MESOP TODAYS Opinions – Enough is enough — U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end

By Michael Ignatieff and Leon Wieseltier February 9 at 9:09 AM – Michael Ignatieff is the Edward R. Murrow professor of practice at the Harvard Kennedy School. Leon Wieseltier is the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution.

As Russian planes decimate Aleppo, and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria’s largest city prepare for encirclement, blockade and siege — and for the starvation and the barbarity that will inevitably follow — it is time to proclaim the moral bankruptcy of American and Western policy in Syria.

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MESOP : KADYROW – THE BUTCHER OF GROSNY – Chechen leader claims Russian spy network has infiltrated IS

AFP / Middle East Eye – 10 Feb 2016 – Ramzan Kadyrov says agents from Chechnya have ’embedded’ in IS training camps in Syria to help identify targets for Russian attacks- Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has claimed spies from his region of Russia are being sent to infiltrate the Islamic State (IS) group and assist Moscow in its bombing campaign in Syria.

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MESOP : OBAMA’S SYRIA DESASTER – Syrian Opposition Groups Sense U.S. Support Fading

By ANNE BARNARD – FEB. 9, 2016 – The New York Times – GAZIANTEP, Turkey — The United States and its allies have spent many millions of dollars backing Syrian opposition fighters they deem relatively moderate and secular, and civilian groups whose work on small businesses and local councils they billed as the cornerstone of Syria’s future. But the very Syrians who benefited — and risked their lives in the process — now say that investment is in danger of going down the drain, and they see little urgency from Washington, diplomatic or military, to save it.

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“Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Deaths in Detention in the Syrian Arab Republic” (U.N. Human Rights Council)

“In the accounts collected from over 500 survivors of Government detention centres between March 2011 and November 2015, almost all described having been the victims of and witnesses to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. Over 200 former Government detainees witnessed one or more deaths in custody. Former detainees detailed how cellmates were killed as they were beaten to death during interrogations and in their cells, or died as a result of severe injuries sustained due to torture or ill treatment.

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UN Warns of New Syrian Refugee Exodus Amid Aleppo Siege

Around 300,000 Syrians could lose access to humanitarian aid if government forces encircle the city of Aleppo, which could send more than 100,000 new refugees out of the city, the United Nations’ humanitarian office warned Tuesday (Reuters). The government’s recent offensive on Aleppo, bolstered by Russian airstrikes, has already sent more than 30,000 refugees to the Syrian-Turkish border. Turkish aid groups have been delivering food and supplies to the refugees, most of whom have not been allowed to cross into Turkey (AFP). Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged to step up diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting around Aleppo (Al Jazeera).


“Aleppo may prove to be the Sarajevo of Syria. It is already the Munich. By which I mean that the city’s plight today — its exposure to Putin’s whims and a revived Assad’s pitiless designs — is a result of the fecklessness and purposelessness over almost five years of the Obama administration,” writes Roger Cohen for the New York Times.

“Russia’s intervention in Syria should not be viewed in isolation. The capture of Aleppo means that Moscow will have many more bargaining chips when it comes to dealing with the West over issues such as Ukraine or Georgia,” writes Luke Coffey for Al Jazeera.

“Turkey and the two other nations sheltering Syrian refugees, Jordan and Lebanon, cannot be treated as little more than holding pens for migrants. The EU’s 28 nations need to demonstrate that those refugees with a genuine case for asylum will be accepted into European states,” writes the Financial Times.


MESOP : RUSSIAN AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA 1 – 7 th February 2016 – By the ISW Syria Team

Russia’s four month long air campaign has set conditions for the encirclement of Aleppo. Pro-regime forces backed by heavy Russian airstrikes severed one of two opposition supply lines into Aleppo City from the Turkish border on February 3 when they pushed northwest of the city to reestablish a regime supply line to the besieged regime towns of Nubl and Zahra’a. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters and Iranian-backed Shi’a militia forces played a prominent role in the offensive, demonstrating the lethality of combined Russian air and Iranian ground operations against the opposition in Syria.

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MESOP Syria Daily: Kurds Take Rebel Territory in Northwest / GENERAL KIRBY’S MESSAGE

February 09 – by Scott Lucas – EAWORLDVIEW – Taking advantage of Russian airstrikes and a nearby regime-Hezbollah-Iranian offensive, Kurdish forces have taken rebel territory in northwest Syria.

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MESOP Syria Feature: US to Opposition — Drop Conditions for Talks, Such as Ceasefires

The US told Syria’s opposition on Monday that it should drop conditions — such as ceasefires, detainee releases, and access to aid for besieged areas — for “proximity talks” with the Assad regime. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the issues should be part of the discussions:

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Krieg in Syrien: Putin bombt Aleppo zum zweiten Grosny / DER SPIEGEL


Von Christoph Sydow – DER SPIEGEL – 8 Feb 2016 – Wladimir Putin setzt im Kampf gegen die syrischen Rebellen auf seine Kriegstaktik aus dem Tschetschenien-Feldzug. “Der Syrienkonflikt lässt sich nicht militärisch lösen.” Diesen Satz wiederholen westliche Diplomaten und Politiker seit fast fünf Jahren wie ein Mantra. Wladimir Putin schickt sich nun an, das Gegenteil zu beweisen.

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