US military boosts weapons airdrops to Syrian opposition – reports

US military boosts weapons airdrops to Syrian opposition - reports

Rebel fighters walk carrying their weapons on the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria January 15, 2017

A growing number of opposition groups in Syria are getting increased weapons and ammunition supplies from the US Air Force to tackle Islamic State, according to US media reports citing the country’s military.

The weapons are intended for opposition forces closing in on IS’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa in Syria, USA Today .

The “expanded” airdrops are “helping ground forces take the offensive to [the Islamic State] and efforts to retake Raqqa,” Gen. Carlton Everhart, commander of the US Air Mobility Command, is quoted by the news outlet.

Currently, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) – an alliance of various militias, mainly formed by Kurdish fighters – is continuing its  to retake territories around Raqqa. SDF is among key opposition forces being backed by the US-led international coalition in Syria.

The weapons supplies “are absolutely essential” for the irregular forces fighting on the ground, the US Air Force spokesman in Baghdad Col. John Dorrian claimed, according to USA Today.

Meanwhile, Everhart reportedly claimed that the US military is being extremely precise while delivering arms and equipment to the opposition in Syria. “We’ll get it within 10 or 15 meters of the mark,” he said.

The US-led coalition has been repeatedly conducting military airdrops for the opposition groups in Syria. However, such missions have not always gone according to plan.

Back in October 2014, a weapons airdrop by the US Air Force apparently ended up in the hands of IS terrorists, who released a video claiming to have seized the cache of arms. The weapons had been intened for the Kurdish forces battling jihadists who were besieging the Syrian town of Kobane at the time.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steven Warren later said that two bundles of weapons have been lost. While one of them was destroyed by an air strike, another “went astray and probably fell into enemy hands.”

“There is always going to be some margin of error in these types of operations,” Warren added.

In December last year, US President Barack Obama granted a waiver for some of the restrictions on the delivery of military aid to “foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals,” if those groups are supporting the US’s alleged counter-terrorism efforts in Syria.

Reacting to the decision, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the move could result in some of the weapons getting into the hands of terrorists.
Such an occurence would pose “a serious threat not only for the region, but the entire world,” he warned.

On December 9, 2016 US Democratic lawmaker Tulsi Gabbard  the Stop Arming Terrorists Act bill. She alleged that the CIA in fact supplied arms to the opposition, some of whom cooperated with terrorists including al-Qaeda. “This madness must end,” she urged.

(Source / 19.01.2017)

Abdah: Reconstruction Linked to Political Transition & 2012 Geneva Communiqué

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah stressed the need to reach a political solution in Syria in line with international resolutions, especially the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and UN resolution 2254 before the start of any reconstruction work in Syria.

At a meeting with high-level delegation of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, Abdah said that it would be premature to talk about the reconstruction of Syria before a political transition has been achieved and bloodshed ended.

The two sides discussed the political process and preparations for the upcoming Astana meeting as well as prospects for the launch of a new round of negotiations in Geneva. The EU officials reiterated the EU’s support for the Coalition and its efforts to reach and a political transition in Syria in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.

Abdah emphasized the need to support the programs and projects prepared by the Syrian interim government in the liberated areas and its efforts to provide services for the civilian population, especially in the areas of health and education.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 19.01.2017)

Fahd: Assad’s Departure Is the Revolution’s Central Demands That No One Has the Right to Waive

Secretary-General of the Syrian Coalition Abdul Ilah Fahd reiterated that Assad’s departure is still the revolution’s central demand, stressing that no one has the right to give up this demand. He said that waiving this demand means relinquishing the basic rights of the Syrian people as well as ignoring the fact that half a million people have been killed by the Assad regime and thousands are still detained in Assad’s prisons. The demand for Assad’s departure must not be subject to negotiations, he stressed.

Fahd said the talks due to be held in Astana will be focused on the consolidation of the ceasefire agreement and have nothing to do with political negotiations. Talks on the political process will be held in Geneva where the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) is the only body mandated to represent the Syrian people.

Fahd stressed the need for the FSA and rebel groups to unite under the goals and slogans of the revolution and its demands as doing otherwise will not serve the revolution, he added. There should be no goals or agendas but those of the revolution, Fahd stressed, adding that anyone who is outside this framework will not be part of the revolution.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Okaz Newspaper)

‘US gave ISIS escape route from Mosul to Syria; now civilians are paying the price’

‘US gave ISIS escape route from Mosul to Syria; now civilians are paying the price’

Islamic state fighters

The US-led coalition should destroy ISIS to take away the shine that would attract others to the cause, and to prevent them from having a second foothold somewhere else, journalist Adel Darwish told RT.

A large group of ISIS terrorists has started an offensive against a key government air base in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor.

RT: ISIS has been trying to gain control of the Deir ez-Zor air base for years, and now their numbers have risen. Given the proximity to Mosul in Iraq, is there a connection?

Adel Darwish: Of course there is a connection there. The plan was to destroy ISIS. When they [Islamic State] captured Mosul that was quite a boost for them; that’s when they declared a caliphate. So recapturing it, yes, it may an emotional setback; it will deprive them of the propaganda of recruiting young Muslim men.

However, if the coalition led by America were quite serious about destroying ISIS, and the Iraqi army and the Kurdish forces wanted to surround Mosul and systematically destroy the fighters there. President Obama and the Americans insisted on leaving them and leaving them an escape route in order – in their words – “to avoid civilian casualties” – by giving them an escape route.

What happened is they gave them an escape route to go to Syria – to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor – and now those civilians in Deir ez-Zor are suffering… On the political front, you should destroy [ISIS] in order to take away the shine that would attract others to the cause and to prevent them from having a second foothold somewhere else…

isis

RT: In December 2016 there was a series of US-led coalition air strikes near the Deir ez-Zor Airport, but now they aren’t doing anything. Why the change?

Adel Darwish: I think that is very much to do with two issues. One, the success of the Russian and Syrian army coalition there in recapturing eastern Aleppo, and a setback for the terrorists, and that didn’t go down well with the Obama administration. They saw that as a Russian victory. They saw that they are setting peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, with America being sidelined. So they want to pay back Russia, which is a very silly game to play.

The second one has to do with the American internal politics that the Obama administration is outgoing. We have the Trump administration coming in two days time. They want to make life difficult for the new administration, because the new administration is making sort of a more friendly gesture toward Russia. That should have been taken out of the calculation all together and focus on fighting terrorism, fighting ISIS.

RT: Could there be a policy shift when the new US administration takes over in the White House?

AD: President-elect Trump is committed to fighting terrorism with security forces, who are focusing on undermining him. Will they let him do so or not – well, we will have to wait and see.

‘Position in Mosul weak’

Paul Antonopoulos, Deputy Editor, Al-Masdar News

RT: ISIS has been trying to gain control of the Deir ez-Zor’s air base for years, and now their numbers have risen. Given the proximity to Mosul in Iraq, is there a connection?

Paul Antonopoulos: There is this a distinct connection, and the main reason for this is because Deir ez-Zor remains a thorn in the back side of ISIS. So they are never secure in their defense of Mosul as long as several thousand ISIS members are holed up trying to take on the government in Deir ez-Zor. So effectively they are using 14,000 soldiers to try and overrun the city. These 14,000 soldiers can be used to bolster Mosul. But as long as they distracted in Deir ez-Zor, their position in Mosul remains weak.

RT: Does it seem like the US is handing responsibility for fighting ISIS to the Syrian army, by letting them escape from Iraq into Syria? Or on some level is this inevitable in terms of just the nature, how the fighting is done there?

PA: It seems inevitable, but we must remember that the US committed air strikes against the Syrian army positions… just outside of Deir eEz-Zor. They said this was an accident – and my home country in Australia was involved in these airstrikes. This led to the murder of over 80 Syrian soldiers. This allowed ISIS to overrun the positions that the Syrian army had been fighting for years to take this very important position. And since the US airstrikes against the Syrian army, ISIS has just being able to continually push toward Deir ez-Zor. Now we’re in this position where there is a very real chance that they could completely overrun the city. This directly correlates to the airstrikes that I have just spoken about.

(Source / 18.01.2017)

Syrian Army attempts to lift the siege on Deir Ezzor Airport

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:15 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has launched a powerful attack this evening to recapture the Deir Ezzor Cemetery, Jirayah village, and Harabish District from the Islamic State terrorists.

Backed by Syrian and Russian airstrikes, the Qassem Group of the Republican Guard forces stormed the Deir Ezzor Cemetery’s eastern perimeter, where they were met with strong resistance from the Islamic State terrorists entrenched around this site.

If the Syrian Arab Army is successful in recapturing the Deir Ezzor Cemetery from the Islamic State terrorists, then the air force will once again be able to land helicopters at the military airport.

The video footage above is from the Panorama area of western Deir Ezzor; this is one of the most critical sites the Syrian Arab Army has to secure in order to push back the Islamic State terrorists.

According to a military source in Damascus, the runways at the Al-Qamishli Airport are flooded with fighter jets preparing to assist the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor.

These fighter jets flying from Al-Qamishli to Deir Ezzor have carried out nonstop airstrikes against the Islamic State, destroying a number of their armored vehicles and killing several of their terrorist combatants.

The battle will likely intensify tonight, as the Syrian Arab Army attempts to reopen their strategic roadway from the provincial capital to the military airport

(Source / 18.01.2017)

The Yearly Report for 2016

SNHR has published report in which the Networks monitors the most notable violation of human rights by the parties to the conflict in Syria in 2016.
The report documents the killing of 8736 civilians, including 1984 children, 1237 women, and 447 due to torture, at the hands of the Syrian regime forces, where the percentage of women and children victims amounts to 37% which is an explicit indicator on the deliberate targeting of civilians by the Syrian regime forces in indiscriminate shelling and execution operations. Also, the report documents that Syrian regime forces arrested 7543 detainees including 251 children and 448 women.

The report notes that Russian forces perpetrated many massacres, where SNHR documented the killing of 3967 civilians including 1042 children and 684 women by Russian forces.
Furthermore, the report says that Kurdish Self-management forces committed many violations in their areas of control including extrajudicial killing, arrest, torture, and conscription. Kurdish Self-management forces killed 146 civilians including 24 children and 23 women. Additionally, Kurdish Self-management forces arrested 673 individuals including 55 children and 33 women, where many of those detainees experienced extremely poor and degrading detention conditions that resulted in the death of six individuals.

The report records the death toll by Extremist Islamic groups, as ISIS killed 1510 civilians in 2016 including 258 children and 213 women in executions, indiscriminate shelling, or torture, while the group arrested no less than 1419 individuals including 103 children and 50 women. Among the victims were eight who died due to torture.
According to the report Fateh Al Sham (Formerly Al Nussra Front) killed 18 civilians including one woman, while the group arrested no less than 234 individuals including 16 children. Four individuals died due to torture.

The report outlines the violations by armed opposition factions who killed 1048 civilians including 289 children and 210 women, where most of the victims were killed in indiscriminate shelling operations that targeted Aleppo and Damascus neighborhoods. The number of people arrested by armed opposition factions is 178 individuals including six children and two women. Also, the report records that 10 individuals died due to torture.

According to the report, international coalition forces killed no less than 537 civilians including 158 children and 98 women in their airstrikes on Aleppo, Al Raqqa, and Deir Ez-Zour.
The report says that 112 medical personnel were killed in 2016 including 40 by Syrian regime forces, while 86 media activists were killed including 52 who were killed by Syrian regime forces and their ally Russia.

The report documents the use of chemical weapons which were used in 15 attacks – 14 by Syrian regime forces and one by ISIS. In contrast, there were 171 documented cluster attacks – 148 by Russian forces and 22 by Syrian regime forces.
The report calls on the United Nations to find the proper ways to protect the civilians from the daily and frequent violations regardless of the perpetrator party, and mainly the Syrian regime forces’ violations seeing that the regime perpetrated more than 92% of the total violations followed by the Extremist Islamic groups.

Moreover, the report calls on the Security Council to implement the Resolutions it adopted on Syria including the statement of Geneva I, as preserving civil peace and security is the Council’s direct responsibility. In addition, the report emphasizes that all necessary measures must be executed to protect the civilians in Syria, end the siege on the besieged areas, release all political detainees, end the use of chemical weapons. All of these goals were included in special Resolutions on Syria. The execution, however, hasn’t changed in reality before and after these Resolutions were adopted, and the violations’ rate has been nearly the same since March 2011.

Lastly, the report urges the states of the world to support the Syrian people in the extraordinary, on all levels, tragedy they are experiencing, and to apply pressure in the Security Council in order to take urgent action to save what can be saved, and refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court now and not after the conflict ends.

View full Report

(Source / 18.01.2017)

What will be the cost of Aleppo victory for Damascus?

A member of forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad attempts to erect the Syrian national flag inside the Umayyad Mosque during a media tour, Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 13, 2016

This is the third in a series of stories from Al-Monitor correspondent Fehim Tastekin, who has been traveling in Syria.

ALEPPO, Syria — As I was walking around the fortress of Aleppo last week, some officials were hoisting the Syrian flag. They insisted that I photograph it. One soldier saluted while others raised the flag. Next to a nearby staircase, a giant poster of President Bashar al-Assad was firmly planted. It was like a conquest celebration.

There are some people who compare the battle of Aleppo to that of Stalingrad, which helped change the course of World War II. Of course it is not on the same scale as Stalingrad, but in Syria, the retaking of Aleppo marked the turning point in the war, ending the bloody revolution backed by the Gulf-Western alliance. In a way, the high cost of Aleppo’s liberation brings to mind the costly victory of King Pyrrhus of Epirus over Macedonia and Rome.

The human and material costs of the Syrian war, which destroyed the historic parts of Aleppo and its eastern suburbs, are extremely high. Whether the battle will be recorded in history as a Pyrrhic victory will depend on whether the Damascus regime and people of Aleppo will be able to reconstruct their beloved city.

One factory owner said that if security is assured, he will have his plant running again in one month. Almost everyone Al-Monitor spoke to said, “Yes, we have been destroyed, but we will rise and rebuild.” Is that wishful thinking? Not really. Those familiar with Aleppo know its people as industrious, productive and determined. Aleppans have valued the historical artifacts around them as the basis of their wealth and prestige for centuries.

But to reconstruct some of those treasures will be very difficult if not impossible. Reconstruction of residential areas simultaneously with historic treasures requires a phenomenally comprehensive and expensive effort.

Syrian officials are preparing for reconstruction but haven’t yet shared their plans with the public. There will be separate plans for historical areas and residential districts. According to Mamun Abdulkerim, Syria’s director of antiquities and museums, officials are in touch with UNESCO and the Aga Khan Foundation for assistance. I was surprised to hear they have already started training programs in Beirut for those who will be working to restore historic monuments.

Abdulkerim was candid in estimating how much of the damaged antiquities they can restore: “I can’t offer a rosy assessment that all is well. No, it is a disaster. More than 1,500 historic structures were damaged.” He said 70% of the historic bazaar is damaged and 30-40% of it is beyond repair. Some can be repaired even if only a small part of them remains standing.

“Aleppo is on the World Heritage list. You cannot act arbitrarily or do what you want. We need billions of dollars for Aleppo because the damage is beyond your imagination,” he said.

There is talk of building a new city in East Aleppo for those who lost their dwellings. There are even rumors of China undertaking such a venture.

Asked who will be doing the lion’s share of the reconstruction, an official said, “Naturally, it will be done by our friends who did not abandon us during the war. I don’t think there will be a role for Turkey. People will mutiny against such a decision.”

Given the extensive and countrywide destruction, reconstruction will take considerable time. It is not known yet how much of the work Syria itself can pay for. But no doubt successful reconstruction will help preserve the country’s legacy.

There are a few advantages for Syria. Contrary to persistent popular analysis from abroad, the country is not divided. Despite sectarian campaigns and clashes by jihadists financed with money they received from the Gulf, Syrians did not split along sectarian lines. There was no sectarian divide between the Syrian army and the people, as some said. When you carefully observe the internal dynamics, you can see it was not a war between Alawis and Sunnis or Christians and Muslims.

Only in Homs, when the clashes began, did systematic attacks by Sunnis against Alawis, Shiites and Christians trigger a sectarian divide, but that was short-lived.

Aleppo is the best example that this was not a sectarian war. At least six Sunni religious notables were killed in Aleppo because they rejected an armed uprising. Sunni religious figures were constantly under threat for not joining the war. The most annoying question you can ask soldiers on the Aleppo front is whether they are Sunni or Alawi. Nothing angers Syrians as much as this question.

As far as I could see, Assad is more popular today than before. Of course, this popularity doesn’t cover his entire regime.

According to bureaucrats, politicians and citizens Al-Monitor spoke with in Aleppo and Damascus, the system is mired in bribery and corruption and cannot survive for long. People will want to see some of the ruling officials punished. The country has paid an extraordinary price for the war and will not tolerate those profiting from cronyism, nepotism, corruption and abuse.

An Aleppo University professor who requested anonymity spoke of the war’s influence on politics.

“I oppose the regime, but I have to admit Assad managed the crisis well. At the moment, we have no alternative to him. If there were an election today, he would get more than 70% of the vote. Of course, my criticism of the regime hasn’t changed. People put their criticisms on the back burner temporarily because they realized the country was about to disintegrate. It wasn’t the right time to settle scores with the regime. But when the war is finally finished, people will want drastic changes. The government is aware of this mood and is trying to change some things. Be assured, nothing will be the same as before,” he said.

An academic who joined our discussion said, “Many heads will roll. [There is] no other way.”

As the regime has been given some period of grace by its opponents, there is no serious debate on Assad’s presidency and his legitimacy. What we have is the foreign-supported opposition holding Assad responsible for the bloodshed, and then those identified as legitimate internal opposition seeing Assad as the guarantor of the country’s integrity.

Where do Iran and Hezbollah stand?

Syria will definitely insist that its allies in the war play major roles in its reconstruction. Nobody challenges the role Russia will play. But it is not the same for Iran, the other major ally. It’s not hard to detect resentment among the people and even government officials of Iran’s interventionist attitude. Many Syrians even prefer an alliance with Russia because they believe Moscow is not interfering in their domestic affairs. Moreover, Al-Monitor was told that Iranians’ overbearing, superior attitude especially annoys the Syrian army.

A veteran Syrian journalist told me Iran’s assistance won’t result in Iranian influence on Syrian politics. “You have to understand the political structure in Syria. Syria’s alliances don’t allow [for] influence on the country. Assad is balancing Iran with Russians and vice versa. If Iran presses too hard, he cites Russian reservations. If Russia presses too hard, Assad then refers to Iranian objections.”

Curiously, Syrians’ unease with Iranians doesn’t apply to Iran-supported, Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which hails from the same cultural basin as Syrians. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah is no less prestigious in Syria than Assad. In Damascus, Homs and elsewhere — even in Aleppo, with its prominent Sunni identity — you will see Nasrallah posters all over, and there is widespread affection for him among Christians.

In the government offices I visited, all I saw were joint photos of Nasrallah and Assad. Some shops even have Nasrallah’s portrait painted on the shutters. Street vendors sell lapel pins, cigarette lighters and wallets with photos of Assad and Nasrallah. I didn’t see a single photograph of Iranian leaders. You see Iranians on the front lines but not in city centers. In short, people distinguish between Hezbollah and Iran.

(Source / 17.01.2017)

Abdah Urges US & EU Support for Political Process in Line with 2012 Geneva Communique

President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah met with the Norwegian envoy to Syria Knut Eiliv in the headquarters of the Syrian Coalition in Istanbul, Turkey on Tuesday.

The meeting discussed the course of a political solution in Syria and preparations for the upcoming talks be held in Astana and Geneva. Both sides stressed the need to restart negotiations to reach a political transition and to put an end to Assad’s war on the Syrian people, now in its sixth year.

Abdah underscored the need for concrete action by Europe and the United States to push the political process forward in accordance with the Geneva Communique of 2012. He also called for stepping up support of projects and programs being developed by the Syrian interim government in the liberated areas, especially in the areas of education, health and basic services.

Abdah highlighted the suffering and hardships facing the Syrian people in the areas besieged by the Assad regime forces and their allied foreign militias, calling for lifting the sieges and granting unhindered humanitarian access to these areas.

Abdah thanked the Norwegian envoy for supporting the Syrian people, especially Norway’s continued humanitarian support and its support in area of basic services.

Eiliv reiterated his country’s support for the Syrian Coalition and a real political transition in Syria as well as continued humanitarian support, especially for the besieged and affected areas.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 17.01.2017)

Syrian Coalition Condemns Massacre in Wadi Barada, Calls on Agreement Guarantors to Shoulder Responsibilities

The Syrian Coalition condemned the horrible massacre committed by regime forces in the village of Deir Qanun in the besieged Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus. The massacre claimed the lives of 15 civilians and left dozens more injured.

Civilians fleeing the regime’s barrel bombs and rockets took refuge in a building they thought would protect them from the barrel bombs, rockets, and bombs regime forces and their allied foreign militias were raining on the area. However, the building was directly hit by a regime tank. The brutal assault regime forces and their allies have launched on the Wadi Barada valley is clearly aimed at changing the demography of the region.

The Coalition underscored the need for guarantors of the ceasefire agreement to shoulder their responsibilities towards stopping breaches of the agreement. These breaches included the assassination of the retired Major General Ahmed Ghadban by the Hezbollah militias on Sunday. Ghadban was mandated to negotiate with the Assad regime and the Hezbollah militias on behalf of the residents trapped in the area. Regime forces and their allies have breached the ceasefire agreement over 350 times since it was announced on December 29, 2016.

The international community must take action to stop breaches of the truce and violations of UN Security Council resolutions by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias, the Coalition stressed. Urgent action must be taken to consolidate the truce. Pressure must be exerted on Assad and his allies to restart the political process in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 16.01.2017)

Israel’s Invisible Presence in Astana Guaranteed by Russia

Israel

Shops are open near damaged buildings in al-Rai town, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria December 25, 2016

Tel Aviv – Israel is optimistic regarding Russia’s position concerning Israel’s interests, according to Israeli military and political officials.

Even if Israel didn’t attend the Astana talks to settle the Syrian case, its position will be represented for two reasons: attacks near Damascus, and the positive development of relations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the officials.

Netanyahu is constantly contacting Putin, even before and after the attacks on Mezzeh military airport which were accredited to Israel.

Highly informed Israeli sources said that this will be discussed during the talks on Syria’s future – expected to start on January 23 in Astana.

Sources added that Israel wasn’t invited to this conference, but it is making sure that its presence is felt there through all possible channels, and thus conveying a message that no agreement can be reached, especially concerning Golan Heights, without taking Israeli interests into account.

After Aleppo, Russians began preparing for the summit in Kazakhstan, and once again a new report surfaced saying that Israel had attacked Syria, with all Russian media quoting the official statement from Damascus. But what is more important is that for the first time a Russian official speaks of the attack and is surprisingly understanding of Israel’s position.

State Duma Deputy and Deputy Chairman of Committee on International Affairs Andrey Klimov was quoted in the semi-official Izvestia newspaper saying that Israel uses the armed forces against organization considered a threat to its security. He also accused Hezbollah without naming it explicitly saying: “Tel Aviv is fighting against terrorist organizations engaged in the war in Syria.”

Israeli officials believe that this is an official Russian hint to Iranians, and Hezbollah, that they disagree with Moscow concerning arrangements in Syria.

Israel’s benefit is evident here: to deter any attempts that the Syrian regime might try to take control over Golan Heights, whether through war or dialogue with the opposition.

Officials also declared that unlike similar incidents in the past, Syrians are trying to gain politically from this attack pointing fingers at Israel and addressing the Security Council saying the Tel Aviv used F-35 warplanes in the attack. But, F-35 doesn’t exactly present new technologies that Israel doesn’t already have, and Israel doesn’t need new planes that haven’t gained any experience around the world in action.

“It seems as though Syrians want to embarrass the U.S. administration by saying: you gave Israel developed weapons, and they directly used it to aggravate the conflict in the Middle East,” according to an Israeli official.

Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson had warned U.S. and coalition forces of attacking Syrian regime targets. As for the Israeli attacks, Moscow is currently ignoring them.

All of this consequently leads to the belief that there are silent agreements between Tel Aviv and Moscow. Other than the agreement on avoiding airplanes of both armies from attacking one another, the content of this pact isn’t very clear.

Those agreements had been reached during the exchanged phone calls between Putin and Netanyahu and especially during the meeting between Israeli Commander of Air Force Maj-Gen Amir Eshel and Russian Chief of Staff.

We can then deduce that Russia understands what are the Israeli red lines and interests in Syria.

(Source / 16.01.2017)