WATCH: Syria Lies In Ruins While Major Escalation Looms After Failure Of Geneva Talks

After only three days of talks, the UN-sponsored conference about Syria in Geneva has ended abruptly.

UN special envoy Staffan Di Mastura had trouble admitting the talks were a failure and insisted they would resume at the end of this month.

“This is not the end or the failure of the talks, but I’m not prepared to have talks for the sake of talks,” he said Wednesday during a press conference after the parties already started to blame each other for the failure of the conference. Di Mastura called upon all the parties to work harder to make the talks a success.

In a follow-up statement, he seemed to blame the Assad regime for what he calls the suspension of the talks. Di Mastura said in the statement “the government’s failure to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria by allowing food and medicine into rebel-held towns had prevented any serious discussions,” The New York Times reported.

A spokesman for the Syrian government said the suspension of the talks was the failure of everybody except the government of the Syrian Arab Republic (Assad’s regime), because they had arrived on time while the opposition arrived six days late and refused to engage directly with the other parties. The Syrian spokesman also said the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that consists of several opposition groups — but not Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic State and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), who were not invited to the conference — was disorganized and contained “terrorists.”

The Kurds left Geneva after they discovered their participation had been blocked by the other opposition bloc supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Obama administration reportedly abandoned the Kurds after Turkish pressure.

The government spokesman especially blamed the Turks, the Saudis and the government of Qatar because they are “the handlers and the masters” of the High Negotiations Committee.

The HNC and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, however, blamed the Assad regime and its allies for the failure of the talks.

Kerry issued a statement that said the Assad government must cease the bombing of rebel forces and added it is “past time for them to meet existing obligations and restore the international community’s confidence in their intentions of supporting a peaceful resolution.”

The opposition held the Assad regime fully responsible for the scuppered talks. The HNC pointed to the fact that government forces launched a major offensive in the Aleppo region at the moment the conference started. The offensive succeeded to cut off a major supply route to the city from the Turkish border.

Opposition groups in Aleppo now fear that the city will soon be encircled by Assad’s army who receive air support from Russian warplanes.

At the same time, government forces backed by Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias succeeded to break a three-year rebel siege of the Shiite villages of Nubl and Zahraa west of Aleppo.

This move enabled the militia of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to advance along the Turkish border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Thursday the Kurdish YPG militia had taken control of Al-Ziyara and Khuraybika—two villages in the Shirawa region of the Afrin Canton a couple of kilometers from the liberated Shiite villages. The Kurds seek to connect the Kurdish Afrin Canton to the already autonomous cantons Cizire and Kobane along the Turkish border. If they succeed they will control the whole border area with Turkey in Syria.

The Kurdish move has exacerbated tensions with Turkey. Russian military officials think the Turkish army has now received orders to prepare for an invasion of Syria. The Turkish invasion should halt the YPG advances and open supply routes to Islamist rebel groups supported by Ankara.

The situation has also increased tensions between Russia and Turkey. Russia claims Turkish forces killed a Russian military advisor earlier this week and accuses Turkey of shelling Syria. The Russians claim they have video evidence of the Turkish military activity in Syria and have demanded an explanation from NATO about the Turkish aggression.

Turkey claimed a Russian warplane again breached its airspace Jan.30 and now accuses Russia of supporting the YPG advances along the Turkish border. The Turks have threatened they will not tolerate new territorial gains of the YPG in the direction of the Mediterranean coast.

“The PYD (YPG) has been getting closer with both the United States and Russia of late. We view the PYD as a terrorist group and we want all countries to consider the consequences of their cooperation,” a Turkish official told Reuters. “With support from Russia, the PYD is trying to capture land between Jarablus and Azaz, going west of the Euphrates. We will never accept this.”

The alleged alliance between Russia and the Syrian Kurds will no doubt cause Obama to have a severe headache.

When Turkey makes good on its threat to stop the Kurdish advance in the direction of the Afrin Canton (see map) by intervening in Syria, Washington will face a dilemma. The Obama administration will have to choose between support for the YPG the only force that has been effective in the battle against Islamic State and its staunch ally Turkey that allows the U.S.-led coalition to use the Incirlik airbase for attacks on Islamic State.

KurdishMap

The collapse of the conference in Geneva is related to this looming major escalation in the 5-year-old Syrian war. It has become clear that several parties in the talks have no interest in ending the war at this point. Russia is one of these parties, and the Islamist opposition is another. What we thus can expect is an escalation of the fighting and more death and destruction.

To give you an idea about the shocking level of destruction in Syria we advise you to watch this video of Homs, the third largest city in the country. The images were made by Russian drones:

Putin Strikes Back: He Just Made A Hugely Aggressive Military Move Seeking ‘Revenge’

In November, Syrian rebels gleefully paraded before the camera as they made a video mocking the fate of the Russian pilot killed when his jet was shot down near the Turkish border.

Now, there is a price to pay.

On Monday, Russian forces rampaged through a Syrian town on the lookout for a man who has claimed to have killed the pilot.

Not long after Turkish jets downed the Russian plane, Turkish citizen Alparslan Çelik said in a video he had killed the pilot after the Russian parachuted to what he thought was safety. Çelik said he killed the man in revenge for Russian bombing raids.

“There is no place for a person who has bombed civilian Turkmens every day,” Çelik said, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. He reportedly added, “Reprisal is the most natural right.”

Russia agrees.

Russian state media has said Russia would “take revenge” when Çelik was found. Previously, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova ordered Turkey to “take immediate steps to apprehend Alparslan Çelik and his accomplices and bring them to justice for the murder of the Russian pilot.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Nov. 24 downing of the jet as a “stab in the back” carried out by “accomplices of terrorists.”

Both Russian fliers parachuted from the jet. One landed safely and was eventually returned to Russia. The other was killed.

After the pilot was killed, his killers celebrated. A video released by the Syrian rebels shows about a dozen men surrounding the body of a man in military fatigues.

“Allahu Akbar (God is great),” shouted several men in the video.

h/t: Fox News

ISIS Attacks The Capital Of Indonesia Two Days After Obama Played Down The Threat Islamic State Poses To The World

Remember what President Obama said during his State of the Union Address?

“As we focus on destroying ISIL (Islamic State), over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play in their hands. Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in garages or apartments pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped, but they do not threaten our national existence, that’s the story ISIL wants to tell,” the president said.

He uttered these words hours after Islamic State attacked the Turkey capital of Istanbul and a day before ISIS affiliate Waliyat Khorasan carried out a deadly suicide attack against Pakistan’s consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. ISIS has set its sights on Pakistan because the country possesses nuclear weapons.

Thursday, ISIS delivered irrefutable evidence it wants to drag the world into a major conflict when it carried out a new deadly attack in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. As many as 14 Islamic State terrorists attacked a local Starbucks branch in Jakarta and a shopping center near foreign embassies in the Indonesian capital.

Several suicide blasts and gunfire killed at least seven people, four of whom were terrorists. The attack came after direct threats issued to Indonesia by Islamic State last month. The Indonesian authorities had deployed 150,000 security personnel to protect the country against Islamic State attacks, but to no avail.

The explosions near the Starbucks occurred across from the Sarinah department store that is located in the same shopping mall as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and other multinational companies.

The explosions were followed by a long gun battle between the remaining terrorists and police units that had rushed to the scene. Seven hours after the assault started, police announced they were in control of the situation and said five of the attackers – two of them suicide bombers — had died instead of four. Among the victims was a Dutch citizen, police said.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders reacted to the news about the dead Dutchman and said the attack shows “terrorism can hit everybody, whether you are shopping in the heart of Paris, in a New York office or on vacation in Jakarta.”

The attack and the suicide blasts were recorded on the video posted below:

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Indonesia and issued a statement that said a group of Caliphate soldiers had targeted Indonesia because it is part of the “crusader alliance that fights ISIS.”  Islamic State claimed 15 people were killed, Reuters reported.

The U.S. embassy in Jakarta was closed after the first blasts rocked the Indonesian capital and will remain closed Friday. The embassy wrote in a statement that further attacks are possible as the security situation remains ‘fluid’.

Meanwhile, Turkey avenged the ISIS attack on Istanbul over the last two days.

The Associated Press reported the Turkish military killed an estimated 200 ISIS terrorists during the shelling of areas under Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish authorities arrested seven suspects in connection with the suicide bombingTuesay that killed 10 people in a busy tourist district in Istanbul.

The Turkish action against Islamic State marked the first time Recep Erdogan’s army launched a massive crackdown on Islamic State. Until now the focus of the Turkish actions in Syria and Iraq has been on the Kurds and especially the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party that has bases not only in Turkey, but Iraq as well.

Channel 10 news in Israel reported Egypt foiled a major ISIS attack in the Sinai Peninsula today. The Egyptian army bombed Wilayat Sinai targets in the area of Sheikh Zayed in northern Sinai Thursday morning. Wilayat Sinai is the local Egyptian Islamic State branch and is considered the best equipped ISIS affiliate in the Middle East.

Yesterday the Israeli army took action against the local ISIS branch in Gaza. IAF warplanes bombed a group of ISIS-linked terrorists who were planting bombs along the border fence with Israel in Gaza. The Israeli air force coordinated the action with the internal security service Shin Beth. The same ISIS cell had earlier attacked an IDF base in the vicinity of the Gaza border.

Hamas was furious with the Israeli action and issued a statement that said, “Israel was playing with fire.”

h/t: Israel National News

This Man Registers At Refugee Agency, One Week Later He Does Something Horrifying…

Turkey is now reporting that the suicide bomber who killed 10 Germans in Istanbul Tuesday had registered as a refugee days before the attack.

Through fingerprints provided at the time he registered at the refugee agency on Jan. 5th, Nabil Fadli was identified. He was born in Saudi Arabia, contrary to previous reports that stated he was a Syrian with links to ISIS.

He also was not on any terrorist watch lists. And Turkey has thrown out a dragnet in order to capture anyone connected to the crime. There are at least 14 suspects that have been arrested, but it’s not clear yet that any of them are firmly connected to the suicide bombing that apparently targeted Europeans and Westerners. The attack, the latest in a series of tourist-related attacks, is sure to damage the Turkish tourism industry that brings in $30 billion to the Turkish economy.

In the week leading up to the attack, in an apparent effort to prevent terrorist attacks, some 220 ISIS suspects were detained. German and Turkish officials will be meeting next week in Berlin to discuss the migrant crisis as well as security issues the latest suicide bombings have raised.

For the moment, Germany is not barring travel to Turkey; but its Foreign Ministry is advising Germans to avoid crowded places like tourist sites. It is unclear whether or not Germans specifically were targeted in the blast, or if tourists in general were. Germany has been aiding Kurdish forces with supplies and training in an effort to combat ISIS in northern Iraq, a move that is sure to upset Turkish authorities, as the Kurds are an enemy of the Turkish state.

h/t: Fox News

World Condems ISIS Attack On Istanbul, But Remains Silent On Erdogan’s War Against The Kurds

Today, an Islamic State terrorist detonated his suicide belt near the historic Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, killing ten tourists–most of them Germans. 15 others were wounded in the suicide attack that was covered by virtually all world media.

The European Union quickly responded to the ISIS attack on Turkey, which aspires to become a member of the EU. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini, issued a statement that expressed solidarity with the Turkish government and people in the battle against “terrorism.”

“The EU and Turkey stand united against all forms of terrorism. The fight against terrorism was recognized as a priority at the EU-Turkey Summit on 29 November 2015 and we must step up our efforts in this regard in full respect of our obligations under international law, including human rights and humanitarian law,” the statement read.

State Department spokesman John Kirby later stated that the Obama administration had issued a condemnation of the attack and had reaffirmed its “strong commitment to work with Turkey, a NATO ally and valued member.”

Meanwhile, a different kind of terror that has disrupted the lives of the large Kurdish minority in Turkey has gotten less attention. This war against Kurdish nationalists is conducted by the Turkish government and its president.

In the summer of 2015, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan ended a fragile truce with the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, after he lost the Turkish elections. Erdogan’s AKP party lost its absolute majority in the Turkish parliament after the new Kurdish-dominated HDP party secured 13 percent of the vote.

Shortly after this election defeat, a violent campaign against the HDP started that many in Turkey believe was orchestrated by Erdogan and the AKP. In July, the ceasefire between the Turkish army and the PKK finally collapsed after a suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc killed 32 people, most of them young Kurdish activists.

The PKK responded to the bombing by renewing its attacks on Turkish targets, and the Turkish army launched a ground offensive against the PKK.

The Turkish air force later bombed PKK bases in northern Iraq after Erdogan closed a deal with U.S. President Barack Obama over the use of the Turkish airbase Incirlik for attacks on Islamic State. Under that deal, Turkey officially joined the US-led coalition against ISIS; but in reality, Turkish warplanes bombed PKK targets only.

Erdogan’s strategy paid off in new early elections that were held in November last year after the AKP sabotaged efforts to form a coalition government. He succeeded in rallying the Turks behind his nationalist anti-Kurdish agenda, and the AKP regained its absolute majority in the Turkish parliament.

Bolstered by his election victory, Erdogan stepped up his campaign against the Kurdish PKK, considered a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the U.S.

The Turkish president minced no words when he told the PKK: “you will be annihilated in (your) houses, (your) buildings, (your) ditches which you have dug. Our security forces will continue this fight until it has been completely cleansed – no matter the cost in human lives and suffering.”

Between 3000 and 5000 Kurds – most of them PKK members – have lost their lives since the cease-fire collapsed last year. Whole Kurdish cities are placed under curfew while the Turkish army hunts down PKK activists. The Kurdish villages and cities are “under virtual siege – without food, electricity, medical supplies and other essentials,” Global Research reported at the beginning of January.

Kurdish citizens in Turkey report that Erdogan’s army uses tanks and artillery in civilian areas, and that schools, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure have been destroyed in many Kurdish areas.

The central command of the Turkish army boasts that hundreds of PKK members have been killed since late December 2015. Army snipers kill every Kurd who dares to go outside of his house during the long curfews.

Turkish journalist Asli Aydintasbas wrote that Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation reported that there have been 52 intermittent curfews in seven Kurdish towns where 1.3 million people live, sometimes lasting as long as 14 days. The organization puts the civilian death toll since the summer at 124.

“I feel nervous even admitting this to myself but some of the photographs coming out of the region have an unnerving similarity to early images from Syria in 2011 — with buildings bearing signs of last night’s fighting or smoke rising on the horizon from gray, concrete-colored towns,” Aydintasbas reported.

All this is happening in a NATO country that just hosted a G20 meeting,” the Turkish journalist added, while criticizing the world for remaining silent about what is happening in Turkish Kurdistan.