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Friday, October 28

"By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat"

... “This is Christian Iraq” Facebook page posted a video of two priests and members of the Iraq military elevating a cross made of two wooden poles and copper wiring on top of Al-Tahira Church ...

AMN, October 27: An emotional video has appeared of a girl, said to be Assyrian, expressing her thanks to the Iraqi army for ridding ISIS from her village.

The ‘people of the cross’ are taking back Iraq
By Mary Rezac 
October 26, 2016
Catholic News Agency Blog

[Visit the website for videos mentioned in the report] 

The cross of Jesus is being lifted once more over many parts of Iraq, where for years Islamic State terrorists left a path of death and destruction.

As a military campaign to rid the Mosul area of the Islamic state rages on, videos are surfacing of “the people of the cross” reclaiming their homes by raising makeshift wooden crosses over the churches and towns they were once forced to flee out of fear for their lives.

The “people of the cross” was the term for Christians used by Islamic terrorists when they beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians in February 2015.

According to many reports, the Islamic State has a special hate for the symbol of the cross, which many say points to the religious motivations of their actions. 

According to a journalist for Ankawa news agency, within two weeks of seizing Mosul, the Islamic State terrorists threw down all the crosses from domes of churches in the city. They also raided the houses of Christian living in Mosul in order to destroy all the crosses and icons.

The breaking of the cross is symbolic of what many Muslims believe will happen at the end times. Muhammad prophesied that when Isa (the Muslim Jesus) returns, he will “fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill the swine and abolish jizya” and establish the rule of Allah throughout the world.

But after years of broken crosses throughout Christian towns near Mosul, Iraq, the symbol of Jesus’ triumph over death is returning.

Yesterday, “This is Christian Iraq” Facebook page posted a video of two priests and members of the Iraq military elevating a cross made of two wooden poles and copper wiring on top of Al-Tahira Church in Qaraqosh, Iraq’s largest Christian town.

Al-Tahira Church (The Church of the Immaculate Conception) is a Chaldean Catholic Church dating back to the 7th century. In 2014, some sources reported that ISIS terrorists destroyed a Virgin Mary statue outside this Church. Since then, most of the other icons and sacramentals inside the church have been destroyed, the interior of the Church burned, the windows smashed.

But now, there is hope again that the 50,000 some Christians who were forced to leave Qaraqosh may return.

“I’m very happy now that we are able to return to our church,” Father Amar, one of the priests who erected the new cross, told The Daily Beast.

But hope mingles with sorrow at the ruin of so many churches and Christian symbols.

“It's very hard for us to see our town like this. Everything is damaged. Do you see that the bell of the church is missing? They destroyed it. Why? I don’t know,” he said.

A second video, from France 24, shows the liberation of Bartella, a Christian village close to Mosul. In an emotional and symbolic gesture of their return, they too made a makeshift cross of wooden beams and raised it on top of their church.


"By your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat" 


Looks like UN upset about how the Battle of Mosul is shaping up

The latest CNN report (3:15 AM EDT) on the battle features a "Breaking News" banner at the top of the page; it reads: 
ISIS has executed 232 people near Mosul and taken tens of thousands of people as human shields, UN says.
More bad news on the battle from the report, including this surprise:
Witnesses in Mosul told CNN that several hundred ISIS fighters have arrived in the city in the past few days from Raqqa in neighboring Syria. They say most of the new arrivals are foreign fighters who wear distinct uniforms. They are seen wearing suicide belts for show -- and carry light weapons.
These fighters appear to have moved to Mosul in small groups to avoid airstrikes, taking a long route to the western Iraqi town of Ba'aj and then across the desert on small roads and tracks.
Plenty more bad news in the report, but CNN also reports on great courage, as Mosulians risk instant execution by getting hold of cell phones and calling out to give war reports and 'intelligence' on IS actions inside the city. 

Oops. In the time I wrote this up, the banner has been removed. Hmmmmm. A call from White House Press Minders, perhaps?   

Another item from the report:
A former security officer who fled Mosul in 2015 and current residents say ISIS has built two kinds of tunnels: some to recover the city's rich antiquities and sell them; others to assist the movements of the organization's military network.
The fiends are doing their utmost to destroy the country's cultural heritage -- same in Syria, of course. Anywhere they go, it seems. 


Homeless Person: “20 Million Illegals and Americans Sleep on the Streets in Tents. Vote Trump.”

This is great story, reported by Gateway Pundit. Great catch, Drudge! (Yes, I've broken down and started following the Drudge Report. sigh.)  


Bundy case: "Even attorneys for the defendants were surprised by the acquittals"

"Maureen Valdez, right, cries and hugs another supporter after hearing the verdict outside federal court in Portland, Oregon on Thursday."


I too am surprised by the aquittal, which was across the board -- all Bundy's co-defendents acquitted on all counts. Ammon's faith in the majority of the American people has certainly been vindicated. The story is the stuff of legend. 

Bundy ... described federal government officials as modern day Roman emperors 

Ammon Bundy's 10 hours of testimony may have swayed jury to 'stunning' acquittal for armed Oregon standoff
Friday, October 28, 2016, 5:00 AM

Ammon Bundy (center)

The leader of the armed Oregon standoff sat on the stand for more than three days, laying out his views on the Constitution, the federal government and the duty of man in his plain-spoken way .

It was Ammon Bundy’s 10 hours of testimony that likely won over jurors in a trial that concluded with seven people being acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges, one legal expert said.

“It gave Ammon a chance to explain his side,” Lewis & Clark Law Professor Tung Yin told the Daily News. “And apparently the jury seemed to agree. I think it’s really hard to see this as anything other than jury nullification.”

The leader of the armed Oregon standoff sat on the stand for more than three days, laying out his views on the Constitution, the federal government and the duty of man in his plain-spoken way .

It was Ammon Bundy’s 10 hours of testimony that likely won over jurors in a trial that concluded with seven people being acquitted Thursday of federal conspiracy and weapons charges, one legal expert said.

“It gave Ammon a chance to explain his side,” Lewis & Clark Law Professor Tung Yin told the Daily News. “And apparently the jury seemed to agree. I think it’s really hard to see this as anything other than jury nullification.”

Jurors exonerated 41-year-old Bundy, his brother Ryan, 43, and five others on charges stemming from their six-week armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife refuge in rural Oregon.

The Bundys, the sons of anti-government Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, claimed during the takeover and the trial that they were acting in solidarity with two Oregon ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond. The Bundys said they believe the Hammonds were unfairly treated in an arson case.

The Bundys also saw their 41-day standoff — which began Jan. 2 — as a protest for their larger grievances against federal control of millions of acres of public lands in the West.

"This is much bigger than the Hammonds,” Ammon Bundy told the court about his quest in Oregon to bring awareness to what he called injustices carried out by the federal government. “It’s for my children, grandchildren.

“Everything comes from the Earth and if [the government] can get control of the resources, they can get control of the people.”

Bundy, a father of six, described federal government officials as modern day Roman emperors trying to rule over their subjects by restricting access to resource-rich territories.

“We need to wake up,” he told the jurors and the courtroom.



Wednesday, October 26

"The (UK) Guardian cites terrorist leader to prove there are no terrorists in Aleppo"

Ah! I see from the above that SouthFront is finally developing a sense of humor. This gives me hope the nice young people (I'd guess they're mostly 20-30ish Somethings) who run the site have a chance to remain sane for the duration of the Syrian War. 

Here, SF describes the Guardian in one of its Full Monte reports.


Tuesday, October 25

Jerry Lee Lewis worried that his music would lead people to Hell

Oddly for an album featuring an American musician that rock music journalists have dubbed one of the greatest rock 'n' roll albums (some went even further in their praise), Jerry Lee Lewis Live at the Star, Hamburg (Germany) didn't become available in the USA until 2014. It was because of a legal issue. And unfortunately the performance wasn't filmed -- or if it was, the film hasn't been released in this country. 

There are technical criticisms of the album, which was recorded at a club in 1964 under primitive conditions. But Lewis' piano playing is so incredible I think it takes the ear of a professional music critic or sound engineer to notice the record's flaws, at least on the first listen. See Wikipedia's article about the album for details, but one complaint was that the band that accompanied him, the Nashville Teens (actually a British group), was hard to hear. 

After I listened to the recording it struck me Lewis is a great musician; a visit to Wikipedia indicated that my opinion is in large company. Indeed, Lewis (age 81), the ultimate outsider, might live to hear himself hailed as one of America's greatest pianists. 

It turns out that Lee was a child musical prodigy. He was mostly self-taught. His parents recognized his talent and mortgaged their farm in Louisiana to buy a piano for him. But his wild-man antics at the piano, coupled with his rowdy lifestyle, tended to distract from the fact that he's a serious pianist and a music pioneer. 

He created a sound that is to American music what bouillabaisse is to Louisiana. One part rock 'n roll, one part boogie-woogie, one part gospel, one part country, one part jazz, one part blues, and one part indefinable but very distinct. As a musician once observed, every type of music that Lee touches on the keyboard becomes unmistakably his. 

But for a long time it was the gospel music part that gave him trouble. As Wikipedia recounts:
His mother enrolled him in Southwest Bible Institute, in Waxahachie, Texas, so that he would be exclusively singing evangelical songs. But Lewis daringly played a boogie-woogie rendition of "My God Is Real" at a church assembly.
For that, he was expelled the next day.

From other remarks in the Wikipedia bio I wonder if he believed the Devil made him do it. At any rate, after he shot to stardom he did agonize over whether his music was leading his youthful audiences to Hell.     

Later in his career he found himself able to play pure gospel music. But now let's turn the clock back to 1964, to a club in Hamburg that was about to make rock 'n roll history.  

Monday, October 24

"King Bhumibol built a powerful role by force of example rather than by force itself"

The king and queen of Thailand, circa 1970s. They spent eight months out of every year visiting the country's villages, no matter how many miles they had to walk to reach the remote ones  

Not a word did the writer of the following article say about the Communist insurgency in Thailand. It's as if it never happened! To learn about the king's amazing answer to the Communists' attempt to take over Thailand, see this October 19 Pundita essay 1979 BBC documentary on the work of Thailand's king and queen to save a nation. 

King Bhumibol of Thailand’s real legacy: remarkable political legitimacy
By Nigel Gould-Davies
October 22 at 5:00 AM
The Washington Post

Thailand is mourning its beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died last week after 70 years on the throne. During his long reign, Thailand shifted from a poor agricultural economy to a prosperous upper-middle-income country. The king’s greatest achievement, though, was to create a unique form of political legitimacy that helped Thailand weather rapid changes in a turbulent region.
Here’s why legitimacy is the most important foundation for any political system. It gives an answer to the question: “What right does the state have to rule, and why are citizens obliged to obey it?”
If the people consider a system legitimate, the country is more likely to remain stable even if the government is ineffective or unpopular. But if large numbers reject the government’s right to rule in principle, disorder or civil war may follow.
Alternatives to “rule by the people”
Modernization creates educated and questioning publics that are able to organize themselves and assert their interests. They ask more insistently why those who govern them are in power. One answer — the modern democratic one — is that legitimate rule is “rule by the people.” We are obliged to obey the government because we ourselves chose it in free and fair elections.
Authoritarian governments around the globe have had to respond to this challenge. Many have pretended to be democratic, going through the motions of electionsmanipulated to ensure they remain in power. Others have appealed to the past (by ruling in the name of tradition), to the future (by building an ideal, usually communist, society), or to eternity (by ruling in the name of God). A few charismatic leaders have been able to inspire by virtue of their personal qualities.
But all these solutions have limitations. Appeals to the past become less compelling as societies modernize; communism has proved to be a god that failed; God himself is now invoked to justify rule only in parts of the Islamic world; and charisma is a rare commodity that attaches to individuals, not entire systems.
Thailand’s unique solution
Thailand found a unique solution: a revered monarchy that combines several sources of legitimacy — tradition, divinity and charisma — while accommodating rapid economic growth and fitful democratization. These different sources of legitimacy together created a role with enormous moral authority far beyond its formal constitutional powers.
But by working tirelessly for the most deprived regions, and by leading a modest and exemplary personal life, the young king gradually built up a deep popular respect and broadly based loyalty that grew into a source of power in its own right.
This was much more than usable legitimacy. The king’s words and actions — critical of corruption, committed to the poor — were an implicit rebuke to the greed of military and business elites. The king’s call for a “sufficiency economy” after the 1997 financial crisis, for example, set out a middle way for meeting basic needs through balanced development in response to the manias of hyper-globalization.
The power to rule quietly
Most remarkable of all, at crucial moments, this moral force could prevail over the men with guns. The most dramatic example was the king’s intervention in the Black May crisis of 1992. In the midst of violent street confrontations in Bangkok, the king summoned Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon and opposition leader Chamlong Srimuang to admonish them, defusing the crisis and prompting Suchinda’s resignation.
No other country has seen such a mixing of the “dignified” and “efficient” parts of its constitution. The “bicycle monarchs” of Western Europe, in contrast, are figureheads who may be admired but wield no power. Where powerful figures do exert informal influence, they are ex-leaders enjoying a political afterlife, as in Singapore. King Bhumibol managed to build a powerful role by force of example rather than by force itself.
For political scientists, classifying the Thai political order has long proved difficult — above all because the king’s unique role defies orthodox interpretation. The deeply personal, even enchanted, reverence for the Thai king and his role in the country are alien to Western ways of understanding politics. The ordinary focus on interests and institutions has little place for a charisma of goodness, tradition and semi-divinity that can wield real political power.
Paradoxically, King Bhumibol during his long reign presided over the highest rate of constitutional turnover in the world, but in a deeper sense it helped preserve stability. In a region beset by turmoil, Thailand avoided the grim military rule of Burma, the conflict and genocide ofIndochina, and the episodes of extreme bloodshed ofIndonesia. Thailand’s unique form of monarchical legitimacy helped it navigate the dangers of the Cold War and the road to modernity with less upheaval than most of its neighbors.
The key question now is how Thailand will sustain and adapt this system of government after the passing of the revered king who built it.
Nigel Gould-Davies teaches at Mahidol University International College in Thailand and is an associate fellow of Chatham House.

Sunday, October 23

Soul Has No Color, Jazz Has No Gender

"OK so what are the odds that one of the top five most beautiful women on the planet would also be one of the top five best sax players....boy you really get you some value for money when you go to a Candy Dulfer concert !!!"

That's a comment by one Kevin Fisher, posted 9 months ago at a YouTube recording of a live concert version of the Isley Brothers' For the Love of You done by Candy Dulfer and Angie Stone. 

I'd heard of R&B singer Angie Stone, who was probably singing gospel music before she could walk.

But Dulfer's name was new to me. From her introduction to the set Dulfer's accent sounded from a part of the Bronx I wasn't familiar with. Wikipedia informed me that she isn't from the Bronx. She's Dutch, born in Amsterdam in 1969; her father is Hans Dulfer, a jazz tenor saxophonist:
She began playing the drums at the age of five. As a six-year-old she started to play the soprano saxophone. At the age of seven she switched to alto saxophone. ...  Dulfer played her first solo on stage with her father's band De Perikels ("The Perils"). At the age of eleven, she made her first recordings for the album I Didn't Ask (1981) by De Perikels. 
In 1982, when she was twelve years old, she played as a member of Rosa King's Ladies Horn section at the North Sea Jazz Festival. According to Dulfer, King encouraged her to become a band leader herself. In 1984, at the age of fourteen, Dulfer started her own band, Funky Stuff.  ... Dulfer is mostly a self-taught musician except for some training in a concert band and a few months of music lessons.
However, it's one thing to have been a child prodigy. It's another to take on For the Love of You. No one I'd heard who's tried over the decades has been able to do justice to the original version by the Isleys.

Well. Life is full of surprises.


Friday, October 21

"Chaos ensues in Kirkuk as ISIS claims to have captured half the city"

By Paul Antonopoulos
October 21, 2016

ISIS have claimed to have captured half the city of Kirkuk after entering 5 new neighbourhoods, known as the unofficial capital for Kurds in Iraq.

Kurdish police have claimed to have so far killed 6 ISIS militants, who were sleeper cells.

ISIS terrorists have also claimed to have stormed an electricity company in the Dibs district in northern Kirkuk, killing all people. Reports have said power is out in Kirkuk.

Alalam have reported that of the 16 people killed, 4 were Iranian technicians.

ISIS terrorists seized Dar al-Salam hotel in the center of Kirkuk city.

ISIS have also claimed to have a hit a convoy of Peshmerga forces in the Dibs District of northern Kirkuk, 25km north of the oil-rich city.

Meanwhile in footage captured, the sounds of gunfire and explosions can be heard.

[AP footage; video posted at YouTube; 1:13 long]

Local ground sources have claimed they have seen the Iraqi air force in action, however this could not be verified by Al-Masdar News.

Anti-terrorist units have begun operations to normalize the situation in the southern sector of the city, despite images of ISIS terrorists roaming freely.

Kirkuk authories have announced a curfew and for all people to remain home whilst anti-terrorist operations are underway.


RT report:

ISIS fighters enter Kirkuk mosques, kindergarten, take civilians hostage – report
Published time: 21 Oct, 2016 08:17
Edited time: 21 Oct, 2016 13:38


“It was expected that ISIS sleeper cells would make a move one day in Kirkuk now that the Mosul offensive has started and they want to boost their own morale this way,” Kirkuk Governor Najmaldin Karim told Rudaw earlier on Friday.

“Some of [the militants] have hidden themselves inside mosques and tall buildings and try to shoot as snipers, but our forces are in control and in places where escalations were feared it was all controlled. Strong forces combined of security, police, and anti-terrorism are all inside Kirkuk today,” he said.

“They were sleeper cells...many women and children fled to Kirkuk as refugees and it is possible that some militants had come with them,” Kiruk added, referring to the attackers.

The city’s police chief and governor have called on residents to stay in their homes until the situation is under control.

The unrest has so far led to the deaths of at least 28 people – six policemen, 12 militants, and 16 power station workers, according to reports from Rudaw and AFP. The workers were killed in the nearby town of Dibis, located 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Kirkuk.


However, Kirkuk’s governor reported the station had been attacked by four militants, of whom one blew himself up and three were killed. The station is now under the control of Peshmerga Kurds.

Kirkuk is located 174 kilometers (108 miles) from Mosul.

The city has accepted some 700,000 displaced people from the country’s central and southern provinces since Islamic State took control of one-third of Iraq in mid-2014, according to Rudaw. It had been home to about half a million people before the outbreak of hostilities.

The oil-rich city is claimed by both the Iraqi government and Kurds in the region. Kurdish forces assumed full control of the city in the summer of 2014, as the Iraqi army crumbled before an IS advance.


Syria warns it will "down Turkish planes next time"

The US, Turkey’s NATO ally, has meanwhile distanced itself from the airstrikes, with State Department spokesperson John Kirby tweeting on Thursday that “contrary to some reports, US was not involved in Turkey airstrikes last night.”

Syria warns it will ‘down Turkish planes next time,’ calls bombing of Kurds ‘flagrant aggression’
Published time: 20 Oct, 2016 23:57 Edited time: 21 Oct, 2016 00:04

Damascus has reacted harshly to the bombing of Kurdish militias in northern Syria on Thursday morning by Turkey’s air force, vowing to intervene next time Ankara sends its planes over its border.

In a statement, the Syrian Defense Ministry accused Turkey of “flagrant aggression, which targeted innocent citizens,” saying that it considers it “a dangerous development that could escalate the situation.”

“Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available,” warned Damascus, whose planes, which have flown in concert with a Russian expeditionary force, have been avoiding direct confrontation with unauthorized NATO jets.

Turkish artillery guns have been firing at Kurdish militias, who are now fighting against Ankara-backed rebels over territory won back from Islamic State in northern Turkey on Wednesday. Turkey said that the airstrikes took out up to 200 Kurds, though the YPG, the Kurdish militia, initially put its losses at 15. 

[Pundita Note: the senior Kurdish commander interviewed by Associated Press for what seems to have been the first Western report on the bombings, published around 5 AM EDT yesterday, with 8 AM update, put the number of Kurdish militia KIA at 10. I didn't keep up with later reports yesterday.]

Syria called the victims “150 innocent civilians” and said that “these irresponsible acts will have dire consequences that will threaten the region's stability and security.”

The US, Turkey’s NATO ally, has meanwhile distanced itself from the airstrikes, with State Department spokesperson John Kirby tweeting on Thursday that “contrary to some reports, US was not involved in Turkey airstrikes last night.”

Kirby added that US “called on all parties on the ground to avoid uncoordinated movements,”adding that they “only benefit” Islamic State terrorists.

Turkish aerial incursions into Syria have grown more frequent, as fighting has intensified around Aleppo, with at least four factions vying to take control of northern Syria, all with their own agendas.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, tensions have been on the rise between the two neighboring countries, with Ankara backing armed rebels opposing the legitimate Syrian government. 

[Pundita Note: Tensions were high long before 2011, even before Bashar al-Assad was put in power by his father -- which was in 2000 if I recall without checking at Wikipedia. But yes the tensions did escalate around 2011 when Erdogan took advantage of the chaos created by the French-engineered uprising in Syria. He sent goon squads into Aleppo to wreck the city's industrial base and steal all equipment they could get their hands on from the factories there, and ship the plunder to Turkey. 

When called out on such behavior he maintains that Aleppo actually belongs to Turkey. Not a Westphalian State kind of person. In fact he's very like the Chinese in his outlook. Everywhere he looks he sees Turks.

Now as to whether Beijing sees Turks as a long-lost tribe of Chinese -- see, I keep warning Tehran about the Chinese but do they listen to Pundita. Mark my words but never mind; the Persians will have to find out the same way the Tibetans did that they are actually Chinese.

Where were we? Early '21st' Century. All right, to continue with RT's report:]

On several occasions, shelling from heavy fighting spilled over the border and into Turkey, further inflaming the situation.

In June 2012, Syria downed a Turkish military jet on reconnaissance mission over Syrian territorial waters 1 kilometer from its coast. While Syria insisted that it was acting in defense of its borders, Ankara accused it of breaching international law. 

Turkey later confirmed that the jet did enter into Syrian airspace by mistake but claimed that it was shot down in international airspace after it had left Syrian territory.

READ MORE: ‘S-300, S-400 air defenses in place’: Russian MoD warns US-led coalition not to strike Syrian army

READ MORE: Downing of Russian Su-24 bomber contributed to delay of Ankara’s Syria op – report


Thursday, October 20

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Tari Khan on the same stage. Wow.

Now this is how to play the tabla. It's less than 8 minutes but so fortunate it was videotaped -- and posted to YouTube. Ustad Nusrat's younger brother, Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, accompanying on the harmonium.

Note how the Syrian government does things

And this is how the Syrian government has always done it, as long as I've been following the nightmare called the Syrian War. Yes, Mr and Ms America and Europe, your governments have lied to you. They have lied and lied and lied and lied and when they couldn't lie any more, they lied some more about Assad and Syria.  

Several rebels receive amnesty in key Damascus suburb
By Leith Fadel
October 20, 2016 - 1:00 AM local time

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:00 A.M.) - Several rebels had their criminal cases settled by the Syrian government in the Mo'adhimiyah Al-Sham suburb of Damascus on Thursday.

According to an Al-Masdar correspondent, the rebels that chose surrender to the Syrian Arab Army were granted amnesty by the government on Thursday, thus allowing them to remain in the Mo'adhimiyah Al-Sham suburb.

Based on the terms of their amnesty, the former rebel fighters will have to refrain from obtaining weapons again and they must disassociate themselves from their former factions.

As a result of this amnesty offer, several rebels and their families will be allowed to stay in Mo'adhimiyah Al-Sham as the government rebuilds this suburb.


"Heavy Clashes Reported Among Terrorists Over Relocation from E. Aleppo City"

(Note: The 'humanitarian pause' has now been extended to 24 hours, and several more militants have evacuated E. Aleppo through the safe corridors. See this Pundita post for both reports. )

October 20, 2016 - 4:27
Tehran - FNA


A military source confirmed reports on Thursday that the terrorists stationed in the Eastern parts of Aleppo city are blocking the path of the people and other militants who want to leave the region.

"The terrorists have launched 20 mortar attacks on Bostan al-Qasr corridor while the ceasefire has not been violated in the Castello road and the government buses and ambulances are transferring people to the safer areas," the source said on Thursday.

"The terrorists also targeted al-Jandoul square which has been one of the safe corridors opened by the Syrian army for the militants to leave the region," the source said, adding that the terrorists have also attacked a Syrian army position in Eastern Aleppo.

Some reports also said that the militants have deployed snipers in certain areas to prevent the evacuation of their comrades and civilians and have announced that they would set fire on houses of those people who want to leave Aleppo.

This is while the Syrian army is inviting the terrorists to lay down their arms and leave Aleppo's Eastern regions.

The Syrian State news agency also reported that several militants (who had laid down their arms) and a number of wounded people and patients were transferred from Eastern Aleppo through the declared corridors.

The Syrian Army General Command announced on Thursday that the suspension of the air strikes on militants in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo.

The Command said in a statement that the humanitarian pause in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo started on October 20, at 08:00 AM.

It called on all gunmen in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo to throw their weapons and benefit from the amnesty decree.

The statement pointed out that the General Command has accurate information on the gunmen’s places, gatherings and their weapon caches in the Eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city, stressing that each gunman who does not seize the opportunity of the pause will face his fatal destiny.

Earlier, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department Sergey Rudskoy said that the Syrian and Russian military men have decided to expand the humanitarian pause for three hours to evacuate civilians from the Eastern neighborhoods after receiving many requests from the international organizations.


Several militant groups leave E. Aleppo. Safe corridors extended 24 hours

Law enforcement officers near cars and ambulances in a humanitarian corridor for civilians and militants along the Castello Road in northern Aleppo, Syria, October 20, 2016.
Photo: Michael Alaeddin / Sputnik

Several Groups of Militants Leave Eastern Aleppo through Safe Corridors
October 20, 2016 - 7:50
TEHRAN (FNA)- Tens of militants and their families started leaving Eastern Aleppo through the specified safe corridors established by the Syrian Army in the Eastern part of the flashpoint city.

The Syrian television said on Thursday that several groups of militants have started to leave Aleppo with their families through the Bostan al-Qasr checkpoint near the Castillo Road.

The militants' withdrawal from Eastern Aleppo came after Syrian President Bashar Assad issued an order of impunity for the militants that leave the Eastern Aleppo before the ongoing ceasefire expires.

Meanwhile, sources in Aleppo reported that heavy clashes have erupted among the terrorist groups after tensions rose over leaving or remaining in the city.

Sources in the city said the terrorists in certain areas engaged in armed clashes and opened fire at the people and other militants who intended to leave Aleppo.

According to the sources, the terrorists also launched mortar attacks on the safe corridors opened by the army for the passage of the people and militants.

"Bostan al-Qasr passage has been declared by terrorists as a war zone, and this has caused panic and horror among the people who have evacuated the streets and went to their houses now," a source in the region said.

Meantime, a source said that "2,000 to 2,500 people who sought to leave Aleppo had gathered in Bostan al-Qasr corridor, but the Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra) Front militants opened fire at them, wounded a number of them and didn’t allow them to evacuate the city".

The terrorists have also declared curfew in the Eastern parts of Aleppo and threatened the residents not to approach the corridors.

The army has not yet shown any reaction to the terrorists' aggressive moves in the region.


Published time: 20 Oct, 2016 13:35
Edited time: 20 Oct, 2016 18:37

Russia has decided to extend the humanitarian pause around Aleppo, Syria, for another 24 hours, the Russian defense minister has said. Militants killed 14 local officials and wounded three Russian officers on the first day of the pause.

“On an order from the commander-in-chief of the Russian military, Vladimir Putin, we have decided to extend the humanitarian pause for one more day. The extension of the humanitarian pause in Aleppo was supported by the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Sergey Shoigu said.

Three Russian military officers were lightly wounded when militants opened fire targeting a humanitarian corridor leading from Aleppo, near the El-Masharka government checkpoint, the Russian Center for Reconciliation reports.

"Their lives are out of immediate danger," the center stated.

Inside Aleppo, Ahrar ash-Sham militants publicly executed 14 local officials for calling on locals to leave the western part of the city, the center also reported.
Eight wounded militants left Aleppo via one of the humanitarian corridors on the first day. According to the Center for Reconciliation, they were provided medical aid, fed and delivered to an area under rebel control.



"Russian MoD livestreams from Aleppo as civilians leave militant-held areas"

As to where all the civilians are, see last report below

Photo montage: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

Published time: 20 Oct, 2016 08:38
Livestream videos from web cameras installed along ‘humanitarian corridors’ in Aleppo, as well as real time drone footage, are now available at Russia’s MoD website, providing a closer look at what is happening in the city amid a provisional ceasefire.
Four web cameras have been set up on the western part of the Castello Road in Aleppo, showing ‘humanitarian corridors’ and a Syrian army checkpoint in the Marsharqa neighborhood.
READ MORE: Planned humanitarian pause in Aleppo extended by 3 hours, 8 corridors to open – Russian military
A separate camera mounted on a surveillance drone brings you a bird’s eye view of the area meant to help civilians, as well armed militants, leave eastern Aleppo.
You can watch any of the livestreams at the Defense Ministry’s website.
Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Open Fire at Civilians Leaving Aleppo - Militia
13:36 20.10.2016 (updated 13:41 20.10.2016)

Al-Nusra Front militants have opened fire at civilians who wanted to leave Aleppo via the Bustan al-Qasr humanitarian corridor, a militia source told RIA Novosti.

Several people have been wounded, the source said. "Some 2,000 – 2,500 civilians who wanted to use the corridors and flee eastern Aleppo gathered in Bustan al-Qasr. Al-Nusra [Front] militants opened fire and did not allow them to leave. Several people were wounded," the source said.

Earlier, Aleppo residents told RIA Novosti that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham terrorist group formerly known as al-Nusra Front threatened to shoot Syrian civilians planning to leave eastern Aleppo through six allocated humanitarian corridors.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared on Tuesday that an eight-hour pause in Russian and Syrian airstrikes would be observed starting early Thursday to allow aid agencies bring lifesaving aid to Aleppo and evacuate the sick and the wounded. On Wednesday, it was extended by three hours. A total of eight humanitarian routes have been opened to allow people escape the besieged city – six are intended for civilians and two for militants willing to lay down their arms.


No One Using Aleppo Exit Routes Hours After Humanitarian Pause Comes Into Force
13:04 20.10.2016 (updated 13:05 20.10.2016)

No one so far has used exit routes from Aleppo, hours after a humanitarian ceasefire had come into force in the Syrian city, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Thursday.

ALEPPO (Sputnik) — Buses and ambulances are still waiting for evacuees, ready to bring them to safety, the correspondent said. No fighting has been reported near the Castello road in northern Aleppo.


Now, now, President Erdogan, please don't hit Ashton Carter with your yo-yo

I keep telling people it's something in the water over there but nobody wants to listen. 

Turkish president blasts U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State ahead of Ashton Carter’s visit
By Carlo Muñoz and Guy Taylor
The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will be walking into diplomatic buzz saw Thursday when he arrives in Turkey a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a blistering critique of the U.S.-backed campaign to oust the Islamic State group from neighboring Iraq and demanded a bigger role for Turkish military forces.

Mr. Erdogan’s remarkable outburst was the latest sign of difficulties the Obama administration faces in keeping the various members of its regional coalition pushing in the same direction in the fight to oust the Islamic State from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria and find a way to end Syria’s bloody civil war.

“From now on, we will not wait for problems to come knocking on our door, we will not wait until the blade is against our bone and skin, we will not wait for terrorist organizations to come and attack us,” Mr. Erdogan said in a fiery speech from his presidential palace in Ankara.

His comments prompted concern among U.S. officials already wary about a series of provocative moves by Mr. Erdogan that analysts say have been driven — at least in part — by a desire to pressure Washington into giving Turkey its way against Syrian and Iraqi Kurds. Mr. Carter’s visit will also be his first to Ankara since a failed military coup nearly ousted Mr. Erdogan and his ruling AKP party from power this summer.
[The report goes on and on from there. Riveting stuff if you have an interest in following the ups and downs of yo-yo contests with the Pentagon.]  

"Iraqi-Turkish split points to distrust among Mosul forces"

This October 20 - 5:47 AM EDT Associated Press report is a 'must read' for those following the Mosul operation and Iraq's situation in general. 

See also AP's report today filed at 5:10 AM EDT,  The Latest: Turkey 'displeased' with US support for Kurds

The Obama regime has a royal mess on its hands.


US-backed Kurds bombed in Syria by Turkey dispute high death toll number from Ankara

Syria Kurdish commander says Turkey pounding his forces
By The Associated Press 
October 20, 2016 | 5:00 AM EDT
via CNS News

BEIRUT (AP) — Turkish jets have struck the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia north of the embattled city of Aleppo, claiming to have killed as many as 200 militia members, Turkey's state-run news agency reported Thursday.

A senior commander of the main Syria Kurdish militia, which has been supported by the United States, confirmed Turkish jets and artillery were still attacking his forces north of Aleppo, but disputed the casualty count saying no more than 10 of his fighters were killed so far.

Commander Mahmoud Barkhadan of the People's Protection Units told The Associated Press that Turkish tanks have been shelling the Kurdish-led forces in the area since early Wednesday. He said jets joined overnight and continue to pound his forces in the area. He said more than 30 aerial attacks had taken place so far and that early reports suggest no more than 10 fighters were killed and 20 were wounded. There was no word on civilian casualties yet.

The bombardment was a major escalation by Turkey just as the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants in Iraq was intensifying. Iraqi Kurdish forces have carried the brunt of the fighting so far in the Mosul offensive.

Kurdish forces in Syria have also carried out most of the fighting against IS and made significant territorial gains, including advances in the last few days against IS militants in Aleppo province, much to Turkey's fury in recent months. Turkey, which is dealing with a homegrown Kurdish insurgency, has been trying to prevent an expansion of Kurdish influence in Syria.

"We will not back down," Barkhadan said in a telephone interview from the area. He accused Turkey of aiding IS militants by diverting the fight into a Turkish-Kurdish one. "We are fighting Daesh, why are they striking at us?" he asked, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

The Anadolu Agency, quoting military officials, said the raids were carried out late Wednesday night, attacking 18 targets in the Maarraat Umm Hawsh region in northern Syria. Between 160 and 200 militia fighters were killed in the raid. The targets hit were in areas that the Syrian forces recently took over as they pressed ahead with their campaign to drive Islamic State militants from areas north of Aleppo.

The Syrian Kurdish force has been an ongoing source of tension between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.

The U.S. considers the militia group, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, to be the most effective force in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. Turkey says the group is an extension of its own outlawed Kurdish militants who have carried out a series of deadly attacks in Turkey over the past year and considers it to be a terrorist organization.

Ankara has grown increasingly wary as the YPG succeeded in securing large portions of territory along the Syrian-Turkish border. In August, Turkey sent troops and tanks into northern Syria to help Syrian opposition forces drive the Islamic State group away from an area bordering Turkey, and to curb the Syrian Kurdish forces' territorial expansion.

The Turkish attack came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would not "wait for terrorists to come and attack" but would go after them before they have the chance to strike.

Anadolu said the 18 Syrian Kurdish targets hit included nine buildings used as headquarters, meetings points, shelters or arms depots as well as five vehicles.


"Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey." [No first name given in CNS version of report]


This NBC report repeats information but I want to include it:

Turkey Bombs U.S.-Backed Kurds in Syria's Aleppo Province
OCT 20 2016, 5:49 AM ET
by Alexander Smith
NBC News

Turkish jets bombed U.S.-backed Kurdish militants in Syria overnight — with each side offering vastly different figures on how many fighters were killed.
The NATO member's military said it killed between 160 and 200 Kurdish militants north of Aleppo, according to the Anadolu Agency, Turkey's state-run press service.
Warplanes dropped 26 bombs on 18 targets, including nine buildings being used as headquarters, shelters and an arsenal, Anadolu cited a military statement as stating.
But Mahmoud Barkhadan, a senior Kurdish commander, told The Associated Press that the death toll was far lower, putting it at no more than 10.  [See above AP report] 
He said Turkish tanks had been shelling their positions since Wednesday and that the assault was joined by jets overnight. Barkhadan said around 20 of his fighters were injured.
The strikes came in Aleppo province, north of the embattled city, where the Kurds have been making advances against ISIS in recent days, the AP reported.
Both Turkey and the Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, are fighting against ISIS in Syria. The Kurds and Syrian rebels also share a common enemy in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
But despite these shared goals in Syria's complex civil war, Turkey also sees the Kurds in Syria as a growing threat as the militants recapture territory from ISIS along the Syria-Turkey border.
Furthermore, Ankara views the Syrian Kurds as an extension of its own banned Kurdish militant group, the PKK, which it considers a terrorist organization.
This has caused friction between Turkey and its NATO ally the United States, which backs the Syrian Kurds as the most effective force battling ISIS.
In August, Turkey launched an assault with jets, tanks and artillery in Syria, targeting both ISIS and the Kurdish militants.

NATO member Turkey bombs up to 200 Kurdish fighters in Syria. (UPDATED 6:45 AM EDT)


Sr. commander of US-backed Kurdish militia disputes death toll number given by Ankara, says no more than 10 of his fighters have been killed.  See AP report for details.


09:05 20.10.2016 (updated 09:06 20.10.2016) 

Turkish airstrikes killed up to 200 Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, according to Ankara's General Staff.
ANKARA (Sputnik) — An estimated 160-200 Kurdish self-defense forces have been killed in Turkish airstrikes in northern Syria, Turkey's General Staff said Thursday.
"Our Air Force as part of the Euphrates Shield operation carried out 26 strikes on 18 targets of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces — the Kurdistan Workers' Party, killing 160-200 militants," the General Staff said. Nine buildings controlled by the Kurdish formations, five vehicles and arms depots have been destroyed in the strikes, it added.
On August 24, Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarablus and the surrounding area of Daesh, outlawed in Russia and many other countries. As Jarablus was retaken, the joint forces of Ankara, the coalition and Syrian rebels continued the offensive southwest. The intervention prompted accusations of invasion from Damascus and Syrian Kurds.
However comma the Kurds said back in August there was something fishy about the quick Turkish victory in Jarablus. Just "something?" The whole operation reeked of rotting red herring.


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