BREAKING: Shocking News About Rapidly Escalating Humanitarian Crisis In Syria

The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate rapidly as the Russian/Iranian-led pro-Assad coalition seems on the way to score its first decisive victory over the opposition in the almost five-year-old war

More than 470,000 people have already died in the worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, and hundreds of thousands of others have been maimed for life as a result of severe injuries. The new shocking data about the death toll was published today by the Syrian Center for Policy Research (SCPR) in Beirut, Lebanon.

The report of SCPR says “life expectancy in Syria has dropped to just 55.4 years. Before the conflict, Syrians could expect to live to the age of 70,” Time Magazine reported. The data was confirmed by Mideast expert Tzvi Yechezkieli of Israeli TV Channel 10.

More than half of Syria’s population has been displaced as a result of the endless fighting. Before the war, Syria had a population of more than 22 million people. In September, the number of Syrians living in the country had shrunk to 16.6 million and continues to shrink every day.

More than 4.5 million Syrians have fled the country and most live in refugee camps in Turkey (2.5 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Jordan (700,000) and Iraq (220.000). Europe has, until now, absorbed an estimated 1 million refugees while roughly 820,000 Syrians had entered asylum procedures in European countries as of November.

Another 6.5 million Syrian citizens have been displaced within the country and often live under miserable circumstances without enough aid. The EU recently reported 13.5 million Syrian citizens are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

Evidence of the severe humanitarian crisis in Syria was also delivered by satellite images showing nighttime electric-light intensity (evidence of human activity) in the country has fallen more than 80 percent since the beginning of the war.

Israel has — despite being officially in a state of war with Syria —  treated thousands of wounded Syrians. Most of them were injured rebels who, in some cases, were members of Islamist groups. Syrian citizens often travelled from afar to the border on the Golan Heights in order to receive medical treatment in hospitals in Israel.

At the end of last year, the humanitarian crisis in Syria worsened. Reports began to surface about mass starvation under the population of several Syrian cities and villages under siege by regime forces and their allies.

One of these villages was Madayah, a mountain village in southwestern Syria, where scores of residents died of malnutrition. Pictures were posted on social media that showed Syrian children eating meals of leaves and even grass.

The village was reportedly punished by the Assad regime for its support to rebels since 2011 when the civil war in Syria started.

Today, Vice News published a video showng images of a 12-year-old starved Syrian child hospitalized in a medical facility in Madayah that is now run by two dentists, an engineer and a vet.

Khaled Mohammad, the only doctor still working in the clinic, fled the village in January. The doctor decided to run for his life after Hezbollah hired a local hit man who was paid to murder him after he posted pictures of his starving patients on Facebook.

The clinic in Madayah treats 90 patients, most of them suffering from malnutrition and influenza.

A doctor of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) told a reporter for Vice News the current hospital staff “try their best, but they don’t have the experience needed to take proper care of patients. They have an operating table, but they don’t have anaesthesiologists, they don’t have the medicine to sedate the patients or the expertise to open them up.”

“We need advanced medical care for the majority of the patients inside Madaya, otherwise, they will die there,” the SAMS doctor said.

Madayah is still under siege. The Hezbollah fighters and regime soldiers who have encircled the town are using barbed wire and have planted some 6,000 landmines to ensure nobody leaves the village without permission from the regime forces.

The village was a popular vacation resort for wealthy Syrians and residents of the Gulf States before the war. It is one of 18 areas under siege by the Assad regime or Islamic State. An estimated half million people live in those areas, and 400,000 of them are at risk of starvation, Amnesty International wrote in a report published last month.

The latest news from Syria indicates the humanitarian crisis is rapidly deteriorating. The United Nations raised the alarm about the new humanitarian crisis in Aleppo Syria’s largest city.

The UN fears hundreds of thousands of residents of Aleppo could be trapped if the pro-Assad coalition succeeds to lay siege to the city. The Syrian health system, or what is left of it, is on the verge of collapse after the increase of airstrikes and after several hospitals were hit during these bombardments. The parties blame each other for the worsening humanitarian crisis. Turkey, for example, blames the Russians for the disaster and Russia and other parties say Turkey contributes to the deterioration by not opening the border for the tens of thousands refugees from Aleppo at the Bab al-Salama border crossing.

Russia’s Syria Strategy Is Paying Off: Anticipated Fall Of Syria’s Largest City Will Be Turning Point In The War

More than twenty thousand new Syrian refugees are trapped at the Bab al-Salam border crossing with Turkey in northern Syria after they fled the Syrian city of Aleppo at the end of last week.

The Syrian citizens left Aleppo during intensive Russian airstrikes, and after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army and its allies started to close in on the eastern side of the city that has been controlled by rebels since the summer of 2012. An estimated 40,000 other residents are on their way from Aleppo to the Turkish border or have found shelter in the Kurdish Canton Afrin, local media reported on Sunday. Afrin is relatively safe because the Russians and the American-led coalition planes don’t carry out airstrikes there.

The EU has called upon Turkey to open its borders to the refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to do so; but for now, Turkey is delivering aid to the refugees in Syria. The governor of the Turkish border province of Kilis has said that only in the event of an “extraordinary crisis” will the refugees be allowed to enter Turkey; he did not elaborate. Turkey is already hosting more than 2,5 million Syrian refugees and wants other countries to do more to elevate the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Syria.

The battle for Aleppo could be the turning point in the almost five-year-old Syrian war and comes on the heels of the failed peace conference in Geneva last week. The opposition accuses the Assad regime of deliberately undermining the conference and points to the timing of the offensive in the vicinity of Aleppo that coincided with the beginning of the conference in Geneva. Assad is now more interested in securing a military victory than in a negotiated settlement of the conflict, they claim.

The opposition is probably right.

Since the Russian intervention in Syria, Assad’s chances of surviving the rebellion against his regime have significantly risen, and his Russian/Iranian-led coalition has even succeeded in regaining the initiative in the war.

The Russians have used the period between September 2015 and January 2016 to build up their forces and to bring in large quantities of arms and other military equipment that replenished the depleted arsenals of Assad’s army and Hezbollah. Just last week, the Russians flew in the Sukhoi SU-35S, the most dangerous fighter plane in the world except for the U.S. made F-22, according to Western media.

The Russians are also building a large military base for ground forces south of the city of Latakia in Syria, the Israeli Hebrew language paper Yediot Acharonot reported on Friday. Analyst Alex Fishman wrote that the base would be, in fact, a Russian autonomous area in Syria where Russian personnel will be in full control of everything. Fishman says that this shows that the Russians intend to stay in Syria and will try to expand their influence over parts of the Middle East from there.

The successful Russian strategy is now becoming visible in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.

The Syrian army together with Hezbollah has repeatedly tried to recapture Aleppo – or Halab in Arabic – which is the largest city in Syria, but all efforts failed. But now, the situation looks different. This became apparent last week when after heavy Russian airstrikes, the Assad coalition succeeded in cutting off a crucial supply route from Aleppo to the Turkish border. The reinforcement of troops by Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra in eastern Aleppo was not enough to stop the advances of government forces, and some fear that Assad’s army will impose a siege on the city instead of trying to drive out the rebels by urban battle.

The city has been split in half since the rebels captured eastern Aleppo in mid-2012, and had been the scene of intensive fighting and bombardments ever since. A local Syrian journalist painted a bleak picture of the future of the rebels in Aleppo.

“The rebels have light weapons, and they are facing literal armies: Iran, Russia, the [Syrian] regime, Hezbollah … ISIS. They’re up against warplanes and surface-to-surface missiles. And meanwhile, Turkey won’t even let in the refugees. How do you think it’s going to go?” Mohammed al-Khatib told NPR.

The siege and the fall of Aleppo will probably deliver a decisive blow to the opposition in Syria, experts think. It probably will be the turning point in the war, not only because of the loss of Aleppo but mainly because the supply routes of the opposition forces are now under increasing threat.

“The full encirclement of Aleppo City would fuel a humanitarian catastrophe, shatter opposition morale, fundamentally challenge Turkish strategic ambitions, and deny the opposition its most valuable bargaining chip before the international community,” according to the Washington-based Institute of the Study of War.

The latest reports from the Aleppo region make mention of a massacre among Jabhat al-Nusra forces in the city of Retyan, close to Aleppo. Three hundred al-Nusra fighters were killed during fierce fighting with Assad’s army there over the past few days, Russian media reported.

The turning tide of the Syrian war has not only become visible in the northern and western part of the country, but in the south as well.

In the area of Daraa, the southern town that was the scene of the first demonstrations against the Assad regime in 2011, government forces are on the march as well.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Friday that the Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah and foreign Shiite militias, seized the town of Ataman,1.3 miles from Daraa, the capital of the province with the same name.

Here, the pattern was the same: Russian warplanes carried out intensive air raids ahead of a ground offensive; and within a short time, government forces recaptured Ataman.

The recapture of the northern part of the Daraa Province is probably the beginning of a long-anticipated offensive that aims to bring Assad back in control of southern Syria.

But it won’t stop there. Israel fears that this offensive will end with a push by Hezbollah and the Iranian Al-Quds Brigades to set up camp next to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Meanwhile, Russia warned Saudi Arabia not to intervene in Syria after the Saudi government had announced it was willing to send ground troops to assist the U.S. led coalition in a possible future ground offensive against Islamic State.

The Saudi decision was welcomed by the U.S. State Department, but Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the Russian State Duma Committee, threatened war over the Saudi decision.

“Syria has to give official consent, to invite. Otherwise, it will be war,” Krasheninnikov said on Friday.

What John Kerry Was Just Caught ADMITTING About Obama’s Iran Deal Is Dropping Jaws Everywhere

According to a CNN report, John Kerry admitted that some of the $150 billion given to Iran will be invested into state-sponsored terrorism. The Obama administration, in a nuclear deal with Iran, cleared the way for sanctions to be lifted, and for billions of U.S. dollars to be funneled to Iran. The admission came after Kerry was asked if the money given from the Iran deal would make it into the hands of terrorists.

Kerry reportedly said that there was nothing that could prevent those funds from falling into the hands of terrorists. “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists … You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

As the deal was being drawn up, critics contended the funds sent would undoubtedly end up in the hands of terrorist groups, making the Obama administration complicit in state-sponsored terrorism. Ironically, while President Obama maintains a position that Bashar al Assad must step down as the president of Syria, Iran is a bulwark for Assad. Thus, the money given to Iran will likely go into the hands of militants fighting the U.S. and coalition forces. If that happened the U.S. would, in essence, be paying Iran to attack U.S. forces, or at the very least, attack U.S. foreign policy interests. Kerry responded to that possibility.

“There is no way they can succeed in what they want to do if they are very busy funding a lot of terrorism,” he said. “If we catch them funding terrorism, they are going to have a problem with the United States Congress and other people, obviously … We are confident that this will not result in an increase somehow in the threat to any partner or any friend in the region.”

Exposed: Obama’s Former Defense Secretary Just Made A Sickening Revelation About Barack And The White House

The Obama administration’s lack of a defined, coherent policy on Syria was the result of too many directionless meetings and far too little commitment by the man at the top, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel insists.

In a wide-ranging interview with Foreign Policy, Hagel paints a dismal picture of ineffectual leadership and a lack of direction from the late summer of 2013, when the Syrian crisis was reaching its first boil, to October 2014, when Hagel sent around a memo that said “we don’t have a policy.”

Hagel cited a telling incident. On Aug. 30, 2013, he had finished arranging for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Syria after Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad used gas against his own people, crossing President Obama’s supposed “red line.” Then, Obama called him to cancel the attack.

“There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred. A president’s word is a big thing, and when the president says things, that’s a big deal,” he said, noting that Obama’s change of heart shook world leaders’ confidence in the president.

Hagel said that the White House held endless meetings on the Syrian crisis, but that the meetings never accomplished very much.

“I don’t think many times we ever actually got to where we needed to be. We kept kind of deferring the tough decisions. And there were always too many people in the room,” he said. “We seemed to veer away from the big issues. What was our political strategy on Syria?”

Hagel, who opposed “boots on the ground” in Syria, had insisted America needed a diplomatic plan to identify when and how Assad should be removed, if necessary.

Hagel’s comments in June 2014 that ISIS was “beyond anything that we’ve seen” were not well received at the White House, he said.

“I got accused of trying to hype something, overstate something, and make something more than it was,” Hagel said. “I didn’t know all of it, but I knew we were up against something here that we had never seen before. And in many ways, we were not prepared for it.”

Hagel often was on the spot for the failings of the Obama administration. He cited a congressional hearing from September 2014 when he was asked whether the U.S would back rebels fighting Assad if they were in turn attacked.

“We had never come down on an answer or a conclusion in the White House,” Hagel said. “I said what I felt what I had to say. I couldn’t say, ‘No.’ Christ, every ally would have walked away from us in the Middle East.”

Hagel eventually made the commitment. “Any attack on those that we have trained who are supporting us, we will help them,” he told the committee.

One month later, Hagel tried to rally the White House with a two-page memo that said the administration needed a policy in Syria.

“I was saying, ‘We’re not getting to where we need to be,’” he said, “because I’m getting this from all of my colleagues around the world. All of my counterparts are coming up to me at NATO meetings and everywhere, saying, ‘What are you doing? Where is this going?’”

h/t: Foreign Policy

Putin Just Made Bombshell Claim About The REAL Reason Turkey Shot His Plane Down. Turkey Pres. Responds…

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Turkey on Monday of shooting down its warplane last week to protect its oil trade with the Islamic State.

Turkey has maintained, since the incident happened last Tuesday, that the Russian bomber crossed into Turkish airspace; and after issuing repeated warnings to leave, the plane was shot down. The U.S., after reviewing the facts available, has sided with the Turkish version of events.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated, “The protection of our land borders, our airspace, is not only a right, it is a duty.” He added: “We apologize for committing mistakes, not for doing our duty.”

The country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said he would resign his office if Russia can prove its claim regarding the purchasing of oil from ISIS. 

“As soon as such a claim is proved, the nobility of our nation requires (me) to do this,” Erdogan told reporters at the climate change summit in Paris on Monday, according to CNN. 

Erdogan added that if Putin’s claim is false, he should resign. “I am asking Mr. Putin, would you remain?”

Putin said at a press conference in Paris Monday, “We have recently received additional reports that confirm that that oil from ISIL-controlled [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization] territories is delivered to the territory of Turkey on an industrial scale,” the Russian news agency TASS reported.

“We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers,” Putin added.

“It is obvious where we legally buy oil and natural gas from,” Erdogan said, as reported by Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. “Everyone must know that we are not that disreputable to make such a deal with terrorist organizations.”

The BBC’s David Butter questions whether Putin actually believes his charges, but thinks he is likely using the standoff for propaganda purposes to legitimize hitting non-ISIS, Turkish-backed Syrian rebel targets. Turkey opposes Syria’s Assad regime, while Russia intervened in the civil war to prop it up.

The BBC reports:

Turkey relies almost entirely on imports for its total oil consumption of about 720,000 barrels per day. A large chunk of those imports come from Russia.

In 2014 Russia also supplied 27bn cubic metres of natural gas to Turkey, representing 56% of its total consumption.

Russia was Turkey’s largest source of imports, supplying goods worth $25.3bn, or more than 10% of Turkey’s total imports.

In this context, if oil was a consideration for the Turkish authorities in its decision to shoot down a Russian jet, it would have had good reason to hold fire.