Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Syrian rebels are reportedly receiving British intelligence on regime troops’ whereabouts, as fighting in the country continues.

19 August 2012

Forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad have reportedly used helicopter gunfire and mortars in the battle for Aleppo, amid fresh claims British intelligence is helping rebel fighters to oust the Syrian leader.

According to an opposition official, information on Syrian troop movements is helping rebels launch successful attacks on regime forces in the second city, where both sides have been locked in fierce fighting for weeks.

“British intelligence is observing things closely from Cyprus,” the official told The Sunday Times.

“It’s very useful because they find out a great deal.

“The British are giving the information to the Turks and the Americans and we are getting it from the Turks.”

Protesters against the Assad regime in Idlib

Protesters against the Assad regime in Idlib

The newspaper quoted the official as saying British authorities “know about and approve 100%” intelligence from their Cyprus military bases being passed through Turkey to the rebel troops of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“The British monitor communications about movements of the government army and we got information about reinforcements being on their way to Aleppo,” the official continued.

“We hit at the government troops in Idlib and Saraqib (southwest of Aleppo), with success.”

It is the first indication that British intelligence is playing a covert role in the anti-regime revolt.

Aleppo – the country’s commercial centre – has become the focus of the 17-month conflict, partly because of its strategic location near the Turkish border.

President Assad at a mosque in Damascus (Pic: Syrian state TV)

President Assad at a mosque in Damascus (Pic: Syrian state TV)

Meanwhile, Christians in Damascus have been telling Sky Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall of their fears for the future as bloodhshed threatens the country’s secular society.

The patriarch of a Greek Catholic church in the Syrian capital says some Christians fear they could be forced out of the country after a civil war, as has happened in other countries touched by Arab Spring unrest.

Syrian state TV has aired footage of President Assad at a mosque in Damascus.

In his first public appearance since the beginning of July, Mr Assad attended a prayer service to mark the start of Eid.

On Saturday, opposition fighters clashed with Syrian troops close to the city’s airport.

Also, Syria denied reports that Mr Assad’s deputy, vice-president Farouq al Shara, had defected.

More than 18,000 people have died in the bloodshed so far and around 170,000 have fled the country, according to the United Nations.

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The ‘objective’ news network PBS has been (and still is) engaging in the media propaganda war against the Syrian government, from perpetuating the myth about Syrian Migs attacking rebel fighters to calling the Syrian rebels “underdogs,” the Public Broadcasting Service is perpetuating the disinformation campaign surrounding the events in Syria.

On July 25th, PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff interviewed Youssef Amrani, Morroco’s minister delegate for foreign affairs. In the interview, Woodruff bought up the topic of diplomacy, specifically within the framework of the UN Security Council, with Amrani stating that he wanted more sanctions and the like on the Assad regime. When Amrani stated that he thought the UN “should work with the opposition” to find a solution to the crisis, Woodruff responded by saying;
Well, that brings me to the question. One of the reasons the U.S. and other countries have been reluctant to get involved, to support the opposition is because they don’t know what a successor government is going to look like. We just saw in that report al-Qaida starting to show up among the opposition. (emphasis added)

Such statements are utter and outright fabrications! The US and other countries have been quite involved in supporting the opposition and Al Qaeda is not “starting to show up” in the opposition as Woodruff would like viewers to think, but rather have been there for quite some time.

In regards to the US supporting the Syrian rebels, this was first acknowledged in December 2011 on the site The American Conservative where former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi wrote an article in which he stated that “the CIA and U.S. Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.” Most recently, it was reported on August 1st that President Obama “has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.”

The US government has known that Al Qaeda has been among the Syrian rebels as in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper stated that “Members of Al Qaeda have infiltrated Syrian opposition groups.”

Thus, the US government has been supporting the rebels since late last year and has been working with Al Qaeda (albeit indirectly) to topple the Syrian government, yet PBS seems to be concerned only with spouting lies.

In the same interview, when Woodruff asked Amrani “How can you be sure that the next government won’t be as repressive as this government?,” Amrani replied by saying “Listen, we had some experiences in Libya, in Tunisia, in the Maghreb, that were successful.”

It is quite interesting that he cites Libya as a “success” as that nation, after being overrun by US-NATO backed fighters, has been plagued by violence in recent months. It makes one wonder what the ambassador thinks “success” actually means.

In an interview on July 26th, Judy Woodruff interviewed Kelly McEvers, a journalist from National Public Radio, after she had “just completed a weeklong reporting trip to northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border, where she visited a number of towns currently under rebel control. In the interview, McEvers was asked about the Syrian rebels. After her description of them, Woodruff stated the the rebels were outgunned to which McEvers responded:

Exactly. They are so outgunned right now. They’re basically operating with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and homemade bombs.

That’s another key component to their sort of arsenal right now. That’s how they deal with regime tanks.

But when you talk about a fully equipped army with tanks, artillery, mortars, helicopters, and now we have seen jets being employed in this fight by the regime’s army, you can see that the rebels are definitely the underdogs here. (emphasis added)

This myth that the Syrian rebels are outgunned is but another fabrication. It was reported on August 2nd that the Syrian rebels were using a captured tank in the battle for Aleppo. This is not the first time this has happened as in February, the International Business Times presented a video on Youtube which showed the rebels using a tank against the Syrian military. The use of fighters jets is also a myth that is based on a single tweet from BBC correspondent Ian Pannell. The magazine The Aviationist did a report on the alleged incident of Syrian air force MiGs attacking the rebels and found that the plane in question was an L-39 “a combat trainer” which “could be used for reconnaissance purposes.” Yet, even if the Syrian regime was using fighter jets on the rebels, the rebels most likely wouldn’t have a problem as they now have surface to air missiles. Despite this evidence, McEvers still feels the need to state that the rebels “are definitely the underdogs.”

Thus, the propaganda campaign of demonizing the Assad regime and praising the US-NATO backed rebels continues with the help of such ‘reliable’ and ‘centrist’ sources as PBS. The psyop against the public continues as the imperialists push ever closer to intervention in Syria.

This article was posted: Saturday, August 4, 2012

The ground-to-air weapons have been delivered across the Turkish border and were partly paid for by Saudi Arabia

18 Aug 2012

CIA spies have smuggled up to 14 Stinger missiles into Syria so rebels can defend themselves from air strikes.

The ground-to-air weapons have been delivered across the Turkish border to the Free Syrian Army and were partly paid for by Saudi Arabia, a security source claimed.

President Bashar al-Assad’s MIG-23 warplanes and helicopter gunships have killed more than 1,000 people.

The source said: “The West and the rest of the Middle East is not going to be able to secure a no-fly zone above Syria any time soon so the only way to stop the carnage is to take on Assad’s air force from the ground.

“Knowing that Stingers are in the hands of the opposition forces will hopefully mean Assad’s air power will be much diminished but this will be a slow process.”

Activists say more than 20,000 people have died in the 17 month civil war and the daily death toll has risen past 500 this week.

Published: June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON — A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers.

The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said.

The C.I.A. officers have been in southern Turkey for several weeks, in part to help keep weapons out of the hands of fighters allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, one senior American official said. The Obama administration has said it is not providing arms to the rebels, but it has also acknowledged that Syria’s neighbors would do so.

The clandestine intelligence-gathering effort is the most detailed known instance of the limited American support for the military campaign against the Syrian government. It is also part of Washington’s attempt to increase the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has recently escalated his government’s deadly crackdown on civilians and the militias battling his rule. With Russia blocking more aggressive steps against the Assad government, the United States and its allies have instead turned to diplomacy and aiding allied efforts to arm the rebels to force Mr. Assad from power.

By helping to vet rebel groups, American intelligence operatives in Turkey hope to learn more about a growing, changing opposition network inside of Syria and to establish new ties. “C.I.A. officers are there and they are trying to make new sources and recruit people,” said one Arab intelligence official who is briefed regularly by American counterparts.

American officials and retired C.I.A. officials said the administration was also weighing additional assistance to rebels, like providing satellite imagery and other detailed intelligence on Syrian troop locations and movements. The administration is also considering whether to help the opposition set up a rudimentary intelligence service. But no decisions have been made on those measures or even more aggressive steps, like sending C.I.A. officers into Syria itself, they said.

The struggle inside Syria has the potential to intensify significantly in coming months as powerful new weapons are flowing to both the Syrian government and opposition fighters. President Obama and his top aides are seeking to pressure Russia to curb arms shipments like attack helicopters to Syria, its main ally in the Middle East.

“We’d like to see arms sales to the Assad regime come to an end, because we believe they’ve demonstrated that they will only use their military against their own civilian population,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said after Mr. Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, met in Mexico on Monday.

Spokesmen for the White House, State Department and C.I.A. would not comment on any intelligence operations supporting the Syrian rebels, some details of which were reported last week by The Wall Street Journal.

Until now, the public face of the administration’s Syria policy has largely been diplomacy and humanitarian aid.

The State Department said Wednesday that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would meet with her Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, on the sidelines of a meeting of Asia-Pacific foreign ministers in St. Petersburg, Russia, next Thursday. The private talks are likely to focus, at least in part, on the crisis in Syria.

The State Department has authorized $15 million in nonlethal aid, like medical supplies and communications equipment, to civilian opposition groups in Syria.

The Pentagon continues to fine-tune a range of military options, after a request from Mr. Obama in early March for such contingency planning. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told senators at that time that the options under review included humanitarian airlifts, aerial surveillance of the Syrian military, and the establishment of a no-fly zone.

The military has also drawn up plans for how coalition troops would secure Syria’s sizable stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons if an all-out civil war threatened their security.

But senior administration officials have underscored in recent days that they are not actively considering military options. “Anything at this point vis-à-vis Syria would be hypothetical in the extreme,” General Dempsey told reporters this month.

What has changed since March is an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels. The increasingly fierce air and artillery assaults by the government are intended to counter improved coordination, tactics and weaponry among the opposition forces, according to members of the Syrian National Council and other activists.

Last month, these activists said, Turkish Army vehicles delivered antitank weaponry to the border, where it was then smuggled into Syria. Turkey has repeatedly denied it was extending anything other than humanitarian aid to the opposition, mostly via refugee camps near the border. The United States, these activists said, was consulted about these weapons transfers.

American military analysts offered mixed opinions on whether these arms have offset the advantages held by the militarily superior Syrian Army. “The rebels are starting to crack the code on how to take out tanks,” said Joseph Holliday, a former United States Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan who is now a researcher tracking the Free Syrian Army for the Institute for the Study of War in Washington.

But a senior American officer who receives classified intelligence reports from the region, compared the rebels’ arms to “peashooters” against the government’s heavy weaponry and attack helicopters.

The Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in exile, has recently begun trying to organize the scattered, localized units that all fight under the name of the Free Syrian Army into a more cohesive force.

About 10 military coordinating councils in provinces across the country are now sharing tactics and other information. The city of Homs is the notable exception. It lacks such a council because the three main military groups in the city do not get along, national council officials said.

Jeffrey White, a defense analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who tracks videos and announcements from self-described rebel battalions, said there were now about 100 rebel formations, up from roughly 70 two months ago, ranging in size from a handful of fighters to a couple of hundred combatants.

“When the regime wants to go someplace and puts the right package of forces together, it can do it,” Mr. White said. “But the opposition is raising the cost of those kinds of operations.”

 

November 11, 2012

Saudi and Qatari funded Free Syria Army and al-Qaeda terrorists are being trained to assassinate Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his military leaders, the Daily Star reports today.

The newspaper reports British SAS, SBS and troops from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment are inside Syria “helping show insurgents how to use new weapons and explosives” and “train rebel assassination squads to target President Assad and his warlords.”

The British Chief of the Defense Staff, General Sir David Richards, said contingency plans are being drafted, including “limited” intervention by British troops in “areas where assistance was being provided,” the Press Association reports.

Britain considers itself a “full-spectrum player” in the Middle East. It was at the forefront of the military intervention in Libya that resulted in the death of more than 30,000 people.

The Telegraph reported on Saturday that the United States has balked at prime minister David Cameron’s proposal to further assist the FSA and al-Qaeda following reports that the CIA and MI6 supported mercenaries are killing unarmed civilians. The FSA has admitted killing civilians and captured Syrian soldiers.

According to the CIA-engineered propaganda outfit, the Voice of America, U.S. intervention in Syria is more urgent now that “extremist Islamist elements” are taking a more active role in Syria.

“The balance of forces in the Syrian opposition is such, that as time goes by and the radical Islamists are the ones who always seem to have the money and always seem to have the weapons, they will become much more dominant in terms of that opposition. That does not serve American interests and it certainly doesn’t serve the interests of stability in the region,” Dennis Ross told VOA.

Ross is a member of both the CFR and the Trilateral Commission. He works with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an Israel-centric think tank closely related to the American Enterprise Institute and other neocon organizations.

In September, al-Qaeda and the FSA offered a reward of $25 million for the assassination of al-Assad. Turkey’s Anadolou news agency quoted FSA commander Ahmad Hijazi as saying the money would be paid by “supporters and businessmen” abroad.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spending tens of millions of dollars to support the effort to depose and kill al-Assad. Military aid is brokered through Turkey and “a secretive group operates something like a command center in Istanbul, directing the distribution of vital military supplies believed to be provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and transported with the help of Turkish intelligence to the Syrian border and then to the rebels.”

In October, Turkey attacked Syria with artillery after Syria targeted FSA and al-Qaeda mercenaries on the border.