BERLIN/MOSUL/DAMASCUS | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/MOSUL/DAMASCUS (Own report) - According to a documentation, at least 300 civilians have been killed in Syria during US led Anti-IS Coalition airstrikes - with the involvement of German soldiers. The human rights organization Amnesty International presented the documentation on eleven of these air raids yesterday. The total number of civilian casualties caused by the airstrikes since the war on IS was launched in September 2014, can be expected to be much higher - up to 1200, according to observers. And this does not even include the number of casualties from western raids on Iraq, or the casualties that can be expected during neither the recapture of Mosul that has recently been started nor the forthcoming recapture of Raqqa. The German military is involved in preparing these airstrikes with reconnaissance flights and in-flight refueling. Whereas German politicians are reacting with indignation to casualties in East Aleppo from Russian airstrikes and calling for sanctions, no such demands are raised regarding the western Anti-IS Coalition. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) -While jihadi militias pursue their military offensive launched on the weekend in Aleppo, the German government is increasing its pressure on Russia. "As the most important supporter of the regime" in Damascus, Moscow must provide "a sound agreement for Aleppo," demanded German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But it was in fact the militia that broke the ceasefire initiated by Russia late last week and it was they who were also preventing the evacuation of the civilian population by firing at the escape corridors, as a British journalist reported from Aleppo. Similar practices are being used by the militia in the Iraqi town of Mosul, however these are being described for what they are, i.e. the IS is using civilians as "human shields." The German government is intensifying its pressure on Russia, at a moment when Moscow is reinforcing its military strength in the Eastern Mediterranean with the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group near the Syrian coast, aimed at achieving an equal footing with the western powers. A German Bundeswehr frigate is accompanying the French aircraft carrier "Charles de Gaulle" in the same region, where the Russian aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" is going. Particularly the German Green Party leadership is raising demands for declaring a no-fly zone over Syria - preparing another escalation, risking a direct war with Russia. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlins demands for a renewed ceasefire are being accompanied by reports of the possible initiation of a program to supply insurgents in Aleppo with man portable anti-aircraft missiles. The Syrian government and Moscow must immediately return to a ceasefire, admonished German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The combat in Aleppo is intolerable. Even though the combat is becoming increasingly gruesome, the ceasefire had been doomed to fail from the beginning, because important insurgent militias - partisans of the West - rejected it and continued their combat. They even refused to accept a key element of the ceasefire, rejecting the demand that they halt their collusion with al Qaeda and its Syrian affiliate, the Jabhat al Nusra / Jabhat Fatah al Sham. That demand was considered particularly important because, as experts have been warning for months, al Qaeda is establishing a jihadi emirate in northern Syria. Confronted with the eventuality that the Syrian army may recapture Aleppo, Washington is now considering supplying man portable air defense systems, or "MANPADS," to insurgents allied with al Nusra - similar to the ones the US had previously provided the mujahidin fighting the Soviet military in Afghanistan. The German government remains silent because its own preferences will benefit - even though the missiles could wind up in the hands of al Qaeda. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr's concrete role in the widely criticized air attacks carried out by the anti-IS coalition and its members has not become clear, even after the coalition's air strikes on Syrian government forces near Deir al-Zor. The Bundeswehr is supporting air strikes on IS/DAESH not only by furnishing in-flight refueling - already more than 1,100 times - but also by supplying intelligence information. This information is passed on to all coalition members through the "information space" in the anti-IS coalition's Combined Air and Space Operations Center at the Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar), where several Bundeswehr officers are stationed. Observers assume that some of this intelligence, for example, can be used also by Turkey to prepare its operations against Kurdish units in Northern Syria. It is not clear, whether this data has played a role also in preparing attacks, resulting in civilian casualties, such as the anti-IS coalition's air strikes on Manbij in mid-July, wherein more than 100 people were killed. Last June, the Bundeswehr declared that it had already evaluated more than 11,000 reconnaissance photos and passed them on to its allies fighting the war against IS. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - The ceasefire, set to begin today in Syria, mutes Berlin's hegemonic ambitions. Negotiated between Washington and Moscow the ceasefire has placed Moscow, for the time being, on an equal footing with the USA in the Middle East, while ignoring Berlin and its claim to become a regulatory power for the region. This is a clear setback for the German government and the hopes it had had four years ago. At the time, German government advisors and foreign policy experts were drawing up plans together with Syrian opposition members for reconstructing Syria after Assad's expected overthrow. The implementation of these plans would have provided Germany exclusive influence, while pushing Russia, politically, to the sidelines. But, this did not happen. However, the ceasefire cannot be considered stable. On the one hand, it is uncertain that the insurgent militia will respect it and, on the other, if Washington will - as was decided - really engage in joint operations with Moscow against the al Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al Nusra, or its successor, Jabhat Fatah al Sham. Because of the latter's close cooperation with the so-called moderate militias, the USA risks hitting its western allies, when bombing Fatah al Sham. more…

ALEPPO/BERLIN | | syrien

ALEPPO/BERLIN (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's newest diplomatic initiatives for ending the battle for Aleppo are aimed at increasing Germany's Middle East influence. His efforts to achieve a Russian ceasefire and the establishment of a corridor to airdrop supplies for the besieged neighborhoods coincide with Berlin's official announcement to "actively help shape the global order." Assuming a humanitarian image, Berlin is demanding that combat ceases, precisely at the moment, when a victory in this war for the government troops appears within reach. This contrasts with its earlier attitude in phases of the war. When the insurgents were on the offensive; Berlin was fueling the conflict with the development of major reconstruction plans for Syria for the aftermath of Assad's overthrow. In the current battle for Aleppo, whereas Steinmeier is officially promoting a ceasefire, Germany's close allies are intensifying the arms buildup of the jihadi militias. A report by Amnesty International has revealed the consequences of the support Germany's close allies have been providing the jihadis, for years - with Berlin's tacit consent: In the regions controlled by jihadis, the militias are using corporal punishments such as amputations and stoning, arbitrary abductions, torture and murder to secure their reign. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - The ceasefire in Syria is threatened to be torpedoed by a militia, armed by Germany's allies and included, under German government pressure, in the Syria peace talks in Geneva. According to reports, the militia, Ahrar al Sham, covered by the ceasefire, is participating in the current military offensive waged by the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front, which has been excluded from the ceasefire. Ahrar al Sham has been financed and armed by Berlin's NATO partner, Turkey and by Qatar, one of Germany's main Middle East allies. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had been vigorously pushing for al Sham's membership in the delegation of the government opposition at the Geneva peace talks, even though it has been closely cooperating with al Nusra (al Qaeda) for years. A recent analysis published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) confirms that this military cooperation is based on a broad ideological kinship. Ahrar al Sham is said to have also been implicated in a massacre of members of the Alawite minority. The militia is often referred to as the "Syrian Taliban," according to a leading German expert on Salafism and jihadism, who maintains that whoever "enhances its prestige," is "indirectly also reinforcing al Qaeda." This applies to Berlin's close allies as well as its foreign ministry. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - In an interview with Germany's ARD public television, the Syrian President Bashar al Assad acknowledged Germany's role in hosting Syrian refugees and does not rule out Germany's playing an influential role in Syria's future. He "hopes" that other countries, "especially European countries" - and Germany as the strongest EU power - would "play a role" in ending the Syrian war. However, to accomplish this, they must be "independent" of the USA, Assad declared. The ARD broadcast the exclusive interview at a time when Berlin is seeking a leading role in the international Syria negotiations and preparing to enhance its influence within the framework of the eventual reconstruction of this Middle Eastern country. Meanwhile, a US think tank is strongly criticizing the West's war on the "Islamic State" (IS/Daesh). According to the military-affiliated Institute for the Study of War (ISW), it is a mistake to focus the fight on Daesh and ignore other jihadi militias, such as Jabhat al Nusra. This would only facilitate the al Qaeda subsidiary Jabhat al Nusra taking power, particularly in Northern Syria, where the jihadists have firmly established themselves in the population. Berlin would also be confronted with significantly reinforced jihadist organizations, such as Al Nusra, in the framework of the eventual reconstruction efforts. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS | | syrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) - In the Syrian war, Berlin und Brussels are supporting Turkey's call for a "safe zone" on Syrian territory. "Zones should be defined," where "the civilian population" could be "safe," urged Chancellor Merkel on behalf of the EU. However, this demand is aimed at preventing Syrian government forces from retaking key positions in northern Syria under Salafist militias' control. Ankara has been calling for this since some time and is now intensifying its efforts, openly threatening the intervention of its ground troops in Syria - a step that could lead to war between the NATO-member, Turkey and Russia. Dramatic consequences are also looming, if Saudi Arabia - Berlin's second close ally in the Middle East - carries out its threat and supplies the insurgent militias with surface-to-air missiles. Faced with this possible aggravation of the situation, concerned voices are being raised in sectors of the western establishment. For example, a US journal with a wide circulation warned that one should not fight Russia in the Middle East at any cost. Regime change policy, which Moscow is trying to prevent in Syria, has already destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq. This should not be repeated a third time. more…

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD | | iraksyrien

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD (Own report) - Germany's close allies have torpedoed the agreement to halt combat in Syria, reached at the end of last week in Munich. Turkey has begun attacks on Syrian territory, with the objective of forcing Kurdish troops to withdraw from the airbase near Aleppo, which would be of benefit to the al Qaeda offshoot, Al Nusra, which had previously held the base. Saudi Arabia has also announced intentions of sending ground troops into Syria. This threatens an escalation in the war with Saudi Arabia and the NATO member Turkey fighting on the one side, and Syria's armed forces and Russia on the other. The consequences would be unpredictable. While not only having massively built up Turkey and Saudi Arabia's arsenals, and allowing AWACS airborne radar systems to be used in the Syrian war, Berlin is focusing on the period after combat has ended. Refugees are supposed to serve as channels for enhancing German influence in Syria. The German government is also hoping to enhance its influence in Iraq through a Marshall Plan-like reconstruction effort. German military personnel are beginning to consider Russia's intervention in Syria as having prevented IS/Daesh from taking power in Damascus and carrying out offensives against other countries - including Israel. more…