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Thursday, December 29

Russian report on terrorist chemical weapon factory in E. Aleppo, Obama expels 35 Russians from USA

The more Syrian and Russian armies uncover about what was really going on in eastern Aleppo, the more the Obama administration and its allies have tried to change the subject.....




EXCLUSIVE: Sputnik Reports From Terrorist Chemical Factory in Aleppo (VIDEO)
19:52 - 29.12.2016

Sputnik

Recent search operations in eastern Aleppo have confirmed that chemical weapons were indeed used during the conflict – but by terrorists, not government forces.

Sputnik correspondents managed to explore makeshift factories in eastern Aleppo used by terrorists to build bombs laced with poisonous chemicals.

A source in the Syrian military confirmed that this type of ordnance was used by the terrorists against the Syrian army; one such attack occurred in the southwestern area of the city in the vicinity of the al-Assad Military Academy.

Analyses indicate that chemicals used by the terrorists were made in the US while the bombs were manufactured on site. Furthermore, the mark UN 3082 is clearly visible on the chemical canisters discovered at the terrorist factory.

Earlier this year Samer Abbas, spokesman for the Syrian National Authority monitoring the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, contacted the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and presented documented proof of terrorists using sulfur mustard ordnance against civilians in Syria.


OCPW declared that a special committee to confirm the veracity of these documents needs to be created, but so far have apparently refrained from pursuing this line of inquiry for reasons unknown.

Meanwhile, Russian Defense Ministry experts collected evidence of terrorists using chemical weapons in Marana Um Hosh village located to the south of Aleppo.

[END REPORT]


Obama orders Russia expulsions, sanctions for interference in 2016 election

By Jeff Mason and Lesley Wroughton | HONOLULU/WASHINGTON
December 29, 2016 - 3:49pm EST
Reuters

President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and sanctioned Russian intelligence officials who Washington believes were involved in hacking U.S. political groups in the 2016 presidential election.

The measures, taken during the last days of Obama's presidency, mark a new low in U.S.-Russian relations which have deteriorated over serious differences on Ukraine and Syria.

"These actions follow repeated private and public warnings that we have issued to the Russian government, and are a necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm U.S. interests in violation of established international norms of behavior," Obama said in a statement from vacation in Hawaii.

[...]

Obama sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies "that provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.

PERSONA NON GRATA

Obama said the State Department declared as "persona non grata" 35 Russian intelligence operatives and is closing two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that were used by Russian personnel for "intelligence-related purposes". The State Department originally said the 35 were diplomats.

A senior U.S. official told Reuters the move would affect the Russian embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco.

The Russians have 72 hours to leave the United States, the official said. Access to the two compounds, which are used by Russian officials for intelligence gathering, will be denied to all Russian officials as of noon on Friday, the senior U.S. official added.

"These actions were taken to respond to Russian harassment of American diplomats and actions by the diplomats that we have assessed to be not consistent with diplomatic practice," the official said.

The State Department has long complained that Russian security agents and traffic police have harassed U.S. diplomats in Moscow, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has raised the issue with Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov.

"By imposing costs on the Russian diplomats in the United States, by denying them access to the two facilities, we hope the Russian government reevaluates its own actions, which have impeded the ability and safety of our own embassy personnel in Russia," the official said.

The U.S. official declined to name the Russian diplomats who would be affected, although it is understood that Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, will not be one of those expelled.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Jeff Mason and Dustin Volz and Katya Golubkova in Moscow; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Alistair Bell)

[END REPORT]

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