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The Republic of Turkey is working on a military operation in the north of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR), anything can happen « suddenly,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“I have a statement on this subject: we can come suddenly one night. There is no need to fuss. There is no need to rush,” Erdogan told the media on the plane return from Madrid.
According to the Turkish leader, the Turkish leadership is already working in this area right now: in northern Iraq and in Syrian Afrin.Erdogan expressed confidence that Turkey will carry out operations in the most powerful way when the time will come.
Syria announced its intention to recognize the DPR and LPR on June 29. According to Zelensky, after this decision, “there will be no more relations with Syria”, and sanctions pressure on Damascus will increase
Ukraine will sever all relations with Syria after the country's decision to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DNR and LNR). He wrote about this Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his Telegram channel.
“In this case, there will be no more relations with Syria, and the sanctions pressure against Syria, on the contrary, will be even greater,” — he said.
The day before, on June 29, the SANA agency and the Syrian state television, citing an official source in the Foreign Ministry, announced the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR. The publications said that the Syrian side would contact both republics regarding agreements to strengthen cooperation and establish diplomatic relations.
The fact that Syria intends to recognize the DPR was announced in mid-June by the head of the republic, Denis Pushilin. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced the start of the procedure during the visit of the DPR delegation to Damascus.
Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov noted that Moscow would welcome the recognition of the Donbass republics by Syria. “We will welcome the recognition of the DPR and LPR by other countries, especially the friendly Syrian Arab Republic,” — pointed out the representative of the Kremlin.
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Russia recognized the DPR and LPR as independent states on February 21. Prior to this, a meeting of the Russian Security Council was held, at which Putin recalled the events of 2014 and indicated that after the announcement of their creation, Kyiv carried out “two punitive operations” against the republics, people were “actually mocked” constant shelling, blockade. Currently, in addition to Russia, Abkhazia has also recognized the independence of the republics of Donbass.
A few days after the recognition of the republics, Russia launched a military operation to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine. Zelensky did not recognize Russia's decision on the status of the republics and, in response to the special operation, announced a general mobilization and introduced martial law. Kyiv also severed diplomatic relations with Moscow.
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The Syrian Foreign Ministry announced a decision to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR Syria intends to establish diplomatic relations with the republics. The recognition process has been going on since mid-June, when the DPR delegation visited Damascus =”Syria has decided to recognize the DPR and LPR” />
Syria has decided to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, SANA and Syrian State Television reported, citing an official source in the Foreign Ministry.
“The Syrian Arab Republic has decided to recognize the independence and sovereignty of both the Lugansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic,” he said.
The publications say that the Syrian side will contact both republics about agreements to strengthen cooperation and establish diplomatic relations.
The fact that Syria intends to recognize the DPR was announced in mid-June by the head of Republic Denis Pushilin. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced the beginning of the procedure during the visit of the DPR delegation to Damascus.
DPR Foreign Minister Natalya Nikonorova later said that the process of recognition of the republic by Syria “is going on intensively”, they cooperate in the fields of education, science, medicine and political construction. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow would welcome the recognition of the Donbass republics by other countries.
Russia recognized the DPR and LPR as independent states on February 21. Prior to this, a meeting of the Russian Security Council was held, at which Putin recalled the events of 2014 and indicated that after the announcement of their creation, Kyiv carried out “two punitive operations” against the republics of them, people were “actually mocked” constant shelling, blockade. The independence of the republics of Donbass was also recognized by Abkhazia.
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President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Joart Tokayev, speaking at the St. . He explained that if the rights of nations to self-determination are realized throughout the world, then 500-600 states will appear on the map instead of the existing 193.
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“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Syria's descent into a narco state
The World's Carol Hills spoke with Natasha Hall, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, about Syria's drug trade and the country's descent into a narco state status.
The WorldJune 24, 2022 · 3:45 PM EDT
- By Omar Duwaji
Syrian authorities display Captagon pills, in rural Damascus, Syria, which they say they’ve seized while being smuggled in pasta, headed for Saudi Arabia, Nov. 30, 2021.
Syrian official news agency SANA via AP/File photo
Syria's government is enriching itself in the drug trade, according to a new investigation by the German newspaper Der Spiegel.
The report found that senior members of the Syrian government are at the center of the illegal drug trade of the smuggled drug known as Captagon. A picture is now emerging of Syria descending into a narco state.
The World's Carol Hills spoke with Natasha Hall, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, about Syria's drug trade and the country's descent into a narco state status.
Carol Hills: The term narco state conjures up a lot of images. Why does it apply to Syria at this point?Natasha Hall: Well, I think that Syria has actually been a narco state for quite some time, but it's sort of risen to the media stature at this point as the drug trade increases. Small factories began emerging in 2013 and were likely connected to Hezbollah, which is a main ally of the Assad government. But as the plundering and seizures of assets that the regime has undertaken, as it's taken more territory in Syria, has somewhat dried up, this new revenue stream began to emerge and now what we're seeing is sort of industrial production-level capacity of this drug called Captagon.Captagon is the drug in question. What is it?So, it has a bit of a storied history. It was developed in 1960 by a German pharmaceutical company for the treatment of attention deficit disorders. But by the '80s, it was banned because of its side effects. But it continued to thrive on the black market, particularly from Bulgaria. It no longer uses the original ingredient, which was fenethylline, which is harder to come by. It's now primarily using pseudoephedrine.And is it a stimulant, a depressant? What are its addictive qualities? I mean, why do people take it?So, it's essentially a low-grade amphetamine. It could potentially become more dangerous, since obviously, it's not a standardized recipe, and we've seen that in the United States as low-grade-type amphetamines have become more dangerous and addictive over time.So, what is the evidence that the family of Bashar al-Assad is involved in the illegal Captagon business?So, that's what's so interesting about these new investigations in Germany because previously, there had been quite a bit of evidence beginning to mount that the Assad regime was at the center of this renewed and more robust drug trade. But it was very difficult to link these huge shipments that we were seeing in Salerno, in Italy, in the Gulf and other places with the actual point of delivery. And in this case, the case in Essen, Germany, could now change that.Briefly describe the case in Essen. What happened?Essentially, what was found is that one particular individual had long had ties to ports in Latakia, which is also a stronghold of the regime, in exporting the drug from there. But essentially, the investigators had been tapping into his phone lines and also tracking the trade for many years now, actually, before they were actually able to arrest him upon his arrival in Germany and tie him to a trade of nearly 130 million euros [$137 million], street value in Captagon.What does this mean for the future of Syria's economy? I mean, is this kind of it?I think it's difficult to determine now, but certainly that's what policymakers need to be looking into. What are the long-term development plans of this industry? You have Lebanon on one side and Iraq on the other, which have militias that are all tied to the Assad government, as well as Iran and global drug trade network. So, this is kind of the perfect storm for a global drug trade to emerge. And within that, you have a country that has been ravaged by war, didn't make more than probably $860 million in legal exports just a couple of years ago. And that compares to billions that it's been making from the Captagon trade.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
In northern Syria, another armed conflict broke out between pro-Turkish groups in the province of Aleppo. Jabhat Ash-Shamiya (banned in the Russian Federation) militants reportedly seized several military facilities and checkpoints of the Ahrar Ash-Sham group (AS – banned in the Russian Federation). During the skirmish, several mercenaries from both sides were eliminated. Civilians were also injured.
There is no exact data on the causes of the confrontation yet. According to one version, several groups associated with AS decided to leave the Third Corps of the Jaish Watania Suriya association, but its leadership decided to suppress the dissidents by force, writes the Telegram channel Directorate 4.
Night to the rescue “Ahrar Ash-Sham” from the province of Idlib advanced about a hundred cars with militants “Hayat Tahrir Ash-Sham” (HTS – banned in the Russian Federation). On the border of the canton of Afrin, representatives of the Al-Julani gang entered into a shootout with other pro-Turkish groups. The result of the confrontation was the defeat of the mercenaries supported by Turkey. At
Throm, with the mediation of Ankara, the militants ceased hostilities, and the HTS promised to withdraw its forces back to Idlib, the authors of the channel report.
The US military is worried about the risk of a direct clash with Russian forces in Syria, fears arose after an air strike against the American coalition in the south of the republic, sources told WSJ
The Pentagon is concerned about the possibility of a direct military clash with Russia in Syria after “some actions” Russian forces, writes The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed senior US military.
“Russian troops have carried out a number of operations against the US-led coalition in Syria this month, including one of them — this week at a strategically located base in the southern part of the country,— told the interlocutors of the newspaper (quote from RIA Novosti).
Russia warned the American side on the existing communication line about the strike, in connection with which no casualties were identified, the sources of the newspaper said, while noting that this “is fraught with a direct conflict,” and “a miscalculation could escalate into an unintentional conflict between American and Russian forces in Syria».
The WSJ interlocutors specified that the airstrikes were inflicted on a garrison located near the border of Syria with Jordan in the southeast.
The American contingent entered the territory of Syria at the beginning of the civil war in 2011, seven years later— in December 2018— Donald Trump, then President, announced the withdrawal of the military from Syria. He explained that he made this decision in connection with the defeat of the main part of the IS militants (a terrorist group banned in Russia).
At the same time, limited contingents of military specialists from the United States remained on Syrian territory, which support the armed opposition. There are about 900 American military personnel in Syria, they are deployed at the Al-Tanf base (southern Syria) and eastern fields.
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The Russian diplomatic mission at the UN called the presence of the American contingent in Syria an “occupation”, arguing that the US military was engaged in “oil theft”, and a “zone of lawlessness” had developed in the region. “We demand the immediate withdrawal from Syria of all foreign forces present there illegally,” said at the end of January, Russian Deputy Representative Dmitry Polyansky at a meeting of the UN Security Council. extremists in Syria for actions against local security forces and military from Russia and Iran. The department insisted that “the information received by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service testifies to the desire of the US administration to maintain the American presence in Syria, preventing the stabilization of the situation in this country.”
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The guarantor countries of the “Astana” process Russia, Turkey and Iran condemned the Israeli attack in Syria, according to statement of the three states following the talks on Syria.
The statement emphasizes that Israeli military attacks in Syria violate international law, the sovereignty of Syria and its neighbors, and pose a threat to the stability and security of the region. Russia, Iran and Turkey called for an end to them.
The countries also noted that the use of civilian aircraft by Israel to cover up aggression on Syrian territory is a flagrant violation of international rules and endangers civilians.
15 -On June 16, Kazakhstan hosted the 18th round of negotiations between the guarantor countries of the “Astana” process with the participation of representatives of the government and the Syrian opposition, as well as the UN.
Russia believes that it is time to curtail the cross-border mechanism of assistance to Syria. This was stated to journalists by the presidential special representative for the Syrian settlement Alexander Lavrentyev, RIA Novosti reports.
“Many are now concerned about the further functioning of the cross-border mechanism. As you know, resolution 2585 expires on July 10th. So far, we do not see any progress on the part of the West in easing the sanctions regime. This mechanism was created as a temporary measure, and, perhaps, the time has come for all the assistance provided by the international community to go legally through the territory of Syria, through Damascus. This is the position of Russia at the moment,»— he said.
According to him, the West has not fulfilled its obligations to implement early recovery projects, which were promised a year ago. “Therefore, under these conditions, we will probably consider the issue of curtailing the cross-border mechanism. Maybe we will think about developing some new mechanisms for the decent provision of assistance and restoration of the Syrian economy by the international community,— explained Lavrentiev.
The decision to launch cross-border humanitarian operations in Syria was taken by the UN Security Council in July 2014. Until 2020, UN humanitarian agencies and their partners could use four border checkpoints— “Bab es-Salaam” and “Bab el-Hawa” on the border with Turkey, “Al-Yarubiya” on the border with Iraq and “Al-Ramta” on the border with Jordan. As the Syrian army began to establish control over more and more territory, Damascus and Moscow began to advocate curtailing the work of border crossings. In January 2020, the UN Security Council extended the operation of two checkpoints on the Turkish border for six months.
Moscow explained the need for a gradual “winding down” mechanism of the changed situation on earth. More areas in Syria are returning to government control, so aid can be delivered from within the country in coordination with Damascus, as prescribed by international humanitarian law, said Russia's permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.
In the summer of 2021, the UN Security Council took five attempts to extend the mechanism for cross-border humanitarian assistance. Russia and China twice vetoed a draft extension resolution proposed by Germany and Belgium. In turn, the Russian version of the resolution twice failed to gain a majority in the Security Council. As a result, a compromise option left only one checkpoint open for a year— “Bab al-Hawa”, through which humanitarian goods come from Turkey to Idlib. This resolution expires on July 10.
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Ankara had to curtail preparations for the offensive
During the negotiations between the Russian and Turkish delegations, the issue of Ankara conducting a military operation in northern Syria was raised. However, Moscow refused to approve this move, as a result of which the Turkish military had to curtail preparations for the offensive.
Photo: Global Look Press
According to the Hürriyet newspaper, Turkey planned to conduct an operation in the Ain Issa area on the northern outskirts of the city of Raqqa.
However, Moscow not only opposed Ankara's plans, but also sent additional reinforcements to the area.
It is worth noting that the M4 highway passes in the Ain Issa area, which connects the cities of Hasaka, Raqqa , Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo.
According to the publication, Turkish aircraft launched targeted strikes on Tel Rifat and Manbij, where objects of the Kurdistan Workers' Party could be located. In Turkey, this organization is considered a terrorist organization.
Earlier, on June 1, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of another anti-terrorist operation in northern Syria.
Pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Air Force conducted joint military exercises to repel air strikes of a mock enemy, the Russian Ministry of Defense reports.
According to the Defense Ministry, the crews worked out maneuvers to repel air strikes of a mock enemy during the day and at night. The Ministry of Defense noted that during the exercises, aerial targets were hit at night for the first time.
In addition, pilots of Russia and Syria conducted joint patrols along the borders of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The Ministry of Defense said that the Russian Aerospace Forces were represented by the crews of Su-24m, Su-34, Su-35s aircraft. Pilots of the MIG-23ml and MIG-29 fighters participated in the exercise from the Syrian Air Force.
“The joint exercise helped the pilots of the two friendly countries to better understand each other and learn how to interact in various situations”, – noted in the Russian defense department.
Recall that earlier the air groups of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Chinese Air Force carried out joint patrols in the Asia-Pacific region as part of the provisions on military cooperation between countries for 2022.
According to the Turkish leader, Ankara “will not stop” in an effort to destroy terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq. He accused the United States of supplying weapons to the Kurds and did not rule out a new operation against the PKK jpg” alt=”Erdogan promised to eradicate militants in Syria and did not rule out a new operation” />
Turkey intends to completely exterminate terrorist formations in northern Syria and Iraq, in its desire the country “will not stop” before anything. This was stated by Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, TRT Harber reports.
Thus, when asked by a journalist about a new operation in northern Syria and Iraq, the Turkish leader said: “This process will continue, we cannot stop. We will eradicate terrorism and terrorists.
At the same time, Turkey does not intend to obtain permission from anyone, including the United States, to conduct a new special operation, Erdogan stressed. He also accused the United States of supplying weapons to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey.
According to him, in the past few days alone, the Turkish military neutralized about 30 terrorists located in northern Syria, as well as more than 100 in northern Iraq.
Turkey has been both directly and indirectly involved in the conflict since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, mainly fighting PKK forces, which are considered terrorists in Turkey.
The PKK was founded in 1978. She advocates national self-determination for Kurds in Turkey. The activities of the PKK are deployed on the territory of two more states, where many Kurds live,— Syria and Iraq.
Ankara has been in an armed conflict with the PKK since 1984, the organization is recognized as a terrorist organization in the country.
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In 2017, the countries— the guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria (Turkey, Russia, Iran) adopted a joint declaration, where they designated the creation of de-escalation zones on the territory of Syria. According to the memorandum, Idlib withdrew to Turkey's area of responsibility. Nevertheless, local conflicts continued along the demarcation line.
In October 2019, Ankara and Moscow adopted a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The document, in particular, provides for the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the Syrian-Turkish border and joint Russian-Turkish patrols to a depth of 10 km from it to the west and east of the area of the Turkish operation “Source of Peace”, except for the city of Kamyshly (Turkey launched an operation against the Kurdish formations in October 2019).
In addition, Turkey has already conducted military operations in northern Iraq several times. The last time the operation called “Claw-Castle” took place in April of this year. As Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar later stated, in the eight days of the special operation, Ankara successfully completed the tasks of its first phase, and the Turkish armed forces “reached the places they needed to reach.”
According to Akar, in the area the operation there are “many caves, shelters, shelters and so-called headquarters”, and the captured targets & mdash; only the first stage of the operation. “Later this activity will continue <…> until the terrorists are neutralized,— he added.
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The Pentagon did not find those responsible for the deaths of residents due to US Air Force strikes on Syria
We are talking about the 2019 airstrikes in the Syrian Baguz, which killed dozens of civilians. The investigation was launched in November 2021 after the revealing publication of The New York Times ” alt=”The Pentagon has not found those responsible for the deaths of residents due to US Air Force strikes on Syria” />
The Pentagon investigation found no fault of US military personnel in the deaths of civilians as a result of US airstrike in Syrian Bagouz in 2019 year. The results of the investigation, launched in November 2021, are published by the US military.
“There were no violations of the rules of engagement or the laws of war, <…> [The US Air Force] acted within the framework of a defensive strategy approved by the President and did not strike deliberately or unreasonably for high civilian casualties,” — said in the conclusion of the head of the command of the ground forces, General Michael Garrett, who conducted the analysis of the incident at the direction of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. civilians.
Pentagon spokesman John Kibri, answering journalists' questions related to the publication of the conclusion, noted that holding the military accountable for the delay in providing information on civilian casualties is a “hypothetical issue.” He also said that the Pentagon regrets and apologizes for the incident, but sees no reason to hold those involved accountable.
On November 14, 2021, the American newspaper The New York Times, citing military sources, reported that the United States deliberately covered up the deaths of at least 80 people after an air strike by the US Air Force in March 2019 near the Syrian city of Bagouz (located on the border with Iraq).
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According to the publication, on March 18, 2019, an American F-15E attack aircraft dropped one 500-pound bomb and two bombs weighing 2 thousand pounds (227 and 907 kg, respectively) on a crowd of people. The military then said that terrorists were hiding among the civilians in the crowd.
The NYT also indicated that high-ranking military and officials tried to cover up the consequences of the “catastrophic strike”, and the number of victims was underestimated . According to the newspaper, coalition forces bulldozed the site of the bombing and did not conduct an independent investigation.
Two weeks after the publication of the material, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a new investigation into the airstrikes.
The United States has been involved in the military operation in Syria since 2014. With the support of the aviation of the United States and its allies, it was possible to liberate a significant part of the provinces of Al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor from militants, and also to occupy the city of Raqqa. In December 2018, former US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of military contingents from Syria. He explained his decision by the defeat of the main part of the militants.
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Photo by pixabay.com
Deputy official representative of the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq said that the decision of the European Union not to invite Russia to participate in the donor conference Syria “Brussels-6” is regrettable.
“The Russian Federation is a member of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as a key partner,” he recalled.
At the same time, Haq noted that the UN could not influence the decision of the EU, since it is not one of the co-organizers of the Brussels conference this year. The EU has decided not to invite the Russian Federation and contact them to find out the reason,” he said
US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of using chemical weapons in Syria, she made such a statement on PBS. Her words are quoted by the press service of the diplomatic mission.
“They also used false accusations against the United States and Ukrainians of using chemical weapons, and we know that they are capable of using chemical weapons. They used it against their own people, they used it in Syria,— said the diplomat.
At the same time, Thomas-Greenfield is sure, Moscow understands the danger of using nuclear weapons, “whatever the nature or form it may have.” She called the words of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about nuclear weapons “bragging”, while calling for the threat of nuclear weapons deployment to be taken seriously.
The United States is pressuring Russia in the Security Council on the issue of nuclear weapons, the diplomat assured, adding that these efforts should encourage the Russian leadership not to use it and abandon “threats against defenseless Ukraine.”
“And if they make the mistake of using nuclear weapons, we will hold them accountable. I won't go into the details of what we're going to do here, but they need to know that we'll answer them very, very strongly if they do,” — warned the US Ambassador to the UN.
Read on RBC Pro Pro Business is in line for cloud services. What services are in demand? situation Instructions Pro The Bank of Russia lowered the rate to 14%. What will happen to the ruble exchange rate and inflation Articles Pro How the relevance of digital assets and currencies is changing Articles ProAllegations that Russia used chemical weapons in Syria— fake, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. He compared these allegations to reports of civilian deaths in the Ukrainian city of Bucha in March 2022. According to him, “provocations were staged” in Syria; and “depicted the use of chemical weapons” government of President Bashar al-Assad. “Then it turned out that it was a fake. The same fake is in Bucha,— Putin insisted.
“Listen, I talked to colleagues from Western countries often. And when they say “Bucha” to me, I ask, have you ever been to Raqqa? Did you see how this Syrian city was completely destroyed, down to the very ground, by American aircraft from above? And there, indeed, the corpses lay in ruins for months and decomposed. Nobody cared before that, nobody even noticed, — said Putin.
The plans of the United States and Ukraine to carry out an attack using chemical weapons were announced by the Russian Defense Ministry in mid-April. The department claimed that in the interests of the Pentagon, biological weapons were tested on the territory of Ukraine, and chemical weapons were planned to be sprayed from the Bayraktar drone. Kyiv turned to the company— drone manufacturer Baykar Makina with a request for the possibility of placing “attached aerosol equipment” on the UAV, the ministry added.
About a week later, on April 21, the Russian Defense Ministry spoke about an attempt by Ukrainian forces to carry out an attack with chemical weapons. According to the ministry, a container with ampoules was dropped from a drone on the positions of Russian forces, which were supposed to explode, releasing toxic substances not mentioned in the convention lists.
The Russian embassy in the United States in early May urged Washington to destroy its chemical weapons . The diplomatic mission insists that the United States remains the last country to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has not yet got rid of its own arsenal.
At the request of Roskomnadzor, RBC provides data on the details of the military operation in Ukraine based on information from Russian official sources.
US President Joe Biden warned in late March that if Moscow uses chemical weapons in Ukraine, Washington will respond, and the nature of the reaction will depend on the use of these weapons. Then the White House explained that the United States ruled out the possibility of using chemical weapons. U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan added that chemical weapons would not be used by U.S. forces “under any circumstances,” but that Russia would “pay a heavy price.” . «We— adequate people. I— the president of an adequate country and an adequate people. And the father of two children. And no one has developed any chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction on my land,»,— he said in mid-March in response to data on the work of biological laboratories in Ukraine.
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Three months after ISIS attacked a prison in northeast Syria, the fate of at least 100 child detainees remains unclear
“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Three months after ISIS attacked a prison in northeast Syria, the fate of at least 100 child detainees remains unclear
Human rights groups say they are deeply concerned about the well-being of the children who remain injured or unaccounted for following an ISIS attack on a prison in northeast Syria. Many of the children's home countries refuse to them them back.
The WorldApril 27, 2022 · 2:45 PM EDT
Soldiers with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces check a house in Hassakeh, Syria, Jan. 25, 2022. After breaking into the prison late Thursday, ISIS militants were joined by others rioting inside the facility that housed over 3,000 inmates, including hundreds of minors.
Last January, ISIS fighters carried out a brazen and coordinated attack on a prison in northeastern Syria.
They set off bombs at the entrance of the Al-Sina'a prison, killing dozens of people initially, and later, hundreds more.
The fighting went on for over a week. In the end, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in charge of the prison managed to take back control, with some help from US forces.
But roughly three months later, the fate of about 100 children, who were held at the prison, remains unclear — and human rights groups say they are deeply concerned about their well-being.
During the battle at the prison, one teenager, who said that he’s from Australia, sent audio messages to his family.
“I just got shot by an Apache [a type of helicopter], my head is bleeding. I have injured my head and my hand. There’s no doctors here who can help me,” he said.
The audio messages were shared with The World by a human rights group. The name of the boy was bleeped out for his own safety. But he says he is 17 and that he was held in the prison for three years.
That was back in January.
Letta Tayler, from Human Rights Watch, who’s been following this teenager’s case, said that she hasn’t heard from him since.
“I cannot stop thinking about this boy. Because his text messages to me and his communications with me were just so devastating.”
Letta Tayler, Human Rights Watch
“I cannot stop thinking about this boy. Because his text messages to me and his communications with me were just so devastating.”
Aid groups say that there were at least 700 minors at al-Sina’a prison at the time of the attack. But Kurdish authorities have not provided detailed figures. SDF spokesman Farhad Shami did not respond to repeated requests for an interview with The World.
But earlier this month, the United Nations said that at least 100 children, some as young as 10 years old, are still unaccounted for.
“We have no idea if they are alive, wounded, sick or dead,” Tayler from Human Rights Watch said.
UNICEF told The World in an email that it does not have any updates about the children.
In February, The New York Times reported that the bodies of two teenagers had been found in the area.
The majority of the prisoners who were held at al-Sina’a are from Iraq and Syria. But new documents show that besides the Australian boy, there are minors who were born in Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK and at least one American teenager.
In response to questions about the American minor, a US State Department spokesperson said via email that the agency can’t comment on specific cases, but that “the US government has repatriated 15 adult US citizens and 24 US citizen minors from Syria and Iraq.”
Sasha Hoffman, a researcher with the Rojava Information Center, a volunteer media group in northeastern Syria, said that the physical damage to the prison has not been repaired and that the prisoners have been moved to a new location.
“The compound where the ISIS members are being held right now is this new compound and they will not be transferred back to the old facilities,” Hoffman said.
What to do with the families of suspected ISIS members has been a major issue since the fall of the so-called caliphate in 2019. Thousands of women and children remain in camps or prisons in Syria and Iraq. Some are citizens of countries that are not willing to take them back.
In March, Save The Children said that “it will take 30 years before foreign children stuck in unsafe camps in northeast Syria can return home, if repatriations continue at the current rate.”
The charity didn’t comment for this story.
Some countries have repatriated their citizens who were in detention at the prison but the pace has been very slow.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, and her colleagues, have written letters to governments that have minors who are citizens of their countries in detention, calling for their repatriation.
In a letter to the British government dated Feb. 1, 2022, they wrote that the “boys were primarily brought to Syria or Iraq by parents or other family members, or were born in Syria to individuals who traveled there. An unknown number of children were allegedly conceived from acts of rape and sexual coercion during the conflict or forced marriage.”
They also sent a letter to American officials.
“These are children. They have no responsibility for the circumstances of their birth. They did not choose to go or be born in northeast Syria. And they deserve to be treated with the full compassion and the rights of the child.”
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism
“These are children. They have no responsibility for the circumstances of their birth,” Ní Aoláin told The World. “They did not choose to go or be born in northeast Syria. And they deserve to be treated with the full compassion and the rights of the child.”
In fact, she said, they should be treated as victims of ISIS, not accomplices, given how the terror group indoctrinated children for its own purposes.
“The prison is not the solution to this problem,” she added.
The US and other countries provide some funding for these prisons.
In 2020, The Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS, led by the US, gave more than $2 million to the Kurdish authorities running the detention facilities. Some of that aid was in the form of riot gear and security equipment.
Last year, the British government said it would give $20 million to upgrade the main prison in Syria.
The coalition also sent in more armored vehicles to northeastern Syria in February, adding that the vehicles had “quickly proved their worth” in the fight to take back the Al-Sina’a prison.
But Tayler, of Human Rights Watch, sees this as shifting the burden onto the Kurds, “who have a lot on their hands.”
“They are an undermanned, cash-strapped force, fighting a war on various fronts. And what I find unconscionable is that the home countries of these boys outsource management of their citizens inside a warzone.”
Experts like Tayler say these prisons remain a target for ISIS. And keeping young boys locked up, without due process, under inhumane conditions, could lead to security threats in the future.
“The longer that they know that their home countries have shut the door on them and thrown away the key, the more they might think, ‘Well, OK, I might as well join ISIS.’”
Tayler said that it’s time for these children’s home countries to step up and find a political and humane solution.
The Turkish Foreign Minister said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously warned Russian leader Vladimir Putin about this. At the same time, he stressed that Ankara does not participate in sanctions against Moscow
Turkey has closed the airspace for Russian military and civilian aircraft flying to Syria. This was announced by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, TRT Haber reports.
“We have closed airspace to Russian military aircraft, even civil aircraft flying to Syria and carrying troops. We issued a three-month permit. It ends in April»— he said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously informed Russian President Vladimir Putin about this, the Turkish minister added.
According to Cavusoglu, Turkey “is negotiating with Russia through dialogue, [ implementation] of the Montreux Convention, as well as through other issues.
Article 19 of the convention provides that in time of war, when Turkey is not a belligerent, warships of the belligerents may not pass through the straits. There are a few exceptions to this rule— for example, if Turkey is obligated to provide assistance to a state that has been the victim of an attack under a mutual assistance treaty.
However, belligerent warships can pass through the straits to return to their main anchorage ports.
Earlier, on April 11, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlev, deputy head of the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria (CPVS), said that four Israeli Air Force F-16 tactical fighters fired five missiles from Lebanese airspace at targets in the Syrian province of Latakia.
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A few days later, Syrian state television and SANA reported that the Israeli Air Force attacked several targets in the vicinity of Damascus from the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria.
The Syrian authorities consider these territories occupied, most of the Golan Heights controlled by Israel.
On February 15, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that MiG-31K fighters with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles were relocated to the Khmeimim air base in Syria. and Tu-22M3 long-range bombers.
The agency clarified that aviation will be used during a naval exercise of the inter-naval grouping of the Navy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea to practice the actions of the Navy and Aerospace Forces to protect Russian national interests in the World Ocean .
On the same day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived at the exercises of the Russian fleet in Syria. Nikolai Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, reported to the Minister on the progress of the exercises in Tartus. Shoigu inspected the ship repair complex of the Black Sea Fleet and laid flowers at the monument to Admiral Fyodor Ushakov. Together with him, Syrian Defense Minister Ali Ayyub visited Tartus.
After that, Shoigu, on behalf of President Vladimir Putin, met in Damascus with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. During the meeting, they discussed issues of military-technical cooperation between the countries in the framework of the joint fight against the remnants of international terrorists.
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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that a decision had been made to close the country's airspace to Russian military and civilian aircraft flying to Syria.
“Permission to fly ended in April,” Cavusoglu said.
He added that Turkey had previously given permission for three months.
According to Cavusoglu, this issue was discussed by the presidents of the two countries, Recep Taip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin.
“That is, we are conducting the process through dialogue on both the Montreux Convention and other issues,” he said.
At the same time, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced that a large-scale operation had been launched after a police checkpoint in the Euphrates Shield operation zone was attacked with anti-tank weapons the day before in northern Syria, resulting in the death of a poly Tsey Special Forces Aytach Altunors. In addition, fire was opened on the territory of some air force bases.
Simultaneously with the attack, which resulted in the death of , members of the terrorist organization also opened fire on the territory of some air force bases.
“Ankara is acting within its own interests”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey is closing its skies to Russian military and civilian aircraft flying to Syria. He told this to reporters on Saturday during his tour of Latin America.
Semyon Bagdasarov, a leading Russian political scientist, historian, expert on the problems of the Middle East and Central Asia, explained to MK what the reason for such a decision was and what it means for us.
Semyon Bagdasarov. Photo: TV broadcast frame.
Speaking to reporters, Cavusoglu clarified that the decision made does not mean that Turkey is joining the anti-Russian sanctions of the West. According to him, earlier permits for such flights were issued every three months and renewed each time. The last permit expires in April, after flights will be suspended, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin. Cavusoglu also noted that Turkey is in dialogue with Russia regarding the implementation of the Montreux Convention and other issues.
“This should have been expected from Turkey for a long time,” Semyon Bagdasarov told MK. – Such a decision may indicate that the Americans have promised something to the Turks, and they are acting within their own interests. All this, in general, was a matter of time. We should never forget that Turkey is a member of NATO. In addition, Turkey is much more dependent on the US economy than on the Russian economy. And the Americans are very good at manipulating this. In addition, I do not rule out that the decision of the Turkish authorities is connected with the possibility of starting hostilities in northern Syria. For us, the flight ban will mean the difficulty of urgent deliveries to our Turkish bases in Khmeimim and Tartus. It is one thing to deliver by air, and another thing is by sea, until our fleet comes up there! That is, now it will be very difficult for us to transfer something there by air. Thank God they haven't closed the straits yet. But I wouldn't be surprised if they try to shut them down somehow. I do not rule out that the reason for this decision is also that from Khmeimim part of the aviation that is located there is being transferred to the special operation zone. Thus, Turkey counteracts this: it closed the sky and now try to fly. This was to be expected from a NATO country.
The Russian military used a highly modernized version of the Lancet loitering ammunition (kamikaze drone) against terrorists in Syria, which is capable of carrying a larger warhead, RIA Novosti reports, citing a military-diplomatic source.
According to the interlocutor of the agency, the new version of the kamikaze drone has changed the aerodynamics of – now it has one large X-shaped wing and an X-shaped tail, and not two symmetrical X-shaped wings, as before.
The device has increased the duration and range of the flight, and it is “capable combat unit of increased power,” the source said.
Earlier it was reported that a new airfield tanker was being developed for the Aerospace Forces. It will allow you to refuel several aircraft at the same time.
It also became known that from March 1, drone owners will have to undergo training at the Federal Air Transport Agency and obtain a pilot's license.
“We must demonstrate our capabilities in the fight against aircraft carriers”
The Russian attack on Ukraine announced by the West on the night of February 16 did not take place. It turned out that the Ministry of Defense and General Shoigu at this time – other plans. Those who expected his “blitzkrieg” to Kiev, they suddenly learned that the Russian Minister of Defense had flown … to Syria. He visited our bases Khmeimim and Tartus, and personally inspected the exercises of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea.
Photo: Ministry Defense of the Russian Federation
About the importance of these naval exercises, if the Minister of Defense considered it necessary to personally attend them, “MK” said military expert captain 1st rank in the reserve Vladimir Gundarov.
According to the official statement of the military department, an inter-naval group of more than 15 ships has been created to participate in maneuvers taking place directly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. It includes missile cruisers, frigates, anti-submarine ships and support vessels of the Pacific, Northern and Black Sea fleets.
In addition, more than 30 aircraft and helicopters of the Aerospace Forces are involved, including Tu-22M3 long-range aircraft and MiG-31K supersonic high-altitude fighters with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. They were relocated the day before to the Khmeimim airbase.
Teaching in the Mediterranean — this is one of the episodes of large-scale maneuvers of the Russian Navy, which are now taking place in different parts of the oceans. In them over 140 warships, over 60 aircraft, 1,000 pieces of military equipment and 10,000 servicemen are participating.
“This is a unique exercise in which all Russian fleets take part,” says military expert Vladimir Gundarov. – As far as the Mediterranean Sea is concerned, a unique situation has now been created there. There are three aircraft carrier groups. One Italian – she is constantly on duty in the Mediterranean – with a light aircraft carrier with only 15 aircraft. And two more – French and American – led by nuclear aircraft carriers. At the same time, our missile ships arrived in the Mediterranean Sea, which are designed to destroy aircraft carriers. The last, having completed participation in international exercises in the Indian Ocean, the Varyag, as if by chance, came to the Mediterranean along the way. – missile cruiser of the Pacific Fleet. Although his presence there was expected.
Cruisers may be located in the eastern Mediterranean. And if aircraft carriers raise their aircraft to work in the Black Sea, being in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, then we can still “get” them.
– That's right. An aircraft carrier group is always escorted by a Virginia-class nuclear submarine. Sometimes there may be two submarines for each aircraft carrier group.
– If you remember when the message passed that a few moments with the “daggers” relocated to the Kaliningrad region, in Europe they got very nervous. After all, with these missiles, without entering the airspace of foreign states, the MiG-31 can reach the western coast of Ireland directly from its airspace, and in the south – all the way to Spain.
And if they work from Syria, consider for yourself. Add to the combat radius of these aircraft the range of “daggers” – from open sources we know that it is about 2000 kilometers – then they just already cover half of Europe, they get both Spain and Portugal…
And thanks to the fact that we have Tartus, these planes can land there, refuel and watch over the Mediterranean Sea. The fact that these MiGs flew there speaks of the strategic nature of these exercises and the large scope of the operation.
– These planes generally fly all over the world. Previously, they constantly cruised along the so-called triangle: they took off from Vologda or Murmansk, flew to Cuba, then sat down for refueling in Africa and returned home from there. Apparently, in these exercises, these aircraft are also used as an element of deterring aircraft carrier groups. And NATO aircraft carriers in this region – a serious threat to both Crimea and Sevastopol. If some kind of military mess happens there, then F-35 – and their combat radius is more than 1000 km – and freely fly to Sevastopol, where they control our ships in the Black Sea. And, if necessary, they can strike at them.
– It is very difficult to sink an aircraft carrier. Each of our missile cruisers has 16 missiles. They are enough to damage an aircraft carrier, taking it out of service for a month or two. But still don't sink. But if in one gulp from three cruisers, 48 rockets are fired – in conventional equipment, this is 24 tons of explosives – then they can already guarantee to send an aircraft carrier to the bottom. If the Vulkan missiles will be in nuclear equipment, in this case, three missiles with a nuclear charge of hundreds of kilotons each are definitely capable of drowning any aircraft carrier. Even one like the American Gerald Ford.
Of course, not all missiles on our missile cruisers are nuclear-capable. There may be just one. But demonstrating our potential capabilities at such exercises, we seem to be warning: guys, if you behave badly, claiming dominance in the Black Sea, we can also show our teeth. They are sharp, you will not like it. Russia, of course, does not threaten anyone, but when it shows you its military capabilities, not just in words, but in reality, it means that it is better not to mess with it.
Russian MiG-31K fighters with Kinzhal missiles were relocated to the Khmeimim airfield in Syria. and Tu-22M3 bombers. This was reported by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
The report says that the aircraft will be involved in military exercises of the inter-naval grouping of the Navy in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
According to the Ministry of Defense, the crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces during More than 1,500 kilometers have been traveled from their deployment points.
Earlier it was reported that aircraft carrier groups of ships of the North Atlantic Alliance were discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. According to media reports, they were accompanied by strike ships and support vessels.
Last Saturday, more than 30 ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation took part in large-scale military exercises.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov previously called terrorism “tantrums” about the teachings of Russia.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on an inspection trip to the exercises of the Navy, the press service of the department reports.
“February 15 Russian Army General Sergei Shoigu inspected the exercise of the Russian Navy in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, conducted as part of a series of naval exercises in operationally important areas of the World Ocean, as well as in the waters of the seas adjacent to Russian territory, — The message reads.
At the logistics center of the Russian Navy in Tartus, Shoigu heard a report from Admiral Nikolai Evmenov on combat training exercises and firing, checked the work of the ship repair complex, and laid flowers at the monument to Admiral Fyodor Ushakov.
More than 15 warships of the Pacific, Northern and Black Sea fleets are taking part in the exercises in the Mediterranean. Among them missile cruisers «Varyag» and Marshal Ustinov, frigates Admiral Fleet Kasatonov, Admiral Grigorovich, large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs, Vice Admiral Kulakov and support vessels, as well as over 30 aircraft.
«Together with Sergei Shoigu, Syrian Minister of Defense Corps General Ali Ayyub observed the progress of the exercises of the Russian Navy in Tartus», — added in the department.
Recall that earlier the Russian Navy announced a series of exercises involving 140 ships of all fleets, which will be held in January-February in coastal waters and the oceans. More than 60 aircraft, 1,000 pieces of military equipment and about 10,000 military personnel will also be involved.
A Russian MiG-31K fighter jet armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles arrived at the Khmeimim air base in Syria. Long-range Tu-22M3 bombers also landed at the base. Arrival frames are in the RBC video
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MoD: Former IS fighters leaving Syria for Europe and the US on fake documents Former ISIS fighters granted US-supported amnesty are leaving Syria for the United States, Canada and the EU using fake passports, the MoD said. Earlier, intelligence reported about upcoming actions against the Russian military announced the departure of ex-IS militants from Syria on false documents” />
The Russian Center for the Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria (CPVS) has evidence that the former militants of the “Islamic State” (ISIS, a terrorist organization banned in Russia) leave the country with false passports. Oleg Zhuravlev, deputy head of the CPVS, told reporters about this.
“Using fake passports with visa marks affixed to them, these persons travel to the United States of America, Canada and the countries of the European Union”, — said Zhuravlev (quote from TASS).
According to him, we are talking about militants amnestied with US support. Previously, they were “in places of detention under the control of the Kurdish administration on the territory of the Euphrates.”
In late January, members of the Islamic State attacked a prison in the Syrian province of Hasakah and tried to free the militants held there. At the entrance to the institution, two cars filled with explosives exploded, then a shootout ensued between the attackers and the guards. A statement released by the Kurds (in control of the province of Hasakah) said that the escape attempt was averted.
On February 8, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia reported that the American intelligence services plan to orient the “sleepers” extremists in Damascus and Latakiin actions against local security forces, as well as Russian and Iranian military personnel. The department said that in this way the United States wants to destabilize the situation in Syria.
Earlier, Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky said that “lawlessness zones” were formed in Syria, where foreign terrorists operate. He blamed the US and foreign troops present in the country for this and urged them to leave the country.
The United States has brought a contingent into Syria since the beginning of the civil war in 2011. In December 2018, former US President Donald Trump announced that the US military would leave Syria. He explained his decision by the defeat of the main part of the IS militants. In the summer of 2021, according to US authorities, there were about 900 US troops in Syria. The Pentagon said it considered the withdrawal of troops premature as the fight against IS continues. In early February, US President Joe Biden announced the elimination of one of the terrorist leaders Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in northwestern Syria.
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For the third year now, Syrian specialists and researchers from Sevastopol University and Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with the assistance of the Ministry of Defense and Russian Geographical Society, have been studying the largest island of Syria — Arvad. The next stage of underwater archaeological research has recently been completed.
Arvad. Photo: NASA
Arvad was one of the largest Phoenician city-states, it was mentioned in the Old Testament and the papyri of the Egyptian pharaohs. Now the fragments of this ancient civilization are under water. For the first time in the last 30 years they were studied during the course of a joint Syrian-Russian expedition. by by now, the remains of the Arvad fortress walls that collapsed on the seabed, which were built in from blocks up to 3 meters, — says head of the expedition from the Russian side, member of the Russian Geographical Society Viktor Lebedinsky. — Masonry of large stone blocks — the remains of an ancient pier that covered the harbor of the island. Laser scanning, aerial photography, photogrammetric surveys, as well as georeferencing of the surviving fragments of fortress walls and port facilities, whose age is more than 3 thousand years».
In addition, Russian specialists drew up plans and 3D models of four uninhabited islands located in a chain south of Arvad Island. These islands (El Abbas, El Faris, El Fanar and Makroud) are interesting because they were actively used by the inhabitants of Arvad for the extraction of stone blocks, from which defensive walls and other structures were built. Some large blocks still lie under the water: they were lost in in antiquity during transportation.
During the three seasons of the expedition from the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea, artifacts from almost all historical eras represented in the region were raised. These are parts of ceramic vessels and sarcophagi of the Phoenician, Greek and Roman periods, household items of the Byzantine period, basalt cores of a throwing machine of the Crusader era. All found items were handed over to the Department of Antiquities and Museums of Tartus Province.
Russian specialists held master classes for Syrian colleagues on working with modern scientific equipment for underwater archaeological and field research. Now they are busy processing data. The continuation of the research is planned for August-September 2022. The result of this expedition will be the creation of a 3D model of the defensive walls of Arvad Island. Scientists will combine the remains of walls and port facilities on shore with those that are now under water. You will get a digital copy of the fortress lost thousands of years ago.
A detachment of warships from the Northern and Baltic fleets arrived in Syrian Tartus on Thursday as part of the Russian Navy's exercise. RIA Novosti writes about this, referring to the press service of the Ministry of Defense.
The detachment included six large landing ships, among them “Pyotr Morgunov”, “George the Victorious”, “Olenegorsky Miner”, “Korolev”, “Minsk” and “Kaliningrad”. The ships covered more than 6,000 nautical miles, passing around Europe and entering the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Currently, as specified in the defense department, the ships are in the roadstead of the Syrian port of Tartus, where they replenish fuel and lubricants materials, drinking water and food to the required standards.
Earlier, the head of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, said that as part of the exercises in January-February, the Navy and the Military Space Forces (VKS) of Russia will work out the protection of national the interests of the state in the World Ocean and the reflection of threats from sea and ocean directions. It is known that the exercises will be held in all areas of responsibility of the fleets, more than 140 warships and support vessels will take part in them.
Reuters showed photos and videos from the site of the destruction of the leader of the ISIS in northwestern Syria Biden announced that one of the leaders of a terrorist organization banned in Russia was eliminated on the night of February 3. Baghdad claims that it was possible to establish its location thanks to Iraqi intelligence data alt=”Reuters showed footage from the site of the liquidation of the ISIS leader in Syria” />
Reuters showed footage from the site of the operation to destroy one of the leaders of the Islamic State terrorist organization banned in Russia; (IG) Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qureishi.
According to US President Joe Biden, a special operation by the US military aimed at destroying al-Qurayshi took place on the night of February 3 in northwestern Syria. The US administration reported that the ISIS leader blew himself up, also killing several members of his family.
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, at least three civilians were killed during the operation – the wife of the IS leader and his children. The U.S. “has compelling evidence” that the actions of militants, not the U.S. military, led to their deaths, Kirby said. He added that more than ten civilians were taken out of the building where al-Quraishi was hiding.
The press secretary of the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Yahya Rasool, claims that the whereabouts of the IS leader were succeeded thanks to the data provided by Iraqi intelligence.
According to a CNN source close to the Pentagon, the United States notified Russia of a special operation in a certain area of Syria and offered to refrain from being present there.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called the death of al -Quraishi “a significant victory in the global fight to destroy and eliminate ISIS.”
Al-Quraishi took charge of the terrorist organization in October 2019 after its previous leader, Abu Bakral-Baghdadi, was killed in a US operation.
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Foreign Ministry urged to investigate information about the victims of the US special operation in Syria
Photo: Gennady Cherkasov
In case of confirmation of data on casualties among the civilian population of Syria during a special US operation to destroy one of the terrorist leaders Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, a thorough investigation must be launched. This was stated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Earlier, the fact that three civilians died during the operation to eliminate al-Qurayshi was recognized in the Pentagon itself. At the same time, the possibility of more victims is not ruled out.
On February 3, US President Joe Biden announced the elimination in Syria by the forces of American special forces of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of the Islamic State organization (banned in the Russian Federation as terrorist organization). Recall that Quraishi led the ISIS in 2019, replacing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died in Idlib.
“All Americans returned safely from the operation”
U.S. Special Forces, during a counter-terrorism mission in northwestern Syria, eliminated the leader of ISIS (the so-called “Islamic State” – banned terrorist organization in the Russian Federation) Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. This was announced on Thursday by US President Joe Biden. Some details of the special operation can only be concluded based on the testimony of local eyewitnesses.
The assassination of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was called the largest US military raid in Syria since the 2019 operation, during which the founder and leader of ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed.
As the BBC recalls, Al-Hashemi al-Qureishi was declared the leader of the Islamic State in the fall of 2019, immediately after the elimination of al-Baghdadi.
Local sources report several deaths, reports CNN. In particular, clashes that took place during and after the raid are said to have killed at least 13 people, including six children and four women. According to the Pentagon, there are no American casualties.
“Last night, at my direction, US military forces in northwest Syria successfully conducted a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our allies and make the world a safer place,” Joe Biden said in a statement. “Thanks to the skill and courage of our armed forces, we removed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of ISIS, from the battlefield. All Americans returned safely from the operation.”
A senior US administration official said that during the operation, both Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi and members of his family, including women and children. Earlier, the Pentagon said that special forces tracked down high-ranking jihadists in an air raid, killing 13 people, writes The Guardian.
A pre-dawn attack on a house in the Syrian village of Atme, south of the Turkish border, also resulted in the destruction of an American Apache helicopter that was used to transport special forces from Erbil, Iraq. The US military removed the remains from the scene for a forensic medical examination. In the house where the leader of the terrorist group was allegedly hiding, there were traces of fierce fighting – torn window frames, charred ceilings and a partially collapsed roof. In some rooms, walls and floors littered with foam mattresses and debris from broken doors are spattered with blood.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the mission was carried out by US Central Command, which controls military operations and operations in the Middle East.
The Pentagon's brief statement did not reveal the purpose of the special forces mission, nor any indication of civilian casualties. But eyewitnesses told CNN that the landing of US troops was preceded by shelling and explosions shortly after midnight, the operation was carried out in a house near the Syrian-Turkish border, in the rebel-held jihadist-dominated enclave of Idlib.
One of the witnesses claims that machine-gun fire came from at least three helicopters flying overhead, followed by an explosion a few minutes later.
It is reported that during the operation, American special forces – before the battle began – called in Arabic through loudspeakers for women and children to leave the danger zone. According to eyewitnesses, the Americans stumbled upon fierce resistance of the enemy armed with grenade launchers and heavy machine guns.
In the area where the Americans conducted a special operation against the ISIS leader, a large number of forces of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group (banned in RF terrorist organization), which was previously considered a Syrian offshoot of the international extremist network Al-Qaeda (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation).
As CNN recalls, the United States has repeatedly launched strikes against al-Qaeda and its allies in northwestern Syria, with the Pentagon acknowledging that at least one strike in recent months could lead to civilian casualties.
The US military announced last October 23 that it had killed high-ranking al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar. “Al-Qaeda is using Syria as a safe haven for rebuilding, coordinating with outside affiliates, and planning outside operations,” Central Command spokesman US Army Maj. John Rigsby said at the time. that Wednesday's operation was the largest since ISIS leader al-Baghdadi was killed in October 2019 in a two-hour raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria.
Meanwhile, in various parts of Syria and Iraq are seeing a resurgence of ISIS, CNN notes Last month, more than 100 Islamic State militants attacked a prison in northeastern Syria in an attempt to free members of the extremist group imprisoned there. At least 200 prisoners and 30 members of the security forces were killed in clashes that followed the thwarted prison break. ISIS leader al-Quraishi, one of the world's most wanted criminals, led the attack in January on a prison that held imprisoned members of the Islamic State, according to The Guardian.
“MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>A prison battle in Syria puts the spotlight on the plight of child detainees
For years, human rights groups and families of the detainees have called for the repatriation of these prisoners, but this has become a highly political issue because home countries refuse to take them back.
The WorldJanuary 28, 2022 · 12:00 PM EST
Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers hold a position in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, Jan. 27, 2022. Dozens of armed ISIS militants remained holed up in the last occupied section of a Syrian prison, US-backed Kurdish-led forces said Thursday. The two sides clashed a day after the Syrian Democratic Forces announced they had regained full control of the facility.
A 17-year-old boy trapped at Al Sina’a prison in northeastern Syria managed to send frantic audio messages to his family in Australia amid fighting between ISIS followers and the Syrian Democratic Forces (also known as SDF) over the past week.
“I need help please. I’m very scared. There’s a lot of people dead in front of me. I’m scared I might die anytime. Please help me.”
17-year-old trapped in Al Sina’a prison, Syria
“I need help please. I’m very scared. There’s a lot of people dead in front of me. I’m scared I might die anytime. Please help me,” he said in a recording that The World obtained through Human Rights Watch, which has been in touch with the boy.
The 17-year-old, whose family did not wish for him to be identified publicly, is one of at least 700 children at the prison, according to the United Nations, along with at least 5,000 male detainees who have been locked up at Al-Sina’a prison since the fall of the so-called Islamic State in Syria in 2019.
ISIS militants have been trying to free thousands of trained ISIS fighters being held at the prison — the majority of whom are from Syria and Iraq — but there are also individuals who traveled from Europe, the US and Canada to join the group.
For years, human rights groups and families of the detainees have called for the repatriation of these prisoners, but this has become a highly political issue because home countries refuse to take them back.
The intense clashes between the SDF and the inmates in the past week have put a spotlight on the plight of these children.
The SDF regained control of the prison on Wednesday.
The attack began last Thursday when two car bombs detonated outside the prison in Al Hasakah. In the chaos that followed, hundreds of detainees escaped into the city. The ones who stayed inside the prison took hostages and then clashed with SDF forces.
At one point, the fighting got so intense that the US-led coalition carried out airstrikes, while American and British ground forces also joined.
“We provided some support, real-time surveillance, some airstrikes and some ground support, mostly in the form of Bradley Fighting Vehicles positioned to help assist security in the area,” John F. Kirby, the Pentagon spokesperson told reporters on Tuesday.
After the SDF retook full control of the prison, videos posted on Twitter showed ISIS members lined up outside the prison.
SDF soldiers celebrated by raising their rifles in the air.
“[It was] a Frankenstein’s monster of prison break, special forces direct action combat and a highly televised, high stake[s] game of hostage.”
Nicholas Hera, deputy director of the Human Security Unit, Newlines Institute
Nicholas Hera, deputy director of the Human Security Unit at the Newlines Institute in Washington, summed up the ordeal as “a Frankenstein’s monster of prison break, special forces direct action combat and a highly televised, high stake[s] game of hostage.”
He and other security experts say the clashes at Al Sina’a prison (also known Gweiran) is a reminder of the threats that ISIS still poses to the security of the region: “The Gweiran prison battle demonstrates that ISIS is not done.”
Detained against international law
Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, responded to questions on Tuesday about the 17-year-old caught up in the fighting in Al-Sina’a prison.
Payne said she was seeking advice about the matter and that “Australia does not have diplomatic representation in Syria.”
The boy was with his family in Syria and had been in ISIS territory in 2019 when he and his mother were transferred to a camp in northeast Syria before they were separated; the boy was taken to the prison, according to Australian news outlet, ABC.
Letta Tayler of Human Rights Watch said she connected on Wednesday with the Australian boy, as well as an American man and a Canadian man trapped in Al Sina’a prison.
In an interview with The World, she expressed frustration with the slow response by countries whose citizens remain in camps and prisons across northeast Syria.
While ISIS has used children in its propaganda videos and trained them to fight, Tayler said not all of them participated in the group’s atrocities. Most of the children were either taken to Syria by their parents or were born there, she said.
“These boys have been deeply traumatized, many of them were dragged by their parents to live under ISIS or were born under ISIS. They are often deprived of contact with loved ones. They’ve gone from being held by ISIS to being held by the northeast Syrian authorities and now, they are caught in the crossfire from both sides.”
Letta Tayler, Human Rights Watch
“These boys have been deeply traumatized, many of them were dragged by their parents to live under ISIS or were born under ISIS,” she said. “They are often deprived of contact with loved ones. They’ve gone from being held by ISIS to being held by the northeast Syrian authorities and now, they are caught in the crossfire from both sides.”
When the so-called ISIS caliphate fell in 2019, the US-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces rounded up ISIS suspects and put them in camps — where they have remained ever since.
Adolescent boys are separated from their mothers in camps and transferred to different locations, including Al-Sina’a prison.
This practice is against international law, Tayler said, adding that “none of these boys [have] been brought before a judge. None of these boys [have] been charged with any crime.”
The Kurdish authorities who control northeastern Syria have not released a list of the detainees’ nationalities. This is a highly political issue. Often the prisoners’ home countries don’t want them back. In some cases, they have stripped them of their citizenship.
“These children never should have been detained in this prison in the first place. Shame on their home countries for leaving them. For abandoning them,” Taylor said.
The situation is not too different for Iraqi or Syrian minors, said Nicholas Heras, with the Newlines Institute.
“They have nowhere else to go,” he said. “Either their tribe, clan or family hasn’t taken them back yet or, alternatively, they are so committed to ISIS’ ideology that there’s a process of deradicalization that has to occur.”
But so far, that hasn’t happened, or the process has been extremely slow. These children, along with their family members, remain stuck in camps or prisons in Syria’s northeast.
“Most countries are worried that you have highly radicalized young men who, if they go back to their countries of origin, could, in fact, become part of a terrorist cell and could cause problems and conduct attacks and support ISIS in their country’s border,” Heras explained.
The attack on the prison, he said, shows that the international community needs to take concrete steps to deal with hundreds of detainees still being held in northeastern Syria.