Syrian Fighter Jet Shot Down by Rebels Using MANPADS or Anti-Aircraft Weapon
Next Cold War 3/14/16.
Geneva peace talks resume today. A Syrian rebel group claims responsibility for shooting down a Syrian fighter jet in a Hama airfield. Experts disagree on whether rebels used MANPADS missiles or anti-aircraft guns to shoot it down. Another suicide bombing attack occurred in Ankara, which the Turkish government blames on the PKK and uses as a reason to escalate their “crackdown” and airstrikes on Kurds in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq.
Geneva Peace Talks
_ The Geneva peace talks are back on starting on Monday with a session between the UN envoy de Mistura and the Syrian government’s negotiating team. Syria’s lead negotiator, Bashar Ja’afari, said “We want to have an inter-Syrian dialogue that is Syrian-led without foreign intervention and without preconditions.” Ja’afari said the talks on Monday were “positive and constructive.” UN envoy de Mistura warned that there would be attempts to sabotage the talks and “derail his efforts” and said there is no Plan B, “this is the moment of truth” because the only alternative to these talks is more and “an even worse war than we have now.”
_ There are major clashes between the rebel groups of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Al Qaeda group al Nusra in northern Syria. “An activist based in the northern town of Maaret al-Numan says the situation on Monday is ‘tense and boiling'”.
_ Russia still maintains that Kurds must be included in Geneva peace talks.
_ John Kerry met with top diplomats in Paris on Sunday ahead of the Geneva talks. The Saudi-led opposition umbrella group HNC arrived in Geneva on Sunday, still insisting on preconditions about establishing a new transitional government in Syria and ousting Assad.
Syrian Army Advancing on Palmyra
_ The Syrian Army and allies are advancing on ISIS-held Palmyra, the ancient and strategic city in central Syria, about halfway between Damascus and ISIS-held Deir Ez-Zour. There has been a steady advance eastward with air cover from the Russian air force. On Sunday, there were reports of an attack on the ancient castle in Palmyra by the Syrian Arab Army “Tiger Forces” special forces unit in coordination with a Iraqi Shia militia group, a Syrian tank division, and the Desert Hawks Brigade, described as a elite unit trained in ambush tactics and used for special assignments. Al Masdar CEO reports the importance of Qatari Villa at Palmyra, ISIS main base. there
_ In an interview with al Masdar, Sharmine Narwani: “The Syrian opposition is pretty much fabricated by external powers, manufactured in various capitals outside Syria.” Sharwani explains that during the Arab Spring in 2011 the Assad government formulated a set of reforms and brought real Syrian opposition figures to the table but the reforms were rejected, said to be “too late” and the “Assad must go” demands were made.
Another Bomb Attack in Ankara. Erdoga Escalates “Crackdown” on Kurds Again
_ A female PKK bomber allegedly carried out another suicide bombing attack in Akara, using a vehicle filled with explosives and crashing into a bus. Erdogan escalates the “crackdown” on Kurds in southeast Turkey again with curfews and bombing. Calls for national unity. Turkish military also bombed in Iraq. Erdogan vows to “bring terror to its knees.” As of Monday morning 37 reported killed, more than a hundred injured.
_ US embassy in Ankara issued a warning on March 11 of a potential terror attack on Turkish government buildings, based on information they were given by Turkish authorities.
_ Journalist William Whiteman traveled to Kurdish cities of Cizre and Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey where the Erdogan government crackdown on the Kurdish population has killed a large but unknown number of civilians in the name of fighting terrorism. The damage and carnage is horrific.
Syrian Fighter Jet Shot Down By Rebels
_ A Syrian military source told Reuters that one of their MiG-21 fighter jets was shot down while landing near an airfield in Hama — a breach in the ceasefire agreement. The rebel group Jaish al-Nasr claimed they shot down the MiG with anti-aircraft weapons while the SOHR said it was taken down with two heat-seeking missiles. There has been plenty of speculation on whether the rebels now have MANPADS anti-aircraft missiles, which Saudi Arabia has said they would like to provide. The Saudi foreign minister said he thinks it would be a game changer.
Syria'n MiG-21 possibly hit by MANPAD shot North of Hama pic.twitter.com/kqbbJeccxz
— Harry Boone (@towersight) March 12, 2016
Smoke trail consitent with MANPAD launch …Expect Rain of Grad in the next hours . pic.twitter.com/HMXMAImniS
— Harry Boone (@towersight) March 12, 2016
ISIS Used Chemical Weapons in Iraq
_ “U.S. and Iraqi officials said U.S. special forces captured the head of the ISIS unit trying to develop chemical weapons in a raid last month in northern Iraq.” Col. Pat Lang notes that if you can make mustard gas in Iraq, you can make Sarin gas “like the weapon used by someone at Ghouta in the east Damascus suburbs in 2013.” Seymour Hersh’s 2014 article, “The Red Line and the Rat Line” noted that the Turkish government “through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability.”