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CONFIRMED: Syrian army resumes advance in Aleppo

Following end of ‘humanitarian pause’ Syrian army resumes attack on Jihadis in south west suburbs of Aleppo.

Alexander Mercouris

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Though inevitably it has been overshadowed by the US election, the situation on the ground in Syria continues to develop with further advances by the Syrian army being reported on all the fronts in western Syria in which it is engaged.

In the key battle ground of Aleppo the Syrian army, having repulsed the latest attack by the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis, appears to be preparing for a major advance in south west Aleppo. 

Following the end of Friday’s ‘humanitarian pause” – which as expected the Jihadis ignored – the Syrian air force has been back in action, bombing Jihadi positions in south west Aleppo.   The Syrian army has also made inroads in the strategically important 1060 apartment complex (the very latest reports suggest it may have captured it entirely). 

There are also reports – so far unconfirmed – that the Russian Aerospace Forces have been in action again, attacking Jihadi positions in south west Aleppo in conjunction with the Syrian air force (the Russian Defence Ministry is however denying reports that the Russian Aerospace Forces have been in action against Jihadi supply lines west of the Aleppo battlefront in Al-Qaeda controlled Idlib province).

The Syrian army’s Chief of Staff – Lt. General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub – has recently inspected Syrian army positions in Aleppo, apparently in preparation for the offensive, and the Iranian news agency Fars is reporting that it will take place within the next few days.

The Syrian army’s battle strategy in Aleppo is dictated by one overriding factor – its lack of any decisive numerical advantage over the Jihadis it is fighting.

According to the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura there are 8,000 Jihadis trapped inside eastern Aleppo (though he claims absurdly that only 900 of them are Al-Qaeda connected Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters).  According to Russian, Syrian and Iranian news agency reports, around 16,000 Al-Qaeda led Jihadis attacked south west Aleppo during the last two Jihadi counter offensives.  That would make for a total of 24,000 Jihadi fighters fighting the Syrian army in and around Aleppo during the recent fighting.

No similar breakdown of the total number of Syrian and allied troops in Aleppo has ever been provided, save that a few weeks ago there were reports that 8,000 Shia militia for Iraq had joined the Syrian troops there.  A Daily Telegraph report in September however put the number of Syrian troops in Aleppo at about 15-20,000. 

It seems therefore that the two opposing forces fighting in Aleppo have roughly equal numbers.  If the highest estimates for the number of Jihadis (24,000) and the lowest estimates for the number of Syrian troops (15,000) are both true, then it is not impossible that the total number of Jihadi fighters fighting in and around Aleppo actually outnumbers the total number of Syrian and allied troops fighting there.

Compare this situation with the one in Mosul, where US intelligence claims that there are between 3,000 to 5,000 ISIS fighters in Mosul itself supplemented by a further 1,500 to 2,000 ISIS fighters in a zone outside the city, pitted against a coalition force consisting of Iraqi troops and anti-ISIS forces whose total number is put at anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000.

It is this lack of a decisive manpower advantage that explains the incremental strategy the Syrian army has been obliged to follow in Aleppo.  Quite simply, the Syrian army has never had the numbers to storm eastern Aleppo in a single operation.  Its strategy, undoubtedly planned with the help of the Russians and the Iranians, has instead been to advance to its goal step by step: first by re-opening and securing its supply lines to government controlled western Aleppo, and then by isolating the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo until their position becomes so untenable that they can put up little resistance when the Syrian army eventually attacks them. 

What that means in practice is a strategy of first surrounding the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo, then of repulsing Jihadi counter-offensives to break the siege of eastern Aleppo, whilst at the same time pursuing a strategy of continuously recapturing more and more of the countryside around Aleppo in order to isolate even further the Jihadi controlled pocket in eastern Aleppo to the point where it loses all connection to its hinterland.

It is the Syrian army’s steady recapture of the surrounding villages and strong points in the Aleppo countryside which explains why each successive Jihadi counter offensives is having diminishing success.  As the Jihadi fighters during the intervals between their offensives incrementally lose positions in the Aleppo countryside, they lose the bases from which they launch their attacks.  As a result their attacks are increasingly failing to gain traction.

In time, as eastern Aleppo becomes completely isolated, the expectation is that cut off from all hope of supply or reinforcement it will fall easily into the Syrian army’s hands like a ripe fruit when the moment comments for it to be stormed. 

That is the strategy.  What it involves in practice is gruelling attritional warfare, with long pauses – which the Syrians and the Russians make use of politically by calling them ‘ceasefires’ and ‘humanitarian pauses’ – as each side replenishes and consolidates in preparation for the next round.

The planned Syrian offensive in south western Aleppo is a continuation of this strategy.  It is in this area that the Syrian army is most vulnerable since it is there that its main supply lines to southern Syria are located. 

By gradually driving the Jihadis away from this area the Syrian army is not only securing its main supply lines, but it is further isolating the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo by reducing the prospects of a Jihadi breakthrough there.

Ultimately, since there is little to no prospect of the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo ever giving up, the area will eventually have to be stormed.  However until its positions in south west Aleppo are fully secured, the Syrian army is not in a position to do this.

The fighting in western Syria is of course not only confined to Aleppo. 

Reports of the fighting elsewhere speak of the Syrian army making rapid advances.  In recent months it has cleared most of the countryside around Damascus of Jihadi fighters, with just a few pockets of resistance left in eastern Ghouta, whilst the Syrian army is now reported to control 85% of the territory of Hama province. 

As I have discussed previously, the Jihadis’ transfer of fighters from other Syrian fronts to Aleppo is causing their positions elsewhere in western Syria to collapse.

As to why the Jihadis are doing that, it was recently again explained by no less a person than Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, who the Iranian Fars news agency reports as saying

“If we succeed, having won Aleppo, which I’m sure we will do, the West will have to rethink its mistake.”

In other words if the Syrian army recaptures Aleppo any possibility of regime change in Damascus is gone.  For that reason that the Jihadis in Aleppo will hold on in eastern Aleppo at any cost, even if by doing so they are hastening their eventual defeat in the war.

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Deep State insurrection defying POTUS Trump’s order to release unredacted FISA docs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 113.

Alex Christoforou

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Deep State officials like ex-CIA chief John Brennan are in panic mode.

Deep State DOJ tool Rod Rosenstein refuses to comply with Trump’s executive order as afforded him by the US Constitution.

Establishment Democrats are all over the mainstream media channels calling the act of releasing documents criminal.

The US President wants every American citizen to see the full, unredacted version of the FISA documents used to spy on Carter Page. Trump is simply asking for full transparency, in what has become a two year, multi-million dollar witch hunt, to find collusion where there is none.

This is all you need to know about the hoax that was and is Trump-Russia collusion and the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the insurrection taking place at the US Department of Justice, as Democrats, ex-Obama officials, and DOJ directors are doing everything in their power to make sure the truth, about how the FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page was obtained, remains hidden from the eyes of the American public.

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Via Zerohedge


Despite President Trump’s Monday order for the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials related to the Russia investigation, “without redaction,” the agencies involved are planning to do so anyway, according to Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter. –Bloomberg

Trump ordered the DOJ to release the text messages of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also ordered released are specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The DOJ and the FBI are expected to submit proposed redactions to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – which will prepare a package for Trump to sign off on.

“When the president issues such an order, it triggers a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests,” a Justice Department spokesman said in a statement. “The department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the president’s order.”

The agencies are likely to cite national security concerns over revealing classified “sources and methods” pertaining to the Russia investigation – which will put them in direct conflict with Trump’s order. Trump, as president, has the power to override the agencies and declassify material on his own.

Trump’s order to release the documents comes after months of requests from GOP lawmakers, while the DOJ has repeatedly denied their requests for more transparency.

The FBI’s spy…

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is interpreting Trump’s request to include information about the use of confidential informant (spy) Stephan Halper during the early stages of the Trump-Russia investigation. After taking in over $400,000 from the Obama Pentagon under the auspices of a research contract, Halper befriended and spied on members of the Trump campaign, including aides Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

Showdown?

Top Congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and Mark Warner penned a joint letter to ODNI Director Dan Coates, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding that the agencies defy President Trump.

In the letter, the lawmakers “express profound alarm” at the decision to “intervene in an ongoing law enforcement investigation that may implicate the President himself or those around him.”

“Any decision by your offices to share this material with the President or his lawyers will violate longstanding Department of Justice polices, as well as assurances you have provided to us.”

The letter then demands that the agencies brief the Gang of Eight before releasing the materials “to anyone at the White House.”

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Trump Weighs In On The Single Worst Mistake In American History

Trump hits Bush: Invading Iraq ‘the single worst decision ever made’.

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Via Zerohedge


In a wide ranging interview with The Hill on Tuesday conducted in the Oval Office, President Trump was asked to give his take on the biggest mistake in American history.

Considering just how open-ended a question that is, it’s perhaps surprising that he merely went back less than a couple decades into the Bush presidency, though Trump’s base will certainly welcome it as it hearkens back to his “America First” foreign policy vision of the campaign trail.

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,” the president during his interview with Hill.TV.

“Obama may have gotten them (U.S. soldiers) out wrong, but going in is to me the biggest single mistake made in the history of our country,” he said.

Trump explained the reasoning behind this choice, and why it wasn’t something like the civil war or another defining and devastating event reaching far into American History.

“Because we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East. Now if you wanna fix a window some place they say, ‘oh gee, let’s not do it. Seven trillion, and millions of lives — you know, ‘cause I like to count both sides. Millions of lives,” the president explained.

Some scholars and humanitarian groups estimate that over one million Iraqis were killed in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq starting in 2003. A 2008 Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll, for example, found that approximately 1.03 million people had died as a result of the war.

“To me it’s the worst single mistake made in the history of our country. Civil war you can understand. Civil war, civil war. That’s different. For us to have gone into the Middle East, and that was just, that was a bad day for this country, I will tell you.”

Various estimates on the Iraq war’s cost have put the total taxpayer bill as low as near $2 trillion, but none dispute that it is in the multiple trillions, and estimates will vary widely depending on if veteran care is factored into it.

The comments echo things Trump said on the campaign trail in 2016. For example during one of his first major foreign policy speeches then candidate Trump said, “I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V.” And referencing the famous quote of John Quincy Adams, he said during the same speech, “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies.”

He had previously shocked pundits for being the first Republican nominee for president to trash George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq, and has more recently likened it to “throwing a big fat brick into a hornet’s nest”.

All of this is a hopeful sign considering the extremely heightened and dangerous tensions over Syria this week, and given Trump seems to have vacillated between “bringing the troops home” and getting more involved. On Monday Trump hinted that a decision on the U.S. role in Syria is coming soon.

Commenting on the over 2,000 troops now in Syria ostensibly as part of the “anti-ISIL” coalition campaign, Trump indicated this mission could end soon: “We’re very close to being finished with that job,” he said. He followed with: “And then we’re going to make a determination as to what we’re going to do.”

We consider it a hopeful and a good sign that Trump is possibly revisiting his “America First” foreign policy pledges by identifying the Iraq War as the worst mistake in US history.

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Brett Kavanaugh eleventh hour smear begins to fall apart (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 112.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump is urging the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh to testify and be heard.

Trump said he wants to hear from Christine Blasey Ford, noting that it would be “unfortunate” if she does not testify before a Senate committee. Trump told reporters Wednesday as he left the White House to view hurricane damage in North Carolina…

“If she doesn’t show up, that would be unfortunate.”

“If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that would be very interesting.”

From Trump’s lips to God’s ear…Blasey Ford came out to issue a statement essentially saying that she will not testify to Congress, either in an open or closed door session.

Furthermore it appears that Ford will not even allow Senate investigators to fly to California and obtain her statement from the comfort of her own home (as Senator Grassley has offered to do).

Ford is demanding an FBI investigation into an allegation with no date, time or place attached to it. 

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the dangerous game of identity politics being played by the establishment, Democrat left, and their mainstream media minions.

The premise that a four decades old accusation is all that is needed to destroy a person’s entire life, threatens to tear down the most basic foundational values adhered to from within the US Constitution, and propel the United States of America towards a fascist state where censorship, citizen surveillance, and evidence free accusations are used to keep the establishment left in power and the American population cowered in fear.

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According to Zerohedge, Democrats’ Hail Mary play to stymie the confirmation of Trump SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh is beginning to fizzle out. As angry Dems demanded that a Monday hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh be delayed until the FBI has a chance to investigate, turncoat Republicans (on whom the Dems had been depending for votes) instead withdrew their support and fell in line after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley declared that he would not honor Democrats’ request. Grassley revealed his intention to stand firm late Tuesday after lawyers for Palo Alto University professor Christine Blasey, who is claiming that Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her 35 years ago when the two were 17-year-old high school students, said their client wouldn’t be wiling to appear at Monday’s hearing.

According to the HillGrassley said Tuesday that there was “no reason” to delay the hearing now that Republicans have invited both Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, his accuser, to testify publicly. However, while Ford’s attorneys have insisted that their client has taken a polygraph test and “deserves to be heard”, Ford has bizarrely insisted that the FBI should have an opportunity to investigate her claims before she appears before the committee in order to spare her the “trauma” of confronting her alleged assailant.

Ford’s lawyers conveyed her request in the form of a letter sent to the committee, a copy of which was obtained by CNN.

Senator Grassley said he would refuse this request as several Republicans who had appeared to be on the cusp of defecting said they wouldn’t support further delays should Ford prove unwilling to testify.

Via the Hill…

“Republicans extended a hand in good faith. If we don’t hear from both sides on Monday, let’s vote,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who was one of the first Republicans to call for the Judiciary Committee to hit pause on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Sunday.

GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) told reporters earlier Tuesday that Ford’s lack of response to the committee about testifying was “puzzling.”

And GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, who had threatened to vote against Kavanaugh if Ford wasn’t given the chance to be heard, told CNN that he expected the committee to move on if she doesn’t appear.

“I think we’ll have to move to the markup,” he told CNN. “I hope she does (appear). I think she needs to be heard.”

Via Zerohedge…

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegations and insisted he didn’t attend the party where the physical assault allegedly took place. Patrick Smyth, a fellow former Georgetown Prep student whom Ford alleges was also in attendance during the party issued a statement via his lawyer standing up for Kavanaugh. And in a separate letter to Grassley and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, not only does Smyth repudiate Ford’s allegations, but he adds that he doesn’t remember this party even taking place.

Of course, Feinstein – who admitted last night that she couldn’t say for certain that Ford’s story is entirely truthful – sat on Ford’s allegations for three months before referring them to the FBI and sharing them with other lawmakers (who purportedly “leaked” it to the press). President Trump on Tuesday said that he “feels sorry” for Kavanaugh, adding that he doesn’t want to “play into [Democrats] hands”, presumably by giving them more time to drag out the confirmation process.

“They should have done this a long time ago, three months ago, not now. But they did it now. So I don’t want to play into their hands,” Trump said.

Without the support of their Republican allies, Democrats will lack the votes on the committee to hold up the nomination past Monday. Though bizarrely, Kavanaugh himself hasn’t said yet whether he would or wouldn’t testify, which begs the question: If neither Kavanaugh nor Ford appear at the hearing, what exactly will lawmakers discuss?

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