Thursday 22 September 2016

Russia presents evidence on a false flag in Aleppo

Russia presented all evidence on aid convoy attack, now wants impartial investigation – Lavrov

A boy rides a bicycle near a damaged aid truck, western Aleppo city, Syria September 20, 2016. © Ammar Abdullah

21 September, 2016

Moscow has provided all the data it has on the attack on a humanitarian convoy in Aleppo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a UN Security Council meeting. Lavrov also called for a full and impartial investigation into the incident.

"There was another unacceptable provocation on September 19 - the shelling of a humanitarian convoy near Aleppo,” Lavrov said.

He also noted that at the same time militants had advanced in the 1070 district of Aleppo.
I am confident that such coincidences require serious analysis and an investigation.”

On September 19, a humanitarian convoy consisting of 31 trucks was attacked while heading to Aleppo. According to the Red Cross, 20 civilians and one aid worker died as a result. Initial reports by the organization claimed the convoy had been targeted by an airstrike.

On Tuesday, the UN backtracked on its earlier claims that the convoy was hit by military planes.

"We are not in a position to determine whether these were in fact airstrikes. We are in a position to say that the convoy was attacked," UN humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke said.

Speaking on the delivery of humanitarian aid to Aleppo, Lavrov said that the Russia and US-backed plan included the creation of a demilitarized zone around the Castello Road.

The minister however added that while the Syrian government forces have started their withdrawal, the militants have not followed suit.

"The government forces began their withdrawal – in accordance with the Russia-US agreements – only to see that the opposition did not follow suit, and even began to fire."

In fact, there have been hundreds of violations by rebel groups in Syria, including those by Ahrar al-Sham, Lavrov said. He added that Moscow has handed over the relevant information to its American counterparts.

"We notified our American colleagues about 300 cases of violation of the cessation of hostilities on the part of Ahrar al-Sham and a number of other opposition groups whose names have been mentioned in the list of those [groups] who joined the ceasefire,” Lavrov said.

The view was countered by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who put the blame for the violations of the ceasefire on Syrian President Bashar Assad, calling him a “spoiler.” Kerry added that in his view, Assad “does not believe in ceasefire.” Kerry also urged that Syrian government forces should be banned from flying over territories held by opposition forces.

Regarding the attack on the humanitarian convoy near Aleppo, the US secretary of state said that following the incident, the parties involved in the cessation of hostilities in Syria “cannot do business as usual.”

In order to deliver humanitarian aid in northern Syria, all aircraft should be grounded in the respective area, Kerry went on to say.

He also stressed that without a proper ceasefire in Syria, the country will witness “more dead and more suffering on an even greater scale.” Kerry said that the plan he and Lavrov had agreed in Geneva “is far from perfect,” but that as of yet there are no alternatives.

Both Kerry and Lavrov spoke in favor of resuming talks on a Syria peace plan.
"Attempts by some participants [of the talks] to put forward certain preconditions or ultimatums, to sabotage the UN Resolution 22/54, are unacceptable," Lavrov said.

"We should not give in to this blackmail. The talks must be resumed immediately," he dded

NATO won’t speculate on who 

struck aid convoy in Syria – 

Stoltenberg to RT

21 September, 2016

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg refused to “speculate” on who bears responsibility for the attack on the UN-Red Crescent aid convoy near Aleppo, saying we should “get the facts” first, as he spoke to RT after his meeting with the Russian FM.

The attack on the humanitarian convoy is morally totally unacceptable and it’s a blatant violation of international law,”Stoltenberg said in a brief interview to RT’s Ilya Petrenko, as he emerged from the meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York on Wednesday.

However, the NATO chief refrained from accusing any side of perpetrating the attack.“I will not speculate about that. It’s important to get the facts and to find out how this could happened, but I won’t speculate,” he said, praising the talks with Lavrov as a “frank” and “useful” meeting.“It just underlines importance of an effective ceasefire, unhindered access for aid workers and, of course, lasting and sustainable political negotiated peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria,” he added, speaking of necessity to galvanize the stalled reconciliation process in Syria.

Apart from Syria, the two officials also discussed a “wide range of issues,” including the situation in Ukraine, air safety in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, and agreed to “continue our dialogue on risk reduction and military transparency.”

Earlier, Washington claimed that Moscow should be held accountable for the attack. Russia is “responsible for air strikes in this space, given that their commitment under the cessation of hostilities was to certainly ground air operations where humanitarian assistance is flowing,” White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

Moscow, however, strongly denied it had played any part in the atrocity, while calling it “another unacceptable provocation.”

On Wednesday, Lavrov confirmed that Russia had provided all data related to the incident for investigation, and pointed out that the timing of the attack coincided with the large militant offensive in the 1070 district of Aleppo.

Lavrov and his American counterpart, John Kerry, are expected to meet face-to-face for the second time since the start of the UN General Assembly session on Wednesday evening, a Russian delegation source told RIA Novosti.

On Monday, 20 civilians and one aid worker fell victim to the attack on the UN-led humanitarian convoy. While initial reports suggested it was targeted in an airstrike, no substantial evidence has been presented to support this version so far.

The UN later also retracted its earlier statement that the trucks and the Red Crescent facility were hit by warplanes, saying that it is “not in a position to determine whether there were in fact airstrikes.”

Lavrov, Kerry clash on Aleppo aid convoy attack at UN Security Council meeting on Syria (FULL)

CrossTalk on Syria: CEASEFIRELESS

What was a ray of hope has turned into a gaze into the abyss. The Russia-U.S. ceasefire to end the Syrian conflict is in tatters. For many the American bombing of the Syrian military marks a process of mission creep and forced regime change.

CrossTalking with Ali Rizk, Nadim Shehadi, and Rick Sterling.

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