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Syrian army breaks through ISIS lines; approaches Al-Sukhnah

Syrian army close to liberating from ISIS Al-Sukhnah, last important ISIS stronghold on the way to Deir Ezzor.

Alexander Mercouris




The Al-Masdar news agency – possibly the single most reliable news outlet covering the Syrian war, with seemingly extensive contacts inside the Syrian army – has just reported that the Syrian army has broken through the last hill top defence lines before the ISIS held town of Al-Sukhnah.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), led by the 5th Assault Corps, and other pro-government combat outfits have burst open the last feasible defensive line that ISIS has before the strategic town of al-Sukhnah.

After capturing a number of key points and hilltops earlier today, the SAA and its allies continued their advance, taking new points and a series of important hilltops north of Al-Hayl gas field to a distance of 4 kilometers.

In particular, the mountain chain the SAA has just entered into possesses the very last series of hilltops within a great tangle of mountain chains that stretches all the way back to Palmyra. Ironically, the rough Arabic translation for the name (rather be it an expression) of this last mountain chain before al-Sukhnah is “the end of the Palmyra chain hills.”

These last aforementioned hilltops are extremely important insofar as their capture will give pro-government forces total fire control over al-Sukhnah.

This reality alone will likely push ISIS to withdraw from the town instead of fighting the SAA under conditions in which the terrorist group’s forces will be completely annihilated.

Thus, after a slow advance over past week and suffering relatively high casualties, the SAA has finally been able to breach the Islamic State’s most pivotal defensive line in the area around al-Sukhnah and advance into the last strategic terrain before the town itself.

Now al-Sukhnah’s liberation is within sight and pro-government forces could reach the gates of the town, or even take it back from ISIS completely, within a single week now.

This is momentous news.  Al-Sukhnah is the last important ISIS held city on the road from Palmyra to Deir Ezzor.  If Al-Sukhnah is liberated over the course of the next week then the Syrian army’s advance towards Deir Ezzor will accelerate as it takes place over more open and less defendable country, bringing ISIS’s siege of that heroically defended city within sight.

That ISIS senses that the Syrian army may now be just weeks away from ending the siege of Deir Ezzor is suggested by the release by ISIS’s ‘news agency’ Amaq of a 50 minute long video which blames other Jihadi groups for the failure to capture Deir Ezzor.  Though the video was apparently made as long ago as 2014, Amaq’s decision to release it now suggests that the ground is being prepared for an announcement of a retreat by ISIS from Deir Ezzor, with blame for the defeat being placed on other Jihadi groups.

As always with ISIS videos I will not provide a link, but anyone interested in watching the video (which is not to be viewed by the fainthearted) can find a link on Al-Masdar’s website.

The liberation of Al-Sukhnah and the pending relief of Deir Ezzor has a twofold significance:

Firstly, it is widely known though rarely stated that there is a race underway between the Kurds and the US on the one hand, and the Syrians and the Russians on the other, as to who will achieve their primary objective in Syria first: to capture of Raqqa in the case of the Kurds and the US; or to relieve Deir Ezzor in the case of the Syrians and the Russians.

If the Syrians and the Russians reach Deir Ezzor first, then that will be further proof that it is they who are the victors in the Syrian war.

Secondly, it is generally acknowledged that ISIS has been redeploying more and more of its fighters to the Deir Ezzor area and that its leadership – possibly including its ‘Caliph’ Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi if he is still alive – has relocated there.

If the Syrian army arrives there, then it will fall to the Syrian army to deal the death blow to ISIS, and to bring its phoney ‘Caliphate’ to an end.

Suffice to say that if Al-Sukhnah fall within the next week or so then the defeat of ISIS in Syria, and potentially the end of the Syrian war, will indeed be within sight.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko



Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou



A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou



US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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