“Trump’s willingness to take such drastic actions means for us a whole new spectrum of opportunities and responsibility.”Dmitry Kuleba, Ukraine’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe
From Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
February 15, 2017
The situation in Syria
The ceasefire regime in Syria introduced December 30, 2016, is being observed. Its zone continues to expand with units of the Southern Front armed opposition joining the ceasefire. The ceasefire is guaranteed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, with Jordan making a substantial contribution to it.
The fight continues against ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, terrorists. The Syrian Army and militia units, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, are methodically pushing terrorist elements out of the country. About 1,400 square kilometres of territory have been liberated since January 1, 2017. It became possible to force ISIS terrorists out of a fortified outpost in the village of Tadef near the city of al-Bab, to establish a bridgehead near the city and to gain control of the Raqqa−al-Bab motorway. Over 650 terrorists were eliminated in Tadef, and a route for supplying ISIS with reinforcements, equipment and financial assistance was cut off.
Government forces continue to advance on Palmyra. The Russian Defence Ministry has published drone footage showing the barbaric destruction of UNESCO World Heritage Sites by ISIS militants in this city. Unfortunately, it is already clear that little remains of these ancient architectural and cultural landmarks. The terrorists have razed the façade of an ancient Roman amphitheatre, as well as Tetrapylon columns, to the ground. They are also highly likely to blow up the remnants of the historical architectural complex and nearby residential areas. The jihadists have shelled the Homs refinery with mortars, and they also set fire to natural gas fields while retreating.
As you know, Astana will host the second international meeting on Syria over the next few days. The Russian delegation that has already arrived in the capital of Kazakhstan will hold working consultations today. We hope that the upcoming meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan will provide an additional boost to the inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue under UN auspices in Geneva. Hopefully, it will become possible to resume this dialogue on February 20.
Against this backdrop, we note the attempts to aggravate the intra-Syrian conflict still further and to exacerbate contradictions between the warring parties. This is the only way to interpret the media leaks by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Atlantic Council of the United States, via CNN, about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces in Aleppo, mass executions at Sednaya military prison near Damascus, and the methodical destruction of Syrian socioeconomic infrastructure by the Russian Aerospace Forces. The evidence backing up these so-called “sensations” leaves a lot to be desired, but, as we can see, their authors don’t seem to care. Their purpose is to torpedo any chance for launching a political peace settlement that has appeared largely through Russian efforts and to thwart emerging prospects for broad, equitable and mutually respectful international cooperation in the interests of eradicating a terrorist hotbed in the Middle East and stabilising the region.
Media response to the United States using depleted uranium in Syria
Given how many sensationalistic stories are planted in the media, as I mentioned earlier, it’s fun to watch world media juggernauts and institutions dealing with freedom of speech get busy with creating websites to oppose the spread of “fake news,” which has become a widespread practice. On the one hand, they say it’s imperative to not just counter it, but to do all it takes to prevent the spread of “fake news,” while they themselves engage in spreading precisely such news.
Against the background of this data, the information provided by the United States Central Command, whose operational responsibility includes, primarily, the Middle East, to the effect that the US Air Force used munitions with depleted uranium in air strikes on ISIS positions in Syria, came as a shock to many who did not believe us when we said so. As you may be aware, such a statement was made by an official representative on Tuesday when he spoke about the US air operations with the use of toxic substances which cause cancer and birth defects.
As you may recall, Russia has stated this more than once. Back in October 2016, citing independent experts, we presented such information and called on the public to pay attention to it. At that time, our American partners denied all the accusations against them. A couple of months later, these accusations were not merely confirmed, but confirmed by the United States itself. The only difference is that we provided this information a few months ago, when the previous team led by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was at the helm. Clearly, he was the one to give the go-ahead to using these weapons − any other scenario is unlikely, since such things must be approved at the highest level. I would like to say that the goal pursued by US officials was noble, that is to fight terrorists. But the point is that the traces of these weapons will remain in Syria forever. You can find out more about it if you read some professional literature. The number of missiles that were used is simply devastating. I would like to quote the same US official, who said that out of 1,790 missiles fired on November 16, 2016, 1,490 contained toxic materials, and 3,775 missiles of 4,530 fired on November 22, 2016 contained toxic materials. Thus, there were five rounds with depleted uranium for every conventional missile. Each operation involved four A-10 jet aircraft. You can look up these numbers.
I would like to remind you that earlier the United States, particularly the Pentagon, claimed that the United States has never used ammo with depleted uranium during the international anti-terrorist operation in Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, in 2003, these munitions were used during the US invasion of Iraq. I reiterate, it is better to read up on this subject in specialised literature, make inquiries, perhaps, even with independent expert institutes, and ask the experts specialising in this area to provide their opinion. They will tell you what the use of weapons with depleted uranium is all about, and what its implications are for the lives and livelihoods of the local people.
I mentioned this with regard to fake news and the role of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s team in resolving international conflicts. Incidentally, people live in Syria. The scary thing is that the focus was on isolated cases which were clearly propaganda shams where individual Syrian citizens, unfortunately, were propelled to the status of international stars, and the information campaign regarding these people was used as a front to cover up what was really happening in that country.
From Fort Russ
February 18th, 2017 – Fort Russ News
– Al Mayadeen – translated by Samer Hussein –
The mission was supported by Su-30 SM” and “Su-35 S”, the two Russian fighter jets stationed at Humaimam base. The jets provided the aerial coverage.
After their mission was successfully accomplished in Syria, the bombers returned to their bases.
In the meantime, the Syrian Army was able to successfully expand its operations in the Eastern side of the Homs province. According to the military source provided to SANA, the army also restored the security to the village of Al Kilabiyah.
The Syrian Army and its allies also made advancements towards Palmyra as they have moved closer for about 2km.
Earlier on Saturday, ISIS began to pump large quantities of water from Euphrates river through Al Babira station located in the eastern part of Aleppo province in order to cause flooding in the villages and destroy utility stations and agricultural areas in the countryside of the Aleppo province’s eastern regions. The Aleppian municipal authorities have already sent out a team of experts who will work on redirecting the flooding waters.
In Aleppo province the Turkish armed forces are continuing their incursions. The latest Turkish shelling in the eastern parts of Aleppo city resulted in 4 civilian deaths, bringing the death toll to about 50 in the past 4 days of the Turkish operations.
Since September 2015, the Russian armed forces are successfully destroying ISIS targets in Syria. The Russian counter-terrorist activities are coordinated with the government of Syria.
August 15, 2016
“What would’ve happened if our president [Vladimir Putin] failed to be convincing and implement the idea of surrendering and destroying the chemical weapons? If we only talk about cruise missiles … 624 cruise missiles, as far as I remember, were prepared to carry out a massive strike against Syria within 24 hours,” Shoigu told state television channel Rossiya-24.
It would’ve been “very hard” to restore the Syrian state structure after such a large-scale attack, he said.
Back in 2013, US President, Barack Obama, authorized strikes against Syria, blaming Assad’s government for a sarin gas attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus.
But Russia’s involvement managed to avert NATO attacking the county as Moscow brokered a deal, during which Syria renounced its chemical weapons arsenal and joined the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
In terms of current events in Syria, Shoigu said that Russia and the US are in direct talks aimed at the resolution of the crisis in Aleppo.
He expressed hope that this would help to ensure “peace at this long-suffering land and allow the people to finally return to their homes.”
From Fort Russ
October 7, 2015
Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation
Cruise missile strikes held from the south-west part of the Caspian Sea against militants in Syria have been agreed on by Russia and its partners beforehand. This was stated today by the Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov.
Andrei Kartapolov told that on October 5-6, the Russian reconnaissance had discovered a number of important objects of militants, which were to be destroyed immediately and explained that their engagement had been decided to be carried out with the use of long-range cruise missiles.
He emphasized that the cruise missile strikes had been agreed on with the Russian partners beforehand.
Andrei Kartapolov also reminded that the Russian party had already announced its “plans to build-up the intensiveness of strikes against the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra objects”.
Andrei Kartapolov mentioned that in order to provide security for civil population, the flight corridor for cruise missiles had been planned over uninhabited areas. The strikes engaged plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centres, storages of munitions, armament and POL as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of the Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo.
According to him, engagement of these facilities reduces the mobility of militants and deprives them of the ability to perform heinous terrorist attacks.
Missile ships Dagestan, Grad Sviyazhsk, Veliky Ustyug and Uglich performed the launches.
All the assigned targets have been engaged.
During his meeting with journalists, Andrei Kartapolov stressed that all the targets had been properly analyzed using the data received from space and radio reconnaissance, communications interception, and photos made by UAVs. Data collected by intelligence of Syria, Iran and Iraq, including human intelligence, was also used.
He also explained that the strikes were carried out only against verified targets. Each strike is preceded by a long and thorough preparation.
The special file on each facility is prepared before the strike.
Andrei Kartopolov said that the final decision on elimination of targets was made only after the analysis of all the data and computer simulation of the strikes. Aviation targeting was made according to the same algorithm.
He stressed that modern high-accuracy munitions were used in Syria. High-accuracy engagement is reached by complex use of such munitions with hi-tech armament systems.
Andrei Kartopolov stated that the maximum deviation did not exceed 5 metres.
He also noted that Russia had repeatedly cancelled strikes against the terrorists “just because they left their bases and camps and sheltered as a rule in inhabited areas and in close proximity to religious institutions”.
Andrei Kartapolov mentioned that nevertheless, the Russian Armed Forces were being accused of hitting civilian facilities and mosques.
He stressed with full responsibility that objects situated in inhabited areas were not considered as targets.
According to Andrei Kartapolov, Russia suggested its partners to share locations of the “Islamic State” objects but there was still no answer.
Andrei Kartapolov stated that it shows that either the partners did not have the coordinates or they did not want us to make strikes against ISIS; the reason remained unclear.
From Sputnik News
October 11, 2015
The 26 cruise missiles launched at terrorist positions in Syria by four small Russian warships of the Caspian Fleet have raised many an admiring eyebrow in the West, including that of US journalist and military expert David Axe.
David Axe cited Eric Wertheim, author of Combat Fleets of the World guidebook.
According to Wertheim, Russian naval design philosophy has always emphasized firepower.”
“But it’s worth noting that the four ships that launched the cruise missiles are all in the landlocked Caspian Sea. They don’t deploy anywhere, so they don’t need fuel and living spaces for long voyages,” he wrote.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the attacking ships were Dagestan, Grad Sviyazhsk, Veliky Ustyug and Uglich.
The latter three are Buyan-class missile boats, 203 feet long and displace 950 tons of water. Dagestan is a 335-foot, 1,900-ton Gepard-class frigate.
All four ships entered service in just the last few years.
“For perspective, bear in mind that the smallest US Navy surface warship to possess an equivalent weapon, the Tomahawk cruise missile, is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that’s 500 feet long and displaces 9,000 tons. And America’s Littoral Combat Ship frigates, which displace 3,000 tons, carry only small, short-range missiles,” David Axe wrote in a comment.
The United States did not tolerate missiles in Cuba, but the U.S. and NATO with impunity will threaten Russia with multiple bases with missiles, a build-up of foreign military personnel, and continuous military exercises on Russia’s borders, as well as patrols in the Black Sea.
“Russia will be forced to react not only to these command centers, but also to arsenals and any other military infrastructure. We know that Romania can also have an offensive potential,..”
Of course, they will be forced to act. This is an open threat, a taunt, a dare by the NATO bully boys.
Why are there no statesmen and women, why are there no leaders in Washington DC, in London, in Brussels? Where are the people with sanity and sense and courage?
It will take the deep reservoirs of wisdom and heart of the Russian people and all good people everywhere to resolve this horrible situation and stop these violent threats.
February 11, 2015
The U.S. brings 250 soldiers in Romanian base as Russia warns it might neutralise the county’s military targets
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis informed the Senate that he approved the temporary deployment of up to 250 American soldiers in the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in Eastern Romania, according to Mediafax.
The U.S. has been using the military base, which is close to the Black Sea Port of Constanta, and the Mihail Kogalniceanu International Airport to transport troops and equipment to and from its military operation in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The President also approved the a request from the U.S. to use the Henri Coanda International Airport in Otopeni, Romania’s largest airport, as an alternative for its multimodal transport operations, in 2015, in case weather conditions make it impossible to use the Kogalniceanu airport.
The American military presence in Romania has become more visible in recent years. The most important U.S. project in Romania is the missile defense base in Deveselu, which should become operational this year.
NATO also announced it will open two command and control centers in Romania, which will contribute to strengthening the Alliance’s Eastern flank.
All these operations have determined adverse reactions from Russia, which sees the U.S. and NATO bases in Romania as threats. A Russian military expert recently said that military objectives in Romania might become targets for Russia, in case the situation in Ukraine degenerates into a military conflict between NATO and Russia.
“If Romania will let itself drawn into such a confrontation, then it’s likely that a series of military objectives in Romania will become targets that will be neutralised with different types of weapons (by Russia – e.n.),” said Vladimir Evseev, director of the Center for Public Policy and Military Research in Moscow, in an interview for the Romanian national television.
He said that Russia is training troops in Crimea capable of neutralising all possible threats. Russia thinks that the military bases that will be set up in Romania won’t be able to launch just anti-ballistic rockets, but also cruise missiles.
“Russia will be forced to react not only to these command centers, but also to arsenals and any other military infrastructure. We know that Romania can also have an offensive potential, this is why we will seek ways to annihilate the Romanian military fleet,” he explained.