Russian airstrikes against, Russia asserts, Islamic State in Syria from an airbase in Iran were the first time in 70 years in which Russian forces have operated on Iranian soil. It’s major expansion in the collaboration among the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s and his two main allies — Russia and Iran.
The Guardian noted that hosting Russian jets on Iranian territory is a major change by Tehran from its previous history of mostly just covert operations in regional conflicts.
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 26 that the U.S. hopes to announce in early August details of planned military cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Russia on Syria.
But given Moscow’s actions so far in going all out to support the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and how the Russians have generally ignored U.S. pleas to stop bombing anti-Assad forces that are not connected with Islamic terror groups such as Isis and al-Qaida, most observers expect little change. The U.S. is increasingly seen as lacking will in the Syrian conflict.
Reuters reported that the latest proposals “would have the two powers share intelligence to coordinate air strikes against the al Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front and prohibit the Syrian air force from attacking rebel groups labeled as moderate.”
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51 U.S. mid- to high-level diplomats have signed an internal memo critical of U.S. policy in Syria. They call for military strikes against President/Dictator Bashar Assad’s government to stop its persistent violations of a civil war ceasefire.
The memo calls for “targeted military strikes” against the Syrian government in light of the near-collapse of the ceasefire brokered earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing copies of the cable it had seen.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Reuters on Friday: “It’s an important statement and I respect the process, very, very much. I will … have a chance to meet with people when I get back (to Washington).”
To read The Wall Street Journal story, please hit this link.
To read the Reuters story, please hit this link.
A 54-page report entitled “Taking Sides,’’ compiled by the Syria Campaign, an advocacy group opposed to the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, denounces the United Nations for allegedly taking the side of the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War. It is signed by more than 50 Syrian civil-society organizations and uses interviews with current and former U.N. officials as well as Syrians in besieged areas and humanitarian workers.
The report says that the U.N. abandoned its neutrality by yielding to the demands of Assad’s regime, including letting it veto aid deliveries to rebel-held areas besieged by Assad’s forces.
The report accuses the UN of prioritizing its cooperation with the Syrian government “at all costs,” allowing the diversion of billions of dollars of international aid to one side of the conflict and thus killing civilians in besieged areas that have been denied access to food and medicine.
The report urges U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to set “red lines’’ for its humanitarian operations in Syria or withdraw its cooperation with the Assad government. The report’s writers assert that the organization’s failures have tarnished its legacy and let the regime use starvation as a weapon.
“There has been a systematic failure in the U.N.-led response,” said Roger Hearn, the former head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency office in Damascus, who ran the organization during the first year of the conflict, which started in 2011.
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