Category: Costs of War

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Fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 © MSF

Yves Daccord Retweeted MSF International

Tragic news. please accept our condolences for the killing of your colleagues & patients in .

Yves Daccord added,


  • 19:56 GMT

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement extending condolences to the families and colleges of those killed and injured in the bombing.


WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers & health facilities

WHO calls on all govts & military officers to observe their obligations under intl law, ensure protection of health serv in conflict

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© Mohammed Badra
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Syrian president Bashar Assad should play a role in any talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. Her statement marks a softening in the stance of Western leaders towards the Syria’s current president.

“We have to speak with many actors, this includes Assad, but others as well,” Angela Merkel said at a press-conference following the EU emergency summit on the migration crisis.

This constitutes a marked departure from previous positions of most Western powers, which had consistently insisted that the Syrian leader’s resignation was an essential prerequisite for the conflict in the Arab country to be resolved.

“Not only with the United States of America, Russia, but with important regional partners, Iran, and Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia,” she added.

Defeating terrorism must be top priority, Syrian FM tells RT (Op-Edge) 

Earlier this month, the German Chancellor also stressed the need for Russia’s involvement in reconciling the Syrian crisis, German Deutsche Welle reports.

On August 31, she welcomed Iran’s potential participation in negotiations aimed at putting an end to the Syrian conflict.

“I think Iran has a lot of influence over what happens in Syria. And everyone is welcome to participate constructively in the negotiations,” she said at a news conference in Berlin at that time.

From demanding Assad go…

The US has repeatedly blamed Bashar Assad for the outbreak of violence in Syria as well as for its civil war, claiming that it was he who facilitated the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“He [Assad] is the reason ISIL, and other terrorist groups, have been allowed to fester and grow and sustain themselves inside Syria. Assad regime has allowed groups like ISIL to fester and grow inside the country,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing on September 16.


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If Assad asks, China can deploy troops to Syria

September 19, 2015, 7:51 pm


Turkey-backed Chinese Uyghur terrorists are gaining a stronghold in Syria from which to launch attacks on China.


Chinese Uyghur terrorists establishing base in Syria

A new article reported that 3,500 Uyghurs are settling in a village near Jisr-al Shagour that was just taken from Assad, close to the stronghold of Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) that is in the Turkey-backed Army of Conquest. They are allegedly under the supervision of Turkish intelligence that has been accused of supplying fake passports to recruit Chinese Uyghurs to wage jihad in Syria.

The news comes on the heels of TIP capturing a Syrian airbase and acquiring MIG fighter jets as well as other advanced weaponry, similar to ISIS capturing Iraqi army’s advanced US weaponry.

It also comes on the heels of the Bangkok bombing at the shrine frequented by Chinese tourists, with Thai authorities now drawing a link to Uyghurs “and the same gang that attacked the Thai Consulate in Turkey” in reference to Turkey’s Grey Wolves.

This seems to corroborate IHS Jane’s analyst Anthony Davis’s assessment that Grey Wolves are the likely culprit, given their anti-Chinese protests and violent demonstration back in July.

Through Turkey’s support for the Army of Conquest, TIP has risen to prominence within the anti-Assad coalition and played a key role in defeating the Syrian army at Jisr al Shughour earlier this year.


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Russia ready to consider sending troops to Syria if Damascus asks

MOSCOW: Russia would consider a request from Syria to send troops if Damascus asks for it, the Kremlin’s spokesman said on Friday.
“If there is a request (from Syria), then in the framework of a bilateral dialogue it would be, naturally, discussed and considered,” Dmitry Peskov told journalists on a conference call. “For now, it’s difficult to speak hypothetically.”
The Syrian military, which has lost ground to rebels recently in a four-year-old civil war, has begun using new types of air and ground weapons supplied by Russia, a Syrian military source told Reuters on Thursday..




Putin’s consistency on Syria has Washington fuming

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Sergey Guneev
It is increasingly difficult to watch the most recent coverage of the Syrian war and not be struck by how utterly illogical and convoluted it has become. But look through the media spin and it’s clear: the Russian leader’s steady moves in Syria are perplexing the US.

Whether it’s the latest neocon claim that the way to ‘help’ refugees is to drop more bombs and train more Al-Qaeda-linked rebels, or the conveniently-timed mass hysteria over Russia’s (never secret) support for Bashar Assad — or even the strange (and completely false) notion floating around that the West has ‘done nothing’ in Syria, all of this nonsense is becoming very difficult to take seriously.

It’s fairly easy to tell when Washington is scrambling to keep control of a story, because two things usually happen: firstly, the media coverage becomes muddled and frazzled, and secondly, the White House quickly looks for somewhere to offload the blame. These days the scapegoat is usually Russia, and hey, why fix what ain’t broken?

Obama’s fumbling vs. Putin’s consistency

On September 11, Barack Obama warned that Russia’s strategy of continued support for Assad was “doomed to fail” and a “big mistake.” In a patronizing little addendum, Obama said Putin was “going to have to start getting a little smarter.”

Russian involvement in Syria would be “destabilizing” …says the US after backing radical groups and illegally bombing Syria for a year.

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U.S. asks Greece to deny Russian flights to Syria

By Renee Maltezou, Tom Perry and Lidia Kelly

ATHENS/BEIRUT/MOSCOW Sept 7 (Reuters) – The United States has asked Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for supply flights to Syria, a Greek official said on Monday, after Washington told Moscow it was deeply concerned by reports of a Russian military build up in Syria.

The Greek foreign ministry said the request was being examined. Russian newswire RIA Novosti earlier said Greece had refused the U.S. request, adding that Russia was seeking permission to run the flights up to Sept. 24.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow would not give any official reaction until there was a decision from Athens.

Russia, which has a naval maintenance facility in the Syrian port of Tartous, has sent regular flights to Latakia, which it has also used to bring home Russian nationals who want to leave.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday that if reports of the build-up were accurate, that could further escalate the war and risk confrontation with the U.S.-led alliance that is bombing Islamic State in Syria.

Lavrov told Kerry it was premature to talk about Russia’s participation in military operations in Syria, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman told RIA Novosti on Monday.

Lavrov confirmed Russia had always provided supplies of military equipment to Syria, saying Moscow “has never concealed that it delivers military equipment to official Syrian authorities with the aim of combating terrorism”.


Peace in Syria? It’s Putin’s fault: Escobar

All one needs to know about the intellectual caliber of the Obama administration is that it is still pondering whether to persist in “ignoring” Russian President Vladimir Putin, or invest in a real partnership to solve the Syrian geopolitical/humanitarian drama. After all, when in doubt between diplomacy or chaos, the Beltway weapon of choice still veers towards the simplistic group think uniting neocons and neoliberalcons: regime change. Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad shake hands in Moscow in 2006











And then there’s the non-stop The Russians Are Coming! hysteria — the Cold War 2.0 remix, now switching from the invasion/military occupation of Ukraine to the invasion/military occupation of Syria. The White House — which, same as the Pentagon, does not do irony — actually appealed to the Kremlin to behave in a “more constructive” way side-by-side with the spectacularly inefficient coalition of the dodgy opportunists which is in thesis fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest clarified that when Obama decides that the Sisyphean task of picking up the phone and dialing K for Kremlin is actually in America’s interests, he will do it. The Shakespearean doubt may last days — even as Putin reaffirmed, via Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, he was always open to dialogue.

The White House at least is mulling an offer from Moscow to actually discuss the Russian buildup in Syria via direct military-to-military talks. The Pentagon will do the talking, seeking the “clarity” that so eludes the Obama administration.

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UN condemns ‘virtual silence’ on civilian casualties in Yemeni conflict

© Khaled Abdullah
UN officials have openly criticized the “the virtual silence” with regards to civilian suffering in the Yemeni conflict from the world community, warning that unless violence on the ground is stopped via political compromise more people will suffer.

Adama Dieng, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, “expressed concern at the ever increasing impact on civilians of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the virtual silence of the international community about the threat to populations.”

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Macedonian policemen try to keep migrants and refugees under control before they cross the border line from Greece into Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, Sept. 10, 2015.

Macedonian policemen try to keep migrants and refugees under control before they cross the border line from Greece into Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, Sept. 10, 2015.

US Urged to Do More on Mideast Refugee Crisis


US Criticized On Refugee Crisis

Since the start of Syria’s civil war more than four years ago, the U.S. has taken in just over 1,400 Syrian refugees — a barely detectable fraction of the four million who have fled the country.

On Thursday, White House officials signaled they were ready to do more: they announced the U.S. would make preparations to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the upcoming fiscal year.

“The president has directed our team to consider how we can further scale up our response,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “And one thing the United States can do is to begin to admit more Syrian refugees.”


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O’Malley: U.S. should accept 65,000 Syrian refugees

Washington (CNN)

“I support the call from humanitarian and refugee organizations for the United States to accept at least 65,000 Syrian refugees next year,” he said in a statement Friday. “If Germany — a country with one-fourth our population — can accept 800,000 refugees this year, certainly we — the nation of immigrants and refugees — can do more.”

Syrian refugees are flooding Europe following the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians due to ethnic violence in the Middle East. The migrant crisis has engulfed Europe, leading many to ask whether the U.S. would take refugees from the continued fighting in Syria.

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The iconic image of 3-year-old refugee Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a beach on the Turkish coast went ‘viral’ recently and brought the two-year-long European ‘refugee crisis’ to widespread public attention. EU nations are now facing an influx of potentially hundreds of thousands of migrants feeling their NATO-war-torn countries in search of safety and stability. Whether or not they’ll find it is still an open question.

This ‘refugee’ problem is, of course, not new, and Aylan was not the first tragic death directly related to the problem. Consider the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria alone that have resulted from the U.S. government-manipulated ‘revolution’ in that country 4 years ago. Or think of the unprovoked attacks on and invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or the NATO bombardment of Libya and subsequent installation of a fundamentalist ‘Jihadi’ regime there. Then consider that 2,600 people, or more, have already died attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. The ‘refugee crisis’ has been brew for over two years, but it took Aylan’s body to make many people sit up and taking notice.

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Sputnik International

Syrian refugees jump off a dinghy as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos September 3, 2015

Migrants, Refugees, Clandestines and… Jihadis

© REUTERS/ Dimitris Michalakis

13:27 11.09.2015(updated 16:12 11.09.2015) Get short URL
Pepe Escobar

The plight of the refugees could become the perfect excuse to precipitate a new R2P (responsibility to protect) war; Libya remixed, with fighting ISIL barely disguising the real agenda: regime change in Damascus.

So Europe has suddenly, miraculously “discovered” that the civil war/proxy war raging in Syria since early 2011 has hemorrhaged into an extremely serious refugee crisis.

European Sturm und Drang on what to do about the refugee drama is unprecedented in modern times. Bitterness permeates the fault lines separating fear and intolerance from generosity and solidarity.

Among quite a few progressive circles, there are widespread fears that the current Western media campaign centered on the plight of refugees may be a catalyst to prepare European-wide public opinion for an all-out war in Syria before the end of 2015.


German Lawmaker: At the Root of Refugee Crisis are U.S. Wars in Middle East

Starting a New Cold War With Russia a Big Mistake – Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy

Sputnik International

© RIA Novosti. Ekaterina Chesnokova
09:05 10.09.2015(updated 09:09 10.09.2015) 

The world needs Russia to end the civil war in Syria and flush out the Islamic State, French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview Wednesday. He also urged the West not to start a new Cold War with Russia.


Could the West ACCIDENTALLY start a war with Russia? Warning over aggressive military exercises – as U.S. fears build-up of Putin’s forces in Syria could spark conflict

  • Diplomatic and military leaders call on Russia and the West to ‘urgently’ begin talks to prevent conflicts being accidentally triggered
  • Comes as Russia holds an increasing number of military exercises
  • US asked Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for flights to Syria
  • Washington concerned by reports of Russian military build up in country
The European Leadership Network, a group made up of members from both Russia and Europe, has warned that relations are heading towards Cold War levels of hostility following events in Ukraine

The European Leadership Network, a group made up of members from both Russia and Europe, has warned that relations are heading towards Cold War levels of hostility following events in Ukraine

Diplomatic and military leaders are calling on Russia and the West to ‘urgently’ begin talks to prevent conflicts being accidentally triggered by an increasing number of military exercises and encounters

The European Leadership Network, a group made up of members from both Russia and Europe, has warned that relations are heading towards Cold War levels of hostility following events in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the United States has asked Greece to deny Russia the use of its airspace for supply flights to Syria, a Greek official said on Monday, after Washington told Moscow it was deeply concerned by reports of a Russian military build up in Syria.


US Wary, Not Surprised, by Russia’s Syria Efforts

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, left, speaks during a meeting in Moscow, Russia.

FILE – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, left, speaks during a meeting in Moscow, Russia.

Top U.S. intelligence and security officials say Russia’s ramped up presence in Syria should come as little surprise though they remain concerned about Moscow’s increasingly aggressive posture.

“Russia has been very candid. There is some additional people and stuff that is on its way to Syria,” CIA Director John Brennan told a meeting Thursday of intelligence and security professionals in Washington.

“They are stating it is a dual purpose,” he said.

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Fighting in Slavyansk on Monday, chaos in Odessa, and entrenchment on all elevates talk of open war

– Jon Queally, staff writer

Pro-Russia gunmen on armored personal carriers passing by barricades on a road leading into Slavyansk. (Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP)


Interim president Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday was the latest to indicate that the spiraling violence in an increasingly divided Ukraine looks more and more like civil war as efforts to contain uprisings in the east against Kiev’s authority have only elevated the violence in recent days.

“War is in effect being waged against us, and we must be ready to repel this aggression,” said Turchynov in a televised address from Kiev and referring to violence in the cities of Odessa, Slavyansk, and elsewhere over the weekend.

According to Agence France-Presse, the latest high-level warning from Kiev comes as Ukraine spirals “further into a chaos that many fear could result in open civil war.”

Turchynov has called up additional forces and reintroduced conscription for military-aged Ukrainians citing fear of a Russian invasion on the eastern border.

This AFP video report shows how some regular Ukrainians are preparing for “civil war”:

Report: civilians in Ukraine ready for civil war

Meanwhile, in and around the city of Slavyansk on Monday, journalists reported that opposing factions were exchanging heavy gunfire and that loud explosions could be heard throughout the area.

And in Donetsk, militias opposed to Kiev’s rule and calling for a referendum vote on their autonomy have now taken full control of the city despite continued threats from the Ukraine army.

“What is happening in the east is not a short-term action,” said Vasyl Krutov, who heads the Kiev government’s military operations in the east. “This is essentially a war.”

As the following map by AFP shows, the number of cities in open revolt against the Kiev government is growing:

The Associated Press reports:

Ukraine is facing its worst crisis in decades as the polarised nation of 46 million tries to decide whether to look towards Europe, as its western regions want to do, or improve ties with Russia, which is favoured by the many Russian-speakers in the east.

In the last few weeks, anti-government forces have stormed and seized government buildings and police stations in a dozen eastern Ukrainian cities. Authorities in Kiev – who blame Russia for backing the insurgents – have up to now been largely powerless to react.

And since Russia has kept tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s eastern border – and annexed its key Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last month – Ukraine’s central government fears Russia could try to invade and grab more territory.

Since the government began trying to take back the buildings late last week, Slavyansk has been under a tight security cordon. Movement in and out of the city has ground almost to a halt, causing shortages in basic supplies. Lines have been seen at grocery stores.

The goals of the insurgency are ostensibly geared towards pushing for broader powers of autonomy for the region, but some insurgents favour separatism, and the annexation of Crimea looms over the entire political and military discussion.

Following Friday’s violence in Odessa and the growing number of revolts in the east, former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Michael McFaul, spoke with Time magazine and made this warning: “The last 24 hours was a major escalation,” told TIME. “This is real. This is war.”


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File:Radioactive.svg Internationally recognized symbol.  by  Cary Bass


HAZMAT Ukraine Chernivtsi Oblast, Chernivtsi Damage level Details




HAZMAT in Ukraine on Tuesday, 06 May, 2014 at 13:00 (01:00 PM) UTC.

Ukraine’s security forces have seized ‘potentially radioactive’ material from a group in the country’s west. Quoting a spokesperson for the Security Service of Urkaine (SBU), The Kiev Post reported that the SBU had seized a “potentially radioactive” substance weighing 1.5 kilograms in Chernivtsi Oblast. It added there was speculation that separatists may have been preparing to detonate a “dirty bomb.” The SBU arrested 10 people in the operation, including one who is a citizen of the Russian Federation, according to the report.



Interior Ministry: Four Ukrainian soldiers killed, 30 wounded in anti-terrorist operation in Sloviansk (LIVE UPDATES)

May 5, 2014, 6:27 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov stands at a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on May 5, 2014. Four Ukrainian troops were killed and 30 wounded in intense fighting around the rebel-held town of Slavyansk on May 5, the interior ministry said. The ministry added that the pro-Russian gunmen controlling the town were using civilians as human shields and were shooting from houses, some of which were on fire. It said there were civilian casualties but did not provide a toll. AFP PHOTO / SERGEY BOBOK

SBU: Sniper nests discovered in Donetsk Oblast

2:14 p.m. — A spokesperson for the Security Service of Urkaine (SBU) said in a briefing on May 5 that members from the elite “Alpha” special forces team discovered and neutralized a sniper nest in a television tower in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, on May 3.

Two Ukrainian soldiers were wounded in the operation, Marina Ostapenko, the SBU spokesperson, reported.

Ostapenko told reporters that the SBU has identified similar sniper nests in other parts of Donetsk Oblast, but has yet to clear them.

She also said that the SBU had seized a “potentially radioactive” substance weighing 1.5 kilograms in Chernivtsi Oblast, speculating that separatists may have been preparing to detonate a “dirty bomb.” The SBU arrested 10 people in the operation, including one who is a citizen of the Russian Federation. — Isaac Webb


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Ukraine: Many insurgents killed in Slovyansk

Associated Press


Raw: Pro-Russians in Ukraine Prepare Defenses

Pro-Russia insurgents shot down two Ukrainian helicopters Friday and Ukraine reported many militants killed or wounded as the interim government in Kiev launched its first major offensive against an insurgency that has seized government buildings across the east.

The Kremlin said Kiev’s military move against the insurgents “destroyed” the two-week-old Geneva agreement on cooling Ukraine’s crisis. President Barack Obama said it was obvious to everyone now that the pro-Russia militants were not peaceful protesters and the U.N. Security Council held an emergency session in Ukraine at Russia’s request.

Fighting broke out around dawn near Slovyansk, a city 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the Russian border that has become the focus of the armed insurgency. Two helicopter crew members were killed in the crashes, both sides said, and the insurgents reported one member killed.

Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov later said two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and seven wounded in Friday’s clashes and the insurgents suffered significant losses, including many killed or injured. It was not clear if the two referred to the helicopter crew.

“Our security forces are fighting mercenaries of foreign states, terrorists and criminals,” he said in a statement

By early evening, Turchynov said the army controlled all of the checkpoints around Slovyansk, a city of 125,000 people.

One of the helicopters was hit by a surface-to-air missile, the Ukrainian Security Service said, calling it a sophisticated weapon that undercut Russia’s claims the city was simply under the control of armed locals. The agency said its forces were fighting “highly skilled foreign military men” in Slovyansk.

The Russian state television channel Rossia 24 showed one man they said was a wounded helicopter pilot reportedly being helped by pro-Russia forces.

Central Slovyansk still remained in the hands of pro-Russia gunmen, according to AP journalists in the city. Several foreign news crews trying to cover the fighting were detained for several hours Friday before being released.

A clash also broke out late Friday between pro-Russians and government supporters in Odessa, a Black Sea coast port some 550 kilometers (330 miles) from the turmoil in the east. Police said one person died from gunshot fire and other was wounded. Until now, Odessa had remained largely untroubled since the February toppling of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych, which ignited tensions in the east.

Turchynov admitted earlier this week that the central government had lost control of the east, and said some government troops and police there were “either helping or cooperating with terrorist organizations.” He said Ukrainian forces were working to prevent the unrest from spreading to central areas like Odessa.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the Ukrainian offensive “effectively destroyed the last hope for the implementation of the Geneva agreements” that aimed to defuse the crisis. But Dmitry Peskov said Russia “continues to undertake consistent efforts on de-escalation.”

Putin had warned Ukraine not to move against the insurgents and said it should withdraw its military from the volatile eastern and southern regions.


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