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The Pronk Pops Show 1339, October 11, 2019, Story 1: Subpoenaed Former U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch  Testifies Behind Close Doors of House Intelligence Committee — Videos — Story 2: American People Not Interested In Single Party Impeachment Behind Closed Doors of Star Chamber Inquiry — Those Who Voted For Trump in 2016 Will Again Vote For Trump Again in 2020 — Elections and Ideas Have Consequences — Big Fail of Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — Videos

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Story 1: Subpoenaed Former U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch  Testifies Behind Close Doors of House Intelligence Committee — Videos

UKRAINE SCANDAL EXPLAINED: Chalkboard on DNC Collusion, Joe Biden, Soros, Trump & More

Media says NO PROOF of Joe Biden wrongdoing? China, Ukraine, Burisma, missing money show otherwise

UKRAINE OFFICIALS CAN’T GET VISAS: Ambassador Yovanovitch blocks entry for Trump investigation

Nunes compares Trump impeachment inquiry to ‘chaotic circus’

Did Obama know about Comey’s surveillance?

Joe diGenova: Pelosi Won’t Allow Republicans to Subpoena Witnesses in Impeachment Investigation

Wow! Obama may have to testify for John Durham!  August 30, 2019

From Trump to Nixon: “Watergate” Film Explains “How We Learned to Stop an Out of Control President

Former Ambassador Excoriates Corruption Of Trump Acolytes | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

UKRAINE OFFICIALS CAN’T GET VISAS: Ambassador Yovanovitch blocks entry for Trump investigation

UKRAINE SCANDAL EXPLAINED: Chalkboard on DNC Collusion, Joe Biden, Soros, Trump & More

The Intercept’s Ryan Grim gives most detailed timeline of Hunter Biden’s ‘soft corruption’

MEDIA SMEARS REPORTER JOHN SOLOMON After Research on Ukraine, Biden, Democrats, Trump

Glenn Beck Reveals Bombshell Audio from Ukraine that Repudiates Impeachment Narrative

Ukraine ambassador fired by Trump testifies in impeachment probe

Former ambassador to Ukraine arrives to testify in impeachment inquiry

Former ambassador to Ukraine blames Trump, Giuliani for ousting

PBS NewsHour full episode October 11, 2019

Will ex-Ukraine envoy show up to impeachment inquiry deposition?

DNC CORRUPTION: What’s on the hacked Democrat server in Ukraine?

Ukrainian MP publishes documents he claims show Biden-Kiev corruption

Jim Jordan slams House probe as an “unfair and partisan” process

From Witch-hunt to Star Chamber. Matt Gaetz with Sebastian Gorka on AMERICA First

A Look Back at the Senate Watergate Hearings

Alexander P. Butterfield Testifies During the Watergate Hearings

Watergate revisited: The reforms and the reality, 40 years later

Marie Yovanovitch says Trump ousted her over ‘unfounded and false claims’

The ex-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine’s appearance is a breakthrough for Democrats seeking details in their ongoing impeachment inquiry of Trump.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

In her opening statement, obtained by POLITICO, Yovanovitch said Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan told her that there was “a concerted campaign” against her — one based on “unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.” Yovanovitch attended her deposition in defiance of the State Department’s orders.

“He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause,” Yovanovitch said of her conversation with Sullivan. Trump announced earlier Friday his intention to nominate Sullivan to be his new ambassador to Russia.

Yovanovich’s statement represented a top-to-bottom rebuke of the president, his associates, and his foreign policy — a rare takedown from a career diplomat who has sought to avoid the spotlight ever since her ouster. Yovanovitch expressed her “deep disappointment and dismay” at efforts to undermine trust in American institutions, and warned that “this nation’s most loyal and talented public servants” are running for the exits. She also said other countries would likely exploit the same dynamic that led to her ouster to undermine U.S. foreign policy.

Yovanovitch, who remains a State Department employee, was the latest firsthand witness to testify about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, as he ramped up efforts to pressure the country’s new president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a 2020 contender.

The chairs of the three House committees leading the investigation said the State Department and the White House had ordered Yovanovitch not to attend, prompting them to issue a subpoena. Yovanovitch, they said, agreed to comply with the subpoena over her agency’s objections, sitting for more than nine hours behind closed doors on Friday.

“Any efforts by Trump administration officials to prevent witness cooperation with the committees will be deemed obstruction of a co-equal branch of government and an adverse inference may be drawn against the president on the underlying allegations of corruption and cover-up,” said Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

Unlike the most recent witness in the Ukraine matter to testify — Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations — Yovanovitch is still employed by the State Department, which raises questions about whether she will face punishment for defying orders. Legal experts and State Department officials have been trying to resolve the question of whether a congressional subpoena trumps a State Department direction to a Foreign Service officer.

“Her willingness when served with compulsory process to follow the law and testify — I think she is a courageous example for others,” Schiff told reporters.

According to her statement, Yovanovitch was told “abruptly” in late April to return to Washington “on the next plane.” Her removal came amid a campaign by Trump’s allies to accuse her of disloyalty, a charge she said was “fictitious.” Trump himself attacked Yovanovitch during a phone call with Ukraine’s newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, which is at the center of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry. Trump referred to her as “bad news,” according to a summary of the conversation released by the White House. He also said, without elaboration, that she was “going to go through some things.”

Yovanovitch’s appearance on Capitol Hill Friday was a breakthrough for House Democrats seeking firsthand details about Trump’s efforts — both directly and through his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani — to pressure Ukraine’s leaders to investigate Biden.

Yovanovitch said she had “minimal contacts” with Giuliani, adding: “I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me.” She speculated that Giuliani’s associates “believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

She also said U.S. interests are “harmed” when “private interests circumvent professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.” It appeared to be a reference to Giuliani’s efforts to leverage government officials to dig up dirt on Biden.

“The harm will come when bad actors in countries beyond Ukraine see how easy it is to use fiction and innuendo to manipulate our system,” she said in her opening statement. “In such circumstances, the only interests that will be served are those of our strategic adversaries, like Russia, that spread chaos and attack the institutions and norms that the U.S. helped create and which we have benefited from for the last 75 years.”

According to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), an Intelligence Committee member, Yovanovitch at times “became overcome with emotion and had to stop and leave the room before recounting how she was thrown to the wolves.” He said Yovanovitch’s testimony “detailed a shocking abuse of presidential power.”

“It is clear to me that she was fired because she was a thorn in the side of those who sought to use the Ukrainian government for their own political and financial gain — and that includes President Trump,” Maloney added.

Some of the president’s closest Republican allies who sit on the committees spearheading the inquiry attended Yovanovitch’s deposition, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows. After the deposition concluded, they defended Trump from Yovanovitch’s charges and harangued Democrats for crafting a process whereby lawmakers are prohibited from discussing the substance of the testimony in public.

“The president of the United States is entitled to have the ambassador … he wants in that position,” Jordan said.

The State Department’s inspector general last Wednesday briefed congressional aides about an apparent attempt to smear the veteran civil servant. Two foreign-born associates of Giuliani — both indicted Thursday on campaign finance charges — have also been accused of seeking her removal at the behest of an unnamed Ukrainian government official.

Yovanovitch is a highly regarded diplomat within the U.S. foreign policy establishment. At the State Department, her treatment has unnerved many staffers, especially in the division that handles Europe. It also has damaged the standing of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been unwilling to publicly defend Yovanovitch.

Morale in the department was rattled even further this week after it was announced that Mike McKinley, a veteran career diplomat who serves as a top adviser to Pompeo, was resigning. The reasons for his departure, confirmed to POLITICO by a senior Trump administration official, were not clear, but the timing is not helping the morale, people in the department say.

Just as Yovanovitch agreed to testify, Trump’s representative to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, announced Friday morning that he would sit for a deposition next week, after similarly receiving a congressional subpoena.

“Notwithstanding the State Department’s current direction to not testify, Ambassador Sondland will honor the Committees’ subpoena, and he looks forward to testifying on Thursday,” his attorneys said in a statement.

But Sondland’s lawyers also said he would not be able to comply with House Democrats’ subpoena for documents, saying that “federal law and State Department regulations prohibit him from producing documents concerning his official responsibilities.” Some Republicans have been eager to let Sondland, a firm Trump ally, testify in a bid to buttress Trump’s position.

Harold Koh, a former State Department legal adviser, said his interpretation is that a congressional subpoena would outweigh a State Department directive. He noted that it’s also possible that, facing such a situation, State could order a staffer to limit his or her testimony, for example, by not discussing classified information.

It’s not clear if State will or even would be allowed to punish Yovanovitch. But sometimes such punishments are veiled. Yovanovitch could find herself given low-ranking assignments in the future, with no official reason as to why. There already are at least two ongoing federal investigations into whether, under Trump, State Department career employees have been victims of political retaliation, including being given low-level roles.

The State Department did not respond to a query Friday as to whether Yovanovitch or Sondland would face punishments.

Sondland’s name emerged in a series of text messages provided to House investigators by Volker, the former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations who resigned days before testifying last week. In the text chain, Sondland, Volker and Bill Taylor — currently the top U.S. envoy in Ukraine — discussed apparent efforts by Trump and Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, perhaps by withholding a planned White House visit or military aid.

Yovanovitch said she was not involved in discussions about Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky, or about the military aid, which was temporarily withheld earlier this year. House Democrats are examining whether the critical funds were frozen as a way to convince Zelensky to target Trump’s political rovals.

Volker, Sondland and Yovanovitch were among several senior State Department officials listed in a schedule of depositions that accompanied a subpoena for documents delivered late last month to Pompeo by the three House Democratic chairmen leading the impeachment probe.

Pompeo rebuffed the committee leaders in a letter last Tuesday, signaling that he would not comply with their requests and writing that he would “use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State.”

Quint Forgey contributed to this story.

https://www.politico.com/f/?id=0000016d-bbc2-d25f-af7f-ffcab0070001

Fired diplomat unloads on Trump and Giuliani: Former ambassador to Ukraine defies bid to gag her and tells Congress she was ordered home after ‘concerted campaign based on false claims by people with clearly questionable motives’

  • U.S. envoy to the EU Gordon Sondland says he will testify to Congress about President Trump’s Ukraine scandal next week 
  • The State Department had ordered him not to participate in hearings
  • Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave closed-door testimony to Democrat-run House Intelligence Committee today
  • President has said he had ‘heard’ that Yovanovitch was ‘bad news’
  • Democrats want to know if she was recalled to Washington because she refused to push a corruption investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the ambassador appeared under subpoena 

The deputy secretary of state, Marie Yovanovitch said in written testimony, told her that the State Department ‘had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018 

And in the latest development in the fierce back-and-worth between the White House and Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch appeared under subpoena after the State Department directed her not to appear. 

‘This is the latest example of the Administration’s efforts to conceal the facts from the American people and obstruct our lawful and constitutionally-authorized impeachment inquiry,’ three House committee chairs said in a statement. They issued a subpoena to compel the testimony, prompting Yovanovitch to cooperate.

Yovanovitch defended herself against what she called ‘unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,’ including a rumor that she had handed Ukraine’s top prosecutor a list of people who were not to be charged with crimes. 

She also dismissed public allegations that she had ‘supposedly told the Embassy team to ignore the President’s orders “since he was going to be impeached”.’ 

She rejected the contention that she was running interference for Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has claimed in what he has cast as an effort to protect the Bidens and Hillary Clinton while undermining Trump.

‘Contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,’ the career diplomat who served presidents from both parties said.

Yovanovich said she was ‘incredulous’ that the administration chose remove her from her post in May.

President Donald Trump recalled Marie Yovanovitch (center), the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; she talked to lawmakers behind closed doors on Friday

President Donald Trump recalled Marie Yovanovitch (center), the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; she talked to lawmakers behind closed doors on Friday

Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, arrived Friday for Yovanovitch's deposition

Trump’s lawyers had promised to stonewall a congressional impeachment inquiry. Yovanovitch’s appearance behind closed doors was an early test of that defiance.

Yovanovich categorically denied the connection, put forth my a group of allies who pushed for her ouster, that she had stood in the way of the former prosecutor Viktor Lutsenko’s way when it came to investigations.

‘As for events during my tenure in Ukraine, I want to categorically state that I have never myself or through others, directly or indirectly, ever directed, suggested, or in any other way asked for any government or government official in Ukraine (or elsewhere) to refrain from investigating or prosecuting actual corruption,’ she said.

‘As Mr. Lutsenko, the former Ukrainian Prosecutor General has recently acknowledged, the notion that I created or disseminated a “do not prosecute” list is completely false—a story that Mr.Lutsenko, himself, has since retracted.’

She also disputed having ever run down President Trump. Trump in a transcript of his July call with the president of Ukraine called the ambassador ‘bad news.’

‘Equally fictitious is the notion that I am disloyal to President Trump. I have heard the allegation in the media that I supposedly told the Embassy team to ignore the President’s orders “since he was going to be impeached.” That allegation is false. I have never said such a thing, to my Embassy colleagues or to anyone else,’ she writes.

After daily revelations about efforts by President Trump and his allies to use U.S. government officials to push Ukraine to conduct politically sensitive probes, Yovanovich wrote: ‘Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within.’

She expressed her shock at her own sudden removal.

‘Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the President, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an Ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,’ she writes.

‘To make matters worse, all of this occurred during an especially challenging time in bilateral relations with a newly elected Ukrainian president. This was precisely the time when continuity in the Embassy in Ukraine was most needed.’

According to Yovanovich’s account, she was instructed to return to Washington ‘on the next plane’ in April of this year – just a month after being asked to stay on until 2020.

She said she tried to find out why she was forced out, and contacted the deputy secretary of state – John Sullivan.

‘He said that the President had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador,’ according to Yovanovich.

‘He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.’  

The Trump administration announced Friday the president had nominated Sullivan to serve as the next ambassador to Russia. As such, he will face a confirmation hearing where senators will get the chance to ask him about State’s Ukraine dealings.

‘Today, we see the State Department attacked and hollowed out from within. State Department leadership, with Congress, needs to take action now to defend this great institution, and its thousands of loyal and effective employees,’ Yovanovich wrote. ‘We need to rebuild diplomacy as the first resort to advance America’s interests and the front line of America’s defense,’ she wrote.

Although Rudy Giuliani has publicly connected her to Ukrainian ‘collusion’ in 2016, Yovanovich said she has never spoken to him about the subjects at hand.

‘With respect to Mayor Giuliani, I have had only minimal contacts with him—a total of three that I recall. None related to the events at issue. ‘I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine,’ she said.

Campaign for Yovanovich’s ouster 

Yovanovich was the subject of a high-powered pressure campaign pushing for her removal.

In one key development, Lutsenko put forward the claim in an article by The Hill’s John Solomon that Yovanovich ‘gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute. Lutsenko later walked back the claim, but it gained currency with a group of Trump loyalists.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted March 24: ‘”We need more ⁦@RichardGrenell’s and less of these jokers as ambassadors,’ referencing the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Trump ally Joseph DiGenova said on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s program that same month: ‘The current United States ambassador Marie Yovanovitch has bad- mouthed the President of the United States to Ukrainian officials and has told them not to listen or worry about Trump policy because he’s going to be impeached’ – the claim she explicitly denied Friday.

By July 25, Trump would tell Ukrainian president Zelenksy in an infamous call: ‘The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that.’

Zelensky agreed with Trump ‘100 per cent.’

Then the president added cryptically of Yovanovich: ‘She’s going to go through some things.’

Also knocking Yovanovich was Texas Rep. Pete Sessions – who has a connection to two Rudy Giuiliani associates who were indicted Thursday on campaign finance charges.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman aided Giuliani’s unproven theory about Ukrainian electoral collusion. They also gave $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC (the feds allege it wasn’t actually their money) that spent $3 million to benefit Sessions.

Soon after Parnas and indicted co-conspirator David Correia met with Sessions at the Capitol in 2018, Parnas wrote a letter to Sec. State Mike Pompeo pushing the removal of Yovanovich.

Administration talking points obtained by CNN said House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff was putting Yovanovich in a ‘precarious position’ by questioning her in private without an administration lawyer who would advise her on what information may be classified.

Congressional lawmakers weren’t sure Yovanovich would show up Friday, after the White House said earlier this week it would refuse to cooperate with what Trump has termed ‘a kangaroo court.’

The inquiry was launched after a whistleblower complaint about a July 25 phone call in which Trump pressed his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic contender for the right to face Trump in the November 2020 election.

Donald Trump recalled Yovanovitch to Washington, and Democrats want to know if he made the move because she was suspicious of his desire to see Joe Biden investigated for corruption

Donald Trump recalled Yovanovitch to Washington, and Democrats want to know if he made the move because she was suspicious of his desire to see Joe Biden investigated for corruption

Democrats have accused Trump of pressuring a vulnerable foreign ally to dig up dirt on a domestic political opponent for his own political benefit. Trump has denied he did anything wrong on the call.

On Thursday, Parnas a Fruman, two foreign-born Florida businessmen who had helped Giuliani investigate the Bidens were arrested in what prosecutors said was a scheme to illegally funnel money to a pro-Trump election committee and other U.S. political candidates.

The pair, Ukraine-born Parnas and Belarus-born Fruman, were arrested at an airport outside Washington carrying one-way tickets to Vienna. Prosecutors said they conspired to contribute foreign money, including at least $1 million from an unidentified Russian businessman, to candidates for federal and state offices to buy influence.

The two had donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump political action committee called America First Action in May 2018, and the money was falsely reported as coming from a purported natural gas company set up to conceal its true source, according to the indictment.

Trump remains defiant in face of impeachment during Minneapolis rally

The testimony from Yovanovitch is the first of several depositions of key figures planned by the House committees spearheading the probe, and whether she makes her appearance will offer an early gauge of White House cooperation.

Yovanovitch, described by colleagues as a consummate professional, became the target in March of allegations – vehemently denied by the State Department – that she gave a Ukrainian prosecutor a list of people not to prosecute.

According to a White House summary, Trump described her as ‘bad news’ to Zelensky in the July call in which he sought Zelinsky’s help to investigate Biden and his son. ‘She’s going to go through some things,’ Trump added.

One of the foreign-born businessman arrested on Thursday, Parnas, sought the help of a U.S. congressman – identified by a person familiar with the matter as Republican Pete Sessions – to get Trump to remove Yovanovitch, according to the indictment.

Giuliani told Reuters last week he had provided information to both Trump and the State Department about Yovanovitch, who he suggested was biased against Trump.

Sessions lost his House seat from Texas last year to a Democrat. In a statement quoted by Politico, he said his motivation in urging the removal of Yovanovitch was his belief that ‘political appointees should not be disparaging the president, especially while serving overseas.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7561585/Former-Ukraine-envoy-scheduled-testify-Trump-impeachment-probe.html

 

Former ambassador testifies that Trump pushed for her ouster

For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.

Here’s a quick summary of the latest news:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

– Testifying in defiance of Trump’s ban, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told House impeachment investigators Friday that Trump himself had pressured the State Department to oust her from her post and get her out of the country.

– A simple yes-or-no question keeps tripping up Senate Republicans: Should the president ask foreign countries to investigate political rivals?

– As the threat of impeachment looms, Trump is digging in and taking solace in the base that helped him get elected: conservative evangelical Christians who laud his commitment to enacting their agenda.

President Donald Trump adjusts his jacket as he walks toward reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, before departing for a campaign rally in Lake Charles, La. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Nearly all House Democrats – 229 out of 235 – say they support the inquiry that could lead to an impeachment vote against Trump, according to an AP survey of members. Add Republican-turned-independent Justin Amash of Michigan, who also backs the inquiry, and the total rises to 230. Democrats need 218 votes to pass articles of impeachment.

Only four Democrats have said they oppose the probe: Reps. Anthony Brindisi of New York, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jefferson Van Drew of New Jersey.

Rep. Jared Golden of Maine is undecided about the probe and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia has not stated her position to the AP.

All these Democrats have one thing in common: Donald Trump won their districts in 2016.

__

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified to congressional investigators behind closed doors Friday, but her prepared opening remarks were obtained by the AP. In them, she expresses dismay at being recalled from Kyiv after learning that Trump had “lost confidence” in her and had pressed the State Department to remove her.

http://apne.ws/3feeyLS

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, left, arrives on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington, as she is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, left, arrives on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, in Washington, as she is scheduled to testify before congressional lawmakers on Friday as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

A controversial right-leaning reporter at the center of the Trump-Ukraine scandal emailed a copy of one of his stories—before it was published—to a top ally of Rudy Giuliani, as well as two pro-Trump investigators attempting to dig up negative information on the Biden family.

In March, The Hill’s investigative reporter John Solomon published a story claiming that the U.S. government had pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to drop a probe of a group funded by the Obama administration and liberal billionaire George Soros. The story was published at 6 p.m., according to a timestamp on the paper’s website. Solomon himself didn’t share it on his Twitter account until 6:56 p.m. that night. The earliest cache of the story in the Internet Archive is from 7:42 p.m. Eastern time.

But hours before that, at 12:52 p.m. Eastern time, Solomon appears to have sent a version of the article to Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and the Trumpworld lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing. The email was titled “Outline of Soros reporting, including embedded documents” and included the headline and the text of his piece.

Natasha Bertrand

@NatashaBertrand

Here’s the page from the packet that @ErinBanco shared yesterday (with emails blacked out by me) https://twitter.com/lachlan/status/1179564577845104640 

View image on Twitter

Lachlan Markay

@lachlan

So @ErinBanco and @maxwelltani got a page from the State Department oppo dossier that Rudy fed to Pompeo. It appears to show John Solomon sending an advance copy of one of his Ukraine stories to Joe diGenova, Victoria Toensing, and Lev Parnas https://www.thedailybeast.com/biden-ukraine-dirt-file-has-private-email-between-john-solomon-and-rudy-allies 

274 people are talking about this

Two congressional sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that Solomon’s email was part of a roughly 50-page package of material that was turned over to lawmakers on Wednesday by the State Department’s Inspector General’s office. Reuters was the first to report the email’s inclusion in the packet.

That material, according to congressional sources, appeared to be a “misinformation” effort meant to smear the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and the Bidens. CNN reported on Wednesday that Giuliani had conceded that the information in the package originated, at least in part, with him.

“They told me they were going to investigate it,” Giuliani said to CNN, referring to a call he got from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Neither Solomon nor The Hill responded to request for comment from The Daily Beast. But in a series of tweets Wednesday night, Solomon said he sent the email “as a reporter fact-checking my work”—although the email contained the text of a fully drafted story, not isolated items that needed vetting.

“The email released to the public appears to omit the opening line of my originally sent email,” Solomon claimed in the tweets. “Here is the passage that preceded the summary of my reporting. ‘Appreciate eyeballing for accuracy. Want to be fair and accurate.’ That’s not scandalous. It’s good journalism.”

John Solomon@jsolomonReports

Today I understand the State Department IG released a private email I sent as a reporter fact-checking my work before I published a story back in March. I typically spend a long period of time before any column or news story fact-checking information with numerous people.

6,715 people are talking about this

Emails sent to the addresses Solomon used for Parnas, diGenova and Toensing did not bounce back but were not returned.

Solomon’s email to Parnas, diGenova, and Toensing suggests even stronger ties between the Hill columnist and the Trump team tasked with digging up dirt on Biden abroad. And it raises questions about the degree to which pro-Trump figures were working directly with sympathetic journalists to try and dig up and spread dirt on Biden and like-minded Democrats.

Solomon’s March 29 story about the U.S. embassy in Ukraine makes no direct mention of Parnas, diGenova, or Toensing—instead, the piece cites a letter about the probe from U.S. embassy official George Kent, and claims by former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko that the U.S. pressured him to halt an investigation into the Soros- and U.S.-backed group. But the three individuals have emerged as key players in the lead-up to Trump’s request for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to investigate the Bidens.

Parnas, a Giuliani friend and golf buddy, was a key player in connecting the former New York City mayor to former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, whom Biden and other top Western government entities and officials had hoped to push out because of his perceived inaction tackling corruption.

DiGenova and Toensing have been some of the president’s most trusted outside allies for years. During  Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation last year, the duo was briefly mentioned as possibilities to join the president’s legal defense team. On Sunday, Fox News reported that diGenova and Toensing had been working alongside Giuliani to dig up dirt on Biden—a revelation that the New York Times had noted months prior.

Solomon’s work has come under intense scrutiny following the revelation that a series of his stories about Ukraine may have helped spark events leading to Trump’s request that President Zelensky team up with Giuliani to investigate the Bidens.

On March 20, Solomon published an interview with Lutsenko in which the ex-prosecutor accused the former vice president of having pressured the then-Ukrainian president in 2016 to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor, Shokin. The insinuation, according to Lutsenko, was that Biden hoped to quash an investigation into a Ukrainian gas company connected to his son Hunter Biden. Despite Lutsenko’s retraction of some of the claims, and conclusion that Hunter Biden “did not violate any Ukrainian laws,” the incident was cited in a U.S. government whistleblower’s complaint as one of the circumstances that eventually led to Trump’s call with Zelensky.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported new details Wednesday night about Giuliani’s dirt-digging on another front: He’s been consulting via a lawyer with Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort to inquire about the so-called black ledger that reportedly revealed a Ukrainian political party had funneled millions to Manafort. Giuliani believes the ledger was part of a conspiracy by Ukrainians to interfere in the 2016 election on behalf of Hillary Clinton

https://www.thedailybeast.com/biden-ukraine-dirt-file-has-private-email-between-john-solomon-and-rudy-allies

Devin Nunes: Lawmakers investigating rumors of ‘strange requests’ to monitor journalists

Rep. Devin Nunes said lawmakers have been told about “strange requests” to use government resources to monitor journalists.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee stressed Wednesday evening that he has not confirmed the allegations but is seeking answers from the State Department.

During an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Nunes talked about a letter by former GOP congressman Pete Sessions to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he said raised concerns that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was “not serving the Trump administration well” and was removed from her post earlier this year.

“We also have concerns that possibly they were monitoring press from different journalists and others,” Nunes said. “That we don’t know, but we have people who are giving us this information and we’re going to ask these questions to the State Department and hopefully they’re going to get the answers before she comes in on Friday.”

With Yovanovitch set to testify before the House this week as Democrats ramp up their impeachment inquiry spurred by Trump’s communications with Ukraine, Nunes said Republicans “will give her an opportunity to answer these questions.”

Hannity said he has heard from multiple sources who “believe there is evidence that government resources were used to monitor communications” of American journalists, including new Fox News contributor John Solomon, related to Ukraine and posited that Yovanovitch may have been involved.

But Nunes would not get into specifics and noted that if there was some sort of surveillance, it may have been done properly.

“What I’ve heard — and I want to be clear — there’s a difference. What I’ve heard is that there were strange requests, irregular requests to monitor not just one journalist, but multiple journalists. Now perhaps that was OK. Perhaps there was some reason for that — that it can be explained away. But that’s what we know and that’s what we’re going to be looking into,” the California Republican said.

Solomon appeared on the show after Nunes and also preached caution. He said he “received multiple contacts from the intelligence community suggesting that there may have been inappropriate monitoring of my communications” but added that it’s not yet clear what exactly transpired and that what may have happened was just monitoring of his social media.

“I think we need to dig in more. Ambassador Yovanovitch should be given an opportunity and Secretary of State Pompeo should tell us what happened,” Solomon said.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/devin-nunes-lawmakers-investigating-rumors-of-strange-requests-to-monitor-journalists

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clintonwas running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill.

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

Marie Yovanovitch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Marie Yovanovitch
Marie L. Yovanovitch.jpg
9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine
In office
August 29, 2016 – May 20, 2019
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded by Geoffrey Pyatt
Succeeded by Kristina Kvien (Acting)
United States Ambassador to Armenia
In office
September 22, 2008 – June 9, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by John Evans
Succeeded by John Heffern
United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
In office
February 4, 2005 – February 4, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Stephen Young
Succeeded by Tatiana Gfoeller
Personal details
Born 1958 (age 60–61)
MontrealCanada
Education Princeton University (BA)
National Defense University (MS)

Marie Louise Yovanovitch (born 1958)[1] is a member of the senior ranks of the United States Foreign Service who served as the 9th United States Ambassador to Ukraine. She was nominated to the post on May 18, 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt,[2][3] was sworn in on August 18, 2016,[4] and was recalled as of May 20, 2019.[5] She is a diplomat in residence at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.[6][7]

Yovanovitch was the United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from November 20, 2004, to February 4, 2008, and the United States Ambassador to Armenia from August 1, 2008, to June 3, 2011.[1]

Contents

Early life

Marie Yovanovitch is the daughter of Mikhail Yovanovitch and Nadia (Theokritoff) Yovanovitch.[8] Her paternal grandparents were of Russian Serbian origin. She was born in Canada, moved to Connecticut when she was three, and became a naturalized American citizen at age eighteen. She grew up speaking Russian.[6]

Yovanovitch is a graduate of Kent School, a private boarding school in Connecticut, and Princeton University, where she earned a B.A. in History and Russian Studies in 1980. She studied at the Pushkin Institute (1980) and was awarded an M.S. from the National Defense University‘s National War College in 2001.[9]

Career

Yovanovitch joined the U.S. foreign service in 1986. Her first foreign assignment, in Ottawa, was followed by overseas assignments including MoscowLondon, and Mogadishu.[9] From May 1998 to May 2000 she served as the Deputy Director of the Russian Desk in the U.S. Department of State.

From August 2001 to June 2004, as a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in KievUkraine.[10] From August 2004 to May 2005 she was the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Yovanovitch was nominated on June 3, 2005 to serve as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kyrgyz Republic, and confirmed by the United States Senate on June 30, 2005. She was the United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from November 20, 2004, to February 4, 2008, and the United States Ambassador to Armenia from August 1, 2008, to June 3, 2011.

Yovanovitch was nominated to be the ambassador to Ukraine on May 18, 2016, to replace Geoff Pyatt, and was sworn in on August 18, 2016.[2][3][4]

Trump–Ukraine controversy

In May 2019, the Trump administration recalled Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine.[11] Although Yovanovitch was respected within the national security community for her efforts to encourage Ukraine to tackle corruption, she had been accused, without firm evidence, by some conservative media outlets and by President Trump‘s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, as well as Ukraine’s then-top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, of being part of a conspiracy involving anti-corruption probes in Ukraine and efforts by the Trump administration to investigate ties between Ukrainian officials and the Hillary Clinton campaign.[6][12] [13] However, the U.S. State Department declared some of the allegations by Yuriy Lutsenko to be “an outright fabrication.”[12]

Relying upon unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that Yovanovitch was recalled for undermining and obstructing Trump’s efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate former vice president and 2020 U.S. presidential election candidate Joe Biden.[14]

On October 11, 2019, Yovanovitch gave a closed-door testimony before the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence. She released a ten-page opening statement in which she wrote:

Understanding Ukraine’s recent history, including the significant tension between those who seek to transform the country and those who wish to continue profiting from the old ways, is of critical importance to understanding the events you asked me here today to describe. Many of those events—and the false narratives that emerged from them—resulted from an unfortunate alliance between Ukrainians who continue to operate within a corrupt system, and Americans who either did not understand that corrupt system, or who may have chosen, for their own purposes, to ignore it.[15]

See also

References …

Sources

External links

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Stephen Young
United States Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan
2005–2008
Succeeded by
Tatiana Gfoeller
Preceded by
John Evans
United States Ambassador to Armenia
2008–2011
Succeeded by
John Heffern
Preceded by
Geoffrey Pyatt
United States Ambassador to Ukraine
2016–2019
Succeeded by
Kristina Kvien
Acting

Hunter Biden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Hunter Biden
R. Hunter Biden at Center for Strategic & International Studies.jpg

Vice Chairman of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation
In office
July 26, 2006 – January 29, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Succeeded by Jeffrey Moreland
Personal details
Born
Robert Hunter Biden

February 4, 1970 (age 49)
WilmingtonDelaware, U.S.

Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)
Kathleen Buhle
(m. 1993; div. 2017)
Melissa Cohen (m. 2019)
Domestic partner Hallie Olivere (2016–2019)
Children 3
Relatives Joe Biden (father)
See Biden family
Education Georgetown University (BA)
Yale University (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service 2013–2014
Rank US Navy O1 infobox.svg Ensign
Unit United States Navy Reserve

Robert Hunter Biden (born February 4, 1970) is an American lawyer and lobbyist who is the second son of former U.S. Vice PresidentJoe Biden. He co-founded Rosemont Seneca Partners, an international consulting firm.

In 2019, Biden resigned from the Board of Directors of a Chinese company.[1][2]

Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian natural gas producer, from 2014 to 2019. In 2019, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that Joe Biden had sought the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor in order to protect Hunter Biden from investigation.[3][4][5] However, Hunter Biden was not under investigation,[6] and there is no evidence of wrongdoing done by him in Ukraine.[7] Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens by withholding foreign aid[8][9][10] triggered an impeachment inquiry in September 2019.

Contents

Early life

Biden was born on February 4, 1970,[11] in Wilmington, Delaware. He is the second son of Neilia Biden (née Hunter) and Joe Biden, the latter of whom represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009 and served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.[4] Hunter Biden’s mother and younger sister, Naomi, were killed in an automobile crash on December 18, 1972.[12][13] Biden and his older brother, Beau, were also seriously injured in that crash.[4] Hunter and Beau Biden later encouraged their father to marry again,[14] and Jill Jacobs became Hunter and Beau’s stepmother in 1977.[4] Biden’s half-sister, Ashley, was born in 1981.[15]

Like his father and brother, Biden attended Archmere Academy, a Catholic high school in Claymont, Delaware. In 1992, he graduated from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in history. During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon, where he met and eventually married Kathleen Buhle. After attending Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School, graduating in 1996.[4]

Career

Early positions, 1996–2009

After graduating from law school, Biden took a position at MBNA America, a major bank holding company which was also a major contributor to his father’s political campaigns. By 1998, he had risen to the rank of executive vice president.[4] From 1998 to 2001, he served in the United States Department of Commerce, focusing on ecommerce policy.[16] Biden became a lobbyist in 2001, co-founding the firm of Oldaker, Biden & Belair.[17] According to Adam Entous of The New Yorker, Biden and his father established a relationship in which “Biden wouldn’t ask Hunter about his lobbying clients, and Hunter wouldn’t tell his father about them.”[4] In 2006, Biden and his uncle, James Biden, attempted to buy Paradigm, a hedge-fund group, but the deal fell apart before completion.[4] That same year, Biden was appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of directors of Amtrak; he was on the board of Amtrak from 2006 to 2009.[16]

Later career, 2009–present

After his father was elected as vice president in 2008, Biden resigned from his position on the Amtrak board of directors and left his career as a lobbyist.[4] Along with Christopher Heinz, stepson of John Kerry, and Devon Archer, Biden founded the investment firm Rosemont Seneca.[17]

He also became an attorney with the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP,[4] and founded Eudora Global, a venture capital firm.[15]

U.S. Navy Reserve

In May 2013, Biden was selected as a direct commission officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, receiving an age-related waiver and a second waiver due to a past drug-related incident.[18] Joe Biden administered the commissioning oath to Hunter Biden in a White House ceremony.[4]

The following month, Biden tested positive for cocaine during a urinalysis test and was subsequently discharged.[19] According to Biden, he had unwittingly consumed the cocaine after being given cigarettes he believed were surreptitiously laced with the drug.[4] He chose not to appeal the matter as it was unlikely that the panel would believe his explanation given his history with drugs, and also due to the likelihood of news leaking to the press, though it was ultimately revealed to The Wall Street Journal by a Navy official who provided information to the newspaper on condition of anonymity.[4][18]

BHR Partners

In 2013, Biden, Devon Archer, and Chinese businessman Jonathan Li founded BHR Partners, a business focused on investing Chinese capital in companies based outside of China.[4] In September 2019, President Trump falsely claimed that Biden “walk[ed] out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund” and earned “millions” of dollars from the BHR deal, while Trump was also accusing Biden of malfeasance in Ukraine.[20][21] Trump publicly called on China to investigate Hunter Biden’s business activities there while his father was vice president.[22][23] On October 13, 2019, citing “the barrage of false charges” by the President, Hunter Biden announced his resignation from the Board of Directors for BHR Partners effective at the end of the month.[24][25] According to his lawyer, Biden had “not received any compensation for being on BHR’s board of directors,” nor had he received any return on his equity share in BHR.[26] Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, told The Washington Post that BHR Partners had been “capitalized from various sources with a total of 30 million RMB [Chinese Renminbi], or about $4.2 million, not $1.5 billion.”[20]

Burisma Holdings

In the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolutionMykola Zlochevsky faced a money laundering investigation,[27][28] and his company Burisma Holdings, the largest natural gas producer in Ukraine,[4] assembled a “high-profile international board” in response.[29][28] Chris Heinz, John Kerry‘s stepson, opposed his partners Devon Archer and Hunter Biden joining the board in 2014 due to the reputational risk.[28] Among those who joined the board of directors in April 2014 were Biden, Archer and former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski.[30] Biden served on the board of Burisma until his term expired in April 2019,[31] receiving compensation of up to $50,000 per month in some months.[17][32][33] Because Vice President Biden played a major role in U.S. policy towards Ukraine, some Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates[5][34] and Obama administration officials expressed concern that Hunter Biden’s having joined the board could create the appearance of a conflict of interest and undermine Vice President Biden’s anti-corruption work in Ukraine.[4][28] While serving as vice president, Joe Biden joined other Western leaders in encouraging the government of Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin,[3][35] who was widely criticized for blocking corruption investigations.[36][37] The Ukrainian parliament voted to remove Shokin in March 2016.[38][39]

In 2019, President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, claimed that Vice President Biden had actually sought the dismissal of Shokin in order to protect his son and Burisma Holdings,[40][5] however, there is no evidence that this was what happened.[3]There has also been no evidence produced of wrongdoing done by Hunter Biden in Ukraine.[7] The Ukrainian anti-corruption investigation agency stated in September 2019 that the investigation of Burisma was restricted solely to investigating the period of 2010 to 2012, before Hunter Biden joined Burisma in 2014.[6] Shokin in May 2019 claimed that he was fired because he was actively investigating Burisma,[41] but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have stated that the investigation into Burisma was dormant at the time of Shokin’s dismissal.[28][41][42] Ukrainian sources have maintained that Shokin was fired for failing to address corruption, including within his office.[34][43]

In July 2019, Trump ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid[44] shortly before a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked Zelensky to initiate an investigation of the Bidens.[45][46] Trump falsely told Zelensky that “[Joe] Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution” of his son; Joe Biden did not stop any prosecution, did not brag about doing so, and there is no evidence his son was ever under investigation.[47] On September 24, 2019, the United States House of Representatives initiated a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump on the grounds that he may have sought to use U.S. foreign aid and the Ukrainian government to damage Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.[48][49]

Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko said in May 2019 that Hunter Biden had not violated Ukrainian law. After Lutsenko was replaced by Ruslan Ryaboshapka as prosecutor general, Lutsenko and Ryaboshapka said in September and October 2019 respectively that they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.[3][50][51]

CEFC China Energy

Biden helped Chinese businessman Ye Jianming negotiate a deal for Ye’s company CEFC China Energy to make a $40 million investment in a liquefied natural gas project at Monkey Island, Louisiana. Ye gifted Biden a 2.8 carat diamond, which Biden said he gave away. Biden agreed to legally represent Ye’s deputy, Patrick Ho, for investigations in the United States. Ho was eventually arrested and jailed in the U.S. for bribery. In 2018, the CEFC deal collapsed after Ye was detained in China, reportedly for corruption.[4][17]

Personal life

Biden married Kathleen Buhle in 1993,[4] and they have three children, Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy.[15] Biden and Kathleen separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017.[52] In 2016, he began dating Hallie Biden, the widow of his brother, Beau;[53] they ended their relationship by early 2019.[54] In May 2019, Biden married Melissa Cohen, a South-African filmmaker.[55][56]

Biden spent decades struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. He has described his experiences as so: “There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel—it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.”[57][58]

See also

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_Biden

Alexandra Chalupa

Alexandra Chalupa, Melanne Verveer, and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s Ukraine linkages. Chalupa held multiple intelligence briefing and debriefing sessions regarding president Trump with Okana Shulyar and other Ukrainian embassy staff.[1]

Alexandra Chalupa it a Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee. Chalupa met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC in an effort to expose ties between Paul Manafort and Russia. The DNC paid her $412,000 from 2004 to June 2016, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In 1998, Alexandra Chalupa gained employment at the Office of Public Liaison as an intern in the Clinton White House. Chalupa worked as executive director for Democrats Abroad in the 2000s. In 2004, Alexandra was hired as a staffer / consultant at the Democratic National Committee. She also became headed the Democratic Heritage Council much later.

In 2014, the U.S. United With Ukraine Coalition was founded by Alexandra Chalupa.

In 2016 led the DNC’s opposition research into any Trump ties to Russia.[2] Chalupa organized social media campaigns against Trump. One of those efforts encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtag, #TreasonousTrump.

Ukrainian collusion

See also: Biden-Ukraine collusion scandal

According to the Kyiv Post,

“Chalupa said she first came across Manafort after she organized a meeting with then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Security Council and leaders of Ukrainian-American organizations in January 2014, to brief the White House about the Euromaidan Revolution that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power on Feb. 22, 2014.”

In late 2015, Alexandra Chalupa expanded her research into Paul Manafort to include the Trump campaign and possible ties to Russia.

In January 2016, Chalupa informed an unknown senior DNC official that she believed there was a Russian connection with the Trump campaign. Notably, this theme would be picked up by the Clinton campaign in the summer of 2016. Chalupa also told the official to expect Manafort’s involvement in the Trump campaign.

Chalupa’s forecast proved prescient, as Manafort reached out to the Trump campaign shortly after, on Feb. 29, 2016, through a mutual acquaintance, Thomas J. Barrack Jr. According to Manafort, he and Trump hadn’t been in communication for years until the Trump campaign responded to Manafort’s offer. On March 28, 2016, Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign. He was reportedly initially hired to lead the Trump campaign’s delegate effort, but was soon promoted, and on May 19, 2016, Manafort became Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist.

Just days prior to Manafort’s hiring, on March 24, 2016, Chalupa spoke with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, and told him of concerns she had regarding Manafort. Reportedly, her concerns were initially rebuffed as Chaly didn’t think Trump had a real chance of winning the presidency.

According to Politico, the day after Manafort’s hiring, Chalupa provided a briefing on “Manafort, Trump and their ties to Russia” to the DNC’s communications staff. Notably, “with the DNC’s encouragement,” Chalupa asked the Ukrainian Embassy staff to attempt to arrange an interview with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko and have him discuss Manafort’s ties to former Ukrainian President Yanukovych. The Ukrainian Embassy reportedly declined the request but, according to Chalupa, did begin working with reporters who were researching Trump.

Andrii Telizhenko, who worked in the Ukrainian Embassy under one of Chaly’s top aides, Oksana Shulyar, has repeatedly stated that Chalupa was working closely with the Ukrainian Embassy to obtain information on Trump. In an interview with the Gateway Pundit, Telizhenko said he met Chalupa in the spring of 2016 at the Ukrainian Embassy, where Chalupa told him she was “a DNC operative working for the DNC” and the “Clinton campaign.” Telizhenko continued, noting that Chalupa said she was “collecting any dirt or background information on Manafort, presidential candidate Trump or any other campaign official from the Trump campaign” and was looking for “connections to Russia or the FSB or Russian mob, or Ukrainian mob, etc.” According to Telizhenko, Chalupa said the information would “be used for committee hearings in Congress under a congresswoman.”[3] Telizhenko didn’t disclose the identity of the congresswoman, noting, “I don’t want to mention her name on record.”

In January 2017, Telizhenko told Politico that Chalupa said, “If we can get enough information on Paul [Manafort] or Trump’s involvement with Russia, she can get a hearing in Congress by September.”

In a recent tweet, Telizhenko summed the situation succinctly, noting

“The Clinton campaign had a Democratic operative working with Ukraine’s embassy in Washington to research Trump’s Russia ties, as well as a Ukrainian lawmaker feeding information to Fusion GPS.”

The “Democratic operative” refers to Chalupa, while the “Ukrainian lawmaker” refers to Leshchenko.

Andrea Chalupa

According to journalist and DNC activist Andrea Chalupa on her Facebook page “After Chalupa sent the email to Miranda (which mentions that she had invited this reporter to a meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Washington), it triggered high-level concerns within the DNC, given the sensitive nature of her work. “That’s when we knew it was the Russians,” said a Democratic Party source who has been directly involved in the internal probe into the hacked emails. In order to stem the damage, the source said, “we told her to stop her research.”” July 25, 2016

If she was that close to the investigation Crowdstrike did how credible is she? Her sister Alexandra was named one of 16 people that shaped the election by Yahoo news. The DNC hacking investigation done by Crowdstrike concluded hacking was done by Russian actors based on the work done by Alexandra Chalupa? That is the conclusion of her sister Andrea Chalupa and obviously enough for Crowdstrike to make the Russian government connection.

Alexandra Chalupa- According to the Ukrainian Weekly,[4]

… “The effort, known as Digital Miadan, gained momentum following the initial Twitter storms. Leading the effort were: Lara Chelak, Andrea Chalupa, Alexandra Chalupa, Constatin Kostenko and others.” The Digital Maidan was also how they raised money for the coup. This was how the Ukrainian emigres bought the bullets that were used on Euromaidan. Ukraine’s chubby nazi, Dima Yarosh stated openly he was taking money from the Ukrainian emigres during Euromaidan and Pravy Sektor still fundraises openly in North America. The “Sniper Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine by Dr. Ivan Katchanovski, University of Ottowa shows clearly detailed evidence how the massacre happened. It has Pravy Sektor confessions that show who created the “heavenly hundred. Their admitted involvement as leaders of Digital Maidan by both Chalupas is a clear violation of the Neutrality Act and has up to a 25 year prison sentence attached to it because it ended in a coup.

Andrea Chalupa-2014, in a Huff Post article Sept. 1 2016, Andrea Chalupa described Sviatoslav Yurash as one of Ukraine’s important “dreamers.” He is a young activist that founded Euromaidan Press. Beyond the gushing glow what she doesn’t say is who he actually is. Sviatoslav Yurash was Dmitri Yarosh’s spokesman just after Maidan. He is a hardcore Ukrainian nationalist and was rewarded with the Deputy Director position for the UWC (Ukrainian World Congress) in Kiev . In January, 2014 when he showed up at the Maidan protests he was 17 years old. He became the foreign language media representative for Vitali Klitschko, Arseni Yatsenyuk, and Oleh Tyahnybok. All press enquiries went through Yurash. To meet Dimitri Yurash you had to go through Sviatoslav Yurash as a Macleans reporter found out.

At 18 years old, Sviatoslav Yurash became the spokesman for Ministry of Defense of Ukraine under Andrei Paruby. He was Dimitri Yarosh’s spokesman and can be seen either behind Yarosh on videos at press conferences or speaking ahead of him to reporters. From January 2014 onward, to speak to Dimitri Yarosh, you set up an appointment with Yurash.

Andrea Chalupa has worked with Yurash’s Euromaidan Press which is associated with Informnapalm.org and supplies the state level hackers for Ukraine.

Alperovitch’s relationship with Andrea Chalupa’s efforts and Ukrainian intelligence groups is where things really heat up. Noted above she works with Euromaidanpress.com and Informnapalm.org which is the outlet for Ukrainian state-sponsored hackers.

Alperovitch and Fancy Bear tweet each other.

When you look at Dimitri Alperovitch’s twitter relationships, you have to ask why the CEO of a $150 million company like Crowdstrike follows Ukrainian InformNapalm and its hackers individually. There is a mutual relationship. When you add up his work for the OUNb, Ukraine, support for Ukraine’s Intelligence, and to the hackers it needs to be investigated to see if Ukraine is conspiring against the US government. Crowdstrike is also following their hack of a Russian government official after the DNC hack. It closely resembles the same method used with the DNC because it was an email hack.

Crowdstrike’s product line includes Falcon Host, Falcon Intelligence, Falcon Overwatch and Falcon DNS. Is it possible the hackers in Falcons Flame are another service Crowdstrike offers?

In an interview with Euromaidanpress these hackers say they have no need for the CIA.[5] They consider the CIA amateurish. They also say they are not part of the Ukrainian military Cyberalliance is a quasi-organization with the participation of several groups – RUH8, Trinity, Falcon Flames, Cyberhunta. There are structures affiliated to the hackers – the Myrotvorets site, Informnapalm analytical agency.”

Although this profile says Virginia, tweets are from the Sofia, Bulgaria time zone and he writes in Russian. Another curiosity considering the Fancy Bear source code is in Russian. This image shows Crowdstrike in their network. Crowdstrike is part of Ukrainian nationalist hacker network. In the image it shows a network diagram of Crowdstrike following the Surkov leaks. The network communication goes through a secondary source.

Although OSINT Academy sounds fairly innocuous, it’s the official twitter account for Ukraine’s Ministry of Information head Dimitri Zolotukin. It is also Ukrainian Intelligence. The Ministry of Information started the Peacekeeper or Myrotvorets website that geolocates journalists and other people for assassination. If you disagree with OUNb politics, you could be on the list.

Should someone tell Dimitri Alperovitch that Gerashchenko, who is now in charge of Peacekeeper recently threatened president-elect Donald Trump that he would put him on his “Peacemaker” site as a target? The same has been done with Silvio Berscaloni in the past.

Trying not to be obvious, the Head of Ukraine’s Information Ministry (UA Intelligence) tweeted something interesting that ties Alperovitch and Crowdstrike to the Ukrainian Intelligence hackers and the Information Ministry even tighter. This single tweet on a network chart shows that out of all the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Minister’s following, he only wanted the 3 hacking groups associated with both him and Alperovitch to get the tweet. Alperovitch’s story was received and not retweeted or shared. If this was just Alperovitch’s victory, it was a victory for Ukraine. It would be shared heavily. If it was a victory for the hacking squad, it would be smart to keep it to themselves and not draw unwanted attention.

These same hackers are associated with Alexandra, Andrea, and Irene Chalupa through the portals and organizations they work with through their OUNb. The hackers are funded and directed by or through the same OUNb channels that Alperovitch is working for and with to promote the story of Russian hacking.

When you look at the image for the hacking group in the euromaidanpress article, one of the hackers identifies themselves as one of Dimitri Yarosh’s Pravy Sektor members by the Pravy Sektor sweatshirt they have on. Noted above, Pravy Sektor admitted to killing the people at the Maidan protest and sparked the coup.

Going further with the linked Euromaidanpress article the hackers say “Let’s understand that Ukrainian hackers and Russian hackers once constituted a single very powerful group. Ukrainian hackers have a rather high level of work. So the help of the USA… I don’t know, why would we need it? We have all the talent and special means for this. And I don’t think that the USA or any NATO country would make such sharp movements in international politics.”

From the Observer.com,

“Andrea Chalupa—the sister of DNC research staffer Alexandra Chalupa—claimed on social media, without any evidence, that despite Clinton conceding the election to Trump, the voting results need to be audited to because Clinton couldn’t have lost—it must have been Russia. Chalupa hysterically tweeted to every politician on Twitter to audit the vote because of Russia and claimed the TV show The Americans, about two KGB spies living in America, is real.”

Irene Chalupa

Irene Chalupa- Another involved Chalupa we need to cover to do the story justice is Irene Chalupa. From her bio– Irena Chalupa is a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. She is also a senior correspondent at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), where she has worked for more than twenty years. Irene Chalupa previously served as an editor for the Atlantic Council, where she covered Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Irena Chalupa is also the news anchor for Ukraine’s propaganda channel org. She is also a Ukrainian emigre leader.

Alexandra Chalupa timeline

Special Counsel Robert Mueller colluding with Manafort’s boss, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych is considered a Putin stooge. The Podesta Brothers and Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig worked for Yanukovych as well. Manafort was investigated by Mueller for work he did while managing Sen. John McCain‘s 2008 presidential campaign.

See also: Ukrainian collusion timeline and Obamagate timeline

2016

  • 25 March. Ukrainian-American employee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Alexandra Chalupa meets with top Ukrainian officials at Ukrainian Embassy in Washington D.C. to “expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia,” according to Politico. Chalupa previously worked for the Clinton administration. Ukrainian embassy proceeds to work “directly with reporters researching Trump, Manafort and Russia to point them in the right directions,” according to an embassy official (though other officials later deny meddling in election-related activities.)
  • 28 March. Manafort joins Trump Campaign as campaign convention manager.
  • 31 March. Alexandra Chalupa briefs DNC staff on alleged Russia ties to Paul Manafort and Trump. With “DNC’s encouragement,” Chalupa asks Ukrainian embassy to arrange meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to discuss Manafort’s lobbying for Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yanukovych. The embassy declines to arrange meeting but becomes “helpful” in trading info and leads. Ukrainian embassy officials and Democratic operative Chalupa “coordinat[e] an investigation with the Hillary team” into Paul Manafort, according to a source in Politico. This effort reportedly includes working with U.S. media.
  • Spring. Christopher Steele was already on the FBI payroll. Michael Isikoff published a story on Yahoo News about Paul Manafort’s business dealings with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Chalupa met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, Manafort, and Russia.
  • 6-10 April. Alexandra Chalupa and office of Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, discuss possible congressional investigation or hearing on Paul Manafort-Russia “by September.” Chalupa begins working with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, according to WikiLeaks and her later account.[8]
  • 28 April. Alexandra Chalupa is invited to discuss her research about Paul Manafort with 68 investigative journalists from Ukraine at Library of Congress for Open World Leadership Center, a U.S. congressional agency. Chalupa invites investigative reporter Michael Isikoff to “connect(s) him to the Ukrainians.” After the event, reporter Isikoff accompanies Chalupa to Ukrainian embassy reception.
  • 3 May. Alexandra Chalupa informed DNC communications director Luis Miranda that she had “been working with” Michael Isikoff on stories involving Paul Manafort. Chalupa hinted of “a big Trump component…that will hit in next few weeks.”[11]
  • Late June. Justice Dept. seeks FISA warrant to eavesdrop on Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos (earlier reports listed Donald Trump, Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Boris Epshteyn). FISA court denies request.[12] Ordinary procedures call for the Justice Department to ask a FISA Court for a warrant. It is improbable that Attorney General Loretta Lynch acted on her own against a presidential nominee of another party without consulting President Obama.[13]
  • FBI agent Peter Strzok has direct contact with Christopher Steele and receives preliminary draft of the Steele dossier.[14] According to Robby Mook, the partial dossier information was also given to the DNC and Clinton campaign.
  • DCLeaks website begins publishing Democratic National Committee emails.
  • The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) signs evidence-sharing agreement with FBI and will later publicly release the Black Ledger File implicating Paul Manafort in allegedly improper payments.
  • July. Ukraine minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov attacks Trump and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort on Twitter and Facebook, calling Trump “an even bigger danger to the US than terrorism.” Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk writes on Facebook that Trump has “challenged the very values of the free world.”
  • 4 July. Franklin Foer writes in Slate, an article enitled Putin’s Puppet, which appears to come from Christopher Steele and the Steele dossier. Foer’s piece argues the Trump campaign was overly Russia-friendly. Foer discusses Trump’s team, including campaign convention manager Paul Manafort, who worked with former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich, and Carter Page.[15]
  • Late July. Alexandra Chalupa leaves the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to work full-time on her research into Manafort, Trump and Russia; and provides off-the-record guidance to “a lot of journalists.”
  • 18 July. RNC Convention platform completed. It reads,

Repressive at home and reckless abroad, their policies imperil the nations which regained their self-determination upon the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will meet the return of Russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will not accept any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere, and will use all appropriate measures to bring to justice the practitioners of aggression and assassination.
We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.

  • Mainstream media reports fake news, based on Clinton’s Steele dossier, that Donald Trump “gutted” the RNC platform on support for an independent Ukraine.
  • Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News interviews Mike Flynn live:

Isikoff: You flew over to Moscow to participate in the 10th anniversary—a celebration of RT—Russian television, a propaganda arm of the Russian government. And you sat next to Vladimir Putin at a celebratory dinner. Why did you attend that event?
Flynn: Because I wanted to tell Russia to get Iran the hell out of the four proxy wars that they’re involved in in the Middle East in order for us to settle the situation down … my intent for speaking at that event—and they allowed me to do it—was to talk about Russia’s influence over Iran and to essentially tell Russia that they have got to get Iran out of the situations they are involved in in the region … Iran has got to back out of many of the things they’re doing.[16]

Isikoff ignored Flynn’s entire response and continued his line of questioning:

Isikoff: Were you paid for that event?

Following the Isikoff interview, the matter was pursued further by Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who published a combined an-person and telephone interview with Flynn in an August 15, 2016.
  • 21 July. Anne Applebaum of The Washington Post writes a “Trump presidency could destabilize Europe.” The issue, she explained, was Trump’s positive attitude toward Putin. “The extent of the Trump-Russia business connection has already been laid out, by Franklin Foer at Slate,” wrote Applebaum. She named Carter Page and his “long-standing connections to Russian companies.” Applebaum repeats the kenard that the “Trump’s campaign team helped alter the Republican party platform to remove support for Ukraine” from the Republican National Committee’s platform. Maybe, she hints, that was because of Trump aide Manafort’s ties to Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich. The Manafort-Yanukovich relationship is an important part of the Steele dossier. So is the claim that in exchange for Russia releasing the DNC emails, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.” For Applebaum, it was hard to understand why Trump would express skepticism about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, except to appease Putin. She referred to a recent interview in which Trump “cast doubt on the fundamental basis of transatlantic stability, NATO’s Article 5 guarantee: If Russia invades, he said, he’d have to think first before defending U.S. allies.”[17] The talking points come directly from Hillary Clinton opposition research, FusionGPS and the Steele dossier.
  • Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic publishes an article entitled, It’s Official: Hillary Clinton is Running Against Vladimir Putin using the same opposition research material from the Steele dossier paid for by Hillary Clinton: “The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” Trump’s admiration for Putin and other “equivocating, mercenary statements are unprecedented in the history of Republican foreign policymaking.” However, insofar as Trump’s fundamental aim was to find some common ground with Putin, it’s a goal that has been a 25-year U.S. policy constant across party lines. Starting with George W.H. Bush, every American commander-in-chief since the end of the Cold War sought to “reset” relations with Russia. But Trump, according to Goldberg, was different. “Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests.” Goldberg alleged “watered down” the RNC’s platform on Ukraine and “questioned whether the U.S., under his leadership, would keep its [NATO] commitments,” including Article 5. Thus, Goldberg concluded: “Donald Trump, should he be elected president, would bring an end to the postwar international order.”[18]
  • 30 July. Bruce OhrNellie Ohr, Christopher Steele have breakfast at the Washington Mayflower Hotel. Also present at the breakfast meeting was a fourth individual, described by Ohr as “an associate of Mr. Steele’s, another gentleman, younger fellow. I didn’t catch his name.”
  • Steele relayed information from his dossier and claimed that “a former head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, had stated to someone … that they had Donald Trump over barrel.”[19]
  • Steele also referenced Oleg Deripaska’s business dealings with Paul Manafort, and foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s meetings in Moscow.
  • “Paul Hauser, who was an attorney working for Oleg Deripaska, had information about Paul Manafort, that Paul Manafort had entered into some kind of business deal with Oleg Deripaska, had stolen a large amount of money from Oleg Deripaska, and that Paul Hauser was trying to gather information that would show that, you know, or give more detail about what Paul Manafort had done with respect to Deripaska.” The money relates to a failed Ukrainian cable TV project Deripaska invested money with Manafort in.
  • 31 July. Peter Strzok formally begins Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation into Trump.
  • First week of August. The Crossfire Hurricane investigation team, in conjunction with a number of agents at the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) under US Attorney Dana Boente, reported to Brennan’s Working Group,[20] including the CIA. During this time, they investigated the four main targets of Crossfire Hurricane, Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and they also investigated Roger Stone as part of their expanded WikiLeaks investigation.
  • As part of the secrecy surrounding the Working Group and Crossfire Hurricane, the Crossfire Hurricane team was provided their own source of funding, and they worked in a secure area, titled the “war room”, within FBI Headquarters, which required special clearance to enter.[21]
  • The same week, Susan Rice, Avril Haines and Lisa Monaco convened meetings in the White House Situation Room, which would later be referred to as “Deputies Meetings”. These meetings were initially attended by Brennan, Clapper, Comey and Lynch. As time passed Vice President Joe Biden joined the Deputies Meetings.[22]
  • As an aspect, or an offshoot, of one of these meetings, Susan Rice informed both Michael Daniel and Celeste Wallander (who would later gain access to the Steele dossier) to cease their planning of retaliation against Russia for their cyber attacks on companies and political campaigns and to stand down.
  • Comey also met with Obama in the Oval Office for a one-on-one meeting.[23]
  • 14 August. Deripaska’s revenge: New York Times publishes Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief” two weeks after Bruce Ohr’s meeting with Steele. The article states: “Mr. Deripaska would later say he invested $18.9 million in Pericles [Manafort’s company] in 2008 to complete the acquisition of Black Sea Cable. But the planned purchase—including the question of who ended up with the Black Sea assets—has since become the subject of a dispute between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort.”[24]
  • 15 August. John Brennan briefs Harry Reid on Christopher Steele and Spygate material. Reid asked Brennan if he could include the information they discussed on Russia in a letter to Comey to ask for investigation of Trump.[25]
  • Bruce Ohr talks directly with Strzok. Within a month of Bruce Ohr passing along Steele’s dirt, the FBI scheduled a follow-up meeting with Steele. The path was laid for the Steele dossier to support a FISA warrant to surveil the Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
  • Peter Strzok texts Lisa Page:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy [McCabe]’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”[26]

  • Dana Priest of WaPo publishes follow up on Isikoff’s July 18 interview with Flynn:

Priest: Tell me about the RT [state-run Russian Television] relationship?
Flynn: I was asked by my speaker’s bureau, LAI [Leading Authorities, Inc.]. I do public speaking. It was in Russia. It was a paid speaking opportunity. I get paid so much, the speaker’s bureau got paid so much, based on our contract. The gig was to do an interview with [RT correspondent] Sophie Shevardnadze. It was an interview in front of the forum, probably 200 people in the audience. My purpose there was I was asked to talk about radical Islam in the Middle East. They asked me to talk about what was going on in the situation unfolding in the Middle East.
Priest: Have you appeared on RT regularly?
Flynn: I appear on Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabia, RT. I don’t get paid a dime. I have no media contracts. … [I am interviewed] on CNN, Fox …
Priest: Why would you go on RT, they’re state-run?
Flynn: Well, what’s CNN?

  • 19 August. Ukrainian parliament member Sergii Leshchenko holds news conference to draw attention to Paul Manafort and Trump’s “pro-Russia” ties.
  • Manafort resigns.
  • 22 August. Christopher Steele finishes another installment of the dossier. The memo details payments to Manafort from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
  • Bruce Ohr meets with Glenn Simpson. “I don’t know exactly what Chris Steele was thinking, of course, but I knew that Chris Steele was working for Glenn Simpson, and that Glenn might have additional information that Chris either didn’t have or was not authorized to present, give me, or whatever.”
  • Ohr also testified that Simpson mentioned Sergei MillianMichael Cohen, Carter Page, and Paul Manafort during their meeting. Carter Page and Manafort had been previously mentioned by Steele during the July 30, 2016, breakfast meeting.
  • Bruce Ohr admits he knew Simpson and his wife were working for Hillary Clinton and the DNC at this point.[27]
  • Simpson later lied under oath to Congress claiming he did not collude with the DOJ until after the election.[28]
  • 28 August. Serhiy Leshchenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, tells the Financial Times of London that “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” Leshchenko gave the Black Ledger file of the Ukrainian Party of Regions to Alexandra Chalupa and Glenn Simpson; Chalupa gave it to Mike Isiskoff and Simpson gave it to Nellie Ohr. When Isikoff published allegations about Paul Manafort from the files, Manafort resigned the next day. Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele used some of the Black Ledger file in the Steele dossier.[29]
  • Late August. White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice orders U.S. cyber-security team warning of Russian election meddling to stand down and “knock it off.”[30][31]
  • September. The Obama DOJ’s illegal FISA warrant on Carter Page was built on an echo chamber of Hillary Clinton’s opposition research among journalists, law enforcement and the intelligence community – all reinforcing each other with the manufactured allegations of the Steele dossier. Michael Isikoff’s September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article, provided by Christopher Steele, was used to corroborate the Obama DOJ’s evidence to the FISA court, which likewise was provided by Christopher Steele.
  • Isikoff met with Steele and Simpson at a DC hotel in a meeting arranged by Simpson.

Vladimir Putin with Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska helped frame Manafort over a personal grievance; Andrew McCabe was Deripaska’s longtime FBI handler.

  • According to Adam Waldman‘s account, Oleg Deripaska was approached by three FBI agents in New York; at least one agent (McCabe) had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Robert Levinson. According to David Ignatius of WaPo:

“We think Russia is colluding with the Trump campaign, and we think Manafort is the key guy,” one of the agents told Deripaska, according to the knowledgeable source. The oligarch responded, “I hate Manafort, and I’m suing him.”[32]

John Solomon of The Hill reported

“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” said his agent Adam Waldman. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.”[33]

  • 2 September. Lisa Page wrote about preparing talking points for Dir. James Comey:

    Lisa Page – “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.[34]

    The text raises questions about Obama’s involvement in an ongoing FBI investigation.[35]

  • 23 September. Yahoo News and Michael Isikoff.[36] Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News publishes an article based on the information Steele personally leaked to Isikoff and several other media outlets at the direction of FusionGPS. The information focuses on Carter Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. Perkins Coie hosted the journalists’ meeting with Steele where the matter was discussed.
  • Isikoff’s article would later be used by the FBI in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant application to spy on Carter Page, as if it were corroborating information despite the FBI knowing Steele was the source.
  • Steele is later fired from the FBI as an unreliable for leaking to media and violating agency rules.
  • According to the Isikoff article, Congress was briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier by the FBI.[37]
  • Following the publication of Isikoff’s article, Hillary for America released a statement on the same day touting Isikoff’s “bombshell report” with the full article attached.
  • Steele testified that he “briefed” The New York TimesThe Washington PostYahoo NewsThe New Yorker, and CNN at the end of September 2016.
  • Steele would engage in a second round of media contact in mid-October 2016, meeting again with The New York TimesWashington Post, and Yahoo News. Steele testified that all these meetings were “conducted verbally in person.”[38]
  • Politico publishes a lengthy article, “Who Is Carter Page? The Mystery of Trump’s Man in Moscow,” by Julia Ioffe. This article appears to highlight FusionGPS’s media campaign:

    Yahoo News was used by the Obama DOJ to hoax the FISA court with supposedly independent corroboration; the same paid FBI source was the Yahoo News source. Additionally, the source was paid by the DNC and Clinton campaign. The information was false and invented. The FISA warrant granted authority to spy on the entire Trump campaign in 50 states, the Trump Transition, and the first 10 months of the Trump Administration, violating the civil rights and intruding into the lives all Trump appointees.

“As I started looking into Page, I began getting calls from two separate ‘corporate investigators’ digging into what they claim are all kinds of shady connections Page has to all kinds of shady Russians. One is working on behalf of various unnamed Democratic donors; the other won’t say who turned him on to Page’s scent. Both claimed to me that the FBI was investigating Page for allegedly meeting with Igor Sechin and Sergei Ivanov, who was until recently Putin’s chief of staff—both of whom are on the sanctions list—when Page was in Moscow in July for that speech.”[39]

Ioffe noted that “seemingly everyone I talked to had also talked to the Washington Post, and then there were these corporate investigators who drew a dark and complex web of Page’s connections.” Her article also mentioned rumors regarding Alfa Bank:

“In the interest of due diligence, I also tried to run down the rumors being handed me by the corporate investigators: that Russia’s Alfa Bank paid for the trip as a favor to the Kremlin; that Page met with Sechin and Ivanov in Moscow; that he is now being investigated by the FBI for those meetings because Sechin and Ivanov were both sanctioned for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

  • 26 September. Carter Page resigns from Trump campaign.
  • End of September. Simpson and Steele meet with reporters, including New York TimesWashington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker and CNN or ABC. One meeting is at Perkins Coie office of Democratic National Committee general counsel Marc Elias.[40] Elias is secretly the front man paying FusionGPS on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the DNC.
  • Mid October. Steele again briefs reporters about Trump political opposition research. The reporters are from the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News. Steele also visits the State Department.[41]
  • 21 October. Carter Page FISA warrant. DOJ and FBI sought and receive a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance of Carter Page from the FISA court. The warrant application was signed by Sally Yates and James Comey. The FISA order was ultimately used by Brennan’s Working Group, as the information gathered gave them multiple investigative leads into the Trump campaign.[42]
  • The bulk of the application consists of allegations against Carter Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Christopher Steele and outlined in the Steele dossier. The application contains no additional corroboration other than a Sept 23, 2016 Yahoo News article the Obama DOJ/FBI represents to the court as supposed “independent corroboration” which was peddled to Yahoo News by Christopher Steele’s himself.
  • 30 October. Steele fired by the FBI for unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI to David Corn of a Mother Jones magazine.[43][44] The FBI was well aware of Steele’s previous contacts with media – the FBI used Steele’s leaks to Isikoff’s Yahoo News article to hoax the FISA court nine days earlier.
  • Steele could have been terminated earlier for his previous undisclosed contacts with Isikoff of Yahoo News and other media outlets in September 2016 – before the Carter Page application was submitted to the FISA court in October 2016 – but Steele improperly concealed and lied to the FBI about earlier contacts. DOJ official Bruce Ohr continued to pass along allegations from Steele to the FBI after the FBI suspended its formal relationship with Steele, and demonstrates that Bruce Ohr funneled allegations from FusionGPS and Steele to the FBI.
  • 8 Election Day.
  • 9 November. Alexandra Chalupa posted a message to Facebook about work done in conjunction between the United States Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and an Anonymous-based organisation known as “The Protectors” based in Washington, DC.

“Homeland Security/DOJ teamed up with a group that is part of Anonymous based in Washington, D.C. called ‘The Protectors’. This group saw a lot of activity during Election Day from the Russians and believe that the voting results projected don’t match the internal and public polls because the voting results were manufactured in favor of Trump in heavily Republican counties in key states, and voting results may have been described for Clinton in key Democratic countries via malware that was placed by the Russians when they hacked the election systems of more than half our states.” [45]

  • 10 November. Andrea Chalupa, sister of Alexandra Chalupa, then tweeted: “All election day Anonymous hackers working w/DOJ updated my sister: they were at war w/RU hackers in our systems”.[46]
  • 21 November. Bruce Ohr recruited as conduit from Steele to Strzok – in violation of FBI rules. Bruce Ohr notes state that Ohr met with Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The notes read, “no prosecution yet, pushing ahead on M case,” in reference to Paul Manafort.” Ohr’s notes indicate that the FBI “may go back to Chris [Steele]” just 20 days after firing Steele for violating bureau rules.[47] Ohr is introduced to Joe Pientka, who became Ohr’s FBI handler. Pientka was also present with Strzok during the Jan. 24, 2017, interview of then national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
  • December. Alexandera Chalupa met with convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin and Israeli Yoni Ariel in Washington in December 2016. Kimberlin earned the nickname “Speedway Bomber” by setting a string of bombs in Speedway, Indiana in 1978. Kimberlin served 17 years in prison for the bombing spree. He gained more notoriety in prison after he concocted a story about having once sold marijuana to then-Vice President Dan Quayle. The story was propagated by Cody Shearer, a Clinton operative. Kimberlin now works on various voters’ rights initiatives, including in Ukraine.[48]

2017

  • 3 January. George Eliason, Washingtonsblog: Why Crowdstrike’s Russian Hacking Story Fell Apart- Say Hello to Fancy Bear.[49]
  • How close is Dimitri Alperovitch to DNC officials? Close enough professionally he should have stepped down from an investigation that had the chance of throwing a presidential election in a new direction. According to Esquire.com, Alperovitch has vetted speeches for Hillary Clinton about cyber security issues in the past. Because of his work on the Sony hack, President Barrack Obama personally called and said the measures taken were directly because of his work.
  • Alperovitch’s relationships with the Chalupas, radical groups, think tanks, Ukrainian propagandists, and Ukrainian state supported hackers [show a conflict of interest]. When it all adds up and you see it together, we have found a Russian that tried hard to influence the outcome of the US presidential election in 2016.
  • The Chalupas are not Democrat or Republican. They are OUNb. The OUNb worked hard to start a war between the USA and Russia for the last 50 years. According to the Ukrainian Weekly in a rare open statement of their existence in 2011, “Other statements were issued in the Ukrainian language by the leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (B) and the International Conference in Support of Ukraine. The OUN (Bandera wing) called for”… What is OUNb Bandera? They follow the same political policy and platform that was developed in the 1930’s by Stepan Bandera. When these people go to a Holocaust memorial they are celebrating both the dead and the OUNb SS that killed.[50] There is no getting around this fact. The OUNb have no concept of democratic values and want an authoritarian fascism.
  • According to Robert Parry’s article[51] At the forefront of people that would have taken senior positions in a Clinton administration and especially in foreign policy are the Atlantic Council. Their main goal is still a major confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia.
  • The Atlantic Council is the think tank associated and supported by the CEEC (Central and Eastern European Coalition). The CEEC has only one goal which is war with Russia. Their question to candidates looking for their support in the election was “Are you willing to go to war with Russia?” Hillary Clinton has received their unqualified support throughout the campaign.
  • What does any of this have to do with Dimitri Alperovitch and Crowdstrike? Since the Atlantic Council would have taken senior cabinet and policy positions, his own fellowship status at the Atlantic Council and relationship with Irene Chalupa creates a definite conflict of interest for Crowdstrike’s investigation. Trump’s campaign was gaining ground and Clinton needed a boost. Had she won, would he have been in charge of the CIA, NSA, or Homeland Security?
  • When you put someone that has so much to gain in charge of an investigation that could change an election, that is a conflict of interest. If the think tank is linked heavily to groups that want war with Russia like the Atlantic Council and the CEEC, it opens up criminal conspiracy.
  • If the person in charge of the investigation is a fellow at the think tank that wants a major conflict with Russia it is a definite conflict of interest. Both the Atlantic Council and clients stood to gain Cabinet and Policy positions based on how the result of his work affects the election. It clouds the results of the investigation. In Dmitri Alperovitch’s case, he found the perpetrator before he was positive there was a crime.
  • What sharp movements in international politics have been made lately? Let me spell it out for the 17 US Intelligence Agencies so there is no confusion. These state sponsored, Russian language hackers in Eastern European time zones have shown with the Surkov hack they have the tools and experience to hack states that are looking out for it. They are also laughing at US intel efforts.
  • The hackers also made it clear that they will do anything to serve Ukraine. Starting a war between Russia and the USA is the one way they could serve Ukraine best, and hurt Russia worst. Given those facts, if the DNC hack was according to the criteria given by Alperovitch, both he and these hackers need to be investigated.
  • According to the Esquire interview “Alperovitch was deeply frustrated: He thought the government should tell the world what it knew. There is, of course, an element of the personal in his battle cry. “A lot of people who are born here don’t appreciate the freedoms we have, the opportunities we have, because they’ve never had it any other way,” he told me. “I have.”
  • While I agree patriotism is a great thing, confusing it with this kind of nationalism is not. Alperovitch seems to think by serving OUNb Ukraine’s interests and delivering a conflict with Russia that is against American interests, he’s a patriot. He isn’t serving US interests. He’s definitely a Ukrainian patriot. Maybe he should move to Ukraine.
  • The evidence presented deserves investigation because it looks like the case for conflict of interest is the least Dimitri Alperovitch should look forward to. If these hackers are the real Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear, they really did make sharp movements in international politics. By pawning it off on Russia, they made a worldwide embarrassment of an outgoing President of the United States and made the President Elect the suspect of rumor.
  • Quite possibly now the former UK Ambassador Craig Murry’s admission of being the involved party to “leaks” should be looked at.

“Now both Julian Assange and I have stated definitively the leak does not come from Russia. Do we credibly have access? Yes, very obviously. Very, very few people can be said to definitely have access to the source of the leak. The people saying it is not Russia are those who do have access. After access, you consider truthfulness. Do Julian Assange and I have a reputation for truthfulness? Well in 10 years not one of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks has released has had its authenticity successfully challenged. As for me, I have a reputation for inconvenient truth telling.”

Further reading

References…

https://www.conservapedia.com/Alexandra_Chalupa

Story 2: American People Not Interested In Single Party Impeachment Behind Closed Doors of Star Chamber Inquiry — Those Who Voted For Trump in 2016 Will Again Vote For Trump Again in 2020 — Elections and Ideas Have Consequences — Big Fail of Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers — Videos

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Nunes compares Trump impeachment inquiry to ‘chaotic circus’

Volker interview on whistleblower weakens impeachment push

Over 100 House Republicans back bill to censure Adam Schiff

MAJORITY OF AMERICAN PUBLIC STANDS WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP OVER IMPEACHMENT

Dems Rely on Phony Impeachment Polling

A Commentary By Brian C. Joondeph

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Despite the embarrassing spectacle of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony where he finally learned about the report he supposedly created and wrote, Democrats are doubling down on stupid.

They are ignoring the first law of holes, that when you are deep in one, the smart play is to stop digging. The hole they continue to dig is the one denying the reality of the 2016 presidential election, that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton fair and square.

It was not the result Democrats and their media comrades wanted or expected and now they seek to overturn the will of the American people in selecting a president. So what if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote? Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 with only 43 percent of the popular vote, far from a majority, but no one considered him an illegitimate president for that reason.

Democrats have been trying for close to three years to overturn the 2016 election. From Stormy and Avenatti, to Rapinoe and Omarosa, all have tried and failed. Mueller was supposed to deliver the smoking gun to congressional Democrats but instead brought only Mueller’s bewilderment and confusion, with seemingly everything relevant to the Trump Russia collusion hoax being “out of his purview”.

All the Dems have left is the I-word. No, not idiocy or incompetence, but impeachment. Mueller couldn’t find any real crimes, such as conspiracy or obstruction, despite two years of one of the most exhaustive investigations in history, conducted by partisan Democrats who wanted nothing better than to see Trump frog-marched out of the White House.

Democrats are left only with the political remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” which they so far have been unable to articulate. As impeachment is a political remedy, Democrats had better hope that politics is on their side.

Nothing says minority status better than governing against the will of the people, which the Democrats are doing. Do Americans want impeachment? If the polls say yes, that’s all the Democrats and media need to plow ahead. Congress will happily ignore its real job, including fixing immigration, healthcare, infrastructure, a crushing national debt and so on, if it means more political grandstanding, fundraising and the possibility of a Democrat president in 2020.

Democrats are spurred on by a new Fox News poll with this Breitbart headline, “47 percent of Americans back Trump impeachment.” Not quite a majority, but enough for the media to begin breathlessly panting in anticipation. Beyond the misleading headline, one can read the first sentence in the Breitbart article for a reality check, “Support for impeaching President Donald Trump has fallen slightly.”

Ironically Politico provides a more sobering view with their headline, “No impeachment bump after Mueller’s testimony.” They note, “A plurality of voters are still opposed to beginning proceedings that could result in Trump’s removal from office.”

So where is the truth? With any poll, one needs to dig far beyond the headline. The Fox News poll wasn’t conducted by Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson. Instead Fox commissioned the poll to two polling companies, in this case Beacon Research and Shaw and Company.

Polls are as good as their samples. Take a survey about Trump impeachment in Boulder or Berkeley, and the result will be nearly unanimous that Trump belongs at Supermax prison next door to its newest guest, El Chapo.

This Fox News poll surveyed registered, not likely, voters, already skewing the sample. Given a 58 percent turnout in the last presidential election, almost half of those surveyed in this poll may be watching Netflix on Election Day rather than voting.

A more reliable sample is likely voters, a group that Rasmussen Reports samples in its polls. This explains why Rasmussen was the most accurate pollster in the 2016 presidential election.

Political affiliation of those polled also skews the results. In the Fox News poll, those surveyed were 46 percent Democrat and only 40 percent Republican, a six-point Democrat oversampling.

Looking specifically at impeachment and removal from office, 42% said yes, while 50% said no, an eight-point difference in favor of no. Add in the sampling bias of six percent, and this difference regarding impeachment and removal may be 14 points against, far different than the Breitbart headline implied.

Interestingly, when asked if Trump should be impeached but not removed from office, only nine percent favor this approach, while 77% believe he should not be impeached at all. This is quite a disconnect suggesting that those surveyed may not understand the constitutional process for impeachment and conviction.

How many low information voters believe that if Trump is impeached, Hillary Clinton automatically becomes president?

Other tidbits from the survey are that Democrat primary voters favor Joe Biden at 33%, compared to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren at 15 and 12 percent respectively.

Those polled were against decriminalizing persons entering the United States illegally by a 57-34 margin and were against providing health insurance to illegals by a 60-32 margin. Don’t tell the Democrat/Marxist primary candidates that they are on the wrong side of these issues in a big way.

Let House Judiciary Committee Chairman Gerald Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff run with impeachment. They believe they have the wind at their backs. After all, The Atlantic has declared, “Impeach Donald Trump.”

Lunatics on Twitter like Bette Midler and Meathead Rob Reiner are all in for impeachment. But saner voices speak of caution. NBC writes, “Support for impeachment falls as 2020 heats up.” Even in the House, when push came to shove and there was an actual vote for impeachment, as recently proposed by perpetually angry Texas Rep. Al Green, the proposal failed miserably 332 to 95.

Schiff and Nadler can yack all they want on CNN or MSNBC about impeachment, but that’s as far as it will likely go. If they push forward based on nonsensical polls, it will end in the same way as the 2016 presidential election where most of the polls were dead wrong. As they keep chasing and failing to catch Trump, in the style of the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, Trump’s popularity and support grows.

As Democrat dig ever deeper into the impeachment hole, they may soon be unable to climb out.

Brian C. Joondeph, MD, is a Denver based physician and freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in American Thinker, Daily Caller, and other publications. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedInTwitter, and QuodVerum

Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_brian_joondeph/dems_rely_on_phony_impeachment_polling

Star Chamber

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Engraving of the Star Chamber, published in “Old and new London” in 1873, taken from a drawing made in 1836

A document of 1504 showing King Henry VII sitting in the Star Chamber and receiving William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Foxe, Bishop of Winchester, and clerics associated with Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, as well as the Mayor of London.

The Star Chamber (LatinCamera stellata) was an English court which sat at the royal Palace of Westminster, from the late 15th century to the mid-17th century (c. 1641), and was composed of Privy Counsellors and common-law judges, to supplement the judicial activities of the common-law and equity courts in civil and criminal matters. The Star Chamber was originally established to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against socially and politically prominent people so powerful that ordinary courts would probably hesitate to convict them of their crimes. However, it became synonymous with social and political oppression through the arbitrary use and abuse of the power it wielded.

In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, “star chambers”. This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings. “Star Chamber” can also, rarely, be used in its original meaning, for instance when a politician uses parliamentary privilege to examine and then exculpate or condemn a powerful organisation or person. Due to the constitutional separation of powers and the ceasing of the Star Chamber, the main powers of select committees are to enhance the public debate—politicians are deemed to no longer wield powers in the criminal law, which belongs to the courts.[a]

Origin of the name

Starry vault of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy, frescoed by Giotto

The first reference to the “star chamber”[b] is in 1398, as the Sterred chambre; the more common form of the name appears in 1422 as le Sterne-chamere. Both forms recur throughout the fifteenth century, with Sterred Chambre last attested as appearing in the Supremacy of the Crown Act 1534 (establishing the English monarch as head of the Church of England). The origin of the name has usually been explained as first recorded by John Stow, writing in his Survey of London (1598), who noted “this place is called the Star Chamber, at the first all the roofe thereof was decked with images of starres gilted“.[2][3] Gold stars on a blue background were a common medieval decoration for ceilings in richly decorated rooms: the Star Chamber ceiling itself is still to be seen at Leasowe CastleWirral, and a similar examples are in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua and elsewhere.

Alternatively, William Blackstone, a notable English jurist writing in 1769, speculated that the name may have derived from the legal word “starr” meaning the contract or obligation to a Jew (from the Hebrew שטר (shtar) meaning ‘document’). This term was in use until 1290, when Edward I had all Jews expelled from England. Blackstone thought the “Starr Chamber” might originally have been used for the deposition and storage of such contracts.[4] However, the Oxford English Dictionary gives this etymology “no claim to consideration”.[3]

Other etymological speculations mentioned by Blackstone on the use of star include the derivation from Old English steoran (steer) meaning “to govern”; as a court used to punish cozenage (in Latincrimen stellionatus); or that the chamber was full of windows.[4]

History

Under the Plantagenets and Tudors

The Court evolved from meetings of the King’s Council, with its roots going back to the medieval period. Contrary to popular belief, the so-called “Star Chamber Act” of King Henry VII‘s second Parliament (1487) did not actually empower the Star Chamber, but rather created a separate tribunal distinct from the King’s general Council.[5]

Initially well regarded because of its speed and flexibility, Star Chamber was regarded as one of the most just and efficient courts of the Tudor era. Sir Edward Coke once described Star Chamber as “The most honourable court (Our Parliament excepted) that is in the Christian world. Both in respect of the judges in the court and its honourable proceeding.”[6]

The Star Chamber was made up of Privy Counsellors, as well as common-law judges, and it supplemented the activities of the common-law and equity courts in both civil and criminal matters. In a sense, the court was a court of appeal, a supervisory body, overseeing the operation of the lower courts, although it could hear cases by direct appeal as well. The court was set up to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against the English upper class, those so powerful that ordinary courts could never convict them of their crimes.

Another function of the Court of Star Chamber was to act like a court of equity, which could impose punishment for actions which were deemed to be morally reprehensible but were not in violation of the letter of the law. This gave the Star Chamber great flexibility, as it could punish defendants for any action which the court felt should be unlawful, even when in fact it was technically lawful.

However, this meant that the justice meted out by the Star Chamber could be very arbitrary and subjective, and it enabled the court to be used later on in its history as an instrument of oppression rather than for the purpose of justice for which it was intended. Many crimes which are now commonly prosecuted, such as attemptconspiracycriminal libel, and perjury, were originally developed by the Court of Star Chamber, along with its more common role of dealing with riots and sedition.

The cases decided in those sessions enabled both the very powerful and those without power to seek redress. Thus King Henry VII used the power of Star Chamber to break the power of the landed gentry which had been such a cause of problems in the Wars of the Roses. Yet, when local courts were often clogged or mismanaged, the Court of Star Chamber also became a site of remittance for the common people against the excesses of the nobility.

In the reign of King Henry VIII, the court was under the leadership of Cardinal Wolsey (the Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor) and Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) (1515–1529). From this time forward, the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon for bringing actions against opponents to the policies of King Henry VIII, his Ministers and his Parliament.

Although it was initially a court of appeal, King Henry, Wolsey and Cranmer encouraged plaintiffs to bring their cases directly to the Star Chamber, bypassing the lower courts entirely.

The Court was used extensively to control Wales, after the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542 (sometimes referred to as the “Acts of Union”). The Tudor-era gentry in Wales turned to the Chamber to evict Welsh landowners and protect themselves, and in general protect the English advantages of the Laws in Wales Acts.

One of the weapons of the Star Chamber was the ex officio oath where, because of their positions, individuals were forced to swear to answer truthfully all questions that might be asked. Faced by hostile questioning, this then gave them the “cruel trilemma” of having to incriminate themselves, face charges of perjury if they gave unsatisfactory answers to their accusers, or be held in contempt of court if they gave no answer.

Under the Stuarts

The power of the Court of Star Chamber grew considerably under the House of Stuart, and by the time of King Charles I, it had become synonymous with misuse and abuse of power by the King and his circle. King James I and his son Charles used the court to examine cases of sedition, which meant that the court could be used to suppress opposition to royal policies. It came to be used to try nobles too powerful to be brought to trial in the lower court.

King Charles I used the Court of Star Chamber as Parliamentary substitute during the eleven years of Personal Rule, when he ruled without a Parliament. King Charles made extensive use of the Court of Star Chamber to prosecute dissenters, including the Puritans who fled to New England. This was also one of the causes of the English Civil War.

On 17 October 1632, the Court of Star Chamber banned all “news books” because of complaints from Spanish and Austrian diplomats that coverage of the Thirty Years’ War in England was unfair.[7] As a result, newsbooks pertaining to this matter were often printed in Amsterdam and then smuggled into the country, until control of the press collapsed with the developing ideological conflict of 1640–41.[8]

The Star Chamber became notorious for judgments favourable to the king. Archbishop Laud had William Prynne branded on both cheeks through its agency in 1637 for seditious libel.[9]

In 1571 Elizabeth I had set up an equivalent Court in Ireland, the Court of Castle Chamber, to deal with cases of riot and offences against public order. Although it was initially popular with private litigants, under the Stuarts it developed the same reputation for harsh and arbitrary proceedings as its parent Court, and during the political confusion of the 1640s it simply disappeared.[10]

In the early 1900s, Edgar Lee Masters commented:

In the Star Chamber the council could inflict any punishment short of death, and frequently sentenced objects of its wrath to the pillory, to whipping and to the cutting off of ears. … With each embarrassment to arbitrary power the Star Chamber became emboldened to undertake further usurpation. … The Star Chamber finally summoned juries before it for verdicts disagreeable to the government, and fined and imprisoned them. It spread terrorism among those who were called to do constitutional acts. It imposed ruinous fines. It became the chief defence of Charles against assaults upon those usurpations which cost him his life.

Abolition and aftermath

In 1641, the Long Parliament, led by John Pym and inflamed by the severe treatment of John Lilburne, as well as that of other religious dissenters such as William PrynneAlexander LeightonJohn Bastwick and Henry Burton, abolished the Star Chamber with an Act of Parliament: the Habeas Corpus Act 1640.

The Chamber itself stood until demolished in 1806, when its materials were salvaged. The door now hangs in the nearby Westminster School and the historic Star Chamber ceiling, with its bright gold stars, was brought to Leasowe Castle on the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside from the Court of Westminster, along with four tapestries depicting the four seasons.

Recent history

In the late 20th century, the expression was revived in reference to ways of resolving internal high-level questions within the government, usually relating to budget appropriations. The press and some civil servants under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher (1979–90) revived the term for private ministerial meetings at which disputes between the Treasury and high-spending departments were resolved.[11]

The term was again revived by the popular press to describe a panel set up by the Labour party’s National Executive Committee to review expenses claims by Labour MPs in May 2009.[12] In 2010, the press employed the term for a committee established by the Cameron ministry to plan spending cuts to reduce public debt.[13]

Influence on the U.S. Constitution

The historical abuses of the Star Chamber are considered a primary motivating force behind the protections against compelled self-incrimination embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[14] The meaning of “compelled testimony” under the Fifth Amendment – i.e., the conditions under which a defendant is allowed to “plead the Fifth” to avoid self-incrimination – is thus often interpreted via reference to the inquisitorial methods of the Star Chamber.[14]

As the U.S. Supreme Court described it, “the Star Chamber has, for centuries, symbolized disregard of basic individual rights. The Star Chamber not merely allowed, but required, defendants to have counsel. The defendant’s answer to an indictment was not accepted unless it was signed by counsel. When counsel refused to sign the answer, for whatever reason, the defendant was considered to have confessed.”[15]

Notes

  1. ^ “The Ceann Comhairle intervened and said the Dáil could not be used as a “star chamber” warning that people’s reputations were involved and if the deputy had information he should go to the gardaí.”[1]
  2. ^ Or, rather, the first reference in the OED. Blackstone mentions a reference in a document of 41 Edw. III – 1367 – but does not quote it

References…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Chamber

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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When Donald Trump became president in 2017, a SCIF was set up at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he refers to as his Winter White House. Trump (at the head of the table with various cabinet members, advisers, and staffers) is seen here monitoring the Syrian cruise missile attack from the Mar-a-Lago SCIF.

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF; pronounced “skiff”), in British and United States military, national security/national defense and intelligence parlance, is an enclosed area within a building that is used to process Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) types of classified information.

SCIFs can be either permanent or temporary and can be set up in official government buildings (such as the Situation Room in the White House), onboard ships, in private residences of officials, or in hotel rooms and other places of necessity for officials when traveling.[1] Portable SCIFs can also be quickly set up when needed during emergency situations.[2]

Access

Access to SCIFs is normally limited to those individuals with appropriate security clearances.[3] Non-cleared personnel in SCIFs must be under the constant oversight of cleared personnel and all classified information and material removed from view in order to prevent unauthorized access.[4] As part of this process, non-cleared personnel are also typically required to surrender all recording, photographic and other electronic media devices. All of the activity and conversation inside is presumed restricted from public disclosure.[1][5]

Construction

Some entire buildings are SCIFs where all but the front foyer is secure. A SCIF can also be located in an air, ground or maritime vehicle, or can be established on a temporary basis at a specific site.[1] The physical construction, access control, and alarming of the facility has been defined by various directives, including Director of Central Intelligence Directives (DCIDs) 1/21 and 6/9, and most recently (2011) by Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) 705, signed by the Director of National Intelligence. ICD 705 is a three-page capstone document that implements Intelligence Community Standard (ICS) 705-1, ICS 705-2 and the Technical Specifications for Construction and Management of Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities or “Tech Specs.” The latest version of the Tech Specs was published in 2017 (Version 1.4). https://www.dni.gov/files/NCSC/documents/Regulations/Technical-Specifications-SCIF-Construction.pdf

Computers operating within such a facility must conform to rules established by ICD 503. Computers and telecommunication equipment within must conform to TEMPEST emanations specification as directed by a Certified TEMPEST Technical Authority (CTTA).

Officials documented to have had a SCIF set up in their private residences include:

See also

References

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitive_Compartmented_Information_Facility

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The Pronk Pops Show 1336, October 8, 2019, Story 1: Unfair Single Party Behind Closed Doors Impeachment Inquiry By Democrats — Unbelievable Compromised Adam Schiff Kangaroo Court –Release The Full Transcript of All Testimony To The Public — Let The American People Decide —   Big Lie Media Electronic Lynching  of Trump By Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers  — American People  Will Vote For Trump in November 2020 — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr and U. S. Attorney Durham Investigation of The Initiation of The Russian Collusion Investigation and Abuse of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court — John Brennan Former CIA Directory and Leader of The Coup Ordered By President Barack Obama — The Illegal Political Surveillance of The Trump and Trump Campaign — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — aka Spygate — Videos

Posted on October 14, 2019. Filed under: Addiction, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Bribery, Bribes, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Congress, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Fraud, Freedom of Speech, Gangs, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, James Comey, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Mental Illness, Middle East, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, Networking, News, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Spying, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Treason, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Unfair Single Party Behind Closed Doors Impeachment Inquiry By Democrats — Unbelievable Compromised Adam Schiff Kangaroo Court –Release The Full Transcript of All Testimony To The Public — Let The American People Decide —   Big Lie Media Electronic Lynching  of Trump By Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers  — American People  Will Vote For Trump in November 2020 — Videos

Jim Jordan: Whistleblower has a bias against the president

Jordan: Schiff, Pelosi aren’t interested in facts and truth

PBS NewsHour full episode October 8, 2019

 

Almost one in three REPUBLICANS back impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump in dramatic new poll that says 49 per cent of Americans want him removed from office

  • A new poll shows 58 per cent of Americans believe it was the right move for Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry
  • 49 per cent of the 58 say that Trump should be removed from office
  • This is the first time a majority of Americans back the proceedings
  • Public opinion shifted after revelations of Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart were revealed in late September
  • The mood has also shifted after Pelosi already announced the inquiry 

Public opinion of impeachment, from Democrats and Republicans alike, has quickly shifted, with the majority of Americans saying in a new poll released Tuesday that they support the proceedings against Donald Trump.

The Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 7 in 10 Republicans do not support impeachment proceedings, meaning that nearly 1 in 3, or 28 per cent, support the inquiry.

Thirty per cent of respondents identify as Democrat, 25 per cent as Republican and 44 per cent as independent, and the results help highlight the partisan division over the issue. More than 8 in 10 Democrats endorse the impeachment proceedings.

But 57 per cent of independents, the largest bloc in this poll, support impeachment. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 per cent.

Republican support for impeachment proceedings in on the rise, with nearly one in three claiming they support the inquiry against Donald Trump

Overall support for the impeachment inquiry spiked after September reports revealed Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rival. Now 58 per cent of Americans support Pelosi's decision to launch the impeachment proceedings

Overall support for the impeachment inquiry spiked after September reports revealed Trump pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate his political rival. Now 58 per cent of Americans support Pelosi’s decision to launch the impeachment proceedings

The survey was conducted October 1-6, in the days following revelations that Trump engaged in a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart urging him to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter – a move which ultimately led to Pelosi launching a formal inquiry.

The revelation appears to have prompted Americans to change their minds about their position on impeachment, and results among registered voters are almost exactly the same as those results among all Americans.

The poll indicates that 58 per cent of Americans believe that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right to launch an impeachment inquiry, compared to the 38 per cent who say they oppose the measure.

In March , the same poll indicated Americans opposed the start to impeachment proceedings by a margin of 41 perc ent to 54 per cent.

Now, of the 58 per cent who say they support the inquiry, 49 per cent say the House should take it a step further and vote to remove Trump from office to the merre 6 per cent who feel otherwise.

Support for impeachment has been on the rise since July, but spiked recently after revelations of the Ukrainian scandal continued to unravel.

Pelosi: ‘No one is above the law’ as Trump impeachment inquiry begins

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced toward the end of September that the lower chamber of Congress was launching an impeachment proceeding, and 58 per cent of Americans now say they support her decision

Toward the end of September, an anonymous whistle-blower went public with a complaint he filed in August related to a call Trump held with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

During the call, which Trump released a transcript of, the president pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country. Trump claimed it was potential corruption considering Hunter took the board position with a Ukrainian natural gas firm was his father was still vice president.

Pelosi, who was hesitant to utter the I-word, quickly changed her tune after learning the details of the call and announced the House was launching an impeachment inquiry into the president – only the fourth ever in U.S. history.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing ever since the existence of the whistle-blower’s complaint became public. He has called his conversation with Zelensky ‘perfect.’

A separate poll, conducted by the National Republican Congressional Committeeand Team McCarthy by Public Opinion Strategies, shows a completely different story than the other polls.

In that survey, only 37 per cent of voters said they felt Trump’s call with Zelesnky warranted impeachment, and 59 per cent said it was an appropriate conversation.

However, in districts Trump won that are represented by Democrats, 62 per cent in this poll say the call was OK, while 33 per cent say it’s an impeachable offense.

Critics have also noted an interesting question the polls asked its respondents.

‘Now, I’d like to read you a few statements regarding this matter, and please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one,’ the pollsters prompted of participants. ‘If Democrats are going to proceed, they should set a date certain to end the inquiry so it does not further politicize next year’s election.’

Sixty-five percent of voters said they agreed with this statement and 31 per cent disagreed.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7550813/One-three-REPUBLICANS-impeachment-poll-says-49-Americans-want-Trump-removed.html

 

Story 2: Attorney General Bill Barr and U. S. Attorney Durham Investigation of The Initiation of The Russian Collusion Investigation and Abuse of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court — John Brennan Former CIA Directory and Leader of The Coup Ordered By President Barack Obama — The Illegal Political Surveillance of The Trump and Trump Campaign — Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy — aka Spygate– Videos

Hannity: Mueller investigated the man who passed him up for a job

Prager: The left is not used to being investigated

DiGenova: Comey, Clapper and Brennan will have to pay the ‘Barr bill’

 

U.S. Attorney John Durham Beefs Up Investigation Into Russia Probe Origins After Findings

DailyWire.com
The Department of Justice logo hangs as the backdrop before a press conference held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on leaks of classified material threatening national security in Washington, USA on August 4, 2017.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Fox News’ Bret Baier reported on Tuesday in a Fox News exclusive that “based on what he has been finding, Durham has expanded his investigation adding agents and resources, the senior administration officials said. The timeline has grown from the beginning of the probe through the election and now has included a post-election timeline through the spring of 2017, up to when Robert Mueller was named special counsel.”

“Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham traveled to Italy recently to talk to law enforcement officials there about the probe and have also had conversations with officials in the U.K. and Australia about the investigation, according to multiple sources familiar with the meetings,” Baier added.

Barr’s appointment of Durham to conduct that investigation was revealed this May when the Associated Press reported: “The inquiry will focus on whether the government’s methods to collect intelligence relating to the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate. Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes and the Boston FBI office’s relationship with mobsters.”

The Trump administration told Fox News in April that Barr had assembled a team to investigate the origins of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign:

Attorney General William Barr has assembled a “team” to investigate the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, an administration official briefed on the situation told Fox News on Tuesday.


The FBI’s July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was formally opened by anti-Trump former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Ex-FBI counsel Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was romantically involved, revealed during a closed-door congressional interview that the FBI “knew so little” about whether allegations against the Trump campaign were “true or not true” at the time they opened the probe, noting they had just “a paucity of evidence because we are just starting down the path” of vetting the allegations.

Durham has been described as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor.

“Sources familiar with matter say the focus includes pre-transition period — prior to Nov. 7, 2016 — including the use and initiation of informants, as well as potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses,” Fox News noted in a separate report. “An informant working for U.S. intelligence posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016 to try to probe George Papadopoulos, then a Trump foreign policy adviser, on the campaign’s possible ties to Russia, it emerged earlier this month. And, Papadopoulos told Fox News, the informant tried to ‘seduce’ him as part of the ‘bizarre’ episode.”

Reuters reported on Tuesday: “Durham’s probe seems to be moving at a more deliberate pace in Washington. While the FBI says it has been cooperating, senior figures involved in the 2016 investigation have not yet heard from Durham’s team, according to sources familiar with the matter. Among them: former FBI general counsel James A. Baker; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; former FBI agent Peter Strzok; and David Laufman, a former senior Justice Department official.”

https://www.dailywire.com/news/u-s-attorney-john-durham-beefs-up-investigation-into-russia-probe-origins-after-findings

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The Pronk Pops Show 1335, October 7, 2019, Story 1: United States and North Korea Talks Broken Down For Now — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Bring The Troops Home from Syria — Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Videos

Posted on October 13, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Eating, Education, Empires, Employment, European History, Exercise, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Former President Barack Obama, Fourth Amendment, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Monetary Policy, National Interest, News, Obesity, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Senate, Spying, Spying on American People, Subornation of perjury, Subversion, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terror, Terrorism, Treason, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Ukraine, Unemployment, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Trump Will Bring The U.S. Troops Home from Northeastern Syria — Neocon Warmongering Interventionists Oppose Trump — Trump Ending the Endless Intervention in The Middle East — Long Overdue — Videos

Graham compares Trump to Obama, calls his strategy a ‘big win for ISIS’

Republicans slam Trump over withdrawal of troops from Syria

Trump issues dire warning to Turkey over Syria invasion

Trump’s decision to withdraw from northern Syria may fail: Analyst

US presence in northeast Syria amid Turkey threat

The Middle East’s cold war, explained

The challenge for US with Russia in Syria

Syria’s war: Who is fighting and why

Here’s why the Russian Orthodox Church is deeply connected to the Syrian War

Top two lawmakers blast Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria

by Reuters
Monday, 7 October 2019 18:06 GMT

The top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Monday condemned the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, which critics fear could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area.

“This decision poses a dire threat to regional security and stability, and sends a dangerous message to Iran and Russia, as well as our allies, that the United States is no longer a trusted partner,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement calling on Trump to “reverse this dangerous decision.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.” (Reporting by Makini Brice, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Lambert)

Trump sends strong, conflicting signals on Syria, Turkey

By LITA C. BALDOR, MATTHEW LEE and ROBERT BURNS28 minutes ago

FILE – In this Wednesday, July 11, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as they arrive together for a family photo at a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The White House says Turkey will soon invade Northern Syria, casting uncertainty on the fate of the Kurdish fighters allied with the U.S. against in a campaign against the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing unusually wide criticism, President Donald Trump sent out strong but conflicting signals on the “endless war” in Syria and Middle East on Monday. He declared U.S. troops would step aside for an expected Turkish attack on Kurds who have fought alongside Americans for years but then threatened to destroy the Turks’ economy if they went too far.

Even Trump’s staunchest Republican allies expressed outrage at the prospect of abandoning Syrian Kurds who had fought the Islamic State group with U.S. troops. Trump’s decision appeared to be the latest example of an approach to foreign policy that critics condemn as impulsive, that is sometimes reversed and frequently is untethered to the advice of his national security aides.

Pentagon and State Department officials held out the possibility of persuading Turkey to abandon its expected invasion.

In recent weeks, the U.S. and Turkey had reached an apparent accommodation of Turkish concerns about the presence of Kurdish fighters, seen in Turkey as a threat. American and Turkish soldiers had been conducting joint patrols in a zone along the border. As part of that work, barriers designed to defend the Kurds were dismantled amid assurances that Turkey would not invade.

 

Youtube video thumbnail

Graham said Turkey’s NATO membership should be suspended if it attacks into northeastern Turkey, potentially annihilating Kurdish fighters who acted as a U.S. proxy army in a five-year fight to eliminate the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate. Graham, who had talked Trump out of a withdrawal from Syria last December, said letting Turkey invade would be a mistake of historic proportion.

“It’s going to lead to ISIS reemergence,” he told Fox News.

U.S. involvement in Syria has been fraught with peril since it started in 2014 with the insertion of small numbers of special operations forces to recruit, train, arm and advise local fighters to combat the Islamic State. Trump entered the White House in 2017 intent on getting out of Syria, and even before the counter-IS military campaign reclaimed the last militant strongholds early this year, he declared victory and said troops would leave.

The strong pushback on Capitol Hill to the late Sunday night announcement prompted Trump to recast his decision but with renewed bombast, portraying it as a threat to strangle Turkey if it carries out its announced intent to invade.

Officials suggested that Trump’s threats against Turkey on Monday morning were reactions to the overwhelming criticism of his earlier announcement that the U.S. would withdraw troops and get them out of the way of the Turkish forces. That announcement came after Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

One official described a botched effort by the White House on Sunday night, putting out a statement that appeared aimed at making Trump look bold for ending a war. The official said attempts by the Pentagon and State Department to make the statement stronger in its opposition to Turkey’s military action were unsuccessful. But in what the official described as a “exercise in damage control” Monday morning, the Pentagon made it clear to the Turkish military that “there will be a major break in relations if you do this.”

The official added that Erdogan appeared to be reconsidering his earlier resolve because he was relatively quiet Monday. But the official cautioned that even if pressure from the U.S. and Europe succeeds in getting Erdogan to back down, the damage done to relations with the Kurds may be irreparable.

An official familiar with the Erdogan call said the Turkish president was “ranting” at Trump, saying the safe zone was not working and that Turkey couldn’t trust the U.S. military to do what was needed. And in reaction, Trump said the U.S. wanted no part of an invasion and would withdraw troops.

The announcement threw the military situation in Syria into fresh chaos and injected deeper uncertainty into U.S. relations with European allies. A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity on a sensitive topic, said France wasn’t informed ahead of time. A Foreign Ministry statement warned Turkey to avoid any action that would harm the international coalition against the Islamic State and noted the Kurds had been essential allies, but entirely omitted any mention of the United States.

Trump defended his decision, acknowledging in tweets that “the Kurds fought with us” but adding that they “were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so.”

“I held off this fight for almost 3 years, but it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home,” he wrote.

Hours after the White House announcement, two senior State Department officials minimized the effects of the U.S. action, telling reporters that Turkey may not go through with a large-scale invasion and the U.S. was still trying to discourage it. Both officials spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss what led to the internal White House decision.

Among the first to leave were about 30 U.S. troops from two outposts who would be in the immediate area of a Turkish invasion. It’s unclear whether others among the roughly 1,000 U.S. forces in northeastern Syria would be moved, but officials said there is no plan for any to leave Syria entirely.

Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that a U.S. withdrawal from Syria would be a major boost to Russia’s position there.

He added that other allies in the region, including the Kurds, will “look at this withdrawal as U.S. unwillingness to stand up for its rights and maintain its alliances in the region.”

Trump’s move came at a pivotal moment of his presidency. House Democrats are marching forward with their impeachment inquiry into whether he compromised national security or abused his office by seeking negative information on former Vice President Joe Biden, a political rival, from foreign countries.

As he faces the impeachment inquiry, Trump has appeared more focused on making good on his political pledges, even at the risk of sending a troubling signal to American allies abroad.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said early Monday on “Fox & Friends” that he had not been briefed by the president about the decision and he had concerns.

“I want to make sure we keep our word for those who fight with us and help us,” he said, adding that, “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”

Former Trump administration officials also expressed alarm.

Nikki Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the U.S. “must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back. … Leaving them to die is a big mistake.”

Turkey considers the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has waged an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

___

With contributions from Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut and Lori Hinnant in Paris.

https://apnews.com/ac3115b4eb564288a03a5b8be868d2e5

American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Part of the military intervention against ISIL (Operation Inherent Resolve),
Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War
Secretary Kerry Shakes Hands With Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Before Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on Syria (21785218013).jpgKurdish YPG Fighter (22806739779).jpg
Top: Bilateral Meeting in Austria Focused on SyriaBottom: Kurdish YPJ soldier
Date 22 September 2014 – present
(5 years, 2 weeks and 4 days)
Location
Result Ongoing operations

Belligerents
Coalition of foreign countries
Seal of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.svg CJTF–OIR
Air war and ground forces

Airstrikes only

Local ground forces
Flag of Syrian Democratic Forces.svg Syrian Democratic Forces

Limited involvement’
Iraqi Kurdistan

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[15]
[16][17][18]


 al-Qaeda

 Turkistan Islamic Party[29]


 Ahrar al-Sham (Nov. 2014 airstrikes, intentionality disputed)[30][31]

 Syrian Arab Republic (limited 2017–2018 strikes)[32]
Iran (limited aircraft shoot downs)[33][34]
Supported by:
Russia
Commanders and leaders
United States Donald Trump(since 20 January 2017)
United States Barack Obama(until 20 January 2017)
United States Chuck Hagel (until 2015)
United States Ashton Carter (until 2017)
United States James Mattis (until 2019)
United States Patrick M. Shanahan (since 2019)
United States Gen. Lloyd Austin
United States Gen. James L. Terry
United States Gen. Joseph Votel
United States Gen.Stephen J. Townsend
United States Gen. Paul E. Funk II
DenmarkLars Løkke Rasmussen
Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Netherlands Mark Rutte
United KingdomBoris Johnson(since 24 July 2019)
United KingdomTheresa May(13 July 2016 – 24 July 2019)
United KingdomDavid Cameron(until 13 July 2016)
United Kingdom Stephen Hillier
Australia Tony Abbott
Australia Malcolm Turnbull
Australia Trevor Jones
Australia David Johnston
France Emmanuel Macron (since 14 May 2017)
France François Hollande (until 14 May 2017)
France Jean-Yves Le Drian
France Pierre de Villiers
Germany Angela Merkel
Germany Ursula von der Leyen
Germany Volker Wieker
Jordan King Abdullah II
Jordan Abdullah Ensour
Saudi Arabia King Salman
Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Al Saud (Died 2015)
Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud
Morocco King Mohammed VI
Morocco Abdelilah Benkirane
Morocco Bouchaib Arroub
United Arab Emirates Khalifa Al Nahyan
Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa
Qatar Tamim Al Thani
Qatar Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah
Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria Salih Muslim Muhammad
Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani
Canada Stephen Harper (until November 2015)
Canada Justin Trudeau (until February 2016)
Canada Thomas J. Lawson (until February 2016)Canada Yvan Blondin (until February 2016)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Leader)[41]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Alaa Afri 
(Deputy Leader of ISIL)[42][43]
 Abu Mohammad al-Adnani  (Spokesperson)
 Abu Ayman al-Iraqi  (Head of Military Shura)[44][45]
 Abu Suleiman  (Replacement Military Chief)[45]
 Abu Ali al-Anbari  (Deputy, Syria)
 Akram Qirbash 
(Top ISIL judge)[43]
 Abu Omar al-Shishani  (Chief commander in Syria) [46][47][48][49]
 Abu Sayyaf  (Senior ISIL economic manager)[50]
 Abu Khattab al-Kurdi  (Commander of the assault on Kobanî)[51][52]


 Abu Khayr al-Masri  (al-Qaeda deputy leader)[53][54]
 Abu Jaber Shaykh (Emir of Tahrir al-Sham, 2017–present)
 Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Leader of the al-Nusra Front)
 Abu Humam al-Shami (al-Nusra Military Chief)[55]
 Abu Hajer al-Homsi  (top al-Nusra military commander)[56]
 Abu Firas al-Suri  (al-Nusra Spokesman)[57][58]
 Abu Muhammed al Ansari 
(al-Nusra Emir of the Idlib Province)
 Ahmad Salama Mabruk  (al-Nusra senior commander)[59]
 Muhsin al-Fadhli  (Leader of Khorasan)[60][61][62]
 Sanafi al-Nasr [63]
 David Drugeon [61][64]
Flag of Jund al-Aqsa.svg Said Arif  (Jund al-Aqsa Military Chief)[26]
 Abu Omar al-Turkistani  (TIP and al-Nusra military commander)[29]


 Abu Jaber Shaykh (2014–2015)[65][66]

 Abu Yahia al-Hamawi (2015–2017)[67]

Syria Bashar al-Assad (President of Syria)
Strength
Coalition forces: Coalition forces-air

Coalition forces-ground


Local forces

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:


al-Qaeda:


Ahrar al-Sham:

Syrian Arab Republic:

Casualties and losses
United States United States:
8 servicemen killed (5 non-hostile)[108][109][110]
2 government contractors killed
F-16 crashed[111]
V-22 Osprey crashed[112]
drones lost[113][114]
Jordan Jordan:
serviceman executed[115]
1 F-16 crashed[116]
United Kingdom United Kingdom:
1 serviceman killed (non hostile)[117]
SAS operators wounded[118]
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:
At least 9,145 killed [119]
(per SOHR)


 al-Qaeda:

 Jaysh al-Sunna:
10 killed (per SOHR)[119]


 Ahrar al-Sham:

3 killed (per SOHR)[119][121][122]

 Syrian Arab Republic:
169 soldiers and militiamen killed (per SOHR)[119]
15-100+ Russian mercenaries killed[123][124][125]
4 tanks destroyed[126]
11+ aircraft destroyed[127][128]
SAM batteries destroyed[129]Iran 2 armed drones shot down
4,036 civilians killed by Coalition airstrikes in Syria (Per Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)[119]
[130] 5,900+ civilians killed by ISIL in Syria [131]
Over 420,000 civilians displaced or fled to other countries[132][133]
Number of militants killed possibly higher, due to them covering up their losses.[134]

The American-led intervention in the Syrian Civil War refers to the United States-led support of Syrian opposition and the Federation of Northern Syria during the course of the Syrian Civil War and active military involvement led by the United States and its allies — the militaries of the United KingdomFranceJordanTurkeyCanadaAustralia and more — against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front since 2014. Since early 2017, the U.S. and other Coalition partners have also targeted the Syrian government and its allies via airstrikes and aircraft shoot-downs.

During the Syrian Civil War, which began in 2011, the U.S. initially supplied the rebels of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid—including food rations and pickup trucks—but quickly began providing training, money, and intelligence to selected Syrian rebel commanders. At least two U.S. programs attempted to assist the Syrian rebels. One was a 2014 Pentagon program that planned to train and equip 15,000 rebels to fight ISIL, which was canceled in 2015 after spending $500 million and producing only a few dozen fighters.[135] A simultaneous $1 billion covert program called Timber Sycamore ran by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was more successful, but was decimated by Russian bombing and canceled in mid-2017 by the Trump administration.[135]

The Obama administration began surveillance missions on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant‘s positions in Syria in September 2014.[136] On 22 September 2014, the U.S., BahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began to attack ISIL forces inside Syria,[15][137] as well as the Khorasan group in the Idlib Governorate west of Aleppo and the al-Nusra Front around Raqqa,[21][138] as part of the multinational military intervention against ISIL. As of August 2017, the coalition had flown 168,000 sorties in both Syria and Iraq (mostly against ISIL), with a roughly 45/55 split between the two, respectively.[35] As of late 2015, coalition planes were dropping or launching an average of 67 bombs or missiles a day.[139] The American-led air campaign inflicted heavy losses on ISIL and, alongside special forces operations, artillery strikes, and material and intelligence support to the SDF, catalyzed the loss of the bulk of ISIL’s Syrian territory by March 2019.

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government[140] and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May–June 2017 and February 2018.

In mid-January 2018, the Trump administration indicated its intention to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to counter Iran’s influence and oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.[141] In early September 2018, the U.S. began implementing a new strategy that sought to indefinitely extend the military effort, launching a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives in Syria.[142] However, on 19 December, President Trump unilaterally ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000–2,500 American ground troops in Syria, which was initially set to take place in a 90-day period and to be completed in 2019. The announcement shifted the scope of American interests in the conflict from what was an increasingly open-ended presence to a sudden draw-down. The fear of a power vacuum from a premature U.S. pullout from Syria drew consternation from both American officials and allies, particularly in regards to the potential of imperiling the Kurds in the face of Turkish opportunism, potentially giving Russia and Iran geopolitical wins, and the unintended consequence of allowing breathing room for extremist and terrorist groups operating in Syria to regroup and reorganize.[143][144][145]

After European allies initially refused to commit additional personnel to replace U.S. troops in Syria,[146] and with proliferating concerns over a potential power vacuum, the U.S. announced on 22 February 2019 that instead of a total withdrawal, a contingency force of around 400 American troops would remain garrisoned in Syria indefinitely post-withdrawal, marking a return to a policy of open-ended American military presence in the country.[147] By June 2019, the U.S., led by special anti-ISIL envoy James Jeffrey, had renewed its demands for European allies to compensate for the reduced American ground presence in a joint manner.[148]

The intervention was conducted with strong domestic support; according to Gallup polling in 2014, 61% of Americans supported intervention against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, while 30% were opposed, and 9% undecided.[149] A larger CCGA poll taken in 2016 showed that 72% of Americans supported “conducting airstrikes against violent Islamic extremist groups in Syria”, while 58% also supported “sending special operations forces into Syria to fight violent Islamic extremist groups.” Additionally, a slim majority (52%) supported “enforcing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria, including bombing Syrian air defenses.” However, only 26% supported “sending arms and other supplies to anti-government rebel groups in Syria.”[150]

Background

United States diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks have been seen as showing that regime change in Syria may have been a covert foreign policy goal of the U.S. government in the years leading up to the civil war, even during the period when President Barack Obama was publicly engaging with Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad. A 2006 memorandum by U.S. diplomat William Roebuck of the embassy in Damascus stated:

We believe Bashar’s weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as…the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising. These proposals will need to be fleshed out and converted into real actions and we need to be ready to move quickly to take advantage of such opportunities. Many of our suggestions underline using Public Diplomacy and more indirect means to send messages that influence the inner circle.

According to Seymour Hersh and activist Robert Naiman, Roebuck, who went on to be charge d’affairs of the Libyan embassy under Obama, also considered the advantages of promoting religious sectarianism in Syria.[151][152]

Following the start of the Arab Spring in 2011, protests in Syria against the Assad administration were violently suppressed and a civil war began.[153] By 2012 there were several armed opposition groups operating in the country, including the Free Syrian Army, formed in July 2011 by officers who defected from the Syrian Armed Forces. In 2012, the al-Nusra Front was established by the Islamic State of Iraq as the official branch of al-Qaeda in Syria. The al-Nusra Front was eclipsed by its own creator, and al-Qaeda severed its ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle.[154]

Military situation in the Syrian Civil War as of April 9, 2019.

 Controlled by Syrian Arab Republic
 Controlled by North Syria Federation (SDF)
 Controlled by the Syrian opposition and Ahrar al-Sham
 Controlled by Turkey and TFSA
 Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)
 Controlled by Tahrir al-Sham (al-Nusra)

(For a more detailed, up-to-date, interactive map, see Template:Syrian Civil War detailed map.)

Pre-coalition arming and training of the Syrian opposition

At the direction of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was put in charge the operations worth about $1 billion annually to arm anti-government forces in Syria,[155][156][157][158] an operation which formally began in 2013, more than two years after the start of the civil war in 2011. Prior to 2013, the CIA only supplied certain rebel groups of the Free Syrian Army with non-lethal aid, but later began providing training, funding, and intelligence to selected rebel commanders.[159][160][161] Although a former intelligence adviser who spoke to journalist Seymour Hersh claimed the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria in collaboration with “the UK [United Kingdom], Saudi Arabia and Qatar” since 2012 or 2011,[162] the first confirmed CIA weapons arrived in Spring 2014: “There were just a handful, delivered to only one rebel group carefully vetted by the CIA”. The group, Harakat Hazm, or the Steadfast Movement, showed off the new weapons system by posting the first successful strike on YouTube in April.[163] Another of the groups being vetted was the Islamist Army of Mujahedeen, formed in January 2014 specifically to combat ISIL.[163][164] However, there were indications that the Army of Mujahedeen was still being vetted in September 2014.[165]

In addition to the covert CIA program,[166] on 17 September 2014 the U.S. House of Representatives voted to authorize the executive branch to overtly train and equip Syrian rebels against ISIL forces, at a cost of $500 million.[167][168][169]

July 2014 rescue mission

Following the abduction of a number of foreigners in Syria, on 4 July 2014, the U.S. carried out an operation to rescue foreign hostages being held by ISIL. U.S. airstrikes were conducted against an ISIL military base known as the “Osama bin Laden Camp” while at the same time, two dozen US special forces soldiers parachuted from helicopters near an ISIL-held building, thought to be for high-value prisoners. No prisoners were found in the building and the soldiers were quickly engaged by ISIL forces dispatched from Raqqa, which started a three-hour firefight.[170] U.S. forces concluded that the hostages were no longer at the site and abandoned the rescue attempt. At least five ISIL fighters were killed and one U.S. soldier was wounded. Jordanian forces were also reportedly involved in the operation, with one Jordanian soldier reportedly wounded, but Jordanian involvement was not confirmed. Later on, it was reported that the hostages had been moved 24 hours before the attempted rescue.[170] Following the mission, it was still unclear whether the operation failed due to bad intelligence or whether ISIL forces were alerted in advance of the mission.[171]

In the aftermath of the rescue mission, and purportedly as a response to airstrikes in Iraq, ISIL beheaded three hostages over a one-month period: Americans James Foley[170] and Steven Sotloff on 19 August and 2 September respectively,[172] and Briton David Haines on 13 September.[173]

Surveillance flights over Syria

On 26 August 2014, the U.S. began sending surveillance flights, including drones, over Syria to gather intelligence on ISIL targets. The flights began gathering intelligence that would aid future airstrikes even though airstrikes were not yet authorized at that point.[174] No approval was sought from the Assad government for flights entering Syrian airspace.[175]

U.S.-led coalition against ISIL

The United States had since 2014 led efforts to establish a global coalition to counter ISIL.[176]

On 5 September, 15 September,[177] and 3 December 2014, various sets of countries came together to discuss concerted action against ISIL. Present at all three meetings were the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Turkey and Denmark.

The coalition of 5 September (10 countries) decided to support anti-ISIL forces in Iraq and Syria.[178] On 10 September 2014, U.S. president Barack Obama announced a ″comprehensive″ strategy to counter ISIL that ″in concert with coalition partners <…> will defeat ISIL and deny them safe haven″.[179]

The coalition of 3 December 2014 (sixty countries) that styled itself as the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)[180] agreed on a many-sided strategy against ISIL, including cutting off ISIL’s financing and funding and exposing ISIL’s true nature.[180] As of March 2015, the U.S.-led coalition comprised over sixty countries, that contributed in various ways to the effort.[176]

Support for Kurdish-led ground forces

As the Siege of Kobanî continued there were growing calls to also arm the YPG, also known as the People’s Protection Units, a Kurdish fighting force in Syria heavily involved in the defense of Kobanî.[181] On 20 October 2014, the Turkish foreign ministerMevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that the Turkish government would be allowing Peshmerga from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government to cross their border into Kobanî to support Kurdish fighters.[182] The change in policy came after the Turkish government had refused to allow Kurdish fighters and supplies to pass through the border to YPG units in Kobanî, as it viewed the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK.[183] On 28 October, Peshmerga from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government departed Erbil to travel to Turkey and eventually to Kobanî.[184] A total of 152 soldiers were deployed starting with forty vehicles carrying weapons, artillery, and machine guns, along with 80 Peshmerga forces, who crossed the border into Turkey by land with the heavy weapons and then drove to the border near Kobanî.[184] The other 72 soldiers in the contingent flew to Turkey and rejoined the rest of the contingent on 29 October.[184] By the start of November, 152 Kurdish Peshmerga from Iraq and 50 Free Syrian Army fighters had crossed the border into Kobanî with heavy weapons, small arms, and ammunition.[13][84]

On 20 October 2014, the United States began airdropping supplies to Syrian Kurdish forces, including the YPG, that were besieging ISIL-controlled Kobanî.[185] Prior to 20 October, the United States and its anti-ISIL coalition partners in Syria had not provided any supplies to Kurdish forces in their fight against the jihadist group.[185] Much of the reason for the U.S. airdropping supplies was due to the Turkish government’s refusal to allow supplies to pass through their border into Kobanî. The U.S. specifically airdropped weapons, ammunition, and medical supplies supplied by Iraqi Kurdistan intended to supply the Kurdish forces in Syria.[185] On 21 October, a video was released by ISIL showing what it claimed was a bundle of airdropped small arms, ammunition, and other supplies from the United States. The Pentagon said it was analyzing the video and could not at the time confirm whether the video was authentic but that the materials were similar; the video would subsequently be analyzed by the Department of Defense to verify its authenticity.[186] On 22 October, the Pentagon confirmed that one of its airdrops had been intercepted by ISIL elements but downplayed the incident, saying that it most likely would not give ISIL any real advantage in their overall operations.[187]

Coalition arming and training of the Syrian opposition

By January 2015, the United States was set to send 400 troops and hundreds of support staff to countries neighboring Syria in order to train 5,000 opposition soldiers a year for the next three years.[188] The countries taking part in the train-and-equip program were to include Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.[189] The groups that were expected to be armed and trained by the U.S. government included fighters from the Free Syrian Army.[190] In October 2014, the Turkish government agreed to help train and equip some moderate Syrian rebels in Turkey.[191] The Pentagon confirmed that it had selected 1,200 Syrian opposition members to begin training in March 2015, with 3,000 to complete training by the end of 2015.[189]

The successful experience in Kobanî had informed U.S. policy in regard to arming Syrian opposition groups other than the Kurdish YPG, with plans to give other groups technicals equipped with radio and GPS equipment to call in airstrikes.[166] John R. Allen, President Obama’s envoy to the international coalition against ISIL, stated “It is clearly part of our plan, that not only we will train them, and we will equip them with the latest weapons systems, but we will also protect them when the time comes”.[192] In March 2015, the United Kingdom announced that it was sending around 75 military instructors to train Syrian opposition forces.[193][194] The train-and-equip program started on 9 May 2015.[195] On 25 May, Turkey and the U.S. agreed “in principle” on the necessity to support these forces with air support.[196]

However, only about 200 rebel fighters actually began training, the majority of whom left after being required to agree to fight only against ISIL and not the Assad government.[197] By mid-2015, only a group of 54 such fighters (Division 30) had been deployed – which was quickly routed in an ambush by al-Nusra[198] – and a further 100 had been thus far finished training in Jordan.[199] In September 2015, it was reported that a further 100-120 were being trained in a second wave,[200] with 75 more Division 30 fighters reported to have re-entered Syria at the end of the month; they were immediately attacked by al-Nusra.[201]

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that in December 2015 the U.S. shipped 994 tonnes of weapons and ammunition (including packaging and container weight), generally of Soviet-type equipment from Eastern Europe, to Syrian rebel groups under the ongoing CIA Timber Sycamore operation. A detailed list of weapon types and shipment weights had been obtained from the U.S. government’s Federal Business Opportunities website.[202][203] As of July 2016, extensive arms shipments were continuing.[204][205][206]

It was reported in July 2017 that the Donald Trump administration decided to “phase-out” the CIA program to equip and train anti-government rebel groups.[207][208][209]

Multinational air war

Preparations for American airstrikes

In his address to the nation on 10 September 2014, U.S. President Obama announced his intention to bomb ISIL targets in Syria and called on Congress to authorize a program to train and arm rebels who were fighting ISIL and the Syrian forces of Bashar al-Assad.[210] For the first time, he authorized direct attacks against the militant group in Syria. In his address, he said the United States were going on offensive, launching “a steady, relentless effort to take out” the group “wherever they exist.” Obama also announced creating of a broader coalition against ISIL.[211]

Commenting on Obama’s address, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich [ru] opposed the U.S. intervention against ISIL in Syria “without the consent of the legitimate government” and said that “this step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law”. Ali Haidar, Syrian minister of national reconciliation, said that “any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria”.[212]

On 17 September, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Obama’s plan to train and arm the Syrian rebels in their fight against ISIL. In a statement following the House vote, Obama said that the United States would not send military troops to Syria.[213] The Senate gave final congressional approval to Obama’s proposal the next day.[214]

The U.S. did not request permission from the Syrian government, nor did it coordinate its actions with the Syrian government, provide direct notification to the Syrian military or give indication of timing on specific targets, but it did notify the Syrian U.N. representative, which the Syrian government confirmed.[215]

Before the airstrikes began, the United States also informed Iran, the Assad government’s largest regional ally, of their intention to launch airstrikes. It did not share specific timing or targets of strikes with the Iranian government but reportedly assured it that the US would not strike any Syrian government targets.[216]

Contributing countries

Timeline

Map of the first round of U.S. and coalition strikes in Syria

2014

September 2014 — Airstrikes begin

Tomahawk cruise missile launching from USS Arleigh Burke to strike ISIL targets in Syria on 23 September

On 22 September, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the United States and other partner nations had undertaken strikes in Syria using fighters, bombers, and Tomahawk missiles in strikes authorized by President Barack Obama.[219] BahrainJordanQatarSaudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were identified as countries conducting or supporting airstrikes the first night.[10] The initial strikes were coordinated by United States Central Command[12] and targeted about 20 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant targets, including headquarters buildings.[220] Sources in Syria claimed that among the targets was also Brigade 93, a Syrian army base that the militants had recently captured and targets in the towns of Tabqa and Tel Abyad in Raqqa Province.[221]

The U.S. also targeted the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front and the Khorasan Group[222] in the Aleppo and Idlib Governorates of Syria.[223]

F-22 Raptor stealth fighters were reported to be among the U.S. aircraft striking targets in Syria on the first night of the campaign, carrying out their first combat missions ever since entering service in 2005.[70]

At least 70 ISIL fighters, 50 fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda, and eight civilians were killed overnight by the airstrikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights while eight strikes were launched against the Khorasan group.[224]

Syrian military radar was “passive” during the first air strikes, with no attempt to counter US aircraft.[225] During the first night of airstrikes, the United States’ force deployed with HARM missiles as a precaution, as it was uncertain how Syria’s air-defense network would react.[226]

File:Sept 23 ISIL compound strike.WebM

A U.S. Air Force fighter jet drops ordnance on an ISIL compound in Raqqa, Syria on 23 September 2014.

On 24 September, the United States and coalition partners conducted a second round of airstrikes on ISIL facilities in Syria. The airstrikes were targeting oil production facilities controlled by ISIL who had been using the oil in order to fund their activities. Some targets were apparently also mobile production facilities which were most likely not refineries.[227]

In a third round of airstrikes on ISIL targets on 25 September, Arab partners led the U.S. in strikes against militant-held oil facilities in northeastern Syria. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates dropped 80 percent of the bomb tonnage in the third round of strikes, compared to other strikes in which the United States lead Arab partners.[228]

On 26 September, the U.S. carried out a fourth round of airstrikes on ISIL targets in Eastern Syria. The strikes were targeting ISIL heavy equipment and destroyed four of their tanks in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate.[229]

In a fifth round of airstrikes in Syria on 27 September, the U.S. led strikes along with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE against ISIL forces in the Kobanî Canton of Syrian Kurdistan. The strikes destroyed two armored vehicles and an unknown number of fighters in an area that had been under siege by ISIL militants. The siege by Islamic State fighters had recently forced over 100,000 Syrian Kurds to flee across the border to Turkey.[230]

On 28 and 29 September, the U.S. carried out two rounds of strikes against ISIL positions across Syria in 4 provinces. Among the facilities targeted was the entrance to the largest gas plant in Syria, in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, and ISIL training camps and vehicles near an ISIL-controlled grain silo in Manbij.[231]

October 2014

F/A-18 Hornets takes off from USS George H.W. Bush to strike ISIL targets in Syria

In an eighth round of airstrikes in Syria on 1 October, the U.S. and coalition partners struck ISIL targets in Northern Syria. The daytime strikes targeted ISIL forces laying siege to Kobanî, a primarily Kurdish city in Syrian Kurdistan, in support of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Free Syrian Army, who were defending the city.[232]

On 2 October, the U.S. led a ninth round of strikes, along with the UAE, against ISIL forces across Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL checkpoint near Kobanî, damaged a tank north of Sinjar Mountain, destroyed a tank west of Raqqa, and destroyed several ISIL facilities east of Aleppo.[233]

In a 10th round of airstrikes in Syria on 3 October, the U.S., assisted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, struck ISIL forces in Northern and Eastern Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL garrison south of Al-Hasakah, destroyed two tanks southeast of Deir ez-Zor, destroyed two modular oil refineries and a training camp south of Raqqa, and struck an ISIL building northeast of Aleppo.[234]

On 4 October, the U.S. led an 11th round of airstrikes, along with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, against ISIL forces across Syria. The U.S. and partner nations carried out nine strikes, destroying an ISIL infantry unit, armored personnel carrier, and a vehicle south of Kobanî. They also destroyed a tank and a vehicle southeast of Deir ez-Zor, damaged the Tabqa airfield and destroyed an artillery piece near Raqqa, as well as an ISIL depot and logistics complex south of Al-Hasakah.[235]

In a 12th round of airstrikes in Syria on 5 October, the U.S. carried out three airstrikes against ISIL forces in Central and Eastern Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL tanks and another vehicle northwest of Mayadin, and destroyed six firing positions and a large ISIL unit northwest of Raqqa.[236]

On 6 October, the U.S. carried out a 13th round of airstrikes in Syria against ISIL forces across Syria. The strikes destroyed an ISIL tank near Tabqa airfield west of Raqqa, destroyed two fighting positions south of Kobanî, and destroyed a tank southeast of Deir ez-Zor.[237]

In a 14th round of airstrikes in Syria on 7 October, the U.S., assisted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, carried out nine strikes damaging multiple ISIL-controlled buildings west of Al-Hasakah, damaging a staging area and IED production facility northeast of Deir ez-Zor, destroying three armed vehicles, damaging one armed vehicle, destroying a vehicle carrying anti-aircraft artillery, destroying an ISIL tank, and an ISIL unit in and around Kobanî, and killing a small group of fighters southwest of Rabiyah.[238]

On 8 October, the U.S. led a 15th round of nine airstrikes along with the UAE, destroying an armored personnel carrier, four armed vehicles, an artillery piece, and damaged another armed vehicle in and around Kobanî, striking an ISIL training camp and fighters northwest of Raqqa, and destroying a tank northwest of Deir ez-Zor.[239]

In a 16th round of airstrikes in Syria on 9 October, the U.S. carried out nine airstrikes in the areas in and around the besieged border town of Kobanî. The U.S. carried out six airstrikes south of Kobanî that destroyed two ISIL-held buildings, one tank and one heavy machine gun along, a fighting position along with one large and two small ISIL units. North of Kobanî, the U.S. struck two small ISIL units and destroyed two ISIL-held buildings.[240]

A before and after picture of an ISIL command and control center, after an F-22 airstrike on 23 September

On 10 October, the U.S. led a 17th round of airstrikes along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, carrying out nine strikes that destroyed two ISIL training facilities, three vehicles, damaging a tank and striking two ISIL units in and around Kobanî. The strikes also destroyed an armored vehicle staging facility east of Deir ez-Zor and struck a small ISIL unit northeast of Al-Hasakah.[241]

In an 18th round of airstrikes in Syria on 11 October, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî. The U.S. carried out four strikes north of Kobanî striking a fighting position, damaging a command and control facility, destroying a staging building, and striking two small ISIL units. South of Kobanî, two airstrikes destroyed three trucks.[242]

On 12 October, the U.S. led a 19th round of airstrikes along with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, carrying out four strikes — three in Kobanî, destroying a fighting position and a staging area, and one strike northwest of Raqqa, destroying an armored vehicle compound.[243] Also on 12 October, the U.S. announced that the Turkish government had approved the use of Turkish military bases by Coalition forces fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq. These installations included key bases only 160 km (100 mi) from the Syrian border and important U.S. military bases in Turkey such as the Incirlik Air Base.[244][245] Despite the announcement of Turkish government approval, on 13 October, Turkish officials publicly denied that any agreement had been made over Coalition use of Turkish airbases, including Incirlik.[246]

In a 20th round of airstrikes in Syria on 13 October, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia carried out eight airstrikes against ISIL forces. Seven of the strikes were in and around Kobanî, striking a large ISIL unit, two small units; damaging one staging location and destroying another, destroying a heavy-machine-gun firing position, destroying three buildings, and damaging two others. One other strike northwest of Raqqa struck an ISIL garrison.[247]

On 14 October, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia carried out the 21st round and the largest set of strikes against ISIL in Syria since the beginning of the intervention, with 21 strikes against targets in and around Kobanî, and an additional strike near Deir ez-Zor. According to the Department of Defense, the strikes were designed to interdict ISIL reinforcements and resupply zones and prevent ISIL from massing combat power on the Kurdish-held portions of Kobanî. The strikes destroyed two staging locations and damaged another, destroyed one ISIL building and damaged two others, damaged three ISIL compounds, destroyed one truck, one armed vehicle, and one other vehicle near Kobanî in support of Kurdish forces resisting the |siege of the town. In addition to those targets, the airstrikes struck seven staging areas, two mortar positions, three ISIL occupied buildings, and an artillery storage facility. An additional strike near Deir ez-Zor struck a modular oil refinery.[248]

F/A-18 Super Hornet taking off from USS Carl Vinson before carrying out strikes on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 22nd round of airstrikes on 15 October, the U.S. carried out 18 strikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed multiple fighting positions and also successfully struck sixteen ISIL-occupied buildings.[249]

On 16 October, the U.S. carried out a 23rd round of airstrikes with 14 airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî striking 19 ISIL-controlled buildings, two command posts, three fighting positions, three sniper positions, one staging location, and one heavy machine gun position.[250]

In a 24th round of airstrikes on 17 October, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî and in north-eastern Syria. Six airstrikes took place near Kobanî, striking three ISIL-controlled buildings; they also destroyed two fighting positions, suppressed three fighting positions, and destroyed two vehicles. One other airstrike near Al-Shaddadi struck ISIL-controlled oil collection equipment, including several petroleum, oil, and lubricants tanks, and a pump station.[251]

On 20 October, the U.S. carried out a 25th round of airstrikes, with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed ISIL fighting positions, ISIL mortar positions, a vehicle, and one stray equipment supply bundle from a U.S. airdrop of Kurdish supplies in order to prevent the supplies from being captured.[252]

In a 26th round of airstrikes on 21 October, the U.S. carried out four airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL-controlled building, and a large ISIL unit.[253] The British Royal Air Force began operating over Syria in a surveillance role on the same date, making the UK the first Western country other than the U.S. to operate in both Iraq and Syria simultaneously.[81]

On 22 October, the U.S. carried out a 27th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicles, an ISIL-controlled building and an ISIL logistical center.[254]

In a 28th round of airstrikes on 23 October, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Four strikes destroyed several ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL command and control center near Kobanî. Two strikes east of Deir ez-Zor destroyed several ISIL oil storage tanks.[255]

On 24 October, the U.S. carried out a 29th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and struck three ISIL units.[256]

In a 30th round of airstrikes on 25 October, the U.S. carried out one strike near Kobanî, destroying an ISIL artillery piece.[257]

On 26 October, the U.S. carried out its 31st round of airstrikes with five airstrikes against ISIL targets near Kobanî, destroying seven ISIL vehicles and an ISIL-controlled building.[258]

An F-22 Raptor being refueled prior to an airstrike on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 32nd round of airstrikes on 27 October, the U.S. carried out four strikes near Kobanî, destroying five ISIL vehicles and an ISIL-occupied building.[259]

On 28 October, the U.S. carried out its 33rd round of airstrikes, with four airstrikes conducted against ISIL targets near Kobanî, destroying four ISIL fighting positions and a small ISIL unit.[260]

In a 34th round of airstrikes on 29 October, the U.S. carried out eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî. The strikes destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, a small ISIL unit, six ISIL vehicles, an ISIL-controlled building, and an ISIL command and control node.[261]

On 30 October, the U.S. carried out a 35th round of airstrikes, with 12 airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî, and against targets near Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. 10 strikes near Kobanî struck two small ISIL units, destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, and five ISIL-controlled buildings. One strike near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL headquarters building while another strike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL security building.[262]

In a 36th round of airstrikes on 31 October, the U.S. carried out four airstrikes in and around Kobanî, damaging four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL controlled building.[263]

Naming of Operation Inherent Resolve[edit]

Unlike previous U.S. combat operations, no name had been given to the American intervention in Syria and Iraq until it was announced in mid-October that the operational name would be Inherent Resolve.[264][265] The decision to keep the conflict nameless until then drew considerable media criticism.[266][267]

November 2014[edit]

On 1 November, the U.S. carried out a 37th round of airstrikes with five airstrikes against ISIL targets in and around Kobanî. The strikes suppressed or destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, and struck one ISIL-controlled building.[268]

In a 38th round of airstrikes on 2 November, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck five small ISIL units and destroyed three ISIL vehicles. Two airstrikes southeast of Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL tank and two vehicle shelters.[268]

On 3 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 39th round of airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Four airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck an ISIL fighting position, a small ISIL unit, and destroyed two ISIL-controlled buildings. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL-controlled building.[268]

In a 40th round of airstrikes on 4 and 5 November, the U.S. carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and north of Sinjar just across the Iraq-Syria border. Three airstrikes in and around Kobanî struck a small ISIL unit, two ISIL fighting positions, and an ISIL dump truck that was used in the construction of fighting positions. One airstrike north of Sinjar destroyed an ISIL fighting position, used to launch mortar attacks, and struck a small ISIL unit manning the position. Two additional strikes north of Sinjar struck a small ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle.[269]

USS Carl Vinson and support ships deployed for combat operations in Syria and Iraq.

On 6 and 7 November, the U.S. carried out a 41st round of airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Tell Abyad. Seven strikes in and around Kobanî struck three small ISIL units, seven ISIL fighting positions, and destroyed an ISIL artillery piece. One airstrike near Tell Abyad destroyed an ISIL weapons stockpile.[270]

In a 42nd round of airstrikes between 8 and 10 November, the U.S. carried out 23 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. 13 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck an ISIL vehicle and five small ISIL units, destroyed an ISIL-occupied building used as an ammunition stockpile, an ISIL command and control building, and seven ISIL fighting positions, as well as damaging two ISIL fighting positions. In addition, eight airstrikes southeast of Deir ez-Zor damaged several structures of an ISIL oil collection facility, which was used to trans-load oil for the black market, while two airstrikes east of Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL oil collection point.[271]

Between 11 and 12 November, the U.S. carried out a 43rd round of airstrikes with 16 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Al-Hasakah. 10 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck eight small ISIL units, damaged three ISIL fighting positions, and destroyed an ISIL logistics facility. Four airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor damaged an ISIL crude oil collection facility, struck a small ISIL unit, and damaged an ISIL vehicle. Two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah damaged a crude oil collection point.[272]

In a 44th round of airstrikes between 13 and 14 November, the U.S. carried out 20 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, east of Deir ez-Zor, west of Aleppo, and east of Raqqa. 17 airstrikes conducted in and around Kobanî struck ten ISIL units, destroyed 10 fighting positions, an ISIL controlled building, two ISIL vehicles, and an ISIL motorcycle. One airstrike east of Raqqa destroyed an ISIL training camp and another airstrike east of Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL oil collection point. One other airstrike west of Aleppo struck militants associated with the Khorasan group.[273]

Between 15 and 17 November, the U.S. carried out a 45th round of airstrikes with 11 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, suppressed an ISIL fighting position, destroyed four ISIL staging areas, and struck one tactical ISIL unit. Two airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor struck an ISIL crude oil collection facility and destroyed one ISIL tank.[268]

In a 46th round of airstrikes between 18 and 19 November, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, southeast of Al-Hasakah, and near Hazm. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed an ISIL fighting position, an ISIL staging area and three ISIL controlled buildings, suppressed two ISIL fighting positions, struck two tactical ISIL units, and a large ISIL unit. One airstrike southeast of Al-Hasakah damaged a crude oil collection point operated by ISIL while another airstrike near Hazm struck and destroyed a storage facility associated with the Khorasan Group.[274]

Between 20 and 21 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 47th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed four ISIL staging areas, two ISIL-controlled buildings, two ISIL tactical units, and suppressed an ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL barracks building.[268]

In a 48th round of airstrikes between 22 and 24 November, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL fighting positions along with two ISIL staging areas, damaged an ISIL staging area, and suppressed four ISIL fighting positions. Two strikes near Raqqa struck an ISIL headquarters building.[275]

Between 25 and 26 November, the U.S. carried out a 49th round of airstrikes with 10 airstrikes in and around Kobanî striking an ISIL fighting position, a large ISIL unit, two tactical ISIL units, and destroying four ISIL staging areas and six ISIL fighting positions.[276]

In a 50th round of airstrikes between 27 and 28 November, the U.S. carried out two airstrikes near Kobanî and Aleppo. One airstrike near Kobanî struck an ISIL fighting position and an ISIL staging area while one airstrike near Aleppo struck a tactical ISIL unit.[268]

A coalition airstrike on ISIL positions in Kobanî.

Between 29 November and 1 December, the U.S. carried out a 51st round of airstrikes with 27 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Raqqa, and near Aleppo. 17 airstrikes near Kobanî destroyed two ISIL-occupied buildings, three ISIL tanks, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL armored personnel carrier, three ISIL vehicles and two ISIL staging areas. It also struck seven tactical ISIL units, targeted six ISIL fighting positions and damaged an ISIL-controlled building. Nine airstrikes near Raqqa struck an ISIL electronic warfare garrison, an ISIL military garrison, an ISIL headquarters building, an ISIL jamming system, an ISIL tank and 14 ISIL vehicles while one airstrike near Aleppo struck a target associated with the Khorasan Group.[277]

December 2014

An F-16 Fighting Falcon being refueled after an airstrike on ISIL targets in Syria

In a 52nd round of airstrikes between 1 and 3 December, the U.S. carried out 14 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying an ISIL vehicle, 17 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL staging area, and suppressed eight other fighting positions and stuck a large ISIL unit.[278]

Between 4 and 8 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 53rd round of airstrikes with 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed four ISIL fighting positions, three ISIL-occupied buildings, two ISIL staging areas, two ISIL tanks, an ISIL motorcycle, a mortar, and struck eight tactical ISIL units along with two ISIL fighting positions. One airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL electronic warfare garrison.[279]

In a 54th round of airstrikes between 9 and 10 December, the U.S. carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, destroying five ISIL fighting positions, striking three ISIL fighting positions, and striking a large ISIL unit.[280]

Between 11 and 12 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 55th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Aleppo, and near Al-Qa’im, Iraq. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL fighting positions and struck one ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Aleppo struck five ISIL-occupied buildings while another airstrike near Al-Qa’im on the Syrian border destroyed two ISIL fortifications.[281]

In a 56th round of airstrikes between 13 and 15 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out nine airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Abu Kamal. Eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL-controlled buildings, and two ISIL staging positions as well as striking one ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed an ISIL vehicle.[282]

Between 16 and 17 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 57th round of airstrikes with six airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Abu Kamal. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed an ISIL controlled building, one ISIL staging area, one ISIL bunker, and an ISIL mortar, and struck two ISIL tactical units, two additional buildings, and two ISIL fighting positions. One airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.[283]

In a 58th round of airstrikes on 18 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL building, and struck a tactical unit.[284]

A member of the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army prepares to launch a BGM-71 TOW at a Syrian Army position in southern Syria, December 2014

On 19 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 59th round of airstrikes with four strikes in and around Kobanî and near Raqqa. Three airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed two ISIL controlled buildings and an ISIL staging area as well as striking two ISIL tactical units. One airstrike near Raqqa damaged an ISIL training compound.[285]

In a 60th round of airstrikes on 20 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroying eight ISIL fighting positions.[268] On 21 December, the Coalition carried out a 61st round of airstrikes with three strikes in and around Kobanî destroying an ISIL staging position and two ISIL fighting positions as well as striking two ISIL fighting positions.[268]

In a 62nd round of airstrikes on 22 December, the Coalition carried out 12 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Aleppo, near Al-Hasakah, and near Raqqa. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed six ISIL fighting positions and struck four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL tactical unit. Three airstrikes near Aleppo destroyed artillery equipment and struck 10 ISIL buildings; two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, two ISIL trucks, a building, and two ISIL storage containers, and one airstrike near Raqqa destroyed an ISIL checkpoint complex.[286]

On 23 December, the Coalition carried out a 63rd round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building and struck several ISIL fighting positions and one airstrike near Barghooth struck ISIL oil collection equipment.[287]

In a 64th round of airstrikes on 24 December, the Coalition carried out ten airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. Eight airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building, an ISIL staging position, and struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL tactical vehicle and an ISIL fighting position. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor struck a crude oil collection point and another airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL weapons stockpile.[268]

On 25 December, the Coalition carried out a 65th round of airstrikes with 15 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Al-Hasakah, and near Raqqa. 13 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL buildings, one vehicle, 17 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL staging positions as well as striking two ISIL fighting positions, three large ISIL units and four ISIL tactical units. One airstrike near Al-Hasakah struck an ISIL drilling tower and destroyed two support vehicles and another airstrike near Raqqa struck an ISIL assembly area.[268]

In a 66th round of airstrikes on 26 December, the Coalition carried out four airstrikes in and around Kobanî, destroying three ISIL buildings and two ISIL vehicles.[268] On 29 December, the Coalition carried out a 67th round of airstrikes with 12 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. 10 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL buildings, and an ISIL storage container, and struck an ISIL tactical unit. One airstrike near Deir ez-Zor struck several ISIL-controlled buildings while another airstrike near Raqqa also struck several ISIL-controlled buildings.[288]

In a 68th round of airstrikes on 30 December, the Coalition carried out seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Deir ez-Zor. Six airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed three ISIL buildings, damaged one ISIL building, and struck an ISIL tactical unit while one airstrike near Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL shipping container.[289]

On 31 December, the U.S. and coalition partners carried out a 69th round of airstrikes with seven airstrikes in and around Kobanî and near Al-Hasakah. Five airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed five ISIL buildings and six ISIL fighting positions while two airstrikes near Al-Hasakah destroyed four oil derricks controlled by ISIL.[290]

2015

January 2015

King Salman of Saudi Arabia with President Obama in January 2015. Saudi Arabia was involved in the CIA-led Timber Sycamore covert operation to train and arm Syrian rebels.[291]

In a 70th round of airstrikes on 1 January, the Coalition carried out 17 airstrikes in and around Kobanî, near Deir ez-Zor, and near Raqqa. 13 airstrikes in and around Kobanî destroyed 12 ISIL controlled buildings, four ISIL fighting positions, one ISIL vehicle as well as striking two ISIL tactical units and two large ISIL units. Two airstrikes near Raqqa destroyed five ISIL checkpoints and struck an ISIL staging area, while two airstrikes near Deir ez-Zor destroyed an ISIL fighting position and struck an ISIL shipping container.[268]

February 2015 – Al-Hasakah offensive

On 5 February 2015, Jordan elevated its role in the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, launching one of the largest airstrike campaigns since early January 2015, targeting ISIL militants near Raqqa, the then-de facto ISIL capital, inflicting an unknown number of casualties and damaging ISIL facilities. This was done in retaliation against ISIL’s brutal murder of Muath al-Kasasbeh.[292][293]

On 6 February, a continued round of Coalition airstrikes at Raqqa killed over 30 ISIL militants.[294]

On 21 February, Syrian Kurds launched an offensive to retake ISIL-held territories in the Al-Hasakah Governorate, specifically in the Tell Hamis area, with support from U.S. airstrikes. At least 20 villages were liberated, and 12 militants were killed in the clashes.[295] In response, on 23 February, ISIL abducted 150 Assyrian Christians from villages near Tell Tamer in northeastern Syria, after launching a large offensive in the region.[296][297]

As a result of ISIL’s massive offensive in the west Al-Hasakah Governorate, the U.S.-led Coalition increased the number of airstrikes in the region to 10, on 24 February, in order to halt the ISIL advance. The airstrikes struck nine ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL vehicles.[268]

On 26 February, the number of Assyrian Christians abducted by ISIL from villages in northeastern Syria from 23–25 February rose to at least 220, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a monitoring group based in Britain.[298][299]

On 27 February, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Kurdish fighters had recaptured the town of Tell Hamis, along with most of the villages occupied by ISIL in the region. At least 127 ISIL militants were killed in the clashes, along with 30 YPG and allied fighters.[300] One Australian volunteer, who was fighting for the YPG, was also killed.[301] Many of the remaining ISIL militants retreated to Tell Brak, which quickly came under assault from the YPG and allied Arab fighters.

March–April 2015 – Battle of Sarrin and expanded Canadian and UK efforts

On 1 March 2015, YPG fighters, aided by U.S. airstrikes, were able to drive ISIL militants out of Tell Brak, reducing the ISIL occupation in the eastern Jazira Canton to the villages between Tell Brak and Tell Hamis.[302]

On 6 March, it was reported that Abu Humam al-Shami, al-Nusra‘s military chief, was killed in a U.S. airstrike targeting a meeting of top al-Nusra leaders, at the al-Nusra Front’s new headquarters at Salqin.[55]

On 9 March, the U.S. carried out another airstrike on the al-Nusra Front, targeting a military camp near Atimah, close to the Turkish border in the Idlib Governorate. The airstrike left nine militants dead.[303]

On 24 March, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada would be looking to expand Operation Impact to include airstrikes against ISIL in Syria as well.

On 26 March, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence announced the deployment of around 75 military trainers and headquarter staff to Turkey and other nearby countries in the anti-ISIL coalition, to assist with the U.S.-led training programme in Syria. The programme was set to provide small arms, infantry tactics and medical training to Syrian moderate opposition forces for over three years.[193]

On 30 March, the House of Commons of Canada authorized the extended deployment of its military for one year and to conduct operations related to the war in Syria.[304]

On 8 April, Canada initiated airstrikes in Syria, with two CF-18 fighters bombing a former military installation of the Syrian government that was captured by ISIL, near its headquarters in Raqqa.[304]

May 2015 – Al-Amr special forces raid

On 15 May, after surveillance by British special forces confirmed the presence of a senior ISIL leader named Abu Sayyaf in al-Amr,[305] 1st SFOD-Delta operators from the Joint Special Operations Command based in Iraq conducted an operation to capture him. The operation resulted in his death when he tried to engage U.S. forces in combat and the capture of his wife Umm Sayyaf. The operation also led to the freeing of a Yazidi woman who was held as a slave. About a dozen ISIL fighters were also killed in the raid, two U.S. officials said. The SOHR reported that an additional 19 ISIL fighters were killed in the U.S. airstrikes that accompanied the raid. One official said that ISIL Forces fired at the U.S. aircraft, and there was reportedly hand-to-hand combat during the raid. UH-60 Black Hawk and V-22 Osprey helicopters were used to conduct the raid, and Umm Sayyaf was held by U.S. forces in Iraq.[50][306][307]

CNN reported that a senior U.S. military official revealed that in May 2015, U.S. special operations forces came “tantalisingly close” to capturing or killing ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Raqqa, but failed to do so because classified information was leaked to the news media.[308]

Secretary of State John Kerry with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, before a bilateral meeting focused on Syria, 2015

Coalition air support was decisive in the YPG victory over ISIL in the May 2015 Western al-Hasakah offensive.

June–July 2015

U.S. air support, particularly from the 9th Bomb Squadron, was decisive in the YPG victory over ISIL in the Second Battle of Sarrin.[309] Coalition air support was also decisive in the YPG/FSA victory over ISIL in the Tell Abyad offensive.[310]

Following a 20 July suicide bombing in the Şanlıurfa Province of Turkey, believed to have been carried out by ISIL militants, as well as an ISIL cross-border attack that killed a Turkish serviceman on 23 July, Turkish armour and aircraft struck ISIL targets in cross-border engagements in northern Syria. Turkey also agreed to let the United States use the USAF Incirlik Air Base for strikes against ISIL.[311][312]

August–October 2015 – UK drone strike and Canada ceases airstrikes

On 21 August, three Islamic State fighters, two of United Kingdom nationality, were targeted and killed in Raqqa by a British Royal Air Force MQ-9 Reaper strike. Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to Parliament that one of the British nationals targeted had been plotting attacks in the UK. Another British national was killed in a separate air strike by U.S. forces in Raqqa on 24 August.[313]

Military situation in November 2015

In October 2015, 50 U.S. special forces operators were deployed to northern Syria to help train and coordinate anti-ISIL forces in the region.[314]

The introduction of Russian aircraft and ship based cruise missiles in support of the Syrian Government to Syrian airspace created new threats to the U.S.-led coalition. Discussions were held to deconflict Syrian airspace.

On 10 October, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported claims that two U.S. F-16 jets had “violated Syrian airspace” and bombed two electricity power plants in al-Rudwaniya, east Aleppo, “in breach of international law“.[315]

On 20 October, Canada’s Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau informed Barack Obama by phone of Canada’s intention to pull out of bombing raids in Syria. Canada would remain a coalition partner but will stop strikes.[316]

November–December 2015 – French retaliation and the UK officially begins airstrikes

U.S.-backed YPG fighters in November 2015

After deadly terror attacks in Paris conducted by jihadists, French President Francois Hollande sent its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, with its 26 fighters to intensify air strikes.[317]

On 27 November, SANA claimed that the coalition targeted water pumping stations in al-Khafsah area, east of Aleppo, causing them to go out of service.[318][319] According to Bellingcat‘s investigation, however, it was Russian MoD bombing[320]

On 2 December, the UK parliament voted 397-223 in favour of airstrikes in Syria.[321] Within hours, RAF Tornado jets carried out their first air strikes, targeting the al-Omar oil fields near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, which were under ISIL control.[322]

On 6 December, a Syrian Arab Army base at Deir ez-Zor was struck, killing at least one Syrian Arab Army soldier, with reports circulating that as many as four were killed, 13 wounded and two tanks destroyed. Syria accused the U.S. of conducting the strike, however U.S. officials denied this, claiming instead that the bombing was a mistake by Russians.[323] After the airstrikes, the SAA reported that ISIL forces began to attack the base.[324]

2016

March–April 2016 – Continued special forces operations

On 4 March, a U.S.-led Coalition airstrike targeted Omar al-Shishani, ISIL’s top field commander, who was travelling in a convoy near al-Shaddadi in northeastern Syria; the strike injured him, and supposedly died from his injuries,[325][326][327] however this was incorrect and he was actually killed later in an airstrike in Iraq in July 2016.[328] Also on 4 March, 100 ISIL militants assaulted Peshmerga lines in Syria; U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating IV helped the Peshmerga to repel the attack. As ISIL fighters sent a car bomb towards him, Keating led a team to counterattack with sniper and rocket fire. For his actions during the battle, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.[329]

On 24 March, U.S. special operations forces conducted an operation with the intent of capturing Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli in Syria. Al-Qaduli, then the 6th most wanted terrorist in the world and, according to analysts, the then-second-in-command of ISIL, acting as the group’s finance minister and was involved in external plots; he also temporarily commanded ISIL after a commander was injured. U.S. Special forces inserted by helicopter and layed in wait to intercept his vehicle; the operators attempted to capture him but the situation escalated and, at the last moment, they decided to fire on the vehicle instead, killing al-Qaduli and 3 other militants.[325][326][330][331]

On 25 April, it was reported that U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of an additional 250 special operations soldiers to Syria. In the following weeks, they are to join the 50 that are already in the country; their main aim is to advise, assist and expand the ongoing effort to bring more Syrian Arab fighters into units the U.S. supports in northern Syria to combat ISIL.[332][333]

May 2016

Secretary of State John Kerry with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir during a meeting on Syria in May 2016

In late May 2016, more than a dozen U.S. special forces troops were seen in the village of Fatisah, less than 64 km (40 mi) north of Raqqa. They were fighting near the front lines with the YPG and wearing both YPG and U.S. insignia on their military uniforms; the operators were helping call in fire support for local SDF forces and coordinating airstrikes from behind the front lines in their advance toward Raqqa. However, the Pentagon and White House insisted that the troops were not fighting ISIL on the front lines and were still participating in a non-combat mission known as “train, advise and assist.”[334][335][336] Also in late May, a U.S. special forces operator was wounded north of Raqqa by indirect ISIL rocket or mortar fire.[337][338]

The Telegraph reported that British special forces had been operating on the frontline in Syria, particularly in May when they frequently crossed the border from Jordan to defend a New Syrian Army (NSA) rebel unit composed of former Syrian special forces as it defended the village of al-Tanf against ISIL attacks. They mostly helped the unit with logistics such as building defenses and making bunkers safe. The NSA captured the village that month and faced regular ISIL attacks; an ISIL SVBIED drove into the base and killed 11 members of the NSA and injuring 17 others. The wounded were CASEVAC‘d by U.S. helicopters to Jordan; the suicide attack damaged the structure of the al-Tanf base; British troops crossed over from Jordan to help them to rebuild their defences.[339][340]

June 2016 – Kurdish offensive to take Manbij

On 1 June, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that a “thousands”-strong SDF force consisting of Sunni Arab fighter and a small contingent of Kurdish fighters (mainly from the YPG) with assistance by U.S. special forces operators and fighter jets launched an operation to recapture the strategically important ISIL-held city of Manbij in northern Syria, 32 km (20 mi) from the border with Turkey; ISIL used the town to move supplies and foreign fighters into Syria from Turkey. In the 24 hours since the start of offensive, 18 U.S. airstrikes destroyed ISIL headquarters buildings, weapons caches, training areas, six bridges and an unknown number of ISIL fighters were killed; 15 civilians were also reported killed.[337][341]

USAFCENT CAOC at Al Udeid Air BaseQatar provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq and Syria.

On 3 June, F/A-18 Hornets launched from USS Harry S. Truman conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria from the eastern Mediterranean. It was the first time the U.S. Navy had conducted strike missions in the Middle East from the Mediterranean Sea since flying operations against the Iraqi military in 2003.[342]

By 9 June, the U.S. Central Command said the Coalition had conducted more than 105 strikes in support of the SDF’s advance; French special forces were offering training and advice to SDF fighters in the area[343] and on 15 June, British special forces were also reported to be operating in the area. Much of the SDF advance was made possible by Coalition air support, with airstrikes being directed by special forces personnel on the ground.[344] On the same day, four U.S. special operations troops in northern Syria were “lightly” wounded by shrapnel when an Islamic State anti-tank missile fired at a nearby vehicle exploded, but they quickly returned to duty.[345][346][347]

On 16 June, supposedly as part of Russia‘s campaign to pressure the U.S. to agree to closer cooperation over Syria, Russian military aircraft bombed, with cluster bombs, a military outpost in al-Tanf in southeast Syria that was garrisoned by the New Syrian Army (NSA); U.S. and British special forces based in Jordan regularly worked with Syrian rebels at the al-Tanf outpost. The airstrike happened 24 hours after a detachment of 20 British special forces left the outpost. After the airstrike took place, U.S. commanders warned Russia that the garrison was part of the international coalition against ISIL and therefore shouldn’t be attacked, but 90 minutes later, nearby U.S. warplanes observed Russian jets dropping a second barrage of bombs on the outpost, killing four rebel soldiers. A U.S. spy plane overhead tried to contact the Russian pilots on emergency frequencies, but the Russians did not answer. U.S. officials demanded an explanation from Moscow, but they were told the Russian pilots struck the outpost because they “thought it was an ISIL base”, Russian officials then said that Jordan had approved the strikes in advance, but Jordan denied this. Moscow also claimed its air command headquarters in Syria was unable to call off the strikes because the U.S. had not given them the precise position of the outpost.[348][349]

On 29 June, as part of the 2016 Abu Kamal offensive — the offensive by the Pentagon-trained New Syrian Army and several hundred other rebels from different factions that aimed to capture Abu Kamal and sever ISIL’s transit link between Syria and Iraq — rebel forces entered the al-Hamdan air base — 5 km (3 mi) northwest of the border town Abu Kamal following intense clashes. This followed significant advances into ISIL-held territory near the Abu Kamal border crossing, the NSA said it had captured a number of ISIL positions on the outskirts of Abu Kamal, but a raid on the town at dawn was reported to have been repelled by militants. Fighting continued around the town, as coalition airstrikes were carried out on ISIL hideouts; the NSA also said it was coordinating the assault with Iraqi government forces, who were advancing on the border from the other side. The NSA issued a statement saying “the NSA maintains control of the desert, the approaches to Abu Kamal, and maintains freedom of manoeuvre”. later on that day, ISIL militants ambushed the rebels, inflicting heavy casualties and seizing weapons, according to a rebel source. ISIL retook the airbase from the NSA and continued to advance against the rebels, recapturing some of the outposts the NSA had captured south of the town; Coalition helicopters dropped in “foreign” airborne troops on the southern edge of Abu Kamal to help the rebels in their advance; coalition jets also carried out eight airstrikes on ISIL targets in the Abu Kamal area.[350][351][352][353] A contributing reasons for the failure of the U.S.-backed rebel operation was the withdrawing of air support at a critical moment; the aircraft assigned to the operation were ordered in the middle of the operation to leave the area and instead fly to the outskirts of Fallujah, where a large convoy of ISIL fighters, which U.S. commanders considered a “strategic target”, had been seen trying to escape across the desert after the city was recaptured by the Iraqi army. The convoy was eliminated by American and British planes along with gunships and aircraft from the Iraqi air force.[354]

August 2016 – Operation Euphrates Shield

On 7 August, as part of Operation Tidal Wave II, “multiple” coalition warplanes destroyed some 83 oil tankers used by the Islamic State near Abu Kamal.[355]

CNN reported that the Coalition carried out airstrikes in support of the Turkish intervention in Syria with Syrian opposition forces in August 2016, which seized the town of Jarabulus from ISIL and pushed south and west in an effort to clear the terror group from its border. U.S. special forces had initially intended to accompany the offensive but the U.S. was still working on approving the proposal when Turkish units pushed across the border.[356]

On 30 August, the New York Times reported that Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed while traveling in a vehicle by a U.S. drone strike in Al-BabCNN reported that al-Adnani was a key deputy to ISIL’s leader, he also acted as the principal architect in ISIL’s external operations and as the group’s spokesman; he also coordinated the movements of their fighters – directly encouraging them to carryout lone-wolf attacks on civilians and military targets. The strike marked the highest-profile killing of an ISIL member thus far.[357][358][359]

September–October 2016 – Coalition air raid on Deir ez-Zor

On 8 September, an airstrike allegedly carried out by the United States killed Abu Hajer al-Homsi (nom de guerre Abu Omar Saraqib), the top military commander of the renamed al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) in the countryside of the Aleppo Governorate. Abu Hajer al-Homsi was one of the founding members of the al-Nusra Front and had taken part in the Iraq War against the U.S. when he was part of the processor organization al-Qaeda in Iraq.[56] The Pentagon denied carrying out the strike and instead claimed Russia was responsible.[360]

On 16 September, CNN reported that up to 40 U.S. special forces operators were accompanying Turkish troops and vetted Syrian opposition forces as they cleared ISIL from northern Syria. The mission, called Operation Noble Lance, was authorised that week and was now underway. Officially, the U.S. personnel were to conduct the same type of “advising, assisting and training” missions that the U.S. had been providing to moderate opposition and local anti-ISIL forces.[356] The Washington Post reported that the contingent of Special Operations forces (SOF) assisting the Turkish and Syrian rebel forces around the cities of Jarabulus and al-Rai were sent at the request of the Turkish government.[361]

On 17 September, two U.S. A-10s, two Danish F-16s, and a UK Reaper drone[362][363] mistakenly bombed a Syrian Army-controlled base in the ISIL-besieged city of Deir ez-Zor. More than 62 Syrian soldiers were killed and at least 100 were wounded in the airstrike.[364][365] ISIL forces attacked immediately after the Coalition airstrike and took the strategically important elevation near Deir ez-Zor airbase: Tharda (Thurda) mountain. According to Russian and Syrian government sources, SAA forces, supported by Russian and Syrian airstrikes, counterattacked and recaptured Tharda mountain by the end of the day, suffering additional losses, including one Syrian jet fighter.[366][367] The USAF immediately issued an official explanation[368] – it was a navigation\intelligence mistake and bombing was stopped after Russian Air Force contact informed them about the SAA loses.[369] The Danish Air Force confirmed that their two F-16 fighters participated in the airstrike, insisting that operations stopped the split-second they received the message from the Russians and explaining it as a mistake and was regretting the losses.[370] Russian officials accused the U.S. in helping ISIL due to the air raid.[371] Russia also called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the airstrike and the U.S. temporarily ceased airstrikes in the area.[372] In response to the errant airstrike, the Syrian Armed Forces called it a “serious and blatant attack on Syria and its military”.[372]

On 3 October, Ahmad Salama Mabruk, a senior al-Nusra Front and previously Egyptian Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Jisr al-Shughur.[59]

November 2016

A rebel fighter from the FSA loads a U.S.-made M2 Browning heavy machine gun in northern Aleppo, November 2016

On 18 November, a U.S. airstrike killed an Afghan al-Nusra Front commander, Abu Afghan al-Masri, in the town of Sarmada.[373]

On 24 November, the Washington Post reported that Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 was killed by an IED near Ayn Issa – roughly 35 miles northwest of ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa. It was the first time a U.S. service member was killed in Syria since a contingent of SOF was deployed there in October 2015.[374]

CNN reported that on 26 November, a U.S. drone strike in Raqqa killed Boubaker Hakim, a senior ISIL terrorist suspected of enabling the Sousse terrorist attack as he had connections to the Tunisian ISIL cell that carried out the attack and the Bardo National Museum attack. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, “His removal degrades ISIL’s ability to conduct further attacks in the West and denies ISIL a veteran extremist with extensive ties.”[375]

Stars and Stripes reported that in November 2016, airmen from the 621st Contingency Response Wing with a contingent of civil engineers, intelligence personnel, and security forces were temporarily deployed to expand and modify the airstrip that the airmen had established earlier in 2016 at an airbase where they deployed to near Kobani, so it can be used to assist in the offensive to retake Raqqa. The airbase gave the U.S. an additional location for its aircraft to support the Coalition and other anti-ISIL forces, but it had been used by U.S. forces limitedly due to the condition of the runway which restricted what types of aircraft could land there. General Carlton Everhart II, commander of U.S. Air Mobility Command, said that the base enabled aircraft to deliver critical supplies, equipment and help position forces; he added that airmen from the 621st group have supported anti-ISIL coalition forces on the ground in Syria.[376]

December 2016

On 4 December, it was reported that a U.S. airstrike in Raqqa killed three key ISIL leaders, two of whom (Salah Gourmat and Sammy Djedou) were involved in plotting the November 2015 Paris attacks.[377][378]

On 8 December, during the 4th Palmyra offensive, U.S.-led Coalition warplanes bombed an ISIL convoy near Palmyra in central Syria and destroyed 168 trucks carrying petroleum.[379]

On 10 December, it was reported that the U.S. was sending 200 more special operations personnel to Syria, joining the 300 U.S. special forces already in the country. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said the troops would include special forces trainers, advisers and bomb disposal teams and that they will “continue organising, training, equipping, and otherwise enabling capable, motivated, local forces” to take the fight to ISIL. In particular, the troops will assist SDF forces in the ongoing Raqqa offensive; France also continues to have special operations units in the country.[380][381][382]

The New York Times reported that on 15 December, Coalition warplanes destroyed 14 Syrian Army T-72 battle tanks, three artillery systems and a number of buildings and vehicles that ISIL militants were using at a military base in central Syria that they seized the previous weekend from Syrian troops and their Russian advisers.[383]

On 31 December, a Coalition airstrike in Raqqa killed Mahmud al-Isawi, al-Isawi was an ISIL member who supported the organization’s media and intelligence structure in Fallujah before relocating to Raqqa. His role in the group was controlling the flow of instructions and finances between ISIL-held areas and ISIL leaders and provided support to propaganda and intelligence outlets; he was also known to have facilitated trans-regional travel with other ISIL external operations coordinators and had a close working and personal relationship with Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi, the emir of ISIL’s Middle East attack network, according to the U.S. defense department.[384]

2017

Joseph DunfordHulusi Akar and Valery Gerasimov discussing their nations’ operations in northern Syria, March 2017

January 2017

On 1 January 2017, a United States drone strike killed Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Turkistan Islamic Party military commander, and three other JFS members near the town of Sarmada in the northern Idlib Governorate.[385]

On 2 January, more than 25 JFS members were killed in an air raid by suspected U.S. warplanes.[386]

On 6 January, as part of the Raqqa offensive, SDF forces, supported by American special forces and international coalition aircraft, seized Qalaat Jaabar fortress after fierce fighting with ISIL jihadist fighters.[387]

On 8 January, coalition forces conducted a landing operation onto the road between the villages of Jazra and Kabr in the western Deir ez-Zor Governorate from four helicopters. The landing forces set up checkpoints on the road and raided a water plant in Kabr, where they killed and captured a number of ISIL fighters. After an hour and 15 minutes, the operation was complete and the forces withdrew.[388]

On 11 January, an air-to-surface missile launched from suspected U.S. aircraft hit a Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (JFS) convoy consisting of five vehicles and killed 14 JFS members.[389]

On 17 January, separate U.S. airstrikes in the Idlib Governorate killed Mohammad Habib Boussaboun al-Tunisi and Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, two Tunisian al-Qaeda external operations leaders.[390] Also that day, it was reported that U.S. warplanes and combat advisers were supporting Turkish military units battling ISIL fighters in northern Syria, particularly at the Battle of al-Bab.[391]

On 19 January, U.S. airstrikes by B-52 strategic bombers struck the former Syrian Army Sheikh Suleiman military base near Darat Izza, in western Aleppo, which was used by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement. The airstrike killed at least 110 JFS fighters and some al-Zenki fighters,[392] including Abu Hasan al-Taftanaz, an al-Qaeda senior leader. Since 1 January 2017, more than 150 al-Qaeda members were killed by U.S. airstrikes in 2017.[120] The Sheikh Suleiman base had been operated as a training camp by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and al-Zenki since 2013.[392]

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), between 22 September 2014 and 23 January 2017, U.S.-led Coalition airstrikes killed 7,043 people across Syria, of which: 5,768 dead were ISIL fighters, 304 al-Nusra Front militants and other rebels, 90 Syrian government soldiers and 881 civilians.[393]

February 2017

On 1 February, it was reported that the U.S.-led Coalition had conducted an airstrike on the Carlton Hotel in the city of Idlib,[394] which local and NGO sources said was a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) facility[394][395] and which pro-government media said was used by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)’s former al-Nusra component for troop housing, and hosting meetings of prominent commanders.[396] The Coalition denied responsibility, although an investigation of open source materials confirmed a strike had occurred and that a SARC facility was damaged.[397]

On 2 February, Sky News reported that Turkish aircraft killed 51 Islamic State fighters in the space of 24 hours in the areas of al-Bab, TadefQabasin, and Bizaah. The airstrikes targeted buildings and vehicles resulting in 85 ISIL positions destroyed. According to Turkish military command, since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield, at least 1,775 ISIL militants had been “neutralised,” with more than 1,500 of those killed.[398]

On 3 February, U.S. airstrikes hit Jund al-Aqsa and Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) positions in Sarmin, near Idlib, and killed more than 12 militants.[27] On the same day, the Royal Jordanian Air Force launched several airstrikes on ISIL outposts in southern Syria.[399]

On 4 February, a U.S. airstrike killed Abu Hani al-Masri, who was part of Ahrar al-Sham at the time of his death, but described by the Pentagon as a former al-Qaeda commander. It was reported that there was speculation that he was about to defect to Tahrir al-Sham before his death.[122][400]

On 26 February, in Al-Mastoumeh, Idlib, a U.S. drone strike killed Abu Khayr al-Masri, the deputy leader of al-Qaeda.[54][401][402] He had been released and allowed into Syria as part of a prisoner swap between Iran and al-Qaeda in 2015.[401][403][404][405] The U.S. airstrike also killed another Tahrir al-Sham militant, who was traveling in the same car.[406][407] It was later revealed in May 2019 that the missile used in the airstrike was a Hellfire R9X, which has a kinetic warhead with pop-out blades, intended to reduce collateral damage.[408]

March 2017 – Regular U.S. forces arrive and the Battle of Tabqa

United States special operations forces near Manbij, acting as advisors to the Syrian Democratic Forces, March 2017

On 8 March, various news outlets reported that regular U.S. troops, part of an amphibious task force, left their ships in the Middle East and deployed to Syria to establish an outpost from which they can provide artillery support for U.S.-backed local forces who were preparing to assault Raqqa in a battle to liberate the city from ISIL control. The deployment marked a new escalation in the U.S.’s role in Syria and put more conventional U.S. troops on the ground, a role that, thus far, had primarily been filled by Special Operations units. The ground force was part of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit; 400 U.S. Marines from the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were tasked to crew an artillery battery of M777 howitzers whilst additional infantrymen from the unit will provide security. Resupplies were to be handled by a detachment of the expeditionary force’s combat logistics element. A defense official with direct knowledge of the operation said the Marines were flown from Djibouti to Kuwait and then into Syria. By then, there were 900 U.S. soldiers and Marines deployed to Syria in total (500 special forces troops were already on the ground to train and support the SDF); under the existing limits put in place by the Obama administration, the formal troop cap for Syria is 503 personnel, but commanders have the authority to temporarily exceed that limit to meet military requirements. There were approximately 100 U.S. Army Rangers in Stryker vehicles and armored Humvees deployed in and around Manbij in northern Syria, U.S. officials said. Officially, they are there to discourage Syrian, Russian, or Turkish troops from making any moves that could shift the focus away from an assault on ISIL militants, specifically preventing them from inadvertently coming under fire. The U.S. believed the pressure on ISIL in Raqqa was working – a U.S. official said that intelligence indicates some ISIL leadership and operatives were continuing to try to leave the city. He added that there was also U.S. intelligence that indicated the city was laced with trenches, tunnels, roadside bombs and buildings wired to explode, which, if correct, indicated that the U.S. has likely been able to gather intelligence from both overhead surveillance aircraft and people on the ground. However, the official also noted that “Raqqa will probably not be the final battle against ISIS” and added that the group still has some personnel dispersed in areas south and east of the city. According to the official, the U.S. estimated that ISIL could have had roughly as many as 4,000 fighters in Raqqa. An official told The Guardian that in addition, the U.S. is preparing to send hundreds of troops to Kuwait on stand-by to be ready to fight ISIL in Syria if needed and the number would be fewer than 1,000. The Independent reported that Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, said the artillery unit and the Army Rangers would not have a front line role.[409][410][411][412][413][414]

U.S. Marines manning artillery in northern Syria, March 2017

On 16 March, a U.S. airstrike hit a mosque in western Aleppo and killed more than 42 people, mostly civilians. The location was assessed by the U.S. military as a meeting place for al-Qaeda and claimed that the airstrike hit a target across the mosque and was not targeted at the mosque itself.[415]

Stars and Stripes reported that on 28 March, an airman assigned to the 21st Space Wing died in a non-combat incident (possibly of natural causes) in northern Syria.[416]

On 22 March, hundreds of SDF fighters, with an undisclosed number of U.S. Special Operations troops operating as their advisers, launched a large-scale heliborne assault on ISIL around the area of the Tabqa Dam.[417][418][419] They were inserted on the southern bank of the Euphrates river behind ISIL’s defenses to take them by surprise; Colonel Joe Scrocca, an OIR spokesman, said that as a result of the air insertion behind ISIL lines, the SOF-SDF force did not come under fire. The following day, there was heavy fighting in the area; Col. Scrocca added that the ground forces were supported by helicopter gunships, U.S. Marine 155mm artillery and U.S. airstrikes.[417]

Airwars reported that March 2017 saw the greatest number of munitions dropped during the war thus far – 3,878 munitions on ISIL targets in both Syria and Iraq, based on figures published by United States Air Forces Central Command – as well as the highest number of civilian deaths (between 477 and 1,216 non-combatants, 57% of which were in Syria) to date, likely caused by Coalition strikes, exceeding casualties caused by Russian strikes for the third consecutive month.[420][421] Significant incidents that were attributed to Coalition strikes occurred in Tabqa and Kasrat al-Faraj during the Battle of Tabqa. The deadliest incident occurred in al-Mansoura, where local witnesses said at least 33 civilians were killed in a former school used to house displaced persons, although this was denied by the Coalition.[420]

April 2017 – Shayrat missile strike

File:US armoured vehicles pass through Qamishli.ogv

U.S. Army Stryker vehicles drive through Qamishli onwards to the Syria-Turkey border after border clashes between the YPG and Turkey

U.S. military transport helicopters fly over northeastern Syria

On 6 April, U.S. special forces conducted a landing operation against ISIL west of Deir ez-Zor. Two Coalition helicopters airdropped soldiers in the area who then interdicted a car[422] on route from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor. During the operation, U.S. forces killed four ISIL commanders and extracted a Jordanian spy who had infiltrated ISIL and served as one of its leaders.[423] CNN reported that the operation took place near Mayadin and that one of the ISIL commanders killed by U.S. forces was Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, a top facilitator and close associate of ISIL’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; he was also connected to the 2017 New Year’s nightclub bombing in Turkey.[424]

On 7 April, in response to chemical weapon attacks (most notably the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack) against Syrian civilians allegedly by the Syrian government, the U.S. launched missile strikes on the airfield from which the chemical weapon attacks were allegedly launched.[425] This incident marked the first deliberate direct attack by the U.S. on the Assad government.[426] The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the attack as being based on false intelligence and against international law, suspended the Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents that had been signed with the U.S., and called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.[427]

On 8 April, ISIL militants attacked a U.S. garrison at al-Tanf in Southern Syria: the garrison’s main gate was blown up with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), followed by a ground assault of about 20-30 ISIL militants, some of whom were wearing suicide vests. The U.S. Central Command said that the ″U.S. special operators″ at the base along with other coalition members and ″U.S.-backed Syrian fighters″, supported by multiple airstrikes, repelled the attack, with no American casualties.[428][429][430] The Telegraph reported that during the battle, ISIL militants also ambushed a convoy of reinforcements from an allied rebel group who were trying to relieve the base.[431]

Protest against U.S. military actions in Syria, Minneapolis, April 2017

CNN reported that on 11 April, a misdirected U.S. airstrike near Tabqa, during the ongoing Raqqa offensive, killed 18 SDF soldiers.[432]

May 2017

The BBC reported that on 9 May, a Royal Air Force drone strike stopped an ISIL-staged public killing. The hellfire missile killed an ISIL sniper positioned on a rooftop set to shoot civilians attempting to walk away. No civilians were harmed and other ISIL fighters fled on motorbikes.[433]

The Independent reported on 12 May that SDF forces had seized control of the Tabqa Dam after a deal struck by the SDF and around 70 ISIL militants; the deal included the dismantling of IEDs and booby traps, the surrender of heavy weaponry and withdrawal of remaining ISIL fighters from Tabqa city.[434]

On 18 May, the U.S. conducted airstrikes on a convoy of a pro-government militia during the 2017 Baghdad–Damascus highway offensive.[435] According to a U.S. defense official, before the strikes were conducted, government troops were warned they were getting too close to Coalition forces garrisoned at al-Tanf but did not respond.[436] According to the U.S., four or five vehicles were destroyed, including a tank[437] and two bulldozers.[438] In contrast, the Syrian Army reported that two tanks were destroyed and a Shilka SPAAG was damaged.[439] Eight soldiers were killed.[437][440]

June 2017 – Battle of Raqqa begins

United States Marine Corps howitzers provide fire support to the SDF during the Battle of Raqqa

On 6 June, SDF ground troops backed by Coalition airstrikes launched the battle for RaqqaUSCENTCOM reported that 4,400 munitions were fired in support of operations in Raqqa, a dramatic increase from previous months.[441]

Also on 6 June, U.S. aircraft conducted airstrikes on over 60 troops, a tank, artillery, antiaircraft weapons, and armed technical vehicles from pro-government forces that had entered what the Coalition called the al-Tanf “deconfliction zone”.[442][443] On 8 June, a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft shot down a drone and other aircraft destroyed two armed pick-up trucks belonging to pro-government forces that moved near U.S. backed fighters at al-Tanf.[444][445]

On 18 June, a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Su-22 after it allegedly bombed an SDF position in Ja’Din, south of Tabqa. A statement by the Syrian Army claimed that the plane was on a mission to bomb ISIL militants. The same day, pro-government forces captured the village of Ja’Din following an SDF withdrawal.[446][447][448][449] On 20 June, a U.S. F-15E shot down a pro-government Shahed 129 drone near al-Tanf after it “displayed hostile intent” and allegedly advanced towards Coalition forces.[450]

Across Iraq and Syria, Airwars tracked 223 reported Coalition airstrikes with civilian casualties during June 2017, likely killing a minimum of between 529 and 744 civilians (including at least 415 in Syria, mainly in Raqqa governorate, making it the second mostly deadly month for civilians since the strikes began in 2014.[441] Significant reported incidents included 3 June in Raqqa (20 civilians), 5 June (hitting civilians fleeing conflict), and 8 June in Raqqa (including reported white phosphorus use and a mosque hit).[441]

August 2017

On 21 August, U.S. forces in northern Syria were fired on by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army units near Manbij, and returned fire in a short firefight.[451]

On 29 August, following the Qalamoun offensive, ISIL militants were surrounded by LebaneseHezbollah and Syrian forces on both sides of the Lebanon–Syria border. They negotiated a safe-passage deal so that 670 ISIL fighters and their relatives would be taken from the border in vehicles to Abu Kamal. The U.S. military disapproved of the deal; Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition said the deal undermined efforts to fight the ISIL in Syria. U.S. aircraft carried out airstrikes, blocking the road the ISIL convoy was travelling on, before it reached ISIL-occupied territory in Deir ez-Zor Governorate. Dillon added that other U.S. airstrikes hit militants apparently attempting to join the stranded militants in the convoy.[451] The Independent later reported that the convoy was trapped in between the towns of Humayma and al-Sukhnah.[452]

September 2017

U.S. Green Berets during counter-ISIL operations in southern Syria, November 2017

On 3 September, the Independent reported that 400 ISIL militants and their families traveling in the convoy that was trapped by U.S. airstrikes in Syria in late August had abandoned their vehicles and began travelling on foot to the Iraqi border.[452]

December 2017

CNN reported that on 12 December, Maghawir Al-Thawra fighters accompanied by U.S. advisers intercepted a convoy of about ten vehicles that was passing through the 55 km “de-confliction” zone surrounding the coalition base at al-Tanf; a firefight ensued, resulting in 21 ISIL fighters killed and a further 17 captured.[453]

CNN reported that on 13 December, two U.S. F-22A fighters intercepted two Russian Su-25 jets that crossed the “de-confliction line” multiple times. An Air Forces Central Command spokesman said that “The F-22s conducted multiple maneuvers to persuade the Su-25s to depart our de-conflicted airspace, including the release of chaff and flares in close proximity to the Russian aircraft and placing multiple calls on the emergency channel to convey to the Russian pilots that they needed to depart the area.” One U.S. defense official said that a Russian Su-35 fighter was also involved in the incident.[454]

On 22 December, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said that Australia will end their air strikes against the Islamic State and recall its six Super Hornet aircraft. Payne added that other Australian operations in the region would continue, with 80 personnel who are part of the Special Operations Task Group in Iraq, including Australian special forces, continuing their deployment.[455]

2018

January 2018

Military Times reported on 12 January that Coalition aircraft carried out more than 90 airstrikes between January 4 and January 11 near the Iraq-Syria border.[456]

Military Times also reported that on 20 January, U.S. airstrikes targeting an ISIL headquarters and command and control center in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV) near Al-Shaafah killed nearly 150 ISIL militants. According to a press release, SDF fighters provided target observation and intelligence on the target.[457]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the United States’ support for Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria.[458]

February–March 2018 – The Khasham engagement

Kurdish YPG and YPJ fighters in February 2018

According to U.S. military officials, on 7 February, in deliberate air and artillery strikes, the U.S.-led coalition killed more than 100 pro-government fighters in the Euphrates River valley in Deir ez-Zor province after they launched an “unprovoked attack” against the Syrian Democratic Forces.[459] Syrian state news corroborated the events, but insisted that the Kurdish forces were mixed in with ISIL forces; it also stated that ten Russian mercenaries were among those killed.[460]

CNN reported that on 30 March, Master Sergeant Jonathan J. Dunbar of Delta Force and Sergeant Matt Tonroe of the British Special Air Service were killed by an IED blast during a mission in Manbij, the objective of which was — according to Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway — to “kill or capture a known ISIS member.”[461]

April–June 2018

On 14 April, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S., France, and the United Kingdom had decided to carry out a series of military strikes against the Syrian government.[462][463] The strikes came in the wake of the Douma chemical attack.[464][465]

On 1 May, the SDF, in coordination with the Iraqi Armed Forces, announced the resumption of their Deir ez-Zor offensive to capture the final ISIL enclaves near the Iraqi border and along the Euphrates.[466] By 3 May, the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group had joined in support of the SDF’s anti-ISIL operations.[467]

U.S. and Turkish forces conduct joint patrols on the outskirts of Manbij, Syria, 8 November 2018

One 21 June, the U.S.-led coalition conducted airstrikes against Syrian army positions in east of Homs, killing at least 1 Syrian soldier.[468] On 22 June, the Coalition claimed that they responded to an attack by an “unidentified hostile force” near al-Tanf.[469]

November 2018

On 1 November, the Coalition began a series of joint patrols with the Turkish Armed Forces along the frontlines of the Kurdish-controlled Manbij region and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army‘s territory. The move was seen as a part of a “roadmap” to ease tensions between the two NATO allies and reduce violence between Kurdish and Turkish-backed elements.[470]

On 21 November, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced the U.S. would set up new observation posts along the Turkish border in northern Syria in order to reduce skirmishes between Turkish forces and armed Kurdish militants in the region such as the border clashes in late October-early November. Mattis affirmed that it was a co-operational endeavor with Turkey and it will not require additional U.S. troops to be deployed to Syria.[471][472]

December 2018 – Announcement of U.S. withdrawal

Military situation in December 2018:

 Controlled by the Syrian government
 Controlled by Syrian Kurds
 Controlled by the Islamic State (ISIL)
File:DVIDS - Video - Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve Strike Video.webm

CJTF-OIR airstike on an ISIL fuel truck in al-Susah, 29 November 2018

President Donald Trump, declaring “we have won against ISIS,” unilaterally announced on 19 December 2018 that the remaining 2,000-2,500 U.S. troops in Syria would be withdrawn. Trump made the announcement on Twitter, overruling the recommendations of his military commanders and civilian advisors, with apparently no prior consultation with Congress. Although no timetable was provided, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders indicated that the withdrawal had already been ordered. Various sources indicated that Trump had directed that the withdrawal be completed within 30 days.[473][143][144][474] However, Reuters was told by a U.S. official that the withdrawal was expected to take 60 to 100 days.[145][475] Following Trump’s surprise announcement, the Pentagon and State Department tried to change his mind, with several of his congressional and political allies expressing serious concerns about the sudden move, specifically that it would hand control of the region to Russia and Iran and abandon America’s Kurdish allies.[476][477]

CNN reported on 24 December that during the weeks before Trump’s withdrawal announcement, national security advisor John Bolton told senior officials to meet directly with anti-ISIL coalition partners to assure them that America would remain in Syria until Iran had left. One senior administration official commented that Trump’s decision was “a complete reversal,” done “without deliberation,” reportedly leaving allies and partners “bewildered.” According to one CNN analysis, the announcement reportedly came as the Coalition had reason to believe ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his top commanders were possibly cornered in a small pocket of northern Syria, “in a Tora Bora situation” akin to the region where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden escaped from American forces in 2001.[478][479]

On 27 December, administration officials stated that USCENTCOM‘s troop withdrawal plan entailed the withdrawal taking place over several months instead of weeks, falling in line with Trump’s post-announcement comments that the pullout of U.S. troops would be “deliberate and orderly.” By the end of the month, it remained unclear whether anti-ISIL air operations would continue post-withdrawal.[480] By 31 December, after U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and a group of generals held a luncheon with the president over the withdrawal, Graham tweeted that Trump would seek a more gradual withdrawal over a course of several months; a slow down of the withdrawal was not officially confirmed by the administration at the time.[481]

In December 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that US troops involved in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in northeast Syria would be withdrawn imminently. Trump’s surprise decision overturned Washington’s policy in the Middle East. It fueled the ambitions and anxieties of local and regional actors vying over the future shape of Syria. Many experts proposed that President Trump could mitigate the damage of his withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Syria by using Special Activities Center.[482] Many believe the president chose “to replace U.S. ground forces in Syria with personnel from the CIA’s Special Activities Center” and that the process has been underway for months. Already experienced in operations in Syria, the CIA has numerous paramilitary officers who have the skills to operate independently in harms way. And while the CIA lacks the numbers to replace all 2,000 U.S. military personnel currently in Syria and work along side the Syrian Democratic Forces (these CIA personnel are spread cross the world), but their model is based on fewer enablers and support.[483]

2019

January 2019

File:DVIDS - Video - Coalition Forces Conduct Airstrike on Daesh Facility Syria.webm

CJTF-OIR airstrike on an ISIL building in al-Shaafah, 4 January 2019

On 6 January 2019, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, while on a trip to Israel and Turkey, said that the pullout of U.S. troops from Syria depended on certain conditions, including the assurance that the remnants of ISIL forces are defeated and Kurds in northern Syria were safe from Turkish forces.[484] However, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the call to protect Kurdish troops, whom he regarded as terrorist groups.[485] On 10 January, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria while continuing the battle against ISIL. He also stated that there would be no U.S. reconstruction aid for areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until Iran and its “proxies” had left.[486][487] On 11 January, Coalition spokesman Col. Sean Ryan confirmed the U.S. troop withdrawal process from Syria had begun. “Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements,” he said. The SOHR observed that the Coalition had started scaling down its presence at Rmeilan airfield in al-Hasakah.[488] U.S. defense officials said it had begun the removal of equipment, but not yet troops, and that the total amount of U.S. soldiers in Syria may temporarily increase in order to provide security for the final pullout. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed what he believed was a slower, more effective withdrawal by the U.S. after pressure from its allies.[489]

On 15 January the Coalition released fresh numbers regarding their ongoing operations in both Syria and Iraq. Between 30 December 2018 and 6 January 2019, the Coalition conducted 575 air and artillery strikes against ISIL in Syria; the strikes destroyed 105 ISIL mortar and rocket artillery units, 50 IED manufacturing sites, 26 vehicles, 19 weapons caches, and two UAV systems. Between January 7–13, airstrikes in the MERV near the Iraqi border also killed around 200 militants including four senior commanders.[490]

On 29 January, with ISIL cornered in its final redoubt due to the Kurdish-led conquest against it in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan proclaimed at his first news conference as SecDef that the Coalition will liberate all of the Islamic State’s remaining self-proclaimed caliphate in “two weeks”. “I’d say 99.5 percent plus of…the ISIS-controlled territory has been returned to the Syrians. Within a couple of weeks it will be 100 percent,” Shanahan said. He added that the U.S. is still in the early stages of what he called a “deliberate, coordinated, disciplined withdrawal,” from Syria and that “very important dialogues going on in major capitals” about support to Syria once the U.S. leaves were ongoing.[491]

February 2019 – Kurds corner ISIL in Baghuz

President Donald Trump reiterated his support for withdrawing American ground troops from both Syria and Afghanistan in a series of tweets on 1 February amid proliferating concerns among America’s allies, politicians, analysts, and local activists over a feared power vacuum in Syria post-withdrawal. “I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the ‘Endless Wars’ of unlimited spending and death. During my campaign I said, very strongly, that these wars must finally end. We spend $50 Billion a year in Afghanistan and have hit them so hard that we are now talking peace after 18 long years,” Trump tweeted. The day prior, the U.S. Senate had issued a rebuke of the president cautioning against the “precipitous withdrawal” of military forces; furthermore the United States Intelligence Community contradicted the president on its perception of the global threat ISIL continued to pose during a Senate committee hearing.[492] A draft Pentagon report emerged on 1 February warning that ISIL could regain territory in Syria within a year following a U.S. disengagement from Syria.[493] On 5 February, CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel noted during a Senate Armed Services Committee testimony that he had not been consulted prior to Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces, reinforcing the notion that the U.S. withdrawal was ordered completely unilaterally from the White House without prior consultation with relevant military advisors and Defense Department personnel.[494]

On 6 February, President Trump, while at a summit of 79 foreign ministers and officials that assisted in the global coalition against ISIL, predicted a formal announcement of a final victory against ISIL as early as the following week. “Remnants – that’s all they have, remnants – but remnants can be very dangerous,” Trump said in regards to ISIL. “Rest assured, we’ll do what it takes to defeat every ounce and every last person within the ISIS madness”.[495] The Wall Street Journal, citing State Department officials, reported on 8 February that the U.S. pullout was expected to be complete by April, with the majority of ground troops expected to be already withdrawn by mid-March. A U.S. official confirmed to Reuters that the withdrawal included pulling troops from al-Tanf.[496]

An Operation Inherent Resolve summary on Coalition activity between 27 January and 9 February detailed air and artillery strikes conducted in Iraq and Syria. The Coalition conducted 176 strikes in Syria. Targets included: 146 ISIL tactical units, 131 supply routes, 53 fighting positions, 31 staging areas, 14 VBIEDs, 13 pieces of engineering equipment, 11 explosive belts, nine tankers for petroleum oil and lubricants, eight tactical vehicles, five command and control nodes, four buildings, three aircraft operations areas, three tunnels, two petroleum oil and lubricant storage facilities, two manufacturing facilities for IEDs, two artillery pieces, two weapons caches, and one armored vehicle.[497]

After the SDF’s assault on Baghuz Fawqani began on 9 February, CENTCOM commander Joseph Votel told CNN on 11 February that ISIL losing physical territory does not mean the end of the organization. “Putting military pressure on [ISIL] is always better, it’s always easier when you are there on the ground, but in this case our President has made a decision and we are going to execute that and so it’s my responsibility as the CENTCOM commander working with my chain of command to look at how we do that,” adding that the completion of the U.S. pullout was “weeks away…but then again it will be driven by the situation on the ground”.[498]

Trump tweeted late on 16 February urging European countries to repatriate the over 800 captured suspected ISIL members from Syria, warning the U.S. may be forced to release them otherwise. Kurdish prisons could not hold the ISIL members and all their families, totaling around 2,000 people, indefinitely. The Kurds called the situation a “time bomb”.[499][500] The U.S.-Kurdish demand to take responsibility got mixed responses from Europe. German foreign minister Heiko Maas said repatriation would be possible only if returning fighters could be immediately taken into custody, which would be “extremely difficult to achieve” without proper judicial information. France, whose citizens made up the majority of European ISIL recruits, said it would not act immediately on Trump’s call but would take militants back “case by case,” and not categorically. Britain has said its fighters can return only if they seek consular help in Turkey, while acknowledging repatriation was a dilemma. Belgium’s justice minister Koen Geens called for a “European solution,” urging “calm reflection and a look at what would pose the least security risks.” The Hungarian foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said the issue was “one of the greatest challenges ahead of us for the upcoming months.”[501]

After announcing the U.S. would keep a “peacekeeping” force of around 200-400 troops in Syria — instead of the initially planned total withdrawal — on 22 February, senior Trump administration and defense officials stated the decision was an endorsement of a plan pressed by U.S. military leaders for some time, calling for an international force, preferably NATO or regional Arab allies, of 800 to 1,500 troops that would monitor a safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey.[502]

March–April 2019

On 10 March, John Bolton stated that he was “optimistic” France and the UK would commit personnel to the planned observer force. He also reiterated the U.S. commitment to keep troops in Iraq.[503] On 20 March, in response to new developments in the Battle of Baghuz Fawqani, President Trump predicted that the remaining ISIL holdout would be cleared “by tonight” during a speech at the Lima Army Tank Plant in Lima, Ohio. “The caliphate is gone as of tonight,” he said, as he used maps depicting ISIL’s territorial collapse since November 2016; later, the November 2016 map was shown to actually be a map from 2014 when ISIL was at its peak territorial size, before the Coalition’s anti-ISIL operations.[504][505]

On 23 March, the U.S.-backed SDF announced victory in the battle of Baghuz, signifying the territorial collapse of ISIL in Syria, a critical milestone for the U.S.-led Syrian intervention.[37] U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Mulroy stated that the physical caliphate was defeated but ISIL was not and that there were over 10,000 completely unrepentant fighters left in Syria and Iraq.[506] He expected the U.S. to be in Syria for the long haul with a very capable partner in the Syrian Democratic Forces.[507][508][509] He said that the U.S. partnership with the SDF was a model to follow, like the partnership with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and with the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq as the northern front against Saddam Hussein.[510]

U.S.-Turkish negotiations over joint troop patrols in a designated safe zone along the northern Turkish-Syrian border continued into late April as the UK and France rejected a plan to provide troops to a buffer zone between Rojava and Turkey, claiming their missions in Syria are only to fight ISIL. With their troop numbers set to be cut to 1,000 in upcoming months, the U.S. reportedly prefers a narrower strip of land to patrol than the approximately 20 miles that Turkey has proposed. The Turks would send their own troops into the buffer zone while only demanding U.S. logistical help and air cover. The Turkish proposal reportedly saw push back as the Americans prefer to avoid a situation that effectively pushes the Turkish border 20 miles into Syria, further increasing the chances of clashes with the Kurds instead of reducing it.[511]

May 2019

The Syria Study Group, a U.S. Congressionally-appointed panel of experts tasked with assessing the situation in Syria, similar to the Iraq Study Group appointed in 2006, released an interim report on 1 May endorsing the view that instead of a draw down, the U.S. should reassert its presence in Syria, citing the prospect of a potential ISIL resurgence, Russian “prestige” after successfully propping up the Assad government, perceived Iranian entrenchment in the country, and al-Qaeda retaining control in the form of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham‘s dominance in northwestern Syria, a region U.S. warplanes rarely venture to due to the nearby presence of Russian air defenses deployed on behalf of the Syrian government. The report argued that the U.S. should step up attempts to isolate Assad and counter Iranian influence in the region; it also argued that the U.S. should take in more Syrian refugees, the admittance of which the Trump administration has reduced from thousands to just a few dozen in recent years. The report further underlined the differing views between the president and comparatively more hawkish Congress on what direction to take the U.S.’s commitments in the country.[512]

June–July 2019

A U.S. AH-64 Apache on an escort mission in northeastern Syria, 22 June 2019

On 30 June 2019, in a rare operation against non-ISIL elements, the U.S. carried out a strike against an al-Qaeda in Syria (AQ-S) leadership meeting at a training facility west of Aleppo,[25] which killed eight jihadists from the Guardians of Religion Organization, including six commanders: two Tunisians, two Algerians, an Egyptian and a Syrian.[24] It was the first known coalition strike in western Syria since February 2017 due to the U.S. and Russia arranging an unofficial deconfliction boundary that largely bars any substantial U.S. forces from venturing into the region. The U.S. did not specify what assets were used in the strike.[513]

In July, U.S. special anti-ISIL envoy James Jeffrey continued to urge Britain, France and Germany to assist the U.S.’s ground mission in Syria. “We want ground troops from Germany to partly replace our soldiers” in the area as part of the anti-Islamic State coalition, Jeffrey told German media.[148]

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Deputy Secretary of Defense for the Middle East Michael Mulroy stated that the SDF has over 2,000 foreign terrorist fighters in custody from over 50 countries—in which they spend quite a bit of time, effort and resources taking care of—and that the U.S. has pushed these countries to take back their citizens. The number of Americans who joined ISIL on the battlefield is small compared to countries like France and the UK, where several hundred foreign fighters traveled from.[514]

August 2019

On 7 August 2019, the U.S. and Turkey reached a framework deal to jointly implement a demilitarized buffer zone in the areas between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers—excluding the Manbij area—in northern Syria. Terms of the deal include joint U.S.-Turkish ground patrols, the relocation of some Syrian refugees into the area, and the withdrawal of heavily armed YPG and YPJ forces and fortifications from the Syria–Turkey border, leaving the areas under SDF military council rule instead.[515] On 24 August, the SDF began dismantling border fortifications under the supervision of U.S. forces. On 27 August, YPG units began withdrawing from Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.[516]

On 31 August, in a second attack against non-ISIL militants in western Syria since June 30, the U.S. carried out a series of airstrikes on a Rouse the Believers Operations Room meeting between Kafriya and Maarrat Misrin, killing over 40 Guardians of Religion militants, including several leaders.[23][517]

October 2019

On 7 October 2019, a senior U.S. official said US troops will pull back from Syria and potentially depart the country entirely.[518] American troops left observation posts in the border villages of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, and White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham indicated Turkey will “soon be moving forward” with military operations in Northern Syria. She further stated that “the United States armed forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area.”[519]

Airstrikes on the Khorasan Group

One of the groups targeted by U.S. airstrikes was the Khorasan Group, an extremist group of suspected al-Qaeda “core” members who were alleged to have been plotting an attack against the U.S. and other Western nations.[215] The strikes targeted Khorasan training camps, explosives and munitions production facilities, communications facilities, as well as command and control facilities. The group has been claimed to possess advanced bomb making skills and their plot is claimed to involve a bomb made of a nonmetallic device such as a toothpaste container or clothes dipped in explosive material.[520] The group is reportedly led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a leader of al-Qaeda and a close confidant of Osama bin Laden.[520] Intelligence officials expressed concern that the group may include militants who were taught by Ibrahim al-Asiri, the chief bomb maker for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who is known for his sophisticated bomb making techniques that nearly downed two Western airliners.[520]

Later statements by government officials indicated that the threat of a plot may have been less severe than initially reported.[521][522] One official indicated that “there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works”,[521] while another told The Guardian that “there was no indication of an imminent domestic threat from the group” at the time the United States began bombing.[522]

On 6 November, a second round of airstrikes was launched against Khorasan and al-Nusra in northwestern Syria, along with Ahrar ash-Sham at its headquarters in Idlib, whose leadership had been infiltrated by al-Qaeda.[31] On 13 November 2014, the US launched a third set of airstrikes against Khorasan.[523] On 19 November, the US carried out another airstrike on Khorasan near Hazm, which struck and destroyed a storage facility associated with the group.[274] On 1 December, the US carried out another airstrike on Khorasan near Aleppo.[277]

On 24 March 2015, it was revealed that the US airstrikes on Khorasan had killed 17 militants from the group.[524]

On 8 July 2015, a US airstrike near the town of Sarmada in Idlib, Syria, killed Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of Khorasan.[62]

Ground operations

During the beginning of the coalition interventions, leaders, including U.S. President Obama, said coalition ground forces would not be used in the fight against ISIL either in Iraq or Syria unless they were local coalition forces.[525] While in Iraq thousands of coalition troops from the United States and other nations had been deployed in an advisory capacity, in Syria no ground troops from the coalition intervening in Syria were deployed in the beginning of the intervention.[526][527]

2015-16

Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers in Manbij, 2016

In November 2015, the Obama administration began the deployment of U.S. special forces to Syria, on the mission of assisting rebel forces in their fight against ISIL, President Obama then ordered several dozen Special Operations troops into Rojava in northern Syria to assist local fighters battling the Islamic State, authorizing the first open-ended mission by American ground forces into the country.[528]

ISIL’s deputy leader in Syria, Abu Ali al-Anbari, was killed by JSOC special forces operatives in March 2016, in eastern Syria near the Syrian–Iraqi border, while he and three other ISIL members were traveling in a vehicle coming from Raqqa. The US Special Forces ordered him to exit the vehicle, intending to arrest him. When he refused and pulled out an assault rifle instead, US forces fired at the vehicle, killing him and the other passengers on board. US commandos also seized electronics and other documents during the operation for intelligence purposes.[529]

In March 2016, King Abdullah of Jordan said that British forces had helped in the building up of a mechanized battalion in southern Syria, consisting of tribal fighters to combat the Syrian Army.[530]

On 17 March 2016, the day after the declaration of the Federation of Northern Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter praised the Syrian Democratic Forces as having “proven to be excellent partners of ours on the ground in fighting ISIL. We are grateful for that, and we intend to continue to do that, recognizing the complexities of their regional role.”[531]

Significant U.S. Armed Forces presence at Al-Tanf, Syria began in early 2016

During the SDF’s May 2016 offensive against ISIL in Northern Raqqa, U.S. Special Forces were widely reported and photographed to be present, with some of them wearing badges of the Kurdish YPG and YPJ on their uniforms.[532] On 21 May, Joseph Votel, commanding general of U.S. Central Command, completed a secret hours-long trip to northern Syria to visit several locations where there were U.S. special operations forces and meet with local forces the U.S. was helping train to fight ISIL. The visit came as the first of 250 additional U.S. special operations forces were beginning to arrive in Syria to work with local forces. The commander overseeing the war in Syria, at the end of a long Saturday spent touring SDF bases, said “We do, absolutely, have to go with what we’ve got”.[533]

In September 2016, the U.S. spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) confirmed that the SDF, including the YPG, is also part of the “vetted forces” in the train and equip program and will be supplied with weapons. The President of TurkeyRecep Tayyip Erdoğan, condemned this and claimed that the SDF are “endangering our future”.[534]

In October 2016, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, the commander of the international coalition against ISIL, said that the SDF would lead the impending assault on Raqqa, ISIL’s then-stronghold and capital, and that SDF commanders would plan the operation with advice from American and coalition troops.[535] From November 2016, more than 300 U.S. Special Operations Forces were embedded to train and advise SDF fighters in the Raqqa offensive.[536]

2017-18

Kurdish troops and U.S. armored vehicle in Al-Hasakah, May 2017

U.S. Army 310th Engineer Company maintaining a Mabey Logistic Support Bridge during the Battle of Raqqa, 29 July 2017

File:DVIDS - Video - Coalition supports SDF fight against ISIS.webm

U.S. Marines and Army Special Forces operating in support of the SDF in Syria, October 2018

U.S. and Turkish soldiers conduct joint patrols, Manbij outskirts, 1 November 2018

In March 2017, the Trump administration deployed an additional 400 U.S. Marines to Syria to expand the fight against ISIL in the Raqqa offensive where they could provide artillery support for U.S.-backed local forces that were preparing an assault on Raqqa to liberate the city from IS militants. The deployment marked a new escalation in the U.S.’s war in Syria, and put more conventional U.S. troops in the battle that, until then, had primarily used Special Operations units. The 400 Marines were part of the 11th MEU from the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines. They manned an artillery battery of M-777 Howitzers whilst additional infantrymen from the unit provided security; resupplies were handled by part of the expeditionary force’s combat logistics element.[537] During the Raqqa campaign alone, this small artillery battalion fired over 40,000 shells (including 34,033 155mm), more than were used in the entire 2003 invasion of Iraq and only 20,000 fewer than all those fired by the U.S. military in Operation Desert Storm.[538]

In March 2018, SDF press secretary in Deir ez-Zor Mehdi Kobani reportedly told Sputnik Turkiye that U.S. forces were building a “large military base” in the oil-rich al-Omar region of Deir ez-Zor as new equipment had been reportedly arriving to U.S. bases in Syria. The al-Omar oilfield is the largest oil deposit in Syria, and was captured by the SDF during their campaign against ISIL in October 2017.[539][540]

It was reported in June 2018 that the 441st Air Expeditionary Squadron reportedly maintains an unpaved runway in SarrinRaqqa Governorate.[541][542][543]

2019-20 partial withdrawal of U.S. ground forces

On 19 December 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he ordered the pullout of all 2,000-2,500 U.S. troops operating in Syria, though no clear timetable was given.[544] U.S. operations in al-Tanf continued into 2019.[545]

On 16 January 2019, a suicide bombing claimed by ISIL in the SDF-controlled town of Manbij killed four U.S. personnel and injured three servicemen, making it the deadliest attack on Coalition forces in the country since the intervention.[546][547][548] The ISIL attack drew a second round of criticism of the U.S. president’s withdrawal order, with critics linking the attack with an emboldening of ISIL terror and insurgent tactics due to the announcement of a U.S. pullout, despite the group’s continued loss of territory in Syria.[549] President Trump offered condolences to the families of the slain American citizens on 17 January while he reaffirmed his policy of withdrawing troops.[550] Trump paid tribute to the fallen Americans during a trip to Dover Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Delaware on 19 January, where their remains were received.[551]

On 21 January, an ISIL SVBIED targeted a U.S. convoy accompanied by SDF troops on the ShadadiAl-Hasakah road in Al-Hasakah province, killing five SDF personnel. Witnesses said the SVBIED rammed into an SDF vehicle by a checkpoint held by Kurdish forces a dozen kilometers outside Shadadi as the U.S. convoy drove past. No Americans were harmed.[552]

CNN reported on 24 January that additional U.S. troops were moved to Syria to help provide security for the pullout of equipment and personnel as they are moved out via air and land routes. U.S. Department of Defense officials said the additional security forces would move around Syria to different locations as needed and may move in and out of the country at times. Troop numbers would also fluctuate as American presence gradually declines. Defense officials declined to give specifics on numbers, locations, or timetables, citing security concerns.[553] Local sources reported to Anadolu Agency on 28 January that around 600 U.S. troops had allegedly entered eastern Syria from western Iraq to help with the withdrawal process, arriving at discreet bases in Harab Isk and Sarrin villages set to be used as main evacuation centers during the withdrawal. The news agency added that the American-controlled airfields in Rmeilan and Tell Beydar would be used to airlift heavy weapons and equipment from the country; the Coalition itself did not confirm these reports.[554]

By the end of January 2019, according to two U.S. officials, more than 10 percent of American equipment and supplies had been removed from Syria, with 3,000 additional personnel brought into the country to facilitate the draw-down of forces. By 9 February, hundreds of U.S. airstrikes and ground support for the SDF continued as the Kurdish-led force began its final assault on the last ISIL holdouts trapped in a small cluster of hamlets in eastern Syria (including Al-Baghuz Fawqani and southern Al-Marashidah) no larger than a few square miles. U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, believed the SDF would be able to defeat the remaining diehard ISIL fighters “in days”, bringing an end to ISIL’s claim of a territorial caliphate.[555]

On 18 February, Commander-in-Chief of the SDF Mazlum Kobane expressed hopes the U.S. would halt its total pullout. Kobane said there were discussions about perhaps French and British troops supporting them, but demanded 1,000-1,5000 U.S. troops stay in Syria to provide “air cover, air support and a force on the ground” to help the SDF in its ongoing fight against ISIL. CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel reiterated the U.S. withdrawal was continuing.[500]

With the general withdrawal continuing, the White House announced late on 21 February that 200 residual U.S. troops would remain in Syria as a “peacekeeping force”. The peacekeeping deployment would be indefinite.[556] The next day it was revealed the actual number was 400 troops, not 200, as half would be based in Rojava and half at al-Tanf. Officials stated it was a part of an initiative to get NATO allies to commit to a multinational observer force that would establish a “safe zone” in Rojava to keep the Kurds and Turks from clashing, to prevent pro-Syrian government forces from attacking the Kurds, and to keep up pressure to prevent an ISIL resurgence. The U.S. is not seeking a United Nations mandate for the deployment and currently does not envision asking NATO to sponsor the mission, an administration official said, adding that the troops would not technically be “peacekeepers,” a term that carries restricted rules of engagement.[502]

On 7 March, Gen. Joseph Votel confirmed that U.S. forces were in no rush to pullout by a specific date, instead saying the completion of the withdrawal was conditional on ISIL no longer posing a security threat to U.S. forces and their allies.[557] By late March, the U.S. continued to stretch the timetable for the pullout. On 29 March, U.S. officials reportedly said the Pentagon’s latest plans called for cutting its combat force in northeastern Syria roughly in half by early May 2019, or to about 1,000 troops, and would then pause pullout operations. The military would then reduce the number of forces every six months, depending on conditions on the ground, until it reaches the 400 troops previously approved by the president. Under this plan, the lowest troop numbers wouldn’t be reached until autumn 2020. The longer timetable would provide the U.S. more time to negotiate and work out details over the planned multinational safe zone along Turkey’s border. Officials cautioned that the timetable was open-ended and still subject to change, with factors ranging from allied troop contributions to new orders from the president himself.[558]

In early May, video emerged online of U.S. forces firing upon an alleged Syrian government barge ferrying oil supplies in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. The video was posted on Facebook by the pro-SDF “Deir Ezzor Media Center”.[559]

Turkish involvement

Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army fighters at the building in Afrin that had hosted the PYD-led government of Afrin Region, 18 March 2018

Turkey, a NATO member, has been involved in the Syrian Civil War since the beginning of hostilities. Turkey has trained and armed some members of the Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda in Syria,[560][561] and has been involved in certain spillover incidents, however so far Turkey has not been involved in direct combat. On 2 October 2014, the Turkish Parliament authorized direct military action in both Iraq and Syria including using military force in Syria and Iraq as well as allowing coalition members to use bases in Turkey.[562] Turkey has also stationed troops and tanks on its southern border near the Syrian border city of Kobanî.[563] The Turkish government demanded several things to go along with them intervening against ISIL, including a buffer zone in Northern Syria, a no-fly zone over certain parts of northern Syria, ground troops from other countries, and the training of moderate opposition forces to fight both ISIL and al-Assad.[564][565]

In October 2014, Vice President Joe Biden accused Turkey of funding al-Nusra and al Qaeda,[566] to which Erdoğan angrily responded, “Biden has to apologize for his statements” adding that if no apology is made, Biden would become “history to me.”[567] Biden subsequently apologized.[568]

Turkey also holds sovereignty over the Tomb of Suleyman Shah 35 km inside Syria, where it maintains a small garrison of Special forces that is surrounded by ISIL-controlled territory.[569]

On 22 February 2015, the Turkish Army mounted a rescue operation across the border to evacuate its soldiers from the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, an exclave of Turkey south of Kobanî. The Turkish convoy reportedly transited through Kurdish-held Kobanî en route to the tomb. One Turkish soldier was killed in what Ankara described as an accident. The success of the operation was announced 22 February by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.[570]

Rising anti-American sentiment in Turkey has occurred since the start of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria in January 2018 aimed at ousting U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds from the enclave of Afrin. A poll conducted in Turkey during the operation revealed that 90 percent of respondents believed that the United States is “behind” the Kurdish PKK and YPG.[571] After the start of the Turkish invasion, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stated that “Turkey is a NATO ally. It’s the only NATO country with an active insurgency inside its borders. And Turkey has legitimate security concerns.”[572] Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag urged the United States to halt its support for Kurdish YPG fighters, saying: “Those who support the terrorist organization will become a target in this battle.”[573]

In October 2019, Senator Lindsey Graham warned that he would “introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria“. He said he would also “call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate”.[574]

Northern Syria Buffer Zone

U.S. and Turkish soldiers rendezvous in the Northern Syria Buffer Zone, 4 October 2019.

On 15 January 2019, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he agreed with setting up a 35 km “safe zone” in northern Syria after engaging with US President Donald Trump a couple days prior.[575]

On 7 August 2019, after months of negotiations, Turkey and the U.S. reached a deal to create a 115 kilometer buffer zone in northern Syria along the Syria–Turkey border between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Separate from Turkey’s own occupation zone in northern Syria, the deal is partly implemented to prevent a potential future Turkish ground incursion into Rojava against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. Under the framework of the deal, the U.S. and Turkey would conduct joint troop patrols and Turkish reconnaissance aircraft would be allowed to monitor the zone. Kurdish YPG and YPJ forces along the Turkish border would dismantle border fortifications and withdraw to a “security belt” alongside regular SDF forces and remove all heavy weapons from the area. In turn, Turkey would not conduct airstrikes or establish military observation posts in northern Syria and will not “occupy” the region, as administrative and civil rule will be relegated to SDF military councils and the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. According to the SDF, the majority of the zone will not include any cities or towns.[576]

Reports of civilian casualties and war crimes

On 29 September 2014, several groups including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Aleppo Media Center, and the Local Coordination Committees reported that U.S. strikes hit a grain silo in the ISIL-controlled town of Manbij in northern Syria, killing two civilians.[577][578]

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported ten airstrikes, also targeting various parts of the province of Idlib, killed at least one child and six other civilians. The group said at least 19 civilians had been killed in coalition airstrikes at that time.[579] The Pentagon reported it had no evidence of any civilian casualties from airstrikes targeting militants in Syria.[580] The United States has also acknowledged that its rules to avoid civilian casualties are looser in Syria than those for drone strikes elsewhere.[581]

The SOHR and other activist groups reported that seven civilians were killed when an air strike hit a gas distribution facility near the town of al-Khasham is the eastern Deir al-Zor province on 17 October 2014 and three civilians were killed in an air strike on 16 October 2014 in the north east province of al-Hassakah. According to their reports, most of the civilians killed were fuel tanker drivers.[582]

Destroyed neighborhood in Raqqa in August 2017

According to Reuters, 50 civilians were killed in Syria by US-led airstrikes, from the start of the campaign in late September 2014 to mid-November.[583] On 28 December 2014, a U.S. airstrike in the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab killed more than 50 civilians.[584]

On 21 May 2015, the United States admitted it “probably” killed two children in bombings near Harem on 4 and 5 November 2014. These are the first such admissions of the campaign, and followed a military investigation. A similar investigation regarding an event in Syria is underway, and two regarding events in Iraq.[585] Two adult civilians were also minorly injured in the Harem strikes. The deaths and injuries are attributed by the military investigation to unintentional secondary explosions, after the bombers hit their intended targets, linked to the Khorasan.[586] On 19 July 2016 a coalition led airstrike on the ISIL controlled villages of Tokhar and Hoshariyeh reportedly killed at least 56 civilians, including 11 children.[587] On 3 August 2016, dozens of civilians were killed after an airstrike in al-Qa’im, some sources claiming that 30 were killed.[588]

Airwars, which “maintains an extensive database of all known allegations in which civilians and friendly forces have been reported killed by the Coalition since August 2014”, reports between 503 and 700 civilians were killed by Coalition airstrikes in Syria as of April 2016.[589]

At least 33 people were killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on a school near Raqqa in March 2017[590] in what is described as war crime.[citation needed] On 16 March 2017, a U.S. airstrike in rebel-held Aleppo killed at least 46 people and wounded more than 100 after warplanes hit a mosque.[591]

According to a report by Amnesty International, the U.S.-led Coalition has provided falsified data to conceal the actual number of civilian deaths resulting from their bombing campaigns and is “deeply in denial” about civilian casualties in Raqqa. After an investigation by Amnesty International in June 2018, the U.S.-led Coalition confirmed that “coalition air strikes killed 70 civilians, mostly women and children – including 39 members of a single family.”[592]

According to Airwars,[593] the strikes of U.S.-led coalition killed as many as 6,000 civilians in Syria and Iraq in 2017.[594]

On 2 May 2018, Britain’s Ministry of Defense admitted for the first time that a civilian was “unintentionally” killed in an anti-ISIL drone strike on 26 March 2018. According to the MoD, the civilian was on a motorbike and entered the target area at the last minute. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said the incident was “deeply regrettable”.[595][596]

On 25 April 2019 a joint investigation by Amnesty International and Airwars of over 200 strike sites reported that anti-ISIL Coalition bombing during the 2017 Battle of Raqqa had killed 1,600 civilians alone. CJTF-OIR reported the month prior that its 4-year operations over both Iraq and Syria amounted to 1,257 civilian casualties overall. “Coalition forces razed Raqqa…Amnesty International and Airwars call upon the Coalition forces to end their denial about the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction caused by their offensive in Raqqa,” the investigators said in a joint statement. The Coalition responded that they “continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize the impact of our operations on civilian populations and infrastructure.”[597]

By October 2019, Airwars estimated 8,214-13,125 civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria due to Coalition airstrikes, including 1,744–2,333 children and 3,609 named victims. The Coalition’s own estimate of civilian deaths was 1,335.[598]

Results

According to CJTF-OIR, by May 2016, ISIL had lost 25 percent of the territory it possessed in Syria since the campaign began, mostly due to advances by YPG/SDF forces with heavy Coalition air support.[599] Overall, by the end of 2016 the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIL in both Iraq and Syria was estimated by the Pentagon to have struck 32,000 targets (including 164 tanks, 400 Humvees, and 2,638 pieces of oil infrastructure) and killed 50,000 militants, with approximately 1/3 of these losses taking place in Syria.[35][600] By December 2017, the Pentagon increased the estimate to 80,000 ISIL fighters killed by coalition airstrikes between Iraq and Syria.[601]

By 23 March 2019, the day of ISIL’s territorial collapse in Syria, CJTF-OIR and partner forces had liberated nearly 110,000 square kilometers (42,471 square miles) from the Islamic State; as a result, 7.7 million people no longer lived under ISIL’s “caliphate”.[602]

Reactions

Foreign reactions

  • Australia – Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia, praised the intervention, saying that an international effort was needed in order to combat the ISIL threat.[215] Despite Abbott’s support for the intervention, the Australian Government said it is not likely to contribute forces to operations in Syria.[603]
  • Canada – Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, said in October 2014 Canada would strike ISIL targets in Syria if the Assad government gave approval.[604] New Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called President Obama almost immediately after coming into office to inform him that Canada will be ceasing air operations in coordination with Americans. Trudeau did not give a time frame.[605]
  • Czech Republic – Lubomír Zaorálek, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic supported the intervention against the Islamic State and said that it’s important to keep supporting the ground forces in the battle against ISIS and the Czech Republic will keep providing military support to the Iraqi army and to the Kurdish Peshmerga. He also noted that air strikes won’t defeat Islamic State. The Czech government said that ISIS is enemy not only for safety in the Middle East, but also for security and stability in the Czech Republic and Europe.[606]
  • Ecuador – The Ecuadorian government opposed the airstrikes in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government.[607]
  • Egypt – Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed his government’s support for the international campaign against ISIL, and a spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry echoed his statements by reiterating the Egyptian government’s willingness to back the war against ISIL.[608][609]
  • Germany – German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier questioned whether President Obama’s plan was adequate in order to combat ISIL and said Germany had not been asked to participate in airstrikes nor would it participate if asked.[610]
  • Iran – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned ISIL’s actions but also called the airstrikes in Syria “illegal” because they were conducted without the consent of the Syrian government.[611] Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was reported in Iranian media as saying that Iran had warned the United States that Israel would be at risk should the US and its allies seek to topple Syrian president Bashar al-Assad while fighting ISIL in Syria.[612]
  • Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel fully supported the U.S. government’s calls for united action against ISIL.[610]
  • Japan – A spokesperson for the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Japanese government would continue to closely coordinate with the United States and other countries, along with offering support and cooperation in their strikes against ISIL.[613]
  • Netherlands – Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, showed understanding for the intervention against ISIL in Syria and said that his government was exploring options to contribute in the fight against ISIL.[614]
  • Russia – Alexander Lukashevich, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, opposed the military intervention “without the consent of the legitimate government” and said that “this step, in the absence of a UN Security Council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law”.[212] On 14 October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov questioned the motives of the intervention, saying “Maybe their stated goal is not entirely sincere? Maybe it is regime change?” He also questioned the effectiveness of the year long campaign “With, as far as I know, 25,000 sorties they [US-led air campaign] could have smashed the entire [country of] Syria into smithereens,” continuing to remark that “positive results ‘on the ground’ are not visible”. He also criticized the continued supply of arms to rebels, saying “I want to be honest, we barely have any doubt that at least a considerable part of these weapons will fall into the terrorists’ hands.” He continued to call for the countries involved to join a coalition made up of Russian, Syrian, Iranian, Iraqi, Jordanian and Hezbollah forces against what Russia claims is solely ISIL and al Qaeda, but the US has asserted is primarily non-jihadist opposition forces.[615][616]
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian President Vladimir Putin, described the US air strikes on the Shayrat airbase as “an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext…. a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state”.[617]
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to the Sharyat attack as “an act of aggression under a completely invented pretext”. He compared events in April 2017 to “the situation of 2003, when the USA, the UK and several of their allies invaded Iraq without the UN Security Council’s approval – a grave violation of international law – but at that point they at least tried to show some material evidence.”[617]
  • Turkey – The Davutoglu Government called on the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to approve measures that would grant extensive authority to the President to launch military operations in both Syria and Iraq, including the authority to send troops across the border, although it is unclear whether the Turkish leadership intends to act on that authority. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged the establishment of a no-fly zone by coalition forces in northern Syria.[618]
  • United Kingdom – A spokesperson for British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would not rule out airstrikes in Syria against ISIL.[610] On 26 September 2014 Parliament voted 524 to 43 to approve action inside Iraq.[619] While visiting Iraqi Kurdistan in mid October, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he saw no immediate demand from U.S. and Arab militaries for Britain to extend its airstrikes to Syria.[620] British Defense Minister Michael Fallon said on 21 October that British Reaper drones and Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft would be starting intelligence-gathering missions in Syria “very shortly.” [80]
  • United Nations – Ban Ki-moonUN secretary-general, welcomed the airstrikes against militants in Syria, but noted that the involved parties “must abide by international humanitarian law and take all precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties”.[621]
  • Venezuela – At the 69th General Assembly of the United Nations, President Nicolas Maduro said “It’s President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government which have stopped the terrorists” and continued by saying “Instead of bombing and bombing, we must make an alliance for peace”.[622][623]

Syrian reactions

  • Syria – A week before the first airstrikes, Ali Haidar, the Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation, said that “any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria”.[212] However, despite Haidar’s original statement, after the coalition campaign began, the Syrian government struck a more conciliatory tone with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem suggesting the airstrikes were an indication that Syria and the anti-ISIL coalition were on the same side.[624]
  • Syrian opposition Syrian opposition – Hadi Bahra, the leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces called for airstrikes against ISIL before the intervention began. The coalition is recognized by 20 countries, the European Union, and the Arab league as the legitimate representative of Syria in opposition to the Assad government. Bahra said strikes were needed to weaken ISIL, a faction in the inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War, so that the Free Syrian Army and other moderate opposition forces could oppose Assad more effectively.[625] Despite Bahra’s support, many Syrian rebel groups have criticized U.S. airstrikes for targeting only ISIL who are enemies of the Assad government, while not also targeting Assad government forces, the results of which could help government forces gain more ground.[581] Meanwhile, jihadist groups within the opposition have portrayed the coalition as an anti-Sunni stooge of the Syrian regime,[626] while many Sunnis in Syria are angered that only extremist Sunnis are being targeted while mostly Shiite Assad forces aren’t targeted.[627] Some rebels defected to extremist groups as a result of the U.S. decision to strike jihadist groups other than ISIL, such as the al-Nusra Front.[628]

See also

References…

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American-led_intervention_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War

Kurds in Syria

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Kurds in Syria
Total population
estimates from 1.6 million to 2.5 million [1][2][3][4]
Regions with significant populations
Al-HasakahQamishliTell TamerKobanîAfrin
Languages
mainly Kurdish (Kurmanji)[5]; also Arabic (North Levantine ArabicModern Standard Arabic)
Religion
Majority: Sunni Islam, Minority: Shia IslamKurdish Christianity[6]
Related ethnic groups
other Kurds

Ethnic decomposition map of Syria, Kurdish inhabited areas are shaded in pink, in 1976

The Kurdish population of Syria is that country’s largest ethnic minority,[7] comprising between 7% and 15% of the country’s population according to most sources.[1][8][9][10][7]

The northeastern Kurdish inhabited region covers the greater part of Hasakah Governorate. The main cities in this region are Qamishli (Qamishlo) and Al-Hasakah. Another region with significant Kurdish population is Kobanî (officially known as Ayn al-Arab) in the northern part of Syria near the town of Jarabulus and also the city of Afrin and its surroundings along the Turkish border.

Human rights organizations have accused the Syrian government of routinely discriminating and harassing the Syrian Kurds.[11][12] Many Kurds seek political autonomy for the Kurdish inhabited areas of Syria, similar to Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq, or outright independence as part of Kurdistan. In the context of the Syrian Civil War and the Rojava conflict, Kurds have established a self-governing region,[13][14][15] known as the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria and commonly termed as “Rojava”.[16]

Demographics

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Syria, and make up between 7 and 10 percent of the Syrian population as of 2011—between 1.6 and 2.5 million people.[17][2][9][10][1] The Kurdish population in Syria is relatively small in comparison to the Kurdish populations in nearby countries, such as Turkey (14.4–16 million), Iran (7.9 million), and Iraq (4.7–6.2 million).[1]The majority of Syrian Kurds speak Kurmanji, a Kurdish dialect spoken in Turkey and northeastern Iraq and Iran.[18]

It is estimated that at the beginning of the 20th century around 12,000 Kurds lived in Damascus; an unknown number of Kurds lived in the Kurd-Dagh region; 16,000 Kurds lived in the Jarabulus region; and an unknown number lived in the Jazira province where they were likely the majority.[19] In the 1920s after the failed Kurdish rebellions in Kemalist Turkey, there was a large influx of Kurds to Syria’s Jazira province. It is estimated that 25,000 Kurds fled at this time to Syria.[20] According to Stefan Sperl, these Kurdish newcomers constituted no more than 10% of the Kurdish population of Jazira at the time and all were granted citizenship by the French mandate authorities who recognized their agricultural skills.[21] However, the French official reports show the existence of at most 45 Kurdish villages in Jazira prior to 1927. A new wave of refugees arrived in 1929.[22] The mandatory authorities continued to encourage Kurdish immigration into Syria, and by 1939, the villages numbered between 700 and 800.[22] Sperl’s estimation also contradicts the estimates of the French geographers Fevret and Gibert,[23] who estimated that in 1953 out of the total 146,000 inhabitants of Jazira, agriculturalist Kurds made up 60,000 (41%), nomad Arabs 50,000 (34%), and a quarter of the population were Christians.[23]

Even though Kurds have a long history in Syria, the government has used the fact that many Kurds fled to Syria during the 1920s to claim that Kurds are not indigenous to the country and to justify the government’s discriminatory policies against them.[24][25]

Geography

Kurds mostly live in a geocultural region in Northern Syria. This region covers the governorate of Al Hasakah (formerly the Jazira province), a region also inhabited by many ArabsAssyriansArmenians and Chechens. The main cities in this region are Qamishli and Al-Hasakah. It also convers most of the northern part of Aleppo governornate. There is a big Kurdish population in the Kurd Dagh (Kurd mountains) area, located in the northwestern part of Aleppo governorate. This region extends both ethnically and culturally to the Turkish regions of KilisIslahiye and Kirikhan.The region of Kobanê (Ayn al-Arab), located in the eastern part of the Aleppo governorate, also has a significant Kurdish population, perhaps best known for resisting the long siege by ISIS. The northern countryside of Aleppo governorate, alternatively known as Şehba, also has a significant Kurdish population. Kurds mainly live in the rural countryside. The main towns are ManbijAl-Bab and Azaz, while also containing important smaller towns such as QabasinAl-Ra’i and Jarabulus.

Sometimes the Kurdish inhabited areas of Northern Syria are called “Kurdistana Binxetê” in Kurdish, which means Kurdistan below the border. Referring to the Syrian-Turkish border.

Many Kurds live in the large cities and metropolitan areas of the country, for example, in the neighborhood of Rukn al-Din in Damascus which was formerly known as Hayy al Akrad (Kurdish Quarter), and the Aleppo neighbourhood Sheikh Maqsood.[26][27]

History

Early settlements

The Crusade fortress of Krak des Chevaliers near Homs, which is known in Arabic as Hisn al-Akrad (Castle of the Kurds), was originally the location of a Kurdish military settlement.

Kurdish settlement in Syria goes back to before the Crusades of the 11th century. A number of Kurdish military and feudal settlements from before this period have been found in Syria. Such settlements have been found in the Alawite and north Lebanese mountains and around Hama and its surroundings. The Crusade fortress of Krak des Chevaliers, which is known in Arabic as Hisn al-Akrad (Castle of the Kurds), was originally a Kurdish military settlement before it was enlarged by the French Crusaders. Similarly, the Kurd-Dagh (Kurdish Mount) has been inhabited by Kurds for more than a millennium.[28]

Ayyubid period

In the 12th century, Kurdish and other Muslim regiments accompanied Saladin, who was a Kurd from Tikrit, on his conquest of the Middle East and establishment of the Ayyubid dynasty (1171–1341), which was administered from Damascus. The Kurdish regiments that accompanied Salidin established self-ruled areas in and around Damascus. These settlements evolved into the Kurdish sections of Damascus of Hayy al-Akrad (the Kurdish quarter) and the Salhiyya districts located in the north-east of Damasacus on Mount Qasioun.[29] The Kurdish community’s role in the military continued under the Ottomans. Kurdish soldiers and policeman from city were tasked with both maintaining order and protecting the pilgrims’ route toward Mecca. Many Kurds from Syria’s rural hinterland joined the local Janissary corp in Damascus. Later, Kurdish migrants from diverse areas, such as DiyarbakirMosul and Kirkuk, also joined these military units which caused an expansion of the Kurdish community in the city.[30]

Ottoman period

The first licensed female doctors in India, Syria and Japan. Anandibai Joshee (Indian), Kei Okami (Japanese), Sabat Islambooly (Kurdish Jew from Syria)[31] – October 10, 1885

During the Ottoman period (1516–1922), some large Kurmanji-speaking Kurdish tribal groups both settled in and were deported to areas of northern Syria from Anatolia. The largest of these tribal groups was the Reshwan confederation, which was initially based in the Adiyaman region but eventually also settled throughout Anatolia. The Milli confederation, which was documented in Ottoman sources from the year 1518 onward, was the most powerful tribal group and dominated the entire northern Syrian steppe in the second half of the 18th century. The Kurdish dynasty of Janbulads ruled the region of Aleppo as governors for the Ottomans from 1591 to 1607 and were allied with the Medici of Tuscany.[32] At the beginning of the 17th century, districts of Jarabulus and Seruj on the left bank of the Euphrates were settled by Kurds.[33] In the mid-18th century, Ottomans recognized Milli tribal leaders as iskan başi or chief of sedentarization in Raqqa area. They were given taxing authority and controlling other tribes in the region. In 1758, Milli chief and iskan başi Mahmud bin Kalash entered Khabur valley, subjugated the local tribes and brought the area under control of Milli confederation and attempted to set up an independent principality. In 1800, the Ottoman government appointed the Milli chief Timur as governor of Raqqa (1800–1803).[34][35][36]

The Danish writer Carsten Niebuhr, who traveled to Jazira in 1764, recorded five nomadic Kurdish tribes (Dukurie, Kikie, Schechchanie, Mullie and Aschetie) and six Arab tribes (Tay, Kaab, Baggara, Geheish, Diabat and Sherabeh).[37] According to Niebuhr, the Kurdish tribes were settled near Mardin in Turkey, and paid the governor of that city for the right of grazing their herds in the Syrian Jazira.[38] These Kurdish tribes gradually settled in villages and cities and are still present in Jazira (modern Syria’s Hasakah Governorate).[39]

The demographics of this area underwent a huge shift in the early part of the 20th centuryOttoman authorities with the cooperation of Kurdish troops (and to a lesser degree, Circassian and Chechen tribes) persecuted Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Upper Mesopotamia and were granted their victims’ land as a reward.[40][41] Kurds were responsible for most of the atrocities against Assyrians, and Kurdish expansion happened at the expense of Assyrians (due to factors like proximity).[42] Kurdish as well as Circassian and Chechen tribes cooperated with the Ottoman (Turkish) authorities in the massacres of Armenian and Assyrian Christians in Upper Mesopotamia, between 1914 and 1920, with further attacks on unarmed fleeing civilians conducted by local Arab militias.[43][44][41][45][46]

Kurdish-inhabited areas

In 1936, there French forces Bombarded Amuda (Tusha Amudi). On 13 August 1937, in a revenge attack, about 500 Kurds from the Dakkuri, Milan, and Kiki tribes attacked the then predominantly Christian Amuda[47] and burned the mostly Assyrian town.[48] The town was destroyed and the Christian population, about 300 families, fled to the towns of Qamishli and Hasakah.[49]

In other parts of the country during this period, Kurds became local chiefs and tax farmers in Akkar (Lebanon) and the Qusayr highlands between Antioch and Latakia in northwestern Syria. The Afrin Plateau northwest of Aleppo, just inside what is today Syria, was officially known as the “Sancak of the Kurds” in Ottoman documents.[50] The Millis revolted against the Ottoman government after the death of their leader Ibrahim Pasa and some of them eventually settled for the most part on the Syrian side of the newly drawn Turkish-Syrian border of 1922.[51][52]

The immigration of some Kurds to Syria began in 1926 following the failure of the rebellion of Saed Ali Naqshbandi against the Turkish authorities.[53] They were granted citizenship by the French mandate authorities.[54][41] During the great war, Kurdish tribes attacked and sacked and villages in Albaq District immediately to the north of Hakkari mountains. According to Lieutenant Ronald Sempill Stafford, large numbers of Assyrians and Armenians were killed.[55]

French Mandate

Following World War I, the victorious Allied powers and the defeated Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Sèvres of 10 August 1920. The treaty stipulated that Ottoman Kurdistan, which included Kurdish inhabited areas in present Syria, was to be given autonomy within the new Turkish Republic, with the choice for full independence within a year. The Kemalist victory in Turkey and subsequent territorial gains during the Turkish War of Independence led to the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923, which made no mention of a future Kurdish state. The majority of Ottoman Kurdish territory was given to Turkey and the rest was divided between the newly established French Mandate of Syria and