Category: Drone Wars


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said it was not discussing joint air strikes with Russia on Monday and called on Moscow to press Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to cease air strikes against opposition forces in Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs.

“We’re not looking at joint operations,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “We’re discussing with them proposals for sustainable mechanisms to better monitor and enforce the cessation of hostilities – we’re not talking about joint operations.”

Toner said the United States was concerned about an uptick in violence in Syria – by both Islamic State and Assad’s forces – and said Russia had a special responsibility to press the Syrian leader to end attacks and strikes that kill civilians.

The Syrian government needs to recognise that “if this keeps up, we may be looking at a complete breakdown” of the cessation of hostilities, Toner said. A truce brokered by the United States and Russia in February has been unravelling for weeks.

Washington urged the Assad regime to end its escalating attacks on Aleppo and Daraya, as well as besieging towns and obstructing humanitarian access, the department said.

“Secretary Kerry raised these concerns in a call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov earlier today and urged him to press the regime to cease at once airstrikes against opposition forces and innocent civilians in Aleppo and the Damascus suburbs,” the State Department said in a statement.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for bombs that killed nearly 150 people and wounded at least 200 in Jableh and Tartous on Syria’s Mediterranean coast on Monday in the government-controlled territory that hosts a Russian military base.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chris Reese and Alan Crosby)

Source: Russia has special responsibility to push Syria to stop attacks – U.S.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday summoned the ambassador of United States, David Hale, to express concern over the US air strike inside Pakistani territory on Saturday, May 21 — which reportedly targeted Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour.

According to a statement released by the Foreign Office, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi pointed out to the US envoy “the drone strike was a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a breach of the United Nation’s Charter that guarantees the inviolability of the territorial integrity of its member states”.

Fatemi also emphasised that “such actions could adversely impact the ongoing efforts by the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for facilitating peace talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban”, read the statement.

Know more: With Mullah Mansour’s reported death, a new twist in Afghan peace

The special assistant further underlined that Pakistan and United States had been closely coordinating in the fight against the menace of terrorism and that this cooperation needed further strengthening.

US President Barack Obama had on Monday confirmed that Mullah Mansour was killed in a US air strike, hailing his death as an “important milestone” in efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

“We have removed the leader of an organisation that has continued to plot against and unleash attacks on American and Coalition forces, to wage war against the Afghan people, and align itself with extremist groups like Al Qaeda,” the US president said in a statement.

“We will work on shared objectives with Pakistan, where terrorists that threaten all our nations must be denied safe haven,” he said.

Source: Islamabad voices concern to US envoy over air strike inside Pakistani territory – World – DAWN.COM

[Despite Drone Deaths being reported as early as 2011:

(http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/05/afghanistan-raf-drone-civilian-deaths).  PKC.]

The RAF ‘Claims’ its “rigorous” targeting means it has caused no civilian casualties since the air campaign began in 2014.

Such ‘statistics’ fly in the face of the anti-drone lobby, which sees Reapers as robot death machines with no human control.

Flight Lieutenant Tim said: “The disappointment is the British misconception — it makes you feel like they just don’t get it.

“That anti-drone killing machine myth is out there, and it’s going to be very hard to break down.”

AT her secret Middle East base, RAF Warrant Officer Tina is taking the fight to IS – flying killer drones to attack the terror group who she likens to Nazis.

The Sun was granted exclusive access to the base, dubbed The Rock, where daily sorties are launched over Iraq and Syria.

Tina — whose full identity, like those of her colleagues, is protected for security reasons — says: “I compare these guys to the Nazis, the way they came along and treated people and tried to enforce their beliefs on people. They’ve got to be stopped.

The crew, officially named the Launch and Recovery Element, are responsible for the Reaper drones’ take-off and landing.

Once drones are airborne, control is switched via satellite link to either Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas or RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, from where they are flown by a pilot who has trained on air force jets or helicopters, while a navigator operates the sensors.

The two-man flight crews are backed by an intelligence officer who monitors the feeds.

Last year Reapers flown from the dust-bowl airbase wiped out British jihadis Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, and provided additional “eyes in the sky” for the fatal US strike on executioner Mohammed Emwazi, AKA Jihadi John.

The Reaper team have all conducted operational missions over Iraq and Syria, where they are turning the tide against IS.

RAF Reapers have now spotted IS commanders fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul ahead of a mass offensive, a top commander revealed.

Vital intelligence gathered by the fleet confirms that senior leaders are sneaking west to the terror state’s Syrian capital, Raqqa.

A senior RAF commander told The Sun: “We’re seeing clear evidence of senior Daesh leadership leaving Mosul.

“They know what’s coming.”

The UK has ten Reapers which are primarily used for providing an unblinking gaze on the ground — but if needed, air crews can unleash a terrifying arsenal.

Each Reaper can carry up to four Hellfire missiles and two Paveway II 500lb bombs.

Source: Meet Tina… the RAF Reaper drone pilot flying missions from secret base to take down ISIS

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