Russia says it Warned US before Aleppo Toxic Chemical Weapons Attack by US-Backed “Moderate” Terrorists/ Syrian Endgame: The Battle for Aleppo and ‘Plan C’/ Syrian War Report – August 4, 2016: Militant Advance Lost Momentum in Aleppo/ “No air strikes or offensive operations planned in Syria’s Aleppo”
Moscow says it had warned Washington about the use of toxic shells by a US-backed “moderate” militant group before the Tuesday attack that killed seven people and injured over 20 more in Syria’s Aleppo.
On Wednesday, Lieutenant-General Sergey Chvarkov, the director of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, said the information was given to the US on Monday, a day prior to the attack.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also confirmed that the attack in Aleppo was launched by a Takfiri terrorist group.
Moscow has long insisted that the US-backed so-called moderate opposition groups in Syria should leave the areas held by terrorists. Washington claims it is unable to remove the opposition groups.
According to reports, the gas used in the attack was Chlorine, which is highly toxic and leads to respiratory problems and consciousness loss in those who come in contact to it.
On April 7, 23 people lost their lives and over 100 others suffered breathing difficulties when Daesh terrorists carried out a chemical attack against members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Sheikh Maqsood neighborhood of Aleppo.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Back in 2014, the UN said it would no more update its death toll for Syria because it could not verify the figures that it received from various sources.
The battle for Aleppo has forced the al Qaeda groups into their desperate last stand, as the Washington-driven proxy war on Syria moves into its final stages. The liberation of Aleppo will be the beginning of the end.
The online maps have been misleading. Even before the Russian air power intervention of September 2015 the Syrian Government controlled 85% of the country’s populated areas. But reclaiming all of Aleppo is critical for Syrian control of the north and of supply lines to the shrinking ground of ISIS in the east.
Syria’s major problem has been Turkey’s semi-open support for jihadist armies crossing the 800km northern frontier, and the Turkey-Saudi-Qatari backed advances of ISIS from the east. In the past 10 months the Syrian Alliance has successfully pushed back on both fronts. Further, since last month, Turkey is in disarray, with its own problems.
Many follow the logic of dominant forces but, to understand the endgame in this war, the logic of resistance is no less important. Syria is proving that independent peoples who unite and resist can end up with a greater say in the outcome.
Washington’s war on Syria began with sectarian proxy armies sent in to topple the government in Damascus. The western media continues to speak of ‘moderate rebels’, but the evidence is clear that the US and its allies have backed every single armed group in Syria, including the western group led by the group formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra (now rebadged as ‘Jabhat Fatah al-Sham’, in a futile attempt to avoid Syrian-Russian bombing), and the eastern group DAESH-ISIS. They all share a similar vicious, sectarian ideology.
Despite all the bloodshed and rhetoric, Plan A’s aggression failed.
‘Plan B’ then aimed at partition of the country using, in part, what the US saw as its ‘Kurdish card’.
Never mind that any such partition is against the terms of UN Security Council resolution 2254, which reaffirms the UN’s ‘strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic’. The US ignores such niceties.
Nevertheless, Plan B is failing due to the coherence of Syria’s communities, their support for the Syrian Army, and strong regional solidarity, particularly from Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and the nationalist Palestinian militia.
Even Syria’s Kurdish militia have been coordinating with and relying on the Syrian Arab Army. Whatever Syria’s Kurds want, if put to a vote, Syrians would not support a federalisation which would weaken the country against its enemies.
‘Plan C’ may be where forces better converge. Washington’s ‘rogue state’ is a very bad loser. It took Washington seven years to withdraw from Vietnam, after it knew it was losing. However Syria has a master diplomat, in the form of the Russian President, willing and able to cloak a North American retreat with ‘dignity’.
President Putin gave President Obama a way out, once before, back in September 2013, over the fake chemical weapons stunt, carried out by Jabhat al Nusra and its partners (see Anderson 2016, Chapter Nine). The dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile (held as a deterrent against Israel) prevented a US ‘limited’ missile strike on Syria.
We may well see a similar deal where Putin hails Obama’s statesman like role in helping bring peace to Syria, allowing Washington to put Syria ‘on the backburner’, as it did with Iran last year. Of course, this will be a monstrous lie, but one that could help end the bloodshed.
Regime change in Turkey would certainly help with such a plan. But whether or not Erdogan survives the mutiny of his own armed forces, a strategic and economic tide is turning against the Turkish role in Syria. As its proxy armies lose, Ankara is trying to repair its bad relations with Russia while worsening those with Washington. Erdogan, rightly or wrongly, blames the US for backing the recent coup attempt.
Any ‘Plan C’, in the few months that remain for the Obama administration, would probably leave unresolved the question of the US ideological campaigns and economic sanctions against Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, Israel’s key opponents.
The experience of Washington’s previous wars in Latin America and Vietnam tell us that the USA will try to keep alive its myths, its ‘official history’, as long as possible.
Aleppo is the final turning point in this conflict because, after the liberation of Homs, Qsayr and Palmyra, definitive reverses are destroying the morale of both the jihadists and their sponsors. Not even fanatics are keen to join in an obviously losing cause.
Since last year the sectarian groups have been steadily ground down in rural Damascus. The capital, with a population swollen to between 7 and 8 million people, has had very little rocketing, mortars or car bombs this year. Street life is far more relaxed. Ceasefires have ‘worked’ here because the remaining armed groups (in the East Ghouta and Daraya) are substantially weakened and surrounded.
Yet, while Damascus regained some sense of security, a shocking war raged on in Aleppo. As usual, the western media lied incessantly, focussing exclusively on that part of the city held by the al Qaeda groups and now including less than 200,000 people in total, including a small army of intelligence agents from the US, UK, France, Turkey and Israel, and several western NGOs such the White Helmets.
In more recent days small groups of jihadists have been surrendering, to take advantage of a possible Presidential amnesty, while dozens of residents pass out through Syrian and Russian army controlled humanitarian corridors. Those checkpoints are run by commando units, including General Suheil al Hassan’s Tiger Forces, as check points still face jihadist suicide car-bombs, as they did in Palmyra.
Typically, there have been almost no western media stories about the 1.5 million in the government held area. Over April-May many dozens of people were murdered across Aleppo as civilian areas and major hospitals were bombed by the NATO-backed ‘rebels’. They were even filmed firing their ‘hell cannons’ while saying ‘throw it on the civilians’ (Anderson 2016, 9 May). Nothing of this emerged in the western corporate media.
In April-May the White Helmets claimed Russian or Syrian airstrikes had destroyed ‘al Quds hospital’, killing the last paediatrician in Aleppo. In fact, as Dr Nabil Antaki and the Aleppo Medical Association pointed out, that facility was not a registered hospital at all, rather a makeshift clinic in a damaged residential building in an al Nusra held area. In fact, there are dozens of paediatricians in Aleppo’s main public hospitals (Antaki and Cattori 2016; Beeley 2016; Makhoul-Yatim 2016).
The mercenary gangs fired hundreds of rockets into the main part of Aleppo, gassed the Kurdish areas of the city and publicly beheaded a Palestinian boy, supposedly a spy for one of the Palestinian militia which fights alongside the SAA. Typically, the BBC gave prominence to jihadist claims that the publicly murdered 12 year old was ‘a fighter’ (BBC 2016). Distorted coverage to the end.
The western media, still on its war footing, ran false stories that ‘all of Aleppo’ was under siege, or that al Qaeda’s field clinics were the ‘only hospitals’ in Aleppo. For example, Australian state media reported: ‘Syrian city of Aleppo running out of food as regime forces surround city’. In fact, 15% of the population of Aleppo was under Syrian Army siege. At the same time the entire country of Syria is under siege by US, EU and Australian economic sanctions (ABC Radio National 2016).
Those stories matter less as they are displaced by the more immediate video testimony of residents leaving the al Qaeda areas, only to praise the Syrian Army and curse the western backed ‘moderate’ head choppers (Geopolitics 2016).
The western backed jihadists are losing and the region’s public mood is hardening. Syrian civil opposition leader Moustafa Kelechi (not allied to the armed groups) says the battle of Aleppo ‘is a war to crush the Takfiri groups’ bones’ (FARS News 2016). The Iraqi government, once thought a mere puppet of the US, has repeatedly confirmed its close cooperation with the Syrian Government’s struggle against terrorist groups (SANA 2016).
The regional alliance forged during this war – Syria, Iran, Russia, Iraq, Hezbollah and the nationalist Palestinian militia – will maintain a strong role in both the Syrian endgame and across the region.
ABC Radio National (2016), ‘Syrian city of Aleppo running out of food as regime forces surround city’, 20 July, online:
Anderson, Tim (2016) The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, Montreal. (available online:
Anderson, Tim (2016, 9 May) ‘The ‘Aleppo Hospital’ Smokescreen: Covering up Al Qaeda Massacres in Syria, Once Again’, Global Research, 9 May, online:
Antaki, Nabil and Silvia Cattori (2016) ‘Aleppo Doctor Attacks Western Media for Bias, Censorship and Lies’, Global Research, 1 May, online:
BBC (2016) ‘Syria conflict: Boy beheaded by rebels ‘was fighter’’, 21 July, online: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-36843990
Beeley, Vanessa (2016) ‘Aleppo: US NATO False Flags, Lies and Propaganda’, 21st century Wire, 4 May, online:
FARS News (2016) ‘Dissident Leader Sees Army Victories in Aleppo “Syria’s Winning Card in Geneva”’, 23 July, online:
Geopolitics (2016) ‘Trapped Aleppo residents begun flowing through 1st humanitarian corridor’, 31 July, online:
Makhoul-Yatim, Amara (2016) ‘Nabil Antaki, the Syrian doctor who refused to leave Aleppo’, France 24, 21 May, online:
SANA (2016) ‘President al-Assad receives letter from Iraqi prime Minister: War carried on by Syrian and Iraqi armies is one’, 13 July, online:
Reports appear that over 380 Jaish al Fateh and Fatah Halab militants, including 11 commanders, have been killed in clashes with the Syrian army since the start of militant offensive in Aleppo city 5 days ago. The militants also lost 11 military vehicles, 2 operation rooms and a command centre in Saraqeb.
In total, over 30 militant commanders and warlords of various jihadi factions were killed in past few days while the total militant force that participated in the clashes at Aleppo city was estimated as 9,000. A significant part of these casualties is result of the joint Russian and Syrian air strikes in the southern and western parts of Aleppo city.
The Syrian and Russian Air Forces have been carrying out massive air raids in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, including the areas of Old Aleppo, Bustan al-Qasr, Atareb, Khan Assal, Mansourah, Ma`rata, Zarbeh and Khan Touman. On August 3, a militant logistic convoy was destroyed by Russian warplanes near Atareb. Pro-militant sources claimed that this was a food convoy with civilians. However, the claims cannot be verified, and at least 1 fuel truck was at the photos.
Fresh reports indicate that the joint jihadi forces have halted the attempts to break the Aleppo siege after a series of failed offensives on the Syrian government forces in the area. The jihadists realized the failure of their initial plan and now are preparing a new strategy for Aleppo operations.
In the city of Deir Ezzor, clashes increased on August 2. The ISIS terrorist group launched fresh military operations, pursuing the goal to push the Syrian government forces from this strategic city. Major ISIS attacks were delivered in the areas of Al-Rawad, Heart Hospital and Furat Hotel. Nonetheless, the Syrian army repelled these attacks. Pro-government sources argued that the terrorist group lost some 40 terrorists in these clashes.
On August 3, the Syrian army, supported by the Syrian Arab Air Force, counter-attacked near Furat Hotel, Heart Hospital, Water Resources, Tal Barok and the village of al-Baqaliyeh in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor. Reports said that the Syrian army destroyed 2 ISIS battle tanks, several armored and machinegun-equipped vehicles. As result, the total ISIS casualities raised up to 60 fighters
No offensive is planned in Syria’s Aleppo, and the current operation is exclusively humanitarian, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Wednesday.
“We don’t have any other goals apart from alleviating the humanitarian situation for Aleppo residents and creating conditions for expanding the regime of cessation of hostilities. Neither an offensive by the Syrian forces nor air strikes of Russian Aerospace Defense Forces’ group are planned in Aleppo,” Ryabkov said.
There are serious opportunities for plugging international humanitarian organizations and some countries into the operation to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, Ryabkov said.
“The main problem is what is happening in Aleppo and around it,” the diplomat said. “We have launched a humanitarian operation together with the Syrian government forces. Corridors have been created for civilians and the gunmen who are prepared to lay down arms. Some part of the population has already taken this opportunity to leave the city.”
“We have serious opportunities in terms of involvement of international organizations and some countries in supporting this operation,” Ryabkov said.
The diplomat noted that US and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition are politicizing the situation in Aleppo and paint it in a false light. “The situation is rather complicated now because, as far we understand, US will not decide to support us in this matter, and they have no understanding on where to move from here,” he added.
“We note with concern that the ‘party of war’ exists not only among opponents of the Bashar Assad’s government in the Middle East, but also in Washington,” he concluded.
On July 28 Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russian and Syrian militaries are starting a large-scale humanitarian operation in Aleppo. Four humanitarian corridors will be established there. Civilians will be able to leave Aleppo via three corridors, while one more corridor may be used by militants who wish to lay down arms. The defense minister also ordered to airdrop food, medicaments and necessities to civilians in Aleppo.
Accusations for chemical attack near Aleppo
Ryabkov said that it is premature so far to blame anybody for the recent chemical attack near Aleppo in Syria.
“Unlike the US administration, which, having received a primary signal from, perhaps, a not entirely neutral source that claimed that barrel bombs with chemical agents were dropped, is trying to generalize something on this basis and draw far-reaching conclusions, we will refrain from this,” the deputy minister said on the sidelines of a forum of young diplomats at the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.
“Without the understanding of what actually happened, it would be irresponsible to bring any accusations against anyone,” the diplomat said. “We don’t know what really happened. We know that the terrorists, feeling that things are getting hot for them, are ready to resort to any kind of provocations against the Syrian troops, pretenses, attempts to assign both to us and the Syrian government forces the actions that bear no relation to reality.”
The diplomat said he regretted Washington’s haphazard approach to the issue of the possible use of chemical weapons near Aleppo. “Washington tries at the slightest pretext to put the blame on Damascus. The political goal of this is obvious – to create difficulties to the government of Bashar Assad and make him make excuses,” he added. “It’s not fight against terrorism, but sheer geopolitics.”
The Syrian government has reported that “terrorist groups” carried out a gas attack that killed five people in the old town of the besieged city of Aleppo on Tuesday afternoon, according to the state-run news agency SANA.
Results of Geneva consultations on Syria
Military and political results were achieved on Syria at the Geneva talks between Russian and US experts but Washington once again tries to revise agreements, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister also said.
“Military-political results were achieved but, unfortunately, something that happens all the time lately has happened again – precisely, Washington’s attempts to revise agreements reached at the negotiations table,” Ryabkov said.
“As soon as new results are reached, new requests, demands, recommendations emerge on the next day,” the diplomat added. “When US colleagues start to feel that we are not ready to change, clarify or adjust anything on Washington’s first demand, the nature of such demands immediately transforms into ultimatums,” he continued. “This destroys everything that has been so hard to achieve on the military track and with the help of foreign ministries,” the deputy foreign minister concluded