Archive for April 13, 2018

Now we know WHY Israel attacked the T-4 military base in Syria that killed seven Iranian soldiers…

April 13, 2018

Apr. 13, 2018 1:50 pm by The Right Scoop

Source Link: Now we know WHY Israel attacked the T-4 military base in Syria that killed seven Iranian soldiers…

{Another red line crossed. – LS}

About two months ago Israel shot down an Iranian drone that flew into Israeli airspace from Syria.

They now reveal the drone was an advanced clone of the American drone that Obama let the Iranians have, AND it was on a terror attack mission armed with explosives:

JPOST – The Iranian drone which infiltrated into Israeli skies in early February was armed with explosives and was sent to carry out a sabotage attack in the Jewish State, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office said Friday.

“The interception of the Iranian unmanned aircraft by an attack helicopter prevented an Iranian intent to carry out an attack in the territory of the State of Israel,” read a statement by the army.

The advanced Iranian UAV was identified and monitored by Israeli defense systems until it was intercepted and “did not pose a danger” while it was inside Israeli territory, the army statement added.

The advanced Iranian drone believed to be a copy of a US stealth drone that was downed in Iran in 2011, took off from the T-4 airbase deep in the Syrian province of Homs and crossed into Israeli territory via Jordanian airspace.

The drone was spotted by Israel and was intercepted near the Israeli town of Beit She’an by an Apache attack helicopter.

IAF chief of air staff Brigadier General Tomer Bar, the second in command of Israel’s Air Force, said the drone was an advanced model with a low signature that Israel had never intercepted before.

“We waited for it to cross into our territory,” he said, stressing that it was important for Israel “to get our hands on the drone.”

According to the statement by the army, the conclusion was made following an analysis of the airfield as well as operational and intelligence research carried out on the remaining parts of the Iranian UAV.

Recently Israel carried out an attack on this same T-4 military base in Syria, killing seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers. Now we know why. There’s no doubt they want to prevent this base from being used for this again.

Here’s more on the Iranian drone attack:

Following the infiltration Israeli jets took off to strike the launch site of the drone as well as the drone control vehicle which guided the drone into Israeli territory and were met by massive Syrian anti-aircraft fire. Over 20 missiles were launched towards the Israelis jets from SA-5 and SA-17 batteries.

Pilots of one of the Israeli F16s ejected from their jet which crashed in the lower Galilee after being hit by shrapnel by the Syrian anti-aircraft fire. The pilots landed inside Israel and were evacuated to Rambam hospital in Haifa. Both have since been released from the hospital and the navigator has returned to flight duty.

It was the first time in 30 years that an Israeli jet was lost in a combat situation and led to an extensive retaliation by Israel with additional strikes against both the Syrian missile batteries and Iranian military targets in the war-torn country.

And here’s more on the recent Israeli attack of the T-4 military base:

Last week Israeli reportedly carried out an airstrike against Syria’s T4 airbase, the same base where the drone took off from in February, killing seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps soldiers.

According to the Russian military the strike was carried out by two Israeli F-15 jets with guided missiles fired from Lebanon’s airspace. Five out the eight missiles used were said to have been destroyed by Syrian air defenses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by Sputnik news agency as stressing Wednesday on a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respect Syria’s sovereignty and called for “refraining from any actions that might further destabilize the situation in this country and pose a threat to its security.”

Respect Syria’s sovereignty? Seriously? Putin is clearly on the wrong side.

 

Hezbollah: No war unless ‘Trump and Netanyahu completely lose their minds’

April 13, 2018

Terror group’s deputy leader Naim Qassem says conditions in Syria unlikely to develop into direct US-Russian clash

Today, 3:46 pm

https://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-no-war-unless-trump-and-netanyahu-completely-lose-their-minds/

Commander-in-chief of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, (IRGC) Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, left, greets Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy Secretary General of Lebanons Hezbollah, during a religious ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on August 18, 2007. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

The second-in-command of the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror group said in an interview published Friday that a broader war in the region was unlikely, despite threats from US President Donald Trump to launch military action against Syria following a suspected chemical attack blamed on Damascus.

“We rule out the situation developing into a direct American-Russian clash or a wide state of war,” Sheikh Naim Qassem told Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria, as translated by Reuters news agency.

The conditions do not point to a total war… unless [US President Donald] Trump and [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu completely lose their minds,” he added.

His comments came amid anticipation of a coordinated international attack on the Syrian regime by the US, France and the UK over the alleged chemical attack in Douma.

The Iranian proxy’s deputy leader also spoke as Israel remained on high alert on its northern border over threats by the Islamic Republic to retaliate for a deadly Syrian base air raid earlier this week that was blamed on Israel.

A picture taken on February 10, 2018 shows Israeli solders taking positions in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria. (AFP/Jalaa Marey)

On Thursday, Trump put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria after tweeting earlier that they could happen “very soon or not so soon at all.” The White House said he would consult further with allies.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned Trump on Thursday that an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that US officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons. British officials said up to 75 people were killed.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in the Netherlands, announced it was sending a fact-finding team to the site of the attack outside Damascus, and it was due to arrive Saturday. It was not clear whether the presence of the investigators could affect the timing of any US military action.

Asked what Hezbollah would do in the event of US military action in Syria, Qassem declined to give specifics, but maintained it would not necessarily spiral into a regional war.

“If the assault on Syria has a very limited scope, then it’s expected that reactions from the concerned sides in Syria will be tied to the Syrian arena,” he said.

Iran, the Hezbollah terror organization’s main patron, has threatened to attack the Jewish state over a predawn Monday missile barrage on the T-4 Air Base near Palmyra in central Syria attributed to the Jewish state. Iranian media reported that seven members of the country’s military were killed in the strike, out of at least 14 reported fatalities. One was named as a colonel in the air force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Photo released by Iranian media reportedly show the T-4 air base in central Syria after a missile barrage Monday. (Iranian media)

Israel has refused to comment on the attack, for which it has been blamed by Iran, Russia and Syria. Two US officials were also quoted as saying that Israel had carried out the strike, adding that Washington was informed in advance.

Qassem said Friday that if Israel flew over Lebanese air space to bomb Syria, as it reportedly did on Saturday night, that would be considered an act of “aggression,” but implied that it would be dealt with in the political sphere and not militarily.

In February Qassem told Reuters news agency that his Iran-backed terror group was prepared for war, but did not think Israel would launch an attack in the near future.

Hezbollah “is ready to confront the aggression if it happens, if Israel decides to carry out any foolish action,” he told Reuters. “But it does not appear that the circumstances are for an Israeli decision for war.”

“We have declared repeatedly and frequently that we, as the resistance, work to have permanent readiness and we are ready to confront the Israeli aggression if it happens, and therefore we are ready to defend ourselves by all available means,” he told the news agency.

The Iranian proxy has held on to its weapons and made efforts to obtain advanced weaponry, a development Israel has vowed to prevent. Dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys bound for Lebanon have been attributed to Israel by foreign media reports. It has also deployed units south of the Litani River.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

KILLER COCKTAIL Syria chemical attack 2018 – what happened in Douma, was a nerve agent used and what have Donald Trump and Russia said?

April 13, 2018

Aid workers reported dozens of people, many of them young people, were killed by poison gas

By Patrick Knox and Jon Lockett 13th April 2018 Via The Sun

Source Link: 2018 – what happened in Douma, was a nerve agent used and what have Donald Trump and Russia said

{Distrust and verify. – LS}

Aid workers reported dozens of people were killed by poison gas – many of them young children – following the attack on the rebel-held town.

Official sources said at least 70 people had died in the atrocity late on Saturday, April 7, 2018, in the besieged town of Douma.

Patients showed signs of “respiratory distress, central cyanosis, excessive oral foaming, corneal burns, and the emission of chlorine-like odour”, they said.

The statement added civil defence volunteers found 42 casualties dead in their homes “with similar clinical symptoms of excessive oral foaming, cyanosis, and corneal burns”.

Harrowing footage showed victims with yellowed skin crumpled on the ground and foaming at the mouth.

And on April 12, it was revealed that victims of the attack had tested positive for chemicals including chlorine and a nerve agent substance.

US officials who obtained blood and urine samples from victims were said to be “confident” in the intelligence, but not 100 percent sure, MSNBC reported.

Douma is the last remaining opposition-held town in Eastern Ghouta, once the rebels’ main bastion outside Damascus but now ravaged by a seven-week regime assault.

Since February 18, Syrian and Russian forces have waged a fierce military onslaught.

While no one has yet provided evidence of its involvement, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons.

America and its allies have reportedly compiled a dossier of intelligence – including images – which indicate that the Syrian government was behind the Douma atrocity.

An emergency two-hour War Cabinet meeting on the evening of April 12 backed the UK joining US strikes against Assad following in response to the attack.

The PM’s top Ministers agreed it was “vital that the use of chemical weapons did not go unchallenged” in the emergency Downing Street summit.

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), are en-route to Syria and due to begin their probe on Saturday.

They will be working in territory which Russia claimed on Thursday had been completely retaken from Syrian rebels.

On Friday April, 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seemed to prejudge the OPCW investigation before the inspectors even reached the area in question.

He said he was confident the inspectors would find no evidence at all of a chemical attack.

Lavrov called the allegations that one had taken place last weekend in Douma a fabrication by Western intelligence agencies.

How did Donald Trump respond to the chemical attack?

US President Donald Trump warned of a quick, forceful response to the attack.

He pointed the finger at Syria and its ally Russia, both of whom have said there was no evidence that a gas attack even took place.

Trump told military leaders he would take a decision that night or shortly after on a response – and that the US had “a lot of options militarily” on Syria.

He said: “But we can’t let atrocities like we all witnessed… we can’t let that happen in our world.”

Trump initially took to Twitter branding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “butcher” and an “animal”.

“Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever,” before blaming his predecessor Barack Obama.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago!” Trump wrote. “Animal Assad would have been history!”

Syria and its Russian ally denounced the claims as “fabrications”, with Russia warning of potential “dire consequences” if they were used as a pretext for military action.

Have there been other gas attacks in Syria?

There have been several reports of chemical attacks in recent years. Here are some of the notable cases:

-Dec 2012 – Seven people are killed and dozens injured in Homs by a “poisonous gas” allegedly used by the Syrian regime
-Aug 2013 – More than 1,400 are killed near Damascus in chemical weapons strikes after Syrian troops launch an offensive in the area
-Sep 2014 – Officials says chlorine was used as a weapon “systematically and repeatedly” on villages in north west Syria
-Aug 2015 – Syrian rebels report a chemical weapons attack in a stronghold in northern Aleppo, affecting dozens of people
-Aug and Sep 2016 – Hospital officials and activists in Aleppo say chlorine gas is used in attacks
-Apr 2017 – Warplanes strike the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun with a chemical agent, killing at least 83 people

What happened during the attack on Khan Sheikhoun?

More than 85 people, many of them children, died an excruciating death after being gassed by a nerve agent in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

Bombs rained down at about 6.30 am local time on April 4 while many people were sleeping.

By the time the White Helmet rescuers arrived they found people having fits and frothing at the mouth.

Video taken at the scene showed civilians sprawled on the ground, some in convulsions, others lifeless.

Rescue workers hosed down the limp bodies of small children, trying to wash away chemicals.

As the name suggests, this particularly nasty chemical concoction targets the human nervous system.

The charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said one of its hospitals in Syria had treated patients “with symptoms – dilated pupils, muscle spasms, involuntary defecation”.

The World Health Organisation said the symptoms were consistent with exposure to a nerve agent.

US said planning to hit 8 sites in Syria after confirming chemical attack

April 13, 2018

Airfields, weapons factory among reported targets; Trump says decision on response to gas attack to come ‘fairly soon’

US President Donald Trump speaks about tax cuts for Americans from the Rose Garden at the White House on April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM

The White House is considering eight potential Syrian targets in retaliation for a chemical weapons assault, a US official told CNBC Thursday.

The targets included two airfields and a chemical weapons facility, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

April 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM

The White House is considering eight potential Syrian targets in retaliation for a chemical weapons assault, a US official told CNBC Thursday.

The targets included two airfields and a chemical weapons facility, according to the source, who requested anonymity.

The report came hours after US President Donald Trump, who this week threatened to attack Syria, told reporters that a decision on the matter would be made “fairly soon.”

That assertion from Trump, who huddled with top national security advisers Thursday, came a day after he tweeted that a US retaliatory attack could be “very soon or not so soon at all!”

Moscow warned against any move that risks triggering a conflict between Russia and the United States, raising fears of a full-blown conflict between the former Cold War foes.

Moscow, for its part, stonewalled diplomatic efforts at the United Nations and France declared “proof” that its Syrian ally carried out the chemical weapons attack that killed more than 40 Syrians in the rebel enclave of Douma.

“It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that,” said Trump, as Defense Secretary James Mattis headed to the West Wing to present options for a retaliatory strike.

“We’re having a number of meetings today, we’ll see what happens, we’re obviously looking at that very closely,” he told lawmakers and governors in the Cabinet Room. “Now we have to make some further decisions, so they will be made fairly soon.”

NBC News cited two US officials as asserting that Washington has blood and urine samples from last Saturday’s attack that tested positive for both chlorine and an unspecified nerve agent.

Bashar Assad’s regime has been known to employ a mix of chlorine and gases against its own citizens, according to US officials.

Medical workers treating toddlers following an alleged poison gas attack in the opposition-held town of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, Syria, April. 8, 2018 (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the use of chemical weapons in Syria is “simply inexcusable.”

“Some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale, and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention but of civilization itself,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee.

He said a chemical attack had likely occurred and hoped inspectors would be in place within a week to prove it.

“I believe there was a chemical attack and we are looking for the actual evidence,” Mattis said.

Military buildup

Since Saturday, when images of ashen toddlers struggling for breath emerged from Douma — the main city in the Eastern Ghouta enclave near Damascus that has been a crucible of revolt against Assad’s regime — there has been a sustained military buildup in the eastern Mediterranean.

A French frigate, UK Royal Navy submarines laden with cruise missiles, and the USS Donald Cook, an American destroyer equipped with Tomahawk land attack missiles have all moved into range of Syria’s sun-bleached coast.

The Cook — named after a Marine Colonel who suffered deprivation and starvation as a Vietnam prisoner of war — has past experience tangling with the Russian military, having been deployed to the Black Sea during the recent crisis in Crimea.

Half a world away in New York, Russia’s UN ambassador warned that the priority in Syria was to avert US-led strikes that could lead to a dangerous confrontation between the world’s two preeminent nuclear powers.

“The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war,” said Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia following closed-door Security Council talks.

Asked if he was referring to war between the US and Russia, he said: “We cannot exclude any possibilities unfortunately.”

This image released Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. Syrian rescuers and medics said the attack on Douma killed at least 40 people. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

Trump has slammed Russia for its partnership with “Gas Killing Animal” Assad, spurring concerns that a US strike could lead to a conflagration with Russia, which has major military facilities at Tartus and Khmeimim and works cheek-by-jowl with Syria forces that could be targeted.

US officials have refused to rule out direct military engagement with Russia, with the White House saying “all options are on the table.”

But a special hotline for the US and Russian militaries to communicate about operations in Syria is active and being used by both sides, Moscow said Thursday.

Rebels give up Ghouta

On the ground in Syria, rebels in Eastern Ghouta surrendered their heavy weapons and their leader left the enclave, signalling the end of one of the bloodiest assaults of the seven-year war and a major win for the Assad regime.

A top leader of Jaish al-Islam, a group that controlled Douma for years, told AFP it was Saturday’s attack that forced them to accept a Russian-brokered deal and evacuate.

At the United Nations, meanwhile, diplomats were mulling a draft resolution put forward by Sweden and obtained by AFP, that would dispatch a “high-level disarmament mission” to rid the country of chemical weapons “once and for all.”

That may prove too little, too late.

This photo released by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets shows smoke rising after Syrian government airstrikes hit in the town of Douma, in the eastern Ghouta region east of Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

The UN Security Council, tasked with maintaining international peace and security, has been riven, with Moscow virulently denying the Douma attack took place, or postulating that it was carried out by rebels.

The council has already failed to agree on a response to the attack in three votes and has been deadlocked throughout the Syrian civil war.

In Paris, France’s Emmanuel Macron upped the pressure on Moscow by stating he had “proof” that the Assad’s regime had used chemical weapons, and vowing a response “at a time of our choosing.” In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss support for US action against the Syrian regime.

But across Western capitals opposition to military action also grew. US lawmakers questioned whether Trump has the legal authority to order strikes without Congressional approval and opposition parties voiced concern.

National security experts worried about whether strikes would actually serve to deter Assad.

In April last year Trump ordered Tomahawk strikes on the Shayrat Airbase in response to a similar chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhun.

But the pinpoint strike did not deter Assad, and US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have since investigated as many as 10 suspected chemical attacks.

The same officials say Syria has continued to produce or procure chlorine, which also has industrial and agricultural uses.

This image released early Sunday, April 8, 2018 by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a rescue worker carrying a child following an alleged chemical weapons attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

Syria, which denies carrying out the latest attack, said it had invited the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has blamed the regime for previous such incidents, to visit Douma.

The OPCW, which works to rid the world of chemical arms stockpiles, said its experts were on their way to Syria and will start their work on Saturday.