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Here’s what you need to know about ‘The Great Battle of Aleppo’

The fighting in Aleppo, which the rebels call ‘The Great Battle of Aleppo’, is not in stalemate. The rebel counter-offensive has stalled leading to a battle of attrition the rebels cannot afford.

Alexander Mercouris

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The recent fighting in and around southern Aleppo has attracted an enormous of attention, with those fascinated by military affairs now familiar with places like the apartment building complex 1070, the cement factory, Al-Ramousseh roundabout, the “artillery base” (actually a complex of military schools and technical colleges) etc.  Scholars of the fighting in Stalingrad in 1942 will be very familiar with this sort of thing.

Whenever battles like the one currently being fought in and around Aleppo are discussed it is essential however to keep in mind the big picture and to focus too much on the fighting for particular strongpoints. 

Briefly, by the middle of last year the rebels controlled roughly a quarter of Aleppo, had captured the thermal plant cutting off electricity to most of the city, and had cut the city off from the rest of the  government controlled areas of the country by cutting the roads leading to it.

A series of government offensives, which began in the autumn of last year, and which relied heavily on Russian air support, gradually reopened the roads.  Progress was slow because the Syrian army lacks manpower.  Also the offensives had to repel repeated rebel counter-attacks and were interrupted by ceasefires negotiated by the US and the Russians. 

These ceasefires have come in for much criticism, including by Iran. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has now admitted in a news conference following his talks in Yekaterinburg with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier that the rebels took advantage of the ceasefires to rearm and regroup. 

However the Syrian army also may have needed the ceasefires to rest and regroup given how severely it is overstretched and what a heavy strain fighting places on the troops.

By late July the Syrian army backed by the Russian air force and its Iranian and Hezbollah allies succeeded in ending the siege and encircled the 5-10,000 rebel fighters holding eastern Aleppo, by capturing the Castello road, which was the main rebel supply route to Turkey.  At that point the besiegers became the besieged.

The rebels then counter-attack by attacking south-western Aleppo. The militant Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nusra led the counter-attack.  The purpose of the counter-attack was to break the siege of the rebels in eastern Aleppo.  However it seems also to have been intended to recapture the main road to Damascus. Some rebel leaders have spoken in even more wildly ambitious terms of capturing the whole city. 

The total rebel force appears to have numbered upward of 7,000 fighters (an unprecedentedly large concentration of rebel fighters in this war in such a small area) brought together from various rebel groups but led by Jabhat Al-Nusra.  It appears to be coordinated by a joint headquarters, located in the southern Turkish city of Antikiya (“Antioch”).

It has used large numbers of captured armoured vehicles including tanks, as well as anti-tank and shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles (“MANPADS”) provided by the Gulf states and ultimately by the US.

The rebel counter-attack succeeded in storming the Syrian army’s defences in a small area of southwestern Aleppo, capturing the so-called “artillery base”.  A narrow corridor was thereby opened to the rebels in eastern Aleppo.  The counter-attack has however since stalled. 

No significant further advances have been made in the last 2 weeks.  Latest indications speak of the Syrian army and its Hezbollah allies regaining some of the ground they lost in the initial attacks.  The fog of war however lies heavy over Aleppo and such claims of advances should be treated with caution. 

The small corridor the rebels punched through the Syrian army’s defences has however proved of no real value to the rebels since it is too narrow and too heavily contested for the rebels to be able to send large numbers of men and supplies through it. 

As for the claim that the seizure by the rebels of their narrow corridor means that the government controlled areas of Aleppo are cut off from resupply, that is simply untrue. 

With the government in control of all of the main roads leading to Aleppo – including the Castello road where the Syrian army’s best units continue to be concentrated – the Syrian government can still send supplies by road to the city, and is in fact doing so.

This is not a stalemate.  It is a battle attrition.  Though the fighting in southwestern Aleppo is very intense with only very small movements achieved by either side in the last 2 weeks, in a battle of attrition such as this is it is the rebels who are losing. 

In order to sustain their offensive they have concentrated large numbers of men and equipment in a small area outside Aleppo where they are ready targets for the Russian air force. 

The large majority of rebel fighters who are being killed are being killed there, in the bombing outside Aleppo, not on the front line where bombing cannot place and where the number of casualties suffered by each side seems to be roughly even. 

Though the number of rebel fighters who have been killed can only be estimated even the rebels now admit that their losses are very heavy.  The Russians, who are probably the best informed about the state of the battle because of the means of surveillance at their disposal, said a few days ago that the rebels had lost 1,000 men killed in the course of just 4 days.

In a battle of this sort the only chance the rebels would have had of victory would have been if they had achieved it quickly and decisively. 

The one thing the rebels cannot afford is to suffer heavy losses by battering themselves to pieces at the gates of Aleppo.  With their advance stalled on the outskirts of Aleppo that however is precisely the prospect the rebels are now facing.

The question is what do the rebels do next?  One option is to try to send even more men and supplies to try to get the advance into Aleppo restarted.  The risk that runs is that the Russians are intensifying their bombing, deploying heavy TU22M3s bombers to bomb rebel positions near Aleppo. 

There are reports that the Russian fleet is also being readied to launch more cruise missile strikes on the rebel forces concentrated near Aleppo. 

Ultimately the Russians can always far outmatch whatever level of escalation the rebels attempt, and that is what we are seeing happening now. 

Doubling down on a failing counter-offensive risks increasing rebel losses even further, reducing the rebels’ future ability to defend such places as Idlib. 

Nonetheless, with the alternative option of retreat apparently ruled out, doubling down appears to be what the rebels intend to do. 

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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

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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

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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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Via CNBC

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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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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