Activist Group Claims Russian Ground Troops Are Fighting In Syria

(Stock photo of Russian soldiers)

Al Jazeera writes that a report by a group of Russian activists claims that Russia’s military is taking an active role in ground operations to support the Syrian army against ISIS and other rebel groups.

The report contradicts Moscow’s claim that Russia is only using air-strikes and military advisors and equipment.

Kirill Mikhailov works for the Moscow-based Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) which investigates the Russian military’s activities in countries such as Ukraine and Syria.

Mikhailov spoke with Al Jazeera on Sunday and said the group has discovered that Russian ground forces have been operating in areas that have seen intense fighting across Syria.

The group did not confirm whether or not Russian troops were fighting in conjunction with or not in conjunction with Syrian government troops.

(Updated report)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/08/us-mideast-crisis-syria-russia-idUSKCN0SX0H820151108

https://www.kyivpost.com/content/russia-and-former-soviet-union/conflict-intelligence-team-beyond-the-airstrikes-russias-activities-on-the-ground-in-syria-401620.html

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/activists-geolocate-russian-soldiers-ground-syria-151108135416902.html

What Is The Situation With The Bombs In Turkey?

On Saturday, there were two bomb explosions at a “peace rally” in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

The number of killed varies in the news, but most outlets are reporting that “more than 100 people” died as a result of the blasts. Some news organizations call it the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history, others state it is the deadliest terror attack in recent history in Turkey.

Who organized the peace rally?

The BBC states that the pro-Kurdish HDP party organized Saturday’s rally. The Guardian writes that in addition to the HDP, pro-union and left-wing groups also took part.

Who is responsible for the bombing?

According to The Guardian, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the Turkish government has denied any part in it.

To make things worse, as thousands later gathered near the scene to mourn, brief scuffles broke out as police used teargas to prevent people from laying flowers at the site of the attack.

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic party (HDP) said some members of its delegation sustained injuries from the police.

Witnesses and victims’ families felt that the government should have done more to protect the peace rally and that security should have been better. Mourners shouted anti-government slogans, and denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “murderer” and a “thief”. Many blame his Justice and Development (AK) party for security failures at Saturday’s peace march.

According to the HDP, the number of people killed in the bombing stands at 128, all but eight of whom have been identified and their names published by the HDP’s crisis desk.

Security analysts have pointed out the similarities to a suicide bomb attack in the Turkish border town of Suruç that killed 33 Kurdish and Turkish activists in July, which the Turkish government blamed on ISIS.

According to The Guardian, the peace march was organized to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s party (PKK).

Saturday’s bomb attack in Ankara came three months after the breakdown of a mutual ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK. Hundreds of people have been killed in the escalating violence since then.

According to The Guardian, hours after the Ankara bombing, the PKK announced an expected unilateral ceasefire, in order to avoid acts that could obstruct a “fair and just election” on November 1st in Turkey.

On Saturday night, Turkish fighter jets launched airstrikes against PKK positions in Turkey and northern Iraq. The Kurds and the Kurdish PKK have been known for fighting against ISIS and other Islamic jihadists.

A statement by the general chief of staff said 49 militants were killed and shelters and gun positions were destroyed. Security operations were also reported from the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/11/turkey-bomb-blasts-ankara-mourning-scores-killed

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11923935/Turkey-Ankara-bomb-kills-30-at-pro-Kurdish-rally.html

Russian Plane ‘Shot Down’ By Turkish Fighters: British News

Syrian warplane

The International Business Times and several British newspapers are reporting that Turkey (part of the NATO alliance) shot down a Russian fighter plane over its airspace.

They report that social media users said there was a large explosion in Huraytan, northern Syria.

Last week Turkey said its jets had intercepted a Russian fighter in its airspace and the prime minister threatened to shoot down any plane that strayed in future.

Two Turkish F-16s forced the plane back into Syrian airspace on Saturday and Ahmet Davutoglu called in the Russian ambassador to protest.

He said on TV: “The Turkish armed forces have their orders. The necessary will be done even if a bird violates Turkey’s border. Rules of engagement are clear.”

Russia said the plane had entered Turkey “by mistake” and assured Ankara it would not happen again. Putin’s forces are currently supporting the Syrian regime by targeting President Bashir al-Assad’s opponents, including ISIS.

The US does not believe the violation was an error and officials held emergency talks.

Last Monday, Turkey’s military said a MIG-29 jet had harassed two Turkish F-16s for five minutes and 40 seconds on Sunday by locking its radar on to them.

The incident comes amid concerns over Russian air strikes in Syria against foreign-backed rebels.

The former chief of MI6 in England, Sir John Sawers, has warned there was a “real danger” of clashes between Russian and coalition warplanes if they mount rival operations in the skies over Syria.

(Updated article)

https://journaltelegraph.com/2015/10/10/russian-jet-shot-down-turkey-airspace/

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/russian-jet-shot-down-turkish-161036631.html#i9JLw4W

Marco Rubio’s Idea For Syria


Secular Talk

(Someone once said, “It’s always possible to make things worse…the challenge is making things better” – Ed.)

On Monday on CNBC, presidential candidate Marco Rubio discussed a new idea for the war in Syria that may or may not be appealing to most Americans: creating no-fly zones that Russia is likely to violate.  And what if they violate them?  War with Russia?

In a Monday interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, the presidential candidate argued that doing nothing would only strengthen terror groups like the Islamic State and increase the number of refugees coming out of Syria, writes The Huffington Post.

“I am confident the Air Force can enforce that,” Rubio said of a hypothetical safe zone in Syria. “I believe the Russians would not test that. I don’t think it’s in the Russians’ interest to engage in an armed conflict with the United States.”

Asked what he would do if Russian forces decided to enter the safe zone anyway, Rubio responded, “Well, then you’re going to have a problem. But that would be no different than any other adversary.”

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/05/cnbc-transcript-cnbc-chief-washington-correspondent-john-harwood-speaks-with-florida-senator-marco-rubio-today-on-cnbcs-fast-money-halftime-report.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/marco-rubio-russia-no-fly-zone_5612e38ae4b0368a1a60ad06

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/10/marco-rubio-wants-us-to-risk-war-with-russia-over-syria/

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/syria-putin-obama-showdown-214477

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/07/marco-rubio-vows-challenge-vladimir-putin-syria/

Does Trump Sound Reasonable On The Middle East?


1,800,999 views

Trump seems to “get it” when speaking about the Middle East.

He understands the basics, such as the fact that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and ISIS are fighting each other.  He understands that the U.S. wants to support “moderate” Muslims who will fight both Assad and ISIS.

In an interview with Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet The Press, when asked if he believes the Middle East would be better today if Moammar Gadhafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq were still in power, he essentially agreed with that view.

He related the situations in both of those countries to Syria, and seemed to endorse leaving President Bashar al-Assad in power, though he is still “probably a bad guy.”

Does Trump have a point?

“You can make the case, if you look at Libya, look at what we did there – it’s a mess – if you look at Saddam Hussein with Iraq, look what we did there – it’s a mess – it’s [Syria] going to be same thing,” the businessman said.

In regards to Iraq, Trump echoed a line from his campaign: “Don’t forget, ISIS came out of Iraq,” Trump said, and called the terror group “the leftovers that didn’t get taken care of.”

http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/trump-middle-east-would-be-more-stable-hussein-gadhafi-n438156

Activists Say Russia Bombs Different Groups

CBS states that Syrian anti-government activists said Russian warplanes carried out a third day of airstrikes Friday, possibly hitting targets held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, for the first time.

Russia said its airstrikes in Syria will only intensify and could last four months, reports CBS News.

Moscow joined the Syrian civil war claiming it would target ISIS, yet many of the Russian airstrikes so far have hit areas well outside of ISIS control.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Russia conducted air raids on Qaryatain, a predominantly Christian town recently captured by ISIS, late Thursday night.

In northern Syria, Russian war planes have pounded groups linked to al Qaeda, but also so-called moderate rebels, who are supported by the U.S.

CBS states that a video posted on the Internet appears to show the aftermath of a Russian strike on American-backed opposition fighters.

Syria’s deadly civil war is now even more dangerous with both the U.S. and Russia launching airstrikes, but Russia is supporting Bashar al-Assad and the U.S. is supporting so-called moderate rebel groups.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-airstrikes-syria-us-russian-military-backing-opposing-sides-war/

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russian-airstrikes-syria-reported-third-day-possibly-hits-isis-targets/

Russia Wants To Fight ISIS: 3-Way War Consequences


Secular Talk

Russia is looking into furthering its military support of the leader of Syria, who is fighting ISIS.

These are the two main sides of the war – fundamentalist Jihadi rebels (such as ISIS) on one side, and Bashar al-Assad (the ruler of Syria) on the other.

The U.S. wants to support “moderate” rebels, who are supposedly against both Assad and ISIS, creating a 3-way war.

A 3-way war is an interesting concept.  How is this working out in real life?