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Assad: Israel is providing weaponry & logistic support to terrorists in Syria

© qudspress
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused Israel of lending support to terrorist factions operating in the war-plagued country, saying Israelis provide armed groups with weapons, logistic support and medical assistance.

Israel participates in the war in Syria in various forms, which include using weapons against Syrian army positions and directly supporting terrorist groups which fight against government troops, Assad told Venezuelan Telesur broadcaster.

"It is playing this role in different forms; first, by direct aggression, particularly by using warplanes, artillery, or missiles against Syrian Army positions. Second, it is supporting terrorists in two ways: first by providing direct support in the form of weapons, and second by providing logistic support, i.e. allowing them to conduct military exercises in the areas it controls. It also provides them with medical assistance in its hospitals," Assad said, as quoted by Sana news agency.

Comment: The Kremlin's Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has also made a public statement urging Israel to begin respecting Syrian sovereignty:
"We urge the State of Israel to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and refrain from taking any steps that could lead to more escalation in the already troubled region", Peskov was heard saying.

He also denied reports on preparations for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump that was supposed to take place this month.
Further reading:


Attention

Trump warns of 'major conflict' as Pyongyang seeks ASEAN's help to avert 'nuclear holocaust'

© KCNA / Reuters
North Korea is seeking support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to prevent a potential "nuclear holocaust," as US President Donald Trump warns of the possibility of a "major conflict" in the Korean Peninsula if diplomacy fails.

Washington's actions and rhetoric are pushing the region to the "brink of war," North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho wrote in a letter to ASEAN's chief Le Luong Minh from Vietnam.

"As you know, due to the annual war games in South Korea conducted by the United States and South Korea, the situation in the Korean Peninsula is out of control," the letter, seen by AFP and dated April 23 reads.

"It is a fact clear to everyone that when they deploy the means of nuclear strike that can drive the Korean Peninsula into a nuclear holocaust in just seconds... the nature of such exercises can in no way be defensive."

Attention

Trump wants South Korea to foot $1bn THAAD bill but Seoul says no

© Lee Jong-hyeon / Reuters
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor (R) is seen in Seongju, South Korea, April 26, 2017.
Donald Trump said South Korea should pay for hosting the American THAAD anti-missile system, in line with his general narrative that America's allies are taking advantage of US protection. Seoul has rejected the idea.

President Trump wants South Korea to pay around $1 billion for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, he told Reuters in an exclusive interview.

"I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It's a billion dollar system," said Trump.

"It's phenomenal, shoots missiles right out of the sky," he added, promoting the anti-missile system that is being deployed in South Korea amid much public discontent and fears that it will only make the immediate surroundings a prime target of a potential strike.

Bad Guys

ISIS faces 'mass exodus' of foreign fighters as its caliphate crumbles

© Reuters
An Isis fighter pictured in Raqqa, where Aristidou admitted to having been based.
Large numbers of foreign fighters and sympathisers are abandoning Islamic Stateand trying to enter Turkey, with at least two British nationals and a US citizen joining an exodus that is depleting the ranks of the terror group.

Stefan Aristidou, from Enfield in north London, his British wife and Kary Paul Kleman, from Florida, last week surrendered to Turkish border police after more than two years in areas controlled by Isis, sources have confirmed to the Guardian.

Dozens more foreigners have fled in recent weeks, most caught as they tried to cross the frontier, as Isis's capacity to hold ground in Syria and Iraq collapses. Some - it is not known how many - are thought to have evaded capture and made it across the border into Turkey.

Comment: Further reading: The Origins and Ultimate Purpose of ISIS: A Brief History of the US-Middle East Proxy War


Chess

Pentagon 'annoyed' that Erdogan is no longer following US mandate

© Department of Defense / YouTube
Air Force Col. John L. Dorrian, spokesman
It is going to be difficult for Ankara and Washington to maintain their alliance after Turkish airstrikes against the other US allies in the region, the Kurds, considering the major anti-Turkish lobby in the US, says political writer Gerald Horne.

The Pentagon criticized Turkey's recent airstrikes in Syria and Iraq saying they are putting US military personnel at risk.

Gold Bar

Russian foreign reserves reach highest level since 2014

© Pavel Lisitsyn / Sputnik
The Central Bank of Russia reports the country's foreign reserves have risen to $400 billion in the week through April 21, their highest level since the beginning of the economic crisis in late 2014.

The record high was seen in August 2008, when Russia's reserves stood at $598 billion. By January 2014, they were at $500 billion.

The ruble fell after oil prices collapsed in the second half of 2014. Also that year, the United States, European Union, and their allies imposed sanctions against Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Einstein

Trump is puppet of US 'deep state,' has no 'own' foreign policy - Assad

© Reuters
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) and US President Donald Trump
US president Donald Trump is not a truly independent political leader but merely a puppet of US corporations, military and intelligence, and who serves their interests, Syrian President Bashar Assad has told the Latin American TeleSUR TV network.

Trump pursues "no own policies" but only executes the decisions made by the "intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms manufacturers, oil companies, and financial institutions," the Syrian leader said in an exclusive interview with TeleSUR.

"As we have seen in the past few weeks, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime," Assad added.

He referred to the fact that Trump came to power on a political platform promising a departure from the interventionist policy of the previous US president, Barack Obama, but soon forgot his promises and ordered a missile strike against the Syrian air base following a chemical weapons incident in Syria's Idlib province.

The Syrian president also said that it is "a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American president's foreign policy" as"he might say something" but what he really does depends on "what these [US military and business] institutions dictate to him."

He also added that it "is not new" and "has been ongoing American policy for decades."

Mr. Potato

Britain would be 'literally erased from the face of the earth' if it launched a nuclear attack, warns Russian MP

Britain would be "literally erased from the face of the earth" if it started a nuclear war with Russia, a Russian MP has warned.


Franz Klintsevich, a retired colonel, was responding to comments from Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who said "in the most extreme circumstances, we have made it very clear that you can't rule out the use of nuclear weapons as a first strike."

Mr Klintsevich said if Britain were to launch a preemptive strike, then "not having the biggest territory, it will literally be erased from the face of the earth."

Comment: This is an absolutely appropriate and accurate response to the delusional, impetuous and arrogant bellicosity of the repugnant British Defence Sec. Michael Fallon. All right-thinking English people should be supporting the words of the Russian MP and lobbying their wanna-be dictator politicians to shut the hell up, before they get them all killed.


Chess

Manufacturing consent: Saudis hired UK PR firm to promote 'Muslim NATO' and whitewash Saudi war crimes in Yemen

© AFP 2017/ Mohammed Al-Shaikh
An international public relations firm has been accused of complicity in whitewashing Saudi Arabian war crimes in Yemen, after signing a deal to promote the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, a Riyadh-dominated military bloc dubbed the "Muslim NATO."

The firm, Burson-Marsteller, was hired in March to shill the coalition, which was established in Riyadh in December 2015. It has 41 Muslim-majority member nations, and the stated mission of battling Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and combating Islamist militancy across the Middle East and North Africa.

Saudi Major General Ahmed Asiri, currently being investigated by UK police for alleged war crimes, has also suggested the alliance's purview could be expanded to include fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, a mission currently conducted by a Saudi-dominated coalition comprised of UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar.

IMAFT is modeled on NATO, and effectively headed by Saudi Arabia. It is comprised primarily of Sunni-majority nations, such as Bahrain, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia, nations which have all incurred intense criticism for their human rights records. Moreover, its religious composition suggests it is a sectarian force aimed at key Saudi regional enemy Iran.

Stormtrooper

Russian intel chief: West's propaganda war against Russia exceeding Cold War levels

© Emmanuel Dunand / Reuters
Protesters hold a demonstration against Russian President Vladimir Putin, New York.
Strengthening information security is as important as increasing military capabilities, Sergey Naryshkin, Russia's foreign intelligence chief, said, adding that tensions in the ideological war with the West sometimes exceed Cold War levels.

"Conflicts in the ideological information field are, especially, strained. The current phase of ideological confrontation is approaching the fever pitch of the Cold War in its severity and sometimes even exceeds it," Naryshkin said at the VI Moscow Conference on International Security on Thursday.

"The difference is that ideology is now promoted not by the Eastern bloc, but by the Western elites, at least, a part of them that doesn't want to give up on the neoliberal, globalist approach," he added.

According to the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the ideas of "globalization, multiculturalism" pushed forward by the Western elites reach the "point when the very notion of majority in social processes becomes marginal. The majority is unable to protect its rights in the face of aggressive minorities, they are constantly forced to apologize and justify themselves for the fact of their very existence."