Connect with us



Staff Picks

Syrian victories in Aleppo defeat US ‘ceasefire’ plan

The latest advances of the Syrian army in south west Aleppo mean that the Jihadis have lost all the gains they made in late July and early August.

Alexander Mercouris




The Syrian army’s counterattack in south west Aleppo continues to gain force, with reports that its has now fully recaptured the Ramousseh neighbourhood, seized by the Jihadis in early August.

This enables the government once more to send supplies to Aleppo through the main road to its south west.  As discussed previously, the government has always been in a position to send supplies to Aleppo either via the recently captured Castello road or through other routes.  However the road in the city’s south west was its main supply route to the city, reopened during the Syrian army’s offensives at the beginning of the year, and it is now open again.

The latest advances of the Syrian army in south west Aleppo mean that the Jihadis have now effectively lost all the gains they made during their offensive in late July and early August.  The only  result of the offensive was to cause the Jihadis extremely heavy casualties.

Some have questioned why the Jihadis launched a conventional attack on south west Aleppo whose outcome was always doubtful and which was certain to lead to heavy losses rather than stick to the insurgency tactics which have served them so well in the past?

The short answer is because the offensive against south west Aleppo was insisted upon by the Jihadis’ foreign sponsors for whom maintaining a Jihadi “rebel” presence in eastern Aleppo is an overriding political priority. 

Briefly, if the Syrian government can show that it is firmly in control of what are by far Syria’s two biggest and most important cities – Damascus and Aleppo – as well as the area between these cities which forms the populous spine of the country, which includes the key province of Latakia and the two central cities of Hama and Homs, then it is extremely difficult to argue convincingly that it is not the actual as well as the legitimate government of Syria. 

However great is the military importance of the other areas of Syria the Jihadis control – and the importance of the ‘safe zone’ the Turkish military is currently busy creating for the Jihadis in north east Syria should not be underestimated – in political and economic terms these areas are peripheral.  No force which is confined to these areas can plausible claim to be the government of Syria.

The importance the US government attaches to the city of Aleppo is shown by the proposal it made to the Russians at the G20 summit in Hangzhou.  The Washington Post has revealed that it not only required the Syrian army to withdraw completely from the area of the Castello road, which it seized back in July, but it also insisted on a total ceasefire in south west Aleppo.

Here is how the Washington Post describes it

“In a letter sent last weekend, Michael Ratney, the State Department’s liaison to the opposition, spelled out the proposed cease-fire steps. The proposal calls initially for a “complete cessation of military operations by the regime and its affiliated forces and opposition forces on the Ramusa road” in southwest Aleppo, and entry by U.N. aid convoys.

Second, checkpoints are to be set up on Castello Road, the main northern entryway to the city that government forces seized from the rebels last month. The government is then to withdraw all of its vehicles and heavy weapons to more than a mile away from Castello Road, which will be declared a “demilitarized zone.” Similar withdrawals and checkpoints are then to be established in the south.

“If the cease-fire extends to 7 days and the checkpoints are set up and all forces are withdrawn,” the letter said, “then the U.S. and Russia will work on stopping the regime planes from flying and will work together to weaken al-Qaeda in Syria.””

When the plan was drawn up and presented to the Russians last week the Jihadis were still in control of the Ramousseh district and the area known as the ‘Aleppo artillery base’.  A ceasefire in south west Aleppo at that time would have left these in Jihadi control, consolidating the gains the Jihadis had made in their offensive against government position in south west Aleppo at the beginning of August. 

It would also have meant that whilst the Jihadis would have had unimpeded access to the area they control in eastern Aleppo, the government’s supply routes to Aleppo either via the roads leading from Aleppo’s south west or by way of the Castello road would have been immediately vulnerable to attack if the ceasefire broke down. 

The US in fact clearly crafted its ceasefire plan on the basis of the gains the Jihadis made during their offensive against south west Aleppo in early August.  That fits in with the theory previously floated by the Moon of Alabama and others (see here and here), that the US was heavily involved in planning and preparing the Jihadi offensive, as it in fact all but admitted back in April.

If the truth be said the US ‘ceasefire plan’ looks suspiciously like a device to facilitate an eventual Jihadi takeover of the whole of Aleppo when the ceasefire eventually broke down, as it would have been bound to do.  If so, then it is a further example of the way the US constantly tries to achieve via the negotiations table what its proxies fail to achieve on the battlefield.

The defeat of the Jihadi offensive in south west Aleppo explains the US government’s anger with the Russians, set out in such detail in the article in the Washington Post.  The US is apparently angrily complaining that during the talks in Hangzhou the Russians ‘backtracked’ on certain things which had been previously agreed.

What actually seems to have happened is that the Russians simply pointed out that with the Syrian army’s recapture of the grounds of the so-called ‘Aleppo military academy’ in the last few days the whole premise upon which the US’s ceasefire plan is based has collapsed.  If so then it would not be surprising if they told the US rework its plan.  This the US petulantly refuses to do, calling the Russian advice ‘backsliding’.

The Washington Post article all but makes clear that the Syrian opposition’s ‘peace plan’ was intended to be coordinated with the US ceasefire plan, which the US was hoping to get the Russians to agree to, and which it was expecting to announce on Sunday. 

With the government’s hold on Aleppo rendered increasingly shaky and vulnerable in case of an ending of the ceasefire, had the US ceasefire plan been accepted by the Russians and put into effect the US would have been in a strong position to insist thereafter on implementation of the Syrian opposition’s ‘peace plan’, which is essentially simply the old US demand for regime change packaged in a slightly different way.  The government’s victories in south west Aleppo have now put paid to that

As for the Russians, the bait they were offered was a junior place in a US led coalition against Al-Qaeda (presumably that means Jabhat Al-Nusra), just as they were previously offered by Kerry during his visit to Moscow a few weeks ago a junior place in the US led coalition against ISIS in return for agreeing to have President Assad go.  Not surprisingly, the Russians rejected it.

The Russians are still saying that there is some mileage in the negotiations with the US.  Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov gamely pretended on 8th September 2016 that the negotiations are still going somewhere

“It is true that the point at issue is some agreement, some document… that has not been finalized yet, because there have remained some unsettled issues. The work is in progress….It goes without saying that all this (an agreement on Syria) may be discussed only in the form of compromises, and it is for the achievement of that compromise that the work is being conducted. A compromise is still to be achieved on a insignificant number of outstanding issues.”

Despite the fire and thunder in the Washington Post article about Kerry not meeting again with Lavrov unless the Russians cave in to every US demand, it is in fact the case that the two foreign ministers spoke again by telephone to each other and agreed to meet on the sidelines of the peace conference in Geneva convened on 8th and 9th September 2016 to discuss ways of achieving peace in Syria.  Whether that will be a substantive meeting is another matter.

The fundamental problem – as the Russians must by now surely understand – is that the US is not interested in the sort of “compromises” Peskov is talking about. 

As its ceasefire plan shows, the US remains committed to regime change in Syria, and it sees its negotiations with the Russians as nothing more than a means to that objective.  The US’s angry response to the collapse of its latest plan to achieve that shows how committed to this objective it still is. 

Unless and until that changes it is impossible to see how the US and the Russians can broker peace in Syria, in view of which the war seems set to continue.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Notify of


Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch



One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou



Via Zerohedge

Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone



Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:

The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading


Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...


Quick Donate

The Duran
Donate a quick 10 spot!


The Duran Newsletter