Statement by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister at Brussels Conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region”, 5 April 2017

From Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation

Statement of H.E. Mr. Gennady Gatilov, Deputy Foreign Minister:

April 6, 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

Indeed, the Syrian conflict is the worst crisis of our time. We are confident that it is not possible to resolve humanitarian problems without reaching a political solution. Certain positive changes have recently taken place. Russia jointly with Turkey and Iran launched the “Astana format”, within the framework of which the issues of strengthening the ceasefire regime are being discussed. Thanks largely to this initiative it has become possible to resume the intra-Syrian negotiations, the last round of which has just taken place in Geneva. Of course, the process is not easy. The parties have accumulated mutual distrust over the years of the conflict. However, the task before all of us is to help the Syrians reach sustainable agreements by themselves and in accordance with the parameters set forth in United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254, including on the issues related to the drafting of the constitution and the fight against terrorism. It is extremely important that the Syrians themselves determine the fate of Syria.

In this regard, we consider it unacceptable to use the humanitarian leverage to influence their sovereign choice. It is indispensable to depoliticize the humanitarian dossier, stop artificially inflating “tragedies of the day.” The provision of humanitarian assistance should be carried out in direct coordination and in a mutually respectful dialogue with the legitimate Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, which, unfortunately, once again was not invited to the conference. This is not the right approach.

Let us not forget that the majority of the population of the Syrian Arab Republic are concentrated in the territories under the control of the Government. Meanwhile only about 1.5 million people live in the territories under the mixed control of the forces of the so-called “moderate” armed opposition and terrorists from “Jabhat al-Nusra”.

Let me mention another point of utmost importance. One should not call for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population of Syria and at the same time expand restrictions, which affect the most vulnerable segments of the population. This abnormal situation leads, in particular, to the shortage of medicines and imported raw materials required for the production of essential medicines in Syria.

Unfortunately, in the Syrian conflict the international community still faces a gap between pledges to allocate financial assistance and bringing real assistance “on the ground” to those in need, who often need bread and water more than money.

Russia provides humanitarian assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic via both international humanitarian organizations, through which we have already allocated more than 45 million dollars, and using bilateral channels, through which we supply food and medicines directly to Syria. The Russian military distribute on a daily basis humanitarian aid to the population, including in frontline areas. This is why we are really do not understand the position of those who paid much attention to humanitarian convoys in eastern Aleppo at the time when the warehouses there, as it transpired later, were stocked up with medicines. Why the same people forgot about the need to help this city after the terrorists had been expelled from it? This is yet another sign of “double standards”!

Ladies and gentlemen,

Now we should also focus our agenda on the issues of assisting Syria in restoring the social and economic infrastructure: providing electricity and water supply, reviving and setting up schools and hospitals in the areas liberated from terrorists, providing students with everything necessary to ensure a normal educational process. It is not humane to link the solution of this task with the so-called “day after agreement” and, under this pretext, to put forward preconditions for such agreement.

The reconstruction of the destroyed economy could constitute a powerful impetus for the return of refugees and IDPs to their homes. Such efforts would eradicate the social base of armed and terrorist activities in Syria. Also one should not lose sight of the desperate fate of Palestinian refugees sheltered in Syria.

Urgent measures are also required for the humanitarian demining of the Syrian territory, in particular aimed at preserving invaluable cultural treasures for future generations where terrorists and radicals have inflicted enormous damages. We call for the formation of an international coalition on demining of the Syrian territory. Russia is already actively working on it. We call upon all partners who are not indifferent to preserving the historical heritage to put aside their well-known differences and to contribute to this common cause, which requires, among other things, considerable financial investments. We expect that the UN, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and UNESCO will also actively join these efforts.

Last but not least. We understand that the Chairs are going to produce a summary of the Conference. Of course, we leave it for the Chairs’ own responsibility. We hope that the Chairs will be balanced and accurate in their assessments so that to reflect all the positions expressed at the meeting.

For its part, the Russian Federation is ready to develop, on a solid international legal basis, equitable cooperation with all those who wish to make a constructive contribution to the Syrian settlement.

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2717297

Senators and anonymous “Syrian-American Medical Society” doctors denounce Syria and Russia in orchestrated Congressional hearing; little mention of terrorist groups

Below is the rough transcript from C-SPAN of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, March 15, 2017

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is swimming against a very powerful current.

This is another rendition of the “babies being thrown out of incubators” story used to justify the first Gulf War. The frightening mindset of Washington, the drumbeats for war, the information bubble and justification for more direct American intervention are starkly visible in this hearing yesterday. Mercy Corps, a well-known aid group, lavishes praise on the State Department and American values. The International Rescue Committee also speaks, as well as masked, pseudonym-ed doctors. “Dr. Farida” is the first doctor to speak.

Historically pathological liars keep on lying; to expect the truth would be absurd, no matter how they gift wrap their message in tales of woe from anonymous sources. This hearing led to even more extreme conclusions than Congress previously held publicly. The finger pointing at Assad and Russia as the true problem greatly worsened, and there were repeated claims that Russia and Assad are responsible for chlorine gas attacks and for deliberately targeting hospitals.

Terrorists were only mentioned occasionally as “oh, yes, and the terrorists, too” The focus is on Aleppo. The hearing did not advocate changing any American direction, such as NATO or regime change. There are no surprises here, and surprises and changes of opinion would show up in a complex and real situation.

This hearing was as fake as WMDs, and the “doctors” are scripted liars.

This hearing was necessary because the Syrian people are beating back the terrorists and winning. Washington needs justification for war and to seize Syria. This was it.

From C-SPAN
March 15, 2017

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?425417-1/syrian-doctors-describe-unspeakable-horrors-civil-war-call-aid

MARCH 15, 2017

Syrian Civil War’s Humanitarian Toll Three Syrian doctors were among the witnesses at a hearing on the impact six years of constant militarized conflict on the Syrian people. They and two executives of foreign aid organizations talked about atrocities seen and experienced on the ground in Syria, particularly in and surrounding medical facilities in cities such as Aleppo. David Miliband of the International Rescue Committee and some of the senators on the committee were also critical of the impact a newly issued executive order on immigration from President Trump, which they said complicated humanitarian efforts related to the Syrian conflict. Continue reading

President al-Assad on White Helmets’ film: the West gave al Qaeda an Oscar – “unbelievable…an unprecedented event”

Global Research, March 11, 2017
SANA 11 March 2017
From the interview with China Phoenix TV:

Question 12: Mr. President, as you may be fully aware that the “White Helmets” took an Oscar this year for the best documentary short, but folks are saying that the truth about this “White Helmets” is not like what Netflix has presented, so what is your take on this?

President Assad: First of all, we have to congratulate al-Nusra for having the first Oscar! This is an unprecedented event for the West to give Al Qaeda an Oscar; this is unbelievable, and this is another proof that the Oscars, Nobel, all these things are politicized certificates, that’s how I can look at it. The White Helmets story is very simple; it is a facelift of al-Nusra Front in Syria, just to change their ugly face into a more humanitarian face, that’s it. And you have many videos on the net and of course images broadcasted by the White Helmets that condemn the White Helmets as a terrorists group, where you can see the same person wearing the white helmet and celebrating over the dead bodies of Syrian soldiers. So, that’s what the Oscar went to, to those terrorists. So, it’s a story just to try to prevent the Syrian Army during the liberation of Aleppo from making more pressure on the attacking and liberating the districts within the city that have been occupied by those terrorists, to say that the Syrian Army and the Russians are attacking the civilians and the innocents and the humanitarian people.

Full interview:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/president-al-assad-foreign-troops-coming-to-syria-without-permission-are-invaders/5579060

The U.S. in panic mode; Assad to pay a visit to Aleppo

From Fort Russ:

December 7th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
Katehon

 

As of this morning, Syria time, (GMT +2) 85% of Aleppo has now been completely confirmed as liberated since last night. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has stated his desire to visit Aleppo.
The liberation of the city
Over the last day, a few more neighborhoods in Aleppo were liberated, while the total number of areas that have fallen under the control of the government now amount to 85%. During the night, thousands of terrorists surrendered to the authorities and they with their families are being sent to Idlib. According to the Russian ceasefire center, about 3,000 terrorists across the whole country have surrendered their weapons.
The West in panic
After the planned shelling of the Russian hospital, which was expected to mix up Russia’s plans in Syria, the Obama Administration has revoked recent proposals to resolve the situation in Syria. These proposals were earlier described by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as “in line with the approach long since advocated by Russian experts in negotiations with the Americans.” The Obama Administration has now also announced its refusal to meet for consultations with Russia.
However, all of this has turned out to have an entirely different impact. Instead of announcing the end of the mission or at least a truce, which the West and NATO called on Russia to do yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that any and all terrorists who remain in the city will be completely destroyed. This has caused great panic among the terrorists and their patrons, who have begun to make contradictory statements and knee-jerk movements.
Despite the fact that the terrorists who wished to do so have already left the city, the Obama Administration is trying to achieve the withdrawal of all terrorists, some of whom may be, of course, American instructors whose presence was denied previously.
Agony and Anger
The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced the death of another Russian military officer, Russian Army Colonel Ruslan Galitsky, who was in Aleppo with a group of military advisers. He died in a hospital as a result of injuries sustained during a shelling of the city’s residential neighborhoods by the “armed opposition” terrorists.
Syrian calm
Syrian forces are continuing their offensive on all fronts. The Castello road in the north of Aleppo is now fully unblocked. Attacks by terrorists in the northern districts have been repulsed.
Despite the West’s information support for terrorists on social networks and in the media, the demoralization of fighters is reaching a devastating level.
In turn, government forces believe in a quick victory. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has already announced his decision to visit the city in the near future.
Expectations
Most likely, in the near future, the terrorists and the West will take some painful actions. Washington and, possibly, some other Western and Arab countries, will try again to mix up the plans of Russia, Syria, and Iran. The terrorists, in turn, will try to attack coalition forces. Moreover, these attacks will be aimed not at troops, but at Syrian civilian neighborhoods and representatives of Russia’s humanitarian missions, non-combatants. The main purpose of such will be lifting the morale of terrorists and intimidating the world rather than achieving military objectives. As for combat operations, Damascus’ victory is undoubtable.

US-supported ‘moderate’ group responsible for deadly chlorine gas attack in Aleppo; 7 dead, 23 injured

Where is President Obama’s red line now?

From RT
August 3, 2016

Syrian fighters from a rebel group considered ‘moderate’ by Washington are responsible for using toxic gas shells that killed seven and injured 23 in Aleppo on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Read more

A general view shows rising smoke from burning tyres, which activists said are used to create smoke cover from warplanes, in Aleppo, Syria August 1, 2016 Abdalrhman Ismail

“On August 2, 2016 at 19 hours 05 minutes militants from the Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki group, considered by Washington as ‘moderate opposition’, launched poisonous materials from the Sukkari district towards the eastern part of Aleppo,” the ministry said.

It added that the territory is under rebel control and that shells were fired towards “the residential area” of the Salah-Eddin district.

Moscow informed Washington of the use of toxic shells on Monday, Lieutenant-General Sergey Chvarkov, head of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, said.

On Tuesday evening, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency reported that Syrian officials said an attack using poisonous gas had occurred in Aleppo. A “terrorist attack” on the Old City of Aleppo with “shells containing toxic gas” led to the deaths of five and suffocation of eight more civilians, the outlet quoted the city’s health director, Mohamad Hazouri, as saying.

A local police source told SANA that terrorist groups fired rocket shells at the al-Hamadaniyeh neighborhood, injuring six. They also targeted the Salah-Eddin neighborhood, killing two and injuring 11 more.

Meanwhile a chilling video purporting to show the aftermath of the deadly toxic shelling in Aleppo emerged online on Wednesday.

The footage captures the moment victims were rushed to hospital. Most of them appear unable to walk on their own and on the verge of fainting.

We’ve taken 12 injured people, six other patients have already died from suffocation. Our doctors were prepared to treat people showing symptoms of gas poisoning. We’ve been expecting terrorists to use weapons of this kind,” a doctor at the Aleppo hospital told RT.

The gas in question was reportedly chlorine – a highly toxic substance that leads to breathing problems, a loss of consciousness, and illnesses among those exposed to it.

The al-Zenki rebel group was in the spotlight in July after two videos appeared online showing its alleged fighters taunting and then cutting off the head of a Palestinian boy. Washington promised to look into the case and warned of ‘possible’ consequences for the rebels.

The US is still “looking into that incident,” State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told an RT reporter during a press briefing on Wednesday. However, no further details of the inquiry were provided.

“I know that the group itself said they had also made some arrests and set up a commission, an inquiry into the incident,” Toner added, again without providing further information.

“One indeed can ask the United States why it still continues to support this group,” Willy Van Damme, a Belgian journalist, told RT. He added that despite promises from Washington to look into the case, there has been “no reply” ever since.

In a separate incident, Tuesday media reports suggested that toxic gas had been dispersed in an area in which a Russian helicopter had been shot down, in Syria’s Idlib province.

The Kremlin said that it has no information on the issue adding that it’s not always clear what such claims are based on. The UN also said that it can’t confirm these reports, while Washington said that it is investigating the claims.

The Russian military official said that terrorists in the area are hampering the efforts of locals trying to flee the embattled eastern parts of the city.

“Terrorists are trying to prevent the population from fleeing the eastern part of the city of Aleppo the best they can, threatening to shoot civilians or publicly execute them. There are reports that children and women are being turned into suicide bombers to carry out terrorist acts,” Chvarkov stated.

According to the Russian Reconciliation Center, the situation in Aleppo “remains difficult.”

The shelling of the city’s districts from the side of militants continues. Insurgents fired rocket launchers and homemade mortars at the ‘Castello’ shopping mall, the areas of Ansar and al-Hadher as well as the Leramon district,” it said.

According to the latest figures from the Russian military “372 civilians, including 76 children” were able to flee the areas controlled by illegal armed groups in Aleppo via safe routes. Humanitarian corridors were established last week through cooperation between Syrian forces and the Russian Center for Reconciliation in the country. Some 94 gunmen also laid down their arms, figures revealed.

Basic essentials and medical supplies are meanwhile being delivered by Russian convoys to residents of Aleppo, which is plagued by a dire humanitarian situation.

https://www.rt.com/news/354511-toxic-gas-syrian-rebels/

Russian helicopter on Aleppo aid mission shot down, all 5 aboard dead

From RT

August 1, 2016

A Russian Mi-8 helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Syria following delivery of humanitarian supplies to Aleppo, the Defense Ministry said. Three crew and two officers from Russia’s Reconciliation Center died, according to a Kremlin statement.

The Russian military transport Mi-8 helicopter was shot down in Syria on Monday over an area controlled by Al-Nusra Front, Russia’s General Staff said.

“The helicopter was hit from the ground in an area under control of the armed units of Al-Nusra Front terrorist group and the troops of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ who joined them,” General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said.

On August 1, an Mi-8 transport helicopter has been shot down by ground fire in Idlib province after a delivery of humanitarian aid to the city of Aleppo. Three crew members and two officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria were on board,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement earlier on Monday.

The helicopter was returning to the Russian air base at Khmeimim, the statement added. The ministry has not yet revealed identities of those on board.

The Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria has operated at Khmeimim air base since February. It contributes to peace talks between Syrian government and moderate opposition factions not aligned with IS, Al-Nusra Front or other terrorist groups.

The center also oversees ceasefire agreements between belligerent parties and delivery of humanitarian supplies to various parts of Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed in a statement later in the day that all those on board are dead.

“Those on board the helicopter were killed, as we learned from the Defense Ministry’s report. They died heroically as [the crew] tried to divert the helicopter to minimize casualties on the ground,” Peskov said, adding the Mi-8 had been on a humanitarian mission.

“The Kremlin conveys its deep condolences to the families of those killed in action,” he added.

Shortly after the crash, a number of on-the-spot videos have emerged online, allegedly showing helicopter debris, including a tail rotor and parts of the fuselage. At the moment, RT cannot verify authenticity of those videos.

Last week the Syrian government and Russia launched an effort to evacuate civilians wishing to leave Aleppo, establishing safe corridors and providing food, medical assistance and transport for those who chose to use them. Scores of people, mostly women and children, rushed to abandon the battered city, which has been contested by several armed forces.

The Syrian opposition decried the move, claiming it was an attempt to depopulate the city, a part of which remains one of its strongholds.

Terrorists in the eastern part of Aleppo have executed four people over an attempt to flee the city via humanitarian corridors, said Rudskoy.

“Considerable losses don’t bother the militant leaders, who are pulling up reserves from other directions and are intimidating the government troops. They are preventing the local population from leaving the area of hostilities and continue using civilians as ‘human shields’,” he said.

The Syrian Army has lost several aircraft over the last two months, indicating that militants may have received new anti-aircraft weapons lately, freelance journalist Alaa Ibrahim told RT.

“I’ve heard some local sources where the [Russian] helicopter was downed speaking of the possibility of MANPADs – shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles – being used in that context,” he said.

Portable surface-to-air missiles would be a game changer in the hands of the rebel forces, as they counter the Syrian Army’s air superiority. Providing such weapons would be a risky move for a foreign nation, considering the previous record of unintended weapons transfers.

It is the third Russian helicopter lost in action in Syria this year. In July, an Mi-25 attack chopper was shot down near Palmyra, killing two Russian pilots. The aircraft had been engaging the advancing Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants at the Syrian Army’s request when it was taken down, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

In April, an Mi-28N attack helicopter crashed while performing a flight near the city of Homs, with the Defense Ministry stressing it was not shot down. The crash left both pilots dead, with technical failure cited by Moscow as the likely cause of the accident.

Last October, another Mi-8 helicopter was badly damaged and then destroyed by IS fighters after an emergency landing in the middle of search and rescue operation to extract a surviving co-pilot of a Su-24M bomber jet shot which was down by a Turkish Air Force F-16.

The number of Russian servicemen who lost their lives since the start of the country’s anti-terror operation in Syria on September 30 last year stands at 19 people after the downing of the helicopter.

Commenting on the alleged videos from the crash site that surfaced online, political analyst Taleb Ibrahim condemned the people in the footage for the “brutal way,” in which treated the bodies of the crew.

“It was same as Al-Qaeda, the [Al-] Nusra Front deal with the bodies of the Syrian Army soldiers and others,” he told RT.

https://www.rt.com/news/354128-russian-helicopter-syria-down/

SaveDonbassPeople: How to help

From SaveDonbassPeople

Get involved

Conflict in Donbass has gathered lots of international volunteers to different kind of tasks, which can happen everywhere in world, also in Donbass. SDP is building coordination and cooperation organization with international community for voluntary works for saving Donbass people. Most effective use of voluntary human resources is our target.

Notice: To join SDP missions all volunteers have to be minimum 18 years old.

Volunteers in Donbass

SDP can produce its own civilian missions and participate with its members in excisting ones. Volunteers can participate in DONi media works, SDP humanitarian programs, communal helping and depending from volunteers will and personal skills, basically participating in all sectors of communal life in Donbass is possible. All volunteer candidates will be contacted personally by SDP and DONi staff after sending us message below.

All tasks and actions made under SDP will be accepted by local authorities and performed by local laws and regulations. Foreign volunteers will not get salary from works, but expences from taking care of agreed responsibilities can be paid. Final deal from joining voluntary works in Donbass will be made when volunteer candidate arrives to Donetsk and after interview.

Volunteers in Donbass are responsible to take care and pay them selfs of personal traveling documents, passports and visas and pay when traveling to Donetsk City and back to their homes. Those who have possibility to stay longer periods in volunteer works (+1 month) can receive free housing and meals by SDP and DONi organization.

Volunteers abroad

SDP is launching different kind of voluntary working projects which can be done from all over the world. Tasks for SDP volunteers can include media campaigns, activist coordination, upkeeping information channels or organizing events. Our target is to grow ProDonbass movement!

By joining SDP voluntary missions in your own home country, you will be soon involved in growing international network, which tasks will be coordinated from Donetsk with local people.

Source and for more information:

https://savedonbasspeople.info/en/get-involved/