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Showing posts from February 8, 2016

Chechen special forces are on the ground in Syria and 'have infiltrated Isis cells', says Ramzan Kadyrov

Chechen special forces loyal to Vladimir Putin are on the ground in Syria, embedded inside Isis-controlled territory as part of an intelligence-gathering mission, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has said.

In a teaser for a documentary to be aired on Russia’s state-controlled TV channel, Russia One, later this week, Mr Kadyrov is shown at a training camp for special units in Chechnya. Shooting high-powered weapons and observing the troops, Mr Kadyrov tells the camera that his “best fighters” were sent undercover to Syria to train alongside Isis fighters, while Chechen agents had infiltrated Isis cells “to gather information about the terrorist group”.

“An extensive spy network has been set up inside Isis,” Mr Kadyrov said. Russia One’s report said that the time had come to talk about those “who have safeguarded the success of Russian air strikes on the ground at the cost of their own lives”.

However, in a rare discrepancy between the Kremlin’s official line and the information broadca…

After Entering Aleppo With Russia's Help, The Syrian Army May Set Its Sights On Raqqa

By Robert Fisk

After losing up to 60,000 soldiers in five years of fighting, the Syrian army has suddenly scored its greatest victory of the war – smashing its way through Jabhat al-Nusra and the other rebel forces around Aleppo and effectively sealing its fate as Russia provided air strike operations outside the city.

The rebel supply lines from Turkey to Aleppo have been cut, but this does not mean the end of the story. For many months, the regime’s own military authorities – along with tens of thousands of civilians, including many Christians – were trapped inside Aleppo and at the mercy of shelling and mortar fire by the Nusra fighters, who surrounded them until the army opened the main highway south.
During this period, the only way to Aleppo was by plane because the army held a tiny peninsula of territory going to the airport – I flew out one night on a military aircraft crowded with wounded Syrian troops.
But the tables have turned. It is the rebels themselves who are now surr…

North Korea rocket launch may spur US missile defence buildup in Asia

WASHINGTON: North Korea's latest rocket launch might kick off a buildup of U.S. missile defence systems in Asia, U.S. officials and missile defence experts said, something that could further strain U.S.-China ties and also hurt relations between Beijing and Seoul.

North Korea says it put a satellite into orbit on Sunday, but the United States and its allies see the launch as cover for Pyongyang's development of ballistic missile technology that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Washington sought to reassure its allies South Korea and Japan of its commitment to their defence after the launch, which followed a North Korean nuclear test on Jan. 6.

The United States and South Korea said they would begin formal talks about deploying the sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, to the Korean peninsula "at the earliest possible date."

South Korea had been reluctant to publicly discuss the possibility due to worries about upsetting China, its …

Dozens of ISIS elements killed in Iraqi air raid west of Ramadi

( al-Anbar – Media officials with the Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday the killing of dozens of ISIS elements in an aerial strike by the Iraqi Army Aviation west of the city of Ramadi.

The officials said in a brief statement followed by, “The Iraqi Army Aviation conducted an aerial strike on a training camp for ISIS elements based on intelligence information from the National Security Agency,” adding that, “The strike resulted in destructing the ISIS camp and killing tens among them including leaders, in addition to destroying weaponry and equipment northeast of the area of Heet.”

Analysis: How Russia keeps piling pressure on Turkey

Over the weekend, four of Russia's newest and most sophisticated military aircraft - the Su-35 "Flanker E" - arrived at the Russian airbase of Latakia in Syria.

This comes on the back of another alleged violation of Turkish airspace by a Russian Su-34 "Fullback" fighter-bomber on Friday.

Relations between Ankara and Moscow remain extremely tense since Turkish forces shot down a Russian Su-24 jet after allegedly violating Turkish airspace for under 20 seconds in November.

Although Turkey is within its legal rights to shoot down foreign military aircraft which violate its airspace and refuse to comply with warnings, Ankara deliberately took a very aggressive stand against repeated Russian violations by shooting down the plane.

This, in turn, seems to have prompted a dual response from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For his domestic audience - still the most important factor for the Russian leader - Putin has deployed the S-400 advanced air defence system and order…