records 13 massacres and 22 incidents of attack on vital civil facilities by Russian forces whereas government forces perpetrated three massacres and carried out four attacks on vital civil facilities.
Moreover, the report documents six attacks that involved the use of incendiary weapons by forces we believe are Russian and 151 barrel bombs that were dropped by government forces helicopters on the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city.
The report stresses that the Russian and Syrian regimes have, beyond any doubt, violated Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2254 which both state that indiscriminate attacks must be halted. Also, they violated Article 8 of Rome Statute through the act of willful killing which constitutes war crimes.

Additionally, the bombardment mentioned in this report has targeted armless civilians. Therefore, the Russian and Syrian forces have violated the rules of the international human rights law which guarantee the right to life. Additionally, these violations were perpetrated in a non-international armed conflict which amount to a war crime where all elements were fulfilled.
The report calls for investigations to be launched regarding the mentioned incidents. Also, the Syrian people must be informed about the findings of these investigations and all those who were responsible must be held accountable. Additionally, all affected centers and facilities must be compensated, rebuilt and re-equipped. In addition, all the families of the victims and wounded, who were killed by the present Russian regime, must be compensated.

Also, the recommendations included a call on the Security Council to take additional steps as it has been a year since Resolution 2254 was adopted which states explicitly “that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such, including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.”
The report calls for the referral of the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court and for all those who were responsible to be held accountable including the Russian regime whose involvement in war crimes has been proven. Furthermore, the Security Council has to instill peace and security in Syria and implement the norm of the Responsibility to Protect in order to save the Syrian people’s lives, culture, and arts from being destroyed, stolen, and ruined. Lastly, the report calls on the Security Council to expand the sanctions to include the Russian and Iranian regimes who are directly involved in committing crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Syrian people.

View full Report

(Source / 16.10.2016)

Syria war: Turkish-backed rebels seize Dabiq from ISIL

Northern town considered central to group’s propaganda for its symbolic significance falls after months of air strikes.

Syrian opposition fighters backed by Turkey have taken control of the northern Syrian town of Dabiq from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

The fighters said they seized the town on Sunday following heavy shelling and months of air strikes.

Dabiq is considered a major ISIL stronghold with symbolic importance to the group, also known as ISIS.

A commander of the Syrian opposition Hamza Brigade said ISIL fighters put up “minimal” resistance, before withdrawing in the direction of the much larger ISIL-held town of al-Bab to the south.

Saif Abu Bakr told The Associated Press news agency some 2,000 opposition fighters pushed into Dabiq with tank and artillery support from the Turkish army. The commander said the ISIL fighters left the town heavily mined.

Both Turkish and international coalition warplanes conducted air strikes on Dabiq and nearby Arshak, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow, reporting from Gaziantep , a town along the Turkey-Syria border , said the rebels have not only taken control of Dabiq but also some towns nearby.

“This is huge setback for ISIL because it is not only a strategic town but it also holds a huge symbolic value for ISIL,” he said.

“About 3,000 civilians have fled their homes as the rebels are now turning their attention to the town of al-Bab.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday that once the areas are retaken from ISIL, some of the nearly three million Syrian refugees in Turkey could return to their homes.

Dabiq is central to ISIL propaganda, with the group citing ancient prophecy declaring the town as the scene of an apocalyptic battle between Christianity and Islam.

The group named its online magazine after Dabiq, which it had occupied since August 2014.

Moments after the announcement of Dabiq’s recapture, a  suicide bombing  was reported during a police raid in Gaziantep.

At least three police officers were killed and eight people wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives during the raid on a suspected ISIL safehouse.

In other Syria-related news, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, was due to meet European foreign ministers in London on Sunday to discuss the conflict, a day after “tense” and “difficult” talks with Russia ended inconclusively.

The diplomats were to discuss the results of Kerry’s meeting on Saturday in Switzerland, which included the foreign ministers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and how to reduce the violence in Syria.

Several major international efforts have failed to secure a political solution to Syria’s civil war, which has cost more than 400,000 lives since 2011.

The meeting in Lausanne did not produce a concrete plan to restore the truce that collapsed last month amid bitter recriminations between the US and Russia and new fighting on the ground.

READ MORE: UK criticised for seizing Syrian journalist’s passport

But Kerry insisted the new, leaner contact group had come up with some plausible ideas that would be fleshed out in the coming days and might lead to a new, stronger ceasefire.

“The way it wrapped up was to have several ideas that need to be quickly followed up,” he said after talks with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.

“The next contact on trying to follow up on this is going to be immediately, because this is urgent, and we’re not letting any grass grow under our feet.”

The flurry of diplomacy comes weeks after a ceasefire deal collapsed and the US suspended cooperation with Russia over its continued bombing of the city of Aleppo.

“I think Lavrov and Kerry were trying to put a brave face on what happened here,” Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays, reporting from Lausanne, said.

“They came to the table again to sort out the situation in northern Syria, particularly the bombardment of Aleppo, and once again diplomacy failed the people of Aleppo.

“No breakthrough, no concrete developments at all from these talks.”

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said after the talks he had pressed for a “political process” to end the conflict to begin “as soon as possible”, while Kerry said they had talked about new ideas for a ceasefire.

While the diplomatic efforts continue, on the ground the fighting shows no signs of abating.

Activists say Russian and Syrian government air strikes killed 11 civilians on Sunday. The strikes hit residential areas and a medicine factory in Idlib and Aleppo provinces.

Before Saturday’s talks were set to begin, dozens of overnight air strikes struck east Aleppo, Britain-based Syrian Organisation for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday.

Three  hospitals in Aleppo were hit  by suspected Russian air strikes on Friday, killing seven people, sources told Al Jazeera.

More than 370 people, including nearly 70 children, have been killed in Syrian government and Russian bombardment of east Aleppo since September 22, according to the SOHR.

(Source / 16.10.2016)

Berlin, 1945; Grozny, 2000; Aleppo, 2016

Drone Documents Aleppo Devastation By AMC VIA REUTERS

The destruction is so complete that it obliterates even a sense of time. At a glance, the video shot from a drone could show Berlin in 1945 or Grozny, 2000. Mass death erases all distinctions.

The place is Aleppo, Syria, the Mashhad district, or what remains of it after recent attacks by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies. Toppled rooftop satellite dishes, choked by plaster dust, resemble wilted flowers. Figures move through the pulverized rubble but are hard to make out.

“Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever?” Harry Lime asked on the Ferris wheel in “The Third Man,” the classic noir film set in postwar Vienna. This is drone footage, after all, shot from the same detached, superior perspective of the bombers who committed this atrocity in the name of fighting non-jihadist rebels. The video was made to document the devastation and bear witness, but it inevitably reduces people on the streets to Lime’s dots.

After the Second World War, Auschwitz survivors helped organize a display to memorialize the camp and came up with the archetypal piles of shoes and hair, prostheses and suitcases. The hope was to convey the scale of killing at a time when much of the world still didn’t know, or didn’t want to know, how many people the Nazis had murdered. Survivors declined to focus on stories of individual victims. They reckoned that nearly everyone in Europe had witnessed death up close and had their own stories to tell, whereas the industrial nature of murder was something else, something new, unfathomable and essential to record.

Today we are assaulted online, on television and in newspapers with big, senseless numbers: Hundreds slain by car bombs in Baghdad; thousands upon thousands slaughtered in Aleppo. The tallies blur together even while it can be nearly unbearable to glance at the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the dead 2-year-old refugee on the Turkish beach, or the video of Omran Daqneesh, the stunned little boy from Aleppo, pulled from the ashes, sitting in the ambulance, wiping blood from his face.

Once seen, these images become impossible to forget. More than the specter of endless shelters and the staggering numbers of displaced people, what comes to mind whenever I read about the war are the dusty, hopeful faces of six small, barefoot siblings I photographed with my phone while standing outside their windblown tent in Zaatari, a Syrian refugee camp, just across the border in Jordan. I wonder how they are doing.
There are now some 65 million displaced people around the world, equivalent in number to the entire population of the United Kingdom or France. Refugees spend 17 years on average in camps. The children at that Syrian camp fled their home just ahead of the guns and rockets.

I wonder what “home” will ever mean to them.

To those more fortunate, it promises safety, family. The ruined landscape in the drone video, reminiscent of that earlier Russian military campaign in Grozny, had been a community of shops, noisy streets — and homes. Now so hard to decipher, these crumbling apartment houses were, until lately, particular to the people who filled them with children and mementos. With raised voices and the whispered exchanges of love and heartbreak. With music, prayers, friends, the smells of food cooking on the stove. With dreams of a better life.

This used to be a neighborhood, in other words. A neighborhood is more than an assortment of buildings and streets. It is life, shared and rooted in place, passed down through generations — nowhere more so than in an ancient city like Aleppo, where some years ago I was taken to the home of a man who lived on a street that bore his family name.

“How long has your family lived here?” I asked him.

“On the street or in Aleppo?” he replied.

Before I could answer, he told me: “On the street, 800 years. In Aleppo, 1,200.”

Communities incubate hope. Extinguishing this is the goal of mass murderers and tyrants.

That is what the drone video shows.

(Source / 16.10.2016)