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BREAKING: Syrian army prepares to crush rebel Jihadis in Aleppo as ceasefire ends

End of unilateral ceasefire likely to be followed by renewed Syrian army offensive to capture Jihadi held eastern districts of the city, whilst Jihadi hopes of relief by Turkey unlikely to be realised.

Alexander Mercouris



As anticipated, the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Syrians and the Russians in Aleppo has not been extended beyond Saturday, and fighting in the city between the Syrian army and its allies, and Al-Qaeda (“Jabhat Al-Nusra”) and its allies, has resumed with a vengeance.

On its own terms the experiment with the unilateral ceasefire has been a failure.  Neither the Al-Qaeda fighters in the Jihadi controlled pocket of eastern Aleppo nor any of the other Jihadi fighters there have left by way of the ‘humanitarian corridors’, and Al-Qaeda also successfully prevented those civilians who wanted to leave eastern Aleppo by way of the ‘humanitarian corridors’ from doing so.  Al-Qaeda also successfully blocked aid deliveries to eastern Aleppo. 

Given the sort of people they are fighting in eastern Aleppo, it is doubtful the Syrians or the Russians ever really believed the ceasefire would succeed on its own terms. 

As discussed previously, it should be seen principally for what it surely was: an exercise in public relations, intended to make the Russians’ position stronger when future demands for ceasefires are made by the West, demonstrating that it is the intransigence of the Jihadi fighters in eastern Aleppo which actually make ceasefires and aid deliveries to eastern Aleppo impossible.

In my opinion it is unlikely there will be any more ceasefires in eastern Aleppo. 

There are reports of more Syrian troops being sent to the city, possibly in order to repel another Jihadi counter-offensive by 1,200 Jihadi fighters supposedly being prepared to relieve the pocket, but equally plausibly to complete the storming of eastern Aleppo. 

By some accounts already approximately a fifth of the formerly Jihadi controlled pocket of eastern Aleppo has been recaptured by the Syrian army over the course of this month.   

Significantly the Syrian military during the ceasefire apparently dropped thousands of leaflets onto eastern Aleppo urging the Jihadi fighters trapped there to take advantage of the ceasefire to quit the pocket. 

The leaflets apparently advised the Jihadi fighters “to take the chance to end their difficult situation and leave the Eastern Aleppo districts”.  The clear implication is that this was their last chance to do so.

Whilst is is likely further Jihadi attacks on Aleppo will take place over the next few days intended to break the siege there, Iranian reports suggest the true hope of the Jihadis trapped in eastern Aleppo is that Turkey will come to their rescue by intervening to break the siege.

This is not an entirely fanciful hope.  Turkey has been the main backer of the Jihadis fighting the Syrian government, and since the intervention in August the Turkish military has become deeply entrenched in northern Syria, and is in some places close to being in artillery range of Aleppo.

A direct Turkish intervention to break the siege would however bring the Turkish military into direct conflict not just with the Syrian army but with the Russian military as well.   

Though relations between Damascus and Ankara have been steadily deteriorating over the last few weeks, with the Syrians complaining increasingly about Operation Euphrates Shield and threatening to shoot down Turkish aircraft, I doubt Erdogan would be willing to take on the huge risks of directly confronting the Russian military in Syria, thereby ending his rapprochement with his “friend” Putin just a few weeks after it was launched.     

If that is right then the Turks will stay away from Aleppo – as they have supposedly agreed with the Russians they will do – and will concentrate instead on building up their “safe zone” in north east Syria. 

This is in accord with the Turkish government’s public statements, which have said very little about Aleppo. 

It is also in accord with reports in the Middle East media that Turkey actually wants the Jihadis to leave eastern Aleppo so they can be redeployed to the Turkish controlled “safe zone”, consolidating the Turkish military’s grip there.

If all this is correct then Jihadi hopes of the Turkish army coming to their rescue in eastern Aleppo are going to be confounded.  In that case their fate is sealed.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou



RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.





Via RT…

A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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