Tag Archives: ISIL

Russia and the US working to launch a political process for peace in Syria

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Terrorist groups – Daesh and al-Qaida – continue to menace the Syrian people and the Syrian regime and opposition parties are on the brink of going back to a state of all-out war.‎ – US Secretary of State John Kerry

Aleppa bombingGeneva: Syrian warplanes targeted a funeral on Saturday morning in East Aleppo, killing many civilians who were mourning the deaths of at least a dozen people killed in barrel bombing earlier on Thursday. This was within hours after the US Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken to the international media about the Syrian crisis by pointing out that terrorist groups – Daesh and al-Qaida – continue to menace the Syrian people and the Syrian regime and opposition parties are on the brink of going back to a state of all-out war.‎
Kerry along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was addressing media-persons in Geneva on Friday, 26 August, 2016. Presenting the ground picture, he told journalists that Aleppo continues to be besieged and bombarded by the Assad regime and its allies, including Iran, Russia, and Hizballah. And the regime had that very day forced the surrender of Daraya after a brutal four years of the siege and continues to take territory in the Damascus suburbs. This, he said, ran counter to two iterations of a previously announced cessation of hostilities. To discuss this, Kerry said, he was in Geneva to meet his Russian counterpart.

All those who possess the special operation forces and other divisions of armed forces on the ground in Syria will have to realize that priorities need to be set, and choosing among those priorities I am confident no one will be able to turn a blind eye to the problem of terrorists, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusrah. – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Kery touched the emotional chord by drawing attention to the photograph of two young boys from Aleppo, one of whom died in the ambulance and how the entire world has been shaken by this image. It should motivate all of us to get the job done, to provide for a real ceasefire, and to meet the needs of the Syrian people, Kerry went on to observe.

The situation, Kerry stated, has dramatically deteriorated since the brief oasis of calm that followed the launch of the cessation of hostilities in February this year. Expressing satisfaction, Kerry said that Sergey Lavrov and he were able to work together with other colleagues in the international community through the International Syria Support Group and were able to cobble together the concept of the cessation of hostilities.

Kerry said: “Well into March of this year, Syrians had benefited from a degree of calm they had not experienced in years. For a period of time, the cessation of hostilities held. And the cessation – even flawed – became something of real value to them. For a brief moment, a brief instant, life changed in some communities. People sat in cafes. People went out and began to try to resume life again, but that was lost. And it was lost because of the lack of accountability and the inability to be able to deal with violations.

So as much as we have all seen a benefit to the humanitarian assistance that was delivered – some communities that hadn’t seen humanitarian assistance in years got it. More than a million people were able to be served with humanitarian assistance. And the cessation – even flawed – was valuable.”

Giving a narrative of what has been unfolding, Kerry said hat violations eventually became the norm rather than the exception. And the regime continually pressed its military objectives in key strategic locations, and continued indiscriminate aerial bombardment of densely populated areas with barrel bombs, and as the UN report points out, also chlorine.

Sergey Lavrov from Russia may dispute his narrative, Kerry said adding, he just laid out and attribute most of the regime actions to Nusrah. Obviously, there is illegitimate Nusrah activity and we are all opposed to that, said the US Secretary of State as he went on to assert that Nusrah has never been part of the cessation. The fact that people are going after Nusrah in some cases is true but in other cases it’s clearly, by virtue of the evidence of children and women and hospitals and other things, clearly not the case, observed Kerry.

Kerry informed media-persons that he and Sergey had reached anagreement in Moscow last month after discussions with Russian President Putin on a broad set of concrete steps to achieve a meaningful, lasting ceasefire. After that both sides – the US and Russia – have been engaged in a series of technical discussions primarily aimed at making cessation real, allowing for humanitarian assistance and getting the parties to the table for serious negotiations to end the war. Nevertheless, he went on point out that some narrow issues are still remaining that need to be resolved.

Kerry emphasised that the conflict in Syria will not end without a political solution. Once the narrow issues are resolveed, UN Special Envoy Staffen de Mistura will bring the parties to the table for a political transition.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov referred to Aleppo and said although we are focused mostly on Aleppo, we also touched upon the situation in Manbij, in Hasakah and many other parts of Syria. We also discussed the humanitarian situation in Iraq, in Yemen, where the international observers keep informing on the gravest humanitarian situation.

Lavrov said while discussing those gravest problems and sufferings of people we should adopt an approach not of journalists or people who express their emotions taking to one side or another, but rather as professionals, as diplomats, that together the military should find concrete solutions. Kerry’s visit to Moscow on 15 July was very useful and the basic principles that were agreed upon during their negotiations and reinstated during the meeting that took place between Kerry and Putin had been followed up in Geneva, he added.

Lavrov was forthcoming in telling journalists that they were going to work together with the parties – Russia with the government and the opposition that is cooperating with Russia and United States with the opposition that is cooperating with them, as well as with regional players. Both are going to do that together to remove all stumbling blocks on the way towards the compliance with the cessation of hostilities.

Stressing the problem, Lavrov said that the troops cooperating with the United States or under U.S.-led coalition are located on the territory where Jabhat al-Nusrah is located. Not only are they located there, sometimes they are cooperating with Jabhat al-Nusrah, and within the framework of their operations, without delineating adequate opposition from terrorists, I don’t think there would be a way to ensure actionable, durable, and full-fledged cessation of hostilities – our overarching priority, by the way. And I note with satisfaction that there is a current understanding regarding this task, and this understanding is become more clear. We talked about specific detailed steps. We have agreed upon almost all of those steps, but some final things need to be finalized, particularly regarding the ensuring the humanitarian access to the Syrian people who need it first and foremost in the Aleppo regions both in eastern and western parts of Aleppo.

Lavrov further said: “we have agreed to step up our bilateral contacts that have been put on hold over the last couple of weeks. I’m referring to the contacts between our representatives in Geneva which until recently took place on a daily basis. And I’m talking about the contacts between the Russian military base in Khmeimim and representatives of the American command located in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I believe that the day-to-day dialogue without any interruptions will be a key to addressing all the goals we are facing.”

The Political process, emphasised by Kerry, is our utmost priority Lavrov said adding to come closer to this priority, we are going to ensure the calming down of the situation on the ground so we would ensure improved humanitarian assistance being delivered. But here there can be no preliminary conditions. If we want to wait until the situation is 100 percent calm and only then proceed with the political process, I believe nothing could be achieved at all. All of the things are interconnected. Yes, indeed, reducing violence would be instrumental in bringing all the sides to the table. But in the same way, the launch of the negotiations would help reduce violence on the ground and be more efficient in having an influence on opposing sides both on the side of Russia and United States.

Answering apointed query about delinking the moderate opposition forces from terrorists Lavrov said: “we know that this task is very difficult because Jabhat al-Nusrah keeps transforming, changing names, coming up with new umbrellas under which they bring together various groups which aren’t formally part of Jabhat al-Nusrah.”

Lavrov went on to state that in Syria there are a number of countries represented through the military and armed forces on the ground. They entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian authorities. In the context of the Russian and Iranian troops, he said that the Iranian forces are on the ground upon the request of the Syrian authorities. And according to the balanced pragmatic approach, there are statements from Damascus according to which they are willing to cooperate with all those who want to fight against terrorism.

Lavrov was piercing as he stated that at the beginning some stakeholders planned to use their forces to weaken Assad’s regime, but now everyone understands that one cannot make these mistakes once again, as happened in Afghanistan and Iraq wherein similar attempts were made. The same took place in Libya, and right now we can see the echoes of it far from the territory of Libya.

The Russian Foreign Minister also emphasised that all those who possess the special operation forces and other divisions of armed forces on the ground in Syria will have to realize that priorities need to be set, and choosing among those priorities I am confident no one will be able to turn a blind eye to the problem of terrorists, ISIL, and Jabhat al-Nusrah.

On the Turkish presence on the Syrian ground, including the Kurds factor Lavrov said that together with his American colleagues he would like to confirm the need to promptly launch a political process with the participation of all the Syrian parties without any exceptions. The Kurds also should be involved in this process. They should remain part of the Syrian state, and they should be part of the solution rather than an actor that’s going to be used to atomize and fragment Syria that would also have a fallout effect in other areas of the region, and no one is interested in that.

Gunman kills 50, injures 53 at Orlando-Florida

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Orlando shootout suspect
Orlando shootout suspect

Orlando: A gunman used an assault rifle and killed 50 and injured 53 others at a Florida gay nightclub early Sunday.

Orlando shootout locationThe gunman, identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in central Florida, early on Sunday, killing 50 people and wounding 53 others before he was killed in an exchange of fire with the SWAT team.

Authorities are describing this as an act of radical Islamic terrorism.

According to available reports, police believe that the slain gunman had pledged support to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIL (Islamic State) leader.

The US President Barack Obama has called the Orlando massacre as an act of Terror.

The US President Barack Obama speaks on tragic shootout at Orlando in Florida, USA
The US President Barack Obama speaks on tragic shootout at Orlando in Florida, USA





In a statement Obama said:

“Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder — a horrific massacre — of dozens of innocent people. We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts. We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city. Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.
I just finished a meeting with FBI Director Comey and my homeland security and national security advisors. The FBI is on the scene and leading the investigation, in partnership with local law enforcement. I’ve directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.
We are still learning all the facts. This is an open investigation. We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer. The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism. And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups. What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred. Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.
This morning I spoke with my good friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed the condolences of the entire American people. This could have been any one of our communities. So I told Mayor Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need — they are going to get it. As a country, we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.
We also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed into harm’s way. Their courage and professionalism saved lives, and kept the carnage from being even worse. It’s the kind of sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals make every single day for all of us, and we can never thank them enough.
This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.
So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.
In the coming hours and days, we’ll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names. Their faces. Who they were. The joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world. Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families — that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable. And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change. We need to demonstrate that we are defined more — as a country — by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.
As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts — friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives. In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another. We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.
May God bless the Americans we lost this morning. May He comfort their families. May God continue to watch over this country that we love. Thank you.”

Top priority is to defeat ISIL and eliminate the threat of terrorism: Barack Obama

Newsroom24x7 Staff

US President ObamaWashington DC: Speaking in Cuba on March 23, President Obama made a statement on horrific bombings at the Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station in Belgium.

Obama has affirmed that his top priority now is to defeat ISIL and eliminate the threat of terrorism.

Addressing the media in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Obama said:

“I’ve got a lot of things on my plate. But my top priority is to defeat ISIL and to eliminate the scourge of this barbaric terrorism that’s been taking place around the world. And we see high-profile attacks in Europe, but they’re also killing Muslims throughout the Middle East — people who are innocent, people who are guilty only of worshipping Islam in a different way than this organization. They are poisoning the minds of young people everywhere.”

“So there’s no more important item on my agenda than going after them and defeating them. The issue is how do we do it in an intelligent way. And our approach has been continuously to adjust to see what works and what doesn’t. What has been working is the airstrikes that we’re taking on their leadership, on their infrastructure, on their financial systems.”

“One of the great strengths of the United States, and part of the reason why we have not seen more attacks in the United States, is we have an extraordinarily successful, patriotic, integrated Muslim American community. They do not feel ghettoized, they do not feel isolated. Their children are our children’s friends, going to the same schools. They are our colleagues in our workplaces. They are our men and women in uniform fighting for our freedom. And so any approach that would single them out or target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it also would be counterproductive, because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to resist terrorism.”

“Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us, they can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us. They are vicious killers and murderers who perverted one of the world’s great religions. And their primary power, in addition to killing innocent lives, is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies, so that the effect cascades from an explosion or an attack by a semi-automatic rifle.

“And even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them — disrupting their networks, getting their leaders, rolling up their operations — it is very important for us to not respond with fear. As I said, that’s hard to do because we see the impact in such an intimate way of the attacks that they make. But we defeat them in part by saying, you are not strong; you are weak. We send a message to those who might be inspired by them to say, you are not going to change our values of liberty and openness and the respect of all people.”

ISIL recruiting youth in Afghanistan, training kids to kill

Newsroom24x7 Desk

isil terrorist schoolKabul/ Islamabad/New Delhi: Coinciding with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kabul visit to inaugurate the Parliament complex built with Indian help, which was followed by his surprise visit to Lahore to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his Birthday there is news of increasing chaos in Afghanistan, where it has been reported that the ISIL has set up terrorist schools and children as young as 3-years were being trained to kill.

RT (Russian Television) today reported that Taliban defections to ISIL are on the rise after the US-led combat troops began pulling out from Afghanistan.

Kabul based journalist of New York Times Ahmad Shakib has also reported about ISIL’s Afghan radio station located in the Nangarhar Province near Kabul and close to the Pakistan Border.

This radio station is working overtime and spreading terrorist propaganda to enroll the youth into the ISIL ranks.

Reports point out that the ISIL, which is under pressure when it comes to smuggling oil from territories under its control in Syria and Iraq, wants to control the money spinning activity of heroin production and trafficking in Afghanistan and also expand its network in Central Asia.

The latest reports about ISIL activities in Afghanistan has added another dimension to the security environment in the region which has been reeling under the impact of the militant groups, especially the Taliban. Some of these militant groups that are said to be supported by the Pak ISI have been involved continuously in acts of terrorism in Kashmir.

Hardline violent groups like al Qaeda, Pak Taliban and the Afghan Taliban that had fled Afghanistan after the US controlled troops took control of their territory 14 years ago had merged with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which later came to be known as the Pak-Taliban when the US had started mounting pressure on Pakistan for coordinated action in the war against terror after 9/11.

The militants network, with several hundred thousand members, is now deeply entrenched in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa area. The Pak Taliban has also made deep inroads in Baluchistan. The Haqqani group, which is part of the militant network is supposed to be a non-state arm of the ISI.

Then we also have the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan. It is the armed wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JD), a fundamentalist organisation operating freely in Pakistan. Its founder leader is Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Lashkar-e-Taiba is closely linked to the ISI and India has evidence that it was directly responsible for the Mumbai attack in 2008. Lashkar-e-Taiba is also active in spreading terror in Kashmir.

In Pakistan, the fight for control over natural resources in Baluchistan also turned violent in recent  years after the militant Sunni Islamist groups began targeting the Shias. Other parts of Pakistan were also not free from the violent impact of this.