10,000 Members Of Jabhat al-Nusra, Other Al-Qaeda-Linked Groups Remain In Syria’s Idlib

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10,000 Members Of Jabhat al-Nusra, Other Al-Qaeda-Linked Groups Remain In Syria's Idlib

Turkish forces are seen in a convoy on a main highway between Damascus and Aleppo on August 29, 2018. (AFP)

On August 30th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey, Russia and Iran are working together to avoid a “disaster” in Idlib. As reported by PressTV this came as the Syrian Army is preparing for a “decisive battle” to drive militants out of the northern province of Idlib.

“We are carrying out work together with the Russians and the Iranians to prevent the catastrophe which took place in Aleppo from repeating in Idlib. We are also engaged in talks with the US [authorities], we are looking for ways to clear Manbij of terrorists,” Erdogan said during his speech in Ankara, cited by Sputnik.

Idlib shares borders with Turkey and is currently under the control of various militant groups. Erdogan is attempting to stave off the offensive while the Syrian army prepares to retake the region. As reported by Sputnik: “Idlib is one of the Syrian areas where terrorists and militants, particularly those who are part of the Jabhat Nusra terror group or affiliated with it, are still active. Moreover, thousands of militants have been transported to the province from other Syrian regions under deals with Damascus.”

The confirmation that Russia, Iran and Turkey are working together for a solution, as reported by PressTV, is a U-turn in the face of Syria’s insistence on that the operation will happen despite threats of a possible US, UK and French attack.

As reported by PressTV, Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to hold a trilateral meeting on Syria in Iran on September 7th.

Also, on August 30th, Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s Special envoy to Syria, said the United Nations estimates that around 10,000 Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda terrorists remain in northern Idlib province and need to be defeated. He also admitted that the militants may use chemical weapons during the Syrian army’s upcoming operation in Idlib, putting in danger the lives of three million people who live there.

“Russia, Iran, and Turkey should take more time to try to avert massive military escalation in Idlib,” U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Earlier on the same day, RIA cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who said that Russia was discussing the situation in Syria with Iran and Turkey, as well as the Syrian government and opposition on August 29th. A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Bogdanov had discussed options for a peace settlement in Syria with Syrian opposition leader Nasra al-Hariri.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on August 29th that there is “full political understanding” between Russia and Turkey on the need to distinguish between the Syrian opposition and people he described as “terrorists” in Idlib province.

On August 30th, Anadolu Agency cited an unnamed Turkish ministerial source said the Turkish defense minister and his Russian counterpart have discussed regional security over the phone. Turkey’s Hulusi Akar and Russia’s Sergey Shoygu also discussed latest developments in Syria. The ministers also spoke of bilateral cooperation. Later in the day, Akar described his talks with Shoygu as “constructive.”

“We had constructive and positive exchange of views. We shared our views on various subjects, including Idlib,” Akar said.

In regard to the US, Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on August 30th that he had told US officials earlier this week that Moscow is concerned over signs that the US is preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against “groundless and illegal aggression against Syria.”

EU foreign ministers, after three hour talks on August 30th also agreed that that the escalation of situation in Syria’s Idlib should be avoided at all costs, according an unnamed source familiar with the content of the consultations was cited by Sputnik. The source also added that EU Foreign Police Chief Federica Mogherini might articulate the EU’s position on August 31st.

As reported by PressTV, Turkey reportedly held last-ditch talks with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants (also known as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham). “The negotiations between Turkey and HTS are still under way,” the head of the so-called Syria Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said on August 30th. According to the outlet, “Turkey actively sponsors militant forces in Idlib in the “de-escalation” area of the city and recently spearheaded the formation of the so-called National Front for Liberation, a coalition of over a dozen armed factions.”

Regarding the matter, Russian Foreign Ministery Sergei Lavrov said “It is unacceptable that those terrorists particularly al-Nusra Front are using the de-escalation area of Idlib to attack the Syrian army and to also attack through drones the Russian military bases in the area.”

“What we need to do now is to wipe out those terrorist groups which persist, particularly within the de-escalation area of Idlib,” Lavrov added.

Relations between Russia and Turkey appear to remain relatively strong amid the diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington. Turkey finalized a deal to purchase S-400 Triumf defense systems, as well as they appear to be standing on the same side in Syria. Turkish President Erdogan has several times warned that if the US does not stop attempting to pressure Turkey, the country will look for allies elsewhere, which appears to be happening. US and Turkey relations have been deteriorating for months, due to disagreements in Syria, US concerns over the purchase of the S-400 Triumf systems and the imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

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  • AlexanderAmproz

    Open letter to President Trump concerning the consequences of 11 September 2001

    by Thierry Meyssan

    VOLTAIRE NETWORK | DAMASCUS (SYRIA) | 30 AUGUST 2018

    FRANÇAIS ESPAÑOL TÜRKÇE ITALIANO ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΆ عربي PORTUGUÊS
    http://www.voltairenet.ORG/article202645.html

    Mister President,

    The crimes of 11 September 2001 have never been judged in your country. I am writing to you as a French citizen, the first person to denounce the inconsistencies of the official version and to open the world to the debate and the search for the real perpetrators.

    In a criminal court, as the jury, we have to determine whether the suspect presented to us is guilty or not, and eventually, to decide what punishment he should receive. When we suffered the events of 9/11, the Bush Junior administration told us that the guilty party was Al-Qaïda, and the punishment they should receive was the overthrow of those who had helped them – the Afghan Taliban, then the Iraqi régime of Saddam Hussein.

    However, there is a weight of evidence which attests to the impossibility of this thesis. If we were members of a jury, we would have to declare objectively that the Taliban and the régime of Saddam Hussein were innocent of this crime. Of course, this alone would not enable us to name the real culprits, and we would thus be frustrated. But we could not conceive of condemning parties innocent of such a crime simply because we have not known how, or not been able, to find the guilty parties.

    We all understood that certain senior personalities were lying when the Secretary of State for Justice and Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, revealed the names of the 19 presumed hijackers, because we already had in front of us the lists disclosed by the airline companies of all of the passengers embarked – lists on which none of the suspects were mentioned.

    From there, we became suspicious of the « Continuity of Government », the instance tasked with taking over from the elected authorities if they should be killed during a nuclear confrontation. We advanced the hypothesis that these attacks masked a coup d’état, in conformity with Edward Luttwak’s method of maintaining the appearance of the Executive, but imposing a different policy.

    In the days following 9/11, the Bush administration made several decisions:

    – the creation of the Office of Homeland Security and the vote for a voluminous anti-terrorist Code which had been drawn up long beforehand, the USA Patriot Act. For affairs which the administration itself qualifies as « terrorist », this text suspends the Bill of Rights which was the glory of your country. It unbalances your institutions. Two centuries later, it validates the triumph of the great landowners who wrote the Constitution, and the defeat of the heroes of the War of Independence who demanded that the Bill of Rights must be added.

    – The Secretary for Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, created the Office of Force Transformation, under the command of Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, who immediately presented a programme, conceived a long time earlier, planning for the control of access to the natural resources of the countries of the South. He demanded the destruction of State and social structures in the half of the world which was not yet globalised. Simultaneously, the Director of the CIA launched the « Worldwide Attack Matrix », a package of secret operations in 85 countries where Rumsfeld and Cebrowski intended to destroy the State structures. Considering that only those countries whose economies were globalised would remain stable, and that the others would be destroyed, the men from 9/11 placed US armed forces in the service of transnational financial interests. They betrayed your country and transformed it into the armed wing of these predators.

    For the last 17 years, we have witnessed what is being given to your compatriots by the government of the successors of those who drew up the Constitution and opposed at that time – without success – the Bill of Rights. These rich men have become the super-rich, while the middle class has been reduced by a fifth and poverty has increased.

    We have also seen the implementation of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski strategy – phoney « civil wars » have devastated almost all of the Greater Middle East. Entire cities have been wiped from the map, from Afghanistan to Libya, via Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who were not themselves at war.

    In 2001, only two US citizens denounced the incoherence of the Bush version, two real estate promoters – the Democrat Jimmy Walter, who was forced into exile, and yourself, who entered into politics and was elected President.

    In 2011, we saw the commander of AfriCom relieved of his mission and replaced by NATO for having refused to support Al-Qaïda in the liquidation of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. Then we saw NATO’s LandCom organise Western support for jihadists in general and Al-Qaïda in particular in their attempt to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic.

    So the jihadists, who were considered as « freedom fighters » against the Soviets, then as « terrorists » after 9/11, once again became the allies of the deep state, which, in fact, they have always been.

    So, with an immense upsurge of hope, we have watched your actions to suppress, one by one, all support for the jihadists. It is with the same hope that we see today that you are talking with your Russian counterpart in order to bring back life to the devastated Middle East. And it is with equal anxiety that we see Robert Mueller, now a special prosecutor, pursuing the destruction of your homeland by attacking your position.

    Mister President, not only are you and your compatriots suffering from the diarchy which has sneaked into power in your country since the coup d’état of 11 September 2001, but the whole world is a victim.

    Mister President, 9/11 is not ancient history. It is the triumph of transnational interests which are crushing not only your people, but all of humanity which aspires to freedom.

    Thierry Meyssan brought to the world stage the debate on the real perpetrators of 11 September 2001. He has worked as a political analyst alongside Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mouamar Kadhafi. He is today a political refugee in Syria.

    Thierry Meyssan

    • Lazy Gamer

      So that was why he was made to hold the crystal ball. lol

  • Barba_Papa

    >>Relations between Russia and Turkey appear to remain relatively strong amid the diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington.<<

    See boys and girls? Turkey has a conflict with the US over its support of the Kurds in Syria, and Turkey has a conflict with Russia over the upcoming Idlib offensive with the SAA. Yet relations with Russia are good, whereas those with the US are going down the crapper. What could be the difference? Could it be…., here's a shocker…, diplomacy? Actual diplomacy, as in not not issuing ultimatums, dictats, threats, sanctions, but, let's send some well educated people over and try to reach an understanding in an amicable setting, with respect for another?

    Oh my, good golly miss molly, what an interesting, exciting and actually useful skill set to have? If I were Mr. Trump I'd take some time off from nailing pornstars and send some of my people to diplomat school. It's where, you say? In Russia? How come we don't have diplomat schools in the US? We forgot how to use it and now its gone? But…., but…., but I can't send my people to Russia to school? Those evil Congresspeople would get mad with me again. Ah well, better issue some more threats and ultimatums and sanctions then. Maybe this time it will work. Now, honey, where were we? Oh yeah, something about your pussy.

    • jorge

      One of the two best diplomatic schools of the world is in U. S, of America (now I don’t remember the name), the other is the International Relations Institute of Moscow (the school of Lavrov).

      • Tudor Miron

        Jorge, it seems that American school is teaching diplomacy differently. Their diplomatic results show that.

        • jorge

          Or the Deep State don’t use the diplomats, liking more the CIA’s. Things in Amerika are day by day more upside down.

      • Barba_Papa

        Either they are not teaching to Americans, or they’re not living up to their reputation. Either way is pretty damning.

        • jorge

          Well, Barba and Tudor, I’m not going to defend Harvard, it’s their own problem on their Amerika.

        • Bill Wilson

          The US State Department came to the conclusion some time ago that Erdogan was an unpredictable asshole that didn’t pay attention to words unless the speaker was holding a club in his hand.

          • Barba_Papa

            But the US State Department always holds a club in its hand. Because they have forgotten how to use actual diplomacy regardless of who they are dealing with. And with Erdogan threats don’t work, because then he starts to dig in deeper. You think that Putin likes to play nice to him and flatter him, and put up with his antics in Northern Syria?

            He’s like that bully, when they say that bullies are cowards and if you stand up to them and hit back they will go away. And then you hit back, only to discover that there exceptions to every rule. And you just met that exception, and by applying that rule you just made things 10x worse.

  • Attrition47

    I’ve been enjoying the “lull” while the US head-chopping, heart-eating rapers and slavers further south are being liquidated and the Syrian alliance is manipulating the Idlib US head-chopping, heart-eating rapers and slavers to sow division amongst them.

  • Ma_Laoshi

    The “disaster” in Aleppo–that’s when the terrorists were defeated right? When the Turkish looting of the city stopped, churches were reopened, and, within Syria’s meager abilities, rebuilding started? IMO Syria could do with a couple more disasters like that. Look, I’m largely on board with Russia’s realpolitik: if, after the Idlib op, Erdogan wants to mostly behave (by Turkish standards at any rate), then there need not be further punishment. But this former ISIS sponsor cannot be allowed a veto: the Syrian province of Idlib should be governed by the Syrian government, or Russia will be seen as just another Balkanizer without a good story of its own to tell.

  • jorge

    South Front, in your report is missing the statement of the Syrian FM, and that statement is clear as water: https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-army-will-go-all-the-way-in-idlib-fm/

    • AM Hants

      DISTRIBUTE WIDELY: WHITE HELMETS KIDNAPPED 44 CHILDREN FOR FALSE FLAG CHEMICAL ATTACK IN IDLIB… https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/08/distribute-widely-white-helmets-kidnapped-44-children-for-false-flag-chemical-attack-in-idlib/

      Where are the 44 children?

      Remember 1 September 2004 and the Beslan School Siege. Now who was behind that? Same crowd, operating in Syria and supported by those who fund, train and support White Helmets.

      • jorge

        Hants, send the link to all the following guys that still are alive:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi0RpNSELas

      • George King

        Putin has already said they know who was behind it and funded it years ago before they attacked the Syrian nation. Both you and Putin are correct on this.

        • AM Hants

          There is an article on Sputnik, where Sergey Lavrov states they have sent the evidence, of the future attack to the OPCW, UN plus The Hague. Notice how their are no comments from Nikki Haley, or Karen Pierce, who represents the UK, over in the UN?

  • Hide Behind

    Who is fooling who.?
    The tactic. of allowing terrorist to .ov e from previous conflict zones, where the recieve more US/ Israeli/ and Euro/ ME and yes early o. Turkish and Irag allowance of passage by both men and matrrials into those areas, always meant that someday the need for a fill blown battle royal would come.
    Of course the real political/military powers of US/ Israel, Turkey and Russia are intertwined and the ultimate decisions in regards to Syria has little to do with Assad himself.
    Putin is the modern-day Chamberlin that kept appeasing NAZI Germany until it was too F’n late. with Putin constantly kissing US and Chasing Eurocentric money now finds that kissing was may require him to bend over instead.
    Are there any other choices for He and Russia, sure, as many in Russoa, excluding its own military industrials, favor being .ore European than sweating Nd paying for piss pot dictators in ME.
    Then again what better place could one choose to have a limited warfare testing of military my dick is bigger than your dick by both Euros/US and Russia Iran than over the sh..hole bones left of Syria?
    Be no loss or destruction of own material and resources, and all nations get to play without the condoms that diplomacy require.
    But then again does Putin have any real balls, it is doubtful as of this date!
    We know those arrayed against him do.
    And for all the mental masturbator who vicaripusly love playing with weaponry would have multiple orgasms to sate their desires.

    • Ronald

      Hide Behind :

      No wonder you hide, with your lack of respect you should hide your face.

      Comparing Putin to “Chamberlin” , and Assad to a “piss pot dictator”, only displays your lack of comprehension of these two men. Underestimate your opponents at your own risk.

  • Bill Wilson

    10,000 hard-core fighters really isn’t that many to properly defend an area the size of Idlib. I don’t believe that the remaining non-affiliated militant groups have any or many heavy weapons at their disposal due to al-Nusra/HTS taking those from them when they refused to become part of their organizations. I have a hunch that these groups will only offer token resistance at first before calling it quits.