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US Armored Vehicles Filmed Near Syrian/Turkish Border

[Turkish Jets Bomb “Obama’s Boys” (Now Trump’s Problem)]

Reports: US troops deploy along Syria-Turkish border

BEIRUT — U.S. armored vehicles are deploying in areas in northern Syria along the tense border with Turkey, a few days after a Turkish airstrike that killed 20 U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters, a Syrian war monitor and Kurdish activists said Friday.

Footage posted by Syrian activists online showed a convoy of U.S. armored vehicles driving on a rural road in the village of Darbasiyah, a few hundred meters from the Turkish border. Clashes in the area were reported between Turkish and Kurdish forces Wednesday a day after the Turkish airstrike which also destroyed a Kurdish command headquarters.

The Turkish airstrikes, which also wounded 18 members of the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in Syria were criticized by both the U.S. and Russia. The YPG is a close U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State group but is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.

Further clashes between Turkish and Kurdish forces in Syria could potentially undermine the U.S.-led war on the Islamic State group.

A senior Kurdish official, Ilham Ahmad told The Associated Press that American forces began carrying out patrols along the border Thursday along with reconnaissance flights in the area. She said the deployment was in principle temporary, but may become more permanent.

A Kurdish activist in the area, Mustafa Bali, said the deployment is ongoing, adding that it stretches from the Iraqi border to areas past Darbasiyah in the largely Kurdish part of eastern Syria.

“The U.S. role has now become more like a buffer force between us and the Turks on all front lines,” he said. He said U.S. forces will also deploy as a separation force in areas where the Turkish-backed Syrian fighting forces and the Kurdish forces meet.

It is a message of reassurance for the Kurds and almost a “warning message” to the Turks, he said.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, did not dispute that U.S. troops are operating with elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along the Turkish border, but he would not get into specifics. The SDF is a Kurdish-dominated alliance fighting IS that includes Arab fighters.

“We have U.S. forces that are there throughout the entirety of northern Syria that operate with our Syrian Democratic Force partners,” Davis said. “The border is among the areas where they operate.” He said the U.S. wants the SDF to focus on liberating the IS-held town of Tabqa and the extremist group’s de facto capital, Raqqa, “and not be drawn into conflicts elsewhere.”

Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the deployment seems limited and is aimed to “prevent fighting” between the two sides.

The U.S. has recently shifted from working quietly behind the scenes in Syria’s conflict toward overt displays of U.S. force in an attempt to shape the fight.

Last month, about 200 Marines rolled into northern Syria backed with howitzers, significantly widening America’s footprint in a highly toxic battlefield. The Marines’ deployment came days after another intervention, when dozens of army troops drove outside the town of Manbij, riding Stryker armored vehicles, following an earlier conflagration of fighting between Syrian Kurdish troops and Turkish troops. The U.S. deployment in Manbij intentionally put Americans in the middle of that rivalry, hoping to cool it down.

The SDF retook Manbij from IS control, and Turkey — with its troops nearby — said it won’t allow the town to be under Kurdish control, threatening to move on it. The American presence appears intended to reassure Ankara the Kurds don’t hold the town.

But the new deployment puts U.S. troops directly along the border with Turkey, another flashpoint, and immerses Washington into that increasingly hot fight.

Separately, the chief of the international chemical weapons watchdog said on Friday that he has a team of experts ready and willing to travel to the site of this month’s deadly nerve gas incident in Syria if their safety can be assured.

“We are willing to go to Khan Sheikhoun and we have undertaken some actions,” Ahmet Uzumcu of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told a small group of reporters in The Hague.

Syrian ally Russia has called for an international investigation into the April 4 attack that killed nearly 90 people. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov this week expressed regret that the OPCW turned down the Syrian government’s offers to visit the site of the attack and investigate. Russia has rejected Western accusations that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government was behind the attack.

Uzumcu said that the area of the town of Khan Sheikhoun where the incident happened is controlled by opposition rebels, adding that the watchdog experts will “need to strike some deals with them,” such as a temporary ceasefire, to assure the team’s safety before it can deploy.

The OPCW has been extremely cautious about sending investigators to Syria since a team of its experts came under attack there in 2014. Uzumcu said the organization is in daily contact with U.N. authorities over the security situation in Syria.

The Syrian president has categorically rejected accusations that his forces were behind the attack.

Uzumcu is not yet calling the April 4 incident a chemical weapons attack, but he has said that tests by his organization have established beyond doubt that sarin or a similar toxin was used.

Other nations, however, have already labelled it an attack and blamed the Syrian government.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said earlier this week that the attack “bears the signature” of Assad’s government and shows it was responsible.

Uzumcu said his organization is not yet in a position to confirm the French findings.

The OPCW’s team is already gathering evidence from victims and survivors and testing samples outside Syria. Uzumcu said he expects an initial report to be issued in about 10 days. The initial OPCW investigation will not apportion blame — that is left to a separate investigative mechanism made up of OPCW and U.N. experts.


Burns reported from Washington, DC. Associated Press writers Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands, and Zeina Karam in Beirut contributed to this report.

SARAH EL DEEB and BOB BURNS

 

PKK Responds To Turkish Airstrikes w/Threats of Real War

 

 

A Syrian Kurd carrying a picture of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), takes part in a protest in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli this week, to denounce the Turkish raids on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria. Photo: AFP/Delil Souleiman
A Syrian Kurd carrying a picture of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), takes part in a protest in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli this week, to denounce the Turkish raids on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria. Photo: AFP/Delil Souleiman

 

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) warns that its armed forces will now fight against what they describe as the fascism of the Turkish ruling party everywhere following Turkey’s recent airstrikes against a PKK-affiliate group in the Shingal in the Kurdistan Region and some Kurdish fighters in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
In a statement, the PKK says its armed wing, the People’s Protection Force (HPG) and its female counterpart YPJ-Star will be deployed to where they are needed.
It grouped together the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and ISIS as ones who have the same goal of crushing the will of the Yezidi people in Shingal, and the people of Syria.
“After the occupation of Jarablus and al-Bab, and the April 24th attack in Shingal and Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan], the PKK has the right to carry out its struggle against the fascism of the AKP and MHP wherever they are,” a statement from the PKK read, as published by its media affiliate ANF News Agency Thursday evening.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkish armed forces captured the two Syrian cities of Jarablus and al-Bab from ISIS in late 2016, and early 2017,respectively.
The People’s Protection Units  (YPG) in Rojava also aimed at the two cities that are close to Turkey’s southern border.
“…the HPGP and the YPJ-Star will be present wherever they are needed,” the PKK declared, raising expectations that they may engage in armed fight against the Turkish forces in Kurdistan Region, and in Syria.
It said that the Turkish airstrikes, which the PKK said happened on Monday while in fact it was on Tuesday, coincided with the anniversary of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Turks that started on April 24, 1915.
The Turkish air force carried out simultaneous air strikes against the PKK-affiliate group Shingal Protections Units (YBS) and the US-backed YPG on April 25 citing what it described as the elimination of threats against the Turkish national security.
The Turkish fighter jets also bombed a Peshmerga position last Tuesday in Shingal that was in close proximity to the YBS units, killing six Peshmerga and injuring another eight.
Turkish President Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim both called the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani on Tuesday, expressing their condolences over the killing of Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers in Shingal, emphasizing that the strike happened by “mistake” and that it was not “intentional.”
The United States whose forces are supporting the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria in their drive against ISIS said that the attacks were not approved by the US-led coalition in Iraq or Syria. The US revealed that the Turkish military informed them only 20 minutes before the attacks.
Turkey also said that they informed the Kurdistan Regional Government beforehand.
The PKK insisted that the attacks could not have happened if it did not have green light from regional and international powers, Kurdish authorities in Erbil.

3 ISIS Terrorists Went To Take A Crap On Kirkuk and the Hogs Ate/Killed Them

Wild boars rampage in Kirkuk, leave 3 Islamic State members dead

 

Wild boar (representational photo)

Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Three Islamic State militants died late Sunday when wild boars attacked them in southern Kirkuk, a local source was quoted saying.

The animals went on a rampage near a farmland in al-Rashad region, an Islamic State pocket 53 kilometers south of Kirkuk. They attacked the militants and left three killed, according to the source.

Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that “Daesh (Islamic State) militants took revenge at the pigs that attacked the farmland,” but did not clarify the method.

Since emerging in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”, IS members have held areas in southwestern Kirkuk, where thousands of civilians had to flee the group’s rule to refugee camps in the province and neighboring cities. Local officials have repeatedly urged the government to hasten with security efforts to liberate IS-held regions in Kirkuk, but the Iraqi government is currently employing its full military power in the six-month-old campaign to retake Mosul, IS’s biggest stronghold in Iraq. It is expected that the government will launch further offensives against IS havens across Iraq once the campaign in Mosul concludes.

Islamic State militants have regularly executed civilians in Kirkuk over accusations of collaboration with security forces or attempting to flee the province to refugee camps.

Russian Intelligence Ship Sinks After Collision In Black Sea

Russian Navy Ship Sinks In Black Sea After Collision With Freighter

Almost 80 Russian Navy sailors were rescued off the coast of Turkey Thursday when a military intelligence ship collided with a freighter carrying livestock.

The Turkish coastal safety authority said the Russian ship, identified as the “Liman.” collided with the Togo-flagged “Youzarsif H.”

Image: The Russian reconnaissance ship Liman, pictured here in 2016 before it sank.
The Russian reconnaissance ship Liman, pictured here in 2016 before it sank. Murad Sezer / Reuters

The Liman is a former research vessel that the Russian navy has retro-fitted into a reconnaissance ship.

Turkish shipping agency GAC said that the collision was caused due to fog and low visibility 18 miles from Kilyos village, on the Black Sea coast just north of Istanbul.

According to the Turkish coastal authority website, a tugboat was dispatched along with three fast rescue vessels to bring the Russian sailors to safety.

In total, 78 were rescued and there were no injuries reported on the freighter.

Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait, which cuts through Istanbul, is one of the world’s most important waterways for transit of oil and grains. The 17-mile waterway connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

US Drone Kills David Headley Co-Conspirator In N. Waziristan

one of the dead militants as Abdur Rahman, a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban.

Abdur Rehman retired in 2007 from the Pakistan army as a Major.[2] He worked closely with Lashkar-e-Taiba and coordinated the activities of a Chicago man, David Headley. He was arrested in 2009 in Pakistan on unspecified charges and later released.[3][4][5]”

Suspected U.S. Drone Strike Targets Pakistani Taliban Militants: Regional Official

 


By Saud Mehsud

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suspected U.S. drone strike killed several Pakistani Taliban militants in North Waziristan close to the Afghanistan border, a regional government official and an Islamist militant said on Thursday, in a rare strike on Pakistani soil.

If confirmed, the air strike, which happened on Wednesday, would be only the second drone attack inside the nuclear-armed nation since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

Kamran Afridi, a senior regional official in the tribal region of North Waziristan, told Reuters in a text message a “drone strike” had struck Pakistani Taliban militants close to the Afghanistan border and killed seven fighters.

Afridi, who holds the post of ‘political agent’ in North Waziristanl, identified one of the dead militants as Abdur Rahman, a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban. Several other militant sources said Rahman was killed.

Abdullah Wazirstani, spokesman for North Waziristan Taliban, a group linked to the Pakistani Taliban, said the strike killed three civilian “laborers” and seven militants from the Pakistani Taliban, which is also known as TTP.

Malik Waheedullah, a local tribal leader, told Reuters he saw two missiles strike a mountain home which caught fire. “I drove away as fast as I could,” he said.

One Pakistani intelligence official and government source said they believed the strike to be a U.S. drone attack.

U.S. officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

North Waziristan was a Taliban stronghold until 2014, when Pakistan’s military launched a major offensive against the group and pushed many of its fighters across the border into Afghanistan.

U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years. In its last high-profile attack inside Pakistan, the United States last May killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

(Additional reporting by Javed Hussain, Jibran Ahmad and Haji Mujataba; writing by Drazen Jorgic; editing by Saad Sayeed and Ralph Boulton)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.

Department of Justice Press Release
Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman)
For Immediate Release
December 7, 2009
United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois
Contact: (312) 353-5300

Chicagoan Charged with Conspiracy in 2008 Mumbai Attacks in Addition to Foreign Terror Plot in Denmark
Additional Charges Unsealed Alleging Retired Pakistani Major Conspired in Danish Plot

 

 

 

 

 

Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), aka Pasha

 

Abdur Rehman complaint

The two-count complaint unsealed against Abdur Rehman, which was filed on Oct. 20, 2009, charges him with conspiracy to murder and maim persons in a foreign country, and providing material support to that foreign terrorism conspiracy. Abdur Rehman allegedly participated in the planning of a terrorist attack in Denmark, coordinated surveillance of the intended targets, and facilitated communications regarding the surveillance and planning with a member of Lashkar and Kashmiri.

Abdur Rehman, who was not named previously but whose alleged participation was described in the initial charges against Headley and Rana, allegedly played the central role in communicating with Headley and facilitating contacts with other co-conspirators in Pakistan, including members of Lashkar. During Headley’s trip to Pakistan in January 2009, Abdur Rehman took him to the FATA region of Pakistan to meet with Kashmiri and solicit the participation of Kashmiri and his organization in the planned attack on the Danish newspaper, according to the complaint against Abdur Rehman. A search of Headley’s luggage when he was arrested revealed a list of phone numbers, including a Pakistani number that he allegedly had used to contact Abdur Rehman.

The count against Headley charging conspiracy to bomb public places in India that resulted in deaths carries a maximum statutory penalty of life imprisonment or death. All of the other counts against Headley carry a maximum of life imprisonment, except providing material support to the Denmark terror plot, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

The conspiracy to murder or maim persons in a foreign country charge against Abdur Rehman carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, and the count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

The prosecution of Headley and Abdur Rehman is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Collins and Victoria J. Peters from the Northern District of Illinois, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The investigation into the Mumbai attacks is continuing with the active participation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

The public is reminded that criminal charging documents contain mere allegations that are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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