United States air force killing Syrian civilians, Amnesty reports


This video says about itself:

26 October 2016

Amnesty International says the US-led coalition fighting Daesh [ISIS] terrorists in Syria has underestimated the impact of its operations on civilians. The rights organization has urged Washington and its allies to take necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

Amnesty says some 300 civilians have been killed in the coalition airstrikes in Syria, since they began in September 2014. The rights group says those civilians lost their lives in eleven attacks which it has examined. The most recent incidents included three airstrikes in June and July this year on the Manbij area of Aleppo province where over 100 civilians were killed. Amnesty has also urged the US-led coalition to spare civilians in its airstrikes meant to provide support for Iraq’s ongoing offensive to retake the city of Mosul.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Amnesty exposes deadly US air attacks on Syria

AS IS well known, the Clinton-led Democratic Party has pledged that if and when she is elected as President of the USA, she will take action to impose a no-fly zone on Syria. This will lead to thousands of Syrian people losing their lives,

as Ms Clinton herself has admitted privately

and could well lead to a war with Russia – with all that such a war would entail for humanity not just the Syrian people.

Yesterday, Amnesty International confirmed that the US-led coalition that includes the UK has already killed hundreds of civilians during its air raids in Syria since 2014, and called for an investigation into potential violations of international criminal law during the so-called campaign against terror.

‘It’s high time the US authorities came clean about the full extent of the civilian damage caused by coalition attacks in Syria,’ said Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Office, Lynn Maalouf.

Amnesty said as many as 300 civilians have been killed in 11 attacks conducted by the Washington-led alliance since September 2014. Maalouf added: ‘Analysis of available evidence suggests that in each of these cases, coalition forces failed to take adequate precautions to minimise harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects.’

The official further urged independent investigations into possible violations of international criminal law, calling on the coalition to take more precautions prior to their attacks. 2014 saw the rise of the Takfiri group of Daesh [ISIS] in the Arab country and neighbouring Iraq. Washington subsequently brought scores of its allies under the military umbrella to hit what it calls Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria.

In July 2016, a US airstrike reportedly killed at least 70 civilians, mostly women and children, near the city of Manbij in the Aleppo governorate. In September, a US-led airstrike hit a military base belonging to the Syrian army, leaving over 80 army troops dead and some 100 others wounded in the eastern part of the country. The raid helped Daesh terrorists make some gains in the area at the time.

The US Defence Department has not made any comment on the latest Amnesty report so far, but it has invariably insisted that the forces are taking enough precautions to avoid civilian fatalities. Research and documentation by leading human rights and monitoring organisations, including the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Airwars, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Violations Documentation Centre, indicate that the total number of civilians killed by coalition forces in Syria since operations began could be as high as 600 or more than 1,000.

Highlighted in the Amnesty memorandum are the three US-led coalition attacks in June and July 2016 on the Manbij area of Aleppo governorate, in northern Syria. Together the three attacks are suspected to have killed more than 100 civilians in the villages of al-Tukhar, al-Hadhadh and al-Ghandoura.

The attack on al-Tukhar on 19 July is believed to have caused the greatest loss of civilian life of any single US-led coalition attack. At least 73 civilians were killed, including 27 children, and some 30 were injured. A US-led coalition attack which struck two houses where civilians were sheltering in the village of Ayn al-Khan, near al-Hawl in al-Hasakah governorate in northern Syria in the early hours of 7th December 2015, killed 40 civilians, including 19 children, and injured at least 30 others according to local human rights organisations.

Amnesty International was able to speak to one survivor from the attack who described how he was awoken by a huge explosion and ran out to dig through the rubble for survivors. ‘The house shook and began to crumble. The windows shattered. I ran outside and saw my neighbour’s house completely destroyed. I could hear people calling out from beneath the rubble,’ he said. As he helped to dig out survivors a helicopter gunship launched a second attack.

The UK and US trade unions must take action to defend the Syrian people. They must organise mass demonstrations and mass political strikes and demand that all US and UK forces are withdrawn from the Middle East and that the Syrian and Iraqi people are left to decide their own future without the deadly interference of the imperialist powers.

Buried deep inside Saturday’s New York Times was a grudging acknowledgement that the U.S.-armed “moderate” rebels in Syria are using their U.S. firepower to back an Al Qaeda offensive: here.

Syrian war threatens to escalate as Turkey accuses Damascus of attacking its troops: here.

Assyrians in Syria, archaeological research


Tell Sabi Abyad in Syria

From Leiden University:

Assyrians were more ‘homely’ than we thought

20 October 2016

Archaeologist Victor Klinkenberg examined an old Assyrian settlement in Syria, near to the IS [ISIS] stronghold Raqqa. ‘Social life was more important than military life.’ PhD defence 27 October.

The Assyrian Empire (ca. 2000 to 609 BC) was highly successful. At its height, it stretched from Turkey to Egypt and the Persian Gulf. Historians have wondered for a long time how the Assyrians were able to maintain power over such a huge region.

Tell Sabi Abyad

Research by PhD candidate Victor Klinkenberg has now provided an answer to part of this question. He has shown that Assyrian dominance was by no means always secured by using violence and brute force. Klinkenberg drew this conclusion after studying the settlement at Tell Sabi Abyad in present-day northern Syria. ‘This village was inhabited around 1200 BC,’ Klinkenberg explained. ‘The Assyrians founded the settlement when they conquered the region, so you’d expect it to be mainly a military outpost, ruled from above. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.’

Positive stimuli

Kinkenberg found that the rooms and houses of Tell Sabi Abyad had many different functions, and that they changed frequently. At one time it was a café where visitors drank beer, and at another time it was a rubbish tip. Klinkenberg: ‘All this shows that social life played a much greater role than military life. Apparently, positive stimuli and local stability were important factors in the Assyrians’ imperial activities.’

Islamic State

Klinkenberg’s research is part of a larger project headed by lecturer Bleda Düring, financed with a subsidy from the European Research Council (ERC). In recent years, the work of the Leiden researchers has been severely hindered by the rise of the Islamic State [ISIS] terror movement. Tell Sabi Abyad is around 80 km from Raqqa, the capital of the IS [ISIS]caliphate.

Destroyed

It was impossible for Klinkenberg to travel to the settlement. ‘In the past five years, nobody from our team has visited the excavations,’ he explained. ‘We did hear recently that a lot of archaeological finds have been destroyed or stolen. That’s such a waste, particularly as most of the remnants have no financial value. They’re worth absolutely nothing on the black market, but their value to science is enormous.’

Documented

Fortunately, all the earlier excavations at Tell Sabi Abyad have been carefully documented. ‘The project has been running for 35 years. The ground area is photographed every season; the location of the finds is mapped and buildings and rooms are measured. These measures meant that I could do my research at a distance.’ Like every other archaeologist, Klinkenberg would have preferred to visit the site in person. ‘But that’s a minor inconvenience compared to the suffering of the Syrian people.’

British Conservative warmongering on Syria


This video from Britain says about itself:

Suffer The Little ChildrenDon’t Bomb Syria

28 November 2015

David Cameron says launching UK air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will “make us safer“.

Hollande: France will be ‘merciless’ in response to Paris attacks.

Then, the pretext for warmongering was ISIS.

Now, the pretext for warmongering, as in 2013, when the peace movement stopped Cameron’s plan to wage war in Syria as in practice allies of ISIS, is the Damascus government.

By Ben Chacko in Britain:

No-fly zone would create ‘a bigger war’

Monday 17th October 2016

Peace activists condemn Mitchell’s demands for no-fly zone

PEACE campaigners voiced horror yesterday at the “dangerously irresponsible” posturing of disgraced Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, who called on the West to “confront” Russian warplanes over Syria.

The former international development secretary said that civilians in the city of Aleppo, which the Syrian government is waging a bloody struggle to wrest back from the control of al-Qaida-linked extremists, should be protected from Syrian and Russian bombing.

He urged Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to work with Washington to implement a “no-fly zone” where Western aircraft would take on their Russian equivalents.

But the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) pointed out that “in practice no-fly zones are not humanitarian corridors but bombing runs, a fact recognised by Hillary Clinton in 2013 when she advised that ‘to have a no-fly zone you have to take out all the air defences … you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”

A “no-fly zone” over Libya in 2011 was used by the United States, Britain and France to bomb Libyan troops, paving the way for a takeover by radical Islamists, permanent civil war and the current emergence of Isis in the country.

STWC convener Lindsey German told the Star that Mr Mitchell had been “plugging this stuff for some time.

“He has said that because Turkey shot down a Russian jet and it didn’t lead to world war we can do it too.

“But the reality is it will attract retaliation and create a much bigger war.

“A whole number of countries are bombing Syria already, and that’s not to mention the Saudi bombing of Yemen.

“Do we want to pour more fuel on those flames?

“This summer we’ve had a series of reports — the Chilcot inquiry on Iraq and another that concluded David Cameron’s war in Libya was also disastrous, and yet we’re now hearing more warmongering from people who should know better.”

Re­search­ers have pub­lished the first ma­jor study to draw a link be­tween glob­al warm­ing and on­go­ing civ­il un­rest or war. The study sug­gests a link be­tween glob­al warm­ing-related cli­mate trends and se­vere drought in the Fer­tile Cres­cent re­gion that pre­ced­ed civ­il un­rest in Syr­ia. How­ev­er, the re­port al­so points to farm­ing prac­tices as a fac­tor ex­ac­er­bating the dry con­d­i­tions: here.

Syrian no-fly zone may mean nuclear war, United States general warns


This 2014 video is called VERY GRAPHIC – Jabhat al-Nusra executing and brutally beheading 3 Syrian civilians.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Top US general warns Syrian “no-fly” zone means war with Russia

24 September 2016

The enforcement of a “no-fly” zone in Syria would mean a US war with both Syria and Russia, the top US uniformed commander told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday.

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spelled out the grave implications of the policy advocated by both predominant sections within the Republican Party as well as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton amid rising violence in Syria and increasing pressure by Washington on the Russian government to unilaterally agree to grounding its own aircraft as well as those of the Syrian government.

Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly demanded that Russia adhere to what would essentially be a one-sided “no-fly” zone under conditions in which US warplanes would continue carrying out airstrikes.

Kerry presented his proposal as a means of reviving and restoring “credibility” to a ceasefire agreement that he and the Russian Foreign Minister negotiated on September 9. This cessation of hostilities collapsed less than a week after its implementation in the face of hundreds of violations by US-backed Islamist “rebels” who have refuse to accept its terms, as well as two major back-to-back attacks.

The first was carried out by US and allied warplanes one week ago against a Syrian army position, killing as many as 90 Syrian soldiers and wounding another 100. Washington claimed that the bombing was a mistake, but Syrian officials have pointed to what appeared to be a coordination of the airstrike with a ground offensive by Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters who briefly overran the bombed position.

This was followed on September 19 by an attack on a humanitarian aid convoy in Aleppo that killed at least 20 and destroyed 18 trucks. The US immediately blamed Russia for the attack, without providing any evidence to support the charge. Russia and the Syrian government have denied responsibility and suggested that the so-called “rebels” shelled the convoy.

The US position was reflected in the testimony of both Dunford and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter before the Senate panel Thursday. The general admitted to the committee, “I don’t have the facts,” as to what planes carried out the attack, but quickly added, “There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible.” Similarly, Carter declared, “The Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not.”

The collapse of the ceasefire under the weight of these incidents abrogated an agreement that had been bitterly opposed by both Carter and the Pentagon’s uniformed command. The latter have publicly declared their opposition—in terms bordering on insubordination—to the deal’s provision for coordinated actions and intelligence sharing with Russia, which America’s top generals see as the main enemy.

This view was reiterated Thursday by General Dunford, who declared that based on the “combination of their behavior and their military capability, Russia is the most significant threat to our national interests.” Asked if he supported the proposal for intelligence sharing, Dunford responded, “We don’t have any intention of having an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the Russians.”

Speaking in New York Thursday night after the so-called International Syria Support Group ended a meeting with no progress toward restoring the US-Russian ceasefire agreement, Secretary of State Kerry declared: “The only way to achieve that [cessation of hostilities and violence] is if the ones who have the air power in this part of the conflict simply stop using it—not for one day or two, but for as long as possible so that everyone can see that they are serious.”

After leaving the same meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected the demand that the Syrian government take “unilateral steps” under conditions in which the US-backed “rebels” reject the ceasefire. “We insist and find support for steps being taken by the opposition as well, so as not to let Jabhat al-Nusra take advantage of this situation,” he said.

This, however, is precisely the aim of Washington. The US military and intelligence complex is increasingly concerned that with the backing of Russia and Iran, the Syrian government is on the brink of breaking the five-year-old siege waged by the Islamist militias armed and paid by the CIA and Washington’s principal US allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. Syrian and Russian planes began intense bombardment of “rebel”-held eastern Aleppo Friday in what has been reported as preparation for a major ground offensive to retake this area of the city. If the offensive proves successful, the US war for regime change will have suffered a strategic reversal.

Al Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, which is formally designated by both the US and the UN as a terrorist organization, constitutes the backbone of the proxy forces employed by US imperialism to effect regime change in Syria. One of the major controversies surrounding the US-Russian truce agreement was its call for the US to persuade the “rebels” on its payroll to separate themselves from Al Nusra. This Washington was unable and unwilling to do, both because they are so closely integrated with the Al Qaeda elements and because they could not survive as a fighting force without them.

The imposition of a no-fly zone over Aleppo and other Al Nusra-controlled areas is increasingly seen as a life and death matter for the US-backed Islamists. As Thursday’s Senate hearing indicated, while Kerry is appealing to Russia to voluntarily stand down, there are significant elements within the US state that are calling for the imposition of the no-fly zone by force.

Gen. Dunford was asked by Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker if the US could take “decisive action” in imposing a no-fly zone. Wicker indicated that he had discussed the matter with Democrats, who indicated that they would support such a venture if the US intervention were given another name.

“For now, for us to control all the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war with Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied to the Senator. “That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”

Dunford’s remark provoked an intervention by the committee chairman, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, who pushed him to clarify that total control of the Syrian airspace would require war with Russia and Syria, while a no-fly zone could potentially be imposed short of that.

The hearing provided a chilling exposure of the discussions going on within the US state and its military over actions that could quickly spiral into an all-out confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia, bringing humanity to the brink of catastrophe.

In separate remarks the day before the Senate hearing, both Carter and Dunford stressed that the US will maintain its military deployment in the Middle East long after the defeat of ISIS, the pretext for the current interventions in Iraq and Syria.

Speaking to the Air Force Association conference, Dunford declared, “If you assume, like I do, that we’re going to be in that region, if not Iraq, for many, many years to come,” decisions would have to be taken on the establishment of permanent military headquarters and command-and-control infrastructure.

“What is obvious and very clear is that we’re going to be in that region for a while,” Carter declared in a “troop talk” streamed live on social media. He added: “ISIL is a big problem, but one we’re going to take care of through defeat. But we have Iran over there, we have other issues in the Middle East.”

In other words, Washington is planning the continuation of its unending wars in the Middle East, including military action directed against Iran, with the aim of imposing American hegemony over the region’s vast energy resources and strategically weakening the principal targets of US imperialist aggression, Russia and China.

PUSHING for the UK to begin openly bombing Syrian army positions and to consider taking action against Russian aircraft, Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell, requested an extraordinary emergency debate in Parliament yesterday: here.

John Pilger: “I made this film to break a silence about nuclear war”: here.

British-US-Danish-Australian killing of Syrian soldiers


This video from England is called Don’t Bomb Syria Protest- London, 2015.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Britons also involved in attack on Syrian army

Today, 16:33

The British air force was also involved in an air raid by the international coalition in which dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed. It had already become known that Denmark and Australia participated in the attack on Saturday south of Deir al-Zor.

The British Ministry of Defense speaks of a mistake ….

In the attack also Danish F-16s, Australian Hornets and US American aircraft were involved. According to the BBC, the British contribution to the attack was a Reaper, an unmanned aircraft. Which can fire Hellfire missiles and laser-guided Paveway bombs.

At least sixty-two Syrian troops died and 100 were wounded on Saturday when US jets bombed a Syrian government base on Al-Tharda mountain near Deir ez-Zor. Remarkably, the US Central Command has still not apologized for the attack, even though its bombing allowed the Islamic State (IS) militia to storm and capture the base shortly afterwards. This massacre is a flagrant act of war that threatens to escalate the Syrian conflict into an all-out war pitting the US-led NATO alliance against Syria and its allies, including Russia. Everything suggests that the attack, coming in the initial days of a US-Russian ceasefire in Syria openly criticized last week by the US army brass, was deliberately committed by forces inside the US government hostile to the ceasefire: here.

In a front-page article entitled “Errant strike impairs effort to calm Syria,” the New York Times Monday provided an unconditional alibi for the air strikes carried out by US and allied warplanes two days earlier that claimed the lives of some 90 Syrian army soldiers, while leaving over 100 more wounded: here.

British government has no strategy, no plan and only ‘phantom’ allies in Syria, scathing Commons report reveals. As ceasefire sits on the brink of collapse, MPs’ report paints a damning picture of Britain’s bombing campaign: here.