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Here’s what Russia proposed to solve the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo

As rebel hopes in Aleppo fade, Western media highlights stories of humanitarian disaster in the city and UN presses for a 48 hour ceasefire. The Russians respond by making practical suggestions to relieve the suffering in both government and rebel controlled areas of Aleppo.

Alexander Mercouris

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A fact which suggests that the balance of military advantage is once again shifting against the rebels in ‘the Great Battle of Aleppo’ is a media storm that has appeared centred on a picture of a dazed 5 year old boy identified as Omran Daqneesh who has been pulled out of the rubble apparently following a bomb strike in eastern Aleppo.

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In this still taken from video provided by Aleppo Media Centre, a child sits in an ambulance apparently after being pulled out of rubble. 

This picture, which is on the front page of all of today’s broadsheet British newspapers, comes shortly after a signed letter from doctors based in rebel held eastern Aleppo pleading for US President Obama to come to their rescue.

Meanwhile Staffan de Mistura, the UN’s special envoy for Syria, is demanding a 48 hour ceasefire in and around Aleppo, thereby implicitly rejecting a Russian offer of daily 3 hour ceasefires and humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave rebel held eastern Aleppo. 

Latest reports suggest that he has suspended the UN’s humanitarian task force in Syria and stopped a meeting to discuss humanitarian access to Aleppo after just 8 minutes, apparently saying that it made “no sense” to plan aid deliveries when they would not be let into besieged areas.

It is an unfortunate and bitter truth that past experience of the Syrian and other conflicts has taught one to be deeply skeptical of calls and campaigns of this sort.  The trouble is that they tend to coincide with reports that whatever side the West is supporting in any particular war is losing the war or is at least losing an important battle in the war. 

By contrast when there is a threat of a humanitarian disaster caused by militaries the West is supporting the Western media tends to have little or nothing to say about it. 

Recent examples include the Ukrainian army’s sieges of Donetsk and Lugansk during the fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2014, and the humanitarian disaster currently underway in Yemen, caused by the ongoing Saudi military intervention there.

In the case of ‘the Great Battle of Aleppo’, when reports circulated a week ago that the rebels had punched a hole through the government’s lines, the Western media trumpeted a great victory, claiming the ‘siege of Aleppo’ (they rarely say ‘rebel held eastern Aleppo’) had been broken.  There were even some claims that the rebels were on the brink of capturing (or “liberating”) the whole city.

As it has become increasingly clear that those claims were premature, concerns about a humanitarian crisis in Aleppo have mounted in their place. 

Now that there are credible reports of Syrian army troops gaining ground in southwestern Aleppo and of the rebels in the Aleppo countryside suffering heavy losses as result of the Russian bombing, the expressions of outrage from the Western media and the demands for a 48 hour ceasefire have risen to a roar.

Inevitably this has raised concerns in some quarters that this could all be a prelude to a US bombing campaign.  Certainly there are some people in the US who want that.  However I suspect that the US military and Obama himself will act quickly to scotch that idea – if it exists – knowing perfectly well that it would lead to a potentially dangerous confrontation with the Russians and would be deeply unpopular with the US public in the run up to the November election if it were ever put into effect.

More probably the intention behind the campaign is to try to shame the Russians into calling a halt to their bombing and to the Syrian army’s counter-attack in south western Aleppo.  De Mistura is already calling for a “gesture of humanity from both sides”, which should be seen as principally addressed to the Russians, since he surely knows that the rebel Jihadis would not heed it.

The extent to which the Russians will bend before this campaign is another matter.  On 11th August 2016 the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement detailing the steps the Russians say they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance to Aleppo.  The statement already then complained that

‘…..the humanitarian disaster (in Aleppo) is deliberately being played up. However, the fact that a large-scale humanitarian operation is being carried out in Aleppo, including with Russia’s assistance, is obscured.”

During a joint press conference on 15th August 2016 with German Foreign Steinmeier in Yekaterinburg Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov appeared to rule out the UN proposal for a 48 hour ceasefire, saying

“the main issue is not that there’s anyone unwilling to alleviate the humanitarian situation, but it is of utmost importance that terrorists would not be getting reinforced with militants, guns and munition supplies under the humanitarian aid disguise”.

Lavrov then pointed out that whenever Moscow and Washington have managed to enforce 48-hour or 72-hour ceasefires in various parts of Syria before

“the main results of those pauses was an insignificant relief in the humanitarian situation, while terrorists added 7,000 people to their ranks, not to mention huge amounts of arms and munitions they received.”

The Russians however have never wanted to appear unresponsive to humanitarian concerns.  The Russian military have therefore said that they would be willing to look at de Mistura’s proposal for a 48 hour ceasefire. However it seems that this ceasefire will not happen before next week – giving the Syrian army time to consolidate its recent gains – and that UN humanitarian convoys to Aleppo will have to pass through special corridors and checkpoints controlled by the Syrian government.

General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesman, has described how the ceasefire would work

“We expect that realisation of this initiative will imply the delivery of humanitarian aid to both to the eastern part of Aleppo that is under militia control, as well as to the western part of the city, controlled by government forces, using two different routes.  The first route from the Turkish city of Gaziantep through the border checkpoint that was established by the UN SC resolution 2165, then by Castello road to the eastern part of Aleppo. The other route will be using the road to the east of Aleppo that encircles the city from the northeast to Handarat and then by Castello road to the western part of the city.”

In other words the humanitarian deliveries will take place via the Castello road, which is controlled by the Syrian army, and not through any rebel controlled corridors or territories, and will be for the whole city, not just the rebel controlled parts of it.

Konashenkov has also said the Russians would assume responsibility for inspection mechanisms to ensure that the aid convoys only carry humanitarian supplies and not military supplies for the rebels besieged in the eastern suburbs of the city

“the Russian Defence Ministry is ready to exert additional effort to enhance efficiency of mechanisms of examination and ensuring the security of UN convoys heading to East Aleppo.  This will help to lower the concerns of the Syrian government about the content of delivered goods and remove the necessity of a detailed examination of the convoys by the government forces. The representatives of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation will exercise any help to the Syrian troops during the passage of the convoy’s through the checkpoints before entering Aleppo.”

There are uncertainties about these proposals.  For example it is not clear whether Russian bombing in the Aleppo countryside (where most of the bombing is actually taking place) would be affected by the ceasefire.  On balance it seems not.  

Overall these look like reasonable proposals that offer a practical solution to the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo.  Importantly they provide help impartially to people in both government and rebel controlled areas of the city.  They appear to be based on the Russians’ previous proposal for humanitarian corridors to the besieged areas of the city, which were set up to allow civilians to leave the city.  

Whether these proposals will however satisfy the media in the West – or indeed will even be reported there – is another matter, and remains to be seen.

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Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel’s tenure as Chancellor (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer’s resignation from Merkel’s government, and conceivably Söder’s exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor’s most outspoken critics from power, and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel’s coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer’s destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel’s grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel’s fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel’s disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama ‘rat pack’ neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

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Via Zerohedge

Voters in Germany’s economically dominant southern state of Bavaria delivered a stunning rebuke to the ruling Christian Social Union, in an election that delivered another crushing blow for the parties in Angela Merkel’s grand coalition in Berlin.

With all eyes on Sunday’s Bavaria election, moments ago the first exit polls showed a historic collapse for the ruling CSU party, which has ruled Bavaria continuously since 1957, and which saw its share of the vote collapse from 47.7% in the 2013 election to just 35.5%, losing its absolute majority and suffering its worst result since 1950, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens and the far-right Alternative for Germany.

German newspaper Welt called the election “the most painful election defeat of the past 50 years for the CSU”. As predicted in the polls, the CSU experienced a “historic debacle” in the Bavarian state elections, according to Welt. The CSU was followed by the Greens which soared in the election, more than doubling to 18.5% from 8.6% in 2013, the Free Voters also rose to 11% from 9.0%, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the nationalist AfD are expecting to enter Bavaria’s parliament for the first time ever with 11% of the vote, and as such are setting up for their post-election party. Party leader Alice Weidel already is having the first beer in the small community of Mamming in Lower Bavaria.

Establishment party, left-of-center SPD also saw its support collapse from 20.6% in 2013 to just 10% today.

The full initial results from an ARD exit poll are as follows (via Zerohedge):

  • CSU: 35.5 %
  • Grüne: 18.5 %
  • FW: 11.5 %
  • AfD: 11.0 %
  • SPD: 10.0 %
  • FDP: 5.0 %
  • Linke: 3.5 %
  • Sonstige: 5.0 %

The breakdown by gender did not show any marked variations when it comes to CSU support, although more women voted for the Greens, while far more men supported the AfD:

There was a greater variation by educational level, with highly educated voters tending more towards the green GRÜNE (G/EFA) and liberal FDP (ALDE) then the average, while low/middle educated voters tended more towards CSU (EPP) and AfD (EFDD).

This was the worst result for the CSU since 1950.

Zerohedge further reports that alarmed by the rise of the anti-immigration, populist AfD, the CSU tried to outflank them by talking tough on immigration and picking fights with Ms Merkel over asylum policy.

But the strategy appeared to have backfired spectacularly by alienating tens of thousands of moderate CSU voters and driving them into the arms of the Greens.

Meanwhile, as support the CSU and SPD collapsed, the result confirmed the Greens’ status as the rising force in German politics. Running on a platform of open borders, liberal social values and the fight against climate change the party saw its support surge to 18.5%, from 8.4% in 2013. Meanwhile the AfD won 11%, and for the first time entered the Bavarian regional assembly.

“This is an earthquake for Bavaria,” said Jürgen Falter, a political scientist at the University of Mainz.

The CSU had governed the state with an absolute majority for most of the last 60 years. “It was Bavaria and Bavaria was the CSU. That is now no longer the case.”

The latest collapse of Germany’s establishment parties highlights the shaky ground the grand coalition in Berlin is now resting on as all three parties in the alliance, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the CSU and the SPD, are haemorrhaging support. Some are now questioning whether the coalition, already frayed by personal rivalries and near constant bickering over policy, can survive a full term in office.

“This outcome throws ever more doubt on the future of the grand coalition,” said Heinrich Oberreuter, head of the Passau Journalism Institute and an expert on the CSU. “Based on current polls, if an election were held now, the CDU, CSU and SPD would not even command a majority in the Bundestag.”

The CSU will now be be forced to form a coalition government — a humiliating outcome for a party that has run Bavaria single-handedly for 49 of the last 54 years. Its preference is probably for a three-party coalition with the Free Voters, a small party that is mainly focused on local politics. It could also team up with the Greens, though it would be highly reluctant to do so: the two parties are deeply divided over immigration, transport and environmental policy.

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Elizabeth Warren’s DNA ploy backfires big time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 1.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ‘genius’ idea to accept POTUS Trump’s ‘Native American DNA’ challenge. Let’s just say that Warren will never recover from this self-inflicted wound.

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The Cherokee Nation issued a statement crushing Elizabeth Warren for her “continued claims of tribal heritage.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship. Current DNA tests do not even distinguish whether a person’s ancestors were indigenous to North or South America. Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation. Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It makes a mockery out of DNA tests and its legitimate uses while also dishonoring legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, who ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is prove. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.

– Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr

Zerohedge reports that Elizabeth Warren just owned herself after releasing a DNA test confirming that she’s as little as 1/1024th Native American – about half the percentage of the average white person.

What’s more, the DNA expert she used, Stanford University professor Carlos Bustamente, “used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American” as opposed to, say, DNA from a Cherokee Indian which Warren has claimed to be throughout her career.

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Adding to the absurdity are two major corrections by the Boston Globe (which has become the media mouthpiece of Warren’s 2020 damage control efforts of late), letting readers know that “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024,” and later updating it to “between 1/64th and 1/1,024th Native American.”

Elizabeth Warren’s got trolled by Trump in the most epic fashion, pushing the Senator to make a blunder that will follow her for the rest of her career.

The Daily Caller’s Benny Johnson exposed Elizabeth Warren’s history of lies in 10 simple tweets…

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Hillary Clinton: Democrats have been TOO CIVIL with GOP (VIDEO)

Civil war becomes more likely as Clinton calls for greater civil unrest after weeks of absolutely insane behavior from leftist activists.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton just called for an end to civil behavior towards Republicans and conservatives. In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN expanded on in a piece by USA Today, the failed candidate had this to say:

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about… That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and / or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”

Clinton said that Senate Republicans under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., “demeaned the confirmation process” and “insulted and attacked” Christine Blasey Ford – who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about a sexual assault she alleges Kavanaugh committed in 1982 – along with other “women who were speaking out.”

It should be pointed out here that Clinton told a lie. The Senate Republicans did everything possible to hear out Dr Ford’s testimony, and no one has gone on record with any sort of insults or demeaning comments about her. Every Republican Senator who stated anything agreed that something happened to her, but they also agreed that there was no corroboration showing that Judge Kavanaugh was actually involved in any misdoings. USA Today’s piece continues:

Clinton compared the handling of Kavanaugh’s confirmation to “Republican operatives shutting down the voting in 2000,” the “swift-boating of John Kerry,” attacks on former Arizona Sen. John McCain in the 2000 Republican primary and “what they did to me for 25 years.

“When you’re dealing with an ideological party that is driven by the lust for power, that is funded by corporate interests who want a government that does its bidding, you can be civil but you can’t overcome what they intend to do unless you win elections,” she told Amanpour.

Clinton compared Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Monday to a “political rally” that “further undermined the image and integrity of the court.”

She told Amanpour the effect on the court “troubles” and “saddens” her “because our judicial system has been viewed as one of the main pillars of our constitutional government.”

“But the President’s been true to form,” Clinton added. “He has insulted, attacked, demeaned women throughout the campaign – really for many years leading up to the campaign. And he’s continued to do that inside the White House.”

Here, Clinton told at least two more incendiary whoppers.

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First, no one has been specifically after her, and second, President Donald Trump’s record with women including in the White House has been nothing short of stellar and gentlemanly. Nikki Haley, who supported Marco Rubio in the 2016 campaign and has at times been openly critical of Donald Trump, yesterday announced her full support of his 2020 campaign and her intent to campaign with and for him.

By all accounts, Mrs. Haley is a woman.

The first American Civil War had economic policy and states’ rights as its central focus. Slavery was a part of that issue, though slavery was practiced in the North as well in the South before this war began.

Now a new civil war is coming, but perhaps it should be called the American Social War. It is not about any real policy matter at all. It is hysteria, but it appears to be hysteria with a purpose.

The first American Social War has two apparent sides and allying forces and groups:

The Left:

  • pro-gay marriage
  • pro-death (in other words, pro-abortion)
  • anti-Christian, especially Christianity that says these first two issues are wrong
  • anti-GOP / Republican / Conservative
  • “victim class” – feminists, some millenials
  • supporters of legalized use of mind-altering / mood-altering drugs
  • appears to support overreaching socialist style government, featuring “fair” wages, such as a $15.oo minimum wage
  • anti-traditionalist
  • Mainstream media is strongly allied here
  • George Soros is a supporter
  • social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter are supporters through “scrubbing” of media content
  • anti-white, anti-male, and if you are white, male and Christian, look out. You are Enemy Number One
  • supports and executes violence against all these people they are against, including family members.
  • very zealous, and very monolithic in terms of alignment and energy

The Right:

  • Conservatives
  • people who generally want the government to leave them alone
  • generally favors life, considering abortion tragic and to be avoided, though some consider that it should be made illegal
  • marriage has always been between one man and one woman and it should not be redefined to fit the whims of a few
  • God is sovereign (though many conservatives would never make this connection)
  • No real animus against the left, but at the same time, fed up with being hectored by the left all the time, as we saw in Senator Lindsey Graham’s explosive confrontation against Senate Democrats
  • Generally Republican by party affiliation, though many libertarian and conservatives are also present as well as a number of conservative democrats.
  • seeks to avoid violence. While there do exist a very few neo-Nazi types, their numbers are infinitesimal, and their behavior is rejected by the Right
  •  generally against drug use, though many have unfortunately moderated on the matter of actual illegality

The main characteristic of this approaching war, as stated before, is little more than some sort of outrage over identity politics and perceived victimization. This is something both new and old, as there is always a party in any war that claims that they are fighting because they are in fact the aggrieved party, under the other side’s aggression and suppression.

That factor exists with this war too. However, the reality of that aggression or suppression is that it does not exist, and this makes it very difficult for the “perceived aggressors” to ramp up the zeal needed to carry out the fight.

This factor is often very maddening for conservative people. As a whole they do not wish to fight. They wish to be left alone. The left on the other hand insists that everything must be fought for because the right has somehow managed to take it away from them, or is keeping it away from them.

This is purely fiction but it is almost impossible to convince a leftist that this is so. Tucker Carlson expands on this matter in this report. He makes reference at 6:37 about how Hillary Rodham Clinton is now openly calling for civility to the GOP to end (as if it hasn’t already!), but the entirety of this report begs to be seen to give perspective to the look and feel of this crisis:

This is unfamiliar territory in many ways, and it is unclear how far this will go. But one this is clear: it is testing all available limits, and it may come to real fighting, and real killing, for no reason better than perceived victimization.

It should be understood that the advocates for violence are all people that reject God and traditional values openly. There is certainly a connection.

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